Beauty and the Geek 2: When In Rome

5 years after their complicated high school relationship, Emily and Will are miles apart leading completely different lives. A chance meeting in Italy could bring them back together...but there's a couple of skeletons in Will's closet to sort out first. Will this starcrossed pair finally be together?
Beauty and the Geek 2: When in Rome - Episode 117:00 min.
Beauty and the Geek 2: When in Rome - Episode 214:00 min.
Beauty and the Geek 2: When in Rome - Episode 317:00 min.
Beauty and the Geek 2: When in Rome - Episode 416:00 min.
Beauty and the Geek 2: When in Rome - Episode 520:00 min.
Beauty and the Geek 2: When in Rome - Episode 615:00 min.
Beauty and the Geek 2: When in Rome - Episode 719:00 min.


2. Chapter 1.

I leaned against the railing, the rusty steel scratching against the palms of my hands. Roberto was bundling his collection of trash bags into the tiny car and muttering angry Italian to himself – a barrage of swear words, no less. Ironically, 5 years in Italy had taught me only to become fluent in offensive words.

“That’s right!” I yelled, my body contorted over the balcony. “Run away when things get tough!”
“You’re crazy!” He swivelled towards me, his cheeks red and sweaty, his veins pulsing with that famous Italian temperament.

He shot me a rude, one-fingered gesture and clambered into his car, screeching off into the night. I stood for a moment watching the dim glow of his headlights until they turned into nothing more than a pea sized reminder of my failure in the distance.

The familiar tears pricked at my eyes as I wondered if maybe he was right – I was broken. I couldn’t remember the last time in the past few years where I hadn’t felt the grey cloud of misery drifting into my bedroom every night and settling in the favourite spot inside my heart. Surviving during the day was possible; but that was just it, I was only surviving. I had no excitement anymore and it felt like even existing took effort. The lonely nights were even more excruciating when there was nobody around to make me feel better. Nobody. The word rung in my ears and served as a final reminder to me; I was alone.

I pulled out a glass from the cupboard and filled it with the dark liquid that splashed onto the kitchen counter and onto my dress. When did everything get so damn difficult? Italy had been a dream at first; a literal scene from a movie. Although everybody spoke really fast, I felt like I understood them more than anyone back home. I quickly realised the Italian speak with their eyes; they are open and honest and most times you look at them you can tell exactly what they are thinking. There was always a plate for me on the dinner table and always a friendly face around; I would never have thought that I could ever be lonely in Italy in the beginning.

Without hesitation, I had taken on the running of the orphanage after Sarah had left. I loved the kids and could never imagine leaving them to do anything else with my life. I even met a handful of nice, Italian guys who took me home to their families and showered me with the romantic gifts. But soon enough, that grey cloud crept back into my life and told me that was something was missing. Every relationship in my life became difficult to manage the more I spent moping around at home and looking for that puzzle piece I needed so much. I realised not long after that my puzzle piece was Will.

Since we had broken up and moved across the continent from each other, I always felt content to have two men in my life; my current love interest and Will. He was my rock and vice versa and we would support each other through our letters. Time zones were hard to make it work in regards to phone calls and social media but letters always made their way to him in the end – that’s what I loved about it. We would tell each other about our love lives knowing fully that we still had our own little spark there deep down that needed to be rekindled before we settled down with anybody else. Stupidly, I always thought that we would get to have that opportunity.

Will’s letters began to filter out the busier his life became over the years. He was a New York businessman and I was working in the middle of the Italian countryside. We were from two different worlds yet again. It was bound to happen eventually but I just don’t think I was ever ready to lose him. Soon enough, all of my relationships began to fail. It was like without Will I had nobody to confide in about all of the things that were wrong with my boyfriends and most importantly, I had nobody to compare them to. By the time, I realised that I wanted Will back in my life it was too late and his letters had stopped completely.

