"Be Still My Beating Heart" Cara Cascio Normal Cara Cascio 11 1100 2001-11-06T07:58:00Z 2001-11-06T20:49:00Z 18 5912 33699 mycompany 280 67 41384 9.2720 6 pt 6 pt 0 3

Title: One Night

Author:  Casca Casccara@yahoo.com

Spoilers:  Naw, not really.

Archive:  Not without permission from moi! J

Feedback:  Yes, please! J

Disclaimer: They are not mine, none of them. Oh, but I'd like to borrow Carter and go to Italy with him.  We'll leave Lucy at home. ;)

"One day can make your life; one day can ruin your life. All life is is four or five big days that change everything."

                                                                                                            Drew Barrymore, Riding in Cars With Boys

            Carter ran as fast as he could, hopping over fences and tripping twice as he made his way towards his goal: a gorgeous brunette waiting patiently for him at the hotel he was staying at in Venice, Italy.  However, Carter wasn't thinking much about brown-haired girls; blondes were more appealing to him at the moment.  A certain blonde who he had fallen head over heels for in less than twenty-four hours.  Carter had always been somewhat of a romantic sort.  He wasn't necessarily good at romance, but he had a dreamy and romantic heart.  And that dreamy and romantic heart was telling him that he was in love with a girl from Boston who was still in high school. 

Life had certainly dealt him an amusing hand today. 

            He came to a halt in front of the ornate hotel and looked around, catching his breath.  The sky was dark, the wind was starting to pick up and the sound of splashing water could be heard from the canals that surrounded the city.

"I'm right here," said a deep female voice in a rich Italian accent.  Angelina Guardo stepped out of the shadows, dressed in a sexy black dress, her dark hair sleek and short. 

"Hi," Carter said breathlessly.  "Sorry I'm late."

"Don't worry about it, I only just arrived.  Did you have a nice day?"

"Very," he said.  "You?"

"Mmm-hmm."

Carter took the opportunity to look at her and saw that her eyes were twinkling mischievously.  He recognized the look. He was feeling that look.  "Let me guess.  You met the guy of your dreams while wandering around Venice and he changed your life forever?"

Angelina laughed.  "Not exactly. However, I was with –how did you say it—the 'guy of my dreams'." 

"Really?"

"Yes, really.  Marco Satantello. He and my parents don't get along too well so I have to meet him in secret."

"Ahh, I gotcha," Carter said, nodding understandably.

Angelina looked taken aback at what he's said.  "Huh?"

"Oh, it means, I understand," Carter explained.

"Hmm.  Well, let me take a guess on how your day was spent," Angelina said, grinning.  "You met the woman of your dreams while touring Venezia and she changed your life forever."

"That sounds about right," he grinned sheepishly.  "Except about the "woman" part.  She's only eighteen."

"So?  Does this make a difference to you?"

Carter smiled.  "Oh, well in America age is kind of important.  I mean, it's not a huge deal, but . . ."   At least she's not seventeen, a voice in his head told him. Carter grinned, thinking about how Lucy Knight had tricked him into believing she was younger than she actually was. 

"Have you fallen in love at first site?" Angelina asked amusedly.

Carter thought about it.  "It may be possible."

"Why don't we go get a drink and you can tell me about it?" she suggested.

Carter shrugged.  "Sure."

They sat at the hotel's outdoor café and took turns telling their stories, while drinking glass after glass of the great Italian wine.  It turned out that Angelina was in a worse predicament with her parents than Carter was with his.  She's been secretly engaged to her boyfriend, Marco.  The couple had plans to run off and get married in secret.  However, the plan had been exposed and the Guardo's had forbidden Angelina to see Marco.  The reason they were traveling to the house in Capri was to keep her away from him.  Carter told Angelina all about seeing Lucy yesterday and meeting her today as a total coincidence.  He told her about how Lucy was to be traveling in Capri after tonight and how she'd suggested that Carter "find" her since she had no idea what her hotel was called.

After about an hour of red wine, Carter and Angelina were both a little tipsy.

"You have to go after her," Angelina said on a huge sigh, staring dreamily at the boats on the water.  "It is too romantic, you must find her and profess your love."

"I'll never be able to find her," Carter said somberly, stirring his drink.

"Yes, you will. You found her today didn't you?  I can help you, also!"

Carter shook his head.  "I don't know.  It doesn't change the fact that I want to get away from my parents.  If I go with them to Capri, they won't shut up about how I'm supposed to carry on the family name and how I failed them because I put too much time into my work and not enough time into my social life."

She sighed angrily.  "Your parents sound like mine!  Damn them all!"

