[before this: rich girls.]
The next morning, the crew served coffee and pastries on the deck as they got underway, waving goodbye to the Amalfi coast. They were set to cruise leisurely down to the Aeolian Islands, off the coast of Sicily. Giulietta appeared wearing a snakeskin-print cover-up, elaborate Jimmy Choo sandals, and enormous Gucci sunglasses. She already looked tanned, like she had prepared for this trip. Francesca, in contrast, was wearing as promised one of Selim’s button-down shirts, a colorful, printed Etro scarf in her hair, Celine sunglasses, and bare feet. She had a flat white pedicure on her toes and felt quite chic, even next to her overdressed sister-in-law. Selim was slow to emerge from below decks; Ricci was standing at the wheel, coffee in his left hand, chatting with the ship’s captain. He wore a t-shirt and swim trunks, both of which had probably been carefully selected by his wife, and with the breeze blowing through his light brown hair Francesca thought he looked more relaxed than she’d seen in months.
Giulietta shook a small pink packet of sweetener into her coffee and declined pastries. Francesca chose a large croissant and went to work peeling the flaky, golden layers apart before drizzling them with honey and eating them. She had a big, foamy cappuccino by her side.
“How do you stay so skinny eating like that?” Giulietta asked her.
“I’m not that skinny,” Francesca replied. She lifted the tails of her shirt and grabbed at a barely-existent chunk of her left thigh.
“I think you’re perfect.” Both women tilted their heads up to see Selim standing above them, paying Francesca a compliment.
“Thanks,” she said, offering him some honeyed croissant. He took it, holding onto her hand and licking the honey off her fingers. Giulietta turned away nervously. Francesca raised an eyebrow. “Hey,” she said quietly.
He walked up to stand at the bow of the sailboat, like a figurehead, the wind blowing back his dark hair and rippling his shirt and shorts. It was going to be okay, she thought, laying back on the smooth teak deck. She unbuttoned her shirt and balled it up under the back of her head. Unlike in the scenario she had described to Selim on the phone, she was wearing both parts of her bikini.