Claudio had been waiting in the foyer, pacing back and forth waiting for Clara’s taxi to arrive from the airport. As soon as he heard the sound of wheels screeching to a halt he ran outside and enveloped her into a giant bear hug.
“Oh my god Clara I’ve missed you so much!”
Clara buried her head into Claudio’s hair and squeezed him tight,
“You weren’t kidding when you said you looked different!”
“Well I hope it isn’t for the worst.”
Clara laughed and pecked him on the cheek with a kiss,
“No, I think we both know you definitely changed for the better.”
Claudio winked and grabbed her hand, leading her into the house,
“Come on in. Everyone’s waiting to meet you!”
As they walked into the living room Clara could feel all eyes on her. There was a woman in a yellow blazer that she could only guess was Claudio’s Mom, and then a man who was almost identical to Claudio other than his eyes and skin tone.
“So you must be the Ms.Clara Bledstone that my boy has been talking so much about. I heard you two had a wonderful time in Windenburg together.”
Clara blushed and glanced over at Claudio who was smiling from ear to ear,
“Oh don’t worry, I’m not about to lecture you. You’re both grown adults. So tell us a little bit about what you’ve been doing since you two parted ways.”
Coheed rolled his eyes and sighed,
“God Mom you’re acting like you're interrogating her! I really hope you don’t do this to Margot when she gets here. She’s already one of your biggest fans and you’ll probably make her faint from just acknowledging her.”
Clara laughed and shook her head,
“Don’t worry, she has every right to question me considering we just met. By the way Margot’s plane has been delayed so she won’t be arriving for another day or so.”
Coheed sighed and leaned back on the sofa with his hands behind his head,
Mason cleared his throat and waved his hand in the air dismissively,
“Anyways. Clara please do tell us about yourself. That’s a very interesting tattoo you have by the way.”
Clara lifted up the arm she had the tattoo on that went from her hand to her elbow,
“Oh this? It was a little present for myself before we all went back to graduate. After Windenburg our vacation was extended for another week because of plumbing issues at school so we decided to go to Al Simhara. When we got there I saw all these woman with intricate designs on their skin, they weren’t permanent but they were so beautiful. So while there I met a woman who came up with this design for me and I decided to get it put permanently on my skin as a reminder of one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been in my life.”
Harley piped up and nodded her head,
“I don’t usually condone tattoos but you have a wonderful reason behind yours. I think it’s beautiful.”
“So Clara, if you went to boarding school in Monte Vista where are you and your family from originally, the only reason I ask is because of your accent.”
Clara blushed from embarrassment,
“I get asked that question more than you think. I’m from Champ Les Sims, we’re more known for our nectar making than anything.”
The family talked for another hour or so, getting to know Clara and soon they were all joking like they had known each other for a long time. Claudio finally tore her away from his parents clutches and grabbed her suitcase and headed upstairs.
Claudio had finally gotten himself set up in the spare bedroom and left a couple drawers clean for Clara’s clothes. After she unpacked and put them away Claudio grabbed her arm and pulled her down on the bed.
“Finally I have you all to myself...I’ve missed you so much.”
Clara giggled and nudged his shoulder,
“I’ve missed you too mon amour.”
“What does that mean?”
Clara leaned in smiling, and whispered,
“It means “my love” where I come from.”
Claudio leaned in closer, tucking a stray hair behind her ear,
“How about we go for a swim before I lose it and throw you on to this bed, because if I do that we won’t come out for the rest of the day…”
Clara’s face turned bright red as she looked into Claudio’s eyes. The were smoldering with lust and it was making her heart skip a beat. Maybe staying in here wouldn’t be so bad after all…
But Claudio was determined to not stay in the house all day so they changed into their swimsuits and headed to the backyard to enjoy the day outside. They talked about what had happened in their lives since they last saw each other, things that had been forgotten to be added to emails. Claudio tried to show off his diving skills but ended up floundering to even accomplish a nice cannonball. Which resulted in Clara playfully teasing him the rest of the day.
After a day of fun Clara couldn’t keep up the facade anymore, it had been fine up until this point but her thoughts were eating away at her. While in the taxi on the way there she had held back tears, while talking to Claudio’s parents she had put on a fake smile. She genuinely missed Claudio and had a wonderful time with him today but once she put on one of his extra shirts and was getting ready for bed the tears started to trickle out.
Claudio noticed this and rushed to her side, rubbing her hair and holding her close.
“What’s wrong Clara? Do you miss home?”
Clara sniffled and pulled away from him,
“No..it’s...I have to tell you something…”