"Here, here!" Carter raised his glass and Angelina clattered her glass to his.  They laughed as the wine splashed on the table.

"Well, well, well," came another voice.  The two young people looked up to see Mr. and Mrs. Carter and the Guardos approaching the table.  It was Mrs. Carter who had spoken.  "So are you two having a good time?"  She grinned at her husband who winked at Carter.

"It looks like they are," Mr. Carter said. 

"We are having a splendid time," Angelina said, grinning at Carter.

"What have you been doing?" Carter asked his parents, surprised to see them up so late.

"What?  You think old folks don't know how to have a good time?" Mr. Guardo's loud accented voice boomed out. "Why don't we leave these two kids alone, eh?" he said to the group, and slapped Carter on the back, causing him to choke on his wine. 

When the adults had left, Angelina leaned over, her elbow slipping off the table, her sleek cropped hair falling in her face.  "I've just had a marvelous idea!"

Carter was still trying to recover from being smacked on the back.   "Oh, yeah?"

"Yes.  See we are both trying to get our parents off our backs, right?"

"Right."

"And we both have invested interests to be alone in Capri.  You want to go and search for Lucy and I would die if I could have another chance to get away and elope with Marco."

Carter nodded and took a deep sip of his drink, crunching on ice cubes. 

"What is the one way your parents would get off your back about your responsibilities?"

"Uh . . . well, I supposed if I let them set me up with some woman of their choice- Oh!"  He met her gaze and she was grinning excitedly. He spoke what they both thinking. "What if we pretend that we-"

"Exactly!" Angelina exclaimed loudly, causing several people to turn and look at the two of them.  They laughed and she whispered.  "If we pretend that we are in love, then they are bound to give us time to ourselves!  I'll be your cover for the entire trip while you look for Lucy and then at the end of the vacation you can cover for me when I finally go and meet up with Marco!"

"Wow.  Do you think they'll believe us?" he asked her.

"Of course they will."  She pushed away the loose strand of hair. "I don't know about you, but my parents don't know me very well. 

"I know the feeling," Carter said, noticing that she suddenly looked very sad.

But Angelina snapped out of it quickly.  "So have we got a deal?"

Carter raised his glass and clicked it to hers.  "Deal."

*~*~*~*~*~*~

            Carter pulled his sunglasses off as he stepped off the huge ferry that had transported the group from Sorrento to the Isle of Capri.  Until he arrived in Capri, Carter had thought that Venice was the most beautiful place there was.  Clearly he'd been wrong.  In Capri, he encountered beauty that he'd only ever seen in postcards.  There were flowers he'd never seen before, huge bushes full of them, brightly colored vines twining dark fences.  Mountains of houses and greenery rose up over the island.  Huge marinas and docks lined the edge of the sea with many kinds of boats, colorful sails billowing in the warm air  And then there was the water, the crystal clear Mediterranean Sea that was neither blue or green, but a color indescribable. 

            "See," Angelina whispered, as they piled off the huge boat.  "It's not a very big island and all the hotels are along the beaches.  You may just have an easy time finding her."

            "Let's hope," Carter muttered, taking in as much as he could of Capri.  He felt Angelina's hand grip his own and he gave her a little wink.  They'd decided to show some affection towards each other when they were around their parents.  Carter had to admit that the idea had been a brilliant one. His parents had actually been great to get along with on the trip to Sorrento.  They had been thrilled when he'd told them his plans to travel to Capri with them.  The plan had worked out great so far, and now that he was in a tropical paradise, he couldn't wait to find Lucy and have the time of his life. 

            The Guardos house turned out to be a mansion directly at the foot of a massive hill, which lead to a docking area where the family docked their several boats.  A few yards down was a glorious beach lined with colorful umbrellas and bright sun bathing chairs.  Carter was amazed to see that the beach was made not only of sand, but of rocks as well, tiny little pebbles which got sharper and greater as they got closer to the water.   He stooped to pick up a bright pink sea-shell and followed Angelina into the house to get settled in.

            After about an hour of  unpacking and winding down from the long car ride and short ferry ride. 

*~*~*~*~*~

Lucy Knight was seated at an outdoor restaurant on the isle of Capri with her good friend Caroline.  The two girls were having lunch and talking about the eventful trip they were on.  Lucy couldn't believe that it was almost over.  Tomorrow the entire Italian class would be on a bus, headed for the airport in Rome where they would board a flight  to Boston Massachusetts.

"I just don't know what I'm going to do about Sam," Caroline was saying.  "You know, it was my idea to split up but now that we've been apart for so long, I just miss him."

