Fate Collides

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Fate Collides is a multi-part series of stories centered on friendship. It’s a good mix of romance, drama and humor, and exposes the friendship between three boys who grew up in the same small village. One writes stories, the others prefer to entertain with music. But one thing is certain: their bond is stronger than anything else, making it almost unbreakable.

This storyline is not yet complete and will be updated by chapters.

First two parts are complete!

  • Fate Collides Part One: Casa Musica.
  • Fate Collides Part Two: Shivers
  • Fate Collides Part Three: The Diary ( Not yet complete!)
  • Fate Collides Part Four: Reborn (Not yet complete!)

First three chapters Casa Musica can be read here for free!

This storyline is not yet complete and will be updated by chapters.

First two parts are complete!


  • Fate Collides Part One: Casa Musica
  • Fate Collides Part Two: Shivers
  • Fate Collides Part three: Reborn (Updated by chapters!)

Fate Collides Part One: Casa Musica

Michiel and Thomas are the formers of a music duo called: Casa Musica, for several months. After they played some gigs together, they decided that music was more than just a hobby for them and they wanted to make it their daily activity. So they auditioned for sailing cruises as a musical act. Not long after their audition they got confirmation that they’ve been selected and their adventure at sea begins. An adventure with lots of music, but also romance and friendship.

Chapter list:

  1. Chapter One: Casa Musica
  2. Chapter Two: Hometown Showtime
  3. Chapter Three: Going Offshore
  4. Chapter Four: A Pleasant Surprise
  5. Chapter Five: Etely Mountain
  6. Chapter Six: Freedom Of The Seven Seas
  7. Chapter Seven: A Home Under The Sun
  8. Chapter Eight: Journey Around The World
  9. Chapter Nine: The Mediterranean
  10. Chapter Ten: Easy Waters
  11. Chapter Eleven: The New World
  12. Chapter Twelve: A Dream Come True

Chapter one: Casa Musica

The coldest day of the winter so far, was drawing to a close. The village Etely Mountain was laying motionless under a thick blanket of snow. The chimneys puffed out thick clouds of smoke, and the streets were deserted. No human nor animal ventured out if that was not necessary. Outside, the Christmas decorations were hanging, which made the streets forming a beautiful picture, as if it had jumped directly from a Christmas card.

Violins lane number 44 was no different, thanks to the beautiful Christmas tree inside, and the twinkling lights outside, there was a cozy Christmas atmosphere hanging around and the upbeat music that came out of the basement, where Michiel and Thomas had their rehearsal room and where they intensely rehearsed with their group Casa Musica for months every Saturday night, made sure father and mother Van Heerden lingered in a soothing atmosphere.

“They make such wonderful music in there.” Sighed Maria, as she sank deeper into the sofa while she closed her eyes. Herbert sat next to her on the couch, he putted away his newspaper, got up and went to the window that overlooked the street. It was true, he thought, they do make wonderful music. He sighed deeply.

“Do you think they will make it out there? In that big world I mean?” He asked Maria. “I sure hope so, I mean the performances they have done so far were all a success!” said Maria reassuring.

Herbert said nothing, he was thinking. In a few months they will sail their first cruise, a few weeks ago they had sent an audition video, and a couple of days later they already had the confirmation that they were selected to set sail. That was already a good start, thought Herbert.

Michiel was 19 and Thomas 20, they already knew each other since primary school and are used to play along together. In short they were friends for a very long time by now. A while ago, Michiel came up with the idea to form a band together, and when they first met for a small jam session, they already had an amount of covers that they could bring together almost immediately.

Meanwhile, they had also written several songs of their own and on the performances they have played so far, both the covers and their own songs had been a great success. On their first gig, a free podium at the local youth center, on which their friends and parents were also present, their own songs had been a great success.

Michiel played acoustic guitar, bass, piano, and he could sing amazingly beautiful. Thomas also had a beautiful voice, but his ambitions were not singing. He had learned to play the drums on his own, Acoustic Guitar, Ukulele and Banjo. Together they made many tunes, which they had brought together to their own songs.

When they submitted their audition video, they never thought that they would be chosen, so they were incredibly happy when they received confirmation that they had been selected.
Their parents were very happy for them too, they had always been first in line when they we’re playing a gig and had also done a lot to support them in their band. The fathers were always busy helping them as roadies and their mothers even had created a banner for them with the name and band logo printed on it. That banner they brought with them at every gig they we’re playing from that moment on.

Even their friends supported them in every form possible. They had been present at every performance, and a few of them have always helped their fathers as roadies. Thomas and Michiel also purchased a small P.A. System with the money they had earned so far, and one of their friends, who had a disco bar at home, was very excited when they asked him to adjust the sound for them. He did that also extremely well, and they had therefore mutually agreed that he would earn a few bucks at their gigs.

“Well, I think we are through the most important songs,” Michiel said, “let’s take a break.”
“Good idea,” Thomas said, putting his guitar away and heading to the refrigerator instantly. “Do you want a beer too?” He asked Michiel.
“Yes, please, say what are we going to do with Samuel?” Michiel responded.
“I don’t know,” Thomas said. “Samuel does a great job with the sound adjustment, but do you think he would do it? After all we will be long and far away from home.” He added.
“We can ask him, after all he will be paid for it, just like us.” Michiel said. We can ask him in a short time, he plays at the youth center tonight.”
“That’s a good idea!” Thomas replied.

For a time it was quiet, while they took a couple small drinks from their beers. A bit later, when they once again went through the playlist quickly and leaving their rehearsal room clean, they went upstairs.
“Mom, Dad! We are going to the youth center, Samuel plays there tonight.” Michiel said to his parents when they came upstairs right into the living room.

“That’s good,” Maria said , “but be careful. And behave!” She added.
“Always!” Thomas said with a grin from ear to ear.
“And that is exactly why I said it!” Maria replied with a laugh. “Now go, have a great evening.” “We will!” Michiel replied through the garage door.

“Brrr it really is incredibly cold and slippery.” Michiel said as he tried to keep himself up.
Thomas was riding beside him and could not resist to play as bogeyman, so he give Michiel a little nudge.
“Come on man, race you there!” He said as he began to accelerate.
Michiel followed his trail, and so it took only a short time until they arrived at the youth center.

“Ha! Won!” Thomas yelled in excitement. Michiel putted away his bicycle.
“Yeah but I have let you win, just wait until tonight when i’m going to Finish you!” He laughed. “Ha in your dreams!” Thomas said, “You could not possibly keep up with me!”
“That was true,” Michiel thought, but he was not willing to say that out loud.

A couple moments later they were inside, Thomas was just going to get drinks, and Michiel went being looking for a place to store their coats when Elise came up to him.
“Hi Michiel! Are you alone?” She asked.
“No, Thomas is getting us something to drink, we’ve only just arrived.” Michiel replied. “Are you here for a long time already?” He added.

“Only half an hour, I think, my Father had given me a ride and will pick me up later. He said it was too dangerous for me to come by bike on my own, like I’m still a child.” Elise said.
“Well, at least your comfortable.” Michiel replied.

“I hope there will be more people coming.” Thomas said when he returned with their drinks. “Oh, hi Elise, I didn’t know you were here, so I haven’t brought you anything, sorry.” Thomas added when he realized Elise was standing with them.
“Never mind.” Elise said.

“If you want I’ll go and get you something? Want a beer?” Asked Michiel.
“That would be great!” She said.
“I’ll be right back!” Michiel replied.
“I think he likes you.” Thomas said teasingly. “He’s just getting a drink for you.” “Oh! You bully!” Said Elise while she gave him a smack on his shoulder.

Thomas laughed and when Michiel came back he said: “Hey Michiel, do you have to tell me something?”
“What? No? Why?” Michiel asked slightly surprised.
“You just get a drink for her, Is there a reason for it?” Thomas said teasingly.

“No, I just wanted to be nice? There isn’t a reason needed for, Right?” Michiel said. “Oh, of course not!” Thomas said. “But I feel that there’s more behind it.” He thought.

An hour later, more people we’re arriving, also Samuel and he joined Michiel, Thomas, and the rest of the gang of friends that was already there.
“Hi Samuel! Everything okay buddy?” Thomas asked when Samuel settled himself right next to him.

“Besides the extremely cold weather, I have no reason to complain!” Samuel replied. “And you? And Casa Musica?” He added.
“Well, its good that you ask because we wanted to talk to you about that. You helped us out a few times, with the sound? Right?” Thomas said.

“Oh, that? That was really nothing, I mean it was not too much work.” Samuel said.
“But it was very good!” Michiel said. “And we wanted to ask you something. We are selected with Casa Musica to become a solid music act on cruise lines.” He added
“WHAT!” Samuel yelled Surprised. “You’re joking, right?” He added while his jaw dropped. “Yeah it was just a joke.” Thomas said sarcastically. “Do you think we would joke about something like that?” He asked.
“Ignore him, I think he already feels the alcohol.” Michiel said.“Well, to proceed, we thought you might like it if you could join us as our music technician. That means you’ll be doing our sound during the cruises. Now we do understand that you have to think about it,” said Michiel, “It is obviously a big step …”
“Of course I wanna do that!” Samuel said in respond. “That would be a dream come true!”
“You will also be paid, of course, just like us.” Thomas explained.
“Then it’s just as if you are a part of our band. But then you also will need to come to our rehearsals a couple times, so that we can rehearse with the installation.” Thomas added.
“Of course.” Samuel said. “Just let me know when you rehearse and i’ll be there.”
“Well, maybe we can meet tomorrow afternoon, now that we are going to do the cruises we have agreed that we rehearse as much as possible, in order to be in shape.” Michiel said.
“Alright I’ll be there!” said Samuel. “Two o’clock in the afternoon?” he added.
“Two o’clock is good, that is usually the time that we begin.” Michiel responded.
“Okay,” Samuel said, “I’ll see you tomorrow! Now I’m going to get ready, i’ll be deejaying here tonight!” He added while he made his way to the boot.
“Just play a few good songs!” Thomas yelled.

“Absolutely, as always!” Samuel replied with big grin on his face and then he was gone.
“Well, that was arranged quickly.” Michiel said.
“Yes,” Thomas said. “But I didn’t expect him to…” He paused abruptly. Michiel saw him staring at a place behind him.
“What’s wrong?” Michiel asked. “Its as if you’ve seen a ghost!”

He followed his gaze and saw a cadaverous Elise behind him. Apparently she stood there for a while, and it was clear that she had heard their conversation.

“Elise? What’s wrong?” Michiel asked.

But Elise ran outside, at the last moment Michiel had seen tears filling up her eyes and he also rushed outside, followed closely by Thomas. When they arrived outside, they saw Elise sitting on a bench, she had her face buried in her hands, and from the shocking of her body, Michiel could tell that she was crying. He sat down beside her on the bench and put his arm over her shoulder. “Elise?” he asked, “what’s wrong?”

Elise looked up with tears in her eyes. “… Is it really true … … sob … what you just said … sob … to Samuel?” She sobbed. “About the Cruises?” Michiel asked. She nodded. Michiel sighed.

“Yes, that’s true.” He said, and nodded to Thomas, who understood the hint immediately, and said: “Well, I’m going to take a look at Samuel.” Then he made his way back inside.
“I’m sorry I didn’t wanted to tell you that yet, because … well, I was afraid of this.” Michiel said. “So that means that I’m going to have to miss you for a very long time?” Elise asked.
“Yes,” Michiel sighed, but before he could continue Elise jumped towards him and hugged him intensely.

He stood motionless and when Elise loosed her grip a bit and looked him straight in the eye, Michiel saw it for the first time. Her beautiful blue eyes, so unpredictable and yet it was as if he could look straight through them, right into her soul. So pure. So innocent and especially so beautiful. Without even realizing they came closer to each other and when their lips touched, Michiel got a magical feeling, a feeling that he had never felt before. He had never been so close to a girl either, and the most beautiful fact was that he and Elise knew each other for so many years, in fact she was for many years his best female friend. If he was sad about something, he knew he could always talk about it with her.

After what seemed an eternity, they let each other go.
“Wauw” Michiel said, but he got no further. Elise putted her finger to his lips in a sign that he should say no more.
“Let’s just enjoy this moment.” She whispered in his ear and putted her arms around his waist.

A few hours later, when they decided to go home, Elise walked with them. She and Michiel, walked arm in arm, and Thomas walked beside Michiel. They laughed at the jokes Thomas was pulling, but Michiel and Elise did not fully realize, which was not so difficult because apparently they only had eyes for each other. Suddenly a snowball flew in the back of Michiel.

“Haha that was right into the bullseye!” Thomas laughed.
“Oh, okay! You just signed your death warrant buddy!” Michiel grinned and he grabbed a blanket of snow that whizzed towards the head of Thomas. Soon they stranded in a real snowball fight that could go on for hours. Elise stood there looking at it. “Boys.” She thought. “They are still just kids.” But she also thought it was a pretty picture, two best friends who knew each other for years and still could be entertained with something as simple as a snowball fight, that was a wonderful ending to what Elise had seen as her best evening so far.

In the weeks that followed Michiel and Elise were often together, except when Thomas was there, and they rehearsed with Casa Musica, then Elise respected their privacy. During the few weeks they we’re a couple only one time she watched the rehearsal and at the performances she stood in front. They had rehearsed with Samuel a few times, and today was the first time that he would arrange their sound for a real show. The parents of Michiel and Thomas had put this show on its feet, as a try out, cause the cruises we’re arriving rapidly. This was also the gig where they we’re gonna preview the playlist they we’re going to take with them on the cruises because in exactly two months from now, they we’re off on their first trip, they had received an e-mail during the week of the event agency where they were located with Casa Musica. That first was therefore a special, for the first time going to make music under a record deal is not something that you do on daily base.

There was some other good news for Michiel to. There were two open positions for crew they could take with them and would be paid as well. They had decided to not only take Samuel, who was in any case going to be there as their music technician, also taking Elise with them. She would be taking the part of Roadie, something that she already did and she did not bad. In addition, she would also keep their accounts, something that Michiel and Thomas did not choose to do, because they we’re not very good at it. But Elise was and she liked doing it as well. And it also gave her something to do so she wouldn’t be separated from Michiel, which they both were happy about.

Thomas also was happy with it, he had thought in the last couple weeks that because Michiel and Elise were a couple now, and they we’re going to be long and far away form each other, Michiel perhaps would be gone crazy and would like to return home. But with Elise being around everything would be OK. Even though they were a couple for not so very long, Michiel felt that Elise was the best thing ever happened in his life and he would never leave her side, and that feeling was mutual.

Chapter two: Hometown showtime

The last two months had gone by in no time. Meanwhile, it was the end of February, and so it became less cold. Last week it also stopped snowing, and began to thaw. And on a beautiful evening, when an early sun, which was shining for a whole day and delivered a tiny amount of heat, quietly slipped away behind the horizon, Michiel, Thomas and Elise were sitting on the terrace at Michiel’s home the night before their presentation of the cruise playlist.

Herbert and Maria had invited them to toast on their success, and Herbert saw the opportunity here to heat up the barbecue for the first time this year. But that was not the only reason, only one week from now and then they we’re off to Brazil for their first cruise on the amazon river and Herbert found that the little time they remained could be best spend together. Therefore he had also invited Marc and Linda, the parents of Thomas over to their house and while Michiel and Thomas entertained Elise with their guitars, the parents were preparing the food for diner.

“Can you believe it? Only one week remaining and then our son’s will be on the other side of the world.” Linda said.
“Yes, I know but we should let them go sooner or later.” Maria replied. “Plus I think they will be save. At least they’re not alone, they have each other, and Elise and Samuel will also be there.

I think they will not even have time to miss us, I mean look at them.” She added.

Michiel and Thomas were fooling around, while they played a number, Thomas could not resist to just go a little bit crazy. He stood up, and took a solo while standing on the surface of the table and Michiel quickly jumped in here, soon they were together on the table, while Thomas continued his solo and Michiel began to scream the lyrics, it was a harder song they were playing and Michiel felt really delighted.

To an outsider, it looked like they were putting on a giant rock show to a huge audience. Elise was rolling on the floor laughing, same as Samuel. Maria and Linda laughed too, Marc and Herbert jumped up and took a broomstick, as if they had a microphone fixed and yelled lustily with their sons.

After dinner Herbert had the fire pit outside lit up, and when they were all sitting there together, Michiel and Thomas played another few songs. Their songs were so beautiful that Maria, Linda and Elise had tears in their eyes. Late at night, Marc and Linda stood up and announced that they would go home. Also Thomas and Samuel were preparing to leave, and not much later only Michiel and Elise, together with Michiel’s parents were outside. Michiel had just put his guitar back in its case, and now quietly sipped his beer, which was almost empty. Elise sat next to him and had put her arm around his arm and her head resting on his shoulder.

“Can you believe that in a few days we are on the plane to Brazil?” Elise asked softly.
“Yes, but that’s just because you have reminded me every few hours.” Michiel replied with a grimace and Elise came up.
“Are you laughing with me now?” She asked smiling, as she gave him a soft punch, causing his glasses falling from his head. They soon got into a little fight, but it was not taking long before Elise sat on him, and held his arms above his head.

“Well, well, lost to a girl, She said smiling, then she leaned over and was lying on him giving him a kiss. At the same time Michiel turned around and sat on top of her.
“Well then, now you lie down so nicely.” Michiel said with laughter.

That same moment Maria cleared her throat: “Hu-Hum, I do not want to be a fun corrupter, but if you two want some privacy, you only have to ask.” She said.

Michiel looked up. “Sorry,” He said. He stood up, and helped Elise by also getting up. “Come, let’s go to my room.” He said, and she followed him up the stairs. When they entered his room, Michiel closed the door, and when he turned around Elise stood in front of him. She took both his hands and slowly pulled him towards her. Michiel looked straight into her eyes and saw a sparkle of happiness. She came closer to him and their lips touched tenderly. He put his hands around her waist, and they end up deeper into the kiss that seemed to last for hours. Eventually they let each other go, Elise pulled him onto the bed, and not much later they were hugging cosy, which ended up in a sensual moment.

Exhausted Michiel fell on his side of the bed. Elise came closer to him and said with a soft tender voice: “That was lovely. I love you so very much!” They lay close for another couple minutes hugging, and eventually she fell asleep into Michiel’s arms. Not much later, also Michiel fell asleep.

The last week flew by in no time. Michiel and Thomas had rehearsed every day, including twice in the youth center with the music system, accompanied by Samuel and Elise who helped in the preparation of the stage. She had done a small contribution for that stage. She had made an arrangement that made their set look cozy and invitingly, because in exactly forty-eight hours they were on a plane to Brazil. That is why today they had arranged a concert in the foyer, with the cruise set. At the last moment they asked a friend of Elise to open up for them. She also played guitar and wrote some songs. Thomas had asked her, when they had seen her playing in the youth center a few weeks ago and both Thomas and Michiel had been greatly impressed.

“Are you ready?” Thomas asked, when he putted aside his guitar.
“I think so.” Michiel said. “Did you liked the sound of it Samuel?” He added.
“Magnificent!” Samuel said excited. “If you play this well in Brazil, Elise must be careful or she is going to lose you. What a voice!” He added even more excited.
“Luckily I trust my man blindly!” Elise said while she came up and stood beside Michiel grabbing him tightly. “I’ll never let you go!” She whispered in his ear.
Michiel took her in his arms and kissed her on her forehead.

“ Anyone else feeling hungry?” Thomas asked. “Yup!” Samuel called.
“You bet!” Elise added.
“I’m almost dying!” Michiel grinned.

“Fries or Kebab?” asked Thomas.
“Your choice, I’m in for both of them.” Michiel replied. “I do fancy a kebab.” Elise said.
“Me too!” Samuel added.
“Okay kebab it is!” Thomas and Michiel said in unison.

Not much later they were sitting at the local kebab, and they just had ordered food.
“I still can’t believe that, in two days, we’re at sea!” Samuel said.
“Tell me about it, i’m feeling the nerves so hard I can hardly stay in my seat!” Thomas replied. “Better don’t fall off and break something right?” joked Samuel to Thomas while he patted his shoulder. Thomas jumped up when he felt that knock and hit the table with his knees.
“Take it easy buddy, i’m not going to kill you or something.” Samuel said, laughing.
“You see, a barrel full of nerves.” Thomas said with a slightly frightened voice.

Michiel, Elise and Samuel laughed their heads off, Thomas looked up and laughed nervously with the rest. When they finished their food, they went back to the youth center, and when they arrived, there was already quite a few people inside. Their parents had also arrived, they were at the bar and the fathers all had a beer in their hands, while their mothers had hung up the banner.

Also Elises friend Yana, who would open up for Michiel and Thomas today, had just arrived and was just bringing her stuff to the stage. They saw her drag with the amplifier, and Thomas came to help.

“Wait, let me help you with that.” Thomas said and he grabbed one of the handles.
“Thank you, he’s pretty heavy.” Yana replied.
“I know,” Thomas said, “I saw you carrying that heavy thing and saw your painful grin.” “Anyway thank you for opening up for us tonight!” he added.
“No problem at all, thank you for giving me this opportunity. I only stood on a podium once, so I hope I can control my nerves.” Yana said with a blush on her face.
“It will be great,” Thomas said, “I can tell you for sure!” He added and smiled.
“Thank you.” Yana said with a shy smile.

“Do you see it too, or am I mistaken?” Michiel asked Samuel.
“Thomas is playing with cupid?” Samuel replied.
“Yes, I think our Thomas is falling in love.” Michiel said. “And a few weeks ago, he was laughing with me!” He added.
“So now it is our turn to laugh.” Samuel joked with a wink of an eye.
“Oh yeah we sure will.” Michiel grinned.

Thomas helped Yana with the full setup and so she was ready in no time. After the soundcheck she came up to Michiel, Thomas and Elise and stood with them.
“Hi Yana! How are you feeling? Not to nervous I hope?” Elise asked.
“I’m cool for the moment, I sure hope it’s going to stay that way.” Yana said.

“No worries.” Thomas said. “We had it too the first time, right Michiel?” Michiel nodded,
“Be sure of that, barrel full of nerves, but the moment you start playing, they’re gone.” He replied. “Yes, my first gig went the same way, but that was different, back then I was only playing for my family, and there was not so many people.” Yana said with a little spark of nerves in her voice.
“It will be alright, I have confidence in you and your music!” Thomas said with a wink, and Yana blushed.

Michiel watched the whole scene, and when his gaze crossed Elises, he knew she was thinking the same as he was.
“I think Thomas is in love.” Elise said as she came closer to Michiel and gave him a kiss on his cheek.

“I also noticed it.” Michiel replied. “That’s the first time I see him that way.”

Elise gave Michiel a kiss and then went to Yana.

“Are you ready?” Elise asked.
“Yes!” Yana said firmly, she took another sip of her drink, and then went to the stage. “Good luck!” Thomas said with a wink as she passed him.
“Thank you, you too later!” She said to Thomas, then hugged him tightly.

Michiel and Thomas followed them to the front of the stage, and when they arrived Michiel said: “So, You and Yana?”
“What about it?” Thomas asked in return, but Michiel had seen that he was getting red cheeks. “I’m your best friend.” Michiel said. “Do you think I didn’t noticed? You, pulling out so many favors, I think you’re in love.” He added with a grimace.

“I admit that I like Yana, yes.” Thomas said. “But I know we just met each other and in two days we’re on the other side of the world, so there isn’t much time to get to know each other.” He added seriously.
“That’s true, but never say never!” Michiel replied with a wink.

“Poltergeist.” Thomas said with a soft smile and gave Michiel a little push.
“Exactly what you did to me!” Michiel said as he pushed him back.
“That was true.” Thomas thought, then silence took over for a couple seconds and Yana started playing.
Thomas wandered away in thought, “she has such an amazingly beautiful voice and her songs are even more breathtaking.” He thought.
He was so lost in his imagination that he didn’t even notice that Michiel was talking to him. Only when he was shaken, he came out of his thoughts.
“Ah!” said Michiel. “Welcome back to earth which planet were you on?”
“I …, sorry!” Thomas said. “Did you say something?” He added.
“Yes, I said she has a beautiful voice.” Michiel replied.
“Yes,” Thomas said. “She is very beautiful…”
He saw Michiel looking at him with a strange look.
“The voice I meant!” he added hastily.
“Yeah, it certainly is her voice.” Michiel grinned.

Suddenly it became very quiet when Yana began to play her last song. This song she had written in memory of her deceased father, who died several years ago on an age way too young. It was a very emotional song, and so wonderful that it gave both Michiel and Thomas goosebumps and at the end of the song the audience burst into thunderous applause. Yana was not used to it and was a bit shy, Michiel looked at Elise, and saw that she had tears in her eyes.

“So beautiful!” She said and she putted her arms around Michiel’s waist, who ran his hands through her hair and gave her a kiss on her forehead.

After a while the applause died away and was replaced by stairway to heaven, Samuel had this number set as a token of a tribute, because Yana’s father was also a common face in the community of Etely Mountain. Thanks to his fighting spirit that he had acted out as president of the Youth Council, the mayor had been corporative to open the youth center instantly and that’s why this man had his place in the hearts of the youth population of Etely Mountain more than earned conquered. That’s why it has been a heavy shock to everyone who knew Gus Elder Mountains, when he was found dead in his bed that disastrous morning by his daughter Yana, who had this song dedicated to him right here, right now.

The arrangement of Michiel and Thomas took a little longer than Yana’s arrangement, Thomas noted. Half an hour after Yana had cleaned up her act, they were almost finished, but they still had to soundcheck. This lasted fortunately not so long, and when it was nearly ten o’clock, they were finally ready.

Now they stood still for a moment with Elise, Samuel had also joined them.
“Ready?” Samuel asked.
“I do!” Michiel said and he pulled Elise closer to him and gave a kiss on her cheek. Yana also had joined them, and complimented Samuel on his work as a technician.
“Well, thank you, but it wasn’t really a big deal!”
“Your set was very good!” Thomas said with a wink of an eye.
“Thank you!” Yana replied. “Good luck you two.” She added.
“That will be no problem at all!” Michiel and Thomas said in unison.
“I do not doubt that.” Elise said and gave Michiel a kiss on his cheek.
“If they are half as good as playing at rehearsal, they play the roof off!”
“Let us hope they don’t do that, if it rains we will all be as wet as a diver during his job!” Joked Samuel. “And our material is not exactly water resistant.” He added.
The girls bursted out laughing at this remark.
“You, you always with you’re silly jokes!” Elise said between her laughter through.
Michiel and Thomas laughed too.
“Come on, let us get started before we can’t take a breath anymore.” Michiel said. “Ready brother?” He asked Thomas.
“I’m as ready as cloudy water, after it has been filtered.” Thomas replied.
“Well, then let’s begin!” They gave each other a high five and went on stage. Michiel sat down at the piano, and waited until Thomas had his guitar. The music of Samuel died away, and Michiel started playing. Soft and tender, as if he wanted to do the piano no harm, in the right size but the same note over and over again, and then he began to sing:

Some say love, it is a river That drowns the tender reed, Some say love, it is a razor That leaves your soul to bleed, Some say love it is a hunger an endless aching need,
I say love, it is a flower and you it's only seed.

Herbert and Maria looked at each other. “Now that brings memories back to life!”, Herbert said. “Would you like to dance, malady?” He added while he offered Maria his arm.
“I would be delighted.” Maria said with a soft nod and she picked up Herbert’s outstretched hand then headed to the open space in the crowd and started slowing. Marc and Linda followed their example and Elise was gently rocking out of sight, she had her eyes closed, and sang softly. Yana stood beside her, and put her arm around Elise’s shoulder. “We’ll dance?” she asked.

“Certainly!” Elise said and they both went to the dance floor.

When the song was over Michiel sat down at the piano and putted a swing in and the dance floor was filled immediately. Everyone was shaking and swinging. After a few faster and harder songs while Thomas was sitting down behind his drums, he stood up and grabbed his banjo. Michiel took his guitar and began to play.

“ELISE!” Yana yelled out loud, “Listen, Mumford and Sons!” She added still yelling.
They walked forward to the podium and began to sing loudly along with Michiel and Thomas:

I Will Wait,
I Will Wait, for you.

They jumped and sang along the entire song. Michiel and Thomas had decided to play one more song and that one they dedicated to Yana’s father, they chose their own song called: Forever. Michiel wrote it himself, exactly one year ago, and it was about a man who gave his life to rescue his one true love. They had rewritten it together, and found it worthy to carry out in dedication to Gus. It brought tears into the eyes of Yana, but the tears were mixed. Partly because she missed her father, but also because of the fact that these guys had written a song for her father, and it was a wonderful song. On the last note, again followed by a deafening applause, Samuel started the music again and began with the song Always by Bon Jovi.

Michiel and Thomas, had already started packing when Herbert came on stage and took the microphone.
“Test, test.” He said.
“Good evening everyone, the musical program for this evening is over, but feel free to stay as long as you want, Samuel will go on for a while. I’d just like to ask Yana on stage.” He added.

Yana came on stage and joined Michiel and Thomas.
“These three have made sure that it was a memorable evening, I am extremely proud of my son and his best mate: Thomas.We will wish them all the best in the adventure that they will soon experience and we hope they surely will keep thinking of us just a little bit. I know we will think of them very much. But I would also like to ask for an extra hearty applause for our opener tonight, Yana, you’ve done very well and we hope that you will also get your place in the music industry too, you truly deserve it.” Herbert ended his speech.

There was a deafening applause, and Samuel put the music back on. When Michiel and Thomas we’re done loading their stuff they joined the rest of their friends. From all sides came congratulations and everyone wished them success. It was late in the evening when the last guests we’re leaving. Yana also went home and so only Michiel, Thomas, Elise, Samuel, and the parents of Michiel and Thomas we’re left. Not much later Herbert and Maria and Marc and Linda went home. And so it was only them four still remained, those who we’re heading to sea.

Chapter three: Going offshore

It was a hectic morning at the Van Heerden household. Michiel and Elise woke up very early and Herbert and Maria were also already up and running. The flight to Brazil took off at six o’clock in the morning but Michiel, Elise, Thomas and Samuel had to be at the airport one hour in advance. Elise had spent the night with Michiel and she had been risen at three o’clock to check everything and get themselves ready. Even Herbert and Maria were already out of the springs, along with Marc and Linda, they had agreed to take them to the airport.

About half past Three the bell rang and when Herbert opened the door he saw Marc, Linda, Thomas and Samuel standing.

“Good morning Herbert.” Marc said.
“Good morning.” Herbert replied. “we are almost done, but please come in we still have some time. Fancy a cup of coffee?” Asked Herbert.
“Yes please.” Marc and Linda said in unison.
Michiel came down the stairs and into the kitchen, where he saw Thomas and its parents along with his father and Samuel.
“Good morning everyone.” He said when he walked in.
“Morning, Michiel” Thomas replied.
“Mom and Elise are in the bathroom, Mom had to help Elise with her hair.” Michiel said. “Women.” Thomas grinned against Michiel, who gave a nod as a sign of understanding.

Not much later, Elise came into the kitchen, followed closely by Maria. They all drank another cup of coffee and at four o’clock they all left towards the airport. Upon their arrival, it was still pretty quiet, and when they were all inside, with their cases, the time was there that they had to say goodbye. Linda and Maria we’re sobbing. They hugged their sons, and also Elise and Samuel. Then they both began to cry. Herbert and Marc gave the foursome a hand, but they also had difficulties to restrain their emotions.

“Well, this is it, I will miss you very hard son.” Herbert said to Michiel.
“I’ll miss you too Dad, but we see each other every week, huh? Even though it is arranged with a webcam, but we stay connected!” Michiel replied.
“Absolutely, Take care of yourself buddy!” Herbert said on an emotional tone.
He also hugged Elise and gave Thomas and Samuel a hand and when they went to the counter, they looked back for the last time, waved and then they were gone.

Maria fell into Herbert’s arms and began to cry. Linda also sought solace with her husband, Marc, who in turn had also tears in his eyes.
“One very long half a year we will not see them.” Marc said.
Herbert nodded. “Yes, for six months it will be so quiet at home!” He said. “But we still have each other, we meet up just once more in order to do something together.” Herbert added.

“Be sure of that.” Marc replied.

Around noon, the foursome arrived at the airport in Rio. There, a taxi driver was waiting for them to take them to Tefe, a lake that borders the Amazon River. Upon their arrival at the port lay their cruise ship: Costa Alverdia, ready to ship in crew and passengers. When Michiel and Thomas saw the ship, their jaws dropped in surprise, even Elise and Samuel drew their eyes wide open.

