Home > Roman Crazy (The Broads Abroad #1)(5)

Roman Crazy (The Broads Abroad #1)(5)
Author: Alice Clayton, Nina Bocci

Nodding once in silent affirmation, I slammed the car into drive.

I was heading off to spend my second summer abroad.

ROME IS A BEAUTIFUL CITY. I’m pretty sure. I hoped one day to see it. Because right now, all I could see of it were the cobblestones below my feet, and the occasional look up to check a sign or a house number. Then back to the cobblestones, which appeared uneven because:

1. They likely were uneven.

2. Navigating cobblestones while wearing one stupidly high shoe and one recently lowered shoe was unwise at best.

Why did I wear heels on the plane? Ah yes, because I wanted to appear composed, polished, assured, perhaps even a bit worldly? But the heels that were cute while boarding the plane at Logan Airport had become very pretty torture devices by the time I landed in Rome. This was caused by both the saltiness of the airline meal and the amount of booze I’d consumed, which turned my cute feet into puffy pillows with toes. And now one of the heels was missing, after I’d stumbled on the Metro and left part of my shoe behind like some kind of half-assed Cinderella leaving bits and pieces all over Rome.

How the hell far up this street was Daisy’s apartment?

I stopped for a moment to roll my wrists out a bit, tired from dragging my rolling luggage. Something else not made for cobblestones. I tried to see them for what they were, small pieces of history laid down centuries ago by the ingenious Romans, determined to make their shining city on a hill a bastion of wealth and knowledge for the civilized world . . . they were not made, however, for rolly luggage.

I grabbed my bags, lowered my head, and started to rumble-roll again.

Eventually, I heard the pitter-patter of tiny feet, looked up through the pieces of greasy airplane hair that had fallen in front of my eyes, and saw the most beautiful sight I’d ever seen.

Daisy Miller, best friend and funny gal about town.

“Why the hell didn’t you call me? I’ve been worried sick! You were supposed to call me when you landed!” she called out, her long legs hurrying expertly over the cobblestones toward me.

Show-off . . .

I barely recognized Daisy coming at me, thanks to a newly acquired shock of blond hair cut into a chic bob. She nearly bowled me over, squeezing and hugging me while laughing out loud, exclaiming how happy she was to see me and how glad she was I was finally there. I saw all of this in fuzzy black and white because behind her, in full Technicolor with a dreamy soft focus lens, were two gorgeous men. And they were scooping up my luggage?

I noticed that Daisy was instructing them on the luggage scooping, directing them back toward her apartment.

“My neighbors. I had a feeling you’d have a ton of bags,” she explained as I watched in a daze.

Pack mules. She’d brought stunning, golden-skinned, raven-haired pack mules.

As I stood unevenly on the uneven cobblestones, looking at my best friend glowing like a Lite-Brite, the weight of the crazy decision and the airplane cocktails and the crowded Metro and the heel break and the jet lag all caught up with me and poured out of me in sudden tears.

“I know it doesn’t look like it,” I sniffed, “but I’m so glad to be here!”

* * *

“SO WHEN I HEARD all those wheels rolling across the cobblestones, I knew that had to be you.”

“Oh that’s nice,” I said, my voice still a little quivering and whiny post-Italian-Street-Side Breakdown. “You heard the sound of a stupid American rolling her stupid countless suitcases across the city and you thought, hey, I bet that’s my best friend.” I blew my nose into my tissue and waited for her to disagree with me.

“Pretty much.” But her grin softened her statement.

Inside her apartment, I let my head fall back against the plush cushion, her enormous couch enveloping and cocooning me in the loveliest of ways. Feet propped up on a stack of pillows and beginning to slightly depuff, I let my tired eyes roam around her apartment, taking in the beautiful oak beams soaring overhead, the terra-cotta-tiled floor, the archways that seemed to curve and beckon from every corner. Pretty tables and occasional chairs spilled across the wide living room, haphazard and unmatching, yet somehow coming together in this sweet room filled with bits and bobs of her travel-filled life. Warm sunlight poured through tall windows, one giant patch where the French doors were thrown open to the postage-stamp-size terrace with a promising view.

“Besides the cheating, the monster-in-law smackdown, and flying four thousand miles to escape Boston, anything else interesting going on?”

“That’s not enough?” I asked.

She shrugged. “It’s conversation. I’m trying to keep you coherent.”

“I see. Well, I was almost pickpocketed on the Metro. It’s right out of a guidebook for American tourists! And the guy seemed so helpful, too, I nearly let myself get played.”

“So, nothing is missing?” Daisy said. “Please tell me you didn’t have your passport in your pocket.”

“No, that’s in my tote bag, and I’ve got copies packed into each suitcase.”

“Smart. A bit of an overkill, but smart.”

“Hey, I grew up on the mean streets of Wellesley,” I said, pretending to pop my collar.

“Ha! Something tells me that no one has ever called any street in Wellesley ‘mean.’ Be grateful you’ve traveled a lot and know how not to be that tourist.”

I frowned. “Mr. Pickpocket did get my favorite lipstick, and a Starlight mint.” I patted down my other pockets, assuring myself once more that he hadn’t gotten anything else.

“A Starlight mint huh?” she asked, and I rolled my eyes.

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