Art Trip

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  No Houses

Chapter 9 (v.4) - Chapter 9

Submitted: January 26, 2018

Reads: 158

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Submitted: January 26, 2018

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Maggie looked at her phone on the shop counter to see an email had arrived. Seconds later the same message flashed on her computer screen. She glanced across to see it was from Giovanni. Maggie was still busy with a customer, she knew it was just a confirmation email and so would read it later. Once her customer had left the shop and seeing there were no-one over at Richards side, she flipped the door sign to ‘Closed’. Time for lunch.

They both had a busy morning. Richard had sold three paintings totalling £20.000 and Maggie sales for the morning were just under £3,000. She even manged to sell that large book in the window which she found some months ago in a builder’s skip. It was a beautiful pen and ink architectural book depicting churches from Europe during the 1800’s.

She remembered going in after it. The book was lying exposed to the elements with the front cover detached and lying under some bricks. Maggie kicked off her shoes and clambered in after it. She returned to the bookshop covered in brick dust with the book and cover under her arm. Once her friend Josie, who had a restoration business, managed to attach new end papers and re-bind the cover, the book looked brand new. It had been in the window taking pride of place ever since and that morning it sold for £500.

With the shop now closed for lunch, Richard came over to her as she was about to read Giovanni’s email:

Dear Maggie,
We here at the book festival appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to be one of our guest speakers. Please note the festival runs from 4th June to 8th June and your appointment as speaker will be on 5th June at 14.30GMT at your accommodation, Hotel Albani Firenze.

We have arranged two rooms for your stay, one for you and one for Mr Richard Maple at the Hotel Albani Firenze from Saturday 2nd to the 8th June. Check-in upon your arrival.

You e-ticket for your return flight from London Gatwick to Florence is attached below.

On behalf of Signore Giovanni Rossi
Grazie Mille

Maggie hit the print button and her ink-jet printer came to life.

That afternoon was going to be a hot one, so Richard thought it would be a good idea to take a full lunch hour out the back in the courtyard. Maggie went to Mike’s Deli to fetch their sandwiches and get a little something at the off-licence as a toast to Italy. She also popped into the opticians to collect her repaired glasses.

When she got back, Richard had dragged out the patio set from the shed and erected the two sun-lounges with parasols one either side of the little bistro table. By the time Maggie came into the little courtyard the midday temperature was pushing twenty-five degrees Celsius. She was wearing her prescription Ray-Ban sunglasses carrying their lunch and a bottle of wine.

“Hello, what’s this?” said Richard as he spied the bottle. “You must be filling better after last night.”
She smiled, “Just thought a little toast to a good morning of sales plus our trip to Florence.” She placed their lunch on the table while Richard went to find some glasses.

She kicked off her shoes and laid out on one of the reclining chairs. With her head back against the pillow she soon began to drift away listening to the distant traffic. She soon woke-up when Richard came back with the two glasses. “I could only find these cheap goblets, must have been left over from when we opened the shop last year.”

The cork in the bottle squeaked has Richard began to twist it off with the corkscrew. There soon came a satisfying pop followed by a small puff of fermented gas. He slowly poured out two glasses of Chardonnay and handed one to Maggie. “To Florence.” They both said together clinking their glasses.

The wine soon hit the spot, and Maggie thought of suggesting they remained closed for the rest of the day and just sit out here. She took a bite of her sandwich and hitched up her skirt to above her knees. Richard couldn’t help but look across; she did have wonderful legs he thought. Maggie saw him looking, “I don’t want white legs going to Italy.” She said.
“You don’t want burnt ones either.” replied Richard.
She was loving this, being out here was really putting her in the mood for Florence. It was only two weeks to go and there were tons to do. First, she needed to see if Janet could cover the shop. She tried phoning her but it just went to her voice mail.

Thankfully, her passport was unto date, not sure about Richards that needs to be checked. Then there was the matter of her wardrobe, she was not going to the fashion capital of the Europe wearing clothes made by WallMart. She needed to shop.

Richard was also thinking about Florence, this was such a big deal for their small business. Most of the clients they dealt with liked to be anonymous which he totally got, especially with the amount of money involved. But now two of their clients were asking them back. Richard and Maggie were becoming recognized as experts in their field, if they made this a success then their names will spread throughout the antique fraternity.

But there was something he had to do first, something that should have been done a long time ago.
“Maggie?”
“Hmm.” She was stretched out on the lounger half-awake half asleep.
He paused for a moment, he was going to end this charade. Enough was enough he was going to tell her, once and for all.
“I’m listening”
“Florence”
“The place or the girl on the Magic Roundabout” giving him a smile.
“I want us to have a good time there, I don’t want anything getting in the way.”
She now perched herself up onto her elbows looking at him trying to work out what he was talking about.
“I don’t want any regrets.” he said
“What do you mean, you’re talking in crossword clues again.” replied Maggie.
“US, I don’t want US to have any regrets.”
Maggie sat up right. “Regrets about what?”
“Oh blimey, you’re not making this easy.”
“Making what easy, I don’t...”
“Damn it Maggie, I love you!”

The most powerful three words ever exchanged between two people had cast its spell. The course of events for both their lives was now on a different path to the one they were on only two seconds ago. They were both now sailing in uncharted waters.

Richard sat on the edge of his lounger looking across to her. She was trapped like a rabbit in the headlights unable to move waiting for Richards words to hit with full impact.
“I have always loved you Maggie Harris, and I always will love you. Now if you...”
He never did finish his sentence, Maggie came over to him and placed her hands gently on either side of his cheeks and pushed her lips hard against his.

Her kiss was sensual and passionate, the strength of her embrace around the man she loved was overwhelming. She was determined to stay in that moment of ecstasy all afternoon, nothing outside their world was going to rob them of this.

Maggie was extremely short-sighted without her glasses, but this close to Richard she could see the sun reflect in his tears. Still with her hands on his cheeks, Maggie gently wiped his eyes with her thumbs. One of his tears escaped the teardrop cull and run down her bright red nail varnish before seeping under her silver thumb ring.

“You beautiful man,” she whispered, “I love you too.” Her vision became blurred as her tears fell in unison with Richards.

 “I didn’t want to go to Florence regretting not having told you I loved you." he said, "I want this trip not to be all about business. I want it to be about us too.”

Maggie hugged him and stroked the back of his head, running her fingers through his fair hair.
“We’ll have a good time me and you, I can promise you that.”  

 


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