Caroline Ch. 14.02byVitorio©
If you are new to this series please read the intro to Ch 01 so you'll know what to expect. It isn't strictly necessary to read the earlier chapters but some of this won't make sense if you don't so I hope you will!
This is a sad chapter that brings up to date some of the other relationships in the story. As I have consistently said, I do find it necessary to deal with all aspects of my characters – not just the sex. So, no sex in this one, just immense sadness.
We are coming towards the end of what I had previously written, probably just two or three chapters, and there is a lot of plot development before I have to pick up the story between the 'end' of this part and 'Anna'.
Back to Bologna:
An early start on Sunday with breakfast on the road enabled us to get to Nardo's by early afternoon. He was there to meet us as usual although he did look slightly worried as he hugged me in his normal greeting. Looking at Amy I could guess the reason why. She was blossoming and she couldn't take her eyes off him. Sally looked happy as well, smiling softly as we said hello. Lena rushed to Nardo to hug him as well and then turned to Amy. She must have immediately noticed and turned to me with a sly wink.
"How are you Amy, you look very well indeed?"
This caused Amy to blush and Nardo to look somewhat embarrassed. He seemed unable to meet my eyes. I assumed he must have thought that I would be unhappy about his liaison with Amy.
Amy managed to get hold of herself and smiled saying, "Yes thank you Lena, I'm very well. How are you?" and they drifted off into the house no doubt for Lena to give Amy a grilling about her sex life!
I went over to Sally while Nardo greeted Gianna, "And how are you?", I asked looking into her eyes. I wanted to know she was all right with this.
She smiled, "I'm fine, I'm OK with everything," she said responding to my real question. "I need to talk to you," she added quietly, "I'm having a discussion with Nardo about the boathouse. I want to make some changes and he's not sure. Will you come down there after lunch and let me show you what I want to do?" This was strange, there seemed to be more here but nothing I could pick out.
"Oh course," I said.
"Come on everyone," said Sally turning away, "I've got a late lunch ready." So off we went to eat. I wanted to talk to Nardo as soon as possible about Gianna and me so after lunch in buttonholed him.
"Nardo, I need to talk to you. Can we go into the library?"
He looked somewhat shamefaced; I assumed he was worried that I was going to berate him about Amy. Not bad, I thought, he's on the back foot so I have a slight advantage. You see, I wasn't exactly sure how he would respond to us being together again. Although he'd been away from home for a good while he was fond of his father and aware of the Italian way so he might not take it too well but he had to be told. Gianna's behaviour was so different now, I had to explain it.
"Errm, OK uncle," he huffed and went into the library. I followed and, as we sat down, he said very formally, "Uncle, if it's about Amy, I want you to know that I think love her!"
I smiled at his discomfiture, "Good," I said, "I'm pleased about that!"
He looked shocked, "Pleased?" he said.
"Yes, pleased. Why shouldn't I be?"
"I thought you wanted to talk to me about my going with Amy. She was with you after all – I know that. She told me."
I laughed, "Oh Nardo, I have no 'claim' on her. We had a great time, her, Lena and I, and now she's moved on. That's good. I'm pleased that she found you Nardo, I guessed she'd be good for you." Then I looked at him seriously, "What about Sally Nardo, how does she feel about all this?"
Now he visibly relaxed as he realised that I didn't want to talk to him about Amy. He smiled, "She encouraged it uncle. We even had a threesome together but I don't think Sally is really into girls. Uncle Mike," he said confidentially, "Sally can't have sex now, well not until she gets better. I think that's why she encouraged me about Amy. Oh uncle, she is wonderful, wonderful. I still love Sally but, oh dear, I feel so strongly about Amy."
I put my arms around him, "Good," I said, "good. I'm pleased the three of you are happy but what is it with Sally?"
He looked serious as we moved apart, "I don't know uncle. She tells me it's to do with when Gloria was born, some complications down there. She might have to have a hysterectomy. She says that that should put everything right. I was worried about her but she said it's nothing really, quite common. She tells me she likes to see me with Amy. Uncle, Sally watches us, you know, together. It was funny at first but now, well it's exciting. She says she enjoys watching us enjoy ourselves. Uncle I'm so glad you brought her to me."