"Mm-hmm," Lucy muttered, taking a sip of her cappuccino, her eyes wandering over the array of faces walking along the marina and sidewalks.  She did a slight double take when she spotted a tall guy with messy brown hair, but frowned when she got a better look.  Her eyes wandered some more, and stopped when they reached another dark haired guy, but this one turned his head and Lucy could see his twinkling blue eyes.  She wasn't looking for blue eyes, she thought with a small frown.  They had to be brown.

"He invited me to go to Colorado with his family.  I think I'm going to say yes-" Caroline paused in mid-sentence and really looked at her friend.  She cleared her throat.  "I think I'm going to say yes, I mean who cares if we're only eighteen, we can do it in Las Vegas.  We can support ourselves on Sam's Burger King salary.  Will you be my maid of honor?"

"Uh-huh," Lucy mumbled, straining her neck to see the brown haired guy who just walked pass them. Then she looked back at Caroline and smiled sheepishly at her friend's raised eyebrows.  "Did I just say yes to some stupid question you were only asking to see if I was paying attention?"

Caroline smiled and nodded.

"Ugh.  I'm sorry, Caro.  I just-" she groaned.  "I just really thought . . . I really thought that he would come."

"I know," Caroline said, propping her chin in her hand.  "Look, maybe he did come.  Maybe he's here, it's a big place."

"But even if he is here and we don't find each other, it's like it wasn't meant to be," Lucy said softly. 

"If it's meant to be, it's meant to be.  You two will meet up eventually.  I believe it."

Lucy sighed.  "Yeah.  I hope you're right."

~*~*~*~*~*~

            Carter looked everywhere.  He walked along beach after beach, lounged around hotel after hotel, went into every glass shop he could find.  No Lucy.  Carter sat at cafés and outdoor restaurants, watched passersby intensely, even yelled out her name a few particularly desperate times.  Nothing.  He asked questions at the hotel front desks about large groups of students and mentioned her high school name to many of the hotel staff.  They looked at him as though he were speaking a foreign language. 

Well, he was. 

Carter soon began to admit defeat.

"You mustn't quit," Angelina said dramatically.  After four days of searching, and four days of Carter moping and complaining, Angelina tried to offer him some more hope.  She'd been helping Carter out as much as she could, suggesting places to look, searching for some of the places that Carter thought Lucy might want to go.  But the truth was that Angelina wouldn't be able to recognize Lucy is she saw her; there were an abundance of blonde-haired, blue-eyed teenage girls. Carter even admitted to himself that he didn't know Lucy all that well, he'd only spent one day with her.  He didn't know what kind of souvenirs she would shop for, or types of restaurants she would eat at.

Angelina turned to him lazily from her lounging position on the sunny beach.  "You need to think more positively.  You still have tomorrow before we have to leave."

They were laying on a beach that they hadn't been to yet, pretending to be on a date for the sake of their parents.  The Guardo's had suggested that they spend the day and night at this particularly gorgeous area of Capri where there would be a festival on the beach at night with a fireworks show.  Carter had done some quick research and found out that it was a touristy area and decided to try and find Lucy there.  He'd had no luck whatsoever. 

Carter laughed bitterly.  "Tomorrow.  Tell me, what could happen in one day?"

"You fell in love with her in one day.  A lot can happen."

"Yeah . . . well, who knows if that wasn't a whole big farce?  I mean falling in love in one day?  I'm probably just kidding myself."

"Stop that," she said sternly, sitting up and pressing a hand to her sweating forehead.  "When you start to doubt yourself, that's when you're in trouble.  I need to go for a swim.  It is so hot!" Angelina stood up.  "Come on.  Perhaps you'll see her from across the water and you two will swim towards each other and have a grand union in the Mediteraneo."

Carter reluctantly stood and adjusted his swimming trunks.  "Okay, but I'm going under protest."

~*~*~*~*~*

            "That's such a cute bathing suit, Luce, how come this is the first time I'm seeing it?" Caroline asked.

            Lucy shrugged and glanced down at her 1960's style bathing suit.  The bottoms were bright pink shorts lined with green ribbon and the top was a halter which tied at the neck with the same green ribbon.  "My mom got it for me right before we left.  It's cute, huh?"

            "I'm borrowing it tomorrow," Caroline said.  "Not that I'll fit into it, but whatever."

