The last few days being separated were filled with emotion reaching from excitement to worry to then hope.
Everyone had a lot to think about whether that would be new friends or the same as usual. They all knew that there was going to be new aspects to things whether they liked it or not.
Alberto and Luca both had never had this much going on at once in their life.
Especially Luca who had spent his whole existence under his mother's strict rules.
Sure Alberto had lived on the same island in the same tower his whole childhood, but he was still more free to do what he wanted with his father not taking very good care of him, but Alberto didn't want to think about it.
He was already nervous enough as is so he didn't need to open up any old wounds.
Giulia was already used to going back and forth between school, but now she had something different to look towards when she got back. She had a brother now and with her growing up to be the only child it was hard to wrap her head around even with her being very open-minded about it. She knew it was going to take time to get used to.
Luca's chest started to heal, but he again didn't manage to say anything not wanting to be annoying and worry them. He was honestly surprised that Nico was even possible to leave such a visible mark with just one punch, but Luca was happy that's where it all ended.
If that was the damage he could do with only that Luca didn't even want to know what he was capable of doing.
Maria still hadn't found out which was a good thing and made things much easier.
Nico did show up to taunt them and to say warnings of what he was going to do if
they tried something with him.
Vivia now had a better understanding of what they had meant about him earlier and she was now in the 'Nico hate club' as Giulia described it.
To Luca hat
e was a very strong word to just be tossed around, but that did give an accurate definition of his thought towards him.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
As the letter came in the mail Alberto almost hit his head on a door because he was excited and bounced all over the place.
He claimed to Giulia's and his hideout which was his go-to place to read the letters and write replies.
The branches and leafs changed directions as Alberto accidentally bumped into them with his elbows on his way.
He sat down on the wooden platform and opened the letter.
He noticed the drawings first and the fact that they looked different from Luca's or Giulia's drawings.
Alberto had a habit of always looking at the pictures that were doodled on the sides since his reading skills still were the same as a first-grader, but it didn't stop him from reading them.
Or at least trying to read them.
His expression changed as he read the new message.
So they got a friend.
"But what if they replace you with her. She's going to be with them more often than you."
The annoying voice was back. It always lurked in the depths of Alberto's mind never fully going away just waiting for a moment where he felt lonely or weak.
"They're not going to forget me, they wouldn't!"
"It is not something they would do. And Luca said her necklace reminded him of..." Alberto paused gazing far in front of him as the realization finally hit him.
Did Luca meet someone new and think about Alberto? He didn't have any motive he just did it for the sake of thinking about him.
This made Alberto's self melt.
He tried to collect himself, but he felt so happy he was just a smiling mess.
Someone voluntarily thought about him and that person just happened to be one of the most important people in his life.
Alberto flopped down on the floor hugging the letter as close to him as he could kicking the air.
He felt so incredibly happy he didn't know how to even handle it.
But even though the excitement the questions still pushed through his mind.
But the main one was "why?"
He hadn't done anything to be remembered like this. He thought about Luca all the time and didn't think of it as much of a deal but now that Luca was thinking about him like this it made him incredible of stopping himself from grinning from ear to ear at the piece of paper.
He opened his eyes took a deep breath letting the salty air take over him and leaned back up.
He still hadn't finished the rest of it so he needed to do that.
He read it slowly but surely. He was still smiling like the idiotic boy that he was but dropped it as he read about Nico.
He huffed and rolled his eyes.
"Why on earth do people like him exist? Idiota, like one Ercole, wasn't enough." He thought to himself.
He was now very annoyed at knowing Nico was a person, but he couldn't do anything about it, but if Nico got physical with Luca Alberto would just lose it.
He couldn't stay mad for long as he started to smile again unable to control the joy bubbling up in his chest.
He was lucky that the start of the letter made Alberto so cheerful.
He read the start of the letter again and stopped at the part where Luca told about how Giulia had teased him about missing Alberto.
A giggle escaped from his throat as he could so easily imagine Giulia doing that. She likes to playfully annoy her friends but doesn't want to cause any actual harm to them.
Alberto just sat there gazing at the note and the scenery and the kids playing around or swimming in the shallow water.
He gasped remembering he was supposed to be life-guarding today, he had lost track of time feeling so excited about the new letter.
He quickly gathered everything he had brought up to the hid out even though it wasn't very much and almost fell off the tree as he went back in through the window.
He looked around the room while placing the note on a table. He started to shuffle around the chest he used to put everything in looking for tape.
He soon found what he was looking for then taped the paper on the wall next to the other ones.
Alberto rummaged through the piles of clothes on the floor looking for his uniform.
It wasn't that different from what he usually wore. It consisted of a red tank top with 'salvataggio' written on it with white letters, a whistle, and shorts but Alberto used his brown ones since they were easier to move in and more comfortable in general.
