Art Trip

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  No Houses

Chapter 26 (v.1) - Chapter 26

Submitted: February 10, 2018

Reads: 213

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Submitted: February 10, 2018



Maggie and Richard were having their last breakfast in Florence sitting across the road from the hotel at what had become their favourite café. The maids and butlers were upstairs in the hotel busy packing Maggie and Richards cases ready for Sophia to take them to the airport.

For the last time, Maggie was reading the national newspaper when she said to Richard,
“I’m going to learn Italian at evening class when we get back.”
“Hope you are better at that than your pottery classes.”
“My work was classed as Avant Garde, anyway that’s what I kept telling myself.”

She put down the newspaper and turned towards Richard. “I can’t thank you enough for being open with me that afternoon back in Chelsea. That moment when you said you loved me. We have had a wonderful time here. You were right in your thinking, it wouldn’t have been very enjoyable for us being awkward around each other,”
Richard kissed her hand, “I’m glad too I plucked up the courage to tell you.”

Maggie rested her chin on his arm, “I really do love you Ricahrd.”
He just ran his fingers through her hair. “Come on, let’s say goodbye to the hotel staff.”

Henri, shook Richard’s hand and kissed Maggie’s. “It has been a pleasure to have you both stay with us and on behalf of the staff and I we wish you the very best for the future.”

When all the goodbyes were said, Sophia arrived at the hotel, “Every one ready?” she said.
The staff were quick at putting the cases in the boot of Sophia’s’ car and after the final goodbye all three left the hotel. Alfonso too came out of the café in time to give them a wave off.

Sophia had the top down on her convertible for Richard and Maggie. They had got so used to seeing the deep azure sky. Even the beating heat of the sun had eventually became their friend. Both of them were going back home with a healthy tan.

The short journey to the airport was soon over and now every second in Florence was precious to Maggie and Richard. Sophia parked her car in the short stay car park and fetched a trolley for their cases. Richard soon had them stacked and all three walked to the British Airways check-in desk.

The queue to the desk was taking a lot longer than they would have liked. Sophia disappeared but soon returned saying to them, “Follow me.”

The flight attendants were booking in their cases when Sophia appeared with Richard and Maggie. After a word with the supervisor, they managed to get their cases checked through as crew members and after were now free to wait in the departure lounge.
“I cannot go through there with you without my pass.” Said Sophia “So, I’ll say goodbye here.”
Maggie was once again fighting back the tears has the two women hugged each other.
“Sophia wiped a tear from her own eye, “I want at least one text message a week from you OK?” she instructed Maggie.
“Try stopping me.” She said.

Sophia then went over to Richard giving him also a big hug plus a kiss on the cheek.
“You take of her, or you’ll have me to answer too.” She said joking with him.
“Thank you for everything Sophia.” She gave that now familiarly Italian ‘no problem’ shrug of the shoulders.

They didn’t have to wait long when the voice over the tannoy announced their flight was now boarding.
“You better go.” Said Sophia
Then came the awkward moment when they had to say goodbye and no-one wanted to go first. It was Sophia who started to move away saying, “We will speak soon OK? Ciao you two, Ciao.” With a last wave she was gone.

Maggie and Richard presented their business class boarding passes to the flight attendant and he showed them their seats. Once Richard had stowed their hand luggage in the overhead compartment, he took his seat next to Maggie. Smiling he held her hand. “You OK?”
“Yeah, just get me up there.” She said as she began her breathing exercises.  

As soon as the seatbelt sign came on the aircraft began to turn towards the long airstrip.
“Take your last look at Florence for a while Maggie.”
She dug her nails to Richards hand, as the Boeing jet engines surged the aircraft forward gaining speed by the second. Maggie saw the front of the airplane began to rise then she was pushed back into her seat as the aircraft left Italian soil. Next stop London Gatwick.

England lived up to it’s reputation of being a wet summer’s day. The doors of the aircraft opened once the passenger bridge was in place allowing the cool air to came rushing in. Walking down to the luggage carousel Maggie stopped to open her hand luggage to fetch out her jumper. She had left Italy wearing the last of her floral summer dresses and wished now she put her jeans on like Richard.

Once they retrieved their luggage they proceeded through passport control. Now back on British soil, Richard and Maggie went to the food court for a drink of something warm and a chance for Maggie to phone Janet to let her know they had arrived and were ready to be picked up.

“It’s freezing.” Said Maggie to Richard cradling a cup of hot chocolate. When they left Florence, it was 28 degrees C. They arrived in England to a rather embarrassing 16 degrees C.  

Maggie outstretched her bare legs onto Richards knees to allow him to warm them up for her. Both of them had healthy tans which stood out a mile against the rest of the pasty white Brits sitting around them. Just then Maggie’s mobile came alive with email alerts and a text message from Sophia. Maggie put down her cup, “Bless her,” she said to Richard, “She was monitoring our flight. She asked did everything go OK.”
Maggie spelled out her text to Richard as she typed, “Yes fine. Just cleared passport control. Sitting drinking hot chocolate. Bloody freezing and it’s raining. Just waiting for Janet to collect us.”
Maggie then pressed ‘Send’

Within seconds her phoned buzzed, message from Sophia, “Good, yes I know what London is like in the summer. Not looking forward to going back there after vacation. Speak soon, Sophia :)”

Maggie placed her phone on the table and picked up her hot chocolate. Looking at Richard over the rim of her mug she asked, “Well, where do we go from here?” she was starting to think wedding.
Richard intuitively knew what she was talking about. “No idea, I suppose we could set the date.” He said, “That would be a start.”
“I better start looking for a wedding dress,” said Maggie. “I hear they can take months especially if there are alteration. I’ll ping Sophia an email on Monday to touch base and get her thoughts.”

Maggie’s phoned buzzed again, this time it was Janet calling. Maggie stood up looking towards the exit doors giving Janet exaggerated arm waves to indicate where there were.

Janet came bounding over like an excited puppy after missing its master. “Well look at you two all tanned.” Then she by-passed Richard homing in on Maggie’s left hand. “Come on show us the rock!”

Maggie wriggled her ring finger at Janet, “Sapphire! It’s beautiful. You are such a lucky girl.” Then turning to Richard, “And you’re a lucky man.” Richard just nodded his head.
“Once you have finished your drink sweetie.” Said Janet, “We’ll get these cases in the car and you can tell me all about what happened on the way home”


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