            The two girls had finished their lunch and changed into their swimsuits.  Now they were walking along the gorgeous stretch of beach, stopping at various stands to buy souvenirs and moon over trinkets.  Lucy had vowed to try and forget about John Carter.  It was just bringing the rest of her vacation down and she was smart enough to know that this was an experience of a lifetime and not to let petty things get in the way.  She cringed at the thought of her relationship with John as being petty.  But the truth was that she barely even knew him.  One day was all they'd had together, not the lifetime she felt she'd known him. 

            Besides, he was just a guy and there would be plenty more where he came from-

            "There he is!" Caroline exclaimed suddenly.

            All the thoughts that were convincing herself it didn't matter vanished.  Lucy didn't need to ask who or even think about it, when she yelled, "WHERE?"

            "Over there, in the water! Look!! Over there!"

Lucy was jumping up down.  "Where!? Caro, I can't see him, are you sure?"

            "It's him, I'm sure, Luce, look over there, see by that group of little kids?"  Caroline pointed.  "Look to the right and follow my finger."

            "Oh, my God!" Lucy grabbed Caroline's arm.  "It is him! He's coming to the shore, come on!"

            The two girls raced towards the shoreline where John Carter approached.  Caroline stopped Lucy.  "Wait a sec, hold on.  Let him get out the water and dry off, at least."

            "Okay . . ."

            "Who's he with?" Caroline asked.

            Lucy watched John and a woman get closer to shore, closer to her.  "I don't know."

~*~*~*~*~*

            "You have to admit that was great," Angelina shouted over the sound of the waves crashing as they approached shore. 

            "Never," Carter declared.  But he was grinning.  The swim had done him a world of good. 

            "Oh, look!  There's our parents, quick pretend like we're in love!"

            "How do you do that?" he asked, as his feet hit bare sand. 

She put her arms around his neck.  "We just stand here like this for a few minutes, I guess," she said, grinning.  "Put your arms around me!"

            Carter obliged. "This is so stupid. Now what?"

            "I know, it's stupid.  Okay, um, let's see, pretend like your going to kiss me and I'll playfully push you away."

            Carter had to laugh at her expressiveness.  "Okay, here I come," he warned.  He leaned in.

            She pushed him away, threw up her hands and wagged her finger at him.  She was such a bad actress that Carter almost doubled over, he was laughing so hard. 

            "Okay, now we just walk towards them, arm in arm," Angelina said.

            "Arm in arm. Let's go, pal."

            And they walked up the beach with their arms around each other. 

*~*~*~*~*~*

            Lucy stood where she was, staring at the spot where John had stood with that . . . that woman. Oh, she's been a woman all right.  Tall and sleek in a sexy fire-red bikini with all the right moves, all the right looks.  Ever her wet hair was stylish and sleek. 

            Caroline watched her.  She knew Lucy well enough to know what was coming.  And she braced for it.

            "STUPID!" Lucy shouted, stamping her foot on the sand.  "I am SO STUPID!"

            "No, you're not," Caroline said, soothingly.

            "Oh, yes I am," she snapped and began walking back the way they had come. 

            It was all Caroline could do to keep up with her.  "You're not stupid, Luce, maybe it didn't mean anything."

            Lucy stopped marching long enough to look at Caroline.  "Then you must be stupid, too."  She continued to walk up the beach towards the hotel, gripping her large purse and small shopping bag.

              After ten full minutes of storming across the beach, Lucy stopped again.  Caroline watched with apprehension.  "Oh, God, how stupid could I be!  I was just a, just a one day fling to him, that's all."

            "You don't know that-"

            "Oh, yes I do," Lucy said with wrath in her voice and stormed up the path to their hotel.

            Once inside, Lucy slammed her hand five times on the "up" button at the elevator.  Several people in the lobby glanced her way. 

            "You know we left our towels on the beach," Caroline started to say as they rode up the forth floor.

            "I don't care," Lucy snapped.

            Once inside the hotel room, Lucy threw her bags on one of the beds, stood in the middle of the room and crossed her arms.

            Caroline sat on a bed and watched her.  She's known Lucy since kindergarten and she knew what her temper tantrums were like.  Whenever she'd been hurt or angered, Lucy would explode for about a half an hour, then she would slowly simmer down and after a few hours, she'd be immune to whatever it was that had hurt her.  This wasn't any different from those times.

            Lucy was staring in the mirror over the dresser at her bathing suit that had been so cute a little while ago.  Sure, cute compared to the sexy string bikini that woman had been wearing.  "Did you even see her?"

            Caroline nodded.

            "She was gorgeous!" Lucy exclaimed.  "She was beautiful and older, probably his age.  I'm only eighteen, Caro, he's twenty-four.  How could I have even thought . . . Never mind." Lucy rummaged through a drawer and pulled out some clothes.  "I'm changing.  I don't feel like hanging out at the beach anymore."  And with that, she shut herself up in the bathroom.

