"Oh grandmother, I still can't believe it!" The young blonde haired woman exclaimed as she gushed with excitement. "Two days from now I'm going to be in Europe."
"Well it's nothing that you don't deserve." The older woman smiled back. "I'm very proud of you, and all that you've accomplished."
"I don't think Mother would agree with you on that." Jenny D'Angelo replied. "She thinks the entire trip is a colossal waste of money."
"Your mother thinks everything is a waste of money." Connie D'Angelo laughed. "And besides, it's my money that's paying for this trip, so she doesn't have anything to complain about."
With that, Jenny joined in the laughter. She knew she really shouldn't be enjoying a joke at her mother's expense, but she couldn't help it. In many ways, Connie had always been closer to her than her mother. Despite the 38 years separating them, they were more like girlfriends than family.
The trip to Europe had been Connie's idea. She had been so impressed when Jenny graduated from High School a year early and then gained acceptance to an Ivy League College.
In addition to covering all the expenses for three months on the continent, Connie was also buying Jenny a new wardrobe for the trip. Between the two of them, they had two shopping bags full. The rest of what they had bought would be delivered to Connie's tomorrow. Knowing her daughter-in-law would have something to say about all the new clothes, Connie had wisely put her own address on the deliveries.
"It's still early, what say we head over to Kou-feng's for lunch." Connie suggested.
"Great." Jenny responded. "But only if you let me treat you this time."
"All right." was the reply.
An hour and a half later, the two women had lunch behind them and were headed down Main St. Along the way, both women turned men's heads. An action that they both took so much for granted that neither gave it much thought.
Jenny was 5'5", with long blonde hair that ran to the midpoint of her back. Deeply tanned, she wore a pretty yellow blouse and a short blue skirt. A firm set of breasts pressed against the yellow material, highlighting a youthful, athletic figure. She had been on the gymnastics team in school and all the hours spent practicing were self-evident.
Standing a few inches taller than her granddaughter, Connie long ago gave up trying to keep a slim figure. Instead she had concentrating on keeping her body firm and hard. Extra pounds she may have gained over the years, but very little of it was fat. She worked out as much as she could, maintaining a form that most women her age could only envy. Blessed with a more than full figured bust when still in her teens, she couldn't defy the long term effects of the laws of gravity. But no one said that she had to submit to them without a fight. What gray that dared appeared in her hair was banished by frequent trips to her hairdressers.
Connie wanted to put as much as she could into this last day she would spent with her beloved granddaughter. She was really going to miss Jenny, but glad she was able to give her the opportunity to travel. She had considered going along with her, but eventually rejected the idea. Better Jenny go with the other girls from her school. It would be a better experience letting her be on her own.
It had taken all her authority as the matriarch of the D'Angelo family to get Jenny's parents to agree to the trip. Stephen, her son, had been more than willing to let Jenny go. He had a great deal of faith in his daughter, and knew that he could trust her accordingly.
Stephen's wife Barbara, on the other hand, had been opposed to the trip from day one. It was a waste of money she'd said. A young girl couldn't be trusted out on her own. Why when she was her age...
Connie remembered all too well what Barbara, or Babs as she liked to be called then, was like at that age. She was a simple minded blonde airhead that more than lived up to the stereotype. She was, Connie believed, her son's one great mistake in his life. Try as she could, Connie had been unable to keep him from being swayed by a pretty face and a big set of boobs. Nothing that could have come out of her mouth was going to carry more weight than the things Babs was doing with her's.
So she had reluctantly watched when they married at 19. A year later, she could almost forgive Babs for marrying her son when she gave birth to Jenny. It turned out that Babs, now calling herself Barbara once again, couldn't find the time among all her social activities to give Jenny all the attention she deserved. Over the last 17 years, Connie had been more than happy to fill the void.
"I've copied down all the places you told me to see." Jenny said as they crossed the intersection. "Sometimes I wish you were going with me."
"We've already gone over that." Connie said as she stepped onto the curb. "You'll have a much better time with your friends." She added, wondering if she really believed that.