Around that time, I met Roberto. He was muscular and tan with thick, brown hair that was perfectly quaffed most of the time. He loved poetry and cooking and all of the things that the perfect guy should. Except, they forget to mention in movies and books that the perfect guy needs the perfect girl and I was most certainly imperfect in my own right. I was a nervous ball of energy; the orphanage was proving too much to handle and Will not being around was sending me on a slow slide to neuroticism. Eventually, Roberto got tired of my issues and he became more distant than ever. I think we both knew that he was trying to make me hate him so that I would end the whole charade but I just wasn’t brave enough to be alone, so I held on even tighter.

That night, he had finally had enough after discovering my letters to Will. He had scooped up all of his belongings and used the incident to finally get out of the relationship. I didn’t blame him at all – I was a mess. He said he would never be second best to anybody no matter how hard I tried to explain. He had pointed at my heart and whispered:

“I knew there was someone else in there that I could never match up to.”

He was right – I did love Will more than anybody else. On a romantic level and every other level there was; I was sure that we were soul mates and there was nobody else for me. It was toxic; I was obsessed with the memory of what Will used to be rather than the guy he was now. The problem was that I wasn’t sure I would even get to see him again to see how he had changed and Will had already made his feelings clear by ignoring my letters.

Last time we had spoken, Will was starting an investment banking internship on Wall Street. It was uncharacteristic; his dream had always been working with computer, living from a suitcase and changing the world. But he seemed so happy and full of possibilities that I couldn’t argue with it. In contrast, I was in charge of a crumbling orphanage that the government were going to tear down day now. They had already expressed their desire to turn the decrepit building into luxury apartments.

I guess I had no one to blame but myself when Will started avoiding me – I had left him after all. Did I really expect someone like him to wait around forever for me to get myself together? I was the one who had selfishly travelled the world and brushed off his declarations of love and apologies over the years. There was only one thing worse than losing the person you loved forever and that was knowing you had pushed him away all along.

I sunk into the sofa and felt myself drifting off to sleep. As another door to a relationship closed, I should have felt sad about it. But instead, I felt relieved. Now, when the familiar dreams about Will came through every night I wouldn’t have to feel guilty anymore.


“They really did it!” I heard the door slam in the hallway. “They’re closing us down!”

Giovanna burst into the room, her long hair cascading around her shoulders, as she slammed the court notice onto my desk. My eyes manically scanned the piece of paper hoping that it would turn out to be a joke but the official stamp was unmistakable. Giovanna cowered in the corner of the room, her eyes watering and her arms wrapped firmly around her as a measure of protection.

“Think of the kids!” She shook her head. “They have nowhere to go!”
“It’s okay,” I pulled her close. “We can fix this. They can’t just shut us down – I won’t let them.”

Inside, the already fragile foundation of my sanity began to fall apart even more. Even the one steady thing in my life, the orphanage, was now disintegrating at my feet. The letter said it all; we had one month to evacuate the premises or the government would be forced to take “necessary” action, whatever that meant. As far as I was concerned, I would chain myself to the radiators before I would put those kids out on the street.

“Do you promise?” She looked at me like a timid child through her huge brown eyes.
“I promise,” I smiled. “But we need to get to work quickly if we have any chance of stopping this, okay?”

She nodded and flounced out of the room, a flurry of billowing skirt and floral scent. Giovanna was still young; she was fresh out of school and looking to give back to the world. She had been teaching some of the kids for a few months and probably hadn’t anticipated that her dream job could be ruined any day. I hadn’t anticipated such a thing either.

The government had been insisting for months that our debts were too great to carry on and that luxury apartments would benefit the community economy better. I had begun to realise that those kids didn’t stand a chance in life simply because nobody cared about them; they were poor and insignificant to everyone apart from Giovanna and I. I had to be the one who took a stand for them and what was right.

So, I grabbed my keys roughly and as many files as I could carry and made my way outside – I wasn’t going down without a fight. Not this time.


The moped vibrated underneath me as I whizzed around the corner sharply and into the city of Rome. Even though I had visited almost every day for the past 5 years, the city still managed to take my breath away. The cobbled streets stretched on like they would never end with their sizzling brick in the summer heat; the humid air seemed to sink into every pore and make me hot to my core. Sandstone buildings dotted each side of the rode with brick so worn that it looked like dust and that one touch would send it tumbling to the ground. Strangers arranged their flower beds on the balcony as they observed the hustle and bustle of the city, watering each plant carefully.

