“Dance, dance, dance… Keep on dancing.”
The music was blasting from the speakers. The lights were dim, and the disco ball above the dance floor slowly spun. Sparkling lights descended on the room like fireflies. Tilly and her best friend, Angie, danced happily, bumped into each other, and burst out laughing. As they moved around on the dance floor, their college friends joined them. Cabo San Lucas, a well-known destination for spring breakers and other travelers, was the ideal location for Tilly and her friends to party.
Tilly needed some fresh air, so she wriggled through the crowded bar, followed by her friends, and went to the pool area where Latin music wafted through the air. It was infectious music, and everyone got into it, whether they could dance or not. Even at that late hour, close to midnight, as the sky filled with stars, they could hear people splattering.
Everyone returned to the bar, and Tilly ordered a round of vodka on the rocks for the guys and tequila shots for the girls. One shot led to another. They were so drunk by the end that they went back to their room, collapsed on their bed, and woke up the next morning nauseated from a hangover. At only twenty-one, it was just another normal day for Tilly, believe it or not.
Sadly, a few days later, Angie’s boyfriend had broken up with her via text message, no less. Tilly wondered how Angie would face, let alone get through, the day. It was too upsetting and awkward. Angie needed a girl’s vacation to heal her broken heart. Choosing a summer vacation destination was always a challenge for Tilly. There were major Asian cities to visit, but she and her friend were going to Monte Carlo in Europe this time. A trip out of the country would allow Angie to focus on herself, forget about her ex-boyfriend, and get some much-needed rest.
Monte Carlo, the perfect location for a quick getaway. Magnificent landscapes, breathtaking views, an enthralling culture, and the playground of choice for the rich and famous. When Tilly and Angie arrived, there was a surge of heat. It irritated Tilly that their trip had begun in such a disastrous manner, and that she had to replace her wardrobe with shorts and shirts as the temperature reached triple digits. Tilly despised it, but Angie did not. Angie traveled to Monte Carlo to mend a broken heart that would not heal. She was there to have fun, and that’s exactly what she planned to do. Meeting someone would be great, but if that was not possible, that was fine too. Angie wanted nothing to go wrong on her trip. She adored touring the town, and getting lost was her favorite part. Tilly simply trailed behind her. She promised Angie that she would support her in whatever she planned, even if she despised the long walk.
They went shopping at the Grimaldi Forum and Metropole. They even made a detour to see Saint Paul’s Anglican Church, which had incredible interior and exterior drawings. Tilly was exhausted after two hours of street shopping. She claimed her legs were stiff from all the walking they had done. They took a break at the Japanese Garden. The beautiful landscape, trees and bushes, ponds full of koi carp, a waterfall, a teahouse, lanterns, and even bridges impressed them. They relaxed in a nearby air-conditioned cafe, where Tilly ordered a seafood platter and a bottle of Merlot for lunch. Meanwhile, although they had done a lot of walking, Angie remained cheerful, even though she admitted to being tired. Tilly gave her a fierce frown, but Angie only smiled silently as she walked to the restroom to refresh herself.
The server poured Tilly’s glass for tastings when the wine arrived. Tilly took a small sip and declared it satisfactorily, so the server refilled her glass.
“Bring another bottle of this with our meal,” she instructed the server, who bowed slightly before leaving.
The cafe soon filled with the sounds of the street. Tilly looked around, trying to figure out where it came from. A street performer who sang and played the accordion was on the scene. While she watched and listened, it reminded her of a trip she took five years ago to celebrate the Rio de Janeiro Carnival. Tilly couldn’t hear the song, but she noticed some bystanders toss money into the man’s cup. She cracked a grin. Tilly had a habit of staring at people and finding them amusing. She saw Angie approaching a few moments later, but frowned when she saw her arm in arm with a handsome Italian guy.
Leave it to Angie to find a ruggedly good-looking man on the way to the bathroom.
Angie flirted with the man and smiled. Her friend appeared to have moved on from her heartbreak. Tilly invited them to share a glass of wine with her.
“Don’t mind if I do,” the young man, who introduced himself as Luke, said.
Tilly gave him a sidelong glance. She couldn’t help but notice Luke’s good looks. He had dark hair and dark eyes that glistened. She would have snatched him if Angie hadn’t nabbed him first.
Angie pushed her chair closer to Luke.
“Luke has invited us to spend the night at their villa in Tuscany for wine tasting tomorrow. Are you up for it, Tilly?” With a cute pout, Angie pleaded, “Say yes, please say yes.”
“Angie, you just met him.” Tilly murmured, “We know nothing about him.”
Luke heard the friend’s conversation.
“Please come to my villa. I promise you’ll have the best shrimp linguine in town, Scout’s honor,” he said. He spoke perfect English with a lovely Italian accent, while holding up the scout’s gesture with his right hand. Luke appears to have spent significant time in America.
“Tilly, you always tell me to enjoy myself and not take life too seriously, so now is the time. May we go?” Angie inquired, her voice pleading.
Tilly exhaled a sigh. “All right, we’ll go, but only because I want to end your begging.”
Angie smiled. “Thank you, Tilly.”
“I guarantee you’ll have a great time. Will you be staying for the weekend? I’m leaving for Tuscany tonight, but I’ll arrange for a car to pick you up at your hotel first thing in the morning. Is seven all right?”
“Seven is perfect. Thank you, Luke,” Angie said, settling down a little. “How will I recognize your car?”
“The driver will know. Don’t worry,” he assured her.
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