Taïga spends a lot of time with her little brother. Rowan loves to build castles. Or rather; Taïga builds and Rowan destroys… ‘Great, Rowan! Put it up here… No I said – here! … Nooo…’
Taïga sighs. ‘You’re hopeless, Rowan… You’re supposed to help me build something…’
‘C’mon Rowan. I’ll read you a story if you stop mistreating the xylophone!’
‘Once upon a time, in a country far, faaar away…’
Taïga takes art lessons twice a week with a local artist – Signore Da Vinci. To prepare for St Sims…
‘Ahem.’ Cipriana tries again. ‘Ahem…’
‘Hey! I didn’t see you coming!’
‘You didn’t hear us either!’
‘Goopy and I’d like you to meet our friends, and we thought…’
Goopy interrupts her. ‘Si, si! Una festa domani! A party at the pool tomorrow… will you come?’
‘Sure! But I have to ask my mom first!’
The di Grisogno mansion is situated high up in the rolling hills and Taïga loves to ride her bike downhill to the beach or the swimming pool. Today she will meet Cipriana and Goopy at the pool, for the party with all their friends. She’s excited, and a little nervous. What if they only speak Italian? I understand more now than in the beginning of the holidays, but still…
She didn’t have to worry. Cipriana and Goopy’s friends all learn English at school, and Laura Perry has spent her vacation at her grandparent’s in Sunset Valley, so her English is fluent.
She makes Taïga laugh when she fills her in on everybody who’s attending the party.
There has never been so many children at the posh Monte Vista pool. Everybody wants to talk and play with Taïga. Goopy keeps the boys at bay by telling everybody she’s his girlfriend. ‘… siccome sono il suo ragazzo.’
Suddenly there’s a fat girl aiming straight for Taïga, making the other girls withdraw.
‘Eccola que viene!’
‘Tanto peggio! Too bad!’
‘Goopy è mio! Non toccare! Capisce? Non toccare!’
Taïga doesn’t understand every word, but she gets the hint. ‘But I haven’t touched Goopy…’
The girl advances, pointing an accusing finger in Taïgas chest. She staggers backwards, towards the edge of the pool. ‘Ma chi credi di essere? Ti odio!’
‘Sono la sua futura moglie!’
Moglie… moglie… that’s wife? What’s going on?
‘Brutta! Ugly!’ The fat girl suddenly pushes Taïga hard in the chest, and she tumbles backwards into the water.
Goopy comes running, and he’s furious! ‘Constanza! Male! Non avresti dovuto fario! (You shouldn’t have done it!) Taïga, è proprio simpatico.’
Constanza grumbles: ‘Volevo solo scherzare. (I meant it as a joke.)’
Goopy: ‘Hai fatto una stupidaggine… Vattene!’
Constanza: ‘Dici a me?’
Goopy: ‘Si. Lasciami in pace!’
Constanza: ‘Non parli sul serio, vero?’
Goopy: ‘Si. Parli sul serio… Arrivederci!’
Goopy turns his back on Constanza, and reaches for Taïga’s hand. ‘Come va,’ Taïga seizes his hand and lets him pull her out of the pool.
‘I’m OK.’ She smiles at him.
Constanza leaves, proffering insults. ‘Stronzo! Capisci? Bastardo!’
Taïga giggles. ’Wow… Your future wife is really something!’
Soon they’re all having fun again. I will never make a scene like that. Not over a boy…
The night falls on the Di Grisogno mansion…
Taïga is hurrying home after the pool party. She’s not supposed to be out after nightfall.
But suddenly something catches her eye, and she stops. Fireworks!
There are sparkling colors on the night sky. But no sound, a part from the crickets. So what is it?
The lights are dancing… Like an Aurora Borealis…
Quick. My camera’s inside!
After frantically photographing the dancing lights, she goes inside to get Shasta’s laptop.
Quickly she empties the camera. Now let’s see…
Wow… this picture is good. I’ll send it to Granny! She likes the Aurora Borealis, and this is Monte Vista Borealis, hihi! Taïga skims through the pictures, but suddenly she stops.
What’s that? She squints her eyes. If I just resize the pic’ a little…
It looks like… ? Wait a minute?
Quickly she takes a look at the following photo and starts zooming in on the object.
OMG… She rubs her eyes and takes a closer look. It can’t be… OMG! Unbelievable…
She quickly zips the file…
… She hesitates for a second before hitting “send”… to Derek. Could his stories be true? All of them?…
Then she closes the laptop as if it burns.
Part I – End of Chapter 33