Pursuing Dreams

The De Luca Family Dares To Dream…

Some images are slightly NSFW
Spring, Year 6
Jared is 27, Andrea is 26, Riccardo is 24, Lucia is 21, Kathleen is 19, Keith is 19, Tara is 14

The rain poured in Evergreen Harbour as Jared said his goodbyes to his youngest sister, Tara. She’d taken to visiting Jared often, particularly when Alex was being impossible at home.

Andrea was still working hard to get her grant applications through but there always seemed to be roadblocks. Either the data wasn’t backed up in triplicate, or the wording was open to interpretation. Either way, she was frustrated with work sometimes. She loved her job; the environment was very important to her so it made her feel worse when the funding was withheld.

Riccardo was also experiencing a degree of job stress, although his was more of the job search variety. He was feeling tense because he’d been applying for jobs but hadn’t had much luck as yet. He was aiming to be a Marine Biologist and while he had the necessary qualifications, it was waiting to hearing back from people that was wasting so much of his time.
Stressed, he shut the laptop down and decided to take a break.

Andrea started planting up the front garden, a job she’d been wanting to do since she and Jared had moved to the cottage. She’d been wanting some decent flowers in the garden and, after getting some advice from her mother, she’d finally settled on what she wanted.

Meanwhile upstairs, Jared was hard at work on his laptop. He’d fallen behind a little with work lately and he was working harder than ever to try and keep up. He’d had several doubts about his career and at one time, he’d briefly considered packing it in to join his father-in-law in a game development venture. Ultimately, he’d decided to stay as a computer engineer, as much hard work as that entailed.

The commute to Oasis Springs didn’t make it any easier, either. It was another thing he and Andrea had discussed at length before. Moving to Evergreen Harbour hadn’t been quite the compromise they’d both hoped it would be; in fact, they’d ended up moving further east. With Jared’s work mostly taking place in Oasis Springs, where he’d grown up, and Andrea’s work being in Sulani, it had ended up making next to no sense at all to move to the town.
One day, they were going to have to talk about this again. It was on Jared’s mind a lot as he worked in the engineering lab at the Science Museum, close to his parent’s house.

Riccardo had accompanied Jared to the museum, since their family lived so close by. He grabbed the opportunity to send his details off with another job application.

Meanwhile, Andrea was in Sulani, focusing on her conservation efforts. She’d finally got a global policy approved and enacted and that was a huge relief. For a long while, it had felt like she was stagnating professionally.

Jared was very proud of her and told her so. He’d been through periods where it felt his career was stagnating so he completely understood.

They decided to celebrate at home after long days at work. They’d been married almost nine months and so far, it had gone smoothly. They say the first year of marriage is the most difficult but Andrea and Jared hadn’t found it any different so far.

In the meantime, Riccardo was in his room, talking for hours on the phone to his girlfriend, Lucia. He hadn’t seen much of her lately and he missed her a lot. Without realising it, he’d really fallen for her.

He thought about her all the time, even in his sleep. She was on his mind from the minute he woke up in the morning, to the moment he went to sleep.
He needed to see her again.

Since he had time while waiting to hear back from his job applications, Riccardo invited Lucia to join him at Muse for an evening out.
As they watched a couple of his friends, Keith and Kathleen, dancing together, his phone suddenly rang. The conservation group in Sulani were interested in meeting Riccardo for an interview! Lucia scowled; this wasn’t the evening out she’d been wanting.

To his disbelief, Riccardo spotted Lucia flirting outrageously with another man just after he got off the phone with his potential employers.
“What the hell are you doing?” he confronted her.
Shocked, Lucia bit her lip. “I’m sorry! It’s just…well this wasn’t quite what I’d hoped for. We’re in a gorgeous nightclub and you’re chatting on the phone about saving plants.”
Riccardo shook his head. “Unbelievable. I’ve been waiting for weeks to hear back about a job and you’re pissed off because they just rang me back? Thanks for the support, Lucia. Just what I needed.”
“Ricky, I-“
“Save it.” Riccardo turned away. “Because I don’t want to hear it right now.”

After a drink or two, he began to relax a bit. He wasn’t going to let Lucia ruin the evening. He’d explained dozens of times over the last several weeks about this job he wanted, so she knew it was important. He couldn’t help it if the company had phoned him in the early evening.

The next day though, it was still bothering him. He met up with Kathleen, who’d been a good, solid friend throughout his time at University. They went for coffee in Windenburg and Riccardo explained the situation to her.

He was a bit stunned when Kathleen advised breaking up with Lucia. He was still hurting but was it really worth breaking up over? He did love Lucia and this was the first bump they’d had so far.
Kathleen’s advice and support did make him think. As she said her goodbyes and left the coffee shop, he sat alone for a while and thought hard about what he really wanted.

“Are you okay?”
Looking up, Riccardo’s face broke into a smile as he saw Jared standing in front of him. He motioned for his older brother to sit down and told him all about the drama from the night before, then all about his conversation with Kathleen.
Jared looked contemplative for a moment. “So what do you want to do?”
“I don’t know.” Riccardo shrugged. “I’m not sure. Is it really worth breaking up with Lucia over this?”
“Well, I can’t tell you that.” Jared said, thoughtfully. “She wasn’t very supportive but then to be fair, she’d barely seen you over the last few weeks. Your head’s been so busy with your job applications.”
“Well, yeah but that’s quite important,” Riccardo pointed out. “She was flirting with another man, Jared.”
“I know.” Jared replied gently. “Maybe talk to her about it. Be honest with her, Ricky. Tell her it hurt. Explain how important this job is to you. I’ll be honest, I don’t think it’s worth breaking up over – if you two can work things out. But it is worth being cautious, I think.”
Riccardo knew his brother was right.

Back at the house, Andrea was doing her usual workout when a wave of nausea swept over her. It wasn’t the first wave that day either and she began to feel a little suspicious.
As the nausea subsided, she knew she couldn’t continue her workout, so she went back upstairs to shower and change.

She only just made it to the bathroom on time when the next wave washed over her…

She confirmed her suspicions when she took a pregnancy test. She was indeed eating for two! She couldn’t wait for Jared to get home so she could tell him. They’d been talking about starting their family for a while, since they’d been married a little over six months now.

Jared was very excited when Andrea announced her news on his return. They had a lot of work to do before the eventual arrival but he was looking forward to the new set of challenges.

The following day, Jared took Riccardo to the theatre in Willow Creek, to watch some of The Actors Company rehearsing for their projects. Both brothers loved the theatre and Jared thought it might help cheer Ricky up after the upsets with Lucia.
It then gave him an idea.

That evening, he took Andrea out to the theatre for dinner. They hadn’t had a proper date night for ages and this was ideal. He wanted them to have a really wonderful evening.

Andrea had always been beautiful to Jared but seeing her bathed in candlelight in the restaurant beneath the theatre was something else. She looked radiant. They danced to the soft music in the background and talked about their plans and dreams for the future with their new baby.

It was properly dark when they finally left the theatre’s restaurant and they strolled along the road in the moonlight. Andrea could hardly contain her excitement!

When they got home, they celebrated their good news well into the night. Their life together so far was proof that dreams can come true.

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