We spent all afternoon searching for cheap craft supplies for constructing all manner of Barbie furniture and housing. Lord help me, my house is covered in cardboard, contact paper, scrapbook paper, glue, and tape!
They flew back the next day. Gisella was very happy to be in her domain again. She ruled the roost in Anna’s house. Anna began writing her third book and Gisella took care of everything else. Anna dove fully into the world of Pseumish and did not come out for several days. Gisella found her staring blankly at the computer screen as she was pondering her character’s choice words. “Anna! You must get out and get some fresh air. Go to the market and get me some fresh apples and carrots.” Anna turned to Gisella and thought for a moment, “Yes, that would be a good idea. I need air.” She took a shower and pulled her hair up loosely. She dressed in comfortable clothes and left for the market, basket in hand. Anna reveled in the rows of fresh produce and the happy faces of the vendors. It was all so beautiful. She found some appetite enticing apples and asked for a kilo. The farmer gladly filled her basket with a kilo and a little extra “for the beautiful lady.” She moved on down the row to find some nice carrots. “This sure beats superstore produce,” she thought. As she was honing in on a stand with gorgeous carrots, she notice a familiar man walking up the same row. It was Dr. Marino. He was as handsome as ever and looked so incredibly attractive with his large basket and obvious knowledge of produce selection. Soon after she spotted him, he saw her. She turned and pretended not to see him while she began her transaction with the carrot vendor. “Anna, darling, how are you? When did you return from London?” Here he was full of questions again. “I am well. We had a good time,” she replied. He looked into her eyes and she felt she ought to tell him the truth. “Carlo, I got a divorce.” She could plainly see that he was trying desperately not to look too excited. “I’m so sorry,” he said and then hugged her tightly. The vendor chuckled as Carlo was making faces of triumph behind her back. “I hope you don’t think I’m rude, but I really need to get these things home to my housekeeper,” she said when he finally released her. “Of course, please do what you must. I will come to see you soon,” he replied. He kissed her and turned to finish his own errands. The carrot vendor started raising his eyebrows and teasing her. She paid quickly and jogged home trying not to spill her apples and carrots. When she delivered her purchases to Gisella, she said, “Ah see there, the air did you good. You have good color now.” Anna blushed, “I don’t think it was the air. I ran into Carlo at the market and we will just say he was quite happy to see me.” Gisella winked and then took the basket from Anna. She went back to her computer, but was too distracted to be creative. She sat back in her chair and closed her eyes. “Why do his kisses feel so….so……sensual?” she thought. She had experienced a wide range of kisses from her two husbands, but nothing came close to Carlo’s loaded kisses. Her first husband seemed to kiss her out of obligation and her second as a stepping stone to other corporal pursuits. When Carlo kissed her though, the whole world got fuzzy. She shook herself hoping to forget the feeling of his perfect lips. Her internal wrestling was soon interrupted by a hungry baby. She took Amalia to the chaise and got comfortable. She turned on the tv and started to nurse her. The local news was comical to Anna. They were absolutely scraping the barrel for stories to present. Today they were pestering a man with four dogs. They were asking how he could possibly manage that many. Anna chuckled and changed the channel. She found an old Friends rerun in Italian. “This ought to be funny,” she thought. Amalia did not mess around with her meal and was completely finished before the second commercial break of the show. Anna turned off the tv, took her sleeping baby to her crib, and went back to her room. She turned the wedding ring on her finger several times and then took it off. She placed it in the bottom of her special wooden box and closed the lid. She rested her head on her tall dresser for a moment before heading back to her computer. She had never dreamed back in Clements that she would have experienced so much emotional conflict in her life time; much less just a couple of years. “Moving onward,” she said out loud. She sat down at her desk and began to read her last paragraph. She suddenly felt inspired again and started typing with purpose. Perhaps it was the thought about Clements motivating her again. Whatever it was, it worked. She finished the chapter she was working on and did two more that evening.
