Giorno watched the trees rushing past through his window, as his father drove through the roads of the countryside. His forehead leaned against the glass, eyes half lidded, tired and bored from the near 7 hour drive he had thus far endured.
“Nearly there now, Giorno, GPS says it will be no more than 20 minutes,” his father, Pucci, said from the driver's seat, eyes peering at his through the rearview mirror as he spoke. Giorno stayed silent, but nodded an acknowledgment to his father.
“You'll like it out here. Lots of interesting plant life. Your padre and I choose it special for that reason, passerotto,” he continued, looking adoringly at Dio, who was sleeping in the passenger seat. Giorno winced at the nickname.
“I appreciate greatly you and padre keeping me in mind while choosing accommodations, I'm sure I shall find many interesting specimens to examine,” Giorno replied, “however, I have asked before and I ask again, could you please refrain from using such infantile nicknames for me? I am an adult now, I hardly find it fitting.”
Pucci laughed at Giorno's complaint, smiling lightly.
“Sorry GioGio, I know you don't like such terms of endearment. It's quite a hard habit to break, after all these years.”
Giorno smiled gently at him to assure him that it was fine, before returning to looking out the window.
Dio and Pucci had decided to take a two month long vacation to rural Maryland. The reason they cited was simple: an escape from the fast-paced city life, a way to get away and simply exist in nature and relax. Giorno would have happily stayed behind, but they insisted he come, as he was starting college in the fall, and clearing his head would do some good before the rush that comes with college preparation. It had been two days since they had left Florida, with each day consisting of a seemingly endless 7 hour drive, and a short stop for dinner and an overnight stay at a hotel in the evening. It had seemed like ages, but they had, finally, arrived at their destination.
Giorno stepped out of the confines of the car, looking at the house that stood in the clearing before him. The rental house was... quaint. It was rustic, well-maintained, but obviously built many decades ago. Its walls were a beautiful dark wood of some kind, and its roof was slate. White windows lined the side of the house, and a small entryway protruded from the middle, small roof encasing the door and entry steps. On the side of the house, there was a patio, which was obviously a newer addition, but it blended in with the rest of the house in a way that was not unsightly. Overall, it seemed very hospitable.
“Truly a place fit for us Brandos, don't you agree, Giorno?” Dio said, getting out of the car and stretching. Giorno remained silent, choosing to take a quick walk around the grounds as his fathers unlocked the front door and examined their quarters.
Giorno took in his surroundings as he turned the corner to the back of the house. It was very well kept, with cleanly mowed grass and finely trimmed hedges planted tight against the wood of the walls. There was a pool as well, he noted, and what seemed to be a creek nearby, in the woods surrounding the abode.
There also was a man.
He appeared between the trees, rushing after something, and disappeared just as fast. He then reappeared, seconds later, clutching a small dog, a chihuahua, if Giorno was to assume, and scolding it.
“Roditoire, I can't take you anywhere nice without you running off! Goddamn nightmare...” the man said, before noticing Giorno.
“Ah! I'm sorry man, I didn't see ya there. You must be the new tenant,” the man said, tucking the dog, Roditoire, under his arm. Giorno took a second to look at the man standing before him. He sported a deep farmers tan over his entire body, starkly contrasting with the white of the dirt-stained tank top he was wearing. A pair of dark blue jeans covered his legs, and a horrendously hideous bright orange tiger striped beanie was pulled down on his head, covering all his hair, save for a few curly strands peeking out here and there.
“...yeah, yeah, I am,” Giorno replied, as the other man approached him, holding out his hand.
“I'm Guido, I live a coupla miles from here. Heard they were rentin' this place out this summer, but I didn't know it was gonna be so soon!”
The man's hand was covered in what seemed to be muddy water. Giorno did not move to shake it. Guido looked down at his hand, and then laughed, wiping it on his shirt.
“Sorry, my bad, I was tryna catch a toad in the creek, lil bugger kept jumpin outta my reach. Then Rodi up and dashed on me, and I ain't got a chance to rinse my hands. Here!”
Guido offered his hand once more. Reluctantly, Giorno shook it. It was still damp. He fought back a grimace.
“Aight, so whats your name, tenant man?”
“It's Giorno. Uh, Giorno Giovanna.”
“Giovanna? You're Italian! Thats wonderful, I am too, my ol' ma came here bout twenty-two years ago, straight from Naples. Whereabouts did your family come from?”
Giorno was amazed at just how much this man talked, and how comfortable he seemed, speaking to someone he's never met before and standing in their (rental) garden. But he seemed nice, and hell, Giorno had nobody he knew here, and there no harm in trying to get to know at least one person.
“Milan, as far as I'm aware. My family has been here for a while, however.”
Guido smiled brightly at that.
“Milan, eh? Heard that place is beautiful! Never been, myself, but I'd love to someday. Listen, I gotta dash, I gotta help my ma make dinner. But listen, I'll stop by tomorrow if you want, yeah? It'd be nice to finally meet someone new, I already know all the townies.”
