Chapter 1


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The sunshine-state California lived up to its name again this Friday afternoon. Mercilessly, the beating sun forced thermometers up to record-breaking temperatures. The people besieged the beaches and behaved like water-creatures that had spent weeks in the desert. Those trying to avoid the burning sun searched for a little place in the shade – enjoying a fresh, cool soda in silence and contentment. Work? No-way, on a day like today! The weekend simply started a day earlier, and so Santa Barbara became a peaceful, comfortable and relaxing little place on earth. That is, assuming you could afford this luxury.

 Those with responsibilities – a family to feed,an apartment to pay for, or a punishing work schedule , could only dream of taking it that easy.Or if you were head of an industrial imperium and the richest family in town. And if your name were CC Capwell, it would be even worst.

The big door of the Capwell mansion opened heavily and reluctantly. Finally it gave way to the well air-conditioned hall of the house.A completely exhausted CC Capwell entered his home,his jacket hung casually over his shoulders and his necktie shoved into his top pocket.

"Someone here, who doesn't care about this weather outside?" he yelled into the foyer. Not waiting very long for an answer, he continued "How could I even think about finding someone like me in this family!"

"Well, I do have a lot to do and if this means that I'm equal to you, we should talk about a raise" replied a friendly voice. It was Rosa, longtime housekeeper for the Capwell family, and almost part of it. She came out of the kitchen, holding in her hand the one thing CC had dreamt about all day long.

"What about a glass of freshly made, cool lemonade?" she asked, and filled the glass, already knowing the answer.

"Rosa" he replied visibly better tempered. "My saviour, as usual!"

He took the glass and drank it in one draught: empty. Then he put the chilled glass to his forehead and enjoyed its coolness.

"I presume my family is not at home, and has joined all the other maniacs on the beach lying in the sun. And I imagine Kelly, my yacht won't even be at the same place I left it last time.”

"No, it wont be there" Rosa agreed with CC. "The children, I mean Kelly, Ted, Lilly and Connor left early this morning to go fishing and sailing. Mason was also here a while ago, saying that he, Julia and Samantha will spend the afternoon on the beach, building "Capwell City" out of sand."

CC was amused by Rosa`s expression, but more than that he liked the idea that his children were happy. He returned the glass to Rosa and headed on upstairs.

"By the way. Your wife, Sophia, is in the house. She's sunbathing in the garden" Rosa called after him, a touch of irony in her voice.

CC turned around almost absent-mindedly.

"Sophia" he said quietly to himself. 

Yes. Sophia was back. Back in the house – back in his life. After her surprising love-confession at BJ and Warren's wedding, which he took as a gift, she became an official part in his life again. He remembered, that later that evening, when all the young couples were dancing, she suddenly disappeared, and that when he finally found her out on the terrace, she was lost in her thoughts, looking out into the evening-sky. At first he didn't dare to speak to her, afraid, that she would already regret everything she'd told him a while before. But then he moved towards her - just stood beside her without saying a word. Not acknowledging his presence, she started to talk.

"I meant what I told you earlier." She turned around. "But you already doubt me again, don't you?"

CC felt attacked.

"What doubts.... I mean.... I would like to...."

He couldn't find the right words but smiled, despite himself. That an eloquent man like him should be lost for words... But Sophia didn't return his smile: her expression was serious. Standing face-to-face with him as if to emphasise her words:

"I´d like to say this one last time" she started "I have realised that even if I fight my feelings for you... it doesn't help! I belong to you. And you belong to me. And since I never liked to spend money for nothing I will never consent to further divorce plans. So think about it again – this time you will get me for good – whatever the circumstances and consequences."

CC couldn't believe what he just had heard. Of course there had been a "till death do us part" in their wedding-vows. But this time ... it seemed to be so different. Slowly he took her hands.

"Sophia" his voice sounded serious and consolidated. "I promise, I will sign it with my blood: No-one, nothing, will ever separate us again. And even if the devil himself were to stand in front of me, demanding my soul. I promise you, I will never give up hope, will never follow any idiotic urge, however logical it may seem. I promise you that I'll climb on a mountain instead and stay there lonely and cold until I realise again what a wonderful human being I have by my side. I will..."

Sophia put her hand on his mouth. Tears were in her eyes, but her mouth formed a beautiful smile. "Ditto" she said before she put her arms around his neck and solidly pressed her lips on his.

In the following week they had married in silence again.

They didn't care that people were talking about Ken Mathis, and the fact that that he had hardly been buried when they already shared home and bed again. They ignored the remarks about it being their fourth attempt and the speculation as to how long it would last this time. For the first time they had nothing to say or explain at all.

"Mr. Capwell" Rosa tore him from his daydreams. "Shall I serve the drinks in the garden?"

