"For the love of God, don't tell me that you lost the freaking map."
Celia glanced excitedly over at her boyfriend, Max, trying to keep her increasing excitement in check as Max navigated toward the tiny Italian village. Max’s face mirrored the anxiety he was feeling, and the level of concentration he was dedicating to the many twists, turns, and random farmer in the road in the sleepy town of not more than 350 people.
He felt as if he knew the place well, after years and years of listening intently to his grandfather speak of the small village where he had grown up. So many hours had been spent hanging on the man’s every word as he retold of how he had found the map, buried within the rubble of his neighbor’s farmhouse after the Nazi’s had procured the residence, pilfered it of all its essentials, and then burnt the dwelling to the ground. No one noticed, or seemed to place any value on, the map that spoke of riches beyond any one king, entombed within the bowels of the earth in the sleepy farming community, where nothing exciting ever happens, and the richest man is the one that still has money left at the end of the month.
Max still had family here, although not many and very distant, but enough that he could call upon them for a room and a meal while he and Celia searched for their future under the guise of touring the Italian countryside. Max knew enough Italian to get by, taught by his grandfather until his death, and then taking classes in high school and college. He grinned as he recalled arguing with his advisor about the required language credits for graduation. Max assumed the requirements were not put in place for exactly this reason, but he was going to thank the board of education, anyway. Perhaps he would toss them a shilling or two, for good measure.
Settled snuggly in their room on the top floor of cousin- twice-removed Rosalia’s house, Celia flopped onto the bed, and snickered at Max. “So, when did we get married?”
Max smiled sheepishly at her, “I had to tell them we were married. They never would have let us stay together otherwise,” Max offered as explanation, peering at her to note her reaction.
“Well, I suggest you start treating me a little better, husband of mine, or I will spill the proverbial beans, and you will be out on your keester,” Celia had a wicked glint in her eye, a subtle humor in her tone, and Max decided to have a little fun with the woman he knew he would someday promise his life and love forever.
Looking up at her, shocked surprise, laced with undeniable horror, he asked her, “Do you have the map?”
Celia sat up in bed, instantly serious, grasping at the heart pendant around her necklace, as she did whenever she was anxious. “What!?! You said you had it!” She bounced herself over to the edge of the bed, and slid down onto the floor next to Max, assisting in pulling garments out of the suitcase. “"For the love of God, don't tell me that you lost the freaking map."
The room was quiet, as she finally lifted her head to meet his gaze. Max sat in front of her with an ear-to-ear grin plastered across his face, waving the discolored carefully folded parchment in front of Celia.
Round One goes to Max.