“Waauw! This ship is huge!” Elise said.
“Indeed it is.” Michiel replied while he stood next to her, and took her hand. “Come on.” He said and took her to the terminal.

“Buenas tardes, y Bienvenidos a los Costa Alverdia an nombre de toda la costa del equipo les deseo una estancia agradable.”
“I’m sorry, unfortunately we did not had the time to learn proper Spanish.” Michiel said.
“Ah, perdón.”

“So, I am, Juanes, I am here to welcome you on this fantastic cruise ship, and i’ll hope you’re gonna have a great time, and enjoy your stay here. I suppose you are the formers of Casa Musica? One of the musical acts on this ship?” Juanes said.
“That is correct. Thank you very much.” Michiel replied.

“Well, if you wait here for a moment, someone is coming to get you to your rooms, and your gear will be escorted to the rehearsal room that is set up for you.”
“Thank you!” they all said in unison.

Not much later, someone of the crew took them to the rooms and when they were settled, they agreed to meet each other on the deck to explore the boat. After having explored the boat, Thomas said: “I suggest we go for a drink? I got a little bit thirsty.”
“Good idea!” Samuel replied. “Look that one seems like a cozy terrace!” They took place on one of the tables and when they had ordered a drink Elise said: “Guys, I want to propose a toast, on a wonderful adventure, and the success of the best musicians on this boat, Michiel and Thomas. To Casa Musica!”
“To Casa Musica!” they all said in unison.
“That we may spend a nice time together!” Michiel added and Elise putted her arms around his waist and said: “Be sure of that!”

The next days however Michiel and Thomas were busy with both the regular and the dress rehearsals, which caused that they could spend very little time with Samuel and Elise. Samuel was usually busy with the sound, and so Elise often remained alone.
Though she was not really desperate about that.

She had in recent months been greatly preoccupied with both a new banner, and making other work for the band and in between she also kept the accounts, so she was happy that she had a little bit time to rest now.

In the last months before their departure, Michiel and Thomas often had been playing gigs, and so they had already a nice level of starting for Casa Musica. Elise was fully aware that that amount would be nothing compared to what they would earn from the cruises.

They had in the last month before departure also recorded a demo CD with four own songs. For this one, Elise had also designed a cover, and so they took a few dozen of finished demos for possible sale. This they had also agreed with the people from Creative Productions, the event office where Casa Musica was located, but beyond that they had also received studio time, in order to record their first full album. However Michiel and Thomas had not agreed yet when they would do this. After a week of full days rehearsing, Michiel and Thomas felt they we’re fully ready, and that was a good thing, because the next day the first guests would arrive, and their musical adventure would start.

That night they played a welcome appearance in the main bar. The people who settled the performances had made a sort of welcome festival, Casa Musica played together with six of a total of nine music acts who were present on the ship.

The groups ranged from covers to classical music and the evening ended with a theater group, playing Romeo and Julliet.

When it was Casa Musica’s turn, as the third act, the bar was well stocked and Thomas spontaneously had to think back at their benefit concert in their village just before their departure. “Ready buddy?” Michiel asked, while he was standing behind Thomas.
“Sure.” Thomas replied. “Not too many nerves?” He asked Michiel in return.
“Remarkably, no nerves.” Michiel replied.
“Top!!” Thomas said. “Come on, we’re going to have some fun.”

It was finally there, the moment they had both eagerly awaited.
Michiel sat behind his piano, Thomas took his guitar and then it became very quiet.
At the first note Michiel played, Elise knew immediately that they were going to play The Rose, and she got tears in her eyes. She thought this was a stunner, and Michiel’s voice was really perfect for it. She rocked back and forth, with her eyes closed, and when the song was over, she applauded the loudest.

The set went on with songs as I Will Wait and Danza Kuduro.
But they also played classic songs including: Hotel California, House of the rising sun and the original Dolly Parton version of Jolene.

There was exuberant singing and dancing and so the hour passed rapidly. Michiel and Thomas closed their set with When You Say Nothing at All, a very beautiful song by Ronan Keating.

The band that followed them was ready to draw, when Michiel and Thomas had just cleared the stage. The singer, a man of about 35 years old thought Michiel, gave them a hand and said: “You guys did an amazing job out there, for two young guys, I can finally say that there is still hope in the younger generations! Hats off fellows!”

“Wow, thanks.” Michiel said. “Well, we wish you too the best of luck out there, and we will stand on the front row!” He added with a smile!

And when the next band started with the song La Bamba, Thomas, Michiel, Elise, and Samuel waved their hands on the beats of the song.
After several swing numbers, the singer took some time to thank the entire cast of the cruise ship and all the bands that played here tonight.

“And I like to have the formers of the band that played before us on stage.” He said while pointing to Michiel and Thomas, who entered the stage again a little bit stunned.
“These two young guys,” the man continued. “They have proven tonight that there is still potential in the younger generations and I want to ask you all, to give these boys a special, and very loud round of applause, Because They deserve it! Well done guys.” He said and also began to applaud. A deafening applause followed. Michiel looked at Thomas and saw that he had tears in his eyes. He grabbed him by the waist and hugged him dearly. “Well done mate!” He said softly to Thomas and he replied also softly: “You too buddy.”

“Thank you very much everyone.” Michiel said, but he could not release more.

The evening progressed quickly and after the last act, followed by a word of thanks from the organizer for all the acts, his speech was followed by a few hours of a DJ until late in the night.

Michiel and Thomas stood for a long time with the people of soul generation, the band that asked them on stage and they exchanged contact details.
The singer, Eric Pearson, invited Michiel and Thomas to jam together again, and they gladly accepted.

Eventually they went to bed, exhausted but happy and when Elise was laying into Michiel’s arms he felt the happiest person on earth.

Chapter four: A pleasant surprise

The next morning they we’re up and running before dawn. Today there was a visit to Rio de Janeiro programmed. The tour visited all major monuments, including the Christ statue, and the view from the Corcovado Mountain over the city was truly breathtaking.

The tour guide explained to them that the statue of Christ the Redeemer, known in Portuguese as: Cristo Redentor, was almost 38 meters high and was built on October, 12 in 1931.
The original idea, however, dates from 1850 and comes from the Catholic priest Pedro Maria Boss, but it was issued and the idea was blown up by Queen Isabel because she didn’t liked it.

In 1921, the idea was revived by the church of Rio, and they organized a memorial that week which turned out to be a success and so the statue was eventually realized and finished.

The rest of the day they we’re with the four of them strolling through the great city. They passed the crowded beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema and also the many slums. Later they came along one of the largest temples in the world of football, the Maracana, where four teams of the highest level played their games.

After the tour they decided to go for a drink and after that they went back to the boat. That night they played a set on the top deck. The theme was romantic evenings and so Michiel and Thomas played only slow songs.

After the performance they stood on the deck for a while and enjoyed the sight of the setting sun, the silence, and each other.

Elise sat next to Michiel with his arms around her waist, and Thomas and Samuel were playing a game of chess.

In that way the first cruise went on smoothly but also a little bit too fast. Now they were in a hotel in Rio, and they enjoyed a free week which was already half over when they received a phone of the people of Creative Productions.

Michiel was shocked when he heard that, after very good reviews of the first cruise, on the next cruise they we’re going to play as headliners. Here they had a program with a girl who played acoustic songs on her own as opener and an afterparty band
They already knew that soul generation, the band which they have opened for on their first gig we’re going to play as the afterparty.

Their opener would arrive today, and she would stay in the same hotel as they were and Michiel had promised that she would be welcomed as a queen.

And so it was that they were waiting all together in the entrance hall of the hotel with a sign that was reading: Welcome to Creative Productions.
What they didn’t expect was that they would know her, let alone that they would know her very well, because a few moments later Yana Elder Mountains walked into the entrance hall, with her luggage and her guitar on her back.

Both Michiel and Thomas looked on in amazement as she entered. Thomas was the first at senses again, and ran to her. In his enthusiasm, he embraced her tenderly, and said: “Waauw, what a surprise!”
Elise walked past Michiel and when their eyes met, he immediately knew what she wanted to say. “Yes.” He whispered in Elise’s ear. “I also think that our Thomas is a little bit in love.” And grimaced while enjoying the picture.

“Welcome Yana.” Michiel said while giving her a hand. “Glad that you’re elected.”
Elise also embraced Yana tenderly and Samuel took her hand and said: “Congratulations girl, I am very pleased to do your sound adjustments too.”
“Thank you all for the warm welcome.” Yana said. “I could hardly believe it when the people from Creative Productions called me. Whoever tipped me, I will give him or her my eternal gratefulness.”
Michiel looked at Thomas and saw that his head was starting to become bright red.
“I think I already know.” Michiel said with a nod to Thomas.
“Is that so?” Yana asked.

“Y… yes that’s right.” Thomas said. “When they asked us a few weeks ago if we knew any good musicians, I have given them your name.”

Yana gave Thomas an intense hug and said softly in his ear: “Thank you.” “You’re welcome.” Thomas replied and putted his head on her shoulder.

When they let go of each other and looked into each other’s eyes Thomas got a warm feeling in his stomach, a feeling he had never felt before. “Was this the feeling Michiel had with Elise?” He thought. He saw a sparkle in Yana’s eyes, and without thinking about it, he got closer to her, closed his eyes and to his surprise he felt her lips touch his and they kissed each other warmly.

“Well this is great, right now I am the only one here who has no girlfriend!” Samuel said loudly but also amused. Michiel, Thomas, Elise and Yana started laughing for the loudest, but Thomas and Yana only had eyes for each other for the rest of the evening. Even though they should of course go to sleep on time, because the next morning they headed to the harbor where they got off the ship a week ago, for their second week on the amazon river, but this time they played the headliner, and Soul Generation was the afterparty both led by Yana, she was now their new opening act.

The fact that Yana was now Thomas his girlfriend also did not gone by unnoticed. The lovebirds were almost constantly together except at rehearsals. The room layout had a little bit changed too: Yana and Thomas now shared a room and Samuel had a room for himself. But he did not mind, he had himself suggested this because now Thomas and Yana were a couple it was logically they had to share a room and so Yana did not had to sleep alone.

Michiel and Elise were in their room, they were just chatting on the video with his parents, Marc and Linda were there also so Michiel had Thomas and Yana called in, who told them the good news of him and his new girlfriend.

“And how do you like living there on the other side of the world?” Herbert asked. “Well,” Michiel started. “We’re starting to get used to it.” Thomas added.
“And we have already made new friends.” Elise said.
“A cover band!” Samuel added. “And they are very good.”

“Yes, and now we play with them as headliner here.” Thomas and Michiel said in unison.

“And our Yana is warming up the public for us!” Thomas added, as he pulled her towards him and gave a heartfelt hug.
“We are very happy for you Yana.” said Maria. “You deserved to be there too, you were very good at the show back here in the village.”

“Unfortunately we have to leave you, we need to rehearse, said Michiel. “Nice talking to you mum and dad, we have to finish three cruises and then we try to return home for a little while.”
“Good luck guys and we hope to hear you back soon.” Herbert, Maria, Marc and Linda said in unison.

“See you soon!” Michiel, Elise, Thomas, Yana and Samuel replied also in unison.

“Nice to have heard and seen them.” Maria said relieved.
“Yes.” Linda replied. “I am very happy that I’ve seen them again.” She added.
“Did you hear what Michiel said?” Asked Herbert. “He said that they would try to come home in a few weeks.”
“Then we have to give them a nice homecoming.” Marc said. “We can organize a party for them?” “Sounds good!” Maria and Linda said in unison.
“We immediately start with the preparations.”

The second cruise on the Amazon went on as smoothly as the first one. Yana also liked it a lot. She rehearsed every night at the same time as Michiel and Thomas and her first performance was tremendously well received by the public, so well that she received a standing ovation after her song, dedicated to her father Gus.

Though she could not suppress a tear, but Thomas was immediately there to comfort her. On the last night, when they had visited the Christ image for the second time, they played their last performance in Brazil.

The next afternoon they had a flight to Spain, where they would do a Mediterranean cruise for the upcoming two weeks with the same program as here: Yana and the gentlemen from Soul Generation. Thomas and Michiel were already halfway through their set, when they invited Yana on stage to play a song with her. That became The Rose, and Michiel and Yana exchanged the vocals during the song and the last piece they chanted.

What followed was a deafening applause. After a few songs they closed their set with Always by Bon Jovi, and when also Soul Generation finished their set, the manager took the mic to speak to the people for a second and thanked all the bands. She also had a surprise announcement for Michiel and Thomas, namely that they soon would go into the studio for the recordings of their first full album.

The time during their Mediterranean cruise went by as fast as it had gone on the first two cruises. Now they enjoyed a well-deserved holiday week with all of them together, they had received their wages for the three cruises, and both Michiel and Thomas we’re a little bit shocked when they saw the amount of $6000 on their account.

They had also received an initial evaluation, and that was more than positive. The people from Creative Productions had written that Casa Musica was a band that not only played a couple of numbers, but also knew how to entertain the people. There was also a praise for Samuel, who was described as an ingenious technician who not only at all appropriate times adjusts the sound to the wishes of Michiel and Thomas, but also created a pleasant atmosphere for the audience, and he certainly adds value to the whole concept.

All that, in combination with both Yana as support, and Soul Generation as afterparty, made their sets complete, and with all that in mind, these setups were more than a worthy cruise act.

Michiel, Thomas, Yana and Samuel were overjoyed by these words of praise, and thought that these good reviews were a reason for them to have a little celebration. They sat at the bar of their hotel in Mallorca, where they were spending their free week.

“This is the life!” Thomas said. “All day long spending on being lazy in a four star hotel without having to pay a penny.” He added.
“Yes,” Yana said. “that is indeed nice, but this is actually a bit of a recovery period, we have spent the last three weeks working seven days a week, and next week we’re back at sea.”

“Indeed,” Thomas said. “the last few weeks we had only a little time to rest, but we can get all this time back here right now.” He said with a wink.
“That is true.” Yana answered. “What time did you got up again today? One o’clock in the afternoon?” She laughed.

“That’s right.” Thomas said. “But in my defense, I was very tired last night.”
Yana grinned widely and said: “I’m sorry sweetheart, I had just missed you tremendously, last week we had only a little time to spend together.”

Thomas looked at her lovingly and said: “It was just a joke honey, I missed you very hard too the past week.” He took her in his arms and hugged her dearly.
Michiel and Elise also enjoyed each other’s company, they were headed out, and just had a comprehensive walk on the beach.

Now they enjoyed a breathtaking sunset, Elise sat in Michiel’s lap and had her head resting on his shoulder.
“It is so beautiful here.” She said. “I want to stay here forever with you and grow old together.” “Yes.” Michiel answered. “I also could do that.” He added, then kissed her forehead.

Samuel was sitting at the bar, with the folks of Soul Generation. They laughed their heads off with the jokes they were turning out, and they had so much fun that Samuel wanted to stay here forever.

The next day they all went out. They had found some interesting leaflets at the local tourist information stand, include Cap Formentor, a peninsula where you could find a beautiful lighthouse together with a lot of beautiful beaches and the capital Palma de Mallorca. After visiting the many beaches, and a boat trip to Peninsula, they sat together on a terrace in the capital, where they had enjoyed a wonderful dinner.

That night however, they went to bed early, because the next morning they had to be up and running before dawn, and after they had a last breakfast, they checked out of the hotel and went to the terminal for their second cruise on the Mediterranean. That was about the same place as the previous one, with an only exception, a stop in one of the most beautiful bays in the Mediterranean sea: Kvarner Bay in Croatia.

Due to this, they had plenty of time to rehearse and Michiel and Thomas had planned to work on the songs for their full CD, which was also gradually taking shape. On the last night in Croatia, where they had been all day, and they enjoyed some beautiful sights and visits, they closed their Mediterranean cruise with a rousing closing act in which all the musical acts participated.

The concept was a quiz with all music questions, where each band released a song, while the others than had to guess the title and performer. Michiel and Thomas chose the song: Hit The Road Jack by Ray Charles, but they did it in another version so now it was a little bit heavier. It was the people of Soul Generation who could guess the number, and they closed the evening with a number where they, Yana, Michiel and Thomas had been working on. That was the ending of their adventure on the Mediterranean.

The next day they took the plane to Norway where they would stay a full week sailing the fjords. Upon their arrival in Copenhagen, their manager was waiting for them. She asked Michiel and Thomas how far they were with the songs for their album, and Michiel told her they had only one number to finish, and one to write. That would bring their total to seventeen tracks.

The manager was delighted with this news, and she suggested that after the cruise, they would go home for a week so they could prepare themselves. Then they would fly to New York, where they were invited to the head office of Creative Productions for the recordings, which would last probably three weeks, after which they could return home for a well deserved rest, while in the studio the album would be finalized.

Thomas and Michiel agreed to this and were very happy but also a little bit nervous because they had never been into a recording studio before. However they could not think about that yet because the next day their cruise on the fjords would start and they first had to finish that one.

That mourning was hectic though and everyone was running around randomly as if no one knew what to do first or where to be. Michiel and Elise had been packing last night, same as Thomas and Yana, but Samuel didn’t had been thinking about that. Therefor he was now packing in full speed. After flying through his room, he somehow made it in time to catch up with the rest of the group and one hour later they were waiting in the lobby for their ride to the airport.

Also the guys from Soul Generation and their manager where ready and when the cars drove up to the drive lane and everyone had loaded their trunks in they were off.

Upon their arrival at the airport they immediately got the news that their flight was going to be almost four hours later and so they decided to go to the cafeteria and had something to eat and drink.

“Maybe it’s a good thing that our flight has been delayed, now we still have time to eat something because I was really starving.” Samuel said. Everyone nodded silently. The early hour was a pain in the butt for everyone.

After what seemed as an eternity, their flight was finally ready and they could check in, that caused everyone being relieved. “That four hours could also have been eight hours.” Michiel thought. At least that was how he experienced it, but now he was glad that they finally had been off and after a flight of almost three hours they arrived in Stavanger. From there on out, a taxi brought them to the cruise terminal in Bergen and one day later they were off on their fjords cruise.

At the first stop they went from board. There they had made an arrangement with a guide for a walk in the mountains. This trip was taking a whole day and so they had a backpack with beverages for the whole day with them, carried by the boys. The walk went over mountain walls on which they past some waterfalls too. This was a welcoming surprise, thought Michiel because he was sweating enormously hard. Therefor he was very grateful that they were back on the ship and after a refreshing shower and their first gig in the evening, they went to bed very early that evening and it didn’t took long before they fell asleep and slept the whole night like roses.

The rest of the cruise they were often going on shore and went to a lot of beautiful landscapes that were a great part of the fjords, but the most beautiful was the last one if we had to believe Michiel. Upon their arrival in the Skudenshavn in Stavanger they visited the best kept wooden city, where they also saw the fabrications of the original viking ships.

On their last night onboard they played a couple of songs with both Yana and the guys from Soul Generation. They closed the adventure on the fjords on the tones of I will wait by Mumford and sons. After the gig they were all sitting together on the top deck and drank one last Ringnes, one of Norway’s best sold beers. The next day they took the plane and were heading back home, back to Etely Mountain.

Chapter five: Etely Mountain

Herbert, Maria, Marc, Linda, Frans, Nicole and Agnes were sitting outside at Herbert and Maria’s place. They had invited all parents because today they were celebrating the fact that their kids were exactly one year at sea. This, they were celebrating with a barbecue.

Suddenly, Herbert heard something in the front garden and he jumped up. At the same time Marc and Frans had jumped up too. “Did you hear that too?” Herbert asked.
“Yes we did!” Marc and Frans answered in choir and they were at the point of going to take a look when the gate opened. Everyone was looking intensely, but their faces all changed abruptly to relieved excitement when they saw who was entering the garden. It were Michiel, Thomas, Elise, Yana and Samuel with their luggage.

Immediately the mothers jumped up and ran to their kids.
“Waaaaaauw!” They yelled all in excitement. “What a surprise!” The fathers ran up and hugged their kids intensely.
“Why didn’t you gave us a warning that you were coming home?” Herbert asked.
“And ruin this moment?” Thomas and Samuel said in choir with an amused tone. “No, we wanted to surprise you all.”
“Well, you sure did!” Said all parents.

The rest of the evening they sat around the fire pit with the whole group and the parents were listening to the story that their kids were telling and when Yana and Thomas revealed that they were a couple now, they looked amused to the surprised faces of their parents, but they were also happy for them and they congratulated the both. It was already late at night when everyone went home to go to sleep.

In the days that followed there was a lot of partying going on together with a lot amount of resting. Another round of surprise followed when they all entered the youth club, the following Friday night and everyone was curious about the stories they were telling.

They were already a week back home when they had a gig organized at the youth center. Their plan was to do it with the original setup from the cruises, meaning they would play with Yana as opener and Soul generation as after party, but when Michiel mailed John he received a mail back that they were unfortunately not able to make it.

After the show Michiel announced their upcoming album and that due to the recordings they would be away again for a long time. Therefore, the people from the youth club thought it would be a great idea that the little time they had they had to use it and so they all agreed that from now until they were leaving again they were going to play a weakly gig at the club.

And so it was that Michiel and Thomas were rehearsing in the basement back in Michiel’s home again for a little while. Herbert and Maria were excited with that. They had missed the music coming out of the basement and were happy to hear it again. They even realized that they were now truly in better shape then the last time which made Herbert feeling very proud once more.

When they were all together again later that week at Herbert and Maria’s and the parents were inside, busy with the dishes, Michiel and Elise where sitting together in the big swinging chair. Michiel had his laptop with him and now they were looking on the internet searching for a house to buy.

They both had been talking about it for a while and since they have been a couple for more then one year and they both had great jobs they thought it would be a great opportunity to do so. Originally they had been planning to buy a house here in the same village where they both had grown up, but the houses were not living up to their expectations and so they were forced to make the searching field bigger. They had been looking to a house in a village nearby but there was too much work in it and since they were not going to be able to have time for renovations due to their jobs on sea they had to refuse the offer.

Thomas, Jana and Samuel joined them.

“What’s up?” Thomas asked.

“We are looking for a house to buy.” Elise answered with a twinkle in her eyes and it was obvious that she was very happy with the step they were going to take.

“I have been thinking the same thing.” Thomas said. “But the prizes are very high in this region.” He added.” Yana nodded. “And there are not much houses in the village here either.” She said.

“But I have been thinking…” Thomas started but Samuel came in between with a little laughter. “Oh so that’s what I heard screeching.” He said and Thomas gave him a slight punch against his head. “There, now you hear something else screeching too.” And he laughed, then went further with his sentence.

“I was thinking, we all had a great time in Majorca right? And we spend more time there then here. Now we have to take a hotel-room every time. Why don’t we buy a house over there? One for All of us?” He said.

“You do have a point.” Michiel replied and he added: “What if we come back home after the recordings of our album and then go to Majorca from here on out with everyone, including our parents. That gives us the time there to look for a nice house and our parents have some free time?” “And if we find something we can split the whole prize through the five us so we all pay the same prize.” Samuel said.

Everyone nodded and was excited about the idea and when they talked to their parents about it they were immediately fans of the plan.

And so it was that the next day they booked a journey to Palma de Mallorca, but this one would take place only a couple weeks later. First order of business were the recordings of their album. In the last couple days home Michiel and Thomas had been able to finish up their last two songs and so they were now ready to head into the studio. Just in time, because two days later they would be flying to New York and in the evening before their last day at home they played in the youth center in their home town, Michiel and Thomas realized that they would be gone for a while.

“Waauw!’ Thomas said. “It’s as if the whole village is here.” He added.
“Well, I think you are right. And maybe even more people too.” Michiel replied.
The youth center was filled till the roof, no one could get in anymore and because of safety restrictions the police and the fire safety department were also at the venue.

The show started with Yana opening with the song: Someone like you by Adele and immediately the whole venue became very quite. Just as on the cruises she ended her set with the song written for her father followed again by a deafening applause. Samuel had taken the mic after the applause slowly gained less loud full and said: “Dear people, the last song you heard just now by our Yana was written for her father Gus and it is quite a grateful opportunity we have here tonight that at this moment Gus died exactly six years ago. He was a great man, without him we wouldn’t even had this youth center in the first place and therefor I want to ask you all to be very silent for a full minute as honor to Gus, starting right now.”

Immediately it became as silent as silence could be. Yana was standing with Thomas who had her closely to him in an act to comfort her. Elise also got a hard moment and wiped her tears away. Michiel came to stand next to her and pulled her towards him. She placed her head to rest on his shoulder and cried silently.

When the minute was gone by, the silence was broken gently by Samuel who putted the music back on and he did that with the smart words of Robbie Williams in his song: Angels.

“It’s our turn again.” Thomas said. “Are you ready?” He asked Michiel.
“We are playing at an overfilled youth center, Our home, Our bar from since we were going out.” Michiel replied. “I am very ready.” He added.

When they opened their set they played the rose and I will wait. Immediately the crowd started jumping and singing along, but the party wasn’t starting until they played Danza Kuduro and Trumpets and a while later also Love generation and Save tonight.

Two full hours they were bringing a switch with both music to dance on and slow songs. On the song Hero everybody started slowing. They closed their set with the wise words of When you say nothing at all which was followed again by an ear deafening applause.

After the set and after they packed in slowly, they were all sitting outside at Michiel’s parents home and closed the evening with a drink and each others company. Late in the evening everyone was going home. Elise slept with Michiel that night but they were both so exhausted that they almost immediately fell asleep in each others arms. The next morning they stood up before dawn and started getting ready.

After a quick breakfast they were on their way to the airport and an hour later they were sitting in the lobby waiting for their flight to New York. Ready for the recordings of their first full album and it was clear that everyone was a little bit nervous for this. Michiel shuffled from left to right in his seat, Elise was starting to get crazy about it and placed her arm around his waist in an attempt to calm him down. Samuel was walking through the lobby as a crazy fool talking to himself. Yana was sitting in Thomas his lap and had her arms around his neck, Thomas had his hand resting on her leg and he gave her a kiss on her cheek every couple of minutes. Finally the time was there that they could go aboard of the plane and were off to New York and off to their first Album.

Chapter six: Freedom of the seven seas

When they arrived in New York and picked up their luggage, they entered the lobby where they found a man standing with a plate that was saying: Creative Productions welcomes Casa Musica! Michiel and Thomas went up to him and after a short introduction they followed him to the car. On their way to the hotel, which would be their home for the next couple of weeks, they passed a lot of interesting sightseeing parts of the big apple like the Guggenheim museum, Central Park and central park zoo.

Unfortunately they wouldn’t have much time to visit them, because the next day already they headed into the studio where their recordings would take place. The girls however were not coming with them to the studio so they had planned to visit a couple things, along with a lot of the shopping streets.

It was already late in the evening when Michiel, Thomas and Samuel arrived back in the hotel. Exhausted they dropped into the comfortable chairs in the lobby of the hotel.
“Anyone else fancy a nice beer?” Samuel asked. “I think we can use that right now.” He added. Michiel and Thomas agreed nodding and Samuel stood up and went to the bar. A couple minutes later he returned, followed by Yana and Elise.

“Look who I found sitting in the bar.” Samuel said with a nod to the girls.
“Hi sweetie.” Elise said while taking place besides Michiel and gave him a kiss on his forehead. “How was your day?” Yana asked.
“Busy.” Said Thomas.
“Enormously busy.” Michiel added. “I never thought that making a cd would be so heavy and today we only did the voice recordings.” He placed his head on Elises shoulder and took another nap of his beer. It didn’t came as a surprise then that they went to bed early and Both Michiel and Thomas fell asleep almost before their heads even touched their pillows.

The following days were not much of a difference. They were recording for a couple days and even though it was heavier then they had imagined, they also had a lot of fun. Samuel also had a great feeling. He had been given the liberty to help in a real recording studio which felt like dream come true, He also learned a lot while doing it. The people from the creative productions surely took a lot of credit in all their progress because they were all very friendly and helpful. Every now and then they gave a little feedback and helped them to get the songs for one-hundredth percent good. For example with the solo used in the song: Everywhere, where they corrected it in the good way of the sentence and gave them good critics on their lyrics. That way, Michiel and Thomas learned a lot and for that they were very grateful to the people of the studio.

In the first week already they had eight songs up and running which is why the people from the company found that the boys deserved a little break. That is why they had a free weekend in their hotel in New York and they decided to go and visit some beautiful places in the big apple. They stood up early in the morning and were now on their way to the statue of liberty.

“Waauw!” Elise said. “It is huge!”
“Ninety-three meters high to be specific.” Michiel replied. “That is really big for a statue.” He added.

He saw a little information board and went to it. He was reading it, while repeating the words loudly: “The forty-six meters high statue, ninety-three meters if you add the pedestal in the calculations, with a weight of two-hundredth-twenty-five tons was a gift from France in honor of the century party from the declaration of independence and as a sign of their friendship. On the plaque in her left hand was written ‘JULY IV MDCCLXXVI’, the date, fourth of July 1776, of the declaration in Roman numbers. In the ‘Jardin du Luxembourg’ in Paris you could find the same statue, that was made in 1870 and was used by the French designer and statue builder: Frédéric Bartholdi as base for her big sister in the united states. Bartholdi’s Mother was know to be the model for the statue. The bigger version for the US was also build with a metal construction designed by Gustave Eiffel. The full name of the statue in French is called: La liberté éclairant le monde and the original English name: Liberty Enlightening the World. Originally it was meant to be a gigantic fire tower at the northerly entrance of the Suez canal, but Egypt didn’t had the money for it.

The building of the statue then was ended in France in July 1884 and was gifted to the United States of America. In June 1885 it arrived in the harbor of New York, after it had traveled the Atlantic Ocean on the French ship: Isere. During this trip the statue was carefully taken apart to three- hundred-fifty pieces in two-hundred-fourteen wooden boxes. After it arrived in the big apple it took four months to rebuild it on her new feet.

On October twenty-eight it was greeted with a big ceremony. The whole construction exists out of copper plates that are build on a skeleton.
Maurice Koechlin, a co-worker and friend of Eiffel, was in charge during the whole construction period.

The feet of the statue is build out of granite, to a concept from the American architect Richard Morris Hunt. The crown exists out of seven points that symbolize the seven continents and seas of the world. On October fifteen of nineteen-hundred-sixty-five the statue, together with Fort Wood got the stamp of National Monument.

It got the name: Statue of Liberty National Monument.
In nineteen-thirty-five the whole Bedlou’s Island was attached to it and got the name: Liberty Island.

From nineteen-eighty-four till nineteen-eighty-six it had been restored which is why the torch now has a twenty-four carats flame. Since nineteen-eighty-four the statue of liberty was added to the UNESCO’s world heritage list.
After the attacks on September eleventh in two-thousand-one the statue had been closed to the public for a couple of years. In two-thousand-three, the one-hundred-eighteen years old statue had been restored again, mostly because of the safety of the visitors, but also to be sure to keep the statue standing for another long time. Since the summer of two-thousand-four the statue is again able to visit.

There also has been added a spring connection starting in Battery Park at the south point of Manhattan to Liberty Island, the island where the statue is standing, and to Ellis Island where the entrance halls for immigrants are open for visit.
On independence day in two-thousand-nine also the crown had been added back for the first time since the attacks in two-thousand-one.”
Michiel took a very deep breath.

“Well, that was quite a story.” He said while Thomas and Samuel where rolling on the floor laughing.

“You did a very good job honey,” Elise replied and gave him a kiss. “I am proud of you, you didn’t even hesitate while you were talking.”

They went further into New York and visited the Guggenheim Museum where they took a tour. The guide told them that the building on his own was a museum piece because of its special form. Originally the museum was started with the private collection of Solomon R. Guggenheim.

The guide told them that the museum mostly holds artworks of the modern art and the art of today and when they were going through the museum, they passed a lot of different works such as Paris seen through a glass, The blond woman, In front of the mirror and The crying crocodile.

It was already past noon when they came outside of the museum.
“That was truly beautiful.” Thomas, Michiel and Samuel said in choir.
“That it was indeed.” Elise replied. “But I’m starting to feel hungry, anyone else too?” Everyone nodded and so they went to a place where they had lunch. After the lunch they headed back to the hotel where they all went to the pool for a swim.

