It was noon, the sun was burning hot and mercilessly down on Italy. The people of Genova either enjoyed a nice sunbath or retreated into the shade. Ice cream was of course the most beloved snack to cool down next to fresh fruits such as watermelon or the beach itself. Children laughed and played near the shore, squealing in joy whenever a wave would crash against their legs. Worried mothers kept watch while fathers read newspapers. Suncream got applied, sandcastles build, and seashells collected. Some other people passed their time with games such as beach volleyball or frisbee, some were out driving their boats, yacht, or sailing boats, some courageous even kitesurfed. It was a regular busy day at the beginning of the summer break. And soon, all corners of Italy would be even fuller with tourists from all over the world.
As always, when the summer break began, school was about to end and that meant Giulia and Luca would return to their hometown, Porto Rosso, for the next six weeks until school would start again. It was their favorite time in the year besides Christmas. They were all together and could enjoy the season. Three years ago, Massimo had opened a restaurant close to the ocean. It had been Alberto's idea since his adoptive father was a marvelous cook. Hesitant at first, Massimo however was quite surprised how much support he got. Again, thank's to Alberto, his fish trade was better than ever, and supported them with enough money. The restaurant, which they named Massimo's, went through the roof. Of course, the fact, that Massimo was a well know, respected and valued man in town made it easier. As for Alberto, he quite enjoyed his job as a lifeguard and fisher. Being homeschooled by Massimo personally, he went into his education younger than average kids would. If he wasn't busy saving careless teenagers who underestimated their swimming abilities, kids who accidentally drifted too far, or returning toddlers who lost sight of their parents, he helped his father out in the restaurant. A nice not too big not too small place with a little bar. There was enough space to sit outside and gaze out to the ocean. Palm trees framed the patio and complimented the white tables and chairs that stood on a light wooden floor perfectly. Inside was neatly decorated with fishing supplies and black and white photos of the past. Fishing nets, harpoons and anchors were part of the decoration, next to seashells and sailor knots. Happy italian classics or the newest hits such as songs from ABBA, sounded from the speakers that were placed in each corner of the ceiling and got everyone in a good mood. The restaurant in fact ran so well, that Massimo was soon able to buy a new house. A bigger one. This was a great joy for not only Giulia and Alberto but also Luca and his family who regularly visited. Being older teenagers now, the kids were happy to have bigger rooms. A bigger bathroom too, which would often lead to small squabbling between the siblings. Neither Giulia nor Alberto had been big about fashion or pleasing others, that hadn't changed but they became more aware of their appearance as it was normal. To Alberto's annoyance, Giulia suddenly became squeamish and loud when it came to privacy in the bathroom. Taking a shower or bath took seemingly hours. And Giulia got annoyed when Alberto would forget the time styling his curls or admiring his abs in the mirror. But besides the usual sibling fights, they both got along just fine. Luca was still Albertos best friend and like a brother to him as well. Sometimes, Luca thought back on how everything had started. It was crazy to think how clumsy he had been at being a human at first, now it was his second identity. But there were still things, he just couldn't do, playing football was one of them.
Just now, he stood at the edge of a stone shore, before him the great, wide, bright blue ocean. Glittering in the sun as if adorned with millions of tiny gemstones. A slight breeze made his chocolate curls whip softly. Taking a deep breath, Luca soaked in the smell of the salty seawater air. Above his head circled seagulls, calling and greeting him with high-pitched squeaks. A moment later, he pulled his shirt over his head, took off his shoes, threw his backpack to the ground, ran, jumped, and dove right into the cool water. Smiling, he sighed in relief. The hot temperatures had gotten to his head. Also, school had been exhausting. The teaches made them learn extra stuff. It was a good thing, that humans and sea people weren't enemies anymore. That way Luca didn't have to worry about being seen transforming. While diving around, he couldn't shake his excitement of soon being home again.
