The Lombardi Emeralds – Episode 11

The sound of a door banging open broke the silence. Rebecca whirled into the room.

“Nonno,” she berated Auguste. “What are you doing?”

“I am having tea with my charming companion, May.” Although he spoke politely to Rebecca, May sensed he was annoyed by the interruption.

“I’d like a cup, too.” She clicked her fingers and indicated to May that she was to pour one out for her. “No milk and a

slice of lemon.”

“Really, Rebecca, if you would like a cup of tea you must serve yourself. May is my guest.”

Rebecca thumped the teapot back down on the tray with a sulky pout and reaching out, grabbed a slice of apricot sponge off the cake stand. Not bothering with a plate or one of the laundered linen serviettes provided she crammed the cake into her mouth in two bites.

“Rebecca addresses me as her nonno,” Auguste explained, “but she is not my granddaughter and I am not her grandfather. Alas, I have no grandchildren

– a cause of great regret to me.”

“My mother told me you were down at the autodromo this morning.” Rebecca commenced another verbal attack on May. “Vin drove me down.”

“What did you think of it?” Auguste enquired.

“I could see you have invested a lot of time and money to make it a thriving business,” May replied.

“It has been my life’s work.” Auguste sounded tired. “If I have saved one young life then it has been successful.”

“What’s your interest in the autodromo?” Rebecca demanded, still glaring at May.

“I don’t have one.”

“Why are you here? Has she told you, Nonno, Vin caught her prowling around outside the villa gates? She was up to no good, yet here she is having tea with you.

You are far too trusting.”

“Please, I would like to rest.” Auguste briefly closed his eyes. “Perhaps you would leave?”

“You’ve tired him out,” Rebecca hissed, manhandling May out of the room.

“I did no such thing,” May objected.

“Next time you are asked to tea, run it past me or my mother first. No-one gets to see Nonno without our say so.”

With an ugly look on her face Rebecca stalked away.

Backin her studio May saw another dress, bag and accessories had been placed on her bed. The latest programme of activities on her bedside table indicated more guests were due to arrive for an evening concert of classical music. She toyed briefly with the idea of deserting the villa and heading home. She had made little headway with her investigations and her presence was clearly unsettling Rebecca.

She sat on the bed for a moment and tried to gather her thoughts.

Auguste had shown her nothing but kindness and May’s conscience told her it would be unfair to him and discourteous in the extreme to disappear without a word, but his questions about her past had deepened her suspicions.

She was convinced something had happened here and that was the reason she had been born in Milan, but several other questions remained unanswered.

Who was her father? What was Florence’s connection to Tish? Why would her mother never talk about her past? What could she be hiding?

May’s fingers brushed against the material of the midnight blue crushed satin dress. Another more uncomfortable suspicion was beginning to form at the back of her mind. Did Auguste suspect his son Hector was her father? If so, Auguste was her grandfather, which could be a difficult situation in the making.


Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, Tracey has found her perfect place on The Friend as she’s obsessed with reading and never goes anywhere without a book! She reads all the PF stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!