"Has she told you everything about our relationship?" I asked. I wanted to find out if he knew about Guy and the double teaming.
He looked at me frankly, "Yes," he said, "everything. Even about Guy and you together. She cried but now I know everything but it doesn't matter you see, because I love her so much. That was before wasn't it?" He suddenly looked suspicious, "You don't want her again do you," he said with a 'little boy lost' expression on his face.
I smiled at him, "No, Nardo, of course not. As I said, we had a great time, so did she, but now we've all moved on. It's great news Nardo and I'm pleased for all of you but that wasn't what I wanted to talk to you about."
"Oh," he said sheepishly, "sorry. What was it about?"
"Your mother," I said.
"Oh," he said again looking directly at me.
"Nardo this isn't easy. I don't know how much you know or suspect but, suffice to say, your mother and I are lovers. We were twenty years ago but we decided to move apart. Now, thanks to that lovely wife of mine, we're back together again and it shows. Your father suspects and I'm going to talk to him next week but we both felt that you and Maria should be told. She's changed Nardo: she's become the woman she could be and you'll notice the change – if you haven't already." I held my breath waiting for his reply. Look, I didn't need his approval but I didn't want his disapproval. Gianna was his mother after all: he had some right to have feelings about her.
He took a deep breath, "I knew," he said looking at me. "All those years ago, I knew that something was different. You there, tucking us up in bed, reading us stories, there at breakfast. Oh I didn't understand then but, as I grew older and learnt about the 'birds and bees' I realised that something had happened. Father wasn't there, you were, and then he was." Now he looked at me intensely, "I know about Guy too."
I took a deep breath, "What?"
"Oh uncle, I worked it out, he's obviously not my father's son. Anybody with eyes can see that but I grew up with him, he's so different from the rest of us. I thought about it. He had to be your son. Uncle, I don't need to know why or what, it happened that I do know. I know that father hasn't been faithful to mother over the last few years and I know they've drifted apart. If she's happy then so be it; whatever makes her happy is all right with me but," he fixed me with his eyes and said seriously, "I wouldn't want to see father shamed you know."
"I know," I said, "I don't want that either but it really depends on him Nardo. Your mother will stay with him but be wife in name only. We'll be careful. She will want to see her son and his wife, and to see Lena. Then she'll want to see her grandchildren. We will be discreet, you can count on it."
He smiled, "Then I wish you all happiness. On a day like today when I'm so happy I couldn't wish anything else. My only worry was that you would have some claim on Amy."
"No Nardo," I said seriously, "she's all yours but look after her, you understand," then I laughed, "and don't make her pregnant until she finishes college!"
He laughed and any tension present disappeared, "No uncle, I'll try but it is bloody difficult!"
After this we strolled back into the lounge and I nodded at Gianna and smiled. She would know he was OK with us. Lena had disappeared with Amy, I assumed so she could find out what was happening. Sally grabbed me and we went off to the boathouse where she told me her ideas.
That's the end of my bit for a while.
I'm adding this about a year after I finished the last bit above. Lena thought it would be right to add it here in the story.
Last week we lost Sally. She passed away with cancer. Unfortunately her body was riddled with the bloody disease and there was no hope. Nardo was distraught and poor Amy mortified. Now it's right for me to write about what happened on that Sunday we returned from the villa.
Sally asking me to check changes to the boathouse was just a ruse to have an opportunity to talk to me alone. She set up the disagreement with Nardo on purpose. She wanted to talk to me about her, Nardo and Amy. She was not well. Problems had arisen after little Gloria was born and these had meant she was almost certainly going to have a hysterectomy soon. That wasn't too much of a problem and she expected to recover OK. The problem was they'd found a small growth on one of her ovaries. They were doing biopsy on the tissue but hadn't got a result yet.
She said she had a premonition about this. That the news wouldn't be good. She was very upset talking about this to me but she said that I was the only one she could trust to both keep it secret, she wouldn't tell Nardo, and to do what she asked.
I told her it would be all right, trying to say the right things. It's bloody difficult when someone talks to you like this, you just don't know what to say.
Anyway, she'd made three videos each containing a message. One for Nardo, one for Amy, and one for her kids.