            A few hours later, all the girls had returned to their rooms to change for dinner.  In celebration of their last night in Italy, they would be going out to a fancy dinner and then enjoy a fireworks show along the marina.  Caroline, Sharon, and Maria were talking excitedly as they put on make-up and decided what to wear.  Lucy was dressing in silence. 

            "You okay?" Maria asked as Lucy joined them in front of the mirror with her makeup bag.

            "Yeah," Lucy said, as she started to apply her makeup.  "I'm just tired, we walked a lot today." 

She hadn't told anyone about her run-in with John and that women.  Right after she had sworn Caroline to secrecy, Lucy had began to put it out of her mind and tell herself that he didn't matter to her in the least, that he was just a guy.  These thoughts lasted an hour or so before she started to admit the truth: that she had cared for him more than any guy she'd ever dated.  That one day had turned out to be probably the best day in her young life.  Once she admitted everything to herself, she began to feel incredibly hurt by what had happened. 

But she wasn't going to let that stop her.  Her mother had given her this trip for graduation and it had been very expensive.  She wasn't going to waste it away because of a guy.  And Lucy was smart enough to know that in the long run, John Carter would be just another person she would add to her list of people she'd met on her trip to Italy. 

In contrast to her gloomy mood, Lucy put on a cheerful outfit; a vivid blue beaded tank top the shade of her eyes and matching capri slacks.  She left her hair down and wavy, using the curling iron to give it body.  Lucy didn't know it, but she was subconsciously making herself extra pretty in case she ran into John and his girlfriend.  At least she would have her looks if her pride was somewhere out the door.               

"Nice cleavage," Caroline commented as she fluffed her short brown hair.  "Trying to show up someone?"

"Huh?" Lucy looked down and sure enough the little tank drooped slightly low.  "Oh, my God.  Caro, am I subconsciously showing up his girlfriend?"

She giggled.  "Looks like.  Here," as only a best friend could do, Caroline pulled the neckline of Lucy's shirt up a little and adjusted the spaghetti straps.  "That's better.  Just enough to get them looking, but not so much to say you're a slut."

Lucy let out a laugh.  "Thanks."

*~*~*~*~*~*~

Tonight was the night that it would all happen.  Carter and Angelina had arranged for their parents to have a nice dinner way on the other side of the marina.  After dinner, the two couples were supposed to join Angelina and Carter and they would all watch the fireworks together.  Little did the parents know that before the fireworks would start, Carter would accompany Angelina to the Ferry which she would board and ride to Sorrento.  There she would meet Marco and run away to live happily ever after. Carter would then return to his parents and say that he'd lost Angelina and had been all over trying to find them.  Mr. and Mrs. Guardo would then find a letter at the house that Angelina had written them explaining where she was.

"Is it this crowded every year?" Carter asked Angelina as they walked through the crowds of people.  They had just finished eating a late dinner and the fire works show was going to start in an hour, at ten-fifteen.  The two settled down at a small table and waited until they had to leave for the Ferry. 

"Oh, yes.  The show is spectacular.  They have boats all lit up on the water sailing all over the sea.  And the fireworks are the best show in the world.  Well, except for maybe, Carnivale de Venezia.  They have a beautiful show."

"So does the Taste of Chicago."

"Taste?"  Angelina asked, confused.

"Oh, it's like a . . . " he tried to think of how to describe it.  "It's like a festival, but not as fun . . . um like a gathering of the town where you can taste all kinds of food from different restaurants in Chicago."

"Oh, so that is why it is called a "taste."

"Yup."  Carter thought about Chicago.  It seemed so far away, as did the hospital and his school.  He started to look forward to returning home and starting his fourth year as a med student.  He'd be graduating next year.  Just then he remembered Lucy telling him that she was going to med school.  What a small world it was that he'd met a girl in a foreign country who was following in his own footsteps.  He hadn't thought about Lucy after he'd left the beach earlier in the day.  He'd basically given up on finding her.  Carter knew that even spotting her here was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.  And besides, it was his turn to help Angelina now.  She'd done everything she could to help him with his own problems and now it was her own turn to try and find her dreams.

"Do you think I have time to get a gelato?" he asked, checking his watch.

Angelina gave him a look.  "You just ate more than both of us put together."

"I know, but I promised myself that I would eat two gelato's a day so that I wouldn't miss it when I get back to Chicago."

She rolled her eyes.  "Okay, but make sure you're back here in fifteen minutes so that we can leave for the Ferry.  I want to get there with time to spare."