"Maybe, but I wish..."
"Hey Jenny, Jenny D'Angelo!" Said a strong masculine voice from the right of the two women.
Jenny turned around and saw the tall dark haired young man who had called her. He stood about 6'1" and had short curly black hair. The muscles of his chest and arms were highly defined and it was obvious that he took exercise seriously. The blue T-shirt he wore clung to him like a second skin. Legs as well developed as his arms stretched out from a pair of red shorts.
"Hi Jenny." He repeated.
"Jack!" The girl exclaimed as she jumped forward and gave him a sisterly hug. "When did you get back?"
"Last week, I'm staying at my mom's." Jack answered.
"It's so good to see you again." Jenny continued, her eyes never leaving his face.
"You too," He replied. "I heard how you graduated a year early. I knew you could do it."
"Thanks." Jenny beamed. "So what are you doing now?"
"Football scholarship at State." Jack answered. "But I still need to work during the summer to cover some of the extras." He added as he handed her one of the flyers he had been passing out.
A quiet cough from behind Jenny reminded her of her grandmother's presence. Slightly red at her oversight, she turned and introduced her.
"Grandmother, this is Jack Marziatto." She said. "Jack, this my grandmother, Connie D'Angelo. Jenny continued turning back to Jack.
"Jack and I both went to school together, he graduated last year." She continued.
"That's something that your granddaughter deserves most of the credit for." Jack interjected. "If not for her tutoring, I'd have been in the fifth year of high school instead of the freshman year at State.
"You passed the exams." Jenny laughed. "I just helped you study."
"Marziatto, I used to know a Marziatto family a long time ago." Connie said as she looked at the young man's face, a strange look on her own. "They lived over on 10 St."
"That would've been my grandparents." Jack answered. "They moved over to Bakersville in the early sixties. My parents moved back here about ten years ago when I was 9."
"Come to think of it, I only remember the Marziatto's having four daughters." Connie remarked. "How could you have the same last name?"
"Well that's a little piece of the family skeleton." Jack replied, the humor in his voice showing that he had no problem dismissing the long ago scandal as anything but ancient history. "Grandma got divorced after being married about five years. It was such a messy divorced that she had both her son's names legally changed to Marziatto."
"And your grandfather was?" Connie asked, a look of anticipation on her face.
"Johnny Coravelli." He replied. "Why, did you know him too?"
Connie's face now went pale, as all the blood seemed to drain from it. She felt dizzy for a second and had to take a moment to compose herself.
"Grandmother!" Jenny called out as she saw her stagger for a moment.
"I'm OK," She lied. "Just felt dizzy for a moment. Getting old can be a real bitch at times." She added with a laugh.
"I'm sorry, Jack." She said as she took a deep breath and regained control of herself. "You were saying?"
"His name was Johnny Coravelli." He repeated. "In fact I was named for him. My dad didn't share grandma's aversion to his memory. Did you know him?"
"I'm sorry, but the name doesn't ring a bell." The older woman said. "It was a very long time ago after all."
"I guess so." Jack said. "I'm sure if you'd known him you'd remember. He was a musician. My dad told me he was quite a character. Always getting into some kind of trouble or another. I met him a few times a couple of years ago. That really set off grandma. I can still hear her going on about what a good for nothing he was. Then, when he got me a tattoo for my 16th birthday, she really went through the roof."
"He got you a tattoo?" Jenny gasped.
"Just a little one." Jack said as he pushed up the left sleeve of his shirt, revealing a small blue shark on his upper biceps. "He had one just like it."
"He must've been quiet a character indeed." Connie remarked as she stared at the tattoo, trying to sound dispassionate.
"That he was. It's a pity he passed away last year. He was only 57. The doctor said it was too many years of abusing his body with one thing or another."
"Well its good to see that you don't take after him in that respect." Connie noted, taking another long good look at the young man.
"No, I try to take care of myself." He answered. "But that's way too much about me." Jack concluded as he turned to Jenny. "What about you, what have you been doing?"
.... There is more of this story ...