Hey so sorry for the really late update. New laptop and had to transfer all of my files + finals week + really tedious research paper of Shakespear's Julius Caesar = late update lol xD
Hope it was worth the wait, though this is kind of a slow chapter, but a bit fluffy, so hopefully you guys enjoy :)
"I'm getting a bit hungry" Annie announced, breaking the comfortable silence that had surrounded her and Paolo for the last ten minutes. They were walking hand-in-hand across the harbor, staying in the open areas in case Mario was looking for them. She hoped that he had found a suitable place to live -for the moment anyway, they could always move once they were financially settled and the wedding had taken place.
Paolo stared out into the oceans deep in thought, and at her words, turned to face her.
"Well what would you like to eat?" He asked with a smile, pulling her by her hand so that she walked closer to him.
"Anything, really. I'm not choosy" she replied, eyes scanning the shops.
Paolo laughed and kissed her temple.
"That hungry, eh?"
"Maybe we should wait for Mario to find us. He must be famished"
Paolo shrugged, and walked her to a small sweet shop that had come up.
"Maybe, but we can always get you a little snack" he grinned at her, tugging her hand so that she would follow him inside.
"Paolo! We cannot afford-" she began, her words being cut when Paolo put a finger to her lips.
He leaned in close to her ear, his breath tickling her neck, and murmured quietly.
"Let me indulge you"
Annie smiled despite herself, her dimples accenting her flushed cheeks.
"Alright, but I'll only have a morsel" she agreed, the thought on wasting money away clear in the back of her mind still.
They walked inside, a sugary sweet scent enveloping them like a candy cloud, and instantly, just the sheer smell turned Annie into a child once again.
"Oh I haven't had one of these in forever!" she peered in through the display glass at the rows of chocolate covered cherries, which caused Paolo to chuckle a bit at her excitement.
A young woman appeared from a back room, a long mane of golden red hair spread about her face in soft waves. She smiled pleasantly as she approached, her jade green eyes lighting up with the arrival of customers. She wiped her hands of flour on her apron, stopping right behind the row of chocolates.
"Welcome to Little Waterford's Confectionery, how may I be of assistance?" Her Irish-accented words filled up the room as she looked expectantly at the young couple.
"One of those, please." Paolo pointed at the chocolates, the woman instantly retrieving a very small brown paper bag and opening it. She slid open the glass encasing and using a small metal grabber, placed the chocolate dollop carefully inside.
"And for you?" she looked up at him, her bright eyes gazing up at him expectantly.
He shook his head, his face holding a small grin.
"Nothing, thank you"
Her face fell a bit, but still retained its friendly persona.
"Nothing? Are you sure? We have quite a vast selection of candied almonds, peanuts, and pulled sugar.
she motioned towards the colored strands of sugar, but Paolo shook his head once again.
"I am sure, thank you again."
Annie nudged him a bit, a little confused at his easy refusal of the delicious sweets. Paolo entangled his fingers through hers, giving her a sweet chaste kiss to the top of her head.
The young woman smiled to herself, looking away from them in order to give them some privacy. She closed the small paper bag and calculated the amount of money they owed her.
"That will be twenty-five cents" she announced, handing the paper bag to Annie, who thanked her as Paolo got a quarter out of his pockets and handed it to her.
"Have a nice day" Annie smiled at her, noticing for the first time exactly how young she was.
She seems to be about my own age, she thought smiling. Maybe we'll meet again.
"You two have one as well" she replied, her jade green eyes already fixing themselves at the back door of the confectionery.
Paolo and Annie walked out hand in hand, Annie's spare hand holding the bag. They walked for a bit, stopping in front of the boating docks. Her hand fingered the wooden railing, looking over at the men tying boats to the dock, sweeping the deck, and fixing masts.
"Are you certain you don't want a taste? We can split it." Annie pulled the chocolate out of the tiny bag, and held it up in the air.
But once again, Paolo shook his head.
"No, its ok. I'll have a taste after" he smiled at her, his fingers brushing softly against hers in the railing.
"Suit yourself" She shrugged, and popped the sweet concoction into her mouth, her eyes closing when she bit down on it.
This is so good. She thought. Its been years since I have even seen one.
Paolo amused himself by watching her devour the small chocolate slowly, savoring each and every miniscule bite. He was genuinely happy that she was enjoying herself. It seemed as if she ever rarely did.
"Good?" He asked, when she finished eating.
"Very good" she replied, a smile lingering on her lips.
Paolo chuckled, and inching a bit closer to her, wrapped an arm about her waist.
