Under the Tuscan Sun | February 10, 1923

Joined: August 5th, 2013, 1:32 am

August 23rd, 2014, 1:30 am #1

Ren sat on the couch, looking towards the cracked front door. She could hear Cliff speaking outside to the attendant at the resort. Periodically the man would stop by to check on them, and right now he was doing his due diligence. Ren has often thought him to be annoying, but today she was thankful for the interruption. This little pause gave her a moment to rest. Even when Cliff suggested rest, she wanted to push on. Ren was not one to quick so easy.

For the last hour Ren had been trying to learn how to walk again. The only thing she had gained from the last hour was the ability to finally stand up for a few moments and then fall back to the couch. She was frustrated, and she knew Cliff could tell. Never in her life had she been such an invalid. For Ren, not be able to get up to do the simplest things was beyond frustrating for her. She was determined, but she was starting to feel as of late that she would never walk again.

Looking away from the door, she glanced out the open veranda window. The bungalow they were staying in was only one large room. A bed was off to one side that faced towards hot springs outside the veranda windows. On the opposite side of the room, where Ren sat, there were a two short couches and a small dining table. It was a quant and intimate space and neither Ren nor Cliff minded the close quarters their lodging provided.

Letting out a soft sigh, she looked towards the door. She could still hear Cliff speaking Italian to the man and wondered just what they were talking about. Typically his visits were short, but this time it seemed to take longer. Ren almost wondered if Cliff was up to something. He was lucky she did not know Italian otherwise she would have been listening more closely to what he might be plotting. Glancing away from the door, Ren looked down at her lap and then to her legs. She felt despair as she thought she might never walk again properly.
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Joined: September 7th, 2013, 7:03 pm

September 3rd, 2014, 4:25 pm #2

The holiday was meant to give Ren ample time to recuperate and build her strength. For two months she lay in a hospital bed, unmoving, barely hanging onto to life. Cliff spent most of that time in jail accused of putting Ren in such a horrible state. He thought his life had ended then, locked away where the only life destin to grow was the mold in the corners of the cell. When news reached him that Ren had awaken from her coma it gave Cliff a reason to carry on with his life, because the thought of losing her killed him.

Tuscany was gorgeous country, with hills and valleys covered in greenery, lined with grapes, and had small little residences tucked away in remote areas. Cliff had fallen in love with this little piece of Italy and thought it was perfect for Ren and her rehabilitation. He knew gaining her strength back would not be an easy task, and even Doctor Clarkson warned him that she would need assistance, and knowing Ren a watchful eyes was necessary. Cliff was very much aware of the scottish woman’s patience and her overly independent nature, which told him that there was bound to be a few uphill battles they would face.

He admired her drive, and stubbornness to push forward but Cliff remained the voice of reason and tried calming the storm of frustration that raged inside her. When there came a knock to the little cottage they were staying in the older man was somewhat relieved. They had been working on some strength building exercises and when he suggested taking a break Ren pushed back. Cliff remained outside with Gaicomo a bit longer than he intended, but the one thing about Tuscany was the friendly locals. Giac could talk and ear off a goat if he was so inclined. He and his wife were very concerned with the couple, and often came by with conversation or gifts. Today was a basket of freshly baked bread, cheese, and a casserole of some kind to warm up later.

“I come bearing gifts,” he announced as he entered the one bedroom space, smiling at her brightly while carrying the food provided. “Gia is quite the character somethings... He is very concerned about you. I hope you are hungry because we’ll need to eat this before he bring us another basket tomorrow.” Cliff chuckled and set down the items on the table before looking at her. “Anything the matter, love?” he asked her gently when she saw a faint look of despair on her face.
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Joined: August 5th, 2013, 1:32 am

September 15th, 2014, 1:20 pm #3

Hearing Cliff enter the room, Ren looked up and towards him. Her eyes made brief contact with his before looking down to the basket he was holding. Ren always enjoyed good meals but felt that all the food Giac was giving them would cause her to gain more weight than she wanted. “He is to kind, but he really doesn’t need to give us all that food. At the rate he’s feeding us, I’ll end up bigger than a pig that is ready for slaughter.” She looked back and met Cliff’s eyes. “I really would not like to buy a whole new wardrobe.” Her nose wrinkled a little in distaste at that idea. All she wanted was to fit back in her clothing.

Sighing, Ren again looked back down at her legs. “It’s just the same ole problems.” Her voice was beginning to sound defeated as she answered him about what was wrong. It would have been easy to say nothing, but that would have been a lie. They never were one to avoid a question and Ren was not about to start now. “I want to walk again.” She stated plainly and looked back up at him with sadder eyes. “I’m tired of being a burden to you all.” Having been such an independent person all her life, the sudden need to rely on everyone over the past few months had finally come to a head. Ren was tired of it and she wanted her old life back.

Ren knew she should have waited for Cliff to get close again, but she was determined to do things on her own. She knew she could always rely on Cliff for anything and everything, but just for this one thing she wanted to be on her own and dependent again. Bracing her hands on the two canes in front of her, Ren made a move to stand up. A smile briefly appeared on her face as she achieved her goal and stood next to the couch.