The next day they went back into the studio with a full energy bar and went on with the recordings of their cd. After their usual morning coffee they went back to work and at the end of the afternoon, again they had finished two full songs. That brought their amount to ten songs which means they had only seven songs to go.

In the meantime they also had come up with a name for the cd. They had been talking about it with the producers and they approved the title and so the cd would be called: Freedom of the seven seas.

Late in the evening they arrived back in the hotel and after a quick diner and a refreshing shower they went to bed and fell asleep almost immediately.
At the end of the week they finally finished the recordings and now the producers had to make the finishing touch. They had agreed to stay here for another week to visit a couple of states, something Michiel and Thomas wanted to do for a long time already, but didn’t had the chance to do it so far. They had figured out a route on the west coast which is why they had to take a plane from the airport of Miami to Los Angeles. Before their plane took of however they still had a full day in Miami which they used good by visiting all the different islands and harbors.

In the evening they had their flight to Los Angeles and when they were driving through there they saw many different big buildings together with the ‘Hood’ of today, where many street gangs lived constantly fighting with each other.

After a full day in the big city they headed to the Sequoia National Park where they found the biggest trees in the world. At the end of the noon they took a little rest at the beach with a view on the Hollywood hills.

After a couple other visits to a lot of different monuments and sights they slept that night in a small motel and the next day they headed to San Fransisco. On the Golden Gate Bridge they had a perfect view over the water and it also gave them the chance to get a little bit fresh air. There they visited the famous prison Alcatraz, well known for its break out many years ago. They also drove trough the beautiful streets of the amazing city.

The last visit on their trip was Las Vegas. In this bruising city they visited a couple of casino’s, but here they only looked around because they didn’t want to spend a lot of money here.

“The casino’s here are very heavily secured.” Thomas said.

“Yes, but there is a big amount of money there too which should be secure at all time.” Michiel replied. “What do you say about having something to drink?” He added asking.
“I fully agree with that!” Thomas replied delighted.
They found a small bar in an alley which they entered.

“A typical local bar!” Samuel said.
“Yep, nice right?” Thomas replied.
There they closed their adventure in the states. The next day they went to the office again for a sneak preview of their cd which was approved by everyone. Michiel and Thomas were very happy with the result and headed back home with a great feeling. Back to Etely Mountain and to their parents. 

Chapter seven: A home under the sun.

Casa Musica puts his name on the map with their debut album!
‘Freedom of the seven seas’, that is the name for the debut album from Casa Musica, The band formed by Michiel Van Heerden and Thomas De Mol.
A little bit more then a year ago their adventure started at sea and they haven’t been quiet ever since. They have traveled almost the whole world with their music already which fell in good taste everywhere.
Now it has been quiet for a while around the band, but they didn’t have been quiet.
That they proof with their upcoming debut album that has been recorded in two weeks time and that will be for sale at the end of the year.
With this album they will be playing a world tour starting with a hometown show in their own youth center in Etely Mountain.

“Maria, You have to come and take a look, I really think you want to see this!” Herbert yelled. Maria came out of the kitchen into the living room and asked him: “What’s wrong Herbert?” “Take a look at this.” He said while showing her the article. When she was done reading it she wiped away a tear and said: “This is amazing news!”

On the same moment the phone ringed and when Herbert took the horn he heard the exited voice of Marc saying: “Have you seen the newspaper?”
“Yes!” Herbert replied. “We are very proud of our boys.” He added.
“Yes, we are very proud of them too. Hey, they’re coming home this afternoon, what do you say if we surprise them with a winter-barbecue at our place?” Marc said.

“That’s a great idea!” Herbert and Maria said in unison. “We are coming over immediately to help you with the arrangements, do we have to bring something from the grocery store?” Herbert added. “That would be great. Thank you!” Marc replied.
“You’re welcome! We see you in a bit then.” Herbert said.

“See you later!” Marc replied as ending to the conversation.

A couple of hours later everyone was at Marc and Linda’s place preparing for the barbecue. They had told the kids that they all had to come over their and that there was a surprise waiting for them.

And so it was that around six o’clock that evening they arrived at Thomas’s home, walking into the surprise of seeing all the parents standing there. At first everyone was hugging everyone and Thomas and Michiel were very enthusiastic when they were telling them about their adventure in America. They told them how it was to be in a recording studio and what they had learned with that. They also told them about their trip and their adventures in Los Angeles, Miami, San Fransisco and their last night in Vegas. The parents were fascinated while listening to the story and both Herbert and Marc gained a smile from ear to ear when they heard about their last night in the bar.

That night Michiel and Thomas played an acoustic preview at home and so it was that everyone was going to bed late in the evening.

The next couple days they were gaining some sleep and at the end of the week they all headed to Majorca. Both Michiel and Thomas were looking forward to this journey. It would be the first time

that they would stay in their own house, even though they had a lot work over there and had to buy some stuff for it. They had agreed to do it there so it would be easier to move there. They also had an agreement with the fathers that they would take the garden for their effort while the moms were helping inside.

The last night they all went to bed early and the next morning they stood up early. After a quick breakfast they were on their way to the airport where they took the plane to Palma de Mallorca. Upon their arrival there it was already thirty-five degrees and so they all felt sweaty on their way to their new house.

“Waauw!” Maria, Linda, Nicole and Agnes said in unison.
“What a beautiful mansion, boys!” Herbert said while his mouth fell open in amazement when he saw the house, or better said: Villa.
A modern villa at the mountainside, with a view over the sea from the amazing garden. A swimming pool in the garden, at the edge of the cliff, made the picture looks as if this mansion was from a famous movie star.

When they got inside of the villa they all did small tour through the house with seven bedrooms. These rooms they just had been organizing with the parents, so they each had a room during their stay, and themselves. There they unloaded their luggages and gave everything a place.

The first days of their stay they had a little bit of rest and everyone did that in their own way. Thomas and Yana relaxed in the lounge seats near the pool, Michiel and Elise made a daily walk on the beach which they could easily go to because there was a small path near the house. Samuel was always in the pool, same as the parents.

When the first week was over they started with the renovation of the house, in which they gained help from their parents. Thomas, Samuel and Herbert started painting the ground floor and when they were done there they headed upstairs to do the same thing on the first floor. Maria, Linda, Nicole and Agnes had started with the big cleanup and Michiel, Elise, Yana and the three other fathers were busy in the garden. Elise and Yana started weeding and Michiel and the fathers had made a ground plan on which they started working. Michiel’s plan was to make a path starting from the garden door to the pool and then headed to the other side of the garden where he had planned to make a platform with a roof that was looking out over the ocean. Therefor he went to the nearest garden- and hobby center with Herbert and Marc to get all the needed materials. Now they were ready to start. After a couple of days the path was ready and then they started on the roof above the platform which Michiel had done with his father. On the platform they had placed four posts on which the skeleton for the roof was made and now they were busy with the roof tiles.

After four days working the garden was ready and inside the house everything was painted. Maria had just finished the big cleanup and yelled: “Ready!”
‘The garden is ready too!” Yelled Michiel, Herbert and Marc in unison.

“Waauw!” Elise said when she entered the garden. “So cozy!” She added.
They also had build a barbecue out of stone and when everything was ready they sealed it with a housewarming barbecue.

Everything went faster then planned so now they had still a couple of days to relax and enjoy their new home. They also visited a couple of sightseeing places nearby and went for a walk on the beach every night or were laying on the pool.

On the last day before they should return to Etely Mountain, they went into the city and had a nice dinner in a cozy restaurant. There they clinked once again on their success and on the new house. The next day at noon they went back home and when they were back in Etely Mountain, Michiel and Thomas started rehearsing immediately, because their world tour was now coming very closely.

The less free time they had, they went to the youth center to prepare it for their cd-release party. In the week from the release they had a copy of the album send home and everyone was very happy with the result which gave them a boost to rehearse even more.

On Saturday-night the time had come for them to show the world what they could do. On Friday they had been rehearsing a whole day and on Saturday they went to the youth center very early for the last preparations. They also had a general rehearsal with the people from Creative Productions to set up the sound for every song. Afterwards they went to the Kebab with the whole group to eat something there.

“Nice!” Thomas said. “This is just the same as right before our last gig here. After that we went on with the cruises for the first time. Do you remember Michiel?” He added.
“Yeah, i do.” Michiel replied.
“Weren’t you a little bit drunk that night?” Samuel asked Thomas with a grin from ear to ear. Michiel and Elise had just been drinking when Samuel said that. That caused that they started laughing with their mouth full and their drinks were spreading all over the place. Also Yana couldn’t refuse a grin on her face.

Thomas gave Samuel an angry look and said: “Yes, I remember, but I don’t think that I was the only one. Weren’t you the one who had trouble with the chain on his bike?” He said. Now it was his time to show a big grin. Again everyone started laughing and Samuel gave Thomas a nod on his shoulder and said: “It was just a joke my friend, still buddies right? No harm done?”

“No harm done!” Thomas replied and they gave each other a hand.

After diner they headed back to the youth center. When they arrived there they saw that there was already standing a lot of people ready to enter.
“Waauw!” Michiel said while his jaw fell open in amazement.
“These are standing here to see you guys.” Elise whispered in his ear and gave him a kiss on his cheek. For a second Michiel couldn’t say anything. He took Elise’s hand and said: “Thanks sweetie, I needed these words”, and he gave her a kiss on her forehead.

One hour later the doors opened and everyone headed inside. Then the biggest adventure so far for Michiel and Thomas was starting. Maybe even the biggest adventure of both their lives. 

Chapter eight: Journey around the world

When Michiel and Thomas entered the stage, the crowd went wild. An applause you could hear in the next city, Michiel thought, but when they took their instruments everyone went quiet and Michiel started playing the piano. The intro of their album was so beautiful, that it brought tears to not only the eyes of their parents and Yana and Elise, but also to a lot of other people. Though those tears were wiped away quickly when Thomas started a rock riff on his guitar and Michiel took place behind the drums. Together they played a heavier song and the crowd went going dancing immediately.

After a couple rock-songs, Thomas took the mic and thanked everyone who was here right now, out of the name of not only him but also Michiel and the whole crew from creative productions. He thanked everyone for being with them to release their first full album. He also thanked their parents and friends for their support all those years.

Michiel had taken the liberty to take place after the piano again while Thomas was giving a speech and he started a slow song. Yana and Elise got together and started slowing, followed by their parents and a lot of other couples.

After two full hours of playing they closed their set with a song they wrote for Gus, Yana’s father, a song which was also on the album. After the song, a short silence followed and Samuel had started: Stairway to heaven, just as he did every time in honor to Gus.

The guys from Soul Generation took over half an hour later. They also had a lot of switches in their set and even though some people had been leaving early, there was still a lot of people inside.

After their set, which also was almost two hours later, Samuel took over with the DJ boot for another couple of hours.

The heroes of that evening were definitely Thomas and Michiel. Everyone was coming up to them with a copy of their cd and asked for autographs, or just for a small talk. Also Yana and the gentlemen from Soul generation got a lot of compliments and good luck wishes.
After what seemed an eternity Michiel had found some space to get out of the mass for a while and went outside to take a breath, followed closely by Herbert.

“Are you feeling hot, boy?” Herbert asked with a grin from ear to ear when they came outside. “Yeah, terrible, I could not stand it there a minute longer.” Michiel replied.
“You did a great job out there son. I am very proud of you!” Herbert said while he hugged his son. When he released him, a tear was rolling over his cheek. “That was absolutely normal.” Herbert thought. Because if he looked back on what his son had done in the last two years together with his best friend, the emotions were a very normal reaction. He was very proud of his son.

At the end of the evening only a handful of people were left at the youth center. Marc, Herbert and Frans stayed to help the boys pack their stuff and now they ordered one last beer before going home. For them it was like the last chance to drink a beer with their sons for a long time again.

The next day they had a day of well earned rest because the day after that they had to wake up early. That morning they had to take the plane to Luxor where they would be on a cruise on the Nile for a week and in that way their world tour would officially start. The day after that they had a show in Valley of the kings and there was almost the double amount of people then back home.

Thomas and Michiel were a little bit nervous for this one and also Yana was a little bit nervous. But the moment she entered the stage, her nerves were getting calmer. Again she played the song in honor to her father which was taken with a loud applause.

Then it was time again for Michiel and Thomas to enter the stage. They also ended their set with the song honored to the same man.

The public was very enthusiast about both Yana and Casa Musica and they saw that immediately. Back in New York they also recorded a demo for Yana and he was selling almost at the same speed as Casa Musica’s album. That fact made Yana very happy and everyone could notice that. During the set of Soul Generation she was standing next to Thomas with a big grin on her face and that made that everyone was having a great feeling when they set foot on the ship a day later.

They played a show on the second day, but this one was shorter then the other two they played before. After the show they all sat on deck and enjoyed a late night drink right before going to sleep. The next morning they were able to sleep a little bit longer. They were going to sail the whole day and they didn’t had to play a show so everyone had agreed to make it a lazy day at the pool.

That night they arrived in Karnak, where they would play the next day. After a heavy, warm night, in which Michiel didn’t sleep much, he stood up late in the afternoon and he decided to go into Karnak with Elise. When they were strolling through the city they saw a guy with kids giving a little street performance and they decided to stop for a while and watch him play. When he was finished, Michiel and Elise went to him.

“Hi!” Michiel said. “You guys play nice music!” He added.
“Thanks.” The man answered. “Do you play also?” He then asked.
“Yes, we play here tonight with our band; Casa Musica, as a part of our world tour.” Michiel replied.
“Waauw!” The man said. “So you are part of the band where everyone is talking about? Well, then I see you tonight, we have also tickets for your concert.”
“Great!” Michiel said. “If you want I can lure you into the backstage. Just come up to the podium and ask for Michiel.”
“Thanks a lot!” The man replied. “See you tonight then.” He added.

The show was a huge success and when Michiel and Thomas got off stage, the same man with his wife and ten kids came to them and congratulated them on their show. The man, named Pias Ramirez, told them that they were running an orphanage. They had decided to take these kids to their show today.

“We had heard of your band before and we were fans from the first minute we heard you.” Pias his wife Elina said. “The kids are also huge fans and they were wondering if they could get your autographs?” She added.
“Of course!” Thomas and Michiel replied in unison and after the signing session including also a picture round, they played a little game with the kids. When it was time to say goodbye, Pias invited them for dinner that night and everyone agreed joyfully.

And so it was that they were sitting at the table back at Pias’s and Elina’s home. Pias’s uncle, Ennes, and two friends of them, Janos and Retuow, were also there. A nice gang Michiel and Thomas thought. Elise and Jana amused themselves while playing with the kids and Samuel laughed himself almost to dead with the jokes Janos and Retuow were doing the whole time.

Pias told them the story about how the orphanage originally started and that he once was an orphan too. With the heritage of his parents he then opened this orphanage.

The time flew by very fast due to the fun they all had. Late at night everyone decided to go to bed. Michiel and Thomas didn’t had to play that night, they were on the Nile for a whole day, making their way to Caïro. There they ended their fist week of touring with a gig on the feet of the Gizeh pyramids.

After this week they had a week of rest and they had decided to stay with their new friends, Pias and Elina, who had invited them. There they gave a privet show every night and the children enjoyed it to the fully. On the last day they played a game called hide and seek, but then in a slightly bigger version. They had divided the group into two equally smaller teams. One team had to go and hide while leaving a couple of signs in the right direction and a couple of assignments written in the sand for the other team who had to search them by following the signs and accomplish the assignments. That night ended with a barbecue and the next day they had to say goodbye to their new friends with a promise to keep contact.

From Egypt they took the plane to Norway where their second cruise of the world tour would take place. First they played a show in the youth center of Stavanger not far from the harbor where their fjords-cruise would leave the next day. They had been in Stavanger once already, but they still found it a very beautiful place.

The whole week they were playing shows on the ship, as also on land and during the free times they visited the fjords again. They went to both places they had already seen, but also places they haven’t seen before due to time issues. They even had the chance on the last day, when they arrived at the Norwegian sea, to swim with orca’s. The feeling they got when they were swimming with these beautiful creatures was breathtaking and it gave them a great feeling. When they arrived back at the boat that evening everyone was exhausted and so it didn’t take long before they all fell asleep and slept like roses. 

Chapter nine: The Mediterranean.

Around noon they arrived in Lisbon, Portugal.Upon their arrival there, the taxi that brought them to the ship was already waiting for them. On that ship they were going to be for the upcoming weeks. Once they arrived at the ship they had been escorted to their cabins. The tour was starting the day after and so they had decided to have an easy day. Thomas, Yana and Samuel did that at the pool and Michiel and Elise in their cabin. Michiel had had the opportunity the last couple days to gain some sleep, but he didn’t feel very well today and so he kept in bed. Elise hearted her boyfriend and gave him everything he needed. Michiel didn’t complain about that, but he also didn’t wanted to take advantage of his girl, so he helped where he could.

That night they went to sleep very early and the next morning he felt that one day of rest had been a good decision. And that was a good thing too, because that night they played a set on the top deck and he didn’t wanted to cancel it. Fortunately he was back to the old him so the show could go on. That show they played with verve and the public was loudly enthusiast.

The next day they arrived in Porto and there they went on land. They had never really visited Portugal before and after their visit in the capital city yesterday, and Porto today they were all very amazed.

That night they played a gig in Porto, in the cultural building and again there was a lot of people. “Unbelievable!” Thomas said; “Where is all that attention coming from?” He asked Michiel during the next rehearsal.
“I really don’t have a clue, it amazes me too that there is so many people coming to our shows. Until shortly we only played at cruises.” Michiel replied.

The answer to that came the next day with the newspaper. When Michiel got the newspaper next morning, which he does everyday, he went through it on a fast pace. Suddenly he stopped. He had seen a head and his mouth fell open. He started walking faster, no he started running. He slowed down when he was getting closer to Thomas’s and Yana’s cabin and he knocked the door wildly.

After a couple seconds Yana opened the door and said with a yawn: “Michiel! You are up early.” “Sorry!” Michiel said. “I didn’t want to wake you guys up, but this I had to show you.” He added. Thomas came walking up to them and when he saw the head, which Michiel had hit hard earlier, his yaw also dropped. The head was called: The whole world is falling for Casa Musica! Thomas started reading loudly: “Casa, Musica, the band, founded by Michiel Van Heerden and Thomas De Mol, is on their way to become a world famous band. After they had finished one third of their world tour, a tour as promotion for their new album: Freedom of the seven seas, the same tour on which they easily had many people falling for, they are now enjoying a couple of days of well earned rest. But even in this peaceful moments they are not standing still. It became clear that in the hotel where they are staying they are playing a couple of acoustic songs every night. Therefor everyone who has seen the two guys playing are loudly enthusiast and it is spreading around the globe very fast. That is also why they are playing sold out concerts at the moment and to be honest: they deserve it to the fully. We at the redaction will wish the two boys a lot of success on their first world tour and we truly hope that after the tour they are heading back into the studio for the recordings of new materials.”

Thomas stared at Michiel with his mouth wide open.
“Waauw!” Yana jelled, who was the first one of them three who could find words again. “We have to celebrate this!” Thomas and Michiel said in choir.

That they did the same day in the evening at the show. After they had thanked the public very long and also mentioned the article from that morning, they went to the bar. There Michiel ordered a bottle of champagne for the whole gang. They celebrated their success that night fully and it was already late at night when they all went to bed.

The next morning they arrived in Barcelona. That night they had a show on the beach of Pacha. A scoop, Michiel and Thomas thought, because they had never performed on a beach before and it turned out to be a success. Especially when, during their set and during one of their slow songs, the sun was sinking into the sea. They both agreed that that was one of the best moments in their career so far.

After the show they decided to go for a nightly walk on the beach and when they arrived back at the ship, everyone headed straight to bed and fell asleep in an instant.

During their rehearsal the next morning, where they had stood up early, Michiel and Thomas switched a couple of songs in their playlist so they didn’t had to play the same songs every time. That had been a great decision. They realized it immediately during their set on deck that night while playing the new version of the playlist. The crowd was really enthusiast about it because the people who had seen them before now heard some new covers, together with their own songs and as preview a new song they had finished only two days ago. Due to the enthusiastic crowd Michiel and Thomas felt good too.

The new song they also played a day later at their show near the colosseum in Rome. They had visited the capital city of Italy during the day and went to the Spanish staircases, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and last but not least the Vatican City. Both Michiel and Thomas enjoyed it, even though they hadn’t seen the pope which they both hoped to do.

“What a fantastic city!” Michiel said.
“Indeed, especially the colosseum and the Vatican City were fantastic.” Thomas replied. “I totally agree with that.” Said Michiel while giving his friend a pad on his shoulder.

They had only been to the Vatican City amongst them two, the rest of the group didn’t wanted to go there and were headed back to the ship already.
“What would you say if we are going to drink a pint of beer on one of the many terraces here? I got thirsty of all the walking around.” Michiel said.

“Now I hear you talking again!” Thomas replied with a grin and he gave his best friend a pad on the shoulder.
“Come on buddy, lets pick out a terrace here, shall we?” He added.

When they headed back to the ship a couple of hours later, they felt the alcohol a little bit but they were not really drunk. They still had to perform in the evening. Again that performance was a great success and their new song had been greeted heartily here too. When the gig was over they didn’t had much time to stay. From Rome they headed to Paris on a tourbus, which was also settled by

Creative productions and both Michiel and Thomas had a great time on the bus. They had been dreaming both to have their own tourbus one day and this was the first time they were able to experience this feature.

Unfortunately it was only for one night, cause from Paris they took a plane to the other side of the world, to Bangkok in Thailand. There they had a couple of days free before their show and in those free days they took the liberty to rest a little bit.

On the day of their gig they stood up early and went to the Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani, where they would be performing for the last time because after that they were going to have two weeks free on the Atlantic Ocean. After the show, Michiel and Thomas arranged a small afterparty for everyone who would stay and that party went on until early in the morning. 

Chapter ten: Easy waters.

“Ah! Finally some rest…” Michiel said fulfilled, while he settled deeper into his chair. The past ten weeks they had been playing almost everyday and had traveled the world in full speed. Now they could enjoy two weeks sailing the Atlantic Ocean onboard of the biggest Cruise ship ever build: Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas.

Michiel had said to himself that in the upcoming two weeks he would take as much rest as possible and onboard of this ship, he was sure that there would be no problem to that.

Ever since they had started this band and were playing as cruise act, it was his dream to travel on this ship once and now that dream came true. In between of the resting, they also amused themselves with the large amount of activities on the ship and also Thomas’s dream came true when they went for a dive for the first time in their lives. But that didn’t went good for everyone. At first they had to get used to the ability to breath under water. For Samuel it didn’t went well at all. He immediately started panicking the moment he was under water and went back up. The same for Elise, She also started panicking under water and so they both decided to stay above the water.

And so only Michiel, Thomas and Yana went down. “What a beautiful picture!” Michiel thought by seeing the underwater fauna and flora. They saw many different fish species swimming by, some of them alone and some of them in schools. They also saw a couple of rare fishes swimming like a little shark, a dolphin and even a seahorse.

When they got back on the boat a half an hour later, the instructor told them they had been lucky. For him it was only the second time in his whole career as diver that he had seen a seahorse. Michiel, Thomas and Yana were very happy when they heard that and they couldn’t wait to tell Elise and Samuel about it. When they told them about it they both looked with big eyes.

“It was really amazing!” Michiel said. “Next time you really have to try again honey.” He said to Elise.
“You too, Samuel.” Thomas said at his turn. “You really had been missing something beautiful.” He added.

“Yes, only the shark got me a little bit scared though.” Yana said with a soft voice.
Elise and Samuel heard their whole story trough and promised that they would try again the next time. That night they sat with all of them in the bar and enjoyed a nice cocktail. It was late in the evening when they all went to bed.

The next day they arrived in Cape Town in South Africa, where they would be staying for two days. There they had arranged a couple of tours. They went to the city itself but also a day hiking on the Table Mountain, a big mountain range that had a Plateau as top and was 1.086 meters high. On top of this mountain they had an amazing view over the whole city and they saw the stadium that was build for the world championship football back in 2010. That stadium, the Green-point stadium or also called the Cape Town stadium, they went to visit later in the afternoon. However it was only the boys who found it interesting. After the visit to the stadium they decided to have dinner there and because they never had been in South Africa, they decided to try a typical African dish.

After diner, which everyone found delicious, they headed back to the boat and that night they enjoyed attending a gig from a band who, just as Michiel and Thomas, played covers.

“Well, that’s nice for the change, right?” Michiel asked with a wink to Thomas.
“Absolutely, it feels good to be on the other side of the stage for once.” He answered.
They enjoyed the fact of hearing music without playing it by themselves, which they both found exciting.

The next day they headed out of the bay and off to an island not so far away. They would be at open sea for a whole day and the boys decided to try the flowrider, at the back of the ship. They had never been on a surfboard before and you could notice that immediately. When Thomas took his board with a lot of confidence he pushed himself off the side with a big grin on his face. That grin however disappeared very quickly. Within five seconds he was back at the frontside of the flowrider with his head faced down and the girls and Samuel and Michiel were laughing very hard. Thomas came back to them with a slightly red face.

“Well, if you think this was funny, your turn.” He said and gave Michiel and Samuel a little push. Michiel was going first and he laid down on his belly on the board. That went well, he taught and tried to get up. That was not going so well, because within two seconds he also fell over. Again everyone started laughing, but Michiel was laughing with them. He was fully aware that this was not going to go very good from the beginning and he had said to himself that he would have made the best of it.

Then it was Samuel’s turn. He also laid down and headed for the wave. When he was almost there he stood up and that went so well that everyone was looking at him with their mouths wide open. He even added a couple of tricks and after almost ten minutes he landed and when he joined the rest of the group again, everyone celebrated.

“Waauw,” Elise and Yana said in unison. “You’ve done that before! Right?” Yana added.
“That’s right, I confess, I have been in Hawaii once with my parents when I was little and there I have learned surfing.” Samuel answered.
“But that has been a long time ago?” Thomas asked in unbelief.
“Yes indeed, but its like riding a bike or walking. You don’t lose your skills in it very quickly.” Samuel said. “Plus, I have been doing it afterwards too, every time I went on vacation with my parents I went surfing.” He added.

Everyone was so impressed by Samuels surfing skills that that was the only subject they talked about that night. Samuel didn’t bother, he was happy to bring back the beautiful memories again.

The next morning they arrived before the coast of Madagascar, a beautiful island that was laying before the coast of Mozambique. There they admired the wonderful nature and the local fauna and flora of the fourth largest island in the world. They were staying there for a whole day which gave them the time to visit the island and so they had asked a guide from the ship to escort them to the most beautiful places, including one of the many waterfalls in the middle of the nature. Here, they all went in for a little swim. After that they headed further into the forest on a lane where they walked between baobab trees, these were unique trees with a large trunk and where only on the top of it grows a crest.

The guide told them the legend of the bushmen which says that the trees are thrown on earth by the gods as a punishment and landed on their heads. That is why it looks as if the roots are heading in the air and the crests are underground.

After their two hour walk they arrived back at the ship and they all were exhausted. After diner they went off the ship again for a while to make an evening dive. Michiel and Thomas brought their snorkels and they saw beautiful scenes underwater. Elise and Yana were laying in the beach chairs and Samuel was sitting at the beach bar.

The next morning they woke up early, because the guide had told them that the sunrise on this island was very beautiful and he didn’t lie. When they were outside they saw the sun coming up above the trees which woke up the whole jungle. They saw parrots flying out of the trees, together with a lot of other animals. Also in the water underneath them which was probably the most beautiful sight. Right before their eyes there were whales who came up and both Elise and Yana found that so beautiful that it brought tears to their eyes.

That night they went to bed late again and when they woke up the next morning the ship was porting in Port Louis in Mauritius. That was the last stop of the cruise and there they had a hotel at the beach for another couple days. There they had the chance to go for another dive and this time Elise and Samuel decided to try again.

“That went much better!” Samuel said excited when they were heading back to the hotel an hour later.
“Yeah, a lot better!” Elise said with an enthusiastic voice. “ And so beautiful, I am glad that I tried it again, but that’s all because of you honey.” She added while taking Michiel’s arm and she gave him a kiss on his cheek.

Michiel laid his arm around her neck and gave her a kiss on her fore head.
“You did it all by yourself!” He said.
“Yes, but I couldn’t have done it without your support.” She said and started blushing.

That night they sat at the bar of the hotel with a nice cocktail and enjoyed the lovely pool party. Thomas, Yana and Samuel were in the water for the whole evening and also Michiel and Elise joined in every once in a while. The next day however they stood up early and were taken to the airport, ready for the third and last part of their world tour. 

Chapter eleven: The new world

Early in the morning they arrived in Santiago, Chili. At the airport they were awaited by the people from Creative Productions to escort them to the ship, for their last part of the world tour. When they arrived at the ship and unpacked their stuff, Michiel and Thomas had a small rehearsal.

That night they played a gig in Chili. They hadn’t rehearsed in the last two weeks, but that was not noticeable. They still were able to play together and also the new song was still fresh in their memories. That is why the gig itself went very good that night. Although there wasn’t as many people at the show, but they didn’t bother. They didn’t even found it abnormal because they only had played in South America once, at the cruise on the Amazon River in Brazil.

Michiel was also a little bit relieved that they didn’t had to play in front of a big audience either. That way they had a little time to play in, relaxed. The next day they played a gig at the ship again with not too much people. It was only two days later, in Buenos Aires, Argentina that they had to play in front of a big audience again. Both Michiel and Thomas were nervous for this one. After a couple of weeks of rest they now had to perform for a big audience again. These nerves however disappeared immediately when they entered the stage under loud applause. When they started their set, the crowd became noiseless. Again they ended their set with their newest song and everyone was loudly enthusiast.

The next two days they had again some rest and that was welcome, found both Michiel and Thomas. Michiel’s voice was a little bit affected by the heat of the past weeks, and also Thomas didn’t feel very well. To make matters worse, the music installation was overheated which costs that a couple of fuses were broken. Fortunately Samuel knew what to do but on board there was no stock so they had to wait until they arrived in Rio. Samuel had been browsing over the internet and luckily there was an electronics shop not far away from the harbor. There he would be going immediately when they arrived.

In the two days at sea Michiel and Thomas had been resting a lot and that they noticed when they arrived in Rio. The small issues in their bodies were gone.
“Right in time!” Michiel said. “Otherwise this could have been a disaster for the show tonight.” He added

“Indeed,” Thomas replied.
They had done once again a general rehearsal for the gig. Samuel and the girls had gone to the electronics shop and there they bought a small stock.
“You’ll never know!” Samuel said while they left the shop with a bag filled with electrical gears. When they arrived back at the ship, Samuel immediately started working and within an hour of hard labour the installation was like new again.
“You did a very good job there buddy!” Michiel and Thomas said in unison.
“Well, if you work with deejay gear, you also have to be kind of a nerd and be able to know what you’re doing.” Samuel replied with a wink of an eye.

Now the trio of boys were on their way to the venue were they should play in the evening. There they did the complete setup and had a general rehearsal. When that was finished they went to go for a quick diner and afterwards they headed back to the venue for their gig. That gig however was not the brightest. Both Michiel and Thomas agreed to that.

“Well, this one did not go so well.” Michiel said when they came off the stage.
“Not every game will be a great game, sweetie.” Elise said when she joined them and gave Michiel a kiss on his cheek.
“That’s true!” Samuel said. “But it wasn’t that bad. I mean, I haven’t heard a bad rumor coming out of the audience. Haven’t you noticed? They were singing along with your last song.” He added. Michiel and Thomas appreciated the kind words to support them. It gave them a great feeling again.

From Rio they flew to the United States where they had to play their last two shows. The first one was in Miami and upon their arrival there a cab was waiting for them to bring them to the hotel they would be staying. Their gig was still two days away which gave them the time to explore the bruising city in the state of Florida again. After they had been strolling along the beautiful beaches for a whole day, in the evening they went to an NFL game between the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills. For this game they each bought a huge fake hand at the entrance of the stadium. In this stadium the ambiance was great too. They had never seen a real game before, so they were happy they had taken this opportunity.

When the game was finished, almost an hour and three quarters later, Michiel, Thomas and Samuel were happy. The Miami Dolphins had won the game with twenty-seven to ten from the Buffalo Bills. After the game they went back to the hotel and enjoyed a last cocktail before heading to bed.