"Luca?" lifting her hand to her forehead, Giulia scanned the area of the stone shore. "Hey lazybones, I know you're here somewhere. I've got your homework!" As expected a greenish-blue, scaly head popped out of the surface, "Aww, homework, seriously?" "Yes, what did you expect? We are getting close to our graduation. Of course they make us study more! And I for my part am all about studying hard because..." "Because you want to become a teacher yourself, yeah, yeah, have heard that a billion times!" Luca rolled his eyes with a smirk. Giulia put her hands to her hips and sighed. "What? It's summer break, we are the class bestest. We don't have to worry too much at all. Besides, I got a million better things to do!" "Like sneaking away and skipping the last lesson?" Giulia gestured. "They didn't do hardly anything did they?" Luca shrugged his shoulders. "Without even telling me, you traitor!" the redhead took off her shoes as well, sat down, and let her legs slide into the water. "You could have come after me!" Luca objected with a grin, revealing his sharp teeth that reminded Giulia of a shark. "No, I'm responsible! You're getting more reckless because of my Fratello caro." "Wow, signora nerdy, as if you haven't skipped class before!" Lucas's eyes twinkled with amusement. "Hey that's not...that was...!" Giulia puckered her lips as her opposite started to chuckle. "Ha, ha!" the red-haired rolled her eyes and kicked some water into Lucas's face. "Oh, by the way, I've found some new seashells we can take home and decorate. I even found a conch!" Luca reached his hand out, placing the seashells next to Guilia. "Wow, they're pretty!" she raved. "And the conch!" he placed it into Giulia's open hand. Her eyes widened in awe. "Santa Mozarella, where did you find that?" "Oh, not too far from here, you know, the reef..." Luca tilted his head, bashfully scratching the back of his head, "do you like it?" "Like it? I love it! Thank you! You know I love seashells!"Gulia examined the conch more closely. "Are you excited too?" Luca rested his arms on the stone. "What do you mean exactly?" Gulia placed the conch into her backpack. "We'll gratuade this year...you are going to study to become a teacher and I...I need to think about what to do next..." Lucas gaze trailed off, "the last years I had been so eager and focused to learn as much as possible and now I have no clue what to do after school..." Gulias smile faded a bit, "Hey, we'll think of something. We've got enough time, a whole summer and a bit more to eventually figure that out. But for now, let's not worry to much ok?" "Yeah, you're right..." Luca lifted his head again, "hey, care for a swim?" "What? Now? Luca, I don't even have my bathingsuit! And I can't just leave our stuff here!" Luca puckered his lips into a pout, "Alright fine..." "We'll have to pack anyway. At home we can swim as much as we want ok?" Gulia got back up, "come on now scalytail, I'm starving!" "Oh no, I can't let that happen now can I?" With another chuckle, Luca had pulled himself out of the water. Within seconds, the green and blue scales vanished and switched to a slighlty tanned skin. Shaking his head like a puppy, he combed his hair backwards. "What?" Seeing Gulia starring at him, Luca rose his brows in confusion. "What?" Gulia awkwardly replied. "Is something wrong? You've seen me transform numerous times, have I grown a second tail or what?" "Err..it's...it's just still faszinating to watch, that's all!" Quickly the red haired pulled her backpack over her shoulders and turned, "And Luca, put the shirt back on, you'll get a sunburn!"
"Ok...?" Luca did as told and followed his friend back to her mothers home. Opening the door, the define smell of fresh cooked pasta welcomed the two teenagers. "Ciao tesora, ciao Luca!" "Ciao Mama!" "Ciao Rosa!" Luca placed his backpack next to Giulias. "How was school?" Rosa placed a kiss on her daughters cheek. "Exhausting and well...a bit boring! So boring in fact, this guy right here had to skip the last lesson!" "Spione!" Luca showed his tounge which Giulia replied. "Now now, you both are doing great at school. You have fantastic grades and the teaches never do to much in the last lesson. Also, Luca is just as responsible as you, if he skips, he can allow it!" "Yeah, I know!" Giulia sat down on the table. "Remember to pack your stuff after you've eaten. I told you to do it yesterday!" Rosa placed to bowls with pasta down. "I forgot!" Giulia defented herself. "You always forget, tesorina!" Rosa as well sat, "so, any plans for this summer?" "Don't know yet, it all comes spontaniously!" Giulia mumbled between bites. "Yeah, we are the masters of spontaniously!" Luca agreed. "You mean, Alberto is! He basically is the incarnation of spontanity!" "Yeah, that's true!" Luca laughed. "I would love to meet your brother one day Giulia!" Rosa stated. "Uh..." Giulia put the glass of juice, she was just drinking down. "Now that I think of it, why haven't you before? I mean, can't you come with me to Porto Rosso for at least a week?" On that, Rosas expression changed into a sad one and she sighed. "Giulia, you know I can't...I have my work here and..." "It's because of Papa right?" Giulia suddenly blurted. "What? No...I" "Do you hate him that much? You never come to visit, only during christmas and you never talk anymore...don't you think I'm stupid! I am old enough now...!" Both Rosa and Luca had widened their eyes in shock and surprise. "Argh, forget it!" Giulia forcefully got up from her chair. "Guilia wait!" Rosa tried but her daughter had already dashed upstairs.
