“Compromise, if not the spice of life, is its solidity.It is what makes nations great and relationships happy.“
Del Sol Valley Villa ViVa
Bouncing down the stairs of his home, Nick called out
“Coming dad. What’s up?”
His words still echoed out as he halted when spotting the group of visitors in their living room.
His dad now gestured to the new arrivals. Nick’s facial expression changed. The older man, Ezio Auditore, and his young wife Meaghan were talking to Nick’s mom. Next to them, he saw his younger sister Aria-Grace chat animatedly with Ezio’s youngest daughter Bianca, since the two girls had become friends during the two years Nick and Adrianna had been dating now.
Then his eyes met a pair of light blue ones, contrasting bronze skin in a pretty face.
“Hello Nick.” Adrianna said with a faint smile.
“What are you doing here?” he asked, his tone somewhere between unfriendly and pleasantly surprised.
“Papa has business in Del Sol Valley and took us along. We have to talk, you and I.”
“NICKYYY!” they heard Bianca’s voice, as she already came running, giving Nick barely enough time to catch her, as she literally jumped into his arms.
“I missed you so! You HAVE to get back with Addy. Promise! Everything sucks without you!”
“Am I chopped liver or something?” protested Aria-Grace.
“Nooo, of course not. But this is Nicky. He’s part of the family and has been ghosting us for weeks. Not cool, Nick. So not cool. I am disappointed in you, I didn’t think you were like that.”
“I didn’t ghost anyone, Bianca!”
“You did ghost me! I must have sent you a dozen messages, and you clicked away all my calls. And you didn’t acknowledge me trying you on any of your social media. Surprised you haven’t blocked me.” Bianca told him, pouting, when Adrianna who had walked up to them.
“And you DEFINITELY ghosted me.” she said.
“That’s different. I needed space. Fine, you’re right, sorry Bianca, that wasn’t cool and sucked. And yes, Adrianna, maybe we should talk. Under four eyes. Sorry Bianca and Aria-Grace.”
“No no, that’s fine. You two go talk. As long as you fix whatever’s messed up.” Bianca smiled and nodded.
Nick gestured to the patio with his head, Adrianna nodded and followed him.
Once out there he watched her look across the panorama of the city of dreams that made up the view from Nick’s home, both standing in silence.
“Papa wants to apologize to you for assuming the pregnancy test was ours and all. He apologized to me, and he feels guilty, because he thinks it’s his fault we fought.”
“I can’t wait for THAT melodramatic speech.” Nick rolled his eyes.
“Nick, where do we stand with each other right now?” Adrianna asked.
“I don’t know. Which is why I needed time away. To think. My parents both gave me the ‘don’t give up on love lightly’ and ‘don’t repeat our mistakes’ speeches. They both used to have some on again, off again kinda relationship because their life goals didn’t line up either, they broke up a million times and even got divorced at some point when I was little before realizing they need each other ‘like the air that they breathe’, as my mom put it. Neither of them had any answers to our problems though, neither do I, so I really don’t know where to go from here.”
“I think it’s much simpler than all that. All boils down to one question: ‘do you love me?'” Adrianna said.
“Except it is NOT so simple, is it? Of course do I love you, but I am not sure that’s enough. Your idea of where our relationship should be and your timeline suffocates me. I thought about all you said and honestly, I can barely breathe just thinking about it. So, where we’re at is basically at a crossroads. One side is down Addy’s way, where we get engaged and married and drop a bunch of kids within a few years of graduating high school, which honestly makes my chest tight for anxiety just saying the words out loud. The other side is my way, which would probably make you miserable. No matter how we twist and turn it and who compromises, someone will be unhappy. It’s just too much that doesn’t line up right for us. I don’t see a fix.”
“I do. I have been thinking too. Maybe my timeline is too constricting. Maybe my timeline was actually not what I want at all, but somehow a projection of my father’s idea of how life should go and maybe the way it was when he was our age. As much as I always try to please my father, I want to be with you more. I don’t want to lose you, Nick. I don’t think that timeline is more important to me than you are. Actually, I know it isn’t. You are everything to me. I choose Nick’s way.”
“You would be okay with just being boyfriend and girlfriend all the way through college and maybe even a while after?”
“And you think you could wait with weddings and kids until we both are ready and not hate me for it?”
“Yes. And since I know you sometimes tend to overthink, let me add that I would never tie you down by a pregnancy we weren’t both ready for. I don’t play games, Nick. All my cards are always on the table, just as they always have been, and I think you know that. If something wasn’t clear, then only because is just never came up, not because I hid it. I am an open book for you, Nick, that’s the way I want it.”
“Wow, you DO know me too well. That actually does make me feel better. A LOT better. And you are sure you wouldn’t hate me and be all miserable?”
“If I still have you by my side, I would still be the happiest girl alive.”
“Really?” Nick wondered.
“Yes, really.” Addy confirmed.
Nick nodded, Adrianna smiled.
“So, do we shake hands on this or high five or something?”
“I’d prefer a hug and a kiss.”
Nick nodded, then pulled her in and kissed her.
Snuggled into his arms, Adrianna sighed deeply, and it was impossible to miss the relief. The same relief Nick felt. He hated the fact they had fought, the insecurity of their future, he had missed their daily chats and many messages. Two years was a long time to someone 17 years old, a major part of his teenhood, and thinking about losing Addy had made Nick difficult to be around for his entire family and friends. Despite all that, he knew he couldn’t bend to his breaking point only to keep Adrianna by agreeing to what she wanted. ‘Better a horrific end, than a horror with no end.’ as his grandmother always liked to say. But maybe the need for an end and the horror had all been averted.
“How about a date night?”
“How long are you in town for?”
“Papa wants to get back home asap, but I am sure I can talk him into staying the weekend, especially if I were to mention the shopping mile with all the designer stores to Meaghan. Ever since she got pregnant, there is nothing he wouldn’t do for her. Would be almost cute if it weren’t so creepy still.”
“How are things with the step-mom?”
“Kinda as expected, I guess. Bianca and I avoid her for the most part, not too hard in the big house and with us in school until early afternoon. Only see her at meal times mostly. So that helps.”
“Oh good. Few more months and you’ll be rid of her for a few years, except semester breaks. But you’ll have to deal with me full-time.” grinned Nick.
“Oh, I think I can handle that …” she smiled and kissed him.
“Hey Addy? I want to apologize too. I said a bunch of shit I shouldn’t have. I didn’t mean it and I was way out of line. Sorry.”
“All is forgiven. I am so glad to have you back.”
“Same. Man, girl, I sure was miserable without you. Ask my sister.”
“My sister was miserable without you too. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear Bianca is crushing on you hard.” giggled Adrianna.
“Ah, good to know, in case I want to keep my options open.” Nick laughed, dodging Adrianna’s playful swats.
“Bianca was your inside source. I know she has been chatting and texting with your sister, figured you were feeding her the questions.”
“Nope! I really didn’t. Honest. And nobody really brought up your name around me of late. Let’s just say I wasn’t in the best mood.”
The whole weekend was spent by Addy and Nick re-discovering their relationship, many times with Nick’s sister and cousins partying or club hopping. When Sunday afternoon came around, tears flowed freely, but despite of the goodbye, everyone knew it was only temporary which eased the melancholy.