"Look Mike," she'd said, "I know it sounds arrogant but if anything happens to me Nardo will go to pieces. You know how emotional he can become. Then there's Amy. She will probably blame herself for coming on the scene. I want them to be together Mike. It's not often that a wife and mother has the opportunity to choose her replacement. They're infatuated with each other at the moment." She'd smiled softly, "I don't mind, I like to watch them together, but I think that it will turn into a true love. She can have his children and be his wife if anything does happen to me.
"I made these videos to send a message to them. To tell them I love them both and to go on with their lives. I'll be happy if they just remember me Mike. You do understand don't you?"
Well, of course I did and by now I was nearly in tears myself. I held her tightly as she started to cry softly. "Oh Mike, it's been so difficult doing this but I had to. I love him so much and I want him to be happy afterwards. Will you look after him and make sure he sees these, and Amy too."
"Sally, of course I will but this is worst case isn't it?"
"Yes," she said, "it is but I just feel it Mike. I don't know why. I have this dread hanging over me."
"I understand Sal," I said, "I'll look after these and make sure they see them. What about the one for you kids?"
"Give that to Amy, she'll know the right time to show it to them." She hugged me and kissed my cheek. "This is a lot to ask of you Mike. Please don't tell anyone, not even Lena."
I smiled, "No I'll not tell anyone and most of all not Lena. This would upset her terribly. We'd better make up some plans for when we get back. Come on, all will be well."
Well it wasn't!
She had the hysterectomy and recovered OK. They had six months when she was as healthy as ever. They visited with us and all shared a bedroom, something they did most of the time. Sadly however, all was not well. The original biopsy showed cancerous cells but they managed to remove them at the same time as the hysterectomy. All seemed OK but you know what a bastard that disease is. It crept into other cells and slowly undermined her. She suddenly became weak and, by the time they found out everything it was too late. She died with Nardo at her bedside and he just went to pieces, just as she had predicted.
Firstly he got blind drunk, then locked himself in his room and wouldn't come out. Poor Amy was distraught. She had to deal with blaming herself for coming between them, silly I know but that is what people are like at times like this, and she had to deal with how Nardo was acting – she did love him after all.
We found all this out with a desperate telephone call from the children's Nanny who was trying to hold everything together.
I spoke to Guy then Gianna. We decided that Guy, I and Lena would fly out immediately. Guy to deal with the business, me to deal with Nardo, and Lena to deal with Amy. Gianna would come and stay with Jo, Anna and the two babies. Before we left I explained to everyone about the 'boathouse' trip and about the videos.
We caught the next available plane to Bologna and rushed to the house. The Nanny was coping quite well, she'd managed to keep hold of the kids but she was so worried about Nardo and Amy. I sent Guy off to the office to take the helm, gave Amy's video and a portable TV thing to Lena, and went off to find Nardo. I had one of these little portable TV/Video combinations in tow as well so he could watch.
His door was locked and when I knocked all I heard was, "Go away!"
"Nardo it's Mike, I need to talk to you."
"I don't want to talk to anyone, sod off!"
"Nardo, if you don't open this poxy door I'll break it down."
"Oh fuck off, break it down then."
I was getting angry with him now. This wasn't grief, it was self pity and he was wallowing in it. I thought of a way to shake him, "Nardo, I've got a message from Sally."
I heard footsteps coming to the door and, as it opened, his fist shot out and he said, "Don't fuck about, now leave me alone."
Well, I rather anticipated that he would behave like this so I was ready. I grabbed his fist and pushed him backwards. He wasn't ready and fell on the floor. I stuck my foot on his chest. "Now you stupid pillock, listen! Sally has sent you a message, will you sit on the bed quietly while I explain or do I have to knock you down again?"
He grudgingly nodded and I let him up. He sat on the bed and I fetched the TV. "Nardo," I said, "get hold of yourself. She wouldn't have wanted you to behave like this you know."
"How the shit do you know that," he said spitefully.
"Because she told me," I said and I told him about the visit to the boathouse and what she had said. "She's left this for you Nardo. I was to give it to you if anything happened. She swore me to secrecy. Now sit and watch what she says. I'll leave you alone."
