The Lombardi Emeralds- Episode 33

May breathed in deeply, not wanting to have this conversation but knowing it was inevitable.

“If you are suggesting we should develop our relationship, it wouldn’t work.” Vin’s next words stunned her.

“You mean because I am the son of a retired police officer?”

“I mean because you come from a traditional Mediterranean family surrounded by an army of aunts and cousins, all doting on each other.”

“It is the same in most communities, isn’t it?”

“My grandparents were largely responsible for my upbringing.”

“That is community, isn’t it?”

“I grew up treating my mother as an older sister. As for my father’s side of the family I am none the wiser as to his identity.”

“Your point is?”

“I don’t know who I am.”

“How would you feel if you are related to Auguste Lombardi?” Vin’s eyes never left May’s face.

“I can’t answer that question.”

“Then let me answer it for you. If you are his granddaughter it would place you in a different social class – way above the likes of the son of a retired police officer.”

“Of course it wouldn’t.” May felt annoyed that Vin could think such a thing.

“That is the real reason you think a relationship between us wouldn’t work, isn’t it?”

“No. Why should it make any difference if I am related to Auguste?”

“One day you could inherit my job.”

“That is not going to happen and not what I’m thinking at all.”

“Family comes first.”

“Can we talk about something else?” May pleaded, regretting having opened up her innermost thoughts to Vin.

He picked up his discarded serviette and wiped oil off his fingers in slow rhythmic movements.

“I owe you an apology.” May tried not to stumble over her words.

“You do not need to apologise for being who you are.”

“I’m talking about the Villa Della Pesca. It was wrong of me to suspect you of running out of fuel on purpose.”

“I am glad. Did Rebecca give you a reason why she acted so irresponsibly?”

May felt her face redden.

“She saw me as a threat to her position here.”

“Because she has always treated Auguste as an honorary grandfather and you could be his actual granddaughter?”

“That and other things.”

There was no way May was going to break Rebecca’s confidence by telling him the true reason behind the girl’s actions.

“Causing someone to break down in the middle of nowhere is a serious matter.”

“She didn’t realise how serious or that the situation would take an unexpected turn.”

“How did she find out what happened?”

“Florence visited the studio and I wasn’t there. Rebecca was with her.”

“I see.”

“You have to know that Rebecca told Auguste we spent the night away together. He wasn’t best pleased. So in a way you could say Rebecca succeeded in discrediting me.”

“What has Auguste been saying?”

“We were having coffee together before the news of the accident broke. He wanted to know why we skipped his garden party and why I didn’t come home last night. I tried to explain but he didn’t want to listen to what I had to say. He accused me of blackening the family name.”

“Would you like me to talk to him?”

“I think he’s got more important things on his mind right now.”

Vin screwed up his paper serviette and dropped it back on to the table.

“We all have,” he agreed.

“Have you heard any more from the hospital?” May asked.

“Florence suffered severe bruising and has broken a bone in her arm. She won’t be driving for a while.” Vin frown. “I’m not sure what the accident will do to her mental state of mind. She lives life on the edge.”

“Could her career at the autodromo be in shreds?”

“That’s a decision someone else will have to make. For the moment the circuit is closed. The mechanics are checking all vehicles and making sure their paperwork will stand up to the inevitable stringent enquiries. We need to be prepared for the authorities.”

“Florence won’t be prosecuted, will she?”

“Auguste won’t want things taken further but I should tell you she has offered her resignation,” Vin replied.

“Driving is her life.”

“It would be a big wrench for her to give it up but maybe it is time to move on. Rebecca’s actions sound to me like a cry for help. Mother and daughter need to spend time together away from Bella Acqua.”

“Auguste would be lost without her.”

“I think he too needs space away from Florence and Rebecca. All the recent excitement has proved too much for him.”

“What will happen about the rest of the celebrations?”

“They have been cancelled. Most of the guests have left.”


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!