At the remote cabin in Collesena, it was unlikely to hear any sounds but the wind in the trees, so it was no wonder that the deep rumble of male voices should wake Regina Mancini up. She thought that it was her imagination, or a dream that still had a hold of her, but when she sat up and looked outside, there really was someone there.
Gina pushed the heavy knit blanket aside and stepped out onto the wooden floor. It was a warm evening, and though she shivered momentarily from feeling the cold floorboards, it wasn’t bad. Especially not since her heart started pounding with exhilaration when she crawled onto the other sofa to have a closer look at the people outside.
She thought it might be thieves, but then Franco made sure that most thieves knew to stay away from mum’s cabin. Either these people weren’t thieves, or they weren’t in any gang that they had connections with.
She inched closer to the window, hoping to hear something, but all the muffled voices told her was that they were definitely men, and it sounded like they were having a not-quite-muffled argument. On her knees in the cushions, she manoeuvred herself so that she could get a good look. There were two of them, and they stood by her mum’s car.
Her jaw dropped, because they were boys. They were her own age, or at least close to it, but she couldn’t see their faces. She stretched, but it was just impossible to see from here, so there was only one way to tell if they were good-looking.
There was no need to go wake her dad when they were just boys, Gina thought. It was much better if she handled it herself.
So, since the temperature was nice, she didn’t bother putting on a coat, opting instead to sneak out through the patio doors in her nightgown. She didn’t want to risk that they ran away before she could say hi.
As she neared, their voices came into focus and she could hear them talking:
“—told you to bring the screwdriver—” one of them, the taller one, said.
“You said you’d take care of everything!”
“Yes, once we were here – I could have actually broken into it if you brought the stupid screwdriver. If I tried to get one myself, my dad would have killed me.”
“Let’s just get away from here before—” The smaller of the two said, and then he suddenly froze when his eyes fell on Regina.
“You couldn’t get that one started with a screwdriver anyway,” she said.
Small guy cursed, grabbed his friend’s arm, and tried to run, but the other guy turned slowly to face her.
Gina bit her lip, unable to keep a smile from her face. Even in the dim light from the outside lamps, she could tell the tall boy was gorgeous. He was all high cheekbones and black hair that was parted to one side and it looked really soft. Not to mention he had blue eyes, a real, bright blue and not just a muddied, greyed one like she had seen on some.
“We haven’t done any—” he said, but she laughed and interrupted him.
“I think you’re trying to steal my aunt’s car.”
Mother’s, Gina corrected in her head—but there was no need to blurt family secrets to these boys, no matter how gorgeous one was.
“You’re clearly misunderstanding the situation; please go back inside.”
For such a young guy, there was a lot of authority to his voice and he held himself in a way that she didn’t appreciate much. It was like he expected her to do as told without question.
“Nah, I’m not going to do that.” Gina put her hands behind her back and traced patterns on the grass with her feet. “Not because I’m worried about you stealing the car, though. You clearly can’t.”
Anger flared in his eyes.
“And what makes you think we can’t?” he said, ignoring the fact that he was now all but admitting his intentions.
“I’ve stolen cars before, dude, and you don’t have a fucking clue what you’re doing. Were you going to hotwire it? Because you can’t—it’s a newer model and you’d need to hack the car’s computer. I don’t suppose you have a device for that?”
“You’ve stolen cars?” he said, looking her over. “You don’t exactly look like a car thief.”
“What, because I’m a girl? I’ve stolen several cars, and I’ve been breaking into places since I was eleven.”
He crossed his arms over his chest and stared intently at her. Gina tried not to laugh.
He thinks I’m bullshitting, she thought, meeting his glare without hesitation. Too bad I’ve stared down tougher guys than him.
“Prove it then,” he said.
Behind him, his smaller friend grabbed his arm, saying: “Enzo, let’s just get out of here, before—”
“Fine,” Gina interrupted. “Meet me at the town square tomorrow. Maybe you’ll learn something.”
“I’m looking forward to it.”
A ghost of a smile touched his lips, so maybe he was actually speaking the truth, though it was hard to say with the way he immediately choked the smile and looked at her in a way that was coolly indifferent.
“1 a.m.,” she said then. “Don’t be late.”
The sun crept across the sky in slow-motion, Gina thought as she spent the rest of the night awake on the sofa, staring up at the ceiling. At the first ray of sun that crept in through the window, she got up and started preparing breakfast and was soon joined by Marta. Her sister’s long hair was already tied into artful braids, which meant that she had been sleepless tonight. When she woke up from nightmares and couldn’t sleep, she tended to get up and braid her long hair, to take her mind off the things she had been through. However, she didn’t mention anything about the boys that had been outside, so she probably had slept through that.
“Had nightmares?” Gina asked her sister.