He was already wearing the shorts so he just needed to change his top.
He took his shirt off and threw the red one on.
Alberto took his whistle dropped it on the floor ones, pretended he didn't and started to walk down the stairs.
Massimo was out somewhere Alberto didn't remember where he went but he didn't do anything with that information anyways.
He grabbed a pen and wrote a note to Massimo telling him he was at the beach if he needed him with something.
With that Alberto ran out the door.
When he got to the seashore one adult was waiting for him.
"Sorry I'm late I lost track of time." Alberto apologized a tiny bit out of breath as he stopped in front of the adult.
"Well, at least you showed up." He said starting to pack his stuff in his bag and starting to walk closer to the street.
"Good luck." He said then stopping as Alberto looked at him tilting his head.
"Not like you'll need it or anything just saying. It's a habit of mine" the adult said and chuckled awkwardly.
They waved at each other and went in their ways.
"ALBERTO, YOU'RE BACK!" he soon heard behind him as he turned his head.
Before he could say anything a kid was hugging onto his leg.
"Yes, I came back." He laughed and bend down to ruffle the kid's hair.
"Can you splash water on us with your tail?" The kid said letting go of his leg.
"Heh, we'll see."
"Please, please, please!" A few more children chanted from the side.
"Okay fine I will." Alberto said playfully shrugging his shoulders.
A boy took Alberto's hand and started dragging him deeper into the water but Alberto stopped close to the beach so they didn't go too deep.
He dove under the surface and came back up as the small kids stared at him in awe.
"Here we go, but don't come too close I don't want to accidentally hit you in the face." Alberto announced lifting his tail and splashing down on the water as the young swimmers cheered.
They were always excited to get splashed on.
A lot of the kids saw Alberto as a role model or a big brother which made Alberto's chest flutter as he felt important.
The first time a child told him he was her role model and that she wanted to be like him when she got older Alberto almost started crying out of her pure innocence.
He enjoyed being around younger people and his childlike mindset made it easy for him to get along with them.
He was there doing his duty for at least a few hours.
He found himself constantly thinking about the letter and how the underdogs were going to reunite in only two days.
The nervousness that lingered in his mind spread itself into every fraction of his body.
One thing that had changed currently was the hope that now bloomed like a flower pushing through concrete to feel a fiber of light.
He had admitted it before multiple times but now that the day was coming closer and closer he understood just how
much he missed being in their small group of weird kids.
He was sitting in the sand promising not to swing his tail around anymore after he did unfortunately whack someone. She was about 8 so she didn't get very hurt or she didn't want to acknowledge it.
Alberto did need the luck the last lifeguard had wished him and it was fortunate that the girl only got a bruise on his bicep but Alberto still decided it was better to stop for the day.
He felt really bad about it, but again he couldn't do anything about the things that happened.
The waves crashed against the sand and small pebbles leaving a white trail behind them but soon the next wave hit and wiped the seafoam off leaving new ones.
If only he could stay in that nice position for hours just watching people and the clouds go by him or the blue ocean dancing around singing its gentle songs.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ The next day in Genova
"WHAT!?" Giulia shouted throwing her arms to her sides. Then slapping her hand over her mouth not wanting her mother to hear her.
"Do you want to get in trouble?!"
"No! I was just wondering." Luca sighed twirling the thickest curl on his forehead.
"I'm sorry I just," Giulia said calming herself sitting down.
She signed "If we say anything about Nico to the teachers he would end us. He'd just-" she said cutting herself off mid-sentence making a sliding motion with her fingers over her neck and dropping her head on her shoulder.
"I know, I know." Luca whispered feeling bitter about the whole thing.
"But he hurt you AND insulted Alberto we can't just let him be!" He continued loudening his voice in irritation.
"Luca I'm fine. You're the one he punched. I don't care that much if I get in trouble, but you
are at greater risk with him." She said putting her hands on his shoulders and locking eyes with him.
"If either of us gets in a fight it better be me." She said with a thin but reassuring smile.
Luca looked back at her the cracked a grin.
"Are you calling me weak?"
"No of course not!" She said smiling stronger herself, fitting her hands off of Luca. "I mean you're a sea creature you're so much stronger than me."
"I wouldn't say that either." He said truthfully.
"And besides today is the last day of school and I don't want to make it bad for you, Vivia, or me." Giulia ended the discussion by taking her bag off the ground and getting up.
"Don't remind me it's the last day. I don't like to think about it." Luca told starting to trail off as he said the last sentence.
Giulia stopped in her tracks and turned on her heels. As she turned Luca's and her noses were almost touching with how close she was.
"Are you scared to go back? I thought you wanted to get to Portorosso as soon as possible." She gave Luca more room but still watched him.
want to go back, but what if Alberto doesn't want to be friends anymore after I left to come here." Luca let out swinging his arms around
"I know he sends letters back to us but what if he's doing it just to be nice?"