The following day, she rose early and went for a jog. She had a little more jiggle since having Amalia and she wanted to expunge it from the record of her body. She came home feeling refreshed and then showered. Gisella had her coffee and granola ready when she came to the kitchen. “Thank you, dear, you know I can’t live without you,” she said. Gisella blushed and smiled. She acted busy to cover her embarrassment. Anna was still standing in the kitchen when the door bell rang. She looked at Gisella, “Who could that be?” Gisella ran to answer the door. When she returned she had Carlo in tow. She winked at Anna and then disappeared into her room. “How are you, beautiful?” he asked as he came close to her and began kissing her face. She suddenly had absolutely no voice. He put his arms around her and kissed her mouth. Her knees were starting to buckle when a voice inside her told her to get a hold of herself. She pushed him away lightly and said, “Would you like some coffee? Gisella has just made some. You can tell me about work and whatever.” He looked a bit perturbed at her obvious brush off, but he said he would take some coffee. They sat together on the sofa by the front window. Anna felt a little more comfortable sitting where there was lots of sunlight. Carlo drank his coffee and chatted about work and “whatever” as if to say he would be willing to play her game if it meant he would get a reward. After a while he set his cup on the side table and scooted over to her. “My darling, you must let me give you the affection that your body needs. You are no longer married and so now I am free to treat you like a queen,” he said with a soft and tempting voice. “I’m just not ready for that,” she said while glancing down. He seemed to catch her meaning and said, “It’s ok, I will go as slowly as you like.” She knew in her heart that he would not like how slowly she wanted to go. As in, she didn’t want him to sleep with her….ever. She knew this Italian prince did not have it in his DNA to be faithful to her and that was what she morally required. Besides, she still had James in her heart and did not want a rebound relationship. He was persistent and came week after week, taking his affections to the brink of his goal. She would always shut him down and chill the mood with explanations of needing to feed the baby, or some other chore. It was all she could do to resist him. Every touch and every kiss from him seem to go directly to her arousal nerves. She hadn’t felt this way before. After he left, she would have to go take a cold shower before she would feel normal again. The next week, she told Gisella in no uncertain terms that she was not to leave her alone with Carlo. “He wants more than I want to give him,” she said. Gisella understood and did her best, but when the baby required her attention, she left Anna defenseless. He was even more aggressive than usual. “Please, my love, I want you. You are just teasing me to make me wait so long,” he said. “Good things come to those who wait,” she said. She didn’t know why she said it, since she was never going to give him what he was craving. She knew that although she loved his attention and affection, she needed to break off their relationship. “Why is it men see me as a conquest? I guess they are not used to being told no,” she thought that night. The following day, she had some errands to run in town. She turned a corner to go to the office supply store when she saw Carlo. He was not alone. He had a young Italian woman in a full embrace and was kissing her passionately. As Anna watched, he even squeezed the woman’s backside as if he had been there many times. Anna pulled out her phone and took a picture. This was the perfect ammunition to make him stop coming to her house. Instead of feeling hurt, she felt satisfaction that she had called this player for what he was and had guarded herself. She finished her errands and went home. She showed Gisella the picture and told her about the young woman. “That beast! You are much prettier than her!” Gisella said indignantly. “It is okay, Gisella. I didn’t love him and I am better off without a man in my life right now,” she said. The next time he came to the house, Gisella let him in with a smile knowing that Anna was about to drop a huge bomb on him. He walked swiftly up to Anna and tried to kiss her mouth, but she turned and gave him her cheek. “Come, I have something I would like to show you,” she said with a cunning look on her face. She had blown up the picture of Carlo and his amore to an eight by ten size and printed it off. As she put the picture in front of him, his face turned an ashy gray. “Oh mio Dio!” he said. He began to stumble and stammer and for once was speechless. “You have been sweet to come and visit me, but I would prefer that you not come here ever again,” she said very calmly. Gisella was watching from behind a door and was trying hard not to laugh out loud. Carlo simply nodded and waved as he backed himself down the stairs and out the door. Anna and Gisella then laughed heartily at his dumbfounded expression.
From that day, Anna felt a freedom she hadn’t known before. She purposed in her heart not to pursue a relationship with a man and not to let them pursue her for a very long time. She was happy and had a perfect little family with Amalia and Gisella. She took every opportunity to enjoy her daughter and loved her more than life. Amalia was such a sweet baby and had Anna’s brown hair. One day as she and Gisella were taking Amalia for a walk with the stroller, Anna took a deep breath and said, “I am in love!” Gisella stopped and gave her a confused look. Anna laughed and said, “I am in love with Italy!” Gisella smiled and walked on. She was glad that Anna was finding happiness.
this book is copyrighted.