"Okee-dokee."

"Huh?" she exclaimed.

Carter laughed. "Never mind.  I'll be back-" he checked his watch- "by a quarter to ten."

"Okay, because the ferry leaves at 10:45."

"Okay, okay," he said and ran off to find a gelato stand. 

It turned out to be a bad idea.  Carter wasted ten minutes hiking through the crowds before finally arriving at a gelato stand where there were about ten people standing in line at the one-man cart.  He groaned and looked at his watch.  He had to be back in five minutes, there was no way he would be able to stand in line and fight through the crowds again in that amount of time.  Giving up, he turned and started to inch his way through the hundreds of people back to where Angelina was. 

He hadn't seen crowds like this since the U2 concert he'd gone to a couple years back.  People had been wall to wall inside Rosemont Theater and it wasn't any different here except that there were no walls, it was all on the beach.  "Excuse me," he muttered, bumping into people here and there.  He even managed to crash right into an older woman and knock her purse out of her hand.

"Sorry," he muttered, as he and the woman bent down to pick it up.  She yanked the purse out of his hand and screamed at him in Italian before stalking away. 

Carter shook his head and began to look for a break in the crowd to get out of it. 

He didn't find a break in the crowd, but he found something else.  Carter stood for a moment stunned.  A member of the crowd, Lucy was pushing her way through, looking frustrated and oblivious.  His heart skipped a beat in his chest.  She was only a few yards away, only a few feet.  But to get to her in this crowd would take a lifetime.

He took a chance. "LUCY!!" he shouted as loud as he could and hoped his voice traveled over the noise of the crowd.

Carter watched her head snap up and her eyes dart all over the place until they found his.

For the both of them it was as if time had stopped.  The crowd pushing in on them disappeared, the loud noise of people talking evaporated.

But nothing could have prepared Carter for what happened next.  Lucy's eyes turned cold as ice and she snapped around and stormed away.  Carter's mouth dropped open and he stared at her pushing through the crowd, away from him.

 He did the only thing he could think of.  He screamed, "WAIT!" and pushed his way through the crowd just as she was doing.  But it was impossible to catch her.  Carter saw Lucy approach a gap in the crowd where she took full advantage to get as much distance between herself and him.  As he reached the end of the huge crowd, Carter just about caught up to her.  "Wait, a second, what's wrong?" he reached out and tried to grab her arm, but Lucy yanked it away and began to run down the beach.

"What the hell-"  The anger inside him started to build up.  He'd traveled all this way, spent his entire tropical vacation searching for this girl and when he finally caught up to her, she was running away from him.  He refused to take it.  On an oath, Carter ran as fast as he could after her, kicking up sand, and shouting her name as the two raced across the endless stretch of beach.  Carter didn't know how long he chased her, but he came to his senses when he heard the sound of fireworks.

He halted.  The show had started.  He'd been gone for almost thirty minutes and Angelina's ferry was leaving in fifteen.  They would never make it.

He let out a vehement exclamation and kicked a huge rock across the beach.  The world had just turned on him and in a vicious way.  He was indescribably angry at Lucy, but even more angry at himself.  She was just a kid, just a young girl who had had a one day fling which meant absolutely nothing to her.  And he was chasing after her like a lunatic, probably ruining all chances for Angelina to get away.  And for what? 

Nothing.

There was no way he'd make it back in time to get Angelina and get them both to ferry, so he started to walk back, breathing heavily and cursing himself.

"John!"

After about ten minutes of walking, he heard someone call his name.  He turned around and saw his parents and the Guardo's rushing towards him down the beach.  It was his mother who had spoken.  "Why weren't you where you said you were going to be?  We've been all over."

"And where is Angelina?" Mr. Guardo asked, however he wasn't joking around now.

Carter looked from his parents to Angelina's.  If they hadn't found her, perhaps she'd gone to the Ferry already?  He thought quickly and decided to try and salvage the plan.  "I don't know where she is," he said, trying his best to look convincing.  "She said she would meet me for dinner but she didn't come.  I waited at the restaurant all night, but she never showed up."

"What?" Mrs. Guardo exclaimed.  "How could that be, how could she-" She broke off and looked at her husband with wide eyes.  It appeared that they were thinking the same thing: that Angelina had found a way to escape again.  He played dumb.  "Do you have any idea where she could be?" he asked them, putting a hint of urgency in his voice. 

The Guardo's composed themselves in a heartbeat and covered up quickly.  They told him they didn't know where on earth she could be and Mrs. Guardo pretended to be very worried. Obviously they wouldn't say that she probably eloped with her boyfriend.  "We need to go back to the house, call some of her friends, perhaps they've seen her," said Mrs. Guardo.

