Romance in Italy - 23

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  • Dedicated to Tohni 'E' Nguyen
                                                  

This chapter is dedicated to my friend, who passed away on 12/5/2011. Tohni, you'll always be in our hearts and we love and miss you. I'm sorry I didn't get to know you better. I know for a fact that you are an awesome person and you forever remain in our memories. 

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Chapter 23.

"This is so exciting!" Caleb gushed over the phone. His voice exuded so much excitement and happiness that I could just imagine the cheesy grin he had on his face right now. "Two people destined to be together, one tragic misunderstanding, will they be able to reunite? Or will they overlook their love and part ways?" 

I rolled my eyes and placed the phone between my cheek and shoulder while I pawned through the limited clothes I had in my suitcase. The suite was partially bare. Our clothes were half-packed back into its bag and only a few lingering necessities remained. The beds were made and every visible surface was dusted and cleaned. The kitchen was restocked with food and on our pillows were a single chocolate mint. 

"Get real." I told him, going back to the problem at hand. Right after I agreed to Ashton's proposal, I left the theater and raced back to the hotel. Luckily, Ashton hadn't followed me. He was too busy chatting with the other actors and stage crew about the true meaning of the play. Max was left to his own devices. Last I saw him, he had three cupcakes piled high on his plate and was contemplating which one to digest first. "This isn't some Hollywood cliche. Romantic and dramatic reunion doesn't happen on a whim." 

"You're such a downer." He chastised, purposely ignoring my lack of ethusiasm. I greeted the impending meeting with mixed emotions. I didn't know whether to be excited, anxious, or nervous, or all three. I didn't know what to expect or what the outcome would be. I felt like walking into the unknown, blindfolded. "So, what exactly happened with that Judith woman? You never did finish telling me." 

I sighed and my heart clenched uncomfortably. Even though I was glad that the subject had veered away from my very conflicted love life, Judith and her actions were the last thing I wanted to talk about. But, seeing as it's my best friend asking me, I was more than happy to replay the scene to him. 

When I finished, there was silence.

"Hello?" I called. When there was no reply, I frowned. Did he accidently hang up on me or something? Long distance calls have really bad connections, I reasoned. I was about to hang up and redial when Caleb uttered a low growl. 

"She. Did. Not." He enunciated, his voice menacing and scary. 

I fidgeted with the bottom of my shirt nervously. It's been a while since I heard Caleb get angry and it's a sight to behold when he does. Unlike others, whose temper calm down after a few days, give or take, Caleb's anger blaze for months on end. He held a grudge like no others and things won't be smothered with a sincere apology. "Yeah, she did." I confirmed after a moment's hesitation. 

"And did he do anything to protect you?" Caleb asked, strangely calm and serene. 

I thought back to the way he stood protectively in front of me while John confronted Judith. And I thought of the way he addressed me afterward, like I was fragile and breakable. "Somewhat." I replied vaguely. 

Caleb let out a breath and I felt the tension dissipated. "Okay, so you're going tonight right?" 

I dropped a silky tunic back into my suitcase and sat down on the bed's edge. I sighed and closed my eyes when I said, "I told him I would." 

"And unlike him, you don't break your promises." Caleb stated. 

"Right." 

It was quiet. I stood back up and threw away all my desires to pick out a decent outfit. Stalking around the bed to its trunk at the end, where my suitcase was sprawled on the floor, I knelt down and grabbed the silky, flowery tunic, a pair of jean shorts and some beige sandals. I raised my eyes upward to peer outside the window. It was bright and sunny, with fluffy clouds flowing across an uninterrupted sea of blue. 

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