When Alison woke up that morning she never imagined what would have happened that week. As usual she got out of bed and went to get dressed in the bathroom, then went down to the kitchen and still sleepy she made herself some coffee. Her parents had not yet gotten up and since it was Sunday she decided to make them some pancakes.
While she was pouring the mixture into the pan her mother entered the kitchen. "Good morning darling, did you sleep well." she said pouring herself some coffee.
"Good morning mamma, pretty well thanks, I'm making pancakes. Want some?" she asked her putting the first pancakes on a plate.
"Yes please, thank you darling, make some for your dad too, he's coming down stairs soon." she said taking another plate.
"Buongiorno my loves. Mmh pancakes, grazie amore. You look stunning this morning." said the man taking the plate that his wife was offering him and kissing her on the lips.
"Ugh, do these things in your room and not in front of me please, it's disgusting." said the eldest of their daughters with an annoyed face.
"Come on sweetie, your icy heart can melt sometimes." chuckled her dad gently hitting her shoulder.
"This will never happen," cleared up Alison furiously biting her pancakes. "I like being icy, it's my personality you can't change it."
"Ali," began her mother. "You've never been like this before... you know... the accident. You were an open and friendly girl. You were so happy when we came here from Italy, you already knew the language and made a lot of friends. Then you met Cass, you were so in love and you decided to start singing in her brother's club, she loved to listen to you sing and after a year you two decided to move in together. Then the accident happened, you were so devastated that we wanted to have you back with us. You quit your job at the club, your career as an artist and you stayed in your room drawing her portraits and crying. But now basta, you have to move on, it's been two years since she died and you became icy also with us. You're gonna restart your job at the club because you're so good at singing and I will found you another job so you can start paying for your own apartment."
"But mamma, here with you I'm so happy, I can talk in Italian, I can play with Emma and I can help her do her homework." Alison said sadly.
"Darling look, you can came whenever you want, it will always be your home but you have to build your life and be happy. Ti voglio bene." the older woman comforted her with a hug.
"I love you too mamma, and I understand that you want the best for me. As we say in Italy 'lo faccio per il tuo bene'." giggled the girl. "Mamma, I never asked you why you stayed in Italy when you and zia Miranda arrived there for the fashion week."
"Because I met your father and zia Miranda still needed a direct connection with Donatella and she had no problems getting me to work for her. But then when you were ten, she had the twins, she divorced James and I had to come back here. You know what came next cause you were here too. Don't you remember darling?" Amelia asked her.
"I've been a little dumbass since I was a child," laughed Ali. "so no, I don't remember much of my childhood. I'm joking, I swear I'm joking" she added raising her hands. "Now if you’ll excuse me I'm going to wake up my little sister."
Her parents laughed and continued breakfast chatting.
The young woman went up the stairs to her sister’s room and slowly opened the door. "Good morning, sleeping beauty. It’s time to wake up." she said giving Emma a kiss on the forehead.
Since the little girl had no intention to get up, she decided to play a joke. "Never mind, if you’re not getting up I’ll eat all the pancakes."
"Pancakes! Someone said pancakes! I love pancakes." yelled the youngest sister jumping on the bed.
"Woah… chill out piccola." laughed Alison. "You’re gonna break the bed."
"Sorry sis." said Emma hugging her big sister. "Did you made them yourself?"
"Yep. All made by the Great Alison Casanova." the little redhead laughed getting out of bed. "Now go down stairs. Mamma and papà are in the kitchen."
The child ran to the stairs and quickly went down, laughing at her parents' comments.
Alison sighed sadly and sat on her sister’s bed 'I’ll miss waking you up in the morning mostriciattolo' a tear fell on the girl’s cheek 'What the fuck?!' she wiped it off nervously, she hadn’t cried since Cassandra’s death, she hadn’t been able to let out a single tear 'Why now? I didn’t cried in two years'.
“You’re crying because you love her and you’ll miss her, silly girl.” said her mother from the corner of the door.
"Mamma, I didn’t hear ya coming." said the redhead wiping off a tear.
"Being discreet is one of the thing I got from your auntie." laughed the woman. "Look sweetheart. I know it’s hard, but you have to understand that is time to move on. Yeah, you’ll miss us but only for a little while. You’ll go on with your life. And of course, you’ll come to visit us ‘cause we will always be you’re family but I’m sure you will create your own. Did you understand, love?"
