Renewal

"Have fun Ben, and tell everyone in Bologna I said hi." Leo said to his son, patting him on the shoulder. Ever since his life had spiraled out of control his relationship with his father seemed to be strained, but Leo was ready to put that past him, and he knew that his son had been through a lot and that was the reason he was acting out.

"Thanks dad. I hope you and Camille have a good New Year's." Ben said as he grabbed his suitcase and waved to the two of them.

Ben had thought long and hard about staying in Valley Glen for New Year's, but he needed a break from everyone. His heart was breaking right now, and things just never seemed right for him. He thought that when he was with Amy, that despite her having a baby, he would be able to be with her forever, but that never lasted. He felt foolish, like he should have known that he would always be second to Ricky when it came to relationships. But he had gotten over Amy by now, and as he looked back he noticed that maybe she didn't love him like he loved her.

He was sure that it wasn't her fault, or his for that matter. They were both teenagers, who thought they felt something, but what they felt was far from love. Then there was Adrian, but that's a whole different story. He strictly remembered the night they had sex, how loved he had felt, how he felt like there was no better feeling in the world. Although he felt guilty and ashamed, he had to admit that he did enjoy that night, and it wasn't just because he wanted to have sex, it was because it was with Adrian. She was exciting, independent, confident, all the things that Amy had never been when she was with him. But that didn't last either, and now he was trying to cope with it. Ben didn't understand how life could be so unfair, or how Adrian got to be with Omar, but when he tried to be with Dylan to cope the same way she was coping, it backfired on him.

But he was even over Dylan. She had gotten him into so much trouble, and he was tired of trouble. He wanted a fresh start and a clean slate, and to do that, he needed to be away from all the people who although he loved, always brought him down.

In Bologna

The plane ride was pretty long, but Ben didn't mind. He loved riding on airplanes, and even eating the airplane food. When he made his way to his relatives house in Bologna, they all greeted him warmly, and smiled.

"Ben's here you guys!" They would say in a loud tone, and they would hug him and offer him all types of foods. That was something he loved about Italian families, they were always cooking for you. There was never a dull moment, or a time when there wasn't food on the table for you to eat. The house always seemed to be so clean, and they always cracked jokes with one another. Ben was happy to be here, as he sat down and ate some food, he felt his phone vibrate, and he saw that he was getting messages from his friends, but he ignored it. Ben wanted to concentrate on family, and having fun, and he didn't want to be reminded of all his friends back in Valley Glen, no matter how much he cared for them.

One Night Later

It was finally New Years! Ben was told to dress nicely because there were going to be tons of people coming over. Ben knew that the parties could be wild, especially with loud Italians and crazy dancing. He dressed in a nice button up top and some khaki pants. His relatives laughed and said it looked like he was going to church, and he laughed back. He fixed up his hair and made sure his face was clean, then spraying a bit of cologne on him, he was ready to go.

When the party finally started, he noticed how packed it was. The music made his heart pound quicker than it ever had before. He danced with a few of his relatives, and went to go get drinks occasionally. When he came back to dance again, he ran into an old friend, and he was shocked to say the least, "Maria?!"

He took a minute to observe Maria, the girl that everyone thought that he had sex with when in reality, he didn't, although she offered. It seemed as if she had gotten even prettier. Her hair had gotten a little darker and longer as well. She had beach curls, and her same high cheek bones which looked a rosy red. Her grey eyes shined with excitement, and she was wearing a knee length black dress with heels. Her smile was captivating, and it forced Ben to smile as well.

"Ben! Tempo che non ci vediamo!" She smiled.

Ben chuckled, "Yes, I know it's been a while, but I had no idea you would here. How are you?" He said over the loud music.

"What?" She laughed, holding a hand to her ear.

He moved closer, "I said uh, HOW ARE YOU?!" He laughed again.

"Oh, I am eh, how you say, great." She smiled, using her hands to describe how she felt as she, flashed her pearly white teeth again, "And you?"

"I've been better, but the important thing is that I'm having a great time now." He smiled, nervously playing with his hand that lay in his pockets, "Uh do you wanna dance or something?"

"I'd love to." She said, pulling on his arm. He put his drink on the table casually before following the Italian girls lead. They danced and swayed to the music, and honestly, Ben had never had so much fun. It had been a long time since he was able to just let loose without getting into some type of trouble.

"Mi sei mancato." She said as she pulled her body closer to his.

Inside he was thinking that maybe he missed her too. She had been a great friend in Italy, she taught him more words that he needed to know to get by, and she was always trying to help him out during work. She listened and let him talk for once, and she was never overbearing.

"I've missed you too." He finally said without thinking, and she smiled.

A loud sound erupted from the room and the relatives were yelling at everyone to stay quiet as they turned on the big screen TV to see the New Years countdown. Everyone counted along including Ben, and when it finally got to one, they cheered, and held up their cups or even some whistles that they had as if to say, 'Happy New Years'.

When the last number was called, and everyone cheered, Maria looked to Ben, and tugged his arm slightly. He looked down, but before he could say anything she crashed his lips onto hers. He held her close to him, savoring the kiss that felt so different, so sweet.

"What was that for?" He asked, and Maria smiled, "Perche ti amo."

Note: Sorry if I got any of the Italian words wrong! Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed it. I know they didn't say much about Maria but I never really pictured her as a slut, or anything negative, in my mind she was always just some girl from Italy.