"Let me have a taste" he whispered in her ear, and when Annie turned to face him to ask why he hadn't asked earlier when she had offered to split, he brushed his lips gently against hers, once, twice… Positioning his hand against the nape of her neck, he deepened the kiss, tasting every inch of her mouth until he was satisfied and Annie was swooning.
He pulled away, and Annie let out a shuddering exhale. He touched her face with his fingers lovingly, his eyes bright.
"Delizioso"(Delicious) he whispered, and Annie pushed him away playfully.
"Cheeky. Shouldn't you be looking for work at the docks?" She looked up at him through her thick lashes, a smirk upon her lips.
"Yes…But I don't want to leave you here alone. We'll wait until Mario comes back" he said, looking out into the pier.
"Well it seems we won't have to wait much" Annie motioned to the tall Italian man cutting through the boardwalk and walking towards them. His face held the ghost of a smile, walking to where they were and finally coming to a stop directly in front of them.
"Allora, ti hai trovati un luogo dove vivere?" (So, did you find a place to live?) Paolo asked, his face serious and having lost the playfulness it had seconds before.
Mario nodded, a satisfied smile returning to his lips.
"E perfetta - Ha due camere da letto, e si trova cinque minuti della banchina" (Its perfect - It has 2 bedrooms and is located about five minutes from the dock)
"Really?" Annie's interest peaked at his words. "Could we go see it?"
"Anytime we want, we're renting it" he grinned heartily at her and she clasped her hands together and touched her chin.
"Quanto costa?" (How much?)Paolo asked, his words reminding Annie to not celebrate just yet.
"The man who owns them says that we get a free month of rent. After that, we'll manage the payments little brother" he said, ruffling Paolo's hair as he ducked out of reach.
"How'd you manage that?" Annie's incredulous tone rang out above their brotherly exchange.
At this, Mario stiffened a bit, and looked her square in the eyes. His jaw hardened, and he became sullen.
"I told them what happened" he whispered, and Paolo nodded.
"Credo che almeno una cosa buona e venuta dal Titanic, dopo tutto"(I guess at least one good thing came out of the Titanic, after all) he whispered, his gaze faraway.
"Only one thing? I'm a bit offended." Annie teased, her fingers running along his forearm reassuringly.
Paolo smiled at her, kissing her forehead.
"Possiamo andare a vederla?" (Can we go see it?) his brown eyes gazed up at his brother, who held up a set of keys with a one-sided smirk upon his face.
"Un passo avanti di ti, fratellino" (One step ahead of you, little brother) Mario removed from his pocket a set of keys briefly dangling them in the air with one finger before placing them in Annie's hands.
"But," he raised a finger to stop them as they began to walk in the direction in which Mario came from "we have to find work at the docks before we go see it"
"I could go ahead, while you too search." Annie volunteered, "I'd like to accommodate our living quarters accordingly –clean up and dust the place perhaps?" she smiled with her eyes, a light placid glaze over them.
Paolo looked unsurely at his older brother, who knew the concerns behind his little brother's silence at her words. They had only been here a couple of hours, they did not know yet exactly the area was. For now, Annie couldn't be left alone. As sexist as that might appeal, leaving a woman of Annie's age and beauty out in unknown streets was almost like leaving her stranded in an alley in Sicily -which definitely was not the safest place in Italy to be, all things considered.
"Io vado con lei" (I'll go with her) Mario reassured him, squeezing his shoulder "Don't worry. Go look for a boss in the docks that will hire us"
Annie frowned, forming a line between her brows.
"I don't need an escort" she stated, her voice holding an indignant tone.
Paolo sighed, and ran a hand through his hair.
Questa donna e piu testarda d'un mulo (This woman is more stubborn than a mule) he thought to himself, a tired smile emerging on his lips.
Mario put his hand on her shoulder, a smile tugging at his lips.
"But you don't know where the house is, Miss Desmond"
"I'm sure that if you point me in the right direction, I'll be fine" she gathered her skirts and began to walk away from them.
Paolo looked at his brother and gestured towards Annie's departing frame.
"Vai." (Go) He said, shaking his head, amused at her determination of getting to the apartment without having a clue where it was.
Mario caught up with Annie, and handed her the keys.
"You know, you're going to have to start thinking of me more as family than an escort. 'Cause I'm not following you around everywhere you go, this is a once-only offer" he jested, causing her to roll her eyes.
"Mr. Sandrini, I'll have you know" she looked up at him with a playful glare " that I don't need any escorts at any time. I've taken pretty good care of myself for the past several years and I don't see why that would change now."
"Paolo definitivamente sai come cogierle" (Paolo definitely knows how to pick them)
Like always, drop a review and let me know what you thought. Remember the young lady at the candy store, she'll be important later on (hint, hint ;] )