CC smiled and took the carafe out of her hand.

"Thanks, I'll take care of it myself."



The whole way over into the garden CC could only think one thing: to have the woman he loves so deeply there waiting for him was a wonderful feeling. And there she was, the love of his life. Lounging in the shade of a tee, her hair still wet from swimming, eyes hidden behind sunglasses. She didn't hear him coming. Carefully he crept up from behind and kissed her softly. Like on the night when they'd decided to be together again, she didn't seem surprised, and put her hand around his neck so that she could pull him towards her to get a better look at him.

"I hope you've not grabbed arbitrarily" CC said amazed by Sophia´s action.

"No!" she said. "I recognized your body-odor."

CC looked at her incredulously. Sophia could suppress her laughter no longer. She let go of him and gave him the chance to go around the chair so that he finally stood in front of her.

"There's only one male voice in this little paradise, who could put so many curses on a simple car door on such a beautiful day like this."

"It sticks!" CC defended himself instinctively, not seeing that Sophia had only tried to provoke him. "I've taken it to the garage three times, but still...." Now he noticed what kind of game she was playing. "Alright! Go on annoying a hard working man!" He pulled her out of the chair and whirled her around. Soon he let her down again, but still held her tight.

"It's so good to know you're here" he said quietly and kissed her softly.

Sophia took the compliment with goodwill. She most dearly wished she would never have to let him go again, but she had plans for the evening.

"Why don't you go for a nice refreshing shower, put on something comfortable, and in the meantime I'll make things comfortable for you here and fix you a cool drink."

"Good idea! But how about you joining me in the shower?" A mischievious smile scurried over his face.

Sophia pushed him away and sat back down again.

"Oh no! I know those kinds of showers. We'll never be on time tonight."

CC had no idea what she was talking about. They hadn't made any plans for that night and spontenaety wasn't his thing anymore.

"What are you talking about?”On time!” – where?" he asked curiously. He knew Sophia and her spontaneous ideas.

"The children took the yacht out this morning...."

"Yes, yes, Rosa told me already." CC´s mood seemed tarnished. Sophia noticed that and removed her glasses. She tilted her head and looked at him conciliatory. Patiently she started again.

"The children took the yacht out this morning to go fishing. Ted promised to catch the biggest fish in the Pacific and invited us to meet them all at seven to eat the fish together."

CC showed little enthusiasm toward the idea.

"And we have to go?"

Sophia was disappointed, but didn't want to give up that easily.

"Of course we don't HAVE to go. I just thought it might be a nice idea to spend an evening together with the kids."

"Alright, alright!" CC was convinced. "I'm going for a shower – alone" he emphasized "and then I'll check out if my son is a better fisherman than a businessman."

CC was about to to leave when Sophia called him back.

"CC – I love you!" she said seriously and the she smiled at him in love.

He only smiled at her and left.



There was nothing left of Santa Barbara Harbor's splendid silence, which people loved so much and why they liked to come there. The beautiful weather lured sailors, anglers and "wannabe's” in droves.

A few minutes before the Capwell yacht had entered the harbor and Ted was still busy mooringthe boat to the quay. Kelly and Lilly, who leaned over the rail to watch him, were teasing him with their "advice”.

"Well, that doesn't look much like a bow-line, does it?" Kelly tried to provoke Ted.

"Dearest sister! " Ted tried to appear quiet and concentrated on his work. "If you are able to do everything that much better than me" his intonation became increasingly more aggressive "then move your butt down here and do it yourself!"

"Ted! Can you manage there?" Connor looked through to open bridge window. "If the engine has to run much longer, we will have to fill it up." He could not suppress a grin.

Ted tightened the knot with all his strength and dropped the rest of the line angrily on the ground.

"Thanks! It's really nice to get a kick from my own family, and such a qualified one! If you'd have steered the boat closer to the quay it would had been much easier for me."

Still watching Ted, Kelly brought Lilly into the conversation.

"Lilly, How can you handle such a hothead? Does he always bring up this strength when he gets furious?"

"Don't push it too far, Kelly" Ted warned his sister.

"Oh come on!" she shot back. "You don't wanna insist that it was my fault that you didn't catch a fish." She paused, provokatively. "Or that you let the only one jump out of your net."

Kelly and Lilly started to laugh while Ted sulked, his hands on his hips. Connor closed the window before Ted could hear him laughing too.

Ted heard steps coming closer. As he turned around, Sophia and CC almost stood in front of him. Sophia knew that she wouldn't be able to stop CC making some ironic remark – they had heard too much. She was right.

"Darling, You were so right again. There's nothing more beautiful than having a relaxing and peaceful dinner with our children"

"Hello Dad!" Ted tried to overhear his father's remark as best as he could.

But CC hadn't finished, yet.

 I assume that I will have to order the fish for us in a restaurant so that we can actually have dinner. A dinner I will have to pay for, because you don't have any money with you today."

For that he got a slap from Sophia.

"What's that for?" He defended his words. "Did I invite you to an obviously non-existant dinner or did HE?"

"But we do have dinner" Kelly called to CC. "I did catch a fish!"

"That was pure coincidence, Kelly!" Ted shook a finger at her.

"And it doesn't matter really, does it? It'll be MY fish, we'll be eating. And it will be your $50 Dollars that will hike into my pocket, since I have won the bet."

Ted was about to answer when Sophia interrupted him.

"What else could it have been!" She pushed CC towards the boat. "I'm thirsty now and would like to enjoy the sun for a while." CC didn't move at all, so Sophia passed him and boarded the boat. There she embraced Kelly and Lilly, and together they headed to the sundeck.

CC had already closed up to Ted, who still stood there sulkily.

"Son, I will tell you something now and you can believe every word, because I had to experience it myself over and over again." CC put his arms around his son's shoulders and led him to the gangplank. "Even if we men bring home the money and the invitations for a glorious social life, and make the headlines in the newspapers, our wives are the ones to spin the gold from this precious thread. However, whether we like it or not, they are always a step adhead. We just let them go and we will always make our way."

"Does this also include in-lawed wives?" Ted asked carefully.

Sophia appeared at the rail.

"CC, if you'd rather have a warm drink, please tell me next time and I'll save the icecubes for your glass then." Before she vanished, she looked at him ironically.

"Any questions?"

"No, Dad, we'll leave that to the girls, too."

They went to the boat laughing.

Sophia, Kelly and Lilly had already taken a seat on the sundeck and were enjoying a cool drink. Connor was there, too, but seemed scared to stand close to them. When CC and Ted came in they immediately spotted his reserved behavior. "Look, Dad, only been in the family for a few weeks, but he already knows better about the Capwell women than I do" Ted laughed.

Connor had no idea what Ted was talking about.

"What is so special about the Capwell women" he wanted to know. "Besides that they are all beautiful, intelligent and obstinate." He raised his glass to the ladies with an expression of admiration.

"Look, Dad" Ted added appreciatively "He's even noticed their obstination. I really think, that another clever, clever boy will be joining the group of the repressed Capwell men, soon."

Ted knocked on Connor's shoulders and grinned. By now Connor was completely confused. Lucky for him, Kelly came over to join them.

"Looks like you're talking about, us putting us down. I thought I heard my name."

"You're absolutely wrong this time, dearest daughter. We talked about you all in an honest, positive way."

"Believe it or not.... You guys would never acknowledge that women can do better in so many ways." Kelly turned around to Ted. "True Teddy, isn't it?"

This time, Ted wouldn't let Kelly provoke him. He lowered his head and slowlystarted to talk.

"Believe it or not, Kelly, but I have absolutely no problem acknowledging things." 

As quick as a bullet he took Kelly and pushed her to the other side of the deck. Passing Sophia and Lilly he threw her onto the sofa next to the rail and started to tickle her. With all her energy she tried to get away from him, but couldn't manageit. The others watched them amused.

"Lilly" Sophia started to talk to her daughter–in-law. "You should always remember, if you ever think about having children of your own, the chance of getting madmen like these is very big – because of the father."

"Don't worry, Sophia, the woman will also be dominant in this relationship" Lilly answered sharply.

This confused Ted, and Kelly could use this to escape from him. Out of breath she hid in Connor's arms, but noticed that her brother was out of breath too and felt safe.

"I won again" she mentioned still hiding behind Connor. "And therefore it's you to prepare MY fish!"

"Prepare... now...?"

Demonstratively, CC put his glass on the small table beside him and headed over to Sophia, taking her hand and pulling her away from Lilly.

"What in God's name are you doing, CC?" Sophia asked him, completely surprised by his action. He stopped and looked to her, eyes wide open

"What I am going to do? I'm going to have something to eat. And since it had been your idea to spend a relaxing evening in the harbor you will join me in the restaurant, and you'll have to use all your female tricks to make this evening exactly what you promised."

CC tried to look serious and it worked out the way he had planned. Sophia thought he was upset and vigorously started to justify herself. First of all she tore her hand out of his.

"CC Capwell, sometimes you behave like a little kid." Rage raised in her. "Everyone here knows that you've worked today, but you'll have to manage to wait a few more minutes for your well-deserved dinner.

CC couldn't hold back any longer and started to laugh. Sophia couldn´t believe what he just did and so tried to strangle him.

"You are as crazy as your kids, CC Capwell!"