At noon the next day everyone was already very busy with the stage set up for the next day. They were going to play in an amphitheater in the middle of the city and after a whole day of testing the set up and the general rehearsal they went back to the hotel feeling exhausted which made them fall directly to sleep.

Finally the time was there. Tonight they were playing a show in front of a big audience in Miami and both Michiel and Thomas, but also Samuel, Elise and Yana were pretty nervous.

“Waauw, what a huge sea of people!” Michiel said while looking from out of the backstage to the people. Thomas also came to take a look and with seeing all these people standing he said: “Right, now I’m really getting nervous!”

That you could also notice in their preparations right before entering the stage. Michiel had taken place on the left side and was rattling his lyrics softly. Thomas stood in the middle and he stretched his fingers one last time, took his guitar and played softly a couple riffs on it.

Then it became silent, while their intro started playing. At the end of it, the curtain fell down and Michiel and Thomas entered the stage. With seeing the huge amount of people they both started feeling a little bit nervous, but Michiel took place immediately behind his piano and Thomas picked in smoothly. They picked in to each other and their nerves eased down. After a couple of slow songs, Michiel took his guitar and Thomas settled behind his drums. When the song started, Yana entered the stage and sang a song together with Michiel. Elise didn’t know that this was going to happen so she was very surprised. “If they wanted to surprise me, they surely did.” She taught. Tears were filling her eyes when she heard the song, it was so wonderful that it seemed as if she was living a dream.

When the song was over she was applauding the loudest and when Jana re-entered the backstage, Elise jumped up and flew around her neck. “That was beautiful.” She whispered, but that was all she could say. It had caused her having her breath stuck.
“Thank you,” Yana answered, while giving her best friend a big hug.

“We didn’t tell you this because we wanted to surprise you.” She added. “Well, that you did. Quiet successfully too.” Elise replied.

When the gig finished and Thomas and Michiel joined them backstage, Elise also flew around Michiel’s neck.
“What did you think of our surprise?” He asked with a big grin.
“Awesome!” Elise said. She looked him straight in the eyes and then she said: “I love you, Michiel Van Heerden and I never wanna lose you.” She added.

“That will never happen! I promise you that.” Michiel replied and kissed her intensely.

When they were done packing their gear, they went back to the hotel and the next morning they took a domestic flight to New York for their last gig. Upon their arrival at Times Square, where they were supposed to give their last show of the world tour, they walked into a happy surprise. Their parents were waiting for them at the entrance and when they saw each other, everyone was very excited.

“Surprise!” Herbert, Marc, Frans, Maria, Linda and Nicole yelled in unison.
“The people from creative productions, they wanted to surprise you because of your successful first world tour, so they arranged it for us to be with you during your last concert.” Herbert explained. “That’s true,” Said their manager Charlene who joined them. “Your tour was such a big success that we decided to give you a small present.” She added.
“Thank you so very much!” Michiel and Thomas said in choir. “This means a lot to us.” Michiel added.
“We had to miss you a lot the past six months, so we are glad that we are here today to join you guys during the last show of the tour.” Maria said. “So for tonight, play the roof off!” The fathers added.
“That, we will do!” Michiel and Thomas said in unison.
The afternoon passed quickly. They had enjoyed being reunited with their parents again and had a great time. The evening arrived also quickly and the time was there for them to give it all one last time.

“Ready bro?” Michiel asked Thomas.
“The time is right!” Thomas replied. “Like our parents said earlier, we are going to play the roof off, right?” He added.
“Absolutely!” Michiel said with a wink.
Then, for the last time, there was a short silence right before they entered the stage. “The silence before the storm.” As Michiel used to call it.

Chapter twelve: A dream come true

The curtain fell down at the exact same moment as Michiel took the first note at the piano. Thomas immediately joined in on the guitar and their tribute to Gus was a fact. During the rougher songs, the whole crowd was swinging and dancing, including their parents and Yana and Elise in the backstage. But the crowd only became totally wild when Yana entered the stage and played a very intense, soft song for her father together with Michiel. Again Elise was moved due to the hearing of these two beautiful voices together and a tear rolled down her cheek.

When they played their new song for the last time and intended to end the show, the crowd was begging for more so intense, they could not let it pass by.

After a couple minutes they re-entered the stage with Both the guys from Soul Generation and Yana. All of them together played a couple of huge covers and after a couple minutes more then normally was calculated, the show ended with a loud applause and so their first world tour became a fact.

“Well, one thing is certain,” Thomas said. “We are going to talk about this long after today.” He added.
“Indeed! Well done buddy.” Michiel replied and gave his best friend a hug.
“That was fabulous!” Their parents yelled when they entered the back stage.

That night there was a huge party. During this party Thomas and Michiel had an new announcement, namely that during the tour they had finished not one, but fifteen new songs and so they were heading back to the studio soon for the recordings of their second full album.

Both the parents as also Yana and Elise didn’t knew this yet and were excited with the hearing of this news and celebrated until early in the morning.

A couple days later they arrived back in Etely Mountain and also there everyone was wildly enthusiastic about the news of the upcoming second album. In the youth center they had been welcomed back as hero’s and one morning they gained a letter from the Mayor of the town with an invitation for an awarding.

After this ceremony they had decided to head to Majorca for a couple weeks of well earned rest in their house back there and so it was that one week later they were laying at the beach near the villa. Michiel had just been finished rubbing in Elise’s back when all of the sudden he felt four hands grabbing him. Thomas and Samuel had grabbed Michiel and were dragging him to the water. There they threw him into the sea as if he was a bottle with a message inside. Elise was laughing so hard with seeing this, but Michiel took his revenge while the other were looking away. He ran into them and pushed them over one by one.

“There! Now we all are wet!” He said with laughter.
Elise laid down and thought by herself: Men! She shook her head and closed her eyes.

That night they were all sitting together at the terrace. The fathers were baking meat on the barbecue and the mothers had been busy with the vegetables in the kitchen. During diner Elise reported about their day at the beach and when she came at the point of Michiel’s revenge, the parents laughed very hard.

“ Suits them well!” Herbert said and winked at his son.

“Absolutely,” said Marc, “no mercy, as the saying is going: whoever dugs a pit for another usually falls into it! Well done, Michiel.”he added.
Thomas, who sat next to Michiel, gave him a pad on his shoulder.
“Luckily it was al just for fun!” They said in unison and they both laughed very hard.

“Hey, what do you say if we were going for another try dive?” Michiel asked Thomas.
“I’d like to give it another try.” Thomas replied.
“Who wants to join us?” Michiel asked and Marc, Herbert and Frans said in unison that they would like to give it try too.

And so it was that in the afternoon they were in the water together with three experienced divers. This time everyone was going for a try. The underwater fauna and flora that was laying before the coast of Majorca was a little bit different then it was at the Atlantic ocean, but it surely wasn’t less pretty and perhaps even prettier. Certainly when they were swimming on a reef after half an hour they encountered a school of fish with so many different colors that it seemed as if a large flag was passing by. They also saw dolphins swimming which gave everyone a great feeling.

When they arrived back at the villa in the evening, their moms had prepared a paella which tasted wonderful and everyone hat eaten so much they all became instantly sleepy. They sat together in the lounge with a drink and talked that night about their adventures of the last two years. From the very beginning with the rehearsals back in their basement with Herbert and Maria. Maria couldn’t hide a tear while she thought back to that time. Herbert had seen it too and he pulled his wife close to him. In the corner of his eye he saw Michiel and Thomas sitting at the fire pit with their guitars, entertaining Samuel, Elise and Yana. A smile spontaneously appeared at his face with seeing this. He was so proud of his son and at what he had performed the last couple years.

That two friends, who knew each other since kindergarten, had been going along for such an amount of time and still were able to be best friends. That beautiful picture made it happen that Herbert, Maria, Marc, Linda, Frans and Nicole felt as if they were the happiest people on earth, for the rest of their lives.

End Of Part One…

Fate Collides: Part Two: Shivers.

Shivers tells the story of a writer named Giel who meets Emma during his vacation in Mallorca where a spark grows between them. In the year that follows Giel undergoes a heavy process and he decides to go searching for his luck elsewhere. Thinking back about Emma and their vacation together last summer, Giel decides to not struggle and to go for what he most desires. They meet up in Mallorca again and the spark between them is back and is staying for good. Giel and Emma are going to have a beautiful live together, although they do undergo certain struggles, but in the end their love for each other is more powerful than love ever had been.

Chapter list


  1. Chapter one: Holiday love.
  2. Chapter two: Missing
  3. Chapter three: See You Again
  4. Chapter Four: A New Beginning
  5. Chapter Five: Soleil
  6. Chapter Six: Best Friends Forever
  7. Chapter Seven: A Lovely Feeling
  8. Chapter Eight: Star Animated Studios
  9. Chapter Nine: Land Of The Opportunity
  10. Chapter Ten: Re-united
  11. Chapter Eleven: The Perfect Dream
  12. Chapter Twelve: Broken
  13. Chapter Thirteen: Recovery
  14. Chapter Fourteen: Casa De Los Ninos
  15. Chapter Fifteen: Studio Star Hermano
  16. Chapter Sixteen: Family Reunion
  17. Chapter Seventeen: A beautiful Day
  18. Chapter Eighteen: Coming Home
  19. Chapter Nineteen: The Trip
  20. Chapter Twenty: A Special Night
  21. Chapter Twenty-one: Shivers
  22. Chapter Twenty-two: Diary

Chapter one: Holiday love.

“Welcome to Palma de Mallorca, right now it is thirty-five degrees out here and the temperatures will stay at that amount for the rest of the week. Thank you for flying with Tristan airlines and I wish you on behalf of the crew a nice stay here.” Giel opened his eyes. He had been sleeping through the whole flight up there in the clouds and that had given him a large amount of ideas for new stories.

When the plane landed he took his hand luggage out of the cabins above the seats and headed to the exit of the plane. A half an hour later he was sitting in the taxi that drove him to camping Morado and on his way there he saw the beautiful landscapes of this small island. Due to both, the sights of this beautiful environment and the nice holiday atmosphere, He immediately gained lots of inspira- tion and couldn’t wait to work with it.

“Here we are, Camping Morado.” The driver said. “That will be thirty-six euros and ninety-five cents.” He added. Giel took his wallet out his pocket and pulled out two twenty euro notes.
“That is okay!” He said to the driver when he gave him the money. The driver thanked Giel for his tip and then drove away while Giel went to the counter of the camping where he checked in. There he immediately got the key for his caravan and got escorted by a co-worker of the camping. When he arrived at his caravan he placed his luggage away and fell onto the bed.

“Finally vacation.” Giel sighed. “I’m quickly gonna unload my luggage and then I am going to re- lax at the bar with a lovely cocktail.” He Thought.

An hour later, Giel was sitting on the terrace of the the bar, he had taken a pen and paper with him and had started with the ideas, he had gained earlier on the flight, to filter them into head lines for the story. Every once in a while he stopped, took a sip of his cocktail and then went on with the sto- ryline. This way, the first couple of hours went on smooth and thanks to the big amount of inspirati- on, Giel had gained almost enough ideas for a new story. Now he was already filling up in between and that caused that he had almost finished up three chapters.

“That’s going to be enough for now.” Giel mumbled quietly. He quickly looked through the writings he already had, then putted away his papers and looked at his watch: “One o’clock” he thought. “Time for a refreshing dive.” He went back to his caravan and pulled on his swim shorts. On his way back to the swimming pool he passed the info stand where he took a couple of brochures with him that he found interesting.

When he arrived at the pool he saw a small crowd and he thought: “Hmm, not too much people yet.” He searched for a chair and when he found one he placed his towel on it, pulled out his thongs and then dived into the water. That gave him such a great feeling that he immediately started to swim a couple laps. After a while he came out of the water, wiped himself dry and took place in his chair. At the same moment he saw a heavenly picture. A group of five people from which Giel was sure they were animators of the camping, but his eye fell on one person in particular. A beautiful girl, he guessed that she had the same age as he himself. He couldn’t keep his gaze away from her and when she passed him she looked back and gave him a shy smile. Giel immediately got a bubbly feeling inside and a smile appeared on his face. “What a nice girl.” Giel thought and laid down, closed his eyes and eventually fell asleep. When he woke back up he felt his stomach creaking and

when he looked at the clock he saw that it was almost five o’clock. He decided to have diner at the pool and ordered a spaghetti. After diner he headed back to his caravan and got dressed. A while later he was sitting at his terrace again and tried to focus on his writing. But his thoughts wondered off to the girl he had seen earlier that day at the pool and he started daydreaming. He shook himself awake eventually and decided to go for a walk.

At the counter, Giel had found some brochures about the island and the region where he was staying and had seen something about diving and snorkeling. That was something Giel had always wanted to do and he took a flyer with him on his walk. That one went to the beach and on his way he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. “This island is so beautiful.” He thought. At a waterfall in the middle of the woods he stopped for a moment and enjoyed the beautiful sights. After a while he went on and eventually he arrived at the office from the diving center. There he signed up for a try dive, which was a couple days later and he had to be at the office at eleven o’clock.

That night he sat at the bar writing with his favorite cocktail. There he saw again the girl he’d seen earlier that day at the pool. She looked up to him and he quickly turned his gaze down. He had seen that he had conquered a shy smile on her face and dived away behind his papers in an attempt to go further with the story. He was already sunk deep into his mind that he didn’t had noticed that the girl; Emma, had been coming up to his table and was now standing next to him and he shook up when he heard her voice saying: “Waauw, are You a writer?” Giel looked up and for a moment, he was speechless, but then he said on a ridiculous tone: “Yes, at least, I’ll intend to be.” He smiled and she smiled back while taking the seat in opposite of him. “I didn’t know that there were such beautiful, young writers in existence.” She said in return. “ My name is Emma by the way.” She ad- ded. “That’s a beautiful name, I am Giel.” He answered. “Nice to meet you, what are you writing?” Emma asked.

Giel showed her the writings he had been working on the last couple days and started to feel more comfortable now that the ice was broken. After a while he asked: “Do you want something to drink?” “Well, I do fancy a lovely glass of wine.” Emma answered and Giel stood up and went to the bar. A while later he came back with a bottle of wine and two glasses. “Cheers.” He said when he had filled both glasses and they had clinked them, then he told Emma that he was going for a try dive in a couple of days. “That sounds lovely,” Emma said, “that is definitely something I want to try too one day.” She added. “If you want, you can join me.” Giel replied. “I’d love too.” Emma said while her cheeks turned slightly red. “The first couple days I have a lot of free time, only to- morrow I have to be at the poolside for a whole day for instructions.” She added.

The rest of the evening they talked about their interests and enjoyed each others company. Around midnight Emma decided to go to her caravan and she thanked Giel for his kindness. “Thanks for this beautiful evening, I really found it pleasant.” Emma said while she smiled shyly. “You’re welcome. Thank you for your positive reactions on my writings. That really warmed my heart.” Giel answered with an exited voice. He saw a sparkle in her eyes and at the same time he felt a warm feeling in his chest. Emma came closer to him and gave him a heart warming hug. “See you tomorrow?” She asked. “Absolutely.” Giel answered. He took his writing materials and headed back to his caravan. Emma looked at him until he was out of sight, she sighed deeply and a smile appeared on her face.

When Giel arrived back at his caravan, he quickly wrote down a couple of ideas, took a shower and then went to bed. He was happy that he had met Emma, a fantastic girl and with her in mind he fell asleep with a smile on his face.

In the following days Giel was spending a lot of time at the bar while he was writing. Every now and then he went for a swim too. He also saw Emma a lot and they were spending most of the eve- nings together at a table at the bar.

Giel also made a daily morning walk to the beach and then went to the bakery and the butchery near the camping. In the evening before the day he was going to do the try dive with Emma, He sat at bar and enjoyed a nice cocktail. Emma was working on an evening activity with her colleagues. Giel was working on his writings and every now and then he took a sip of his cocktail and then he also looked up to see what Emma and her colleagues were doing and every time their gazes crossed each other they both smiled with a crushing look. In the couple of days that they had known each other they had been together every evening and both Giel and Emma enjoyed each others company. Giel felt that there was a click between them, he felt good every time when he was with Emma and that feeling was mutual.

When Emma and her colleagues were ready with the activity she went to Giel’s table and laid her hand on his shoulder. Giel looked up quickly when he felt her hand and she said: “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t wanted to scare you.” “It’s okay.” Giel replied. “I was just so very deep in my imagination that I hadn’t heard you coming up to me.” He added. Emma laughed softly and went gently with her hands through his hair. She took place across him and also ordered a cocktail. Giel putted away his writing gear and took her hand, which she had placed on the table. When she felt his soft touch she looked straight into his eyes and saw a sparkle of happiness. Together they enjoyed their cocktail and each others company and when it was almost eleven o’clock they decided to go to sleep.

The next day they had planned their try dive and they both wanted to be rested well for this. Giel joined Emma on the way to her caravan and upon their arrival there, Emma gave him a kiss on his cheek and said: “I really enjoyed this evening, Thank you.” Giel felt flattered and gave Emma a hug. “I have enjoyed tonight too, I really like you, you are an amazing girl.” He said and gave her a hand kiss. Then they said goodbye and when Giel arrived at his caravan he took a quick shower and then went to bed. He thought back for a moment at the beautiful evening with Emma. Giel was happy that he met her and was very excited to spend a full day with her tomorrow. he went to bed and with Emma in mind he fell asleep peacefully.

The next morning Giel stood up at nine o’clock and after a quick breakfast he went to the info coun- ter where he met up with Emma. “Good morning.” Emma said when he arrived and gave him a kiss on hiss cheek. “Good morning sweetie, slept well?” Giel asked. “I slept like a rose.” Emma said. “And that’s all because of you honey!” She whispered in his ear. He placed his hand around her shoulder and she placed her arm around his waist, then they went to the harbor.

On their way to the harbor they talked about last night and so they were quickly at the boat. While sailing, they caught up in a diving suit and the instructor told them the most important guidelines for diving. Emma saw that Giel had a hard time getting into the suit and helped him closing his zip- per. “You look very sexy.” She said teasingly and Giel turned to her. He felt that he was turning red and said softly: “Thank you girlie, you also look incredibly awesome.” A blush appeared at Emma’s cheeks when Giel said that and she gave him a hug and kiss on his cheek.

When they arrived at the diving spot they first got instructions on the signals used under water like, the thumb up which meant you needed to go back up, thumbs down meant you were okay to dive deeper and the thumb against the index finger, making an O meaning you were okay. Then they went into the water where they had a moment to get used on breathing while being under water.

Then they dived deeper and saw breathtaking scenery’s. Among them were beautiful coral reefs while they were swimming with big schools of fish and some dolphins. The under water world was more beautiful than Giel had imagined and he was deeply impressed of what he saw together with Emma. Suddenly Emma saw a giant turtle swimming by and she gave Giel a pad on his arm while pointing to what she had seen. Giel turned around. Luckily he stayed on the spot for a second be- cause the turtle passed him at only a couple of inches before his eyes. “Waauw.” Giel said when they came back above the water. “That was really breathtaking.” Emma said and Giel nodded.

On their way back to shore they sat on deck holding hands. Giel was still enormously impressed about what they had seen and in his mind he was still underwater. Due to the absent minded strokes on her hand, Emma realized that Giel was not in reality with his thoughts and she gave him a kiss on his cheeks which caused that Giel came back to earth. “Where were you with your thoughts? A new story?” Emma asked smiling. “No story,” Giel answered, “Some things are too beautiful to be locked up in a storybook, they’re supposed to be free.” He added and looked up to Emma, gave her a kiss on her forehead and closed his eyes for a second. Emma placed her head on his shoulder and they enjoyed each others company and the sound of the water bulging against the boat.

That evening Giel sat at the bar of the camping, today there was a small pool party with a DJ and Emma and her colleagues were busy amusing the kids. He looked at her with a lovely smile and when their gazes crossed each other she smiled back to him. But her gaze was ended abruptly when she got taken by three kids who pulled her into the water. Giel laughed very hard with seeing this and Emma had seen him laughing too. That’s why she had fired some kids up to get him out of the audience and push him into the water too. When that happened it was Emma’s turn to laugh and when they met up in the water they gave each other a kiss after which Giel pulled her with him under water and the kiddos gladly joined in to pull jokes at both Giel and Emma. At the end of the evening, when most of the parents with kids had gone back to their caravans, Giel sat on the side of the pool with Michiel. He was the campings lifeguard and same as Giel, coming form Belgium. Together they were talking about the vacation so far and Giel’s writings. Emma had seen it too and she was happy that Giel and Michiel were getting along very well. That made her feel good.

In the following days Giel focused on his writings again and that he did at the pool-site and more specific at the bar of the pool. But with Emma he hadn’t had the chance to spend much time during the day due to her work as animator. The less free time she had they did were together and on the last evening there was a karaoke at the pool. Giel had registered himself for this because he also liked to sing and he had chosen a rock song. He was doing this together with Michael and they brought a nice duet which caused Emma’s eyes filling up with tears. They gained a lot of congratulations for their song.

At the end of the evening Giel and Emma enjoyed a last drink together before they went to sleep. The last morning came the moment they had to say goodbye and that was very hard for both Emma and Giel. She had become accustomed to Giel’s presence in the past two weeks that it was almost considered to be quite normal.

“I’m going to miss you very hard.” Emma said with an emotional voice and wiped away a tear. “I’m going to miss you too sweetie.” Giel said and he pulled Emma closer to him and whispered softly in her ear: “I have enjoyed this beautiful vacation, but unfortunately it’s over.”

“Good luck with your writings.” Emma said softly. “Thank you honey, And good luck to you too with your job here.” Giel replied. They looked up and when their gazes crossed, they got closer to each other, scared up for a second when their lips touched and then kissed intensely.

The taxi to the airport, which Giel had arranged, horned. “I have to go, The taxi is not going to wait forever.” Giel said and gave Emma a hand kiss while heading towards the taxi. The driver helped him out with his luggage and when the taxi left, Giel looked at Emma until she was out of sight. He already missed her and hoped that they would see each other again one day. “The end of the vacati- on.” Giel thought dreary and he closed his eyes. 

Chapter two: Missing.

The heavy rain was pounding onto the window, together with thunder and lightning. Giel looked outside. The gloomy Belgian weather made him feel depressed and he decided to stay behind his desk and tried to focus on his writings. But his thoughts wandered off to his best friend who had left them a few months ago. He involuntarily got a shiver over his whole body by thinking of Jessie’s image, whose lifeless body he had found and he felt a tear roll down his cheek.

He sunk away in his thoughts and saw himself back in Mallorca during his last vacation with Emma, the girl he had met there. Giel wondered how things were going with her and he searched for her profile at the social network: leader. When he found her profile he saw that she was going back to Mallorca during the upcoming summer but on another camping and he started thinking. He looked up the prizes for that camping and was delighted by seeing that they were not expensive so he immediately booked a bungalow. “You’ll never know”, he thought while he saw flashbacks to last summer.

After he had booked he went to his mail account where he saw that he had achieved a mail from Studio Hermano and opened it with tension. In this mail was written that he was selected out of the candidates to join them as a writer and Giel jumped up out of excitement. That studio was not acci- dentally located in Palma de Mallorca, Giel had sent his application to them because he had often thought back on his holiday there during the cold winter evenings. Now he had the chance to make a living out of his hobby. Therefor he had to move to Mallorca but that didn’t bother him at all. Af- ter the dead of his best friend he didn’t wanted to stay here anymore and wanted to go searching for his luck elsewhere. Also the fact that he maybe could see Emma again soothed him well, even tho there had been a lot of changes, so he hearty hoped that the feeling between them would still be the same.

During the following period Giel however had a lot of work to do. The studio had given him a cou- ple of assignments on which he could work on calmly and those took up all of his free time. He had quitted his job at the factory where he had been working and had told his boss why. His boss had given him a handshake for the six years of duty and wished him a lot of success in his job as a wri- ter. At first Giel had a little bit of mixed feelings with this, but after his boss told him that he had full confidence in Giel’s work as a writer, Giel found himself more comfortable.

His parents also had given him their blessing for his job as a writer. They would of course miss their son in his absence but they knew that he would be doing a great job and that he absolutely would find his happiness in Mallorca. The three of them had agreed that they would often come over to Mallorca so they would not be separated for their whole lives.

Now it was almost the end of April and Giel was already one month into his notice period. Also the weather had countered and it had become slightly warmer. That made that Giel was looking more forward to the summer and to the new chapter in his life. He had agreed with the studio that he would start half of July so that he had a little time to move and to also have a little rest during a small vacation. By thinking on this vacation he also thought about Emma. After the dead of his best friend he had said to himself to not stay turning on his spot but to go for what he loved most and he truly hoped that it all would turn out well and surprisingly, he was very confident in that.

One day earlier;

The alarm clock yelled loudly and brought Emma back from her dream, in which she had been sit- ting on the grass with Giel enjoying a nice picnic. She stood up and silenced her alarm, then went downstairs and took a toast of the pile that her mother had made. During breakfast she took her lap- top with her and went directly to Giel’s blog where she had found some of his stories last night. She went on with the story about the Greek mythology and the war between the titans and the gods. Emma was so concentrated into the story that she had forgotten the time and when she looked at the clock she jumped up so quickly that she spilled her coffee. She cursed softly and took a dishcloth to clean her mess up.

A while later she was on her way to the daycare in Amsterdam where she was doing an internship. “Just a couple months and then I’m graduated.” Emma mumbled into herself. On her way to the daycare she was thinking about the story she read and so she also thought about Giel. “How would things be going on with him?” She thought.

When she came back home in the evening she immediately went on with Giel’s story and her thoughts wandered off. She longed back to the summer. Spending the whole summer vacation with him. That was her biggest dream for the last couple months. “Emma?” Her mother asked when she entered her room. “You achieved a letter from the camping today, for your summer intern.” Emma took the letter and opened it with restrained breath. She was very relieved when she read that she was selected. “YES!” She yelled in excitement. “I’m guessing you’re in?” Leontien asked. Emma nodded and gave her mom a hug. Her last summer vacation was filled in and she was looking for- ward to it. “Three months to go.” She thought while seeing the face of Giel in front of her, which made a smile appear on her face. “What would Giel be doing?” She wondered and opened her lea- der profile to search for him. To her relieve she saw that he was online and she sent him a message saying that she missed him and asked him what his plans were for the upcoming vacation. Giel didn’t answer. “He’s probably asleep and forgot that he was still logged in.” She thought and closed her laptop, then went to bed.

The next morning she immediately opened her leader profile again and saw that Giel had not res- ponded yet. That made her feeling a bit down. “Would he have met someone else?” She wondered.

On her way to school she was still thinking about him and she kept her eyes on leader very close, waiting for his answer. It was already late in the evening when she was almost falling asleep that she gained a message and her heart bounced when she saw it was Giel. He had answered that they would see each other again within a short time but he didn’t wanted to say where or when to keep her surprised. That caused Emma to be very happy and when she fell asleep it was with a great fee- ling. Also in the next days she couldn’t hide her happiness. But as time progressed she still hadn’t heard back from him and she started wondering what he had meant.

Even when the school year finished and she was graduated, she still hadn’t heard from him which caused her to be worried. Tho she didn’t had much time to worry because in the second week of July already she went off to Mallorca for her last Vacation job as animator.

On the last day before her departure she got a message from him that said that the wait will be re- warded and with that she started to get an idea with what he had meant a couple months ago. As a result, she could not wait for the next day and when she was sitting on the plane, her heart bounced so fast that she thought it could jump out of her chest every moment. At last the time was there, after a long year she could finally relax again, she had been looking forward to it for a long time.

Chapter three: See you again.

Emma was staring out of the window of the plane. Underneath them, she saw a landscape approa- ching which told her that they were almost there. The plane had started to land and half an hour la- ter she stood in the lobby with her colleagues waiting for the bus to bring them to their camping.

When they arrived there they had been escorted to their bungalows and got instructions for the up- coming summer break. That day they were still free and when Emma was done unpacking her stuff she decided to explore the camping.

At the bar she saw a few people who had decided to go on vacation early. Their kids were already exploring the playground and she went up to them. “Hi, I’m Emma, who are you?” Emma asked with an excited voice. “Zayn!” Cheered out the youngest of the two. “And I am Lisa.” Said the other one shyly. “Well, if you like then you are always welcome to join the activities that we have planned this summer.” Emma said. “We have arranged a lot of things for you. I’ll hope to see you tomorrow little sunshines.” She added while continuing her way to her Bungalow.

The next morning their work began. Emma had just finished breakfast and she went to the swim- ming pool for the morning gymnastics. When she got there she saw Michiel at the swimming pool, who at this campsite also took care of the job of lifeguard again, just like last year. “Hi Michael, you’re here too? What a coincidence.” Emma said while they greeted each other. “Hey Emma! Nice to see you here also.” He said. “Yes I work here this year as well, as lifeguard.” he continued. Emma wished him success and then started the water Zumba

They were already halfway through the morning and were now waiting at the desk for the next group. Suddenly she heard someone saying her name behind her and she stiffened, turned around slowly, then her heart jumped over when she saw who it was.

There he stood, her suspicion was confirmed. Giel had his guitar on his back and his case in his hand. It took a couple of seconds before Emma could move again but then she ran up to him and flew around his neck. She was so happy to see him again that she had gained tears of happiness. The same pertained for Giel, even though he had a very rough year behind him.

That night, when Emma’s shift was over, they sat at the bar and talked about last year. Giel also told her the real reason why he was here and that he would be staying here permanently because he had gained a job as scenario writer. Emma was very impressed and also very proud at him and she felt her love for him growing bigger. She never had that feeling so strong before and she thought: “Could this be the feeling of true love?” She gained a warm feeling with that thought and looked him straight in the eyes. She loved this boy so much and she was determined to not let him go again.

The past year had been hard enough for her during all the silent moments in which she had been thinking about Giel. Though she quickly realized that he had been a little bit more distant and she wondered why. But no matter how many times she had worried, she didn’t dare to ask him. During the week that followed he often went on his own and she could have sworn that, when he joined her

again, he had been crying. She was worried. “What was going around in that genius brain of him?” She wondered.

It was only a couple of days later, when they were enjoying an evening walk on the beach, that Emma gained all of her courage and asked Giel what was going on. When she had asked that ques- tion, Giel stiffed up and turned himself away from her so that she couldn’t see him wiping away a tear. “Everything is okay honey!” Giel answered with a vibrating voice. He felt that he couldn’t hold it much longer, every moment the tears would break out and he felt a rage coming up. The fact that Emma kept asking questions also played his part in it. She had also started crying by seeing Giel in this state. She asked him carefully: “Giel, honey I know for a fact that there is something wrong, please, tell me?”

Giel couldn’t hold it anymore and said with a blunt voice: “I think it’s better if you leave me alone for a while, please go I need a…” “Giel…” Emma replied and started crying harder. “PLEASE GO AWAY!” Giel exclaimed. He felt sorry Immediately after his break out and fell down on his knees. He had his face buried in his hands and his body was shaking heavily due to his crying. Emma had been shocked by his outburst and was also crying hard now when she ran away. Giel remained alo- ne, exhausted and lost. He had so much regret that he had shouted at Emma that he fervently hoped that this was a dream, or rather a nightmare.

When he got back at his caravan, he immediately took a bottle of beer and drank it in one nudge, after which he took another one and another one and another one. He laid down on his bed, but it took hours before he fell asleep due to past hours’ events. The next day he woke up late in the after- noon with a huge headache. Last night was still printed on his retina and he couldn’t forget it im- mediately either. The worst of all was that he had the feeling that he had hurt Emma enormously, which caused that he felt her pain too. He had to make up with her, although he didn’t knew how yet. He had to tell her the real reason why, that was a sure thing. And it had to be done immediately too. He felt bad, but decided to do it right away and went to the pool bar, in the hope that he would see Emma there. He knew almost for sure that she didn’t wanted to see him but the least he could do was giving her his apologies.

When he arrived at the bar he saw Emma at the side of the pool talking with Michael and he had a small idea of what they were talking about. He took place at the bar with his back turned to them, putted on his sunglasses and ordered a glass of water. His headache was still so heavy that he had decided to let the alcohol aside for the first couple of days. After a while he heard music starting to play and turned around. The daily water Zumba had started and Emma and two of her colleagues were instructing the people in the pool.

