John Francis - Chapter 241

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 7:35 AM
Amanda sat in another airport, waiting for another connection, one that would take her to a destination she had chosen almost on a whim.

She’s lasted two days in London before realizing she needed to get away - not just from the States, but from anywhere that reminded her of Jon. She certainly wasn’t going to do that in London, not with Bon Jovi signs seeming to be everywhere she turned and her memories of the time she had spent with him there. She needed some place not associated with him and that was what had led her to pass by, then backtrack, to a travel company she’d found on one of her long walks.

Brochures seemed to overflow the rack, each destination more exotic than the next. Africa, Australia, Russia, even the Middle East - at least parts of it - beckoned with flowery words and promises of “the adventure of a lifetime”.

She didn’t want adventure. She wanted to disappear to somewhere she couldn’t be found where she could lose herself in sights and sounds that did nothing to remind her of what she had left behind.

What she had lost.

It was the colors that caught her attention. The gorgeous blues of the roofs against the white of the buildings, themselves against the blue of the sea.





Santorini island. Greece.

She’d never been there and even better, she’d never heard Jon talk about it.

Eighteen hours later, two connections, and one layover, she was one short boat ride away from the villa she had rented. She sat on the deck of the ferry as it chugged on its way to the village of Oia where she would finally be on the island. Although the sun was bright and high in the sky, Amanda felt her eyes closing behind the dark lenses of her sunglasses. It had been a very long 18 hours and she wanted nothing more than to shower, change into something cooler, and fall into bed for at least as long as it took her to travel there.

She let her head fall back against the wood of the deck wall and her mind drifted to brochure she’d read a dozen times on the plane. There were several small villages on the island, from Fira - a town perched on cliffs - to Megalochori, a traditional Greek village known for its old white churches. Pyrgos was the highest point on the island, while Kamari was home to a renowned black pebble beach. And Mesaria was the center of the island.

The ferry docked at the port of Athinios and Amanda waited her turn to get off the boat, noting wryly that she was apparently in with the other tourists who were gawking at the sights around them. Those who hurried off seemed to be natives who had seen the wonders around them a thousand times before. Amanda, on the other hand, wondered if she would ever get her mouth to close again. She wanted to be everywhere on the island at once, but didn’t want to leave the dock as she hadn’t seen it all yet.

Shaking her head with a slightly embarrassed grin on her face, she scolded herself.

“You can come back down, ya ninny,” she mumbled softly, moving to where a taxi was returning from taking others up the steep hill.

She handed the smiling taxi driver the address she had scrawled while at the travel agency in London. She knew it was in the Santorini caldera, one of the highest points on the island, and yet somehow “highest point on the island” hadn’t quite registered in the confines of the travel agency. It did when the taxi began the steep climb upward, taking first one 180 degree turn, and then another, and another, and another until Amanda was afraid to keep counting, although not keeping track was impossible.

Seven turns later, slightly dizzy and not a little carsick, Amanda breathed a sigh of relief as the road seemed to have gone as high as it could - or at least there no more turns in sight. Her smile of relief turned into a concentrated frown when the driver stopped the car in front of the entrance to a villa.





She scrambled from the back seat at the driver hurried to the trunk to get her bags.

“Excuse me!” She held out the paper in her hand with the address of her room on it.

“Is this the right…?”

The driver interrupted her, smiling and pointing at the door.

Amanda crooked an eyebrow and made a moue of her lips as she paid the man and then watched as he made a several point turn on the narrow road to head down the marina once again, the “toot-toot” of his horn barely disappearing before he did.

Sighing, still doubtful she was in the right place, Amanda rolled her suitcase down the stairs and then came to a dead stop.

Now she knew she couldn't be in the right place.




“My god!” Her voice sounded hoarse even to her ears.

An infinity pool spilled out before her, on a balcony overlooking the sea. It was one of the most beautiful sights she had ever seen.

A touch on her elbow jarred her out of her stupor and she turned slowly to see a woman who appeared to be in her early 70’s.

“Hi,” Amanda breathed in a rushed whisper, then cleared her throat and tried again.

“Hello. I…think I might be in the wrong place.”

The woman smiled at her, crinkles appearing next to still bright blue eyes.

“You are Mrs. Matthews, yes?” The English words had the inflection of a Greek accent and sounded musical to Amanda after her long trip.

“Y--es.” Amanda drawled out questioningly. “Mrs. Christopoulos?”

“I am Mrs. Christopoulos. You are in right place.”

Amanda looked around wide-eyed as she followed the woman into the interior of the home.






As Mrs. Christopoulos pointed out the living area, the bedroom, and the bathroom, Amanda found herself in the unusual position of not being able to think of a single thing to say. She was stunned and frantically trying to remember just what she had booked nearly a day ago during that spur of the moment decision. Whatever it was, she wanted to make sure she did it again.

This was a slice of heaven and it was hers. She could stay here. Hell, she might move here.

The sudden silence brought her attention back to the woman looking at her curiously.

“Your home is lovely.” Amanda managed to sputter as a wide, delighted smile spread across her face.

“Thank you. I am much happy you come to stay.” The owner smiled back at her, taking in her slightly travel-worn clothes and the fatigue that seemed to weigh her down despite her glowing smile. She’d rented out this portion of her home for years and had seen many expressions on the faces of her guests. Some were detachment from the surroundings, never stopping their chatter on their cell phones to bother to see what was right in front of them. Others were delighted and carefree as they began their foreign adventure.

This woman in front of her was different somehow. She’s seen the shock on the woman’s face as she took in the outside of the villa and as they’d moved inside she’d seen Amanda’s eyes dart over the features she’d taken such care to preserve. That shock had turned to delight, yet something in the woman’s eyes hinted that her reasons for being here were not for a carefree vacation.

There was a decanter of wine on a small table and Mrs. Christopoulos poured a glass for herself and Amanda, as a soft breeze from the open terrace doors fluttered the napkins piled neatly to the side.

“You come to me, any problems, I fix. When you here, you family to us. Share dinner if you want, not share if you want private.” She smiled as Amanda kept looking around at different things in the room.

“There is small basket of food in refrigerator for you, to welcome. Tomorrow I take you to market where there much fresh fish. You like fish?”

Amanda gave a huge smile as answered. “I love fish and I would love to go to the market.”

Nodding in approval, Mrs. Christopoulos patted her on the arm and turned to leave the room. She stopped at the door, giving Amanda a thorough look from head to toe.

“You rest here. Much peace. You need this, yes?” She cocked her head as she spoke, her eyes searching Amanda’s.

Nodding back, her wide grin fading, Amanda nodded.

“Yes, I need this.”

8 comments

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you for the new chapter!! Love the pictures that went with it. I would love to stay somewhere like that. Can't wait to see where this is going. Please don't make us wait to long!!

    Thanks again
    JonsMary

  2. Bayaderra Says:

    Wow!
    Sun, that sounds gourgeous!!!
    Can I join Amanda?!?!!

  3. Sandy Says:

    Another fabulous chapter, thank you! Love the pictures, I've always wanted to visit Greece and the pictures you've included are great!

  4. jenny Says:

    Thanks for the new chapter. I'm with bayaderra, can we join amanda

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Yay! You're back! Thank you, I can't wait to see how this story turns out! Well written as always!

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Need peace...

    Newbee :)

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Finally, i 'm caught up. Thanks for bringing them back. Excited to see what Amanda does next and how Jon and her can forgive each other. Richie, do you you're gonna be a daddy again yet?

    Beth

  8. Anonymous Says:

    I have caught up with the story and I really love it! Can't wait for another chapter!

    Carrie

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