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Unspoken - 5. Meet the Family - Part 1

Part one of two for this event.

I entered the house, stepping aside to let Bryce move past, before shutting the door with my foot. Bryce led the way from the garage to the kitchen, and we both deposited our bags on the counter. I tapped his shoulder, signing ‘mail’ at him, and he went out the front door to get it. I pulled everything out of the grocery bags so we could pack it all away; Bryce returned before I finished. He helped me sort and put it all away, except what I was going to cook tonight; I had planned for tacos. Dinner would be a bit later tonight, as it was on all Wednesdays.

They were one of our busiest days. Some of our activities overlapped. Bryce had Judo, both Bryce and I had barre class, and Nicolo had gym time as well as his weekly family videoconference.

When the groceries were all finished, I turned to the small pile of mail. I sorted through it quickly, separating and trashing out the junk, making a small pile for bills and other stuff, but the last piece is what I was hoping to get soon. From the State Department. I handed the small pile to Bryce, who took it up to Nicolo’s office; really it was a study for all of us, but Nicolo used it more often, as he took care of most of our contractual and financial obligations, so I called it his. The envelope was swiftly opened, and out slid the little book that would enable us to take Bryce to Italy to properly meet Nicolo’s family. We had already taken him to Virginia over a long Labor Day weekend to meet my family, but Christmas was all for the Bucellos. It was difficult to get all forty-five members together, so my family understood.

I took the book upstairs to the office, and slipped inside to see Nicolo still sat at the desk, Bryce sitting in his lap. Italian was pouring out of the laptop facing them, and I could see Bryce’s face filled with happiness. We’d kept the family out of the loop until after the adoption was finalized, and boy were they pissed about that, but since then Nicolo’s been teaching him Italian here and there. Fluency would come with time.

Bryce was still stuttering over some of his words, but I - and based on the voices from the computer, Nicolos family - were impressed with his progress so far. Nicolo sure was if his beaming smile was any indication. I slipped behind Nicolo, and set my chin on his shoulder, waving at the camera. The talk stopped, before starting up again, and I managed to catch a couple calling “Alex!” and even one or two “Peter Pan!” Nicolo’s father, from whom he inherited his prodigious height, called out “Piccolo!”

I held up a hand to stall questions, and stepped to the side. Nicolo pushed the laptop, adjusting the camera so I could be in frame, and I started signing.

‘Good news! B-rice’s passport came in today, so we will be coming to Firenze for Christmas!’

Excited chatter greeted my proclamation, before I waved goodbye, pulling Bryce with me so we could start dinner. He wanted to learn how to cook, so when the recipes were simple I let him help. We’d gotten much closer since my late-night breakdown. Teaching him was... awkward, and I had to do a lot of the explaining after the food was done, but Bryce was picking that up fast too. Tacos were easy, so I let him do most of the work. Halfway through cooking the meat I turned to start pulling out the rest of the toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese, diced tomatos, shredded lettuce, and a couple different hot sauces. I liked my hot sauces disgustingly hot, which always caused amusement when Nicolo would invade with his tongue afterwards, as he liked his much milder. Bryce was about halfway between us in preference.

Nicolo had finished his videocall and joined us shortly before the beef was done cooking, and he watched us work together fondly as we started tidying up what we didn’t need anymore.

I was bent double to pull the warmed tortilla shells out of the oven when I heard a faint “Dad?”

I stood, and nodded at Bryce to continue as I set the shells on separate plates for us to use.

“What was it like? Meeting papàs family? I mean, you use American Sign and they’re Italian. How did that work?”

I motioned with my hand for them to start digging in, which they did. I quickly signed ‘After we eat’. Fortunately, I've always been a quick eater, if not fast at drinking beverages, so Nicolo and Bryce were still chowing down when I lifted my hands to begin the story.


