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Franny swam her way up to the surface of the water, where the yacht bobbed gently. She hops back onto the vessel where Logan is relaxed on one of the beds. Heaven. This is heaven. Clear blue waters, so clear she could see to the bottom of it, the sun in the blue skies and the two of them away from the world on the shore. It has been heaven since they arrived in Florence five days ago after she finally succumbed to the cajoling of her friends, and booked two weeks off both her jobs; her first holiday in years. They wanted her to take the time off work, stop the clock on saving for Law school and let her hair down. She still hadn’t told them who her boyfriend was, but they were all gung-ho for their relationship. She’d been on edge since the visit with Logan’s mother; she still hadn’t told him and had no intentions of doing that. It was just what Leila Sterling would expect.
‘You’re a mermaid.’ Logan said, handing her a towel.
‘In a former life I was.’ Franny towelled herself dry, wringing the water out of her braids, but the action was futile, she’ll simply blow dry it when they return back to their “love shack” as she has come to think about the little apartment Logan booked for them. He’d planned every moment of this trip without missing a beat. She was at his mercy, and she did not mind one bit of it. Since she’d never been before, she didn’t know what to expect but he surprised her. She loved Florence, head over heels in love with it, and she took him everywhere her mother always said they’d visit whenever she got round to planning the trip they never took. Two days ago, they packed up from the hotel and drove further north to Manarola where Logan had rented an apartment by the sea. Again, stealing her heart away with his thoughtfulness. She never felt out of her depth, or less than with him. She paid for stuff, and he let her, but she also let him treat her to whatever he wanted without making a thing of it. They dined out or in, the apartment came with staff, which Franny learned was how Logan liked to travel, spoilt brat that he is, but she indulged in it. There was a private chef on hand when they dined in and a secretary that booked their reservations when they dined out. This trip put into context the Sterling family wealth. She almost felt intimidated by it, but thanks to the nature of the man she was with, she didn’t even flinch.
‘What are you up to?’ Franny plopped herself on his lap as he brought his arm around her waist, planting a kiss on his cheek.
‘Looking up a place for dinner tonight, I found somewhere about two klicks from the apartment so we’ll go by boat.’
‘Of course, we can’t simply walk.’ Franny teases.
‘We could take a chopper to another place-’
Franny giggled, ‘you spoil me,’
‘I like it when you let me.’
It wasn’t lost on Logan how she must feel being away with him and letting him pay for most of the trip, he was well aware of how it must be for her knowing who he is, his family wealth, social standing, and trying not to be intimidated by it. He loved her for letting him spoil her any which way he wanted, so he tried not to overdo it. Although, the apartment complete with staff might have tipped it but it was what it was. It was also how he’d always travelled, all of them; his family, have always travelled this way, either with full staff or hired staff on location. It allows them not bother with the small details rather, focus on the itinerary which they always had fun planning. He’d talked to Brodie, mentioned his relationship to his brother but not the extent to which he thought about Francesca, but he guessed it. This trip however was not simply a holiday… who knows what would come of it.
Franny began to unpack the picnic basket they’d brought with them for lunch, soft and freshly baked bread which they picked up from the baker in town this morning, cheese and wine, delicious salad made by the chef, dessert from a small Pasticceria they’d fallen in love with and rosé, chilled in the wine bag. She slipped on his t-shirt over her bikini clad body before joining him on the picnic blanket.
‘I’d love to buy a place here.’ Franny looked around, the cliffside village in the distance, perched with colourful buildings, day trippers squeal with delight as they swam the deep blue seas, the locals not minding much knowing their village will return to them after sundown.
Logan did not mention that his family own a place the next village. He too was thinking of buying a place here, but in the quieter village of Corniglia.
Franny corked her head a little, knowing what that look on Logan’s face said. ‘You have a place here?’
‘My family does in Vernazza, I was thinking of buying a place in Corniglia but beach access it tricky the views are stunning though.’
Because she knows exactly what was going on, Franny said, ‘let me correct myself, we should buy a place here.’
Logan laughed, ‘okay.’
‘And I mean fifty-fifty Logan.’
He raised his hand, ‘okay, we will.’ he served a helping of salad onto her bowl before serving his. ‘How many bedrooms?’
‘Four.’ She knows what he is doing, she is on that page too, but neither of them would dare come out and say it. ‘And we won’t gut it, I want to live in the crevices and history of a place.’
‘Gentle renovations then?’
‘Yes, something gentle that preserves the soul of the place. With access to a beach.’
‘A private beach, I’m not budging on that.’ Logan points a fork at her.
‘Fine, private beach but also a pool that overlooks the beach.’
‘Like an infinity pool.’
‘No, I don’t want one trendy thing in that house.’
‘Okay we’ll work with a local architect that will preserve the bones of the place.’
‘And I want a mezzanine office space and a library.’ Her imagination was running wild with her now.
‘Naturally. A wine room.’
‘Oh! Could it be attached to a-’
‘No, the climate isn’t right for it.’ He knew she was going to ask about a vineyard, and a farm and before you know it, they are looking at a palazzo somewhere. ‘Four-bedroom apartment, private beach backyard, pool, your mezzanine office, my wine room, a cinema room.’
‘Yes! For movie nights with the kids- of friends!’ Franny knew that desperate save was too late.
Franny let that statement hang between them for a beat, ‘or ours.’ She decided.
Their future looked so bright and beautiful, like the colourful cliffside village in their backdrop. She wants to bottle up this moment and take it with her always. She reached for his hand across the blanket and places a gentle kiss on it; they fit, the two of them together, no matter how vastly different their worlds were, they fit with each other, in each other’s lives. ‘Yes ours.’