Giel saw a little boy standing very close near the side of the pool. He would have guessed that he would be around the age of seven years old and Giel got up straighter on his barstool. Emma had seen it too but she ignored Giel completely and he couldn’t say that that wasn’t a right thing to do. The boy was dancing happily together with Emma, her colleagues and the people in the pool.

On that moment, a lot of things happened at the same time. He saw Emma slipping away and one of her colleagues was just in time to catch her by the arm. Some kids were running inattentive behind the boy, who Giel had been watching carefully all this time, and pushed him into the water by accident.

He saw the little boy falling into the water and jumped up out of reflex, pulled his sunglasses off and ran to the pool. At the same time he pulled out his shirt and his slippers and dived into the water when he reached the side. Most of the people did not yet knew what was going on, but little by little everyone was getting into reality and moved aside for Giel who swam by or helped where possible.

At last Giel was able to get to the kid just in time and pulled him back above water. Here and there people helped to bring the boy back to the quayside, and the parents were now approaching. On shore Giel, together with the help of Michael, laid the boy, called Zayn, down gently and placed two fingers in his neck. “He’s still alive!” He said, and began to pump comfortably on Zayn’s chest.

After a couple of breathtaking seconds Zayn gasped for breath and the tension that was hanging around fell away and made place for relief. Derek and Mia, Zayn’s parents, thanked Giel intense, but he couldn’t bring out more then: “That was no effort.” Or: “No thanks.” He had seen a last glimpse of Emma’s face before everything went black before his eyes.

Giel sat on the quay of the harbor, looking straight forward, but without seeing anything. Every now and then he inhaled from his cigarette but further he sat motionless. Emma approached him from behind. She took place aside of him, placed her arm around his and he looked up for a second but almost Immediately looked back in front of him again.

“A penny for your thoughts?” She asked softly. He sighed deeply then said: “My best friend Jessie, who has gone away from us almost a half a year ago. She couldn’t find no sense in life anymore because she always deciphered herself for everyone and thereby neglected herself. When she had troubles with her boyfriend she got mad and robbed herself from life.” He wiped away a tear at that thought. She had always been his best friend and not without reason, if he had trouble, or something bothered him, he knew that he could always have talked about it with her.

When his story was finished he looked up to Emma and saw a shocked look in her eyes. “I don’t know what to answer to this.” Emma whispered. “I find it very hard for you, sweetheart.” She ad- ded. “I’m sorry.” Giel said, “I should have told you this immediately instead of getting angry at you.” He closed his eyes for a second and then felt a kiss on his cheek. He opened his eyes again and looked at her. She looked straight into his soul and her feelings for him gained strength. “I love you.” She whispered and laid her head on his shoulder. He placed his head softly against hers, clo- sed his eyes and then whispered softly in respond. “I love you too.” 

Chapter four: A new beginning.

Emma was glad that she and Giel had finished their dispute and she had promised him that she would give him all the time he needed to process the loss of his best friend. But she also had been determined to help him with that in anyway possible and he had promised that he would try to be open for that. His short vacation came to an end and on a beautiful morning he stood up early to go to his new job for the first time. He was really looking forward to it. In his last weekend he had mo- ved into the apartment not for away from the camping with a nice view over the ocean. Therefor he had made the renting contract in order the day that he had arrived in Mallorca. Emma helped him decorating it. They both had decided that she was going to move in with him. He had been standing on it and they both couldn’t have think of the idea that he was going to live all by himself while Emma would be staying on the camping. Even tho she had no job security yet, they had both figu- red out that after the summer she was going to stay with him and even would go looking for another job if necessary.

On the first day of his new job Giel got a great introduction and met his new colleagues. After the introduction they had a meeting with everyone where he had the chance to put his ideas on the table and they all got great responds. With this ideas he then started working on his first scenario’s, even tho it was with falling and rising, but he was confident it would go great after a while.

The two most important woman in his live also immediately gained a spot on his new workplace. He had placed a picture of both Jessie and Emma on his desk and he was sure that, in times that he had less inspiration, these two girls would show him the light.

It was already late in the evening when Emma came back home. Giel sat behind his desk, with his head in his hands, sleeping. She looked at the clock: 11.00 pm. She went towards the desk, took place behind Giel and started to massage his neck and shoulders which woke him up. “HEY! What..?!? Oh, hi sweetie.” He said with a sleepy voice. She gave him a kiss on his forehead. “Rough day at work?” She asked and went to the kitchen. Giel stretched out and said with an ex- hausted voice: “No not really rough.” He yawned loudly then added: “ but sometimes the first weeks of your dream job can also be exhausting. How was your day?” “well,I am exhausted too.” She replied also with a yawn when she returned from the kitchen with a plate of Giel’s self-made spaghetti and took place on the table. Giel took two glasses and a bottle of wine. “You fancy a glass of wine too?” He asked with a lovingly voice. “I’d love too.” Emma replied with a smile and gave Giel a kiss on his cheek when he placed her glass in front of her. “Thanks love.” She said. “You’re welcome.” Giel replied at his turn and took place at the chair in front of Emma.

He yawned once again while he went through his hair with his hand. For a while it was quiet while Emma continued eating diner and every once in a while took a nap of her wine. “How are your scripts going?” She asked out of interest. “Three finished and approved then started with the fourth one today.” Emma gained a great feeling inside, she was very proud of her man and everyone had the right to know that. “At the camping, a lot my colleagues are also impressed and I think that you already gained a couple of fans.” She said and Giel felt excited for a moment. “Thank you sweetie.” Giel said while he took her hand and squeezed it softly.

They talked a bit about the things that were going on that day and then went both to bed. Emma tucked in into Giel’s lap and after a little bit of cuddling he placed his arm around her, gave her a kiss on the back of her head and then they both fell asleep in an instant.

In the middle of the night Giel woke up. He looked at the clock: “half past three.” He mumbled in himself. He stepped out of bed, got dressed and took place behind his laptop. He had just gained a couple of fantastic new ideas and wrote them down. One hour later he got ready to go to work. He had made Emma’s lunchbox and had placed a note on the table saying: ‘Enjoy your day sweetie, I love you.’ Then he went outside closing the door silently and went on to the studio. On his way the- re he gained a grin on his face by thinking of Emma’s reaction.

Emma woke up with a yawn and felt that Giel already had risen and she knew Immediately that he had left to work earlier. She stood up and got dressed, went to the kitchen where she found Giel’s note and she automatically gained a warm feeling inside of her. When she opened the fridge she saw her lunchbox and a grin from ear to ear appeared on her face. “Oh, thank you so much honey.” She mumbled to herself. That was the reason why she loved Giel so much. He was full of surprises and that, she found awesome. She sent him a sweet message in which she thanked him for the kind- ness and that he had made her the happiest person on earth. Not much later she got a message back which said: “Just wait, the best is yet to come…” Followed by a heart and she almost melted away from the love she got from him. It was no surprise then for her that everyone at the camping asked what happened because apparently it looked as if she was flying on a cloud.

Her day couldn’t possibly be more fantastic she thought, but at the end of the afternoon, that thought was surpassed. The water Zumba had just been finished and Emma and her colleagues were just on their way to the bar when she suddenly heard someone whispering her name behind her. Her heart jumped when she saw that Giel was standing behind her and for a moment she could’t say anything. “Hi sweetie.” Giel said. “I stopped working a little bit earlier today because I wanted to surprise you once more.” He added. “Oh Giel.” Emma said while gaining a blush on her cheeks. “As if you haven’t surprised me enough today?” She whispered with a husky voice. Giel pulled up his shoulders and said teasingly: “I don’t know, what do you think?” Emma jumped around his neck and when she loosened her grip a little bit and looked into his eyes she melted for him indefinite. She kissed him so fiery that Giel thought that his lips could start setting fire any moment and he had to extinguish them.

Emma had to work for a couple hours still, so Giel decided to got to the bar of the camping and the- re he found Zayn and his parents. Both Giel and Zayn were very happy to see each other again and so they played along together for a while. Emma also had noticed that and she laughed at the jokes Giel was playing on Zayn and she thought within herself that Giel apparently loved kids as much as she did and that thought warmed her heart. When Emma had done working they decided to go to the beach to make an evening walk. “What a beautiful day.” Emma said when they stopped for whi- le to look at the sunset and she pulled Giel closer to her and kissed him intensely.

After what seemed hours they let each other go and sat down in the sand. Giel closed his eyes, fol- ded his hands and said: “Dear Jessie, I hope that you can hear me and hopefully also see me. I miss you, a lot, you took a piece from me when you left us. I also wanted to introduce you to Emma, yep, that beautiful girl aside of me. The both of you are the pillars that hold my world as it is today. I think about you everyday, love Giel.” “Amen.” Emma added and pulled Giel closer to her to give him a kiss. She placed her head on his shoulder and he placed his head against hers. In that way they enjoyed each others company while the sun was quietly slipping away behind the horizon. “The end of a perfect day.” Emma sighed.

Chapter five: Soleil.

Giel sat at the bar of the camping. After a heavy and exhausting week in the studio he found that he had deserved a pint of beer. Emma was with her colleagues at the pool getting everything ready. Tonight there was a pool party planned and she had agreed with Giel that he would also come over. She had just had a free hour and they had enjoyed diner together at the restaurant of the camping. Giel met up with Derek, Mia and Zayn at the pool and as soon as they were there too Giel’s attenti- on went almost completely to Zayn. Together they were playing at the kids pool and Giel got, besi- des of Zayn, a lot of other kids around him. The whole group was attacking Giel with water.

Giel totally amused himself and got back each and every one of the kids. Unfortunately for him they were with to much and had to surrender eventually. Emma, Derek and Mia laughed hard with seeing it happen. Giel had also seen that and asked for a time out to gather all of them around him. Emma had seen that picture and said: “Oh no, I think we are in trouble.” She saw all of them co- ming towards them and tried to get away but she was already too late. Zayn and two others ran to- wards her and pulled her with them into the water. The rest of the gang went up to Derek and Mia and they got the same destiny.

It all escalated quickly into a real pool war. Two groups were up against each other. That went on until late in the evening and had caused that the kids were all exhausted and slept quickly. And so it was that only the people without children were still at the bar, Also Giel and Emma. Emma didn’t had to work the next day which is why they had agreed to go to the beach with Derek, Mia and Zayn.

Giel was excited about that and looked forward to it. “Playing all day with that little racket!” He said with a light excitement in his voice while they were on their way home. “He is your buddy, no?” Emma asked amused. “I really like him, he makes me think of myself back when I was a kid.” Giel replied. Emma glanced at him out of the corner of her eye and saw a satisfied look on Giel’s face. “I am glad that you two are getting along so well and it also gives me a great feeling to see you getting along with kids too.” Emma said and the thought of Giel and Zayn turned a smile on her face.

“Would you like to have kids one day?” She asked that so suddenly that Giel looked at her with a surprised face. She started laughing with seeing his face and knew immediately why this reaction was caused. “Don’t worry, were not so far yet.” Emma said calmingly. “I was only curious after your opinion.” She added. “I would like to have kids.” Giel replied softly. “But not yet!” He added quickly with seeing her reaction. Again Emma started laughing. “Sweetie, I am only playing with you.” She gave him a kiss on his cheek. “Of course not yet, but maybe later?” She asked. Giel loo- ked at her with a loving look and said: “With the most lovely girl on the planet? I’d love to.” When they arrived home a short while later they went directly to bed and fell asleep quickly.

Giel woke up and noticed that Emma was already up and running. He looked at the clock and saw that it was 10 am. He yawned, stood up and got dressed. When he entered the living room he saw that the surprise was now for him. Emma apparently was already awake for a while and had gone to the Bakery and Butchery. She had prepared breakfast and had decorated the table a little bit. Giel was surprised when he saw this.

“Good morning honey.” Emma said when she came out of the kitchen with fresh coffee. “Good morning dear love.” Giel said and gave her a kiss. “Take place so we can eat.” Emma said while filling up both mugs with coffee, then took place in front of him. Giel took a croissant and putted cheese and ham between it and took a bite. “To what do I owe this?” Giel asked. “No reason, I ha- ven’t seen you much this week and I had missed you.” Emm replied lovingly. “That’s sweet of you dearie.” Giel said with a wink.

For a while it was quite while they ate their breakfast. When they both were finished, Emma stood up, took an envelope out of her purse and gave it to Giel. Again Giel’s mouth fell open in amaze- ment. “What’s this?” He said confused. “Only one way to find out.” Emma replied with a lovely laugh.

Giel quickly opened the envelope and saw two tickets for a concert of Casa Musica. When he saw the tickets he gained a huge grin on his face. Emma had seen it too and wondered why that grin ap- peared all of the sudden, but didn’t go further into it. She knew that their album: Freedom of the seven seas, sounded every once in a while, which made her think he was a huge fan of them. “Thanks sweetie.” He said and gave Emma a kiss on her forehead while hugging her dearly.

One hour later they headed to the beach where they met up with Derek, Mia and Zayn. When they arrived there they searched for a great spot and Zayn took Giel with him to the water. “Well, we are not going to see them again for the rest of the day.” Derek said with a smile on his face. “It’s won- derful to see Giel play with our son.” Mia added.

Emma was just finished with rubbing herself in with sunscreen and was watching the picture of Giel and Zayn Favorably. “They are inseparable those two,” Emma said. “like best friends.” She added. She laid down and when she closed her eyes she almost immediately fell asleep. She was very tired due to the exhausting weeks she had been trough and she was very happy that she could take a break now.

She woke up when she felt water fall over her body and when she opened her eyes she saw both Giel and Zayn standing in front of her with both a grin from ear to ear. Zayn was holding a bucket in his hands and she immediately knew that Giel had pushed Zayn to do this.

“Good morning sunshine.” Giel said with a big grin. “Slept well?” Zayn added laughing. “Well, I was sleeping good, until two little kids were standing in front of me and bombed me with a bunch of water!” Emma replied. “Really?” Giel said, What a bunch of pigs!” Zayn laughed with this res- pond. “Yes indeed,” Emma said, “But you know, I’d learned these kids a lesson.” She added. The grins on both Giel and Zayn’s face disappeared abruptly. “What do you mean?” Giel asked with caution. “I took revenge on them by getting them wet using a water gun, unfortunately I don’t have one here right now.” She grinned.

That moment Derek came to the rescue. He had gotten up on a moment when Giel and Zayn we- ren’t looking and went to the water to fill up Zayn’s water gun. Now he came up after them two and when he was standing right behind them, he said: “No, you don’t Emma, but I do!” Both Giel and Zayn turned around quickly but were already too late. Derek gave them the full load. Emma stood up quickly and took Giel by his arm together with Mia and dragged him towards the water. Derek dropped the water gun, took Zayn and followed the rest. When he arrived at the water he dropped his son in it, then went to help the girls with the struggling Giel. With the help of Derek it didn’t took much time before he was defeated too and so he and Zayn took revenge again on them and they were stranded in another water fight.

A couple hours later, when the beach was slowly running empty, Derek and Mia decided to eat so- mething here and then go back to the camping. Giel and Emma found that was a good idea and joi- ned them. After diner they went with them to the camping for a drink and then Giel and Emma went back to their apartment. So it was that they arrived back home late in the evening. Together they enjoyed a last small drink before going to bed and falling a sleep instantly.

Giel woke up with the sound of his alarm. “Monday morning.” He sighed and pushed the button of his clock. He gave a Emma a kiss and stood up, got dressed and went to the living room. After a quick breakfast and a cup of coffee, Giel took his laptop and went to the studio. He loved his job and he was glad that he had taken this opportunity but Monday mornings still weren’t the best thing. And after a weekend like he had, the morning was even more a pain in the butt.

When he arrived in the studio he started up his pc and when the pc was starting up Giel made cof- fee. Not much later also Ricardo, the head of the studio came in and they talked a bit about their weekends. When also Pedro and Adriano had arrived they all had a meeting first about the new scripts. During the meeting they also talked about Giel’s first scripts and when Giel heard the exci- tement of the rest of the group he felt happy and proud. He now was sure that he had made the right decision by taking this job and that gave him a good feeling too. That day, Giel and Adriano worked together on a script and that went very well. All four of them had a great time together.

That also caused that the days were going by in no time and at the end of the week Giel gained his first evaluation. Ricardo told him that he was very happy with the results and that he was also happy that he had given this opportunity to Giel. Giel responded that he was happy too. It did was a little bit harder then he had expected at first, but now that he was working there a couple weeks he was delighted and looked forward to every workday.

On Friday they stopped a bit earlier. Ricardo had told them earlier that week that they were going for a drink after work because he wanted to reward the boys for their great efforts in the studio. When they were on their way to a pub nearby the studio, Adriano told Giel that they did that every month, not only because Ricardo wanted to show his gratitude but also as part of the monthly team building.

The next day he woke up when it was almost noon. Emma had gone to work early and had left a pan with bacon on the furnace with a note that said: “Honey, I baked bacon and eggs this morning and left you some bacon. You can also find two eggs in the refrigerator to bake with it. Let it taste, soon honey. I love you.”

Giel instantly felt a smile appearing on his face with reading the note and putted it in his pocket. He started baking the bacon and eggs and was soon enjoying his breakfast. After he did the dishes he took a shower, got dressed and went to the camping. There he met up with Derek, Mia and Zayn. When he arrived there he saw a huge air cushion laying in the pool where the kids were playing on. Zayn was at the children’s pool and as soon as he saw Giel he ran up to him. On his way to Giel he got pushed by a boy, Giel guessed that he was at age thirteen or fourteen and Zayn fell on the ground.

Giel and Derek immediately jumped up, same as Emma who had seen it happen from a distance, and went towards Zayn. “What is going on here?” Giel and Derek asked on a furious tone. Emma placed herself before them in order to avoid problems, then said: “Casper, that is the third time that I see you do that this week. I warned you the last time but you don’t give me another choice now, I have to ask you to leave the pool and don’t come here again, except with your parents accompan- ying you.” “I don’t think so!” Casper said on a rude tone, “I have as much rights to be here as anyo- ne else. And by the way what do you meddle with? You’re not my mom and that is a good thing too!”

He grinned brutally but Emma took him by his arm, with a little help from a colleague. Together they brought him to the director of the campsite where he could explain his behavior. There he got one last warning and had been asked to avoid the pool-site for at least three days. Also his parents had been called and when they arrived they also gave him the full load and they forbade him to do anything of fun for the rest of their stay. Casper felt bad by this and apologized to Zayn.

This incident had caused Emma thinking of an idea for anti bullying day. An activity in which the kids would be divided into groups and where each group had to work together to achieve the ulti- mate goal. Her colleagues found this was a good idea and they started brainstorming about it. Also Giel was a fan of the idea and he was proud of Emma and her full commitment. He of course glad- ly offered to help where he could and so it was that the next weekend the activity took place.

The concept was a knock out round with eight teams of kids, who had signed up, with different ga- mes and the winning team went on to the next round until only one survived. Their was even a prize for the winners. Emma had placed Zayn and Casper in the same team by purpose. This way they had to work together and she surely hoped that this would help them to abandon their feud.

In the first round, all eight teams competed in a waterpolo game and the winners of each match went on to the next task. During the game of Zayn and Caspers team, Giel was following the match closely. That match was then also won with shine by them and he saw that Casper congratulated Zayn with his goal.

In the next round, where four teams were competing, they had to follow a trail with a relay round and the two teams who were the fastest on the other side went on to the finals. When Casper was on his way with the stick he ran as fast as he could but he stumbled and fell, stood up and went on. He reached Lisa, a girl from their team, at the same moment as the other team passed along their stick and so they went into the last round with two teams together.

Giel cheered for Lisa which made her run faster. It came down to a photo-finish in which Lisa had one foot in lead of her competitor and so they went to the final. That was a match of mini football, Casper took the position as keeper and Zayn as attacker. At the end of the first half however they were three goals behind and so they decided to make a couple of switches. Lisa came to help the attacking line and Zayn went to defense. That was a good switch and in no time they tied.

The last minute gone by and so they were going to play extra time. In this, both Zayn and Lisa were excellent because they made each a goal. But also the other team made two goals. It was in the very last minute that Casper came to the rescue during a corner. The ball headed towards him and he shaped up. At the moment he jumped up and placed his head under the ball, he closed his eyes. He felt the ball and headed him away.

For a second it was silent but a moment later he heard everyone shouting and he opened his eyes. He saw the ball laying in the goal and couldn’t believe for a second what had happened. “Did, Have… Have I scored?” He stumbled. Zayn came up to him and gave him a nod on his shoulder. “Great Goal!” He said. He heard a whistle and the rest of the team now ran up to him too and con- gratulated Casper on his winning goal.

After the game the whole team got a medal and Giel saw that Zayn and Casper had placed aside their feud, even better they now seemed to became friends. He was very happy with this and also Emma was happy that her action turned out good.

That evening they were all sitting on the terrace and enjoyed the sunset with a delicious cocktail. Emma sat aside Giel and had her head placed on his shoulder. So they enjoyed the end of a lovely day. 

Chapter six: Best friends forever.

Early in the morning Emma awoke out of her dream. She opened her eyes, turned around and saw that Giel was not laying aside of her. She stood up to see where he was and while she did, she loo- ked at the clock: “Half past five.” Emma yawned. “Why is he up already? It’s Sunday morning.” She mumbled to herself. When she entered the living room she saw that the terrace door was open and went to see if Giel was there? Giel was sitting on chair with a cup of coffee in his hands, staring in front of him. “What’s going on honey?” Emma asked while she took his hand. Giel awoke from his dream and looked towards Emma. “I was thinking about Jessie.” He said. When Emma didn’t respond to this he started narrating.

The early spring sun gave off a lovely warm glow. Jessie was happily swinging with one of her friends. Giel was playing in the sandpit with Wayne, his best friend. Together they had build a castle and were playing a battle with the knights. The two girls had seen this too and when the boys looked at them they giggled. Giel and Wayne looked away quickly and went on with their battle. A while later, Jessie and Lisa came up to them. When the boys had seen them coming they stopped playing abruptly.

“Hi guys, what are you playing?” The girls asked in choir. “We are playing a battle with the knights!”Wayne said proudly. “Can we join you?” Jessie asked. “Battling with knights is more of a guys thing.” Giel said while he tried to sound cool. “Well, maybe we can play the princesses you have to protect?” Lisa replied with a twinkle in her eyes. The boys looked at each other with a be- wildered look and after a couple seconds they said: “Okay, you can play along.” They divided themselves into two teams. Giel and Jessie versus Wayne and Lisa. Giel and Jessie started building their own castle at the other side of the pit and when they were done the battle started. Giel defen- ded Jessie in the castle they had build together and Wayne defended Lisa in their castle.

A couple hours later, both Wayne and Lisa had to go home and so only Giel and Jessie stayed be- hind. Another half an hour later they also went home and agreed to do this more often. Giel was happy that he and Wayne met the two girls and the four of them became very close friends. They played along together very often and so their friendship became very tight. Giel noticed that a cou- ple years later at high school, because even tho Giel and Wayne didn’t go to the same school, their friendship kept in great shape and they were often together outside.

Also Lisa and Jessie were with them a lot. With the four of them they also went to a party in their village for the first time. There, they met a lot of other people and had their first contact with alco- hol , they immediately noticed that it was a dangerous thing with which they had to be careful with. At one of those parties they also came in touch with love sickness for the first time in their lives. Jessie had found a boyfriend at the new years party. In the beginning everything went well. After a couple months however, Giel saw that Jessie was getting drunk a lot and she often isolated herself. When she joined them again after a while, Giel saw that she had been crying and when he asked her what was going on she always shrugged her shoulders and nodded her head or told him no- thing was going on.

At first Giel thought it would be going better after a while. But when time gone by he noticed she was still pushing herself deeper and further away from everything around her. Giel decided that it was enough. He could not bare to see one his best friends getting herself down so much and he wanted to know what was going on.

When they went to a party again, a couple weeks later, Giel saw that when Jessie had been standing with her boyfriend outside she had cried again and when he asked her what was going on, she couldn’t resist to tell the truth anymore and told Giel her story.

Her boyfriend, Jason, was doing drugs for a long time already and he always tried to get Jessie on it too. She told him also that he had tried it again today and that she had broke up their relationship due to this. When Giel heard this he became mad. He had to find Jason and had to forbid him to see Jessie ever again. On his way outside he met up with Wayne and when he told him what was going on, he also became mad and joined Giel outside trying to find Jason.

After a while they found him, standing in between the many bicycles.
“JASON!” Giel yelled.
Jason immediately turned his head around and when he saw Giel and Wayne coming towards him, he started to run. Giel and Wayne started to sprint and so they reached him in no time. Wayne was the quickest and reached him first, so he worked Jason quickly on the ground.
“LEAVE… ME… ALONE!” Jason yelled while trying to get himself free out of Waynes grip.
“I haven’t done anything wrong!” He said with a frightened voice when Giel stood before him with a furious face.
“Oh no? Then why were you running away from us?” Giel asked with a penetrating voice.
“What do you want from me?” Jason asked again with frightened voice.
“I want you to leave Jessie alone!” Giel said on a threatening tone.
“She is my girlfriend,” Jason said scoffing, “and I didn’t hear her complain when were having our first time…”

Giel and Wayne didn’t let him finish his sentence. They both had become mad and had jumped on him. Each of them gave him a smack on his face. It began to get out of hand and the security came in between. From that moment on, Giel and Wayne had sworn that they would never lose the girls out of sight.

Years gone by and they grew up to young adults. On their eighteenth birthday they had given a drink together. All four of them were pretty wasted. Then also came the moment they graduated and both Giel and Wayne found a job immediately. Lisa and Jessie went to the same college for further education. Giel was graduated as pressman and found a job in it as well. Also Wayne found a job in his league as a cook in a restaurant in their hometown.

“The four of us were always together. Never ever have we left each other out of sight. Unfortunately Jessie did had a harsh period after her father passed away due to lung cancer, almost two years ago. She didn’t had the courage anymore now to keep on going and missing her dad. She wanted to be with him. Therefor it was huge shock for all of us when a couple of months ago, her sister, Naomi, came up to us all and told us the horrible news that Jessie had committed suicide.” Giel said as an ending to his story. Emma wiped away a tear and when she saw that Giel was crying too, she pulled him closer to her and gave him a warm hug.

“What a beautiful Story sweetie, it’s sad that it had to end that way. Emma whispered. Giel dried his tears and when they let each other go they walked back inside while holding hands and got dressed. The rest of the day they sat outside and enjoyed each others company.

That night they went to the concert of Casa Musica. Giel was looking forward to see Michiel and Thomas again. He knew the two of course, they all grew up in their own Etely Mountain. However, Giel hadn’t told Emma yet, he was curious to her reaction when she found out.

Thanks to the tickets that Emma had arranged they had a great place right in front of the stage and when the concert started and Giel saw his old friends, he wiped away a tear while thinking about old times.

The concert was very good. “Casa Musica hadn’t become a world band for no reason.” Giel thought. After the concert was finished, Giel and Emma were sitting at the bar enjoying a glass of wine. Suddenly they heard someone behind them saying: “Well well, if it isn’t the village writer of Etely Mountain!” Giel and Emma turned around together, saw Michiel and Thomas, The guys who were on stage just a couple of minutes ago, standing behind them and Emma’s mouth fell open in amazement.

“The best band in the world!” Giel answered with a grin. “How are you guys doing?” He asked while giving them a hand. “Do you know each other?” Emma asked in unbelief. “Totally!” Thomas answered. “We grew up together in Etely Mountain. And Giel wrote our biography.” Michiel added with a big smile on his face. “Do you remember? That bench in the middle of the village square, where you always sat, writing stuff?” Thomas said laughing. “And what about the bench beside it then, where you were holding the entire village awake with your guitars?” Giel answered with a grin.

Emma looked from Michiel and Thomas to Giel with her mouth wide open. “Let me introduce you fellas to my lovely girl Emma.” He added. “Nice to meet you.” Michiel answered and gave Emma a hand. Thomas followed his example. They talked that night about what had been going on in their lives. Michiel and Thomas about their first world tour they were doing right now and Giel about his job as a scriptwriter he was doing here and was the reason he’d left Etely Mountain.

It was already a couple of hours later when Giel and Emma were going home and told Michiel and Thomas goodbye. Giel was glad that he had seen his old friends again. “Their band was a great success.” Giel thought and he knew that they had deserved this success. He had seen the band grow from the very beginning and now they were playing world tours. For two guys from a small town, growing up to become a huge act in the world, that was something that gave Giel shivers.

Chapter seven: A lovely feeling.

It was a lovely, sunny day in Mallorca. Giel had become a solid value for the studio. He had delive- red great scripts in the past two years and he was glad that he had taken the opportunity, and how things had turned out since the start of the new chapter in his life. He and Emma were happy to- gether and they were sure that their relationship was strong and would never again be broken. The summer vacation had started again too, for Emma it was a busy time at the camping. She was wor- king long days but she didn’t mind. She even enjoyed it. She loved working with kids and was glad too, same as Giel, that she had taken the opportunity to stay here in Mallorca and work at the cam- ping.

The summer was also a time in which Giel spend a huge amount of his free time at the camping too. During the weekends he enjoyed going over to the camping and then he took a pen and notebook with him so he could work on some of his own stories. Same as in his first vacation, he always sat at the bar of the camping. There he was writing on his stories while he could see Emma doing her job at the pool, or at the sports field. Also Michael was still present during the summer. As always he took care of the position of life guard and he did that very good.

Due to the fact that they were having a lot of fun at the camping, the weekends flew by in no time. After a great weekend Giel woke up early that Monday morning. He baked eggs and bacon so he had a nice meal at work at noon. He left some bacon for Emma and left a note on which was writ- ten: “Sweetie, I baked eggs and bacon this morning and left you some bacon in the pan. You can find eggs in the fridge. See you later. Love, Giel.” Then he took his bag and went on his way to the studio.

When he arrived there he took a cup of coffee first, placed his laptop on his desk and started him. Not much later Ricardo arrived too. “Good Morning Giel, had a great weekend?” Ricardo asked. “Absolutely!” Giel replied with a grin. Ricardo went to his desk and started up his computer “Did we gain any new projects over the weekend?” Giel asked after a short silence. “Yes, and a big one too.” Ricardo replied. “But let us wait until Pedro and Adriano are here too before going further on to it.” He added with a spark of excitement.

They talked a bit about their weekends and not much later, Both Pedro and Adriano came in and Ricardo told them about the exciting news of a new big project they were going to start up in a cou- ple of months. “It’s going to be something of a bigger production house but more information I can not give yet, because it is still in it’s starting position.” Ricardo said. Giel took place behind his desk and went on with the project he had started last week and for which he already had a great amount of work done for. He asked himself what the new project was going to be and during the break he discussed about it with Pedro and Adriano. They were also curious about it and all three of them couldn’t wait for more news.

It was only at the end of the week that Ricardo told them that the contract was signed and so they were going to write scenario’s for a big American production house called: Star Animated Studio’s. They were the producers of films and within their forty-five years of experience they had become a huge name in the movie industry. Giel, Pedro and Adriano were very excited about this news which had given the three of them a great boost.

This also caused that their inspiration had grown which resulted into eleven finished scripts during the month. Ricardo was very pleased with their work and to thank them for their efforts during the last weeks, he had decided that they stopped working earlier the last Friday of the month and all went to drink something in the bistro around the corner. Ricardo payed the bills for the whole eve- ning, Giel had texted Emma so that she knew she didn’t had to stay awake for him.

So it was that he arrived home at three o’ clock in the morning, but he wasn’t really drunk. He hadn’t forgot about the time at the camping and didn’t wanted to wake up the next morning with a headache again.

The next morning Giel woke up with a bright feeling. Emma had woken up early and had gone to the camping. Because it was a Saturday Giel had been sleeping a little bit longer and when he got up he had a quick breakfast and then he went to the camping. When he arrived there he got a great surprise. At the bar of the pool he saw Derek, Mia and Zayn. When Zayn saw Giel he ran towards him and jumped into his arms. Giel gave him a big hug, at the same moment his eyes filled up with tears. He had missed his little buddy a lot and he honestly didn’t expected to see him here. He took him with him to the table where Derek and Mia were sitting. When they saw each other, both Derek and Mia got up and gave Giel a hug too. Giel took place at the table with them and they talked about past two years.

Giel had spent the entire day with them. During lunch, Emma joined them and they enjoyed a love- ly meal together with Derek, Mia and Zayn. Giel was glad that they saw each other again. He now realized that he had missed his little buddy. Therefor he decided to be at the camping during his free time. He had the feeling that he could relive the summer in which they had met and that made him feel good.