"Yeah, yeah of course mommy." the girl threw herself into her mother’s arms. "I think I’ll go back to Italy for a little while. To clear my mind. I’ll stay at my nonna’s place."
"I’m sure your nonna will be so happy to have you with her." the older woman said placing a kiss on her daughter’s hair.
"Now." she said grabbing Alison face. "We’ll go downstairs and finish our breakfast. After that we can talk to the family, and by family I mean all the family including your aunties and the terrors."
"Oh fu.. freak, I totally forgot 'bout the twins and their reaction. I’m like a role model for them and I don’t feel such." said the young girl slapping her forehead.
"Sweetie, I think they’ll be totally fine. They’re grown ups." joked her mother mimicking Caroline’s grown up voice.
The two went down to the kitchen and together they finished breakfast.
After they finished, Alison got up and spoke to her sister. "Come on principessa, let’s get you ready for auntie Mira and auntie Andy."
"We’re going to see the twins too?" asked Emma cheerfully.
"For sure. Now, chop chop. Up to the bathroom." said the eldest patting her sister’s butt playfully.
The little girl chuckled and run upstairs to the bathroom followed by her sister.
After both the girls and their parents were ready, they got out and got into the car to drive to the townhouse.
Arrived at the townhouse they let Emma ring the bell and waited for someone to open the door.
When Andy opened the door, Emma jumped into her arms. "Woah.. hey there little monkey." chuckled the young woman.
"Auntie Andy I missed you." said Emma into the woman neck.
"I missed you too little one."
"Who’s at the door, darling?" they heard a voice from the kitchen.
"It’s your sister and her family, sweetheart." Andy answered to her wife. "Come inside you three."
When they entered the kitchen the twins ran to Alison and hugged her. "Ali! We’ve missed you!"
"I missed you too, kiddos."
"Amelia. It’s good to see you." Miranda greeted her sister.
"It’s good to see you too, Miri." then she turned to her sister-in-law. "Andy, how are you? How’s the baby doing?"
"We’re both fine, thanks Amy. Even if I always have to pee." the young woman chuckled touching her belly. "How ya doing mate?" she turned to Alison who was talking to her sister and cousins.
"I’m good thanks, dude. You’re huge. You’re not going to explode, aren’t ya?" laughed the girl. She never considered Andy an aunt, they were pretty much the same age so she considered her more of a friend.
"Family!" began Alison to get everyone’s attention. "So, I have to make an announcement."
"What is it, darling?” asked Miranda.
"Zia Miranda, family.. I’m heading back to Italy for a while." she spoke calmly. "You know, after Cass’ death I closed in on my self and quit everything. But now.." she looked at her mother. "..I decided to start again and stay for a while with my nonna and help her at the hotel."
"Alison.." said Miranda taking her niece’s hands in hers. "..we’re so happy to see that you’ve moved on. Maybe you don’t remember it but when you were little we used to have this agreement ‘Princhecks don’t give up, they get up and fight'."
"Of course I remember auntie." smiled the girl. "You were my mentor and always will be." she hugged the older woman and kissed her on the cheek. "I love you, auntie."
"I love you too, sweetheart." said Miranda smiling at her eldest niece.
"But Ali, how will we do without you? Next month we have the dance recital." cried one of the twins.
"Come on Caro. You’re grown ups, and by the way we could practice on FaceTime." Alison replied, bending on her knees to face her cousin.
The little girl threw herself into the young woman arms followed by her sister.
"We’ll miss you Ali."
"I’ll miss you too, kiddos." replied the girl.
After parting from her cousins’ hug, Alison looked at her sister who had remained aside.
"Hey piccola, come here." she said gesturing with her hand to come over. "You ok?" she asked her.
The little girl shook her head with watery eyes.
"Mi lasci sola?(You're leaving me alone?)" the kid asked in a trembling voice.
"No, baby. It’s for a little while. I’ll come back. I promise." her sister answered hugging her. "Non ti lascerei mai sola.(I’d never leave you alone.)" she whispered softly.
Rising with her sister in her arms, she addressed the whole family. "Famiglia, vi voglio bene e vorrei che mi veniste a trovare spesso. La nonna sarà felicissima di avervi." she spoke in Italian.
"Dude, I don’t speak Italian." snapped Andy.
"Andréa!" Miranda scolded, hitting her on the arm.
"What the- Miranda it’s true."
"Sorry mate. I forgot." chuckled Alison. "I was just saying that I’d like you to come visit sometimes."
"Sure dude. Maybe when I’m less pregnant." replied the journalist laughing.