"Sorry Luca...!" Rosa sighed and wiped her forehead. "It's ok!" Luca finshed the last few bites of his pasta and then quietly went upstairs. Knocking on Giulias door. He didn't get an answer so he carefully sneaked in. He found Giulia sitting at her bed, legs pulled tight. "Hey..." he sat next to her. "Sorry you had to hear this..." she sniffed, blinking tears, "I didn't want you to hear about my family issues!" "Family issues?" Luca frowned. "Yeah...why do you think my mom lives here in Genova and Dad at Porto Rosso..." "I...sorry...I never thought about it." Luca admitted. "No, it's ok, we were children back then, of course you didn't think about it!" Giulia sniffed once more. "So...why did your parens break up? If I may ask?" "I don't really know...I was about ten at that time...I remember my parents fighting a lot. Dad was gone a lot because hes a fisher and Mom wanted to persue her art. Dad once accused her that her art was more important to her than her family. Eventually, Mom moved out...and ever since...she's...It feels aweful sometimes you know...there was a time where I blamed myself. I thought I was the reason my parents broke up!" "Oh Giulia, I had no idea!" Luca pulled her into a compassionate hug. "I just wish they would talk it out...!" Giulia leaned her head on Lucas shoulder. "I am sure everything will be alright, now, don't be sad anymore, tomorrow we'll be back home and then we'll see Alberto again and have a lot of fun ok?" Luca wiped a tear away and gave Giulia a handkerchief. "Grazie!" she took it and blew her nose. "Come on, I'll help you pack!" Luca got back up.
A few hours had passed, both suitcases were packed. Eventually, Luca had succeeded in cheering Giulia up again. A light knock on the door made them snap out of their conversation. Rosa opened the door, "Ah, I see you packed!" she slightly smiled. "Yeah, all done!" Luca smiled. "Giulia, may I uh...can we talk?" Rosa fumbled her hands. Luca and Giulia shared looks but then she got up, "I'll be back in a few!" "No rush, I'm reading!" Luca smiled encouraging before leaning back on Giulias bed.
As expected Rosa tried to explain to her daughter, that is isn't easy for her to just return to Porto Rosso. However, she promised her, that she would pay a short visit sometime during the six weeks. The next morning came fast and before they knew it, they had said goodbye to Rosa and sat in the train. Now excitement overtook them. Giulia made plans on taking a boat trip around Porto Rosso to explore and scuba dive while Luca suggested to go hiking. The rest of the time was spent with either sleeping, eating snacks or chatting. At twelve in the morning, the train finally arrived at Porto Rosso. Before it could stop, Luca had already jumped up and hurried to the door. Through the window they had already seen everybody. Massimo and Alberto, who was waving like a maniac, the biggest grin on his face. Daniela who frantically wiped her tears of joy, Lorenzo who was torn between consoling his wife and waving his son welcome and lastly Lucas grandmother.