Her strength was obviously returning, but the one thing she still had not mastered was her balance. Ren barely had stood for a few seconds before she felt herself lose what little stability she had. Unable to stop herself, she felt herself fall forward. “Cliff!” She called out before releasing her hands from her canes and raising them to brace herself as she fell forward into the wood floor.
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Joined: September 7th, 2013, 7:03 pm

September 15th, 2014, 7:16 pm #4

“Oh, now, what has the pig ever done to you?” he joked lightly while setting the food in the warmer. “If you are that concerned about your clothes not fitting in the future I have a few old jumpers that might fit you.” Heathcliff positively loved giving Ren a hard time for certain things, trying to make her look on the brighter side by teasing her relentlessly. In all seriousness Cliff believed that Ren could use to gain some weight. It would help her to strengthen up her leg and back muscles so that, soon, she would be able to carrying her own.

“You will walk again, I promise,” he assured her. He could understand wanting it to be an overnight miracle, but slow and steady was always better at winning the race. Cliff was on his way over to sit next to her when Ren rose to her feet. Back to the exercising, he thought tiredly but then he caught that determined look. “Ren...” he warned but she had already began to take a step forward, losing her balance. He reached for her and scooped her up in his arm before she could go careening towards the old wooden floor.

“Now,” he began in a playfully stern tone of voice. “Who told you to do that, eh? The floor doesn’t care to get that close to ya. That’s my job.” Cliff helped her to stand, still using his arms to keep her upright. He brought his hand up to the caress her cheek gently, and his hazel eyes looked steadily down towards her face. “You are never a burden. Never to me. Remember that.”
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Joined: August 5th, 2013, 1:32 am

September 16th, 2014, 12:41 pm #5

Ren had expected to be hitting the floor but instead she found herself wrapped up in the warm and comforting embrace of Cliff. Out of instinct her arms curled around his neck as he enveloped her in his large arms. Eye closing for a brief moment, Ren felt herself begin to calm down after the sudden panic that had gripped her only seconds before. “Thank you.” She said quietly as she shifted in his arms to stand. Her feet came to rest on top of his own as she stood facing him. Arms still curled about his neck, Ren knew he would hold her up, but she used the strength of her arms to help him keep her standing.

This little moment was embarrassing to her and it acknowledged how much of a burden she really was. Regardless of what Cliff said about her being a burden, Ren felt as though she would never be able to function again on her own. Looking into his eyes, there was a sad acknowledgement on her face of how weak she was and for one of the few times in her life she was beginning to feel hopeless. “What if Doctor Clarkson is wrong? It’s been long enough now I should be able to walk on my own.” She paused, trying to not let her spirits get to low.

Moving one of her arms from around his neck, she moved her hand so that she could cup she cheek. She could feel the rough texture of stubble on his face tickle her palm. “I have lost count of how many times the floor has gotten close to us both. I guess this isn’t a time to revisit old habits.” Ren sighed. “I’m not a silly old woman, am I? Dreaming of possibilities that will never happen? I don’t want to live life like this… being so weak.” It was a fear that she was sure Cliff knew, but she had to still say it out loud. Sometimes it was best to say things then to keep them bottled up inside.
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Joined: September 7th, 2013, 7:03 pm

September 22nd, 2014, 3:42 pm #6

A smile spread across his lips as she placed her feet atop his, and he immediately began to sway from side to side. He leaned forwards and placed a loving kiss against her temple and just enjoyed the feeling of holding her. This had to be the most pessimistic he’s ever witnessed Ren to be, and he didn’t stop himself from rolling his eyes. “What if Clarkson is wrong,” he repeated under his breath dismissively. “What if he’s right? What if you can’t measure the time of your recovery by days--by hours. You keep thinking of it that way and you’ll most certainly be my little invalid.”

Tilting his head to the side he gave her a thought look. “You are the absolute silliest woman... not old, but still a complete pain in the arse.” Cliff drew her into a gentle embrace, resting his head atop hers. Ren may be impatient, which can be frustrating for Cliff at times, but he didn’t love her any less and would continue to use this as a way to tease her. “You’re not weak, love. You are the strongest woman that I’ve ever met.” He began taking steps to the side, guiding her back and forth. “Dancing still seems your forte.” Cliff grinned down at her as they danced slowly.
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Joined: August 5th, 2013, 1:32 am

September 25th, 2014, 12:30 pm #7

Ren moved with Cliff, but most of her action was caused by his own moving. Still she lacked the strength to really stand on her own, and the only way she was remaining upright and moving was because Cliff was holding her so closely. Her hand left his cheek and went back to where it had previously been looped around his arm. Nuzzling her face into his neck, she sighed. “I think you’re biased.”

After a moment, she pulled her head back to look up at him. She still was not completely happy, but the frustration from a few moments ago seemed to have left. “You are probably right… for the most part.” Her head tilted to the side a little as she continued to speak; now teasing him a little with her words. “I only learned from the master when it comes to being a complete pain in the arse. I don’t think I could ever beat you on that.” Her lips curled into a small smile. “Just one of the many things I adore about you.” And she meant that with her whole heart.

Turning her head, she then rested it on his shoulder. Closing her eyes, she continued to try and move with him as he danced slowly from side to side. Ren knew it would be a long time before she could move freely and easily again. The one goal she had set for herself was that she would not stop in her recovery until she could again dance the tango with Cliff. That goal was still far away, but as she moved with him now it built her spirits once more. With Cliff’s help, Ren knew she could achieve anything.

As they moved for a bit, the smell of the basket behind them finally reached Ren’s senses. Opening her eyes, she tilted her head a bit to look up at Cliff. “Think we might try some of that bread and cheese? I’d hate for it to go to waste after all the work that Giac’s wife does to make it for us.” That was half the truth. The other half was she was getting hungry and the sudden rumble of her stomach only confirmed it.
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