Giorno considered it for a second.
“Yeah, okay, stop by tomorrow. I'll be here.”
“Great! Alright man, nice meeting you, I'll see ya later,” he said, before disappearing into the woods the same way he came. Giorno watched as he left, intrigued, before turning on his heel and leaving to get settled in the house.
The inside of the house was just as homely as the outside, with gentle, off-white walls and gorgeous wooden floors. From the entry, there was a living room, to the left, a kitchen, and to the right, a small hallway leading to a staircase and further, a bedroom with a connected bathroom. Up the stairs were two more bedrooms as well as a bathroom, and an eerily large and empty closet, containing one clothes iron and one ironing board. Giorno did not like that closet, and he quickly closed it upon examination.
“What do you think? Nice, isn't it?” Pucci asked, as Giorno looked at one of the upstairs bedrooms, the one designated for him.
“It's very nice. It's cozy,” he replied, noting that his suitcase was already in the room. One of his fathers must have brought it up for him. How thoughtful.
“I'm glad you think so, after all, we are here for a good while,” Pucci mused. “Well, I'll let you get yourself settled. Come down in an hour or so for dinner, I bought some local produce and am making a soup,”
Giorno nodded and thanked his father, who was on his way out, before moving to unpack his items.
“Ah, Pucci, another wonderful meal,” Dio said, serving himself a second bowl of soup. Pucci smiled, waving his hand in the air, appreciating the praise but brushing it off nonetheless.
“So, Giorno, who was that boy I saw you speaking to in the yard this afternoon?” Dio inquired, gaze sharp as he sat back down, placing his napkin back on his lap.
“Just some local man, father. He had lost track of his dog, and ended up in the woods nearby.”
“I'd hardly call what he was holding a dog,” Dio replied, “A rodent, perhaps.”
Both men began to laugh lightly, Pucci gently elbowing Dio in the side for his joke. Giorno simply took another spoon of soup.
“However, all jokes aside, I don't believe I like the looks of this boy,” Dio continued, tone as sharp as his unnerving gaze, “I would hate for my son's future to be ruined by some summer fling. And let's not forget there are certain... aspects of you that many people may find threatening, even if they are not.”
“I'm hardly the kind for meaningless summer romances, father. I'd prefer to know at least one person in this area, after all, we are here for near three months. I can't spend the entire time taking cuttings from local plants,” Giorno replied, meeting his father's gaze. Dio smiled, but his eyes remained sharp.
“Very well. You are an adult, you can make your own choices in the matter. But be cautious. I will not tolerate any nonsense. Not from you, and certainly not from that country boy.”
Giorno rose early the next morning, as he near always did. By 8am, he was fully showered, dressed, and groomed, and was making his way down the stairs to the kitchen to greet his fathers.
“Good morning father, padre,” he said, seating himself at the kitchen table, looking through the window at the lush greens of the garden, still wet with dew. Across from him, sat Dio, who was reading a newspaper. He greeted his son with a nod, before returning to his reading.
“Good morning, passerotto,” Pucci replied, “would you like some coffee? I just brewed a pot.”
“That would be lovely, thank you father.”
“Cream and two sugars?”
Pucci smiled at him, and soon, a mug was placed in front of Giorno, steaming hot in the chill of the early morning.
“Pucci and I are going into town today. He needs to do some grocery shopping, and I would like to scope out exactly what there may be to do in such a place,” Dio said, without looking up from his newspaper, “will you be joining us?”
Giorno nearly accepted the offer, before remembering his conversation the day before. That man, Guido, was coming by today.
“Perhaps another day, I'd like to spend today becoming more oriented in my surroundings here.”
“Very well. Pucci, shall we?”
And with that, Pucci and Dio left for the day, and Giorno was left to sip his coffee in peace, watching the birds from the window.
It was around 11am when Guido finally appeared on Giorno's doorstep, wearing the exact same clothing as the day before, save for a new shirt, a gray muscle shirt this time, with a sizeable tear near the hem. Someone's gotta sew that up. Guido smiled a lopsided smile when Giorno opened the door, shooting him a quick wave.
“Ay! I'm glad you're here, I was worryin' you may've forgotten and then I'da walked all this way for jack!”
Giorno smiled back at him, hand holding the side of the doorframe.
“So, where are you planning on taking me?” Giorno asked.
“Ah! Well, I was kinda jus' thinkin' we could walk 'round the area, I could show ya where some of the cool stuff around here is. Theres a nice dock nearby, and a lil forested area, and a coupla farms. They ain't too interesting, but one of em's growin corn this year and the farmer lets me take an ear every so often to eat,” Mista said, visibly excited to show Giorno around the area.
“That sounds wonderful. Let me put my shoes on, I'll be right back out.”
