The Lombardi Emeralds – Episode 41

“Florence’s departure to Milan means there is a vacancy at the autodromo.”

“You want to take over Florence’s job?”


“But it took you five attempts to pass your driving test.”

“So what? I can drive now. I’m half Italian, and didn’t you once offer me a job driving over skid pans or some such when I told you I passed my test in the snow?”

“Yes, but things are different now.”

“Auguste is happy for me to stay on.”

May paused. “And of course there’s us.”


“That relationship talk we had?”

“I think we agreed it wouldn’t work.”

May relaxed. The worst was over. Vin was no longer glaring at her.

“You know, a part of me always felt out of place with the girls at school. I know now it was because I am half Italian although I didn’t realise it at the time. I thought it was because my family was unconventional and I came from a bohemian background, so,” May ploughed on as Vin tried to interrupt, “I’ve had a re-think and I feel it would be a good idea if we developed our relationship – that’s if you have no objection to being associated with a woman whose mother was once suspected of being a jewel thief and sang for her supper.” Vin gaped.

“The earrings could be our wedding present from Auguste.”

“You’re talking marriage?”

“We would be a powerful team. I can’t wait to get stuck in at the autodromo. I’ve loads of ideas on how to modernise the image.”

“This is not how things are done.” Vin finally managed to get a word in.

“We agreed it’s time to move on from the past and I can’t hang around waiting for you to make up your mind. I told you I come from a bohemian background and I’m not much of a traditionalist.”

“Have you cooked this up with Auguste?” Vin’s eyes narrowed with suspicion.

“I’m sure our marriage would meet with his approval.” May held her breath.

“No.” He shook his head. “I cannot accept your proposal.” May’s heart sank.

“I hadn’t expected you to be so conventional.”

A disturbance from the quayside drew their attention to the water’s edge.

“What’s your mother doing here?” Vin demanded.

“She’s amazing, isn’t she? How she can still get into that pink mini dress I do not know.”

“Isn’t that Sofia and the Contessa Rosamunde with her?”

“I think it is.”

“Your mother’s holding up a bottle of champagne. Have you gone public on this outrageous proposal?”

“Tish was rather hoping you’d say yes. You’ve made a hit there although she had a few choice words to say about your father, but I’m sure she didn’t mean them. She was just getting things out of her system.”

“Perhaps I should ask your mother to marry me,” Vin suggested.

“You wouldn’t!” May was appalled at the thought.

“Why not? You’ve turned tradition on its head.”

“I’ll tell Auguste,” May threatened.

“What will he do?”

“Rethink his decision to put you in charge of the autodromo.”

“So you do know of his plans?” May squirmed.

“He might have hinted but it’s isn’t official yet.”

“And to clinch the deal you came up with the idea of marriage?”

Tish and Sofia were now precariously balanced on the walkway leading from the quayside to the restaurant.

“Hurry up, darling,” Sofia gestured at May, “this contraption is not safe.”

“I came up with the idea,” May admitted after a short pause, “because you stuck by me through thick and thin when everyone else was convinced my mother was guilty of the robberies.”

May’s voice gave out on her as Vin leaned back and crossed his arms.

“I did stick by you, didn’t I?”

“There’s no need to look so self-satisfied.” May knew she sounded crabby but she couldn’t contain her disappointment.

“Who is going to break the news to your mother?”

“You can do it.”

Vin looked thoughtful for a moment.

“I think it would make my life a lot easier if you tell her.”

May swallowed the lump in her throat.

“Do it yourself,” was her ungracious reply.

“You could be right, you know. A woman at the helm would create a modern image for the autodromo and who better than the founder’s granddaughter?”

“I told you, Auguste is not my grandfather.”

“I expect local gossip will come to its own conclusion.”

“Well you know the truth but it makes no difference between us, does it? You’ve turned down my proposal.”

“Can my wedding present to you be one last gig?” Tish’s voice rang out from the gangplank.

May turned round to face the trio advancing towards them.

“Tell your mother we accept her offer.”

“What offer?”

“One last gig.”

“But it’s a wedding present and you turned down my proposal.”

“Only because I would rather like to do the asking.”

“You mean you’re going to be old-fashioned about things?”

“Indulge me,” Vin coaxed. “Do you think you could live with an old-fashioned man?”

“Why don’t you try asking me?” The buzzing noise in May’s ears was making concentration difficult.

“Will you marry me?” Vin’s eyes bored into May’s.

The boat gave another lurch, causing his proposal to be almost be drowned out by loud laughter from the neighbouring tables. “I think I rather like going traditional,” May admitted with a shamefaced smile.

“My answer is yes.”


The End.


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!