The flight was not yet halfway through, and my nerves were getting the better of me again. I had learned some Italian, but not nearly enough by my reckoning. My left knee began to bounce from nerves, and my left hand tapped my thigh in rhythm to the bouncing. It’s not that I was afraid of being in a different country. I had a nice fat English/Italian dictionary in my carry-on, and funds were not an issue. It wasn’t the flight itself. I’ve been on a plane many times before. It was Nicolo’s family that I was terrified of. He hadn’t told me about all of them, mostly just his parents and grandparents, but I knew almost the entirety of the 45-member-strong family would be present. With me not understanding much Italian. And being mute. Nicolo had assured me that they’d judge me kindly considering he was head-over-heels in love with me, and they valued his happiness over their own ideas of what they would want in a partner for their child; their child who had decided to move thousands of miles away from them. They already knew he was gayer than Albert from The Birdcage. What they didn’t know was pretty much anything about me. He’d told them that he was bringing a guest - which to them meant someone he intended to wed - and admitted to them that I was short, mute, and didn’t look my age. My particular genetic anomaly was quite possibly the most rare in the history of the world, and I’m sure if he had told them what it was, they wouldn’t have quite believed him. Being 26 and only looking 15 wasn’t normal. Being together for three years at this point he was used to the differences between us, and if he were bitter that I had barely aged it wasn’t obvious.

He’s admitted that he felt like really uncomfortable early in our relationship, and it took months before he was comfortable with displaying affection. Yes, age did matter. Finally he let loose, and what a wild weekend that was! I was walking funny for almost two weeks!

I worried about his family’s reaction to my apparent age though. I think that, more than anything, would be the point of contention.

The bouncing of my knee and hand increased, until a large hand gently gripped my hand and thigh in one, and pressed down, halting movement. “Alex. Please. Mi stai facendo impazzire. Will you trust me? Please? Mio famiglia will love you. There is no need to worry so much.”

He’d had to stop nervous ticks like three times already.

I smiled weakly, but fondly at him. The hand moved to rub the back of my neck. Yes, I did trust Nicolo. Probably just about as much as I’d trusted anyone else in my life. I nodded, and leaned into his side, deciding to try to get some sleep as he slowly started humming what I could guess was an Italian lullaby. We had hours to go. I would normally be pouting at him for humming a lullaby at me, but I needed some stress relief right now, so I’d take what I could get.

I jerked awake to Nicolo gently shaking me. My lungs gasped in shock, and I gripped him tight, my heart hammering in my chest. “Calma bello, calma.” I simply wasn’t used to falling asleep sitting up, or waking up from such a position, and it took me a moment to gather my bearings. I looked up at him, questioningly, and he cocked his head towards the window. “Look, bello, we’re coming up on Firenze.”

I released him from my clutches, and gazed amazedly out the window. Photographs and movie sets could never do it justice. There was simply too much to see to commit to memory. We had two weeks here, and I’m certain his family will want to show off their city. I showed off Colonial Williamsburg enough to Nicolo, that’s for sure.

The plane had a smooth landing, and we disembarked quite easily, toting our small carry-on bags to the baggage claim. Nicolo snagged a cart on the way, but it took some time before we had all our bags. A surprise was waiting for us near the car rental desks.

A loud, which is saying something considering the ambient noise level of airports, voice rang out, calling out “NICOLO! FRATELLO!”

His exceptional height being an advantage, Nicolo picked out where the call came from, and led us over to an Italian man of middling height. “Lucio!” He hugged the man tight. I knew ‘fratello’ is Italian for brother, so I figured Lucio was one of Nicolo’s brothers. They chattered at each-other far too fast for me to pick up. I did catch the end, though. “Lucio,” he waved me over, “mio amore, Alex Addison.”

Lucio walked up to me, and gripped me in a laughing hug. “Welcome to Firenze, Alex!” Nicolo dropped the bag that was in his hand, and my eyes widened, comically I’m sure, as Lucio released me. “Surprise, brother! We’ve all been learning English and American Sign in preparation! The family has been working veeeeery hard to learn!” He looked closer at my face, and his eyes widened comically. “You cannot be six and twenty?! You look fifteen! Nicolo!” He turned to his brother, hands still on my shoulders.