He suddenly looked like a little boy, shattered and alone. "No uncle, please. Please stay." He was almost in tears. Better, I thought, he's starting to grieve not feel sorry for himself.
"OK," I said, "but sit and watch this." I started the tape and watched it with him. It was heartbreaking! She told him how much she loved him, how she didn't want him to know about the cancer and how she'd entrusted this message to me and made me promise not to tell anyone. She told him not to blame me. Then she went on to talk about his future. How she'd been able to choose another woman for him in Amy and another mother for her children. She told him to love Amy, to marry her, and to have lots of kids, and to remember her fondly. Well by the end I was finding it hard to control my feelings, Nardo was crying now. Great big sobs that racked his body. I put my arms round him and held him, trying to instil some control on his emotionally wrecked soul.
Slowly he stopped, gaining control of himself. "Thanks uncle," he said. "Strangely enough, I feel better now. Can I watch it on my own now," he smiled sadly, "I think I can handle it."
"Don't forget Nardo," I said, "that she left one for Amy as well. Lena is with her now. She'll need you, you know. You'll need each other to help you over this horrible time."
"I know," he said, "I'll just watch it again then go to her."
I left him alone with the tape and his memories and went to Amy's room. Lena was just coming out. She was in a terrible state, crying and so, so upset. She threw herself into my arms.
"Oh Mike, Mike, hold me. I need you to hold me," she said through her tears.
"Shush darling one. Was it bad?"
"No," she said, "it was lovely. It bucked Amy up. Amy wanted me to watch it with her. Oh Mike Sally was so, so tender I suppose. She told Amy about the boathouse and how she'd made you swear and all that. Told Amy not to blame you. Then she said that it wasn't often that a wife and mother had the opportunity to choose her replacement. Oh Mike, I cried. So did Amy.
"She told Amy to look after Nardo, marry him and have his children, and to look after hers. She mentioned the video she'd done for the children and asked Amy to show it to them when she felt they were ready. She'd worked it all out Mike. She knew didn't she?"
"I don't know darling," I said, "I'm not sure she knew. At the time she said she had a premonition but she didn't know anything because the biopsy hadn't come back."
"It's so sad. She loved him so much you know. Amy told me back then when I asked her how they got on. Will they be all right do you think?"
I smiled, "Yes, they will be. If it hadn't been for those tapes I don't think they'd have made it but now they've seen them they don't have much choice do they. Sally has ensured that they stay together for her sake as much as theirs. They love each other don't they so it's right. Yes, they'll be OK."
Now Nardo came out of his room. He was in control now, looking calm and determined.
"I'm going to talk to Amy," he said, "is she OK Lena?"
Lena smiled at him sadly, "Yes, she was crying but the tape, oh Nardo I'm so sorry."
"Thank you," he said. "It means a lot you two coming here and doing this. I'm OK now uncle, got hold of myself. I'm going to marry Amy. Oh not yet but soon. It's what Sally wanted and I want it as well," he looked at Lena, "I only hope Amy wants it as well."
"I think she does," Lena said, "oh, go in and ask her. It's wonderful something good and new coming out of such a bad thing."
"Yes it is, thanks to Sally!" and, with that, he went into Amy's room.
We both went downstairs to tell the children's Nanny that they were both OK now and she could relax. They must have talked for ages because Guy returned saying that things were running OK. Sally, bless her, had arranged everything. Her assistant took over all her work before she became ill so nothing changed there and Nardo's chief of staff had kept everything on course.
I told Guy about Nardo and how he'd been and we all helped get dinner while we waited for them to come down. When they did it was obvious that things had been settled. Nardo was calm and collected, talking about arranging the funeral and how he would tell the children. Amy said she would help there as they both trusted her. They were to be married after a few months. It was lovely really, they were sad but happy at the same time. I thought it was rather nice. She was a canny woman was Sally and she'd managed to engineer all this.
Just a short addendum to say that Nardo and Amy were married last week, four months after Sally's funeral. Amy thinks she is pregnant and I wouldn't be surprised, she looks wonderful.
OK – this was difficult to write but, again, my characters just seem to take on a life (or bloody otherwise) of their own. As always, please vote and comment – they really are valued but seem to be so sparse.
To be continued: