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Blindsided by Desire by Leonardo Ricci

Blindsided by Desire

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Blooming Orchard

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A serene village nestled in the rolling hills of Tuscany, Italy, during the late 1980s.


Amongst the verdant hills, there lies a quaint village named Montedoro, home to about forty families. A charming stone bridge connects the village to the main road. Behind the village, acres of lush vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see.


The tale begins in these very vineyards.


The vineyard is owned by Giovanni Bellini, a widower with two sons.


His eldest, Marco, is 24 years old. Marco is a skilled artisan, renowned for his craftsmanship in carpentry, from building homes to crafting fine furniture. His younger son, Luca, is 22 and known for his impressive strength and diligence.


Three years prior, when no one dared to take on the responsibility of the village’s vineyards, Giovanni stepped in.


In Montedoro, it’s customary for young men and women to get engaged around the age of eighteen and marry by twenty-one or twenty-two. Yet, Marco remains unwed at twenty-four.


Despite his skills and reputation, Marco's discerning nature has left many matchmakers exasperated.


His pickiness has inadvertently delayed Luca’s prospects as well, as the tradition dictates that the younger sibling cannot marry until the elder is wed.


Marco spends his days travelling, building homes, and crafting furniture.


Giovanni, now older, seldom tends to the vineyards, leaving most of the work to Luca. Luca manages the vineyard with dedication. Only during the grape harvest does the entire Bellini family converge to assist with picking and selling the grapes.


In late March, the vineyards of Montedoro burst into life. The grapevines blossomed, their tender green leaves and tiny white flowers attracting bees that buzzed tirelessly among the rows. The scene was enchanting, with the sweet fragrance of grape flowers filling the air.


Luca, shirtless and with a tanned, muscular frame, worked diligently under the warm sun.


He loosened the soil around the base of each vine with a hoe. His loyal companion, a robust black shepherd dog named Nero, darted around him, occasionally pausing to bark at passing bees.


Suddenly, a figure appeared at the edge of the vineyard.

It was Sofia, a young woman from a nearby village, known for her beauty and independent spirit.


She had heard from friends that the vineyards of Montedoro were in full bloom and had come to see for herself. Sofia had always been drawn to the allure of the vineyards.


Dressed in a flowing white blouse and a floral skirt that accentuated her curves, Sofia moved gracefully through the rows of vines. She closed her eyes and spun around, her arms outstretched, feeling the sun's warmth on her skin.


In her reverie, she reached out to pluck a blossom, but a bee hidden among the flowers stung her finger. With a gasp of pain, she stumbled backward.


Hearing her cry, Luca turned and saw Sofia. Startled, Nero barked and rushed toward her, baring his teeth in a protective stance.


Luca's heart skipped a beat as he saw Sofia's fear-stricken face.


He shouted, "Nero, stay!" but the dog was already at her side, growling softly.


Sofia fell to the ground, her face pale. Luca sprinted over and commanded Nero to back off. The dog, realizing his mistake, obediently retreated, lying down with his head on his paws.


Kneeling beside Sofia, Luca noticed her shallow breathing and closed eyes.


Without thinking, he lifted her gently and checked her pulse. His hands trembled slightly as he leaned in, placing his lips against hers to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.


The contact sent a jolt through his body, and he felt a mix of fear and fascination. As he breathed into her mouth, his heart pounded in his chest.


Nero watched his master with curious eyes, not fully understanding the situation.

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