Interesting tidbit, I picked the last name exactly for the reason you'd think I did - it's long and difficult to spell and pronounce.
In this opening scene, we see Sergio teasing his wife over her fear of cotton balls and the general chaos of the household on a normal, average day. It'll only go downhill from here.
Sergio Colafarnceschi lobbed the cotton ball across the room into the sink with an overhand dunk, and it swished silently in the bowl and back out the other side, coming to rest against the bathroom mirror not two inches from the hand of his wife, Vittoria.
She squealed, mouth agape, hands curled to her chest, and backpedaled. “You know I hate those.”
“Ah, Cara, they aren’t living. Won’t run after you on fluffy white legs.” He snatched it from the counter and wiggled it under her nose.
She retreated further, so he laughed and reached for her, snagging her sleeve. Off balance, she tripped on the bathroom rug and landed smack on her bottom on the tile floor.
He extended his hand. “I’m sorry. I did not mean to tenderize your sweet bottom. I promise to behave from now on.”
She glared at him, brown eyes fixed. “You are the most aggravating man.” Her glare switched to suspicion, and she leaned left. “I want to see both hands.”
He grinned and flipped his palms upwards. “No cotton ball. See?”
“Then where is it?”
“Gone. I have removed the threat.”
Her nostrils flared and gaze narrowed. “It’s tucked in your sleeve.”
“It’s not.” He folded up his left sleeve. “See?”
“And the other one?”
Slowly rolling his right shirt sleeve along his forearm, he stuck the fingers of his opposite hand beneath and retrieved the cotton ball, tucking it into his palm. He wasn’t quick enough.
Her eyes sparked. “I saw that. Get rid of it. Now.”
With a laugh, he tossed the offending object back into the sink, and once again, stuck out his hand. “Come, or are we camping in the floor tonight?”
The sparks in her eyes twisted their way down to her lips. “You’d like that, Romeo.”
“I am willing to indulge you, yes, but later after the kids are asleep.”
“The kids,” she said. “Are fifteen, seventeen, and nineteen, either in school or unemployed, and eating us out of house and home.”
“Worthless buggers,” he snapped, but he was smiling.
She took his hand at last and with a grunt rose from the floor. He swept her into his arms, tilting her head back and planting a kiss on her throat. “I have changed my mind. Let them wonder.”
She laughed and shoved at his chest. “They do enough of that. I am tired of the squeaking bed frame. If I move my toe, it sounds like an eruption.”
“It is not your toe that makes them wonder.”
With a laugh, she yanked herself away, and he stood there hands on his hips, watching her go from the room. He seated himself on the bed, chuckling at the instant squawk. She was right about the bed frame.
A teenage boy’s head fit itself into the doorway. Alessio.
“I thought I heard Mama,” he said.
“You did, but she escaped me.”
Alessio’s eyebrows rose. “Were you after her again with the cotton balls?”
“She’s going to make you pay, you know.”
He made no comment to that because there was no doubt she would. The question was how. He raised one foot, untied his shoe, and tossed it in the floor. The second shoe soon joined the first, and he wriggled his sock-clad toes in the rush of cool air.
“Get outta my way, bozo,” came another teen voice. Female, this time. The boy, still standing in the doorway, lurched into the room.
“What did you need your mother for?” Sergio asked. “Alana, please watch your words,” he called out, on the heels of his question.
“Sorry,” came her voice receding into the distance.
“She said I might could sign up for baseball.”
Might could being contingent on his keeping better grades.
“Well, I am not the final judgment,” Sergio said. “But those Ds have to become Cs or the answer is no.”
A third form fleeted by the doorway.
“Where are you going?” Sergio called.
The form reversed and a head popped around the corner. “I have a date with Asia.”
“Dad, don’t you think I’m old enough to not have to report in?” He tossed his head, shifting thick, black hair from his eyes.
“You will report in until you, A, have a job, and, B, have your own place and are paying the bills. Now, where are you going?”
He sighed. “Orlando.”
“The outlet mall.”
The outlet mall. To spend what cash? Sergio restrained the thought. “Then I expect you to obey the traffic laws. Do not come home with a ticket or call me from a police station.”
“Dad …” he whined.
“Lucianio …” Sergio imitated it.
Alessio laughed and stuffed his hands into the pockets of his plaid shorts.
“Don’t call me that,” Luciano said.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with it. It’s your given name.”
“Asia calls me Luke.”
Sergio panted loudly, mouth open, and deepened his voice. “Luke, I am your father.”
Luciano rolled his eyes. “Not funny, Dad.”
But it was too late, he was already laughing. Standing to his feet, Sergio hooked an arm around Alessio’s shoulders and steered both his sons into the hall.
“Alessio.” Vittoria’s voice carried through walls and around the corners.
“Coming.” Alessio shot off, leaving Sergio alone with his eldest.
He focused his gaze on his son. “You will be back when?”
“Ten,” Luciano said with a sigh. “Can’t I stay out until eleven?”
“No, because after ten, your hormones amp up and you’re susceptible to teenage love disease.”
Luciano’s lips curved upward.
The foyer was a whirlwind of activity. Vittoria hung in the open front door, purse dangling in hand, cars keys hooked over her finger. “Alessio, come now, not ten minutes from now.”
Alana, standing to the side, shoved on her sandals.
“Baseball?” Sergio asked his wife.
“Yes, and we’ll pick up something, so don’t cook.”
“Pizza?” Alessio said, tying his shoes.
“We can’t afford to feed you pizza,” Alana replied, rolling her eyes. “We’re not that rich.”
“Ha. Ha. You get older, but not funnier,” he said. His shoe tied, he hopped to his feet. “Something Italian then. Pizza Palace has great spaghetti.”
Sergio leaned over and kissed his wife’s displayed cheek. Her face flushed. “Italian with a side of pasta.”
She smiled. “Yes, well, me and these two noodles will be back in an hour or so.” She faced the outside. “Now, onward we go.” She marched onto the front stoop, two teens in tow, and Luciano following up the rear. At the end of the walk, they split into two cars.
Sergio gave a wave then stood and watched them move down the street. Silence reclaimed the atmosphere, and he inhaled. One hour. One whole hour of peace and quiet. Bliss. He returned inside, shutting the door behind him.
“What will I do?” he asked out loud. A nap sounded good right about now.
-------------------------------Suzanne D. Williams
Suzanne Williams Photography
Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.