Rob sat by the phone like an infatuated teenager, he had spoken to Giovanni's sister-in-law Gaby and she had promised she would relay his message for Amelia to call him and here he was, desperate, just to hear the telephone ring and mostly, to hear Amelia. It was late into the night and still there was no ringing and no speaking and he was becoming restless when suddenly he heard a knock on the door. He stood up abruptly and opened the door to see a stocky man and instantly recognised him to be Giovanni.
"Buona sera Mr Blake, we are just about to eat, would you like to join my family for a meal?" Giovanni ventured and without waiting for a reply from Rob, ushered him out of his apartment. Rob's stomach grumbled, "We are having Carbonarra tonight with some wine from the valley, si?"
"Yes, that is good thanks," Rob smiled and followed Giovanni across the width of the cobbled road and into his house. Upon entry, the room was brightly lit and he realised that he was smack bang in the kitchen with Giovanni's wife Roberta setting the table and talking to her son Nikos.
"Buona sera, come, come have a sit, you must be hungry, si?" she smiled and Rob felt really at home. He took a seat next to Nikos who was smiling back at him. Rob smiled back and his eyes scoured the room. The walls were cluttered with photographs of his family and of water colour paintings.
Giovanni caught Rob staring at the wall and immediately launched into conversation, "You see the walls, no? I will show you my family," Giovanni pointed at a family portrait, "This is my bigger brother Gavino, his wife Gaby, who you spoke to today..."
"Yes, that is correct..." Rob nodded.
"Si, this is their three little bambinis, Marco, Mia and Don, such beautiful no?" Giovanni gushed.
"Yes, very. I like your paintings too... they are very symbolic," Rob ventured and then paused and looked quickly at Giovanni as he pointed.
"Si, they were painted by my little piccola Amelia. She is so in love with this place, it is like a refuge for her, a what do they say, a home away from home. Do you them?" Giovanni asked.
Rob was caught up in the colour and as he stood up to take a closer look, he caught her signature at each bottom right hand corner. Rob turned around to hear Giovanni speaking with his wife and they motioned for him to sit down and tuck in. They talked whilst they ate and Rob was drawn in by closeness of the family in front of him. Giovanni was chatty as was his wife Roberta and Nikos couldn't stop laughing, if only London was more like this. The conversation turned to Rob.
"So tell me Rob, what it is you do?" Roberta asked.
Could he tell a white lie or should he tell them the truth, could he sacrifice his anonymity? "I am a musician," the words just came out.
"Ah, si, si... you play what?" Roberta asked.
"The piano, the guitar but I only have my guitar with me." Rob replied.
"Ah, come, come," Roberta asked as the whole family followed her and Rob followed them. Roberta brought them down the hall and into a large room and from the outset of the apartment block to the inside, it was very different, "I have a grand piano, a clarinet, guitar and violin. You are welcome to play?"
Rob looked at the both of them, their eyes never leaving his. He sat down at the piano first, it was gleaming black, the blackest black he'd seen in a while and when he opened the hood of the piano, the ivory keys were indeed ivory and of such a porcelain white, he was taken a back. He played a chord and the sound chimed beautifully, it was in tune. He started composing, he was used to improvising and a symphony erupted within the room. He noticed that Giovanni left the room but Rob continued to play... it had been a while but he didn't care and he was insistent on continuing the melody.
Amelia could hardly hear Giovanni on the line, the music was so strong and vibrant washed over as she lay in bed listening to it. She had never heard of it before but somehow it sang to her. Giovanni had at last stopped talking and there was hush on the line, all except the sound of the piano keys. She sighed into the phone, it was beautiful and she wondered if Roberta was playing the piano again.
She heard Giovanni speaking and then the music stopped and then there was a long pause.
Rob finished the piece and saw that Giovanni was holding out a cordless phone. Rob took it, not quite understanding why and spoke into the mouth piece, "Hello?"
"Hello?" Amelia replied back, "Who is this, Nikos?"
"No, afraid not..." Rob said before he was interrupted by a Amelia.
"Rob, what are you doing over there?" Amelia was in shock.
"I was invited over for dinner and then shown to a music room," Rob saw Giovanni, Roberta and Nikos scuttle out and close the door behind them and Rob was left on his own in the music room, "How are you?"
"I'm good, my hands hurt from all the painting but I'm good," Amelia said, as she sat up, she could not have a conversation with him lying on the bed, she would start to inhabit different feelings, "How are you?"
"Not bad, not bad at all. Giovanni and his family are the nicest people I have ever met," Rob's voice hinted with a smile.
"Yes, yes they are. You should meet his brother's family, they are buckets full of fun and their three children..."
"Marco, Mia and Don," Rob finished her sentence.
"How did you know?" Amelia laughed.
"Because he loves them so, I feel like I know so much of them and yet I haven't met them, is that weird or what? So what have you got planned tomorrow?" Rob asked.
"Gavino is taking me to the city, so I can draw inspiration from the scenes there," Amelia said.
"Be careful," Rob said thoughtfully.
"I will be, Gavino is leaving me with his friend who will be watching me," Amelia said.
"His friend?" Rob felt a tinge of envy or was it jealousy, he wanted to be the one watching out for her, "Anyway, erm... when will you be back?"
"Saturday morning, so a few more days, why?" Amelia hesitated.
"I would like to see you," Rob said.
"You'll see me when I get back, I'm sure. You only live across the road."
"No, I mean... I would like to see you sooner," Rob said masterfully, without scaring her, even though he knew, he scared her.
"I don't think that's possible," Amelia paused.
"As crazy as it sounds Amelia, I really miss you..." Rob said quietly, so quiet Amelia thought she had missed it.
"But you can't miss me, you don't know me?"
"I know you more then you know... I know that Giovanni and his family see you as the daughter they've always wanted and that every wall in his house is covered with three or more of your work, I know you are an amazing artist and that, that makes you most happy and I also know that you have a past that you want to forget as is all of us. I know I have things in my past, I want to forget... and I know that when the scene is most fitting, you can babble for Britain but I won't hold that against you because you're gorgeous when you do, so are you going to tell me, I don't know anything about you?" Rob said in a teasing manner.
"You're observant," Amelia licked her lips, "Thank you."
"You're welcome," Rob said.
"I have to go, I'll call you soon," and with that she hung up and all Rob could do was stare at the phone in his hand.