The same collection of tourists you could find in any city were crowded around every monument they could find; clutching their cameras and muttering foreign languages between themselves. Couples danced over the pavements, succeeding in a game where they tried to hold hands without breaking once amongst the sea of people; their hands wandered playfully as they planted kisses upon one another’s cheeks. I sighed, knowing that I would see this for the rest of the day and cursing myself for choosing the city of love as the setting of my new life.

I pulled up to the nearest curb and removed my helmet, noticing in the reflection of the shop window my crop of flattened hair and spiky fringe. I looked inappropriate for a business meeting – if you could even call what I was about to do a business meeting. I had driven all the way into the centre of Rome knowing that the council would be meeting here to discuss the plans for the orphanage and finalising details. I was about to put a stop to it all if my life depended on it.

I slid into the building easily as I burrowed myself deep into a crowd of business men who were too busy on their cell phones to notice anything. After witnessing the colourful beauty of Rome, I was surprised to find that everything in this office was completely grey. The employees seemed exhausted; yawning in their chairs and drawing up a new game of poker on their computer screens. Everything from the drapes to the lady on reception felt grey; with her ashy, candyfloss hair and her darkly tinted spectacles balancing on her nose. Her monotone voice filled the reception area as I snuck down a corridor hoping that it would be the right one to find what I was looking for.

I mustered up the most official voice that I could and batted my eyelashes in the direction of a dazed looking man walking towards me.

“Excuse me, sir,” I smiled sweetly. “It’s my first day and I’m lost. Could you tell me where the council are meeting today?”

I held my breath hoping he would take the bait as his eyes moved upwards over my makeshift suit I had flung together in a hurry. He smiled in return and offered me some directions, as my heartbeat subsided and I continued down the corridor.

I peered through the beige blinds over the door; they were slightly open and displayed a room full of people, equally as passive as the rest of the employees, seated at a massive table. They were all facing towards a man gesturing to a whiteboard, who had his back towards them and was waving a pen wildly in his hand. Out of a room full of stand still, he seemed like the only thing moving around in his expensive suit; the rest of the stiffs were all ears, worshipping at his feet like he was some kind of God. I took a deep breath, and twisted the door knob striding in with a bundle of paperwork in hand.

“Excuse me,” I announced shakily. “I’m here to ask you what the hell you think you’re doing.”

Faces turned towards me agape in horror; a silence so solid fell over the room that it was almost deafening. A few people stared at each other wondering if this was a joke that some woman they had never seen before had burst into the room and maybe, it had all been set up to make their Monday afternoon that little bit better. I could have laughed at the irony that I was no more of a businesswoman than Queen of England – I had travelled here on my trusty moped instead of a Mercedes. It was ridiculous but how else could I get them to listen to my point of view? Even if security had to drag my body out of there I was determined to save those kids.

“Who let you in here?” An elderly man asked, peering at me over his glasses. He rose from his seat and suddenly, everyone else became alarmed. “This is a private meeting. You’ll have to wait outside.”

His hands wrapped firmly around my arm as he guided me towards the door a little too roughly.

“Wait!” The man who had been lecturing at the front of the room turned sharply. “Let her go.”

I turned to see the face of my knight in shining armour – if my knight came in the form of a corrupted businessman happy to sacrifice the lives of some unfortunate children for money. Within that moment where we made eye contact, something went very wrong. I felt my insides flip over and the sickness rise inside my throat as I peered at those familiar dark eyes and the pouty lips slightly open in a display of surprise.

“Will!” I gasped, finally managing to speak. “What are you doing here?”

He looked at me blankly, like we were strangers, and I felt the sting of rejection inside me so deep that I winced. He opened his mouth to speak but the words that came out sounded like they came from a different person who was neither caring nor the loveable geek that I once knew:

“I’m shutting down your orphanage."

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