The Trulio family was connected to the Ferrano family, but not through blood. Bianca Trulio-Rossi was connected to both Tommy and I. Him, through their growing up together. Me, through not my old life, but through blood. I knew that Bianca and I would’ve been tight if I’d grown up around her. I had pretty quickly gotten close to her, was in awe of how together she was. Wife, mom, business owner. Kick-ass sense of style.
It was a flurry of excitement when I went into the big family-sized live-in kitchen with the expansive family room that had been the area we’d been hanging out in. The house h
ad many other rooms, but this was the primo spot with the view of the water, the kitchen right there, big island with stools and giant dining table in between the kitchen and the big family zone that had comfy couches and a massive television.
The table was spread out with appetizers and bottles of wine and wine glasses.
It was a few hours later and Sarah, Tessa, Luc, and I were on the sectional outdoor couch on the rooftop terrace. Luc had a nursery monitor clipped to her pocket to keep an ear on the kids, who were all (all seven of them) sleeping in a king-sized bed together (little arms and legs in all directions --- essentially a pile of toddlers and Little Joey, the eldest at six), the baby in a pack ‘n play in the same room. Bianca was in the pool, the only one swimming, but Lisa sat with her feet dangling in the water, drinking sparkling orange juice from her fancy wine glass. Sarah lifted the bottle of rosé and topped me up.
“I love him so much,” I swooned and got a big smile from Sarah, a little smile from Tessa, and what I was pretty certain was a fake smile from Lisa. My expression faltered when I read that from her and she immediately shook whatever unpleasantness she was feeling off and smiled big.
Did she suspect the truth, that Tommy killed her husband? If so, what would she do about it?
A cloud of doom threatened to settle on me, but I didn’t let it. I was a little tipsy. So were Bianca, Luc, and Sarah. Tessa was quiet, still sipping her first glass of wine, though we were on our sixth or seventh.
“So, you confirmed it’s true that he’s a monster in bed,” Bianca called over. “How much of a monster?”
“Please no…” Luc pleaded.
“Shush,” Bianca waved. “She’s our bride. Forget who her groom is. This is a necessity the night before her wedding. At least we don’t have to give her the talk and tell her what to expect from her wifely duties.”
I choked on my wine with laughter.
“So. Monster? Talk to us about the one-eyed monster.”
“Oh yeah,” I said, starry-eyed. “Sometimes, I get extra naughty so that I can unleash the beast.”
“I’d be naughty every day,” Bianca said.
“Your man not a monster?” Sarah asked.
“He’s as vanilla as they come,” Bianca said. “He’s great. Always takes care of me, but sometimes you just wanna be pounded against the wall like a screen door in a hurricane, you know?”
“She’s right,” Luc admitted.
Tessa abruptly went inside.
No one missed a beat.
“How ‘bout Uncle Tom?” Bianca asked, looking at Lisa. “He sweet and 100% missionary, or a beast?”
“For fuck sakes, Bee,” Luc covered her ears. ”Talking about my dead father in the sack. You’re one sick bitch.”
“No,” Bianca said sharply. “I’m talking to our friend, Lisa, about her love life. I’m giving her an opportunity to participate in our conversation.”
Lisa smirked. “He was amazing. Really amazing.”
I found myself staring in surprise at the beat of red in Lisa’s cheeks.
She looked off into space and smiled. “He was so good at it. We took great care of one another’s needs, which were varied. Very varied.”
“I so do not wanna know what that means,” Luc said.
“I do!” Sarah piped up. “Tell us.”