He had never seen so many homeless people in one place. It brought the situation home to him. It was why Mario set up a homeless charity with Gabriella. One of the things she loved about him was his wish to make a difference.
He had passed this on to their children.
‘Gabriella, my love, I knew you would come.’ Mario reached out his hands and Gabriella took them.
‘Am I the only lover you’ve summoned, or should I expect a harem at any moment?’
‘There was only you, as for the rest, meaningless flings. Is Antonio with you?’ He kissed her hands and put them to his face.
‘No. He felt it was inappropriate to visit the deathbed of the man that stood in the way of making me his wife.’
‘I shall not be in the way much longer then you can be Mrs Capricci.’
‘Is that why I am here? For your blessing?’
‘Can’t a man on his deathbed kiss the love of his life goodbye?’
‘You dragged me back from Rome for a kiss?’
‘There was a time you would have thought it worth it.’
Gabriella kissed his forehead.
‘Kiss me like a lover, lie with me and hold me.’
‘You’re not expecting…’
‘No, my dear, those days are over, I know that. I only wish to hold you in my arms one last time.’
‘Antonio won’t like this.’
‘He got over our past reconciliations and they were much more a betrayal.’
Gabriella turned her back.
‘You never told him, did you?’
‘No, I would have lost him.’
‘You could have come back to me.’
‘And your encounters? That would never have worked.’
‘So, you were using me?’ Mario laughed. ‘I made you into me.’
‘At least I love both of you, for me it wasn’t meaningless.’
‘Come on, lie down. You need the rest.’
Gabriella hit him, then climbed on the bed, took him in her arms and kissed him.