+ + + + + + + + 

“Well, have a good trip and be safe!” I said hugging the Santiago family as they prepared to leave for a visit with Mr. Santiago’s mother. Naturally, Mrs. Santiago explained to me that they would love to have me go with them, but she and Mr. Santiago thought I might enjoy a small vacation. They would be gone for about 4 days. I would miss them, most definitely, but I was glad to have a little break. I’d been going nonstop with the children and needed to slow down a bit.

“Of course, dear,” Mrs. Santiago said embracing me, “Please don’t feel like we don’t want you to come. You know you are more than welcome.” 

“Ah, don’t worry about, Ivy,” Francisco said with a devious smile and his arm slung around my shoulders, “I’ll give her another history lesson.” 

I rolled my eyes and watched the Santiago’s scurry out the door and into the car. It was going to be weird without having the Santiago’s around, especially because it was their home. I waved a final goodbye and then shut the door. 

“Well,” Francisco said, “Let’s head on out!” with that, he grabbed my hand and we were off to explore Barcelona once again. I’d been in Spain for months and had seen so much, yet so little. So the vacation was just what I needed to explore even more.

“So, Ivy,” Francisco said, “This is La Sagrada Familia.”

“Oh wow,” I said looking up at the grand Basilica in the /modernism/ style. “It’s fantastic.”

“Come on you,” Francisco said taking my hand and pulling me into the church. It was absolutely awe-inspiring. I gawked at the beautiful stained glass and columns lining the entrance. 

“Hey,” Francisco said in a softer voice, now that we had entered a holy place, “Look up.”

I tilted my head back and gasped at what I saw. I was looking directly at the detail in the roof of the nave. It appeared as if the columns were meant to be trees and I was walking through an enchanted forest. I continued to amble behind Francisco, but I stopped and looked down at my clothing. I had on ripped jean shorts and a t-shirt. I felt underdressed for a place with such a holy meaning. 

“What’s wrong, Ivy?” Francisco asked sensing something was wrong.

“I don’t think I should be here,” I said fidgeting uncomfortably, “I’m not dressed appropriately.”

“You’re fine,” Francisco said coaxing me, “Really, you look great. I don’t think God minds what you wear.” I smiled at the small joke and continued on through the church. 

There was something so beautiful and overpowering about the place. It sounds corny, but it literally took my breath away. I literally felt like I couldn’t speak. I walked down the center aisle toward the transept and admired the beautiful stained glass. 

“Hey, Ivy. How are you enjoying the church?” I heard Francisco ask me. I turned around to find him closer than I expected and I didn’t say anything at first.

I looked into his eyes and something clicked. “I-,” I said not able to finish my sentence. I took a deep breath and then said, “Come on, let’s get back.”

+ + + + + + +
“Thank you for the lovely day,” I said to Francisco as he pulled up to the Santiago Villa. 

“Anytime,” Francisco said with a sly smile, “Call me tomorrow and we can continue to have a history lesson.”

I smiled -no- I beamed at him and then said, “thanks, bud. Talk to you soon.” Just as I was about to get out of the car Francisco unbuckled his seatbelt. 

“Alright, if you insist, I’ll walk you to your place. You might get lost on the way there,” he said hopping out of the car and meeting me on the other side.

“Yeah sure I will,” I said with a laugh.

“So,” Francisco said, “You were very quiet in the basilica today. Is everything okay?” 

“Oh yeah,” I said as we started across the back lawn, “I was just overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of it.”

“Yeah, I know the feeling,” Francisco said as we came to my front door.

I smiled at him and then said; “Do you wanna come in?” the words just came out of my mouth. I don’t know why I asked him, but it was too late now. 

“Yeah sure,” Francisco said following me inside my place. 

“I really do appreciate everything you’ve done for me since I’ve been here. I really don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t met you,” I said setting my bag down and flicking the light on. I turned around to find Francisco close to me and looking at me with a sweet, genuine smile. Before I could say another word he kissed me. My first reaction was shock, but I didn’t pull away and before I knew it we had made it over to my bed with both of our shirts off.

“Wait,” I said slightly pulling away from him, “I’ve -I’ve, I’ve never done this before.” I blushed and then looked away.

“Oh my god, Ivy. I’m so sorry,” he said pulling away, but I stopped him. I pulled myself back up and kissed him again. 
- - - - - - - 

I heard the chirping of the birds and felt a cool breeze blow in from a window. It took me a moment to realize that I had my head on Francisco’s bear chest. I immediately shot up and began to panic. “Sh*t, sh*t, sh*t,” I said with my eyes welling up with tears, “What did I do?”

“Hey,” Francisco said sitting up next to me.

I pulled the sheets up around my chest and blushed. I couldn’t even look at him. “What did I do?” I asked, now with tears streaming down my cheeks, “Oh my god.”

“Ivy,” Francisco said gently, “It’s okay.”

I shook my head frantically and said, “What the h*ll did we do? What does this mean? What am I going to do?”

“Hey, hey, Ivy,” Francisco said turning to face me. He took me head into his hands and said, “Ivy, I love. I’ve loved you since the moment I met you. There’s just something about you that makes everything okay. You don’t know how much I’m glad you came to the Santiago’s.”

I stared at Francisco with my mouth slightly open and tears still streaming down my face. “I- I,” I stuttered trying to wrap my head around what he had just told me, “You love me.”

“Of course I do,” Francisco said kissing my forhead.

“So, so what does this mean?” I asked drying my tears.

“Ivy, I love you and I’ve never loved anyone as much as I love you,” he said.

“Are we in a relationship?” I asked hoping the answer would be yes.

“Of course!” Francisco said with a laugh.

I giggle and blushed. I didn’t come to Barcelona for this, but I couldn’t deny I wanted it. Ever since I lost my mother and then my cousin I desperately wanted someone to love me. I found a family in the Santiago’s and then Francisco. 

“Oh my god,” I moaned.

“What? What is it?” Francisco asked concerned.

“Your mother is going to hate me,” I said placing my hand over my eyes.

Francisco simply laughed and said, “Don’t worry about my mother. We’ll deal with her late.”

+ + + + ++ + + 
@oscar-wilde hahaha yes, I'm still going with this storyline...
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