"Heeey Lucaaaa, Sorella!" Alberto hurried to the door. Finally the train stopped and the door opened. "Ciao Lucwoooh!" Alberto stumbled a bit as his best friend threw himself into his arms. Giulia followed a second later. "Awww yeah, I know, I missed you too! My favourite People have retured!" Alberto cheered, playfully punshing Lucas shoulder and then rustleing through Giulias red curly mane. "Alberto! Urgh, you're messing it up!" she whined. "Love you too sis!" "Man, I am so glad to see you!" Luca laughed, "it always feels like forever!" "Hah, yeah!" Alberto grinned. "Luca!" Daniela rushed up to her son, pulling him into a tight embrace. "My baby is home again! My sweet boy! Have you learned much? Did you eat well? Did you keep a good sleep schedule?...Oh and look, did you grow?" "Mama!" Luca gently freed himself, "I am eighteen, not a baby, I know how to take care of myself!" "You'll always be my baby, my little tadpole!" Daniela cubbed her sons face. "Oof now it's getting embarrassing!" Alberto objected. "Oh shush you!" Daniela jokingly slapped his arm. Meanwhile Giulia had fallen into her fathers arms and Luca continued to greet his father and his grandmother. "Nice to have you back home son!" Lorenzo exclaimed. "Yeah, I am glad to be home too!" Luca smiled. "Everyone greeted now? Yes? Ok! Come, I need to show you something!" Alberto grabbed Lucas and Giulias arms and started pulling them. "Alberto, rallenta! Per favore, they just arrived!" Massimo pleaded. "Uh...so?" the blonde rose his brows. "So..." Actually Massimo could say, that the suitcases needed to be taken home, then they should rest a bit from the journey, talk a bit and then go off but he knew the three by heart so he just sighed and nodded. "Ok, ok, off you go, but be back in at least an hour!" "Is noted!" with that Alberto continued pulling his sister and Luca along. "Hey, slow down! Why the hurry?" Giulia laughed. "Don't know, I'm just excited!" her brother replied. They stopped at the beach, where Alberto straightened up proudly, "Let me present to you, my very own watchpost!" "Woah!" Luca raved. "Wait, does that mean...?" Giulias eyes started to gleam with adoration. "Yep, fully educated lifeguard now!" Alberto puffed up his chest and grinned, "saved thousands of lives!" "Thousands?" Luca amusedly rose a brow. "Eh, well maybe not thousands. Nine hundred...fourhundr...ok about fivty perhaps. But I fought a shark just recently!" "You fought a shark?" Giulia crossed her arms, not really buying it, "a catfish or a tuna fish if anything!" "No really! It was a shark, I know how sharks look, see, I got the scar to proof it!" the blonde pointed at a bright pink scar, running across his shoulder. "Santo cielo, Alberto! You need to be careful!" Luca gasped. "Pretty fierce that one, and stubborn too, hit me with its fluke, I taught him a good lesson after that, that shark wont be coming around no more, got it scared its scales away! Beware of Alberto Marcovaldo the great shark conqueror!" Alberto shouted, flexing his arms. "Santa Ricotta, you're never going to change huh?" Giulitta wiped her face. "Would you want me to?" her brother objected. "Never!" both Luca and Giulia cried unisono causing Alberto to laugh. "Don't worry, I was born with that selfesteem!" "Yeah, enough to fit into ten people," Giulia shook her head, "but seriously, a shark? At Porto Rosso beach?" "Sometimes they happen to get lost but don't worry, it's unlikely to happen again. And if one dares to come anyway, they should try me!" Alberto grinned. "No really Al, we don't want to be worried for you! Sharks are dangerous. Especially the great white ones. I know you're a lifeguard now but who guards your life if your in danger? I don't want to lose my best friend!" Luca pressed his lips together and Albertos face immediately grew serious. That words just moved him deeply and filled him with graditude. "And I don't want to lose my big brother...!" Giulia quietly added. "Hey, I am careful! I didn't do a full education for nothing!" He pulled Luca and Giulia into a hug once more, "promise guys!" "But your always so reckless, getting into trouble!" Luca muttered. "Alright, silenzio Bruno! Come on, who want's some ice cream?" Alberto let go and walked a few steps ahead, "we do make ice cream now at Massimo's!"
Heyy, wow, first chapter done! I was surprised how smooth I got that one down. I guess inspiration struck me...I have been to the ocean last week so...Anyways, I am apologizing if you found any grammar mistakes, I wrote this down literally in the middle of the night (I can't sleep sometimes so I work lol) I might correct those one by one later but hope you still enjoyed it! See you at chapter 2 hopefully
(Fun Fact : Italians eat their salad for dessert)