Tue. Feb 13th, 2024

I felt myself freeze from his gaze. “Adrian. This is Claudio’s granddaughter Valeria. Your future wife,” I heard Pietro say to him. Adrian didn’t seem to react negatively when his grandfather mention the word “wife.” He had a small smile on his face.

“Hi,” he said to me and gave his hand out to me. I looked down at his hand. Slowly, I gave him my hand. Next thing I knew, he brought my hand close and kissed it. I started to feel my face burn. I wasn’t used to the gesture.

“Um…hello,” I said to him shyly. At the corner of my eyes, I could see my gra file smile. “What do you think of my granddaughter Adrian?” my grandfather asked him. I wondered myself what he thought of me. “I think she is stunning,” Adrian said to him. Something told me that he wasn’t honest about his answer.

“It should be time for dinner. Lets go inside,” Pietro suggested to us. The four elderly walked ahead of Adrian and I. We followed behind them. I kept my gaze away from Adrian who kept looking at me. I tried to keep myself calm.

Soon, we found ourselves in the dining room. The dining rom was huge with a long table in the middle of the room. The table was set with expensive plates and utensil. I could tell that we were going to have a multi course meal. The other guests came and took their seats. My grandparents and I were seated next to Minettis.

I was about to pull out my chair until I saw a hand go over mine. I felt my heart skip a beat and looked up to see Adrian’s face so close to mine. “Let me,” he said to me smoothly. My face was burning up again. I gave him a quick nod and had him pull my chair out for me.

We were having an Italian meal. The servers poured wine to everyone except me. The server came up to me. I held up a hand. “I’m underage. I will have a glass of water,” I said to him. The server gave me a nod and got me my water. I was the only underage person in the room.

Everyone had an appetizer for the first course. We had Antipasto. The Antipasto had cured meats, olives, anchovies, peperoncini, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, fresh mozzarella, and pickled vegetables in oil.

Everyone were in a conversation while they ate their meal. I ate my meal quietly, listening to the conversation of my grandparents. They were talking about old times from childhood. I heard many of them. Adrian got into the conversation too.

Next, we had soup. Ribollita was served to us. It was one of my favorite soups. It was a Tuscan soup that was made with stale bread, cannellini beans, carrot, onion, cabbage and other greens. It was thick. I didn’t finish my soup since i needed room in my stomach for the other courses.

We had caprese salad that was really fresh. We were having family style for the entree. We had baccala that was salt cod, ravioli that was filled with fresh ricotta and covered in cream sauce, pasta al pomodoro that was simple, Arancini that was an Italian deep fried rice ball, and Acqua pazza that was poached white fish.

“Vera. You are very quiet. Are you alright?” Pietro asked me with concern. I lift my head to see the elderly giving me a concern look. Adrian’s face was emotionless. I gave them a small smile. “Yes. I’m fine,” I said to him. He gave me a nod.

I passed the plate of ravioli to my grandmother. “Here.” I turned my head to see Adrian who was trying to pass me the plate of pasta al pomodoro. I took the plate from him. “Thanks,” I said to him and scooped some onto my plate.

Everyone on the table were in their own world of conversation. “So Adrian. What do you think about the marriage between you and Vera?” my grandfather asked him. I looked at Adrian. I wondered what he had thought the arrangement.

Adrian took a sip of his wine and set the glass on the table. I couldn’t read his expression on his face. “I don’t mind. I love the idea,” he said to them. He looked at me. “I already like your granddaughter,” he said with a smile on his face.

My heart jumped when he said the word ‘like.’ Pietro looked at me. “What about you Vera? What do you think about Adrian?” he asked me. I already told him my thoughts on the marriage . I looked at Adrian who was looking at me. Honestly, he was a good looking guy.

I felt my grandfather squeeze my hand. “I know that you don’t want the marriage. But, I think the marriage would be good for you,” I heard him say to me. I didn’t know what to feel at his words. It’s as if he was trying to give me a better life.

Maybe…he’s right.

Pietro was waiting for an answer. “He seems…nice,” I said to him in a low voice. It was enough for him and everyone on our side of the table to hear. Pietro gave me a smile. “He is very nice gentlemen. He is beyond his age,” he told me.

Adrian had a smile on his face.

Wonder if that’s true . Grandmother seemed happy about my answer. Maria took a sip of her wine happily knowing what I had thought about her grandson. I continued to eat my dinner until my plate was clean.

Looking at at the people in the room, I noticed something. Where are his parents? Don’t they have a say in this arrangement? I didn’t dare talk to them about it. Maybe they are busy with business or something .

After everyone ate their meal, Pietro tapped his wine glass to get everyone’s attention. “Everyone. I have to say thank you for coming to Adrian’s birthday party to wish him a Happy Birthday. Happy Birthday grandson,” he said to Adrian and everyone.

“Happy Birthday Adrian,” everyone said to him. “Thank you everyone,” Adrian said to them. A chef came out with a large tiramisu that was covered in candles. {I guess it’s his favorite dessert too.} The dessert was set in front of Adrian.

“Lets sing Adrian Happy Birthday everyone,” Pietro said to them. Everyone started to sing the birthday song to him. After the song, Adrian blew the candles. Everyone clapped their hands and continued with their conversation.

The tiramisu was passed to everyone. I had a smile on my face. Once the tiramisu was set in front of me, I ate a forkful. It tasted like a proper tiramisu. I could taste the coffee and the cocoa. Adrian was enjoying his dessert with more wine.

After dessert, everyone left the mansion. My grandparents and I were getting ready to leave. They walked us to the front of the house. “Thank you for coming Claudio,” Adrian said to him. My grandfather gave him a smile.

“You are welcome Adrian. I’m glad to see that you had grown up to be a handsome man,” grandfather said to him. Adrian gave him a hug. Grandmother gave him a hug. “Thank you Rosa,” he said to my grandmother. “Of course,” she said to him.

He looked down at me. “Thank you Valeria for coming,” he said to me. “Your welcome Adrian and happy birthday,” I said to him. He took my hand in his hand. He bend down and gave a kiss on my hand. His touch sent a tingle sensation up my arm and my whole body.

He looked up to me with a smirk. “See you at the wedding,” he said to me. I gave him a nod. He turned around and walked into the mansion. Pietro and Maria had a smile on their faces. My grandparents had a smile on their faces as well.

Pietro and Maria looked at me. “We will set the wedding and prepare everything. You will have to show up at the altar,” Pietro said to me. I guess I’m not doing the work . “Okay,” I said to them.

I gave them a hug and walked to the car. I had so many things to think about once I got home. Also, I had so much to do for the next two months. I put my seatbelt on and watched my grandfather drive out of the Minetti property.

Once at home, I washed up for bed. It had been a long night. I changed into my pajamas and got under the covers. I never really expected Adrian to be my future husband. Then again, his older brothers were pretty much taken.

What am I going to do?


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