"Well, you've not come to the right place if you don't like disorganisation," I warned him, perching on a wall to wait for the bus.

"Oh, thanks for the heads up; I'll say my goodbyes now, then," he teased, wrapping an arm around me and planting a rough kiss on my forehead.

"I'm sorry your first journey here wasn't great," I said, my voice quiet as I worried it would put him off travelling out here.

Nathan laughed softly. "Bella, don't apologise; it's fine. I'll just fly BA next time. They're an airline that knows what they're doing."

"I don't think they fly from Gatwick to Bologna. They only go from Heathrow. It'll be more expensive."

"I'll have to ask for a pay rise, then."

I shot him a sarcastic smile. "You're here now and that's all that matters."

"True." He shot me that boyish grin that still made my knees weak. "And I am so excited for you to show me around your new city."

"Well, I mean, it doesn't really feel like my city just yet," I said. "It doesn't feel like home."

I wasn't expecting Bologna to feel like home any time soon, but I couldn't help worrying that I might never feel completely comfortable here. Obviously it was still early days-I'd barely been here a month-so I was bound to feel unsettled with all the cultural, linguistic and environmental differences, but there was a nagging concern that I'd never get used to it. After all, a language barrier was a severe hindrance to it since communication and integration were pretty much the foundations of feeling settled into a community.

"Rome didn't feel like home until the day I left it," Nathan told me, shifting positions on the wall to get comfy.

He didn't expand on that and simply left me to decipher it in whatever way I pleased. As it happened, I wasn't really in the mood for riddles.

"Is that for some deep reason, or did it just coincidentally take you that long to settle in?"

Wrapping an arm loosely around my waist, Nathan chuckled. "I've missed your sense of humour, Bella."

"I'm not being funny; I'm just already feeling like this year is going to be ten times harder than I anticipated."

"Bella, you've been dreading this year for months," Nathan reminded me. "It's not that it's harder than you expected, it's that you were hoping it wouldn't be this hard."

He might have missed my sense of humour, but I'd missed his second-to-none in depth understanding of me. Sometimes, I felt like Nathan knew me better than I knew myself. Unfortunately, that just made the feeling of love for him burn hotter inside me and, since it was our first day together, I didn't want to already get upset at the prospect of him leaving again.


After battling with the lock-to which there was obviously a knack that I'd not yet discovered-I pushed open the flat door and was immediately struck by the strong aroma of Jasmine's cooking. The smell of spices was accompanied by music playing from the radio, courtesy of the one channel we'd been able to pick up.

"That smells good," Nathan said.

"If you just dump your case here then I'll introduce you."

He followed me through the living room and into the kitchen, where the aromatic scent intensified. Seeing me enter, Jasmine quickly flicked off the radio and wiped her hands on a tea towel before turning down the temperature of the hob. Like most things with her, cooking was second nature to Jasmine.

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