The redhead stayed quiet waiting for Luca to continue.
"He was so hurt by me wanting to come here. I- ugh! It's complicated."
He looked out the window at the empty sky and the houses that were colored with neutral or cool hues unlike the bright warm ones in Portorosso.
"Trust me Luca if he wouldn't want to see you again he would have stopped contact with us," Giulia comforted eyeing Luca's sad and pained expressions.
"And he would have a hard time avoiding me since we kinda live in the same house now and I will constantly be with you so..." She said kidding around.
"Still! I have to leave him again as the summer ends and it's going to be like that over and over again." Luca said now with a trembling voice.
He blinked forcing his tears to stay in his eyes.
"That boy would do anything for you." Giulia said with a breath putting a loose hair strand behind her ear.
Luca looked at her baffled "what do you mean?"
"come Puoi essere così ciecoanta." She muttered to herself
"You're my best friend so I say this with all love but are you dumb?" She questioned pitching her nose bridge.
"Have you seen the way he is around you? He gave up his dream to make you happy. He would die for you!"
"Now let's go we don't want to be late do we?" She said now walking to the entrance leaving Luca to question all he heard by himself.
Luca was snapped out of his thoughts as he heard a thump and his eyes shot up to see Giulia disappear into the next room before he could even say anything.Later at school
"I want to stay in connection throughout summer even though we're in different places." Vivia said looking in the distance clearly thinking about something.
"I was going to ask you that too," Giulia answered back to her tracing Vivia's side profile with her gaze as the dark-haired girl looked in the other direction.
"But you beat me at asking about it first."
Vivia nodded her head now turning to look back at Giulia giving her a friendly look. Giulia turned her head away from Vivia and Luca swore he saw a tint of blush on her cheeks.
He was lost in thought shortly after that again.
Vivia soon turned to face Luca which he noticed only when she started to speak.
"You've been really silent, are you okay?"
"Y-yeah I'm," he began as Giulia turned to also look at him. "Okay. Just gloomy that we're not going to see each other until school starts again. We just met."
"You're not the only friend he's worried about." Giulia blurted out putting her arms on the back of her neck and bending her head backward.
Vivia straightened her shirt guessing what Giulia met but couldn't think about anything better to say except "Huh? Oh, do you mean..." She tried to remember what the boy's name was "Alberto?"
"It's going to go well you two seemed very close by the way you talked about him."
"They are." Giulia nodded adding her part in the chat.
The three of them were now not only together the whole day but also exchanged home phone numbers and where they were going to send their letters.
They did share a hug at the end.
As the day ended and Luca and Giulia got home they started to already pack even though the train left at mid-day so even on the next day they would've had time to get everything ready.
They spent a lot of time with Maria since they weren't going to see her for a month. She was a little bit sad that she wasn't going to see the energetic kids.
When it was time to sleep Luca didn't feel like he should even try knowing he wouldn't be able to.
He was right he barely slept at all. Just everything was running through his mind. His parent's reactions to him being taller his glasses all the knowledge he had gotten. What was Alberto going to think will Machiavelli not like him?
Why was he even thinking if a cat was going like him, he didn't know but he just had too much in his brain.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Today was the day.
Alberto shot up as soon as he woke up.
Machiavelli who had snuck into the room lunged up at the sudden movement of Alberto.It's today. They're coming back today. It's today
! It. Is. Today!
His head was shouting at him. What if I mess up or my nightmare comes true?
Alberto's shoulders rose to his ears and then dropped down.
He sat on his bed eyes shut breathing in and out slowly calming himself.
He had so many mixed emotions.
Luca had pretty much the same reactions as Alberto. Neither knew it but somehow it still happened.
"Luca, you're shaking are you sick?" Maria asked as he and Giulia came down to eat.
"I'm really nervous. It's my first time in a year seeing my parents or Alberto. I've never been away from home for this long."
They talked as Luca bounced his leg every once and a while.
Luca and Giulia were soon standing in front of the train station with their bags on the ground in front of them.
"Okay," Giulia said the sounds of the station blending together in the background making her voice not very clear.
"Here we go. Are you ready?"
Luca hummed feeling his heart pound against his ribs. "Maybe."
"It's going to go well you have nothing to worry about. Just understand that you might be overthinking." Maria said standing behind them.
"Addio mamma see you again after summer!" Giulia said hugging Maria
"Arrivederci, signora Marcovaldo thank you for letting me stay with you." Luca thanked her.
"No problem, it was fun having you here." She said letting go of Giulia.
Maria then unexpectedly wrapped her arms around both of them and said "I just have to squeeze you one more time."
Luca and Giulia smiled and hugged her back but they had to hurry to get on the train on time.
They waved to Maria stepped on the train, put their bags on the bag deck and sat down.
And so their way to Portorosso began.3333 words