Art Trip

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  No Houses

Chapter 23 (v.1) - Chapter 23

Submitted: February 06, 2018

Reads: 244

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Submitted: February 06, 2018

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It was Wednesday morning, and Richard wanted them to make the most of the last two days left to them. He opened up the tiny velvet box and the sapphire ring blinked at him like he had just woken the gem stone from a deep sleep. He took it out of its box, hopefully in a few hours’ time this little ring will be forever on the finger of Maggie Harris.

He knocked on the dividing door that separated their two rooms. “Are you awake Maggie?” silence. Maybe she is still sleeping; it had been a stressful day for her yesterday. Just then his phoned buzzed, it was Maggie. “Are you coming out to play?”
Richard smiled. “Where are you?”
“Come out on the balcony.” She said.
Richard pulled back the curtains, opened the patio doors and steeped outside. She was nowhere to be seen.
“I’m down here, at the café.”
Richard looked over the balcony to see Maggie smiling and waving up at him.
“Come on down,” she said speaking into her phone and at the same time looking up at him. “Alfonso does an amazing breakfast, and you’ve got the money”

Richard quickly showered put on a clean pair of jeans and a white t-shirt and went over from the hotel to meet Maggie. She was wearing a bright yellow floral summer dress and instead of her pumps saw wore a pair of cream heels.

Richard came over where she sat and he gave him a kiss. “You look beautiful.”
“Thank you,” she said. Maggie looked up into the clear blue sky. There had not been a cloud in the sky from the moment they arrived.
“I could live here.” She said, “Every day waking up knowing that your day was going to be like this.” She made a point of every day being outside to catch some sun. Her face, arms and legs were now starting to turn from dark red to dark brown.

Richard had to agree with her, if they had this climate at home, the British would be a different breed of people. More happier and less stressed out.

Alfonso came out and after saying good morning asked what they would like to eat. It was Maggie who suggested they try the sausage and egg breakfast with a latte.
Alfonso gave a bow followed by, “Si, Signorina.”

Maggie stretched out her legs under the table; she was pleased they were not the pasty white pair she had arrived with. Richard too admired her tan and placed his hand on her knee. Maggie took his hand and moved it further up her leg before clamping her knees tight preventing him from removing it. Richard instantly went the same colour as the scarlet tablecloth. When Alfonso returned with their breakfast he remarked about Richards face,
“Signor caught too much sun?”
Richard just gave a nervous laugh, Maggie leaned her elbow on the table and rested the side of her face in her palm. She just stared at Richard all the while moving his hand further up the inside of her thigh before again clamping her knees shut.
“Grazie” Richard thanked Alfonso in a high-pitched voice.
Alfonso unaware of Maggie’s teasing, asked Richard if he was OK.
“Fine,” he said then Maggie released her grip and Richard removed his hand.
“Just feeling the heat of the morning.” Richard said making his excuse.
Maggie was still staring at him when she said, “You’ve gone ever so red Richard,”
Looking down at his breakfast, he just said to her, “You wait until I get you upstairs.”
Maggie raised her eyebrows, “Aw! Promises promises.”

After they paid for their breakfast, they decided it was a staying outside kind of day. So, they forego any trips to churches or galleries and instead walked the streets of Florence. The city was like one big open area museum. The outside of every building was an architectural delight to behold.

Richard made sure at all times he was constantly making physical contact with Maggie. He either held her hand, had his arm around her waist or over her shoulder. It was important for Richard to maintain contact with her, in doing so he was a part of her life and it would make it easier for him to propose. Break contact even for a second, and they were two separate people living two separate lives, just being friends.

As Richard got closer to the Ponte Vecchio his grip tightens on Maggie’s hand.
“Richard you’re hurting me.”
“What, oh sorry.” He slackens his hold.
“You alright?” Maggie enquires. “You are not going to pass out on me again?”
Richard took a deep breath, and smiled before saying, “I’m fine, really I’m fine.”

Richard managed to guide Maggie through the streets gently leading her to the café where they were to have lunch. Café Florence was getting busy, Richard was glad he had booked a table. The waitress greeted them taking and took them to their seats. Maggie sat with her back to the sun which meant Richard had to propose to her silhouette.

Maggie was impressed with this outside café. Baskets of flowers on all the tables and a resident accordion player “This is nice Richard,” she said looking around. The accordion player saw the two new comings and came over to serenade them. Maggie took Richards hand and they just looked at each other, waiting for the accordion player to move on before they could speak again.