"I'm going to stay around here," Carter said.  "Maybe she just got lost."

"Darling-"

Carter interrupted his mother.  "I want to stay," he said firmly.

So the Guardo's and the Carter's left, leaving John to look for Angelina.  Only he didn't look for Angelina, he took off running as fast as he could towards the Ferry that sailed to Sorrento.

~*~*~*~*~*~

            Lucy slammed the door of her hotel room.

            "Oh, my God, what happened?" Caroline exclaimed, looking at Lucy.  Her friend looked as though she'd been through a war, her hair was bushy, her face was bright red, and she looked close to tears.  "I saw him!  Again!  What is going on here?!" Lucy exclaimed, her eyes filling with tears.  "How come I can see him ten times after I know he has a girlfriend? But when I was good and oblivious, he was no where to be found!?"

            "Oh, honey." Caroline stopped packing and walked over to put her arm around Lucy.

            Lucy told her the whole story.  "I feel like a, like a betrayed woman."

            Caroline tried not to smile.

            "It's not funny!"

            "I'm not laughing!"

"Yes, you are.  Because it's true, I'm a pathetic mess. Why can't I just get over it?"

Caroline stayed silent and went back to her packing.

"What?" Lucy asked.  "What's with you?"

Caroline regarded her.  "Okay.  I'm going to say what I think, but you have to promise me that you won't blow up in my face."

"I won't promise any such thing."

Caroline sighed.  "I don't think you should have ran away from him tonight."

Lucy's mouth dropped open.  "What should I have done?"

"You should have listened to what he had to say."

"He didn't have anything to say-"

"How do you know?  You didn't give him a chance.  Obviously he cares about you if he chased you down the beach."

"He had a girlfriend, Caroline!  I saw it, YOU saw it."

"How do you know that was his girlfriend?" She continued before Lucy could interrupt her.  "Maybe he met her

AFTER he met you.  Did you even think of that?"

            Lucy stood where she was, speechless.  "No, I didn't . . . but . . ." She started to feel uneasy.  "Oh, God.  Did I just make a huge mistake? I did, didn't I?  I have no one to blame but myself. I've been waiting for him to find me and then I run away!" 

            Caroline sighed.  "He still may out there."

            Lucy thought about it.  "No," she finally said.  "I'm not going to go out there again.  It's over.  I'm going to finish packing because we are going home tomorrow.  Home, can you believe it?" Lucy grabbed her empty suitcase and plopped in onto the bed.  Where are Maria and Sharon?"

            Caroline sighed.  "Uh, they went out for gelato.  I told them they're never going to be able to wake up at five in morning if they stay out all night."

            "Yeah." Lucy sank down on the bed and grabbed a set of pictures Caroline had gotten developed from their visit to Florence.  She looked at one particular picture that had been taken of the entire class at a disco in Florence.  They'd been dancing to the song "Dancing Queen" and defiantly "having the time of their lives."  Lucy thought of other things, like shopping and sight-seeing . . . the beautiful scenery . . .  the excited bus rides from each place to the next.  And she thought of the cute boy she'd met in Venice and the awesome day they'd shared.

            "Hey, Caro?"

            Caroline was shoving pairs of shoes into a large pocket of her suitcase. "Hmm?"

            "I know I've bean a pain in the butt these last few days.  But I just wanted to say . . . this trip has been the best time of my life."

            The two best friends shared grins, they're eyes sparkling with memories they would never forget.

            "Yeah, me too."

~*~*~*~*~*~

The sound of the horn meant that the Ferry was now boarding to leave for Sorrento.  Angelina's eyes searched frantically for John, trying to wait as long as she could before actually getting on the boat.  She wanted to know what had happened, had he gotten lost?  Had he run into their parents?  She'd waited by the table long enough and had finally decided that if she were going to act, she had to just do it.  However, Angelina didn't like the feeling that she'd left things unsettled with John.  She felt as though they had developed a nice friendship over the last few weeks and she hated just leaving without telling him how much she appreciated all his help. 

The horns sounded again.  Angelina glanced at her watch which read 10:40.  She sighed.  The boat was filling up fast and she wanted to make sure she got a seat.  She scanned the beach once more and shrugged helplessly.  There was nothing she could do now. Perhaps she would try and contact John after everything was settled, she thought as she walked towards the boat.

"Wait a second, Angelina!" Carter ran up the steps and onto the platform of the marina.

She turned and grinned. "John!  I'm so glad you made it.  What happened?"