On Saturday they went to the beach with the four of them. Emma unfortunately couldn’t be there with them because she had to work, but she had given Giel her blessing to go there with Derek, Mia and Zayn. When they arrived there and found a spot for them to place their towels, Zayn and Giel went to the water immediately. There they had a nice time swimming and playing in the water. After they came out of the water, almost an hour later, Giel first dried himself. Then he and Zayn started building a castle in the sand.

It was a busy day at the beach and when they arrived back at the camping, they enjoyed a drink to- gether. Late in the evening they still sat at the bar. Giel had taken his writing stuff with him and he was now writing a short story for Zayn to have. In this story he used his own memories from the time that he and Wayne and Jessie and Lisa had been playing the battle with the knights. He then re- wrote it to another perspective in which they were real Knights and Princesses. Zayn loved the story and thanked Giel for it. Emma had just joined them after her last task was done and Zayn showed her the story that Giel had written for him. When she saw the story she Immediately recognized it, because she had heard it before. She was very proud of her man, that he had used this memory into a story for a friend. He also had promised to take Zayn with him to the studio, after he had asked Derek and Mia if they were okay with that. Derek and Mia both agreed to it and Zayn was very ex- cited. He had never seen more forward to a Monday than now.

Late in the evening Giel and Emma came home. exhausted they went to bed and fell asleep instant- ly. The next morning they woke up late. Emma had a day off and they went with Derek, Mia and Zayn for a boat trip. Giel had taken lessons to drive a boat and so they rented one at the harbor in the village. They sailed out of the harbor and went at open sea. After a short drive they arrived at a beautiful spot where they had a lovely view in the water. They saw dolphins swimming and jum- ping out of the water and two giant turtles swam underneath their boat. Zayn found it a wonderful picture and Giel and Derek took him with them into the water to swim with these beautiful creatu- res.

Meanwhile Emma and Mia laid down on deck of the ship and were sunbathing. “Giel certainly mis- sed his little buddy.” Mia said. “Yeah, he did. I didn’t tell him that you were at the camping for a few days already when he came over there, just to surprise him.” Emma Replied. “And that certain- ly turned out well too.” Mia laughed and Emma had to laugh too with this reaction.

Giel, Derek and Zayn had fun in the water. They were learning Zayn to snorkel and that went pretty well. He did was a little bit afraid, but with the help and support of both Derek and Giel, little by little he gained self confidence and eventually he was doing a great job breathing underwater. He even became very good at it in no time and Derek was very proud of his son and also Giel had to wipe away a tear. They went back to the boat to tell Emma and Mia about it. They both had seen it happen already from the boat, but when the three guys told them with that much excitement, the two girls just letted them talk while a smile appeared on their faces. For Emma it was great to see Giel so happy. It reminded her of the summer where Giel had lost Jessie and she saw a quick reflec- tion of Giel back then. She shook her thoughts away from her and saw Giel standing now. That pic- ture made a smile appear on her face.

After a great weekend with their friends, Giel woke up that Monday morning and jumped out of bed with a big smile. He pulled on his clothes, then went to the kitchen. There he prepared a quick sandwich for work and now. A short time later he was on his way to the studio with a stop at the camping to pick up Zayn. When he arrived at the bungalow of Derek and Mia, The three of them were already up and had breakfast at their terrace. When Zayn saw Giel he got up quickly and ran towards him yelling: “GIEL!!” On a very excited tone. Giel Took him in his arms and said: “hey there little buddy! Slept well?” Zayn nodded and Giel added: “Ready to go to work with me today?” Again Zayn nodded excited and Giel took him to the car while he said goodbye to Derek and Mia and promised them to be very careful and they had replied that they were not worried about that.

Ten minutes later they arrived at the studio and when Giel and Zayn got inside, Zayn’s mouth fell open in amazement. Giel showed him his desk and a couple of his works. He also read a small story for him and he was just finished when Adriano also came in. Giel had texted the others from the studio that Zayn was with him today and Adriano had a small surprise for the little fella. He had made a short comic for him and Zayn was very happy with it. When also Ricardo and Pedro had arrived they started working and had a day full of fun with the little guy with them who was running around the studio from Giel to Adriano or Pedro, back to Giel. During the break they had a small meeting. Giel had put on a movie on his laptop for Zayn so he would not be too disturbing. He also had a sandwich with Bacon and eggs for him and he was now eating quietly while he was watching the movie on Giel’s computer. In the afternoon Giel and Adriano were working together on a script for a movie that was going to be for Star Animated Studio’s. Zayn sat with them and Giel and Adri- ano were playing fools from time to time. They were overacting their lines between the characters and Zayn had to laugh very hard with them.

When Giel and Zayn arrived back at the camping, they met up with Derek and Mia at the bar. There, Zayn ran towards them and started telling them about his day. He was so enthusiastic about what he had done today and told them everything. A while later Emma also joined them and also she had to hear the full story of Zayn.

That evening it didn’t took long before the little guy was tired and almost fell asleep at the terrace. It had been a busy and exciting day for him and he would never forget this day anymore, thought Giel. Derek and Mia took him to their caravan and said goodbye to Giel and Emma, who enjoyed one last drink before going home too. They ordered a cocktail and drank it slowly and enjoying, while behind them the sun disappeared behind the horizon. “I’ve never thought that silence was something you could miss.” Giel said and he pulled closer towards her. She placed her head on his shoulder and replied: “So now you know what I have to go through all day during summer.” She gained a grin on her face and looked up to Giel. He also grinned softly, then sighed and stared in front of him. “The end of an awesome day.” Giel thought.

In the week that followed, Ricardo updated them about Star Animated Studio’s. He told them that they were invited at the Studio’s in Los Angeles for an internship during the next two months.

When Giel came home that evening he told Emma about their internship. She also had news for him. Her parents were coming over to Mallorca. Unfortunately the staying of her parents and Giel’s internship overlapped each other so Giel was not able to meet her parents. He felt a bit sad about that. Also Emma was a bit disappointed but she wasn’t mad at him. After all the internship was for his job so he had to do it. It was just a coincidence and they both said that there eventually would be a moment that they’d met each others parents.

The last couple weeks flew by in no time and so it was that the moment came that Giel and Emma were going to be separated for a while. On the morning of Giel’s departure they stood up and after a quick check up of his luggage, which he and Emma had packed together last night, they both had a quick breakfast and then the time was there that they had to say goodbye.

“I’m going to miss you.” Emma said while she gave Giel an intense hug. “I’m going to miss you too.” He replied. He wiped away a tear from Emma’s cheek and said: “I’ll be back before yo even know it.” Emma just nodded. She was not able to bring out any words. Giel gave her on last kiss, then took his luggage and went to the door. “I love you.” He said when he opened the door and got outside. Emma came up to the door and replied: “I love you too. Be careful.” Giel nodded while a soft smile appeared on his face, then he went outside and on his way to the studio to meet up with his colleagues. Then they were off to Los Angeles.

Chapter eight: Star animated studios.

When Giel was out of sight, Emma started crying. “Two months without Giel.” She sobbed. Luckily for her she wouldn’t be all alone, she thought. Next week her parents were with her here. They were excited to meet Giel, but Emma had to tell them that he would not be at home next month and she excused herself for his absence. Her parents were not disappointed by the fact that they weren’t go- ing to meet their daughters knight in shining armor and that was just a coincidence. They also were not mad at them and same as Giel, they said that they would be meeting up eventually one day. However, they all found it unfortunate because both Giel and Emma had been looking forward to join her parents during their stay. But there was no harm done.

On the night before Gerard and Leontien would arrive, Emma decided to go to sleep early. But she missed Giel aside of her and his absence made her cry so she cried herself to sleep that night. The next morning she woke up with a bad feeling. “Probably because of the crying.” She thought and took a quick shower to give herself a boost.

She was out of the shower just in time when she heard the doorbell ring. Emma got dressed quickly and ran to the door to open it and greet her parents. There she had again an emotional moment be- cause she hadn’t seen them in a long time. She excused herself again for Giel’s absence, but her mother reassured her by saying that it wasn’t hers nor Giel’s fault but that it was just a combination of circumstances. Leontien also said that they would meet him one day but that there wasn’t any pressure involved and that made Emma feel a little bit more comfortable.

Because of the presence of her parents, she had now become a bit calmer again, and that evening they ate a delicious dinner together and talked until late at night about the past years. Emma told them about her and Giel and about her job at the camping. She looked at her watch and jumped up when she saw that it was already half past one and she had to work tomorrow, so they decided to go to sleep. Emma had their room set up for her parents and had placed fresh sheets for them. She herself slept on the sofa, which was also comfortable.

Next morning Emma stood up at half past eight and had made a quick breakfast for her and her pa- rents. After that she left to go to work. Gerard and Leontien had arranged with her that they would come over to the camping at noon so they could join each other for lunch there. Around ten o’clock, Gerard and Leontien stood up and enjoyed the breakfast Emma had made for them.

“They live here so peacefully and beautiful.” Gerard said. Leontien nodded and took a sip of the freshly made orange juice. “Absolutely, they’re fine here.” She beamed. It was obvious that they were proud of their daughter and the love of her life.

After breakfast, and after they did the dishes together, they decided to go for a walk. That way they saw the beautiful nature that made this island look like a paradise. After a walk from almost an hour in the woods they saw a waterfall that fell into a water source. There they stopped and enjoyed the view of the beautiful fauna and flora. Gerard, who had put on his swimming shorts, took a dive into the warm water. An hour later they went further on with their trip to the camping. Along the beach they stopped a second time and drank something at on of the many terraces.

When they arrived at the camping, Emma was at the pool doing the daily water Zumba. They took place at the terrace an saw their daughter enjoying her job. That image gave them both a great fee- ling. “As a parent it is always good to see your kid being happy.” Leontien thought. When the Zum- ba was finished Emma had a one hour break and ate an ice cream with her parents having the sun on theirs heads. Afterwards Gerard and Leontien ordered a cocktail and then went back to the apartment.

It was already late in the evening when Emma arrived back home after an exhausting day at work. Her mom had cooked up diner and she enjoyed it truly. It made her think like she was back in time. After diner the three of them had a glass of wine while they quietly looked at the sunset. “The end of a perfect day.” Gerard said. Leontien nodded and Emma looked up to the sky. “How would things be going with Giel on the other side of the world?” She said softly and sank away in her thoughts.

Giel woke up with the sound of his alarm and slowly came out of his dream in which he had first met Emma. He stood up, got dressed and went down for breakfast. After breakfast he and his col- leagues went to the studio. On his way there he thought about Emma and found it a pity that he couldn’t be there with her and her parents. When he arrived in the studio, he immediately started working on the script in which he was stopped last night. Not much later, the head of the studio ar- rived too. He had read Giel’s script and was full of praise about it. That motivated Giel and he was a little bit proud of himself.

That night he had a video chat with Emma and her parents and when he told her about his day at work and that the head of the studio here had praised his work, Emma gained a great feeling. “That is my man!” She said to her parents. “You can be very proud of him.” Gerard replied. “He seems to be a good and hard working boy.” Leontien added and she gave her daughter a kiss on her forehead. That night Emma went to bed with a great feeling and with a smile on her face she sank away in thoughts and fell asleep.

The warm night turned into a beautiful morning and when Emma came outside she felt the lovely warmth of the early summer sun. She had put on a bright summer dress for this day. On her free day she was going to the beach with Giel and she was looking forward to it. When she arrived at Giel’s bungalow a while later, she saw that he was already on his terrace waiting for her with a pleasant surprise. He had made breakfast for both of them and he welcomed her with a glass of bubbles.

After breakfast they both enjoyed a cup of coffee and when Emma putted her cup down she let her hand rest on the table. Giel took her hand and stroked it softly. Emma looked at him at the same moment as he looked at her and they got lost in each others eyes for a moment. For a while it was quiet and Emma had closed her eyes so she only felt the soft strokes on her hand. “I love you.” She whispered when she opened her eyes again. When those words reached Giel’s mind he abruptly opened his eyes, but after a couple seconds he relaxed and a smile on his face appeared. Emma saw the twinkling in his eyes and a tender feeling flowed over her body.

A couple minutes later they were on their way to the harbor while holding hands. Giel had arran- ged a boat trip for them. He had rented a pleasure yacht with which they went to some beautiful places. They had just stopped at a place a little bit out of the harbor to see dolphins swim by. Emma enjoyed the picture of these beautiful and lovely creatures surrounding them. She took off her dress and went into the water. Giel had taken place on the deck and enjoyed the warm sunshine on his body. A while later he heard Emma say: “Come and join me here sweetie, the water is lovely.” Giel got up and saw Emma swimming with three dolphins around her. He took off his sunglasses and di- ved into the water.

It was a pleasurable feeling Giel thought and he saw Emma enjoying it too. That gave him a great feeling and he suddenly felt a flow of happiness surrounding him. He immediately knew what that meant: “Emma is the one.” He thought and when their looks crossed each other he saw again the sparkling he had seen just this morning. This girl made him so happy, he wouldn’t even think about losing her again. During lunch on a nearby beach they intensely enjoyed each others company. Af- ter they finished their meal, Giel laid down in the sand, closed his eyes and fell asleep. Emma joi- ned him and putted her arm around his waist.

After a short power nap Giel woke up to see that Emma had also fell asleep into his arms. He gave her a kiss on her forehead and she woke up too. She placed her head on his shoulder and stroked his chest. Giel stroked her hair, it gave Emma a great feeling. She gave him a kiss on his cheek and Giel turned his head towards her, their lips touched and they both scared up for a second then lea- ned in towards each other and gave a passionate kiss. In the meantime Giel stroked her neck which gave Emma a great desire, a desire for more.

During their return to the harbor Emma was sunbathing on deck and admired Giel, the man of her dreams, the father of her kids, cause she was one hundred percent sure that she would never let him go again and she was also sure that that feeling was mutual. She saw Giel looking straight forward with a determined look and when they arrived back at the camping Giel said: “Sweetie, I had a wonderful day with you on my side and I like to ask you something.” Emma gained a surprising look and when he told her about him finding an apartment in the village where they currently were and also told her that he wanted her by his side for the rest of his life. She immediately said yes when he asked her if she wanted to come live with him and fell into his arms. “This day can’t possi- bly be any better.” Emma said when they finally let each other go. He wiped away her tears and kissed her intensely. Emma felt a magical feeling taking control of her body and she knew immedia- tely that Giel was the one for her.

After what felt like an eternity they let each other go and Giel said: “I love you.” A tear of happi- ness fell over Emma’s cheek. She pulled Giel closer towards her and he grabbed her tightly, lifted her and took her inside her camper. There, he placed her on the kitchen counter followed by a pas- sionate kiss. He felt her hands on his chest slowly going down and she pulled his shirt out. After a while Giel stood only in his boxers and Emma was only wearing her lingerie. Emma stroked softly over his chest and went down over his stomach to his boxers. Again Giel lifted her up and took her into the bedroom where they ended the night in a romantic and passionate scene.

Giel woke up, Emma had noticed it and said: “Sorry sweetie, did I wake you up?”I thought I had heard something falling.” Giel said while he stretched. “What are you doing?” He added in surpri- se when he saw that Emma had took clothes out of the closet. “I am packing my things sweetie, I’m going with you.” Emma replied and Giel’s heart jumped up. He was very happy that they were going to live together and started helping her packing. After breakfast they took Emma’s stuff and went to the apartment and to the beginning of their new live together.

The alarm brought Emma back out of her dream. She immediately thought about Giel who was on the other side of the world at this moment. “How would things be going on in Los Angeles?” She said softly and her thoughts went to Giel.

Chapter nine: Land of the opportunity.

After a long day at work Ricardo, Pedro, Adriano and Giel decided to go for a drink in the pub, ne- arby their hotel. Ricardo treated them with pizza as a reward because he was very proud of his friends and the progress they had made in such a small amount of time. That’s why he found they had deserved a little extra.

When they arrived at the pub they each ordered a beer, cause the next day was a Sunday an so they didn’t had to work. After a couple of rounds Giel felt the alcohol a little bit, due to the fact that he hadn’t been drinking much lately, he realized and decided to order a water in the next round. It was already late in the night when they headed back to the hotel. Arriving there they went to bed and fell asleep immediately.

When Giel woke up the next morning he felt bright in his head and said softly to himself: “Thank you water!” Unfortunately that was not the case for everyone. When he sat at the table a little bit later and Ricardo and Pedro joined him he saw that they were not feeling so bright. But the one who was the worst was Adriano.

He hadn’t been with them during breakfast and when Giel knocked his door a while later it almost took ten minutes before he opened the door. He looked very bad and it was clear that he didn’t had much sleep last night. “What happened to you?” Giel said with a shocked look. “I had been drin- king too much I guess.” Adriano replied with a hoarse voice. Giel had to hide his laughter and said with a big grin: “We wanted to go and do something with the whole group, but I’m guessing you are not coming with us?” He had to do his very best not to laugh when Adriano replied that that had been a good guess. Only when the door was closed Giel couldn’t keep his laughter inside and star- ted running while laughing very hard.

When he joined Ricardo and Pedro again a while later he told them what he had seen and they both started laughing too. “Unbelievable!” Ricardo grinned. Pedro laughed so hard that he lay double and even when they were on their way to Salton City they still were laughing with Adriano’s story. “I do hope that it will all end up good of course.” Ricardo said still grinning. Giel and Pedro nodded but they also were still laughing. After almost two hours of driving they arrived in Salton City. The- re they first took a refreshing drink and a quick bite. Afterwards they made a walk through the city and at the shore. Giel was blown away by this place. He enjoyed all the sights here and in his ima- gination he was already thinking of living here.

Around five o’clock they had a great diner in one of the many fish restaurants, then went back to the hotel. On their way there Giel was looking dreamy outside. In his thoughts he had already bought a house at the Salton Sea and was thinking what Emma’s thoughts would be about moving to America. When they arrived back at the hotel Giel woke up out of his thoughts. He went to his room and on his way there he passed the room of Adriano and decided to make a quick check up. He knocked his door and not much later Adriano appeared.

He looked already better then a couple of hours ago. Giel noticed. “How are you?” He asked. “A bit better then this morning.” Adriano replied. “But remind me to never drink that much again.” He added. “I”ll help you thinking about it.” Giel said with a wink. “If you don’t mind I’m going to sleep already so that I’ll be back in shape tomorrow.” He added. “That’s a good idea! Take a good rest!” Giel said, then went to his room. Once there he took a quick shower and laid down his bed with his Laptop. He saw that Emma was still online so they had a lovely conversation about the things that were going on. He was happy that he had the chance to talk with his girlfriend and fell asleep with her in his memory. The next morning he woke up before dawn. He had been dreaming something from which he thought could be a great idea for a scenario and quickly wrote down the most impor- tant points of the story. Then he went down to have breakfast in the dining room. There he met up with Ricardo and Adriano. “Are you fully operative again?” Giel asked Adriano. “Absolutely, my batteries are back to one hundred percent!” Adriano replied with a wink of an eye. A bit later also Pedro joined them and after breakfast they went to the studio together.

Arriving there, Giel immediately started working on his ideas he’d wrote down just this morning. An hour later he had done the big lines of the story and decided to take a coffee first.

It was late in the evening when Giel felt that he was starting to feel tired. He couldn’t barely keep his eyes open and had to give up the fight, deciding to take a quick nap. He looked at the clock and saw that it was almost eleven PM. It made him think of the words that Ricardo had said him, mea- ning that he didn’t had to work until midnight before going to bed. Thinking of these words a grin appeared on Giel’s face. He saw Emma’s face in his mind and fell asleep.

Giel jumped awake. He looked at the clock and saw that it was half past one AM. Giel yawned and stretched, stood up and wrote a letter for Ricardo to apologize that it did became late in the night and that he was going to be a little bit later the next morning. He went back to the hotel and went straight to bed, thinking about Emma which made a smile appear on his face again before falling asleep.

Emma was sitting on the terrace of the bar, enjoying a great lunch with her parents. In the morning they had made a walk with a couple of parents and kids, including Zayn and his parents. After lunch she had another hour free and afterwards they went to the sports field. In the afternoon they had field games on the program with a group of almost twenty kids. Zayn, unfortunately couldn’t make it. He went to the beach with his parents.

Arriving at the sports field they divided the group into four smaller groups and every animator was a team captain. Emma had a group of four girls and one boy. She felt a little bit pity for the guy, Henry, but that was not necessary because she saw that the four girls accepted him immediately and he was not caring a lot about the fact that he was the only boy. Emma noticed it during the first task: tug-of-war, in which Henry was a good support for the girls and won the duel against all boys after a couple struggles. Emma saw that Henry was congratulated by the girls for his help which made him feel special for a moment.

The second task was a relay race and also in this one the girls team was superb, even tho they ended second due to the fact that one of the girls had dropped the stick and had to start over, but they did a great overtaking maneuver. The last task was a mini football tournament. Two matches each taking ten minutes per half and the winners of each game were going to play the final against each other. That first game, Emma’s team won with a perfect score of seven to zero. In the finals, Henry was leading the girls to the victory too, even tho it went a bit harder then in the previous game.

After only two minutes it was already one to zero for the other team and so they had to work hard to get back. At the end of the first half it was a tie: two – two. After the break Henry and Francesca went fully for the victory and so they scored another goal. In the very last minute the other team also scored a goal but they didn’t came further. Emma’s girls team, with the exception of Henry, had won the tournament. That they were celebrating later at the pool. Emma was glad when she saw that her activity had lead to a friendship between all the kids who were playing together for the rest of the afternoon.

A while later also Zayn joined them which gave Emma tears of joy. She taught about Giel while she sat down and wondered what his opinion would be about this picture. She closed her eyes for a second and saw Giel’s face floating before her eyes and a smile appeared on her face. One second later however she abruptly woke up out of her daydream because she felt water thrown over her body. She opened her eyes and saw Zayn and Henry standing in front of her. Each of them were holding a small bucket and were grinning. She stood up, took both of them to the water and threw them into the pool. For a moment she laughed on the side of the pool, but this had caused that she didn’t had noticed that the girls were also included into this conspiracy. They had sneaked in behind Emma and pushed her into the water. This caused a huge war in the pool between kids, animators and parents.

Knocked out, Emma came home and after a quick lunch she took a shower and then went straight to bed. It didn’t took long before she fell asleep while thinking back on this day which gave her a smile on her face. Thinking about Giel, she wandered away in her dreams.

The next morning however was hectic. Today Gerard and Leontien headed back home. After a quick breakfast they said goodbye and were taken to the airport by taxi. When her parents were gone, Emma immediately felt lonely. Fortunately she could stay on the camping for the rest of the day so she was not entirely alone. But when she came home in the evening she felt the emptiness around her and a tear fell down her cheek. She hoped fervently that Giel would be home soon. Thinking about him her tears were now coming faster. She couldn’t hold them and decided to let them come and cried herself to sleep.

The next couple weeks were also pretty heavy for Emma. Giel wasn’t going to be home until the end of September. On top of all that, the summer vacation was also finished so Emma had a lot more free time on her hands and that caused that she was feeling more lonely then before.

Because of Giel’s absence she was spending a lot of time working on some refreshments at the camping. On that she was working until late in the evening sometimes, but that way she also had something to do and so the time went by faster. When she came home, a couple of days before Giel would be back, she again gained a lonely feeling and she started crying again until she fell asleep.

“two nights to go!” She sighed when she woke up the next morning. She stood up and went to the bathroom, undressed and stepped into the shower. “If there is one thing that will help me through the day then a nice shower it is.” she thought. She could enjoy standing under the lovely water in- tensely, if she was not feeling well a shower was the solution for her.

The refreshing water also made her think back to her first vacation with Giel and that thought made her happy. She loved him so much and didn’t wanted to trade him, not even for the largest amount of gold offered. She was going to stay with him for the rest of their lives, that she was sure of. 

Chapter ten: Re-united.

Emma was wide awake despite the early hour and was pacing through the living room. “Finally I am going to see him again.” She sighed and sat down on a chair but immediately stood back up. When she heard the lock of the door she shocked for a second, then ran into the hall. There he stood with his luggage in his hand. When he saw Emma, a smile appeared on his face. “Finally home.” He whispered. Emma ran towards him and he dropped his luggage. She fell into his arms and was crying from happiness. “I missed you so much.” Emma sobbed. “I missed you too.” He said while giving each other a long and cozy hug. She had the feeling that she couldn’t let him go anymore and Giel shared that feeling.

After what felt like an eternity they did let each other go and Giel putted his luggage away and chan- ged clothes. Then they joined each other in the kitchen. During breakfast Giel told her everything about America. About the studio and what they had done during free time. She laughed when Giel told her the story of Adriano in the bar. She listened attentively to his story and dreamed away when she heard his voice. She realized that she had missed that too.

After breakfast and after they had done the dishes they went to the village and made a long walk. She hooked her arm into his arm while they were walking and Giel told her about their walk at the Salton Sea. “It really is a beautiful place and I’m really thinking about moving their one day.” He said to Emma and he showed her some pictures of it when they arrived at the camping. She was also immediately impressed and they agreed that she was going with him when they were going to the studio’s in America again.

At the camping they took place at the bar and ordered a soda. They were only ten minutes at the camping when Giel’s phone ringed and when he picked up and heard his mothers voice he gained tears in his eyes. They had a long conversation while he had put on the speaker so he and Emma were both able to listen and talk to his parents. At the end of the conversation his father had a sur- prise for them. They had already ordered flight tickets to come over to them in only two weeks from now and both Emma and Giel where very excited about it.

Giel had a great time during his free week. He had decided to have a bit of rest during this week to recover from his trip in America. Therefor he woke up late in the morning everyday after which he relaxed a lot. Somedays he just stayed home and watched a movie at the terrace, other days he went to the camping and took his writing gear with him to work on his own stories. That weekend he and Emma had a romantic diner at a restaurant with an ocean view. There they clinked on their relati- onship while the sun was setting.

On Monday morning Giel woke up early and after a quick breakfast he went to the studio. In his short week of vacation he had gained a lot of inspiration again for new scripts on which he started working immediately. He only had to work that week cause the next week, when his parents were going to be with them, he again had taken vacation. However, he did had agreed with Ricardo that he was going to work from home on the new scripts from Star Animated Studio’s and Ricardo had agreed with that.

The week passed by quickly and at Friday evening, he Adriano, Ricardo and Pedro went for a drink at the bar nearby the studio. There they once again clinked on their success in America and Ricardo told them that there was a lot of interest in the scripts from their studio. Therefor Ricardo taught that the hard labor of his companions needed to be celebrated. Giel had send Emma a message that he was going to be home later and that she didn’t had to stay awake for him.

At three am, Giel came home. He was a little bit drunk, but still had drank water at the end of the evening. He went straight to bed and when Emma felt his presence she came closer to him and nest- led in his lap. That way they fell asleep together.

Next morning Giel woke up late but didn’t had a headache. He did feel a little bit nausea but didn’t had a huge hangover. “Thanks again, water!” He said with a grin and yawned loudly. He stood up, got dressed and went to the living room where he took a small breakfast. Around noon he took his car and went to the airport to pick up his parents, who were arriving today. When he arrived at the airport, he suddenly gained a moment of stress. “Not abnormal.” He thought. After all he hadn’t seen his parents in three years, except for their video chat’s. His heart jumped up when he saw his mother and father coming into the lobby and when they saw him, his mother Karine ran up to him and jumped into his arms. Her face was all wet from tears and for a moment she couldn’t say any- thing. Dirk joined them too and also he gained tears of joy. When they all had the power to speak again, Giel welcomed them in Mallorca and took them with him to his car.

On their way home they talked about last three years and about Giel’s job. When they arrived at Giel and Emma’s home, Dirk and Karine first took a moment to refresh. Then Giel showed them some of his works for the studio and he also told them about their adventure in America. Around three pm they went to the camping where Emma was working. There they took place at the bar and ordered a cocktail, except for Giel who ordered a soda. “We have seen your friends from Casa Musica a couple of weeks ago. They played a huge gig in the youth center.” Dirk said and Giel replied: “We have seen them too, two years ago here in Mallorca.” They bought a villa here with the group, I think it’s not very far from here and I also think that they are currently at home for a moment of rest.” He took his cellphone and sent a message to Michiel with the question what they were doing and asked how things were going on with the band. Not much later he gained a message back which said that they were having a two month break in Mallorca, as Giel had expected, and Michiel invited them over to their house in Palma the Mallorca.

Emma joined them a while later and Giel introduced her to his parents. They welcomed Emma to the family in a warm way and that had given her a great feeling. “I had contact with Michiel from Casa Musica just now.” Giel said. “He invited us over this evening at their house here in Palma the Mallorca.” He added. “Well, that sounds great! I’d love to see them again.” Emma replied and gave Giel a kiss on his cheek.

After Giel and his parents had finished their drinks, they went back to Giel and Emma’s home. At five o’clock Emma arrived too and she took a quick shower, then they headed to Michiel and Thomas’s house. When they arrived there, Michiel was already waiting for them and he greeted them kindly. He took them with him to the backyard where also Thomas, Yana, Elise and the parents of Thomas and Michiel were sitting in the backyard lobby. They all greeted each other greatly and Dirk, Karine, Herbert, Maria, Marc and Linda recognized each other immediately.

Michiel and Thomas amused the group with their acoustic music at the fire pit and as a scoop they played a new song that they had finished earlier this week. It was a lovely evening and everyone was very happy to see each other again. They all talked about their adventures so far, until late in the night.

When Giel and Emma and his parents went back home, they all agreed to do this more often. The rest of the week Giel and his parents went to a lot of beautiful locations in the neighborhood. They also went to the beach for a day, and also had a boat trip. So, Dirk and Karine’s holiday came to an end and at the end of the week they went back home.

They all were very happy that they’d had seen each other again, also the fact that they had seen the guys from Casa Musica and their parents again, had given them a great feeling. They also were very proud of their son and his success and during the last night, they had diner in a cozy restaurant were they once again clinked on Giel’s success and on their relationship. “A perfect vacation!” Was Dirks opinion about it.

He was certain that his son had made the right decision to come and work here. “This was his life- time goal and he achieved only a small part of what he was about to achieve.” That statement, Dirk was certain about.

Chapter eleven: The perfect dream.

Despite the fact that it was the end of the year, it still wasn’t cold outside. The last couple years had been great in Giel’s opinion, he and the studio had made big progresses during the five years that he was now working in the studio and he had gained a lot of great comments on his works. Also in America where they were going on a regular bases to Star Animated Studio’s in Los Angeles for their job.

Now it was only two weeks before the end of the year when Giel, Adriano and Ricardo came back from their stay in Los Angeles. The next two weeks they were free. After they’d been to L.A. for two months Giel arrived home in the morning, a couple days before Christmas. Emma had made a lovely welcome home breakfast and Giel told her about their trip in America.

“We also have been to the Salton sea again.” Giel said and also told her that he was playing with the idea to buy something there. He almost had revealed the fact that he had a huge offer to work as scenario writer for Star Animated Studio’s but was just in time to keep it inside. He thought that it would be better to tell her tonight during diner in the presence of a candle light.

After a walk of almost two hours they arrived at the camping and there they sat on the terrace with a nice cocktail. They stayed there the rest of the day and had lunch there. When it was nearly nightfall they walked back over the beach and enjoyed each others company while the sun was setting. Giel stopped abruptly. “What’s wrong?” Emma asked when she noticed that He had stopped. Giel was looking to the scene in which the sun disappeared behind the horizon. Emma came to stand next to him and gave him a kiss on his cheek. She laid her head on his shoulder and joined him watching the scene.

Giel broke the silence and said: “I have to tell you something.” Emma turned her head towards him and looked him in the eyes. For a moment they both were lost in each others eyes but then Giel blinked and said: “During my time now in America, the people of Star Animated Studio’s gave me a great offer, they asked me if I would join them in full time as a writer for them.” Emma looked at him with her mouth wide open. “Darling, that’s great.” She whispered. “Did you say yes I hope?” She asked when Giel looked away. “I haven’t given my answer yet. It is a big step and it also means that you have to quit your job here.” Giel said. “So I said I needed some time to discuss it with you.” He added. “There are a lot of campings near L.A. too.” Emma replied. “This is an opportunity of a lifetime, honey, you have to take it!” She added. Giel took her closer to him and gave her a kiss on her forehead. “That is why I love you so much.” He whispered. These words gave Emma a warm feeling. She let him go and took his hands. “I love you too and I will never let you walk out of my life. Wherever you go, I go.” She said determined. Giel took her closer to him and kissed her full on her mouth while the sun behind them completely disappeared into the ocean.

