AS PROMISED, A LINCOLN TOWN Car was waiting in our driveway. I could only imagine what the perfect Romans called home. I was sure it would have Roman columns, scores of fountains, and statues of the Roman gods.
I didn’t have much time to really think about it, because apparently they only lived a few blocks away. How convenient, I thought sarcastically. The car stopped in front of large iron gates. Although the house was not far from our own, the street was dramatically different. The homes were much further apart, and they all had high fences surrounding them. I heard the familiar buzz of gates being opened as the driver slowly pulled into the driveway.
As we entered, I noticed the multitude of magnolia and oak trees lining the short, circular driveway. The car came to a halt at the front of the house. It appeared as equally old as our home, with its multiple porches, white wood siding and black shutters. It was hidden behind towering palm trees and oaks that created a bright green shroud around the third floor.
The driver stopped and opened the door for us. We proceeded up to the front door, where the Romans were waiting. Tyson looked even more handsome than he had earlier in his suit. His wife was dressed in a lilac strapless dress and her ebony hair was left loose around her face.
I searched for Cal, but he wasn’t standing behind his parents or anywhere on the porch. I was disappointed and hoped he would show up soon.
“Hello! I’m so glad you could join us,” boomed Tyson, as he grabbed my father’s hand. “And you both look gorgeous!” he shouted in my direction, revealing his beautiful white teeth. Mr. Roman definitely fell under my definition of a fake.
“Thank you,” Mother quietly whispered, and I could have sworn she half-curtsied.
We were ushered into the foyer, which was cavernous, with twenty-foot frescoed ceilings and columned archways. It reminded me of a cathedral I had seen in Rome, which was pretty ironic, given their last name.
Once in the large front living room, Mr. Roman pulled Dad to the side and began talking to him in a hushed voice. With a quick nod from Dad, they disappeared into the hallway, their dress shoes clacking on the floors. Mother was busy talking to Mrs. Roman. With no one to talk to, I decided to scrutinize the paintings in the room to stifle my boredom.
The room was very lavish and decorated with antiques, much like our house. There were thick brown velvet curtains covering the massive windows, and the walls were covered with light blue patterned wallpaper.
I was surprised to find the same painting that was in our living room. I made a rapid glance at my mother and Mrs. Roman. Their heads were tilted toward each other and they giggled together about something. I turned back to the painting and strained on my heels to look at the cherubic statue in the painting a little closer. I did have to admit Mother had been right about the high heels. They made it easier to see the painting clearly. Once again, there was the red writing of “Kythera Forever” emblazoned in almost the exact same spot.
I stumbled a few steps back. I teetered on my heels for a moment before falling backward. Before I could hit the ground, a pair of strong hands grasped my forearms.
I turned around to see that Cal was smiling at me and suppressing a bit of laughter. He was gorgeous, I had to admit, but that wouldn’t make up for the fact that he probably had intended on scaring me.
“Sorry, I didn’t know you were in such deep concentration,” he said, grinning, his dimples showing.
Behind him, my mother and Mrs. Roman had both risen to their feet. Mrs. Roman was trying to suppress a laugh, but Mother looked anything but happy. Her red lips were pursed and her cheeks were set ablaze with blood. I felt my own cheeks flushing. I looked at her, shrugging my shoulders. I had never been so clumsy in my life.
“No, I should have been paying more attention,” I said, loud enough for Mother to hear. She instantly perked up, smiled, and continued her conversation.
I turned my attention to Cal and forced myself to smile at him. “Your painting is very interesting. We have one just like it in our house.” I glanced at the painting again.
“It’s a painting by Antoine Watteau called ‘Embarkation to Kythera’ or ‘Pilgrimage to Kythera.’”
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – YA / Mystery / Suspense
Rating – PG13 (No sex scenes, some violence)