“Sophia told be about this place, it’s where all Italians come to…” Richard was fumbling in his pocket for the ring. Maggie was not listening anymore to Richard, she was looking at the couple two tables behind him.

Maggie couldn’t be sure but she thought she recognised the man. She subconsciously rose from her chair and walked over to the table. “Martin?”
The man looked at the woman calling his name, he thought he recognised her but was unsure.
“Martin Cook?”
The man looked at Maggie now recognising her. 

“Maggie Harris,” said Martin. How on earth did she find him here. He really didn’t want to speak to her, not now, not ever. “What a pleasant surprise fancy seeing you here. You’ve cut your hair”
Just hearing his voice again made her skin crawl. The last time they stood facing each other was three years ago when he caught Maggie reading a text message from Debbie. The text message that she had tried to forget, ‘HAVE YOU TOLD HER YET.’

That day see told Janet was now in the pass, began to play again.

“You bastard!” shouted Maggie, she should have called him that all those years ago.
“What are you doing here?”
Richard had wondered where Maggie had gone to. On hearing her shout he turned to see her squaring up to some man. He left his chair to go and see what was upsetting her.

By now the accordion player stopped and all the tables fell silent and were looking towards Maggie and Martin. He was becoming a little too uncomfortable with the developing situation and tried to remain calm.
“I’m on tour with the LSO, I thought someone might have told you.”
Shock at seeing Martin was now brewing into rage, pure hatred rage.
“NO, you poisoned all our friends to hate me you shit, no-one speaks to me anymore apart from Steve and Janet.”
The woman with Martin was hearing a side to his pass that she didn’t care for.
“Who is this Martin dear?” The woman said.
“Oh, where are my manners. Maggie this is Julie. Julie this is Maggie.”
Julie held out her hand towards Maggie. She just ignored her. Maggie was now emotionally aimed and dangerous and Martin was about to get both barrels full in the face.

Richard was now by Maggie’s side.
“What’s going on here!” he demanded
“Oh! and who are you?” Martin looked at Richard as if he was a piece of sewerage.
Maggie injected, “He’s my…”
“…Fiancé” Richard couldn’t help but blurt out.
Maggie was too fired up to register what Richard had just said.
“How wonderful.” Martin said sarcastically.
Now talking to Richard, Martin descended to a new low in humiliating Maggie.
“You know she fake’s her orgasms”

Martin never felt the punch to the side of his jaw, that would be minutes later. For now, he was too preoccupied scrambling to get up out of the wreckage of chairs and tables that he now found himself sprawled in.

Maggie still had her fist clenched when she screamed at him,
“NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL CLOSURE!”
Some of the people that had gathered started to clap with only a few helping Martin to his feet. Not wanting to drawing additional attention to herself Maggie grabbed Richards hand and walked as fast as her heels would allow along the Ponte Vecchio. Maggie was so burning with rage, that she didn’t feel Richard slip his grip from her hand.

Richard was determined that the incident with Martin was not going to scupper his plans. He was too pumped up to change his mind. He was just going to ask her here and now.
“Maggie!” Richard called out.
“MAGGIE!” he now shouted.
“MARGARET HARRIS!”
“WHAT!” she shouted back, now realising Richard was not with her.
She looked down from where she came from to see him at least six metres away. He was on one knee holding out his hand with a tiny box in his palm.
“Maggie, will you PLEASE marry me?”
She stood again among silent residents and tourists alike her rage now subsiding, slowly taking in a new scene developing around her.
After what seemed like an eternity, an American woman tourist asked her.
“Well honey what’s your answer? We haven’t got all day you know.”

Maggie looked at the woman, removed her glasses and wiped away some tears with the back of her hand.
“Well?” said the woman again.
A few people started to give a slow hand clap which became louder and faster. Kicking off her heels she ran crying as fast as she could towards Richard who was now standing waiting to greet her. With her arms now open wide she flung herself around Richards neck. Holding on, he lifted her off the ground giving Maggie the biggest hug he could muster. Lowering her to her feet, he removed her glasses and brushed away her tears. “Well, will you?”
Through her uncontrollable sobbing she shouted at the top of her voice, “OF COURSE I WILL!”
As the crowd applauded, Richard took her shaking left hand and placed the sapphire engagement ring onto her finger.


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