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“Angelo, I have a question for you,” pausing to gather my thoughts, I continued, “actually it's more of a suggestion.”
I was still unsure of how to bring up what I wanted to say to him without him damn near breaking up with me.
“I sold the car.”
“That was neither a question nor a suggestion. I gave you that as a present.”
My heart rate sped up. I knew it never would have been easy to tell him and that's why I'd procrastinated for so long. I couldn't help but feel a little bit guilty, I mean we'd only been together for a year and he'd already done more than enough for me.
True to his word, after I'd been passed up for the carer position because I had failed to provide a recommendation letter Angelo had put me in touch with his mother's friend, but I kind of felt some type of way about the whole him giving and giving and I just taking and taking so I had kindly turned down his offer and that was right about the same time that the kindergarten which I loved volunteering at approached me to be a temporary staff to cover another staff's maternity leave, no lie it was divine intervention.
But then as it happens, it comes to a certain time in a young adult's life where they feel trapped and want to venture off to carve their own path in life and be away from a mum who yelled when I didn't clean my room, or a dad, who despite me being nearly twenty years old, still wanted to know where I was going, who I was going with and when to be expected back home.
So one day, three months before my contract at the kindergarten was due to be over, I was at Angelo's house whining to him about my parents and once again he offered to get in contact with his mum's friend who happened to own an au pair agency, wait for it...in Spain.
Yes, for two months I'd been living it up as a nanny in sunny Spain, taking care of a hyper ten year old and a four year old Miss Diva who already expected the highest standard delivered from everyone and everything.
“I knew you'd react this way that's why I didn't tell you beforehand.”
“Of course I'm going to react this way. That car held a sentimental value for both of us.”
“Seriously Luciana, that was a serious ass hole move you pulled.”
By this time, I knew I had really hurt him – deeply. Angelo was never the one to mince his feelings, he made it known raw.
Sighing I let my eyes drift to the screen on my laptop where it was opened on the email that I had received earlier in the afternoon.
“How much did you get for the car?”
“Ninety-five thousand dollars,” I answered again fearing his reaction.
“When did you sell it?”
I'd had to basically beg my father to represent me, as the buyer had been in the States. He wasn't at all happy that I had decided to sell it, especially because both him and my mum had forked out money on the insurance so I had paid their money back and more.
“Angelo...are you there?”
Sighing heavily into the phone, he answered, “Yeah.”
Cars were such a big deal to him, I understood that and the fact that he had given it to me as a gift made it even more of a bigger deal to him. I would be the first one to admit I was being a hypocrite, for I knew for sure if I was in Angelo's shoes I wouldn't have had the best reaction either.
“Do you still love me?”
I had to refrain from using expletives because I was trying this new thing where I had been trying not to swear especially because I was taking care of young children, but hearing Angelo's reply had tempted me to forfeit my summer's resolution.
Taking a breath, I asked again.
“You knew how much that car meant to me.”
“And how much do I mean to you?”
“Ninety-five thousand dollars.”
With that I had cut off the phone, feeling my heart ablaze with hurt. We always bantered and he'd always be silly, but the way that he'd slipped the 'no' out casually was not cool and to say I only meant ninety five thousand dollar to him...he was crazy.
I got that he was still annoyed, but honestly once he gave it to me the car had become mine – I only told him out of respect. Within seconds, my phone started buzzing with calls from Angelo but I ignored all of them.
There were a lot of gorgeous Spanish guys and the most surprising thing was that I'd been approached by quite a few of them. I was still the same old Luciana, yet it appeared these guys saw something that I didn't see, or most likely they didn't see what I saw every morning when I woke up. Even though I'd been very flattered with the attention not once had I even entertained the idea of being with another guy.
The thought of breaking up with Angelo, broke my heart even without the deed been done. Nevertheless, he'd acted the asshole and for that reason I kept on ignoring his calls even as unbelievably hard it was to do so.
It was so weird because our relationship was still quite new in my eyes and I was still pretty much inexperienced when it came to relationships in general, so there have been times when I paused myself answering a text as soon as he'd texted me – I didn't want to seem too available but then thinking it to be childish of me I'd end up replying him.
The long-distance thing and six hour time-difference was not the greatest, I mean since I'd started work as an au pair he'd visited me three weeks before and had only been able to stay for two and a half days. He couldn't stay in Madrid for the summer because he had a summer placement at the hospital.
As I tried to take my mind off the argument with Angelo, I read over the email that I'd received earlier in the day – a job teaching English as a second language in Paris. My toes tingled in excitement as I read over the criminal record check documents I needed to submit. The contract of my job as an au pair was only for three months and as sad I'd be to be leaving the troublesome kids, I wanted to make more of my living. I wanted to see more. I felt like a caged bird that had finally been set free. I wasn't ready to go back to America.
Europe just freed me, yes I did get stares being the black girl with bantu knots but to be honest I felt special, for the first time in my life I revelled in the reality that I was the odd one out.
With the money that I'd gotten from the car, it was more than enough for me to live on as the work permit I'd been granted was only specifically for the job. The job again was only for three months so after that I'd be backpacking round Europe, sleeping in hostels with my friend Dominica, who was actually the one who told me about the job in France.
Round of applause for Luciana Esther Carter who has finally been able to make a friend. A Cape Verdean girl, I'd met her in the corridor at the language school after she caught me looking lost because I didn't know where my Spanish classes were being held and she'd shown me the way.