CC intercepted Sophia´s attack, lifted her up in the air and started to whirl her around.

"Did you hear that?" he asked the others. "Mrs. Capwell admitted that at least one male thing dominated."

Sophia couldn't be angry any longer and twisted her arms around him. Her laughter infected the others and so finally there were three happy couples on a sunny and relaxing evening in the harbor of Santa Barbara.

"And now ... you will all be my guests!" Ted interrupted. "I don't want to hear later on that I don't pay for my lost bets."

Ted took Lilly's hand and they headed to the gangplank, Kelly and Connor followed on after them. CC let Sophia down and just when she went on to follow the others he held her back "Thanks for talking me into this. You always let me see what happiness looks like."



The plane from Rome had a delayed arrival at Los Angeles International Airport. One of the disembarking passengers was a young woman, who first set foot on American ground with hesitancy.

"Could you move on, please. First the delay and now you're standing in the way and obstructing people in a hurry!" she was told byangry passengers.

"Scusi!" she said shortly and with a flushing face, stepped aside.

An airport employee noticed her unsteadiness and came towards her.

"Excuse me. Can I help you?"

Visibly surprised and still not used to the foreign language, it took her some time to answer.

"Yes thanks. I have to get to Santa Barbara. They told me that I could take a bus from the airport and...."

"Sure you can," he interrupted. "But first you have to go through passport control and immigration. After that, talk to one of my colleagues at the information desk, they 'll be able to help you get a bus connection.  Follow the other passengers and keep your documents ready."

Just finished, another passenger needed assistance and so she had no chance to ask again, or to thank him. The young woman looked at her papers and mumbled a short "Grazie" again.

"My God, what made you do this?" she said to herself following the other passengers.”You're here in this completely unknown country, all you've got is some vague address to go to, and you don't even know anybody."

Suddenly she got very frightened.

"I wanna go home. The best thing would be to take the next plane back to Rome and within a few hours I could be in my own bed."

Thinking of beds, she suddenly realised that she was so tired.

"There you are. You're tired. And you know your reactions when you haven't had enough sleep. Instead of thinking so much you should have gotten some sleep on the plane. You'd be able to concentrate now and handle things easily.  You've planned so much and so you will see to it, now."

She felt much better after saying this to herself. With big steps she walked to passport control, where all the other passengers were already waiting. The plane had been fully booked and so there was a lot to do. The visas had to be controlled –the people inspected. This took some time and so the lane moved on very slowly. The young woman took the chance to take a big envelope with a lot of papers out of her bag. She read the words on the front page very carefully.

"Flight, Rome – Los Angeles. After that take the bus to Santa Barbara. Take a taxi from the bus station. Use "Capwell mansion" as address – that should be enough."

"Would you please line up, Miss!"

An elderly woman touched her elbow and signed for her to move on. Concentrating on reading she hadn't noticed that she was close to the official. But there would be enough time to finish the page.

"When you get to the mansion ask security for Rosa Andrade. If they ask who sent you, mention Juanir del Santo (friend of Rosa – has moved to the eastcoast by now)"

"Excuse me, Miss. But everyone is waiting for you. Would you please go to counter 3. Thank you.  Next! Counter 8, please."

She became nervous again. With a shaking hand she put the envelope back into her bag.

"They won't let me in. There will be something that makes them suspicious and soon you will be on the next plane home. Perhaps the best that could happen. And if it happens it is God's will and shows that your intention is wrong. You'll just have to accept it, and then life will go on the way it used to be. Alone in Italy, as always."

Arriving at counter 3 she gave her passport and her customs declaration to the official. The man behind the high desk accepted the documents but returned the declaration to her immediately.

"You'll need this a bit later, Miss."

She didn't know what to say.

"If the official asks you for a reason why you've come to the states, tell him that you are on vacation" she remembered the advice. "That will give you 6 weeks to stay there legally. And if the whole think should take longer – don't worry. If you're successful, you will also have all the relationships you need to get an expired visa in order."

"Are you on vacation, Miss?" the man repeated.

"Yes! Vacation. I have heard that you have a lot of sunshine down here."

Having said that, she wasn't sure that this was time and place for Smalltalk. But the man surprised her by being freindly.

"If you like the sun, then you've come to the rightplace, Miss!"

He pressed the stamp onto her passport. The metall sound reverberated in her ears. He returned the passport to her and she could see the little blue square that would make her life a completely new one now. Surprisingly quickly for the official she took it back, put it into her bag and just wanted to leave, when the man called after her.

"Enjoy your vacation and the sun – Miss Armonti."

Somehow Cecilia Armonti felt trapped and so she answered "Grazie" and disappeared to the baggage claim.

Chapter 2