Chapter 4


                                                                                                           Tuscany
   The girls made their way through the beautiful Tuscan countryside driving down the windy, curvy roads of Tuscany, the scenery was just beautiful, house speckled the mountains and valleys, the country was full of farms pastures, they drove a quaint little town with a restaurant, bank, butcher shop, beauty parlor, and a jewelry store.
Life in the country is so relaxing and soothing Laurel thought to herself as she looked out the window watching the people go from store to store with their bags. We’re almost home ladies, are you all excited to get there, Liliana asks curiously? Oh yes, we are, Laurel and Juliana said in unison! I have always wanted to visit Tuscany, I’ve only ever lived on the Amalfi Coast and Rome where I went to college before I moved back to the states, Juliana explained.” We’re here, Liliana shouts out as she pulls into the long rocky driveway, the house was just like Laurel remembered, cedar trees lined the driveway on either side, there was orchard of olive trees, olive trees, and there even almond trees. The front of the house had an amazing view of the Apuan Alps, and the view of the back was an amazing view of the vineyard. She walked around the property reminiscing of when she was a young child and how he and her cousin would always climb the trees in, Liliana and Juliana were taking the luggage out of the trunk and bringing it into the house and setting the bags down in the hallway. Laurel was still outside walking the property and enjoying the amazing view, Laurel went to the house to see where her cousin and friend went, she turns the knob and opens the door and walks in the house smells of lavender and lemon scented candles which remind her of her grandmother, as she walks through the house, she is looking at all the family photos and smiles. She hears voices coming from the kitchen and she walks towards the kitchen. Laurel grabbed herself iced tea and sat down with her cousin and new friend. Liliana was getting to know Juliana better and they are discussing Juliana’s career, family and her family. Laurel finishes her tea and goes to the hallway to grab her bags and goes upstairs to her room to get settled in, she walks into the room and is content to see her room is the way it was when Gram was alive. She saw pictures of Grams and Gramps on the nightstands and dressers, her heart sank in how missed her grandparents were so close to them, now that Gram was gone, she only had her cousin Liliana. She opens her suitcase, and starts unpacking it, she walks over to the dresser and opens the dresser drawer and the smell of lavender hits her nose and she is taken back to a memory of her and her grandmother picking lavender from fields. A tear forms in her eye as she thinks about her grandmother and her favorite smell. She stood there and was overwhelmed with tears and started crying.  Her phone begins to ring, she wipes the tears and snot away on her sleeve and answers phone in a cheery voice, “hi Laurel here, hey sweetie it’s mom I wanted to tell you that your father and I are flying in for the funeral and leaving tonight on the red eye and taking a non-stop flight, your father are staying a week or two and taking a little vacay, we’ll see tomorrow morning or evening, love you baby girl, bye.” Laurel hangs up the phone and finishes unpacking and putting everything away, she stashes her suitcase and bags in the closet. She walks through the bedroom door and her nostrils are flooded with the smell of homemade pasta and bread. It smelled amazing. It made Laurel’s belly growl. She walks downstairs and heads to the kitchen where she sees her cousin slaving over a hot stove and Juliana is sitting outside enjoying the view. Laurel goes outside to check on her new friend to see how she is adjusting, Laurel sits next her and says, “can you believe all this is gonna be mine, I never thought I would own me on slice of heaven, I dreamed about living in Italy and it’s a true blessing that I in the here and now doing it. Your grandmother must really have loved you to choose you to inherit this property business, and the house, Juliana responded.” She knew how much I loved Italy and this house, and the land. I practically grew up here. I came here every summer until I got married, then you know how that goes. My heart has always been in Tuscany, I love it, it’s so breathtaking and relaxing here.” So, Juliana asks curiously, what does this new job entail and what would be doing? Well Laurel answers, you’d be a tour guide, taking people down through the vineyards and barn, you would be assisting customers with wine and cheese samples. Oh, Juliana said surprisingly, it seems easy enough. What would you be doing? I don’t know yet. I have to go over the details with my gram’s lawyer after the funeral on Friday. That's when I'll find out when the will gets read. Liliana calls the girls in for dinner, and help serve and Juliana pours the wine as the girls sit down together for the first time as roommates, after dinner Juliana and Laurel wash and dry the dishes, Liliana is on the couch with her feet up reading one of her favorite magazines, when the dishes were done, Liliana took the girls on the tour of the property, they walked through the orchards, they strolled past the olive and almond trees, and walked back up the long trail that led up the vineyard, Liliana was explaining about all the different kinds of grapes growing the in vineyard and how gram and gramps winery was the longest and oldest winery in Tuscany, they are the first couple to start their own winery in Tuscany and be successful even today, everyone in Tuscany still comes here for wine and cheese. It was a well known winery, and everyone loved gram and gramps, they were the kindest, sweetest, most loving people you would ever meet and it was a tragedy losing them. All of Tuscany’s region has felt the loss since the passing of Gram. Liliana and Laurel will do their best to keep the winery to keep the winery successful and keep it running. They reach the winery, she pulls her keys and unlocks the door they go through the shop entrance, “this is our wine and cheese shop where we sell wine cheese, and gifts, and over here to your right is our wine tasting room, and back here is our wine cellar she said stopping at a big door that was locked, she pulled out her keys and unlocked it, watch your step she said as she led them down the windy, spiral, steps, the girls followed her.” They finally reach the bottom and there are wine racks everywhere with wine bottles of every kind from old to new, there were wine barrels, and even an old-fashioned wine vat where you had to stomp grapes, now they had a machine they ran the grapes through that made the wine. It’s nice being down in the wine cellar. It reminded her of her grandparents and somehow felt familiar. There were even some pictures of her grams and Gramps down standing in front of the vineyard and the winery. She smiles to herself feeling her grandparents looking down on her and somehow feeling proud of Laurel, they knew they made the right choice choosing her, Laurel had a business degree in management and she had master’s degree, and was good at dealing with customers, she was kind, sweet, generous, and friendly which make her a great manager and owner. The girls walk back outside taking the door in the cellar that led outside, and they all take a moment of silence to think about grams and gramps, after they finish the girls head up back to the house to have coffee and Laurel’s favorite tiramisu.