When they came back home they headed straight to bed and both fell asleep immediately.

The lovely nightfall turn into a beautiful sunset when Giel and Emma had been hiking whole day long. They had made a walk around the Salton Sea and now they were arrived back in their hotel. There they’d first took a quick shower, after which they enjoyed a lovely diner. In the evening they were enjoying a drink in a bar nearby, where a band was playing. For Giel and Emma, that was their first real vacation together since they both lived in Mallorca and they enjoyed it to the fully.

They had spent a whole week now visiting the neighborhoods and the villages that laid around the Salton Sea and were impressed by their beauty. They also had seen a lot of houses for sale around and both Giel and Emma were fans of the styles of the houses. “These styles of houses are exactly what I have in mind for my dream home.” Giel said when they were on their way to the hotel after they had seen a house in Salton City. “I have to admit, I like them too. They have something fami- liar and cozy.” Emma replied. Giel nodded and said: “I definitely want us to stay here and buy one like this, grow old together.” Emma looked him the eyes when he said these words and she gave him a passionate kiss.

In the week that followed they rented a car nearby the hotel and went to a lot of things in the neighborhood. The first day they went to Los Angeles and there they did the same tour as Giel, Pedro and Ricardo had done during their first stay here. Emma was impressed by the Hollywood sign and the view they had from upon the hill. On their way back they passed Palm Springs where they took a short break and enjoyed the views of the mountains laying peacefully. When they arrived back at the hotel they went straight to bed, both exhausted and fell asleep immediately.

The next morning they woke up and after breakfast they packed their things and headed to Las Veg- as. At noon they arrived at the Mojave dessert. There they took a break and made a small walk through the sands.

Three hours later they headed further and late in the afternoon they arrived at the Grand Canyon, there they took a motel and refreshed themselves first, then went to a diner nearby. The next morning they woke up early and went for a walk in the canyon with a guide. They agreed that they would be staying here two days so they were able to see the natural beauty of this national monument. A after their tour, which had been taking a whole day, they arrived back at the motel and after a quick meal and a last drink they headed to bed early.

The next morning they woke before dawn and headed further on their trip. After a short drive, on which they passed Lake Mead, they arrived in Las Vegas, but they didn’t stayed long. Here they only took a short break at the strip and then went further. On their way to san Fransisco they first passed Death Valley where they took a quick break, then drove further. Late in the afternoon they arrived at Fresno, a small village which they drove through and because they were already driving a long time by now, they decided to stop here for the night and took another motel.

Giel was very happy when they arrived at San Fransisco the next day. He and Emma did had been driving in turns, but they were on the road a lot the last couple days. When they arrived in San Fransisco they visited a lot of interesting points, including the prison Island: Alcatraz, which is known as the highest secured prison in the world. Today she is not operational anymore, but she held the most dangerous prisoners, such as Al Capone, know for his mafia works.

In the evening they had a last dinner in the big city and the next morning they had a flight back to Mallorca. So it was that Emma had been in America too now, and had seen what Giel was seeing when he was working here. She was very proud of her man and she had enjoyed their trip at the west coast. She was certain that she would be coming here more often.

Late in the morning Giel woke up with the picture of his dream before his eyes. Emma was already up and running for a while and had gone to the camping very early. Giel had a free week to recover from his trip and had decided to take the time to catch up some sleep. In the afternoon he also headed to the camping and when he arrived there he saw that there was a lot less people then he was used to. It took a bit of time before he realized that it was already at the end of September and so the vacation period was over. During his stay in America, Giel hadn’t been thinking about time and so he didn’t notice the end of the vacation.

He took place at the bar and ordered a beer. Ten minutes later Emma joined him and they both en- joyed a lovely meal.

That week flew by in no time and so Giel’s short break came to an end. That Monday morning he stood up early and after a quick breakfast together with Emma, he went to the studio. In the past week he had gained a lot of new ideas and started working on it immediately upon his arrival in the studio. Around noon they took a break and afterwards they had a meeting about the new scripts for Star Animated Studio’s. Giel also told Ricardo that he had talked to Emma and said to him that she was standing behind the idea of going to America. Ricardo was happy with that news and said: “Great, then I can get started with the ideas for there.”

Late in the evening Giel came home. He went straight to bed and when Emma felt his presence she nestled in his lap. He placed his arm around her waist and fell asleep.

After a great but exhausting week in the studio, Giel was happy that he sat at the bar of the camping with a refreshing pint of beer. Emma was busy with the big clean up. With the summer vacation gone it became calmer at the camping and so now they had the time to renew some things. Some campers got a new layer of paint and the pool had been emptied in order to clean it properly. The small amount of people who were still at the camping were mostly elders and they were more often going for a walk or playing a game of petanque.

Due to the fact that there were not so much guests, Emma’s day was also shorter and when she arri- ved home she saw that Giel had cooked up diner. Emma took a quick shower and after diner they sat at the sofa, enjoying each others company. Giel stroked through her hair. They had put on a mo- vie but they were both not following it. Emma had her hand placed on Giel’s chest and stroked it gently. He kissed her forehead and his hand slipped down softly, stroking her belly. They nestled in the sofa and started kissing intenser after which they landed in a sensual moment.

Giel grabbed Emma tightly and took her to their room. He placed her on the bed, took out his shirt and Emma opened his pants that fell on the floor and Giel stepped out of it. He laid down next to her and so they ended the evening very smooth.

Giel turned exhausted to his side of the bed. “That was lovely.” He said. Emma laid aside of him and crawled against him. That way they fell asleep.

Giel opened his eyes. He saw that Emma was laying against him with her head on his shoulder. He stroked her hair and she woke up softly. She crawled closer against him and gave him a kiss on his chest. “Good morning sweetie.” Giel whispered. “Slept well?” He added. Emma stretched and yaw- ned loudly. “I had such an amazing dream.” She said and gave him a kiss on his cheek. “We were at the altar, ready to get married. You looked so handsome in your costume.”

A smile appeared on her face and she closed her eyes for a moment. Giel gained a warm feeling in- side when she said that. “That would be awesome!” He said while he stared at the ceiling. Emma opened her eyes and looked at him with a lovely face. Giel turned his head towards her and when he saw her sweet face, his heart melted. “I love you so very much.” He said and gave her a passionate kiss. She looked at the clock and saw that it was only seven o’clock. Still they stood up because Emma had still a surprise for Giel. They got clothed and a while later they enjoyed a lovely walk on the beach while the sun was quietly rising.

Emma found it great to see the sunrise, instead of getting down and she took Giel’s hand. After almost an hour walking Emma said: “I have a surprise for you.” She took him to a small restaurant at the beach.

“Good morning, I had a reservation for Emma Klaassens.” She said when they arrived there and Giel looked at her in surprise. “Are you kidding me?” He asked softly while the waiter escorted them to their table. “I haven’t seen you in a month, so I think we should catch up with that time. Besides I have to tell you something.” Emma said. She stood up and took place aside of Giel, took his hand and placed it on her belly. “Giel, in couple of months we are going to be with the three of us.” Emma said with a huge smile. For moment Giel sat motionless, then he stood up while he said: “you’re not saying that you’re …?” Giel said with mouth wide open and Emma nodded. A big grin appeared on Giel’s face and he grabbed her hand. “That is Wonderfull news honey! I’m speechless for a moment.” Giel said. He pulled Emma closer to him and gave her a huge hug.

They enjoyed their breakfast and each others company. After a whole month being separated, Emma was glad that Giel was back with her and she dreamed away while she listened to Giel’s story about America and the story of the script they had been working on back there.

She immediately laid the link with what they had done a couple years ago during their stay at the Salton Sea and their trip between the three big cities that made the west coast, the west coast. She also thought back about what Giel had said earlier and her thoughts wandered back to the Salton Sea. Same as Giel, she’d fell in love with the place instantly and often dreamed about living there. The plans that Giel had explained earlier, most definitely gave that dream a boost.

Chapter twelve: Broken.

The new year had started well for both Emma and Giel. Giel had gained so many new ideas for both the strips and the movies, and that had resulted in three scripts already since the beginning of the year. Now it was already the end of march and with the easter period on his way, Emma also gained a lot more work for a while. A lot of families came over to the camping during the two weeks of vacation and that caused that Emma and her colleagues could work at the pool again and had a cou- ple of new things that they were trying out for the summer. The camping had bought an air cushion to place into the water and that they now had been testing for a couple days.

It became a huge hit. Kids loved it and Emma and her colleagues were happy with the results. But it did also took a lot more work now and that caused that Emma, who had gained a bigger belly now with the baby on her way, was tired at the end of the week. She was glad that her workday was over and felt that she needed some rest, but decided to still have something to drink with her colleagues at the bar. “I would be very happy to get to bed, I’m so tired.” Emma yawned and in her thoughts she was already nestling into Giel’s lap. She quickly finished her drink and headed home. “See you tomorrow!” She said when she stood up and her colleagues greeted her mutual.

When she came outside she saw that it was very cloudy and thought to herself. “I have to hurry, be- cause if that is coming down I won’t be able to see a hand before my eyes!” On her way she felt a couple times that she had trouble keeping her eyes open and the rain that was bouncing into the windows were not very helpful either, so she decided to put the music a little bit harder.

At the other side of the road she saw a truck coming her way that shook dangerously back and forth and she horned a couple times in an attempt to get the trucker’s attention. At that moment many things happened at the same time. Her purse glided off the dashboard and out of reflex she grabbed towards it. When she looked back up she saw that truck had started to swing and the sound of sque- aling tires went trough marrow and bone. She was just in time to turn the wheel which caused her to land aside of the road. Her car started to spin around and Emma yelled loudly.

As if there was no end in sight Emma became frightened. The car stranded against the guardrails, turned over and Emma bumped her head against the wheel. She yelled in pain. Her leg was stuck between the wheel and her seat and she had no chance of freeing herself out of this plight position. She felt very painful stabs in her belly and started shaking heavily. “Oh no! Not the baby!” She thought and started crying. The idea that she had lost their little angel made Emma feeling shocked and she started panicking.

“Help! Help me!” She screamed but didn’t see someone in the neighborhood and closed her eyes. Tears were rolling down her cheek and she fervently wished for Giel to be here. The truck had been gone of the road into the ravine with the lifeless body of the driver aside of it. Further there was no one there to help them.

Giel woke up and realized that Emma was not laying beside of him. He looked up and saw that it was almost 1.00 o’clock already. He stood up to go and look where Emma was. “Maybe she couldn’t sleep and had stood up again.” He thought, but when he had searched the whole apartment for her with no result, he started to get really worried. He took his phone and called her. He went over, but after a short time he went to voicemail. Giel tried again with the same result, and then again in vain. Desperately he pulled on his clothes, took his keys and ran of the stairs to his car.

He followed Emma’s route to the camping and tried to pay a lot of attention. After almost fifteen minutes driving he saw something horrible. Emma’s car laid against the guardrails and he stopped abruptly, drove his car to the side, got out and ran towards Emma’s car.

The fragments were scattered here and there and the car was left to pieces. Giel took his phone and called the emergency number. “Help!” He yelled when someone on the other side picked up the phone. “Help me, my girlfriend had an accident on Northway lane.”
The correspondent at the other side of the line told Giel that someone was on the way and tried to calm down Giel. They also told him that he in no circumstances could touch the car, or try to take her out of it. The call ended and Giel looked into the car. He saw Emma’s body laying motionless in the car and he fell down on his knees. His world collapsed before his eyes, seeing his girlfriend laying there as if she was dead. He closed his eyes for a second and saw the body of Jessie during the last greeting and started crying hysterically. A short time went by until he heard the sirens co- ming and he tried to man up. The fireman arrived, together with the ambulance and hurried towards the car. With an hydraulic scissor they cut out the other remaining pieces of the car and took out Emma’s body.

There the ambulance agents took her under their wing and tried to reanimate her. Giel turned away from this sight. He couldn’t bare to see his girlfriend laying there.

It took only a couple moments before Emma came back to earth. “G…Giel?” She stammered when she was able to speak again. Giel turned around in relieve and looked her straight into the eyes. “Sweetie?” He said sobbing. “I am so glad that you’re still here, that you survived.” He added. He saw that her body was badly damaged and placed his hand on her belly. Emma started crying when she felt his hand. “What’s wrong?” Giel asked, but Emma didn’t answer. One second later he reali- zed why she cried and took his hand away. “Oh no!” He said sobbing. The ambulance agents placed Emma inside the truck and told Giel that he could follow them.

Meanwhile, the other ambulance had taken care of the truck driver, but for him there was nothing that could help him anymore.

When Giel arrived at the hospital he went through the intensive care entrance, as the ambulance agent had told him to do. There he had to wait in the waiting room. After what seemed hours, the doctor came up to Giel who stood up immediately and asked: “And? How is she? Are they going to be okay?”

The doctor placed his hand on Giel’s shoulder and said that he had to take a seat. “What I’m about to tell you is not good news.” He said. “We were able to bring Emma back, but she has very deep and big injuries which means that her recovery will be very long.” The doctor added. “How long exactly?” Giel asked with a worried voice. “It will take about six months, but it can also be longer, or shorter, that depends on how her body will recover.” The doctor said. “And the baby? Can I see them?” Giel asked while he stood back up.

The doctor sighed and said: “I think it’s better for you if you take another seat for a moment.” Giel looked at him in bewilderment but did what the doctor said and sat back down.

“I am truly sorry that I have to tell you this Giel, but the baby unfortunately didn’t survive. I’m sor- ry.” Giel felt his world crumbling down completely. “I wanna see her.” Giel sobbed. “Come with me.” The doctor said and took Giel with him to Emma’s room. When he entered the room and saw Emma he started crying heavily. “I’m sorry sweetie.” Emma said sobbing. “I wanted…” But more she couldn’t bring out.

She also bursted into tears and Giel took place beside her and took her hand. “It’s not your fault.” Giel said sobbing and gave Emma a kiss on her forehead. For a while they sat in silence together and grieved over the loss of their little angel. Eventually, the doctor entered and said that Emma had to rest. Giel asked if it was possible that he could stay here for the night to be with Emma, so they placed a mattress on the ground for Giel to sleep on.

The next morning they’ve been woken up early by the medical team who took Emma with them for investigation. Giel decided to go home cause he couldn’t stay here. He had to be away from all of this for a while, he needed a moment alone. He first drove home to collect clothes for Emma and then went to the studio. He had called Ricardo in the morning to tell him what had happened and that he was going to take a day off.

When he arrived at the studio, a sad atmosphere was lingering there. Everyone felt sad for Giel and Emma and when he told them about the loss of their baby he gained a crop in his throat and started crying. Pedro stood up and gave Giel an intense hug, followed by Adriano and Ricardo. “I found this so horrible Giel, you two are such a beautiful couple, I do not wish this for anyone to happen, but mostly not for you two.” Ricardo said. “If there is anything that I, that we can help you with? Anything at all, let us know.” Adriano said at his turn. “Thanks. For everything!” Giel sobbed.

“Now go, Emma needs you more then ever now.” Ricardo said. “And Giel, take free as long as you need.” He added. Giel nodded, then headed outside and went back to the hospital. When he arrived there, Emma was sleeping in a private room. Giel gave her kiss on her forehead causing her to wake up. “Hi sweetie. How are you?” Giel said.

Emma told him that she was waiting for the results and Giel took place in the chair aside of the bed. He also told her that he had been to the studio, that he had told them what had happened and that everyone was feeling sorry for them. Almost an hour later the doctor came in.

“Hello Emma, Giel.” He said polite. “Good that you are here too Giel, I have the results with me and this way Emma doesn’t have to explain it to you because that would be very hard for her.” He added. “The first thing I have to tell you, the baby that was on the way unfortunately did not survi- ve.” Emma gained tears in her eyes and also Giel could not hold back tears. “I am truly sorry for you and in name of the whole staff from the hospital I want to give you our sincere condolences.” The doctor said. “And there is something else too.” He added. “Due to the impact of the accident which had caused you losing your baby, your uterus is also seriously affected and you have unfor- tunately become infertile.”

Emma started crying even harder. Giel took her hand and softly squeezed it. “I am truly feeling sor- ry for the both of you, but do know that there are still other options to have kids. You can always consider an adoption, and I know for a fact that a strong couple as you two will have no complications in the whole process of it. You are going to be stronger when this is over, that I am one-hundred percent guaranteed of.” The doctor said. “Now take some rest and I’ll see you in a couple of hours.” He decided, then left the room.

Emma was still crying heavily. Giel tried to man up and took Emma’s hand. He gave her a kiss on her forehead and said: “The doctor is right sweetie. We are going to be stronger when this is over, I fully support that vision. And there are a lot of people who are standing behind us and are suppor- ting us, so everything will be alright eventually.” Emma looked at Giel and he placed his hand on her cheek and wiped her tears away. “Fortunately I have an incredible husband standing aside of me.” She whispered sobbing.

Giel gained a soft smile on his face that caused that a feeling of peace returned over him. “Take some rest honey, the visiting hour is over so I am going home, but tomorrow I’ll be back in pole position to be here with you.” Giel said with a reassuring voice and gave her an intense kiss. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” Giel said and closed the door softly behind him. Emma closed her eyes and also felt peace taking over her body. That peace she needed very hard Emma realized right before falling asleep.

Chapter thirteen: Recovery.

After three long weeks of rehabilitation in the hospital, Emma was finally allowed to go home. However her revalidation wasn’t finished yet. Now she still had to go to the physiotherapist on a daily bases and in between she had to rest. Emma was looking forward to go to work again, but that was not going to happen for the first couple of weeks.

In the hospital she had gained a letter which said that she wouldn’t be able to go to work for at least four weeks and after that her recovery needs to be checked. from this check up a decision will then be made about whether or not she is capable to work again. She was happy that she could recover at home, but she still missed her colleagues and during the lots of free time she now had she was constantly thinking about it and that was not a good thing for her.

Giel had gone back to work in the studio, but he and Ricardo had agreed that Giel could work from home so that he could be with Emma for her needs. Only on Friday he had to be in the Studio be- cause of the weekly meeting and so Giel and Emma had agreed that on Friday Giel would be working in the studio. The rest of the week he worked from home and only went to the studio if it was really necessary.

Both Giel and Emma were still in a period of mourning due to the loss of their little angel. Every time Emma saw parents with kids she had a rough moment. Also the fact that she was now infertile, and that she would never be able to give Giel kids caused her having a bit of pain. Giel always com- forted her by saying that it wasn’t her fault and that there were still other options available to have kids, but even with Giel’s support, she thought about it a lot and it always gave her a bad feeling. Giel had seen this too. She was often alone so that Giel would not see her crying, but Giel knew better; He himself had been in the exact same situation in that fatal summer in which Jessy had gone away from them.

To clear their minds they had decided to make a boat trip during the weekend. Giel arranged it as a surprise for Emma. He hoped that this would set her mind of the things for a while and thought that after everything that had happened she could use a bit of good news. When they had docked at a small island nearby they enjoyed the sunset from the deck with both a glass of champagne, Emma sighed and told Giel that after all the things that happened she still loved him dearly. She also said that her feelings for him were even grown due to the circumstances.

Emma gave him a kiss on his forehead and Giel stood up and took a small box out of his pocket. Emma didn’t know what was happening for a while until Giel sat down on one knee in front of her. “dear pumpkin, we’ve had a rough time lately, but I also have the feeling that we had come out stronger and my feelings for you have grown bigger.” Giel said softly and Emma gained tears in her eyes. “Therefor I wanted to ask you something very important.” He added and cleared his throat. “Emma Klaassens, will you be my better half, for the rest of our lives?”

Finally he had popped the question that was lingering on his lips for so long. He was very happy that he had finally asked it and now waited for Emma’s answer in tension. “Oh Giel!” Emma sob- bed and wiped away a tear. “of course I’ll Mary you! I will never, ever change you for anyone else in the world. You are the best thing that ever happened to me!” Emma said sobbing, but this time it were tears of happiness. “When we first met I already had the feeling that you were the one for me.” She added. Giel also gained tears in his eyes with hearing Emma’s beautiful response and Emma fell in Giel’s arms. After what seemed an eternity they let each other go and when Emma looked into Giel’s eyes she again saw the spark that she had seen the first time too. She involuntarily gained a warm feeling inside and a smile appeared on her face.

“Thank you for this beautiful day honey, I have enjoyed it intensely.” Emma whispered in his ear. Giel felt delighted and was happy that, after the hard period they had gone through, he finally could see Emma smile again. He had missed that beautiful smile enormously and with seeing Emma shining again, he felt great too. After their boat trip Giel took her to the restaurant where they had their first date. Emma felt good. She haven’t felt so good in a long time anymore. After her accident and the long period of revalidation she had the feeling that she’d forgotten how it felt to be happy. Only when she thought about their unborn angel that she had lost she gained that depressive feeling again for a moment but Giel, who had seen it too, wouldn’t her to think about it and thought of a plan to turn her frown upside down. Especially tonight. He stood up and said that he was going to the bathroom.

When he arrived back a short time later he said to Emma: “I have another small surprise for you.” , he scratched his left ear as a sign to the DJ, where he had asked for a song a couple minutes ago, who had seen it and understood the hint. He took his microphone. “Ladies and gentleman, time for a slower pace. For them willing to dance, be my guest.” He said and winked to Giel. Emma had seen it too and when she heard the tones of her favorite song she looked at Giel in surprise. Giel, at his turn, was grinning when he saw Emma’s expression on her face and said: “Surprise! wanna dan- ce gorgeous?” Giel stood up and took place aside of Emma, holding out his hand for her to take her to dance floor. Emma at her turn gently took his hand and smiled happily at him.

They slowed easily to the center of the floor, followed by other couples. At first Giel was fooling around a little bit and danced heavily overacting. Emma found it amusing and laughed with the things Giel was doing, but also tried to calm him down. Eventually he did and they started slowing easily while Emma placed her head on his shoulder and grabbed him tighter. Giel gave her a kiss on her forehead and then let his head softly rest against hers. So, they danced slowly further and when the song ended they applauded the loudest.

A couple hours later they were walking back home over the beach. Evening walks over the beach were Emma’s favorites. That way she could always find back rest with the soft murmur of the water, she could easily enjoy it as if the sea was talking to her and if she was alone on the beach, she even talked back to the sea. When they arrived home they went straight to bed and fell asleep in an instant.

The next morning Emma woke up early. Giel was still sleeping peacefully against her and she tried to get out of bed without waking him up. She got dressed and went to the bakery and butchery in the village. Giel had spoiled her too many times before and she found that it was now his turn to be surprised. An hour later she arrived back home and made breakfast. She had placed it on a plate and then went back to the bedroom. Giel was still swimming in his deepest thoughts when Emma entered the room. She placed the plate on his bedside table and gave him a kiss on his forehead while she stroked his hair. Giel woke up softly. He opened his eyes and saw Emma sitting aside of him.

“Good morning sleeping beauty.” Emma said soft and a smile appeared on Giel’s face. “Good morning sweetie. You’re up early?” Giel replied with a sleepy voice. “I wanted to surprise you the same way as you did for me so many times before.” Emma said and pointed to the plate that was standing on his bedside table. Giel turned around and saw a delicious breakfast waiting for them. “Hmm, that looks delightful sweetie!” Giel said. Emma took the plate, took place aside Giel in bed and took a croissant. Giel followed her example and so they enjoyed a nice breakfast in each others lovely company.

After breakfast they made a walk on the beach and passed the camping. Seeing this Emma realized that she missed her colleagues and spending the day with entertaining the kids. But the doctor had told her that she couldn’t do heavy work anymore and unfortunately animation was one of it because of the mostly long days and because of the fact that it is also an exhausting job. Emma knew that of course but still she missed the job. The doctor did tell her however that she was able to keep working with kids and that a side job as babysitter was still an option, or open up her own small daycare. As long as there were not too many kids for her she had her doctor’s blessing and Emma had been thinking about it. But she didn’t had talked about it with Giel and she wanted his opinion about it first. When they were sitting on the terrace, at the bar of the camping a while later Emma abruptly said: “What would you think of the idea of me opening up a small daycare?” Giel looked at her in surprise and said: “Sweetie, you have to do what you want to do. But do you think your able to do it?” “I have talked about it with the doctor and he even recommended it to me.” Emma replied. “Then you also have my blessing.” Giel said with a lovely smile on his face. This was the Emma he knew, determined not to sit down.

He looked at her and said: “You are amazing sweetheart.” He stood up and gave her a kiss on her forehead. “I did was planning to get myself some experience first at the daycare here in the village.” Emma added. “Well, of course every experience you can get is a good start. I truly hope you can do it, but I’m positive that you are going to do great!” Giel replied.

He saw Emma opening up again and that gave him a great feeling too. It had been a while since he had seen Emma so happy and he was glad that changes were finally made. Emma was talking the whole day about the daycare and her excitement about it. Giel letted her talk and listened to her excited and happy voice. That alone made Giel feeling happy too again and that was already a while ago.

Chapter fourteen: Casa de los niños.

Despite the fact that it was already December and the end of the year was coming closer, the temperatures were still around twenty degrees and Giel was not used to that. “In Belgium it would be freezing and snowing right now.” He thought when he looked outside from his desk and saw the sun, after shining a whole day, slowly setting and making place for a warm evening glow. The meeting in the studio had just ended. Ricardo had told them that they would start up a studio in America that will write scenario’s for both Star Animated Studio’s and Studio Hermano. He had also told them that they would be working with two permanent employees in America.

Besides Giel, also Adriano had volunteered and Ricardo had given him his blessing for it. For Adriano it was only a small step because he didn’t had a girlfriend or kids and only had to look out after himself. Back here in Mallorca he lived alone and rented an apartment, just as Giel and Emma did. Giel was also happy to have someone to work with in America. In the seven years of Giel’s employment in the studio he had learned very much and had made big steps forward.

Ricardo had told Giel during his last evaluation that he was very delighted about Giel’s work, but that the excelled during the last internship in America and Ricardo found that his movie scenario’s were even better. That was the reason why he had chosen him for the job. Adriano also had left a big impression in America with his movie scripts and Pedro, who was working the longest in the studio, had with that experience better comic book scripts. Therefor Ricardo had chosen Adriano as second man in America. Adriano himself was very enthusiastic when Ricardo asked him for the job and said yes immediately when he was asked to represent them in America together with Giel. With both confirmations Ricardo started to work on the setup for everything for them there.

First things first, he started looking for a location to settle the studio and after consultation with Giel and Adriano, the location with most interest from both had become Salton City, at the Salton Sea. Giel had been here three times. The first time with Pedro and Ricardo, when Adriano had stayed in the hotel after a heavy evening. Giel still gained a big grin with thinking back about Adriano that morning. The second time he went there with only Adriano on a free Sunday because Adriano also wanted to visit it there after he had heard Giel’s, Ricardo’s and Pedro’s stories about it. Those tales were not lied he had thought back then and had been imagining himself living there ever since. The third time was with Giel and Emma during their trip at the west coast.

The thoughts of both Giel and Adriano had been given strength now and they both were happy about it. When Giel arrived home that night, Emma had created a cozy atmosphere by putting on candles and dimming the lights. In the background there was a soft piano song playing gently. Giel immediately gained a smile on his face when he entered. “Well this is a cozy welcome home.” He said and gave Emma a kiss on her cheek. “What have I done to deserve this sweetie?” He added. “Nothing special, I just wanted to make it cozy for us this evening.” She replied. “Well, that was a great thought, I had a conversation with Ricardo earlier today and he told me that the two of us who are going to represent the studio in America are Adriano and me.” Giel said while he had pulled out his shoes and took places aside Emma. “Honey! That’s great! So we are going to America then?” Emma replied enthusiast. Giel nodded and said: “Yep, so now we can start packing our stuff and get ready for a new stage in our life.” They cuddled for a while before going to the bedroom and there they fell straight asleep.

Ten minutes before Emma’s alarm should be going off she woke up and stood up immediately. Giel already had been up and had gone to the studio very early. Emma had tests today in Casa de los niños, a daycare in the village where they lived. Emma had asked for a internship for five weeks there and they had gladly accepted her offer , after a short job interview. When she arrived at the daycare, half an hour later, she first got a small tour and met the kids that were staying there that day. She was well received by the children and that gave her a great feeling and a huge boost to keep doing it. Now that she was working with kids again she realized that she had missed it a lot in the last couple years. She had been working at the camping again, but not as an animator, she now did other jobs there including working at the bar and kitchen as also doing the duty of the housekeepers.

The morning went on fast due to the fact that she had had a great time. After lunch a few of the children went to bed for an afternoon nap. The remaining kids gathered around Emma who read a story for them out of the fairy tale book. The kids enjoyed it and when the story was finished they Immediately asked for another one and Emma promised that she was going to read another one the next day and therefor should bring Giel’s first book. That idea was well received by both the children and her superior.

When she arrived back home that evening she immediately told Giel about her day and her plan to bring Giel’s first book the next day to read from it. Giel gained a warm feeling inside when Emma told him this and for a moment he was taken by emotions by the fact that Emma was going to use his book for her work. “Are you okay honey?” She asked him when she saw that he wiped away a tear. “Yeah I’m okay honey. I’m just a little bit taken by the fact that you are using my book for your job. ” He replied and pulled her closer towards him, giving her a big hug. “It is done with love and pride.” Emma whispered in his ear. “Thanks.” He said softly when they let each other go, then he gave her a passionate kiss.

“Oh, almost forgot.” Giel said suddenly. “I’ve seen a couple houses for sale online at the Salton sea earlier today and I think that both the prizes and the houses are going to gather your interest too.” He added. He opened his laptop and went to the site, which he had been overlooking during his break. “Look, the prizes are very buyer-friendly.” He said and clicked a house, nearby Salton City, that was for sale for the prize of $139.999 and showed Emma the pictures. She was also very impressed and said that she wanted to go and take a look at it. He showed her a couple other houses, but she had already set her sights on the first one, even tho she knew that it was going to take a while before they were able to go and take a look at it. But she suggested that Giel would send a mail to the real estate company for more information.

Giel found that a great idea and immediately opened his mailbox to send the mail. Afterwards he closed his laptop and took place aside of Emma in the sofa but it didn’t took long before they went to bed and fell asleep with Emma laying inside Giel’s lap and Giel having his arms around her waist.

After a great week in the studio, in which they had made already a lot of preparations for the start up of the new office at the Salton Sea, Giel sat at the bar of the camping where he met up with Emma. She had been busy cleaning a couple of bungalows and during her break she joined him. When Emma joined him, Giel had already ordered a beer and was talking with the bartender about his adventures in America and that they were going to live there shortly. Emma took place aside of Giel and gave him a kiss on his cheek. “Hi sweetie, Hi Marcus!” She said enthusiastic. “Hey Emma, good to see you shining again!” Marcus Replied with a big grin. This reaction made Emma smile for a moment. She ordered a drink while she told Marcus about her internship in the daycare, that she now was doing in the evenings and the weekends, so that she was able to startup her own day- care in America.

Giel told her that he had gained an email from the real estate for which he had mailed yesterday. In their mail they said that house was build in 2001 and it was for sale for three weeks. Further they have had no other candidates to buy it and so the opportunity for them to visit it when they arrived in America was surely optional. Their move to America was now coming closer. In only four weeks they were heading there and Giel had replied it in in his mail back to them. They arranged a meeting in the house a couple days after their arrival. In the meantime they had booked an hotel room for the period in between. He hoped fiercely that the house was going to be great for them and that they could buy it so they didn’t had to stay at the hotel room for too long.

The last four weeks flew by in no time. During the last two weeks Giel and Emma had packed only their personal and important stuff to take with them. Their furniture they were leaving in the apartment here. The owner of this apartment had agreed with it and had said that he was able to take them in his agreement for the next tenants.

On the morning of their last day in the studio Ricardo told Giel and Adriano that they were off to Los Angeles on Monday evening. Ricardo was going with them for the start up of the studio and at the end of the month he returned back here, but he was going to be there every two months for meetings. Because it was the last day for Giel and Adriano they all had decided to go for a drink at the end of the day in a small pub near the studio. There they clinked one last time on a positive development at the Salon Sea and Giel and Adriano got congratulations from Pedro and Ricardo.