“Mm, could be worse, though,” Marta replied. “How about you? You’re never up this early.”
She weighed telling her about the boys and meeting up with them tonight, but decided against it. Marta was her sister and her good friend, but she was also an adult, and in her experience adults didn’t like you going out really late to meet strangers.
“Just excited to go to town today,” she said.
Marta shook her head and it was clear she didn’t believe it. However, she pried no further, focusing instead on slicing bread. The rest of their family filed in little by little, her dad last of all and only roused by the scent of fresh coffee. As was usually case for Gina, he hated getting up in the morning. It was a tiresome process of pouring abundant amounts of coffee down his throat, until he started resembling a human being.
The process was much easier at their mother’s. It wasn’t exactly that he jumped out of bed, but more that he didn’t fight awakening with everything he had. All they did was ask him to get up because Vittoria was already awake. As much as he grumbled and complained, any displeasure always disappeared once he set eyes on his wife.
This morning was no different. He kissed her gently, and once he sat down he took her hand and kissed it as well. When they spoke, the two of them always disappeared into a world of their own. Their hands intertwined and every now and again, he murmured sweet compliments under his breath.
Marta leaned over to Gina, making gagging noises. Carlo glared at her out of the corner of his eye.
“I heard that, Marta.”
Marta pretended she didn’t hear and turned to Gina to ask: “So, how was the sofa?”
Gina shrugged. “Fine.”
Her brother Giuliano’s head shot up across the table and he stared at her. “You’re not whining about sleeping on the sofa today? Who are you and what have you done to my sister?”
“I don’t whine – there’s nothing wrong with the sofa.”
Like earlier, Marta looked like she didn’t believe her. She said:
“I can take the sofa tonight if you like.”
The three of them took turns sleeping upstairs in the guest room and on the sofa, because there weren’t enough beds for five people. True, she normally didn’t like it, but they were blowing it way out of proportion.
“It’s my turn,” she protested.
If she slept upstairs, it would be much harder to sneak out of the house.
Carlo turned and looked at her, worry clear in his eyes. “Are you okay?”
Gina rolled her eyes.
“Seriously, you too, dad? I’m just being nice. The sofa isn’t so bad, and it’s harder for Marta to sleep if she’s not in a nice bed.”
Now it was her sister’s turn to roll her eyes. “Sure, you’re so considerate, Gina.”
“If I didn’t know better, I’d say our daughter was up to something,” their mother said. “Or maybe that’s just how she always looks. With those shifty eyes.”
“I do not have shifty eyes, and let’s talk about something else. Like how Giuliano wants to be an accountant.”
Her brother loudly protested, exclaiming that numbers were cool or something. She didn’t listen, but was only happy to have diverted everyone’s attention. It occurred to her that she should tell her parents where she was going tonight.
But it would only worry them, she rationalised.
Since Marta and Giulio were engrossed in talking about her brother’s maths stuff, her parents had slipped into their own little world again. Carlo was holding her mother’s hand, tracing her fingers with a thumb and looking at her adoringly. It would be a shame to interrupt that.
Besides, if she asked they might say no, and she really didn’t want them to.
Author’s note: Hiiii guyyyyysss! Generation 2 is starting and I’m excited! 😀 What you’re going to read here is part one of the generation, because some stuff happened while I wrote this. I was going to have a prologue where I re-introduced you to the family and introduced Gina, as well as the young man she meets in the middle of the night. Well, my prologue soon became pretty long. So I thought I’d better divide it into three… and then five chapters. So uh, yeah. Prepare to spend some time with teenage Regina 🙂 I swear, I used to write very compactly – I have no clue what happened.
If you’re curious as to the ages of the characters, here is my age chart (yellow means a character isn’t born at this point, red means the character is deceased):
It has been extremely difficult to age up Carlo for me, and I haven’t even aged him up to elder yet! If anyone’s wondering: He just works out a lot and he’s in great shape and ages super well and his hair is a little slow to turn grey, m’kay???
Yes, I’m desperate to keep him young and sexy. Fight me.
Speaking of handsome dudes – boyfriend beta-read this for me and when I asked what he thought of the pics, he said they were great, but he couldn’t tell me if Enzo was gorgeous or not. I think that’s fair, but I can’t either, so if you’re thinking – well, he’s only sort of decent-looking, that’s just because you have a different taste from young Gina, so uh… no blamey me, pls (I tried)? 😛
So yeah, generation 2! I’m extremely excited for this. There’s a lot of good stuff in store (I think) and I can’t wait to hear you guys’ thoughts. Will any characters completely disappear in this gen? Will we have an out-of-nowhere time-skip that leaves everyone confused? Who knoooows! 😀 For now, thank you for reading if you made it this far, and I’ll see you in the next post.