"I'm so sorry, it's all my fault.  I saw Lucy and I ran after her-"

"You saw her?!" she exclaimed excitedly.  "What happened?"

Carter stared at her, amazed.  He'd been sure that she would be angry at him.  But here she was, excited and willing to be happy, even though he had almost ruined everything for her.  Carter realized at once how thankful he was that he'd come on this trip.  Sure he'd met the girl of dreams who'd broken his heart and part of him would never be the same again because of it.  But he'd met a friend, a true friend in Angelina, and that had taught him a very valuable lesson.  "Nothing happened.  It wasn't meant to be between Lucy and I, I realized that.  But you, you and Marco are going to live happily ever after, I just know it."

"You think so?" she asked joyfully.

"I know so."  They both glanced at the Ferry as the final horns blared.

"Oh, I have to go. Suddenly I am very nervous," she confessed, ringing her hands.

"Don't be nervous.  Come on, one of us has to succeed, right?"

"Right," she smiled.  "I'm sorry it's not both of us.  John, I want to thank you for being a friend.  I'll never forget all you've done for me."

"Same here." They hugged, said quick goodbyes, and Angelina ran up the steps and onto the Ferry. 

Carter stood in the breezy night air and watched the huge ferry pull away from the dock.  Funny how he'd felt as though he'd lost his two best friends tonight.  Two woman he barely knew, but two women who had changed his life.  An hour ago, he'd been angry at himself for coming on the trip, for following Lucy to Capri, for feeling the way did for her.  But now, all he felt was contentment.  If it had to be this way, it had to be.  He certainly had had an experience to last him a lifetime.

"John!"

Carter turned around and looked over the railing, down at the beach.  His eyes must have been deceiving him, he decided.  Lucy stood at the bottom of the platform, on the beach, looking up him. His feelings had been deceiving him as well . . . Carter no longer felt contentment, he felt thrilled and angry and curious and confused all at the same time.

"Lucy?" he called uncertainly.

She stood where she was and gazed up at him.  "I was wondering if we could talk," she said.

"It depends," he said dryly.  "Will you run away before I get down there?"

She shook her head, her eyes somber as the wind picked up her hair and blew it around her face.

            Carter slowly descended the stairs and Lucy approached the edge of them.  When Carter reached the sand, she looked up at him, her big blue eyes dark and sad.  "I wanted to say I'm sorry I ran away tonight.  I should have had the guts to tell you why I didn't want to see you."

            Carter looked away.  "So you admit that you didn't want to see me?" he asked.  Then he laughed at himself.  "Of course you didn't want to see me, you let me chase you down a beach."

            "I know you have a girlfriend," she said, hugging herself from the sudden cool air.  "I saw you this afternoon on the beach . . . with her."

            Carter started to nod, emotionally prepared for any reason she would give him so that he would not be let down too harshly.  But then he stopped, his eyes narrowed and he looked at her to see if she was joking.  There was no humor in her eyes.  Suddenly everything clicked into place.  "Oh, my God," he muttered.  Him . . . Angelina . . . the scene on the beach.  "Oh my God," he said again.  He told her the whole story, not leaving anything out.  "Why do you think I came here?  I    came . . . well, I came for you.  To find you."

            Lucy listened to him, prepared not to believe any excuses he gave her.  But as he told the story from start to finish, Lucy started to feel uneasy.  It made sense . . . it certainly made sense.

            "There's no way for me to make you believe me, Angelina's gone, she just left on that Ferry.  It's just my word, and well, you don't even know me, why should you believe me?" he asked.

            Lucy gazed up at his defeated eyes.  And suddenly, she did believe him.  She knew that it was true, she just . . . knew.  Lucy took a step toward him.  "I'm leaving tomorrow morning you know."

            He nodded, fairly confused.     

            Lucy continued.  "If I said that I believed you, we'd only have tonight . . . one night before we would have to say goodbye again."  She took another step toward him and met his gaze. 

Relief poured through him.  She believed him.  She believed him and there they were, standing on one of the most gorgeous beaches in the world, and they were at last together. 

"It would hardly be worth it, would it?" he asked, sliding his arms around her and touching his lips to hers. 

"Mmm . . . hardly . . ." Lucy whispered against his mouth.  They kissed again, a long dreamy kiss.  When they broke apart, they smirked at each other.  

"I mean, really, what could happen in just one night?"

 To Be Continued at County General Six Years Later . . .

Other fanfic by Casca at:

Between the Lines - A Fanfic Archive

http://agentsndontors.50megs.com

Feedback is welcome!

Casccara@yahoo.com