Canvas oxfords, it turns out, are horrible for walking beside creeks and rivers. The walk through the forested area had been fine, enjoyable even, and Guido had filled the silence with neat facts he knew about the area and with stories of his youth here, with the occasional question thrown Giorno's way. Giorno discussed his love of bugs and animals, what the city was like, his nerves with college starting. It was nice, talking to Guido. It was easy, it was comfortable.
As soon as they had reached the dockside, however, and walked along the muddy banks, Giorno's shoes quickly became coated in mud and his socks became damp, sticking to his feet. When he told Guido this, Guido glanced down at his feet and began to laugh.
“Dude, what are you wearing? Is that canvas??”
“Oh. Uh, yeah. They're... canvas oxfords?” he replied, and Guido laughed once again.
“No shit your feet got all soggy! Ya gotta get a nice pair of boots like these, ya see?”
Guido kicked one of his feet up in the air, showing off his boots to Giorno.
“Had these babies 5sum years and they got yet to get a single tear in em'! Water resistant too.” he said, and placed his foot back on the ground. “But hey, the docks ain't that far now. It's plenty hot enough today ta' dry your shoes and socks there within an hour or so, if ya leave em in the sun.”
Guido was right, and within five minutes, they were at the docks. Thick cordgrass dominated one side of the dock, and a small, sandy area leading to the water spanned about five feet on the other. The dock itself was well-maintained, but showed obvious signs of wear, and heavy algae stuck to the supports. Out at the furthest area of the dock was a small wooden picnic table.
“Ayo, you can go lay your shoes and socks by that table in the sun. Come back after, I wanna show ya somethin.”
Giorno did just that, and when he came back, Guido was crouched by the cordgrass, carefully examining something there. He gestured for Giorno to come join him.
“Look there,” he said, and pointed at a tiny dark brown... seed? It looked like a piece of black rice.
“A seed?” Giorno asked, and Guido smiled.
“Nope! Look a bit closer.”
Giorno leaned in, squinting a bit. It was a... shell? Yeah, that looked like a shell. And if he really looked, he could see a couple of tiny eyestalks.
“Yep!! A saltmarsh snail!! These lil fellas are all over these grasses! They gotta lay their eggs in tha water, but they aint able to breathe underwater, so they spend all day goin up and down the grass with tha tide. Never get bigger than that, either. Real cute fellas,” Mista explained. “Ya mentioned ya liked bugs, so I thought I'd show ya one of these guys. There's probably a Marsh Periwinkle snail 'round here somewhere too, if ya wanna see one!”
Giorno absolutely did want to see one.
Fifteen minutes, and many snail examinations later, the two men sat at the edge of the dock. Guido with his feet in the water, and Giorno cross legged, examining the way the schools of minnows darted around the dock.
“So what made a pretty city boy like you wannna come out here?” Guido asked, leaning back on his forearms and waving his feet around in the water.
“How exactly do you know I'm from the city?” Giorno countered, and Guido laughed.
“Ya wore canvas shoes.”
“Ya never answered my question though, what brought ya out here? I don't mean no offense, but ya ain't exactly seem like the rural type.”
Giorno smiled lightly at him, and looked out over the water.
“My parents wanted to go somewhere quieter for the summer. My father is always talking about how he adores the quiet of the countryside, with the quiet call of the bugs at night and the songs of the birds in the morning. I was planning on staying behind, in all honesty, but they wanted me to come with, and to spend the summer clearing my head before college. And the plant life out here is wonderful, the opportunity was not one I wanted to squander,” Giorno explained, and Guido nodded.
“Well, I'm glad ta have ya here. Could always use a new buddy,” Guido said, and punched Giorno lightly in the arm. Giorno laughed, and gently shoved him back.
When Giorno's shoes were good and dry, they began the short walk back, enjoying the silence and the warmpth of the late afternoon. The crickets were already beginning to chirp when they arrived back at Giorno's house. Guido walked Giorno to the door, and smiled at him when Giorno turned around to say his goodbyes.
“I had a good time today. Thank you for showing me around, it was lovely” he said, and Guido grinned.
“Yeah man, s' my pleasure. Here, uh, if you want, I could give ya my number? Ya can text me if ya need anythin, ya know, like if you get lost or, uh,” Guido said, looking to the side and kicking absently at the ground. Giorno laughed lightly.
“I'd like that.”
A few minutes and a promise that he would text later, Giorno was back inside the house. The clock on the wall read 5pm, damn, had he really been out with Guido that long? Luckilly, it seemed his fathers weren't back yet, and he wouldn't have to explain himself to Dio, why he was hanging out with Guido despite their conversation just the night before where he warned Giorno against it. Sighing, Giorno went to the couch, and pulled out a book, reading to pass the time until his fathers returned.
Classes for me start up again tomorrow, so updates may be a bit slow, but I PROMISE I will update!
If ya wanna talk Jojo, please please hit me up! I would love ta chat!
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