“Goodness, you spend a lot of time with those bambinos,” said Jim one morning as Luca cuddled his son.
“Well times have changed Babbo,” said Luca. “Some men actually think it’s okay to actively help raise their children.”
“If you say so.”
“You might want to try it, Nonno. You live here with us, it wouldn’t kill you to change a diaper.”
“I’m just glad the basement will be done soon,” said Jim. “That way all the crying won’t keep me up at night. But I hear you. I guess giving you what amounts to a brand new house isn’t sufficient, now I have to do more? And women’s work at that? You’ve gotten soft since you left Veronaville.”
“I am not soft.”
“Okay, okay, don’t get your panties in a bunch.”
Luca had what some might describe as a difficult relationship with his father. But he always felt that his father meant well. Jim had his values and his priorities, and he simply wanted to make sure Luca was prepared to follow in his footsteps. And one thing was for certain. No one knew how to throw money at a problem like Jim did. It was a privilege and responsibility Luca hoped to have one day.
The day Luca and Daniella moved in, they agreed home was nice enough, it was just builder grade and plain, but Luca never had any problems with it. However, it was not Liz’s dream home.
Jim gave her a good chunk of money, and found her a great contractor to work with and bring her vision to life. She was impressed and asked how he was able to find such talent even though he didn’t live in Windenburg. Jim’s only response was that he “knows some guys in construction.” It wasn’t long before the three of them were standing outside, looking at the country cottage–with her orchard on the side–of Liz’s dreams.
“It’s… it’s perfect!” Liz was in awe of her new home, and she was so grateful that her father-in-law had made it happen. “I can’t believe this is where I get to live.”
“Believe it sweetheart,” said Jim as they all walked into the house. “You’re a Holloway now. We make things happen for each other when we can. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to retire to my wonderfully private bedroom. You kids have fun christening the place.”
Once Jim walked away, Luca turned to his wife. “I’ve got an idea.”
“Oh my watcher, no,” said Liz. “We’re not ‘christening the place’ right now, if only because your dad suggested it. Ew.”
“No, that’s not what I meant. You say this place finally feels like home, right?”
“Oh yes, This place feel like it could be my forever home. I want to run through the streets telling everyone that the Holloways are living on the Windenburg coast forever!”
“I figured you were thinking something along those lines,” said Luca. “So I think you should do it. In fact I dare you to do it.”
Liz laughed and said, “okay, I’ll do it! You think I’m gonna back down from your dare? Today I’m gonna be the crazy lady screaming in the streets I guess.”
“You didn’t let me finish,” said Luca. “I dare you to do it naked.”
“You’re daring me to streak? In public, where all of our neighbors and random passersby can see me? You want the mother of your children to be seen, naked, by all those people?”
“When you put it that way, hell yes,” said Luca. “You’re always wearing the loose fitting clothes, I don’t think they know how hot you really are. So are you gonna do it?”
“You know what? I’m am going to do it. I’ve never been one to turn down a dare.”
Liz didn’t actually expect to see anyone while she was out streaking. She felt relief that at least she didn’t recognize the woman who was watching her so closely. She made herself feel better by thinking about how she’d probably never see that woman again.
While she was gone, Luca stood in the house looking around his new open plan living space. He had learned more than he ever wanted to know about how putting red and pink together was a bold, and not at all girly, design choice. He never would’ve chosen this for his forever home, but it made his wife happy. And she tried to keep him happy by going along with him, even when he did something as ridiculous as daring her to streak, so what could he have to complain about?
He looked around and smiled. It wasn’t his idea of perfect, but it was pretty damn close.