"We head back home, Miri." said Amy tacking her husband arm. "Can the girls stay for lunch?" she asked her sister.
"Of course the can stay. They are always welcome here." smile the editor.
"Bye girls. See you this afternoon."
"Bye guys. See ya." said Alison.
"Alison, dear. You want me to ask my assistant to book a flight for you?" Miranda asked the redhead.
"Oh, yes. That would be awesome. Could it be for tomorrow?" the girl demanded.
"Of course. Let me call Emily." replied the woman, dialing on her cell. "Emily. I want you to book a flight ticket for my niece. Yes tomorrow. Tuscany. That’s all."
The young woman has always admired her aunt’s authority and when she was little her dream was to become like her.
"It’s all set up for tomorrow, darling." said the editor.
"Thanks auntie. I really appreciate what you do for me." Alison thanked Miranda. "I’ll really miss you."
"You will always be my little stylist." they hugged each other until the older woman spoke. "Now go join the girls, and send Andrea to me."
The redhead joined the girls in the game room, "Mate! Auntie wants you!" she spoke to Andy.
The woman rose from the floor. "Ouff! It's getting harder and harder. Sooner or later I will stop sitting on the floor." she protested heading to the kitchen.
Alison giggled and sat down next to her sister, "What are you munchkins playing at?" she then asked.
"We're playing Uno. And like every time, I'm winning," Caroline answered her. That little girl would be her undoing.
The young woman tousled the twin's hair and smirked, "I had no doubt, mostriciattolo." she crossed her legs and settled down better, "Next game I'm playing too. I'll beat you for sure."
Several matches later, almost all of which ended in Caroline's defeat, Miranda called the girls to lunch.
"Girls, lunch is ready. Be quick to come down, or it will get cold."
A loud bustle was heard from the kitchen, a sign that the girls were rushing down the stairs and the two women smiled shaking their heads.
"Bobbseys, what did I tell you about going down the stairs slowly. Did I raise two girls or elephants?" the fashion queen scolded them.
"Sorry, mom." was the twins' unison response.
"Erm... I guess it's my fault, auntie. I told them to hurry up." Ali let out a guilty chuckle and scratched her head.
A laugh was heard coming from the den, "I expected better from you, dude!"
"Sorry Andy, but you know I'm still a child inside," replied the redhead joining the woman's laughter.
"I'm surrounded by teens!" sighed Miranda amused.
"Now come on, everyone eat up. Maria made lasagna." she then turned to the girls.
Maria, the cook, made the best lasagna after her mother's and Alison was always happy to stay and chat with the woman.
"I love lasagna, yummy." was Cassidy's comment.
The redhead twin would eat anything and was truly passionate about cooking, unlike her sister who liked music, and aspired to be the best cook in America. Alison always supported her and would do anything to see her realize her dream.
During lunch they talked a little bit about everything, school, all three girls went to Dalton, dance classes, Cassidy's cooking class, Caroline's piano class and Emma's acting class.
Her little sister had always loved theater and cinema, she wanted to be an actress since she was a little girl and since Dalton held an afternoon acting class, the little girl hadn't hesitated to sign up.
And as at any lunch, there was no lack of discussion between sisters. Caroline, after being beaten at Uno several times by Alison, obviously claimed that her cousin had cheated, while Cassidy took the young woman's side and wasted no time in challenging her sister.
Luckily, the argument was short-lived, and thanks to Andy, ‘Santa Andy’ thought Alison, everything was settled.
How she managed to stand up to those two red-haired furies, she hadn't figured out yet. Her aunt told her that one of her co-workers, called his wife the dragon tamer, for being able to tame Miranda's Dragon persona.
After a couple of hours Alison informed them that they had to head home, because Emma had to finish her homework and she had to start packing.
She said goodbye to the two women and her little cousins with a hug and a promise to come back soon.
Roy, Miranda's driver, drove them home and the sisters immediately went up to their room.
The afternoon passed quickly, Alison helped Emma with her homework and the little girl helped her with her bags. Then they had dinner with their parents and before going to bed she gave her little sister a bath.
When it was time for bed, like every night Alison went to tuck little Emma in.
"Can I come with you to the airport tomorrow?" she asked her as she turned out the light.
"Sure thing, little monster. Now sleep, sweet dreams."
"Night, sweet dreams to you too."
After changing and setting her alarm for the next day, she went to bed as well.
'It's going to be okay. You'll get through this too.'