Pulling myself from my cloudy thoughts I'd texted her to find out when we could meet up so I could practise for my oral exam coming soon, when I'd done that I left the room and went to the kitchen to make myself a quick ham and cheese sandwich, which I ate whilst standing next to the sink.
The kids bedtime was at eight pm and it was just past nine but I still went to their respective rooms just to make sure that they were asleep because sometimes actually, often at times, I would check up on Little Miss Diva and she'd be surrounded with her dolls, talking to them. It was quite adorable but what was not to so adorable was when she refused to go to bed. At the beginning of my tenure at their house, I'd had to bribe her with some milk and cookies to sedate her to sleep.
Upon opening the door to her room, I held my breath hoping that she was not awake. Fortunately when I slipped my head in through the door she was sound asleep so I quickly shut the door back close.
Next was her brother's room, and as expected he was eagle spread on his bed in deep oblivion lightly snoring – he burned through so much energy in a day that by the time bed time rolled he was more than willing and never really put up a fuss like his sister.
Their rooms were next door to each other whilst mine was opposite and their parents was on the floor above. The mother was a journalist and father a bank manager so for obvious reasons they were busy people. They still made time for their children but I basically had most of the responsibility.
Going back to my room, I checked my phone and saw that I had two missed calls from Angelo which I reluctantly ignored and one missed call from Ivanna, the owner of the au pair agency. I hesitated in calling her back as even though she was Sara's friend, she intimidated me even though I'd only met her once, but her cutthroat honesty and flippant attitude made me think why she was more of a casting director.
The first time I'd met her she'd told me to drink water more often and wash my face twice a day to unclog my pores – I never asked her for any beauty advice. When I'd told Angelo that he'd laughed and said it was nothing to worry about that she just liked to add her two cents on everything – more like fifty cents.
Before wasting out the courage I had left, I called back Ivanna and as the phone rang I wondered why she called me personally because usually she'd pass down any message she had for me to her assistant who then forwarded it to me.
“Luciana, why is your boyfriend calling me to persuade you to pick up his phone calls?”
Of course as always, Ivanna dived straight to the deep end of the matter. I was not at all pleased with Angelo getting other people in to our personal business and he was not helping himself to get back in to my good books.
“Oh it doesn't matter, Ivanna. I'm sorry he bothered you.”
The way she asked, left no room for hedging, the more I thought about it, the more similarities I picked on between her and Sara.
“Angelo said something hurtful to me because I sold the car he gave me as my graduation gift,” I explained but then I wondered if he had said anything to her, “didn't Angelo already tell you what happened?”
“Yes, but of course there's three sides to every story – el suyo, la suya y la verdad. And the truth is that you both love each other so don't let stupid things said and done distract both of you from what's really important, okay?”
“Call him Luciana,” and with that she eneded the call, never the one to waste time.
Still mind-blown at how quick Ivanna had turned into a relationship counsellor, I followed her advice and put the Buttbag out of his misery.
The phone didn't ring up to three times before he picked it up, “Hey.”
“Hi,” I replied a little bit stiffly, “have you learnt your lesson?”
“I'm not a child Luciana.”
“I know that,” I said sighing deeply into the phone, knowing if I didn't switch up my attitute the bickering would commence, I started, “I-”
“What happens now?”
“You tell me.”
“I'm asking you.”
“Okay, first of all, why did you have to be telling others about our personal issues?”
“You weren't picking up the phone and I needed to speak to you.”
I quickly forgot about switching up my attitude, “Maybe if you thought about what comes out of your mouth before it actually comes out, I wouldn't have been ignoring your calls.”
For the next two minutes we argued some more, neither of us accepting our faults in why we were disagreeing to such an extent. I couldn't believe it had gotten to this. Flashbacks of the last time we'd gotten this heated really didn't help matters, because after that happened for the next four months we didn't talk – and I did not want a repeat of that. We loved each other and that was the truth.
“Angelo... I am sorry for upsetting you but I'm not sorry for selling the car. ”
“ I still don't understand why you sold it.”
“A much as I love your big heart it -- the car was just was a bit too much for me. And the fact that I never had peace of mind driving it when I was in the States for fear of crashing it or me having so many worries that someone around my neighbourhood was going to vandalise it didn't help matters either. You know it's true, you probably can count on your fingers how many times you saw me in it.”
Instead of him responding, I heard him sigh slowly as I got myself comfortable underneath the covers.“I've got more news to tell you.”
“I'm staying in Europe for longer than I had planned.”
I was the least happy with his response. “That's cool?”
“What have I done now?”
“You're supposed to be sad that you don't get to be with me.”
The rough chuckle that left his mouth, easily warmed up my core, “ I just can't get it right with you, can I?”
“No you can't,” and after a seconds thought I asked, “Should I be worried?”
Yes, my jealousy was blooming out of the root of my insecurities, but damn it was hard not to be a little worried.
“Worried about what?”
“I don't know...” my sudden shyness making my voice quieter than usual, “that you found someone else.”
“Please, I should be asking you that.”
“Not at all. You got the looks and I've got the brains, that's how our relationship works.”
“This is news to me.”
“Point proven, you catch up to things at the last minute.”
At what I said, he let out a belly laugh and then he proceeded to burp through the phone. “I just had the best enchilladas money can buy with -”
“I miss you.”
“Don't take this the wrong, actually that might be the wrong thing to say to what I'm about to ask, but I'll still go on ahead and ask it and run the risk of you getting pissed at me. Are you on your period?"