“Alex has a... anomalia genetica.”

Looking back and forth between us, Lucio put a hand on the top of my head, measuring it against his chest. “Alex you look same height as la nostra mamma!”

I nodded. ‘One hundred fifty seven and a half centimeters’ I signed. So far so good. As much as I love Nicolo a good response from one of his brothers did more for my nerves than anything so far.

Turning away, and picking up our carryon bags, but leaving the cart for Nicolo, Lucio started walking towards the exit. “Ah Nico, you know what papà will say!”

We followed with an exasperated “ah, si si” from Nicolo. I scurried after them. The air outside the airport was cold and biting. Not the coldest city I’ve been to, I once got stuck in Syracuse in central New York one winter, so Firenze wasn’t too bad. Maybe 35 Fahrenheit. A slight breeze stunned my nose, causing a shiver. We expected cold, but not wind. Fortunately Lucio managed to get a pretty close parking spot. We tossed the luggage in the trunk, but I kept my carry-on backpack with me as Nicolo unceremoniously pushed me into the backseat, clambering in after me. Seatbelts were quickly buckled, and we were off. Nicolo hadn’t told me how long of a drive it would be to the family manor, and Lucio didn’t seem forthcoming with that information either. Nicolo had an arm across my shoulders, absentmindedly rubbing as he chatted about nothing in particular with Lucio. I was content to take in the sights. We were soon in a rural setting, and the rolling hills outside of Firenze, which if I recalled correctly was in a basin, were still beautiful even in winter. It took less time than I had anticipated, once realizing we were leaving the city proper, to turn at a large set of wrought iron gates, which swung laboriously, and creakily, open at Lucio’s press of a button where one expected a garage door opener to be. A long wide drive led up to a gorgeous, and massive, manor! After recovering from shock, I sent Nicolo a pointed glare, which elicited a simple small smile; he knew that smile melted my heart, the bastard! When I looked back forward, I signed ‘how old?’ to Nicolo.

“It was built in 1198, and rebuilt in 1458. The Bucello have lived here over eight hundred years,” was his reply. “Everyone who resides here pays a percentage of their income towards upkeep and maintenance. I still pay my share.”

I nodded my understanding, cringing inwardly to myself. There I was, showing off reconstructions and buildings less than three hundred years old, and his home was over eight hundred. Apparently not just inwardly, as Nicolo leaned down, and whispered to me. “My home is with you, Alex” and he kissed my temple. Even just three years in and he knew me so well. Knew how to cheer me up. I reached up and pulled him down for a kiss. As long as he still loved me, his family could think nothing of me, and I’d still be happy with him.

Mi stai facendo impazzire - You’re making (/driving) me crazy

Part two of this little event will be coming soon; it ended up being longer than anticipated. Updates will most likely be slower from here on out, but they will come!

Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

Copyright © 2021 Late to the party; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Another great chapter, where in the heck was Bryce on the trip over...in the luggage???😆

Not a wiff or a mention and I found it surprising! I would think that there would have been some interaction...just saying!


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2 hours ago, drsawzall said:

Another great chapter, where in the heck was Bryce on the trip over...in the luggage???😆

Not a wiff or a mention and I found it surprising! I would think that there would have been some interaction...just saying!


Hmmmm I may need to do a minor edit!

From chapter four: "‘B-rice,’ my hands spoke for me, ‘when I was thirteen " and "That was twenty years ago."

From this chapter: "Being 26 and only looking 15 wasn’t normal. "

The first part before the ** is 'present' whereas the block after is Alex 'telling' the story of meeting Nicolo's family for the first time, as Bryce requested.

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56 minutes ago, KayDeeMac said:

Enjoying the story!  Thank you!

Oh no, thank you! I'm glad to hear people like it. :D

Edited by Late to the party
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