The last weekend Giel and Emma packed the last small things and when they were ready, they took place on their terrace for the last time. On Sunday they made a last walk on the beach to the cam- ping where enjoyed a lovely ice cream.

Finally the last day in Mallorca arrived. That evening they had their flight at six o’clock to Los Angeles. Giel was busy packing his hand luggage, helped by Emma who had made a checklist which they were now going over for the last time. Around three o’clock in the afternoon the taxi arrived which brought them to the airport. There they met up with Ricardo and Adriano.

Ricardo gave them their flight tickets and after one last coffee they checked in and then they were waiting in the lobby for their flight. “A new beginning.” Ricardo said when they took place in the plane. “Off to the land of opportunity!” Adriano said excited And Giel nodded in agreement. Emma placed her head on Giel shoulder and fell asleep, dreaming of a new adventure. Also for her.

Chapter fifteen: Studio Star Hermano.

Emma opened her eyes and stretched yawning. Giel sat aside of her with his face turned to her and was sleeping peacefully. Emma automatically gained a smile on her face with seeing this picture. He had a cute smile on his face as if he had been looking at her until he fell asleep. She gave him a kiss on his forehead and looked around. She saw that there were only a few people awake, the others were all still sleeping. She took Giel’s second book and went further on the page that she had stopped.

Slowly the whole plane was waking up. When also Giel woke up he saw that Emma was reading and gave her a kiss on her cheek. “Good morning sweetie. Have you been awake for a long time?” He asked. Emma placed a Bookmark between the pages and said: “Yes, I’m awake for a while already. I saw that you were sleeping peacefully so I didn’t woke you up. She looked at him with a lovely smile and placed her head on his shoulder. Ten minutes later, the hostesses came around with breakfast, meanwhile everyone on the plane had woken up. When Giel had finished his break- fast he looked out of the window and saw a big water surface underneath them. “Look Emma, the Salton Sea.” Giel said excited. Emma also looked outside of the window and said: “One of those houses may be ours shortly.” She gave Giel a kiss and took place in her chair again.

Half an hour later they landed at the airport of Los Angeles and from there on out they headed to the hotel at the Salton Sea that Ricardo had arranged for them. Upon their arrival there they unpacked only the most important things. In a couple days they were going to look at the house they mailed for earlier.

After their installation in the hotel room it was almost high noon already and after lunch, Ricardo, Adriano and Giel went to Star Animated Studio’s for a short meeting and to get the key of the building in Salton City that soon would become Studio Star Hermano. Emma didn’t went with them and stayed at the hotel. She decided to go for a walk so she could explore the neighborhood. She passed the Salton Sea and walk along it for a while. “We meet again at last. I am so going to feel comfortable here.” She thought. After a walk of almost two hours she went back to the hotel. An hour and a half later, also Giel, Ricardo and Adriano arrived back and after diner they went to the bar for a drink, but they didn’t stay up late. The day had been exhausting and they realized that the upcoming days surely were not going to be any different.

The next morning everyone stood up early. Today they were going to their new studio for the first time. After breakfast in the hotel and after a drive from only fifteen minutes they arrived at the studio, a small but beautiful building that was build in 2003 and had been used as a storage room. Ricardo had it renovated in the past six months and now it was a beautiful studio.

“The moment of truth!” Adriano said in excitement when they arrived. “This is so exciting.” Giel said. “Hopefully all our dreams will come true here.” He added. “That will be no problem for you guys.” Emma and Ricardo said in unison. Ricardo pulled the key out of his pocket and said: “The honor is yours, Emma.” And he gave her the key. Emma took the key and said: “Close your eyes you two.” To Giel and Adriano. She placed the key in the keyhole, turned it around, opened the door softly and took Giel’s hand. Ricardo placed his hand on Adriano’s shoulder and escorted him inside.

“Dear comrades, welcome to Studio Star Hermano, you can now open your eyes!” Ricardo said enthusiast. Giel and Adriano opened their eyes at the same time and their jaws dropped in amazement. “Waaauw! This looks even better than the plans.” Giel exclaimed. “Awesome! I already feel at home!” Adriano said excited.

While they were looking around, Emma saw the beaming in Giel’s eyes and she immediately saw that it was good. That also gave her a great feeling. “Look! Hypermodern desks!” Adriano said. “And look here, that coffee machine is especially for you buddy.” Giel said with a wink to Adriano. “And for my future concierge I have another lovely surprise.” Ricardo said to Adriano and took him up the stairs to his new and modern loft.

When Adriano turned the key and opened the door his jaw dropped again in amazement. He gained tears in his eyes with seeing his new home and said softly: “This is beautiful!” “Thank you so very much Ricardo, This is more beautiful then I even could imagine.” He added. Ricardo gave them a tour around the whole building and then went back to the hotel. “Guys, what do you say if , on Monday after the first day in the new studio, we have a small reception.” Ricardo asked on their way back. “Emma, you’re also welcome of course.” He added.

Both Giel and Emma together with Adriano said they were fans of it. When they arrived back at the hotel, Giel and Emma started getting ready because they had arranged a romantic evening. Giel had made a reservation in a cozy restaurant just outside of the village. Emma was the first to make herself up for the evening and when she was ready she helped Giel smoothing his vest and organizing his collar.

“You look great, honey.” She said with flicker in her eyes and gave him an intense kiss. “Thanks sweetie.” Giel said. “You look great too.” He added. On their way outside they saw that Adriano had packed his stuff and placed it in the car. When they saw Giel and Emma, Ricardo bumped Adriano’s arm and nodded. “Take a look over there.” Ricardo said. “It’s as if they’re going to marry.” He joked and Adriano was laying double of laughing. “Hey, when is the ceremony?” Ricardo yelled to them and Giel turned around to give them a reply, but Emma was ahead of him and said: “I love it when my man has a good occurrence, he looks good and he surely can show that!” Giel started to blush a little with her reply and said: Thanks sweetie, you are amazing.”

Ricardo and Adriano watched them when they left until they were out of sight and Ricardo said to Adriano: “She is such an independent, strong woman, after everything she had been gone through, she still has the power to stand her ground. Amazing.” Adriano nodded and replied: “Giel may rightly be proud of her.” Then they continued loading Adriano’s stuff into the car.

Emma had arranged a romantic candlelight diner in a small, cozy restaurant not far from the hotel. They were kindly received when they arrived at the restaurant and enjoyed diner and each others company. When they were on their way back to the hotel they walked over the Salton Sea beach and they saw a lot of houses that looked almost exactly the same as the one they were about to go look at the next day. During their walk Emma suddenly got a phone call and when she saw that it was her mom, her heart skipped a beat. She picked up and when she heard her moms voice she gained a lump in the throat. She hadn’t heard her mothers voice for a long time anymore and she came to realize that she had truly missed her. Her mom told her that, if it was okay for them, they were thinking of coming over to America for a while. Emma and Giel loved the idea and we’re very excited to see them.

Therefor Giel called his mom too. When she heard his voice over the phone she started crying. Overwhelmed by emotions due to the hearing of her son’s voice, which she had mis- sed a lot. Giel told her about their plans and invited them over too. That way they could also finally meet up with Emma’s parents and that, they were all excited about. When Giel putted away his phone he told Emma that his parents were also coming over and Emma gave Giel a hug. She was excited to finally introduce their parents to each other and Giel was also excited to meet Emma’s parents too.

When they arrived back at the hotel, Ricardo and Adriano sat at the bar. Giel and Emma joined them and ordered something to drink. “So, how was your royal diner?” Ricardo asked and Giel told them about the lovely evening and the news of their parents coming over shortly. Ricardo and Adriano were also excited to meet their parents. After one last drink they all went to bed.

The next morning Giel and Emma stood up early and after a quick breakfast they walked to the house. On their way there they were fancying the state and their setups of the house. “I hope it looks just as good as it does on the pictures.” Giel said in excitement. “That, I’m not too worried about. I think it’s going to be amazing.” Emma said while she took his arm.

After a walk of thirty minutes they arrived at the house. Almost at the same moment, also the real estate agent arrived too. He give them a tour around the whole house and told them that it was build in two thousand five and had small renovations such as the electricity and the roof, that had been damaged a little bit due to a storm. The new roof was therefor stronger and back then they had also made the walls stronger. He also told them that, both the bathroom and the kitchen, were still original and in great shape so they were going to have at least another ten years of use of it. Both Giel and Emma were impressed by the house. After the tour they went around the house again alone and when they were standing in the backyard a bit later Emma said: “This house is amazing, the authentic style is completely what I desire.” “Absolutely,” Giel said, “and the beautiful tree under which we are standing right now, makes the picture complete.” He added. “If it’s only my choice, I’d say definitely yes!” Emma said excited. “Then I say yes too.” Giel replied and pulled Emma closer towards him to give her an intense kiss. When they came back inside they told the agent that they both were excited about the house and they would definitely buy it. The agent replied that he was going to set up all the papers and that he would call them when everything was in order.

When they arrived back at the hotel later, Ricardo and Adriano immediately asked how it went. Giel and Emma told them that it went very good and that they were positive about the fact that it would theirs in a short time. Therefor they clinked at the bar early in the evening and afterwards everyone went to bed early, because the next mourning their new adventure would be really taking a start. For Giel, Ricardo and Adriano it would be their first day in the new studio and for Emma it would also be a special day because she was going to help as babysit in the hotel they were staying. She had asked for this opportunity when they arrived here and the people from the hotel were happy to have her help with them. Emma was happy about it. Finally she was going to do something she really liked to do. She had really missed it and also Giel had noticed that. He was very happy for her too and had arranged a small present for her the next morning. He had written a small note which said: ‘Good luck today honey, I am sure that you are going to do a great job. I love you sweetie.’ That, he had placed on the mirror in the bathroom and when Emma woke up and saw the note she blinked away a tear and gave a kiss on the note. “You are the sweetest man on earth!” She said to herself and in the same time she felt the same sparkling inside her that she had also felt the first time they had met. The feeling of true love.

Chapter sixteen: Family reunion.

Early in the morning Giel and Emma stood up and gotten ready for a new day at work. Emma was very excited for her first day in the hotel where they had stayed until now. Last week they had been busy moving in to their new house in Salton City. Now the new adventure was really starting for the both of them.

Giel was going to work for the first time in the new studio and was very cheerful about it. After a quick breakfast, they both went to work. Giel had said to drop Emma at the hotel and then would drive further to the studio. When they arrived at the hotel Giel parked in front and said: “Good luck honey!” Then gave her a kiss while she loosened her seatbelt and grabbed her bag. “ Thanks sweetie, for you too in the new studio.” Emma replied softly and opened the door, got out and threw him a hand kiss while she said: “See you tonight hon!” Giel looked after her until she was inside the hotel then drove further. Fifteen minutes later he arrived at the studio and when he came in and let his gaze go through the studio, Giel got a wide grimace on his face and said to himself: “What a great place this is, I would not exchange any money from the world for it!” He then made coffee for him and Adriano, who arrived not much later.

He came in with a big grin on his face too and looked very excited. “Good morning Giel, I don’t know how you are feeling, but I’m feeling like Superman today!” Giel laughed with Adriano’s statement and said: “Well, I am feeling great too so lets make it a banging start!” Adriano now laughed too with Giel’s words and so they started on the first scenario’s with full power and capacity. Adria- no took place behind his desk and started his computer. With the sound of the pc starting up, he said: “First startup sound in the studio, check!” Giel, who was just sipping from his coffee, had to laugh again which almost caused him spilling his coffee and he said with laughter: “First time almost spilled coffee in the new studio, check.” Also Adriano was now laughing heavily.

At the same moment, Ricardo came in with a box of appetizers for the reception that night. “Good morning guys, you two look very happy!” He said while he placed the box in the fridge. “Oh, nice breakfast?” Adriano asked. “Those are for tonight, so hands off you two!” Ricardo said strictly and Adriano looked a little bit disappointed, but took place again behind his desk and went on with his script. The morning passed by quickly while Giel and Adriano worked hard but also amused at the new projects. During the break, Ricardo told them about tonight and that they were going to quit earlier because of the reception that evening. Giel took his diary with him while he went back to his desk. This diary he had always kept close aside of him. He was certain that not even Emma had seen it before. This was a diary he kept for himself as a reminder on the good things he had in his live. He had quickly written down his memories from this morning and now went on with the story he had started with that morning.

Adriano had been looking at him from the side of his eye the whole time and had now seen too that Giel was holding a diary but did not mention it, even tho he did found it a beautiful thing and involuntarily it gave him shivers for a second after which a smile appeared on his face. After a couple seconds he shook himself awake out his trance and stood up softly while he looked around and sneaked to the kitchen to see what appetizers Ricardo had brought with him. A couple seconds later he heard Ricardo Yelling: “Hey, keep away from that box Adriano, I told you, they are for tonight.” Giel made a scare jump when he heard Ricardo’s voice and looked around to see the disappointed face from Adriano again and softly laughed to himself while he saw Adriano getting back to his desk.

The afternoon also went by on a fast pace and around three ‘o’ clock Ricardo said : “Well, I think we could leave it here for today, but I will see you both tonight of course.” Giel turned off his computer. “The first day in the new studio is already history!” Adriano said. “It is and he’s gone by very fast too.” Giel replied. “Absolutely!” Adriano said when they both went outside. There they said goodbye While Giel went to the car and Adriano upstairs. “See you tonight Giel!” Adriano said and Giel held his hand up and then got into the car.

When he came back home he immediately took a shower and got dressed up for tonight. Emma had to work until six ‘o’ clock and they had agreed that Giel would pick her up there and then went for a fast meal before going to the studio.

Emma had put on a beautiful evening dress after her work and when Giel saw her in it he was stun- ned for a moment. “Hi sweetie.” She said when she got into the car and gave him a kiss on his cheek that brought him back to earth. “You look amazing again honey.” He replied and saw that she gained a blush on her cheeks. “You look amazing too, sweetheart.” She said and Giel gained a com- forting smile on his face. Emma looking fabulous caused that Giel had troubles focussing on the road more than normally, but eventually it went well. Around eight ‘o’ clock they arrived at the stu- dio. Adriano was waiting for them at the entrance and together they went inside.

Ricardo was busy setting up the last pieces. Not much later the first guests arrived, including some of the colleagues from Star Animated Studio’s and even a small amount of press. When everyone was inside, Ricardo held a speech, saying: “Good evening everyone! I am pleased to welcome you all at the opening night of Studio Star Hermano. We are very proud to say that we can welcome you in our new studio, that will be guarded permanently by our young and driven crew members: Giel and Adriano. I want to wish the two guys, who are standing in the back over there,” He said while he pointed at them, “all the luck they can get in there new studio here at the Salton Sea and I am sure that they will fulfill this duty with honor. Now if those two gentleman are brave enough to come up here?”

Giel and Adriano came to the front and when they joined Ricardo, he gave them each a scissor and then continued his speech. “I give you two the honor to cut the ribbon.” Adriano and Giel each took a scissor and then they both took a side of the ribbon. “Are you guys ready?” Ricardo asked and Giel and Adriano nodded. “Three, Two, One!” Giel and Adriano both cut the ribbon at the same time and were now each holding one end of above their heads. “Then I declare Studio Star Hermano, open now!” Said Ricardo and everyone inside bursted out in a tremendous applause that went on for a couple minutes. Eventually it became softer and made place again for the music.

Later in the evening, Ricardo and a representative of Star Animated Studio’s took the mic again. They had another surprise for both Giel and Adriano. One comic book script that they both had been working on back in Mallorca had gained their attention and they were enormously positive about it and had decided to make a movie script about it. That would be their first work in companionship and therefor they found it a great idea to do something with it.

For a moment, Giel and Adriano were speechless. Emma congratulated both of them, followed by many other congratulations. It was already an end into night when Giel and Emma came home after a sizzling party. They went straight to the bedroom and fell onto the bed. It didn’t took long before they fell asleep as roses in each others arms.

Giel woke up and saw that it was already an end in the morning. He stood up and got dressed. He had a day off today because his parents were arriving, but also because of the party last night and Ricardo had arranged it that the studio would not be open today so they all could be having some rest. Emma had woken up early. She did not had a full day free, only in the afternoon to welcome Giel’s parents. Three hours later Giel stood in the lobby of the airport, waiting for his parents to arrive. He had been looking forward to this moment for a long time by now and was also a little bit nervous. They hadn’t seen each other in almost four years and a half.

Fifteen minutes later the moment was finally there. When Giel saw his parents he gained a lump in the throat and a tear fell down his cheek. The same was going on with for both Dirk and Karine when they saw their son. Karine ran towards him crying and fell into her son’s arms. Also Dirk blinked away a tear while he hugged his son intensely. “I am so glad to see you two!” Giel said sobbing. “I have really missed you.” He added. “We have missed you too son.” Dirk replied and Karine nodded agreeing. “I think we have a lot to talk about.” Karine said when they were on their way to the car and a while later they were on their way to Giel and Emma’s house while they talked about the past four years and a half.

“Wow!” Dirk and Karine said when they saw their son and his future wife’s house for the first time. “It looks even better than the pictures you have sent us.” Dirk said. “You bet, it looks like a castle.” Karine added with a dropped jaw. “This is a beautiful house.” Dirk said. “Your mother and I are re- ally proud of both of you. You also Emma, with everything that had happened in the past, we know that you are a very strong women.” He added while he blinked away a tear again. “Behind every great man, there has to be a great woman.” Emma replied with a lovely smile and Giel pulled Emma closer towards him and said: “That’s my girl, honest since the day she was born.” And he gave Emma a kiss on her forehead. “I am glad to see you again too.” Emma said. That evening they sat outside at the fire pit and talked about past years until late in the evening.

The next morning it was Emma’s turn to get up early and pick up her parents at the airport. Same as with Giel and his parents, also for them it was an emotional moment. When they arrived at Giel and Emma’s house, the moment was finally there. Last time they were in Mallorca, Giel wasn’t there so they hadn’t met yet. Now they had to chance to not only meet Giel, but also his parents. When they introduced each other they immediately felt a connection and a bound was made. That they were all certain about.

It was a very nice evening and now that there were four people extra it was a full but pleasant home at Giel and Emma’s. Giel had the barbecue lit up and with their parents and Adriano and Ricardo with them, they enjoyed a great dinner and a nice evening at a cozy fire pit with a nice wine. They talked, laughed and had fun that evening. Dirk and Gerard had fun with Giel and Ricardo who told them the stories of the Studio and the fun they had there so far. Emma, Leontien and Karine laughed with the jokes Adriano was pulling. “He is a born entertainer!” Emma had said when she finally found some breath. The fact that also Dirk and Karine and Gerard and Leontien had a great time and seemed to be instant friends was something Giel and Emma had seen too and it made them both happy. The rest of the week it was nice and busy at Giel and Emma’s house and their parents loved to help them in the daily routines. Both Giel and Emma had a free week. They had decided to do as much as possible to make their parents stay here as fun as could be.

So it was that on Tuesday they went to Disneyland Park for a day. For all of them it was the first time they went there. Giel and his parents once went to Disneyland in Paris before, but that was many years ago. This Park was three times as big, Giel thought. They had a lot more animation and performances in the park, and they all loved it.

After almost a whole day in the park they decided to have diner in the big city. Therefor they went to Colorado Avenue, that overlooked the Santa Monica Pier and the Pacific Ocean. There they had diner in a nice and cozy restaurant.

After diner they drove back to Giel and Emma’s house at the Salton Sea. On their way there, they passed the Hollywood sign and there they stopped for another couple minutes to get some pictures. Giel looked around him and saw the big amount of huge houses that had made the Hollywood Hills and said: “All those rich and famous people are living together here, but I don’t get that. I can’t even think about living here.” Emma nodded and replied: “No indeed not, although it may have been nice to wake up next to the house of Leonardo Dicaprio.” Everyone laughed when Emma had made this statement. Giel took her hand and said with a wink: “Don’t worry, I will be your Leonardo.” Their parents looked at each other with proud in their eyes and Emma gained a small blush on her cheeks. She looked at him and with seeing his playful look, she smiled and pushed him away softly. Dirk and Gerard had seen it all too and Dirk said: “Hey, if you two need some privacy?” Gerard finished Dirk’s sentence by saying: “Yeah, you can rent a motel room here, they’re not very expensive.” Dirk laughed heavily with Gerard’s finisher. Giel and Emma started blushing when they heard them saying this but laughed too. They went back to the car and drove back home.

Dirk and Karine and Gerard and Leontien enjoyed their trip to the fullest. They had never been in America before and were very impressed by the big city of L.A. On Sunday they went on a boat trip at the Salton Sea, after which they had diner in a cozy restaurant where they clinked glasses again on Giel’s success and both’s happiness.

Monday morning arrived faster than expected, Giel’s week of vacation had come to an end and went back to the studio. He had enjoyed his time with their parents joining them but unfortunately, as been said before many times, all beautiful songs will end soon. Dirk and Karine and Gerard and Leontien had taken their flight back home last night. Giel and Emma had taken them to the airport where they had to say goodbye again and that moment was harder then everyone had expected.

Now, both Giel and Emma, went back to work. When Giel arrived in the studio that morning they had a meeting first about the things that had been done or arranged during the last week. After the meeting they started working on a concept of a script for Star Animated studio’s. Today they would be with the three of them for the last day in a long time. Ricardo headed back to Mallorca the next day. He had said to Giel and Adriano that he was absolutely sure that the two of them were fully able to lead the studio on their own and to remind them of Ricardo and Pedro, Ricardo had hung up a picture from the four of them in Mallorca. That way they would always be able to remind them of the good things that they had went through. In the seven years since Giel’s arrival in the studio, They all became more than friends. They all felt as if they were one family and that way they would never forget each other. Giel was very happy that he had taken this opportunity seven years ago. He had his ups and downs ever since, but with the presence of the trio: Ricardo, Pedro and Adriano, and the presence of Emma at his side, He had been able to express himself to the fully and therefore he was grateful to all of them.

With Adriano at his side here in the studio he had also been able to close America, and especially the Salton Sea, in his heart. He and Adriano had a great time in the studio. They were continually making fun and were playing a lot with sentences during the days. And when Giel came back home every evening and entered their house, he kept gaining a grin on his face. The house they had was a nice extra for them. Both Giel and Emma were very happy here and they agreed that they’d never ever would sell this house. Not even when Giel would become famous, they were never going to move out of this house. It may not look like a castle as the houses in the Hollywood Hills did, but for them it felt as home. And that was everything they needed. 

Chapter seventeen: A Beautiful day.

When Giel came home that evening he was very tired, but also happy. The last four years in the studio at the Salton Sea had been great. He enjoyed a late meal that Emma had made for him, then went to bed. When he entered the bedroom, Emma was already swimming in her deepest thoughts and Giel putted out his clothes, took place aside of Emma and fell asleep almost immediately, wandering away in dreams.

At the end of the evening, when the sun was quietly sinking away behind the horizon, Giel and Emma, Dirk and Karine, Gerard and Leontien and Pedro, Ricardo and Adriano, sat on the terrace at Giel and Emma’s house, enjoying a last drink before they all were going to bed early.

The next day was going to be very busy. Giel and Emma were going to marry at the Chapel in the next city. Emma was awake early and she and her mom were busy with her dress and hair. That did took a whole while before Emma was happy with the result. When she was finished she helped both moms getting dressed and getting their hair done too.

Giel was already awake early. He had slept at Adriano’s place, above the studio. There they were with al the men: The fathers, Adriano, Ricardo and Pedro. Their dressing time took a lot less time then with the girls and when all the guys were ready they headed to the chapel where they waited for the girls.

They didn’t had to wait too long. Only fifteen minutes after they’d arrived, the girls arrived too. When Giel saw Emma in her dress, his jaw dropped and for a second he couldn’t speak at all. “Good morning sweetie.” Emma said when she came up to Giel. “You look fabulous!” Giel replied and gave her an intense kiss. “You look handsome too honey.” She said and she saw a sparkle of happiness in his eyes, the same she felt only a few moments ago when she saw Giel in his costume.

Gerrard and Dirk were the photographers at duty, they took a lot of pictures of Giel and Emma and a couple of pictures with the whole group.

Giel and Emma had chosen for an intimate wedding with only the parents and their closest friends. Emma had invited her colleagues at the daycare too and so it was that there were only a dozen peo- ple present at the wedding ceremony. When they entered the chapel, the music started playing the traditional wedding march and Giel and Emma walked over the red carpet to the altar.

When the music died away gently, the priest took word and said: “Ladies and gentleman, we are gathered here today for a very beautiful moment in the life of Giel Willems and Emma Klaassens. Those two lovebirds are getting married and they are delighted that his family and friends are here to be a part of this moment in their life, that they definitely are not going to forget.” The priest went on with his speech and leaded the whole ceremony in a beautiful way.

“So now the time has come. Are you two excited?” The priest asked Emma and Giel with a soft and gentle smile. “Definitely!” Giel answered and looked towards Emma. In the corner of his eye, he saw his mom wiping away a tear and a smile appeared on Giel’s face, but that smile was mostly be- cause of Emma’s beautiful response. She replied: “I can’t be more ready to marry this handsome, lovely, poetic writer.” When she had said these words she looked to Giel and softly whispered: “I love you with all my heart sweetie.” Giel almost melted away with hearing these words and whispered in respond: “I love you too honey.”

“Alright, then here is the moment of truth.” The priest said while he gained a smile on his face with the hearing of these beautiful words.
“Do you Giel Willems, take this woman, Emma Klaassens to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, in sickness and in heath, in good times and woe, for richer or poorer, keeping yourself solely unto her for as long as you both shall live?”

“I do.” Giel replied with a grin while he looked to Emma and she looked at Giel with a lovely smile and placed her ring around her finger.

“Do you, Emma Klaassens, take this man, Giel Willems, to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, in sickness and health, to love, honor and obey, in good times and woe, for richer or poorer, keeping yourself solely unto him for as long as you both shall live?” The priest went on to Emma.

Emma looked at Giel and said with an excited voice: “I do!” She squeezed his hand softly and Giel looked back at her with a spark in his eyes. She placed his ring on his finger gently.

“If there be anyone present who may show just and lawful cause why this couple may not be legally wed, let him speak now or forever hold his peace.” The priest said and everyone in the chapel chuckled.

“Then I hereby declare you husband and wife, congratulations, you may kiss the bride.” The priest ended his speech and together with everyone inside he started clapping when Giel and Emma kissed passionate.

The music, played pleasantly by Casa Musica that evening, made that everyone at the wedding par- ty was dancing around. Giel and Emma had their hands full with all the guests who gave them their blessings and presents. Everyone was having fun. The most beautiful moment however, according to Dirk and Gerrard, was the opening dance. Therefor, Giel and Emma had chosen a breathtaking and lovely slow song called: Hallelujah. Originally it was written by Leonard Cohen, But Michiel and Thomas had chosen the more intense version of Jeff Buckley. Giel and Emma were gently slowing and after a short while they were joined by other couples.

Casa Musica leaded the evening into a lovely night on the tones of a various playlist. It was late in the night when there were only a small amount of guests at the wedding party and when Ricardo, Adriano and Pedro left and only Giel, Emma, Dirk, Karine, Gerrard and Leontien stayed behind. They overlooked their beautiful day together and were all blessed that it was such an amazing day. They all went to bed eventually and fell asleep in an instant, with a smile on their faces.

Giel woke up early and when he turned around he saw that Emma was laying aside of him having the same lovely smile as always. This picture made Giel smile too and he gave Emma a kiss on her cheek, then stood up and went to the studio.

His dream about their wedding that was now almost eight years ago, had given him renewed energy and he immediately felt the inspiration floating again. That made him feel good and when he arrived at the studio, Adriano was already up and running too. He had made coffee already and when Giel entered he said: “Good morning buddy. Had a great night of sleep?” “I surely did.” Giel replied and added: “I had a dream about our wedding last night, it was almost as beautiful as the day itself was.” “I bet it was.” Adriano replied. They had a short chat, then went on with the scripts they were busy on.

At noon, they took a break and went for a snack at the diner nearby. There Giel and Adriano enjoy- ed a great meal. “It is such an amazing country here.” Giel said and Adriano replied: “It sure is, I am happy that we had taken this opportunity together.” “So, about our summer break that will come within a couple weeks, what do you say if we are going for a trip with the three of us. You, me and Emma?” Giel asked. “Well, I really want to do that.” Adriano replied. “What about a trip to San Fransisco, with a stop in Vegas?” He added. “Well, I was thinking of the east coast of this country. And more specific, a trip from New York to Miami.” Giel replied. “Well, that does sound great too. We haven’t been there yet so maybe it is indeed a good idea.” Adriano said. “I’ll talk about it with Emma and I’ll let you know what her opinion is.” Giel replied, then quietly went on with his meal.

When he arrived home that evening, Emma had made diner already and had created a cozy atmosp- here with candlelights. She welcomed Giel with a passionate kiss and asked about his day. Giel told her that he had had a great day and told her about what he had discussed with Adriano during lunch. “We we’re thinking about making a trip during the summer break and we thought that it was going to be a great idea if we were heading to the east coast.” Giel said and Emma replied with an exciting voice: “Well, that sounds great! I’ve never been there before and I always wanted to visit New York.” “Well, what we were thinking was to take a flight to New York and the first couple days we were thinking of staying there and visit a lot of places there. Then we rent a car and drive to Miami, with of course a couple of stops in between.” Giel said. “We had discussed our route already for a bit and we thought that if we wanted to put in a bit of time to experience the places we stop, it would take almost eleven days for the trip. Then we were thinking of staying in Miami for another three days and then have a flight back here.” He added.

Emma was very excited about the idea and agreed to it. The next day he told Adriano that Emma was okay with the idea and during lunch they started to make concrete plans.

At the end of the week they had done a lot of work at the studio and had finished three new scripts, two for studio Hermano, and one completely Finished movie script for Star Animated Studio’s. That Friday, Giel and Emma had invited Adriano over for diner so they could discuss their plans. They talked all night about the trip and the places they wanted to visit. They also had looked up the prices for plane tickets and the prices to rent a car. That wasn’t really expensive and so they were even more excited. Their trip was taking form. They immediately ordered tickets and booked a car. Then they also took care of their sleeping places.

It was already late in the evening when they all were exhausted and decided to go to sleep. They told Adriano that he could stay here for the night, so he didn’t had to walk back to his apartment and they took care of the guest room for him. After one last drink they all went to bed and fell asleep in an instant.

When Giel woke up the next morning, he got dressed and went to the bakery and butchery for breakfast. When he came home, also Adriano was already awake and he helped Giel setting up the table, then Giel woke up Emma. They enjoyed breakfast with the three of them and after breakfast Adriano went back home. Giel and Emma decided to make a walk at the beach. That took a couple of hours and when they arrived back home they went to the garden where they enjoyed a lazy Saturday.

They were both happy with the decisions they had made and loved their place here at the Salton Sea. They were certain that they would not exchange it for anything in the world, They loved the place, the people and the environment so much that they already could not imagine anymore how things were going on in Mallorca. Not even back home with their parents. They did love them of course and they also missed them when they were not with them, but they saw each other a lot, be- cause their parents had had excited news for them during their last stay here. The four of them had agreed that both Belgium and the Netherlands, didn’t had anything to offer for them anymore and had decided that they were also coming over to America and stay here permanently. They both even had been looking for a house to buy and had put up their houses for sale.

So it was that Giel and Emma were excited to hear that news and were looking out for their mails about the sale and the definitive dates that they were coming over.

“It would be back as it was so many years ago.” Giel had said. He was looking forward to have their parents with them again. Without thousands of miles in between. That was something Giel and Emma looked forward to, with great pleasure.

Chapter eighteen: Coming home.

The time went by slowly since the announcement that their parents had made about their movement to the Salton Sea. Giel and Emma had been looking forward to the mails of the confirmation of both, Dirk and Karine, and Gerrard and Leontien that they had found their houses and were packing their stuff.

That mails had come last week and they had both written that they had been together for a while and discussed their movement. They also had been looking for houses together and had found buyers for theirs.

The houses they had bought were not coincidently close to each other. They both had bought a house in the same street and it was also close to Giel and Emma’s house in Salton City.

The wait was finally over and on a beautiful evening, when they had been busy a whole day pac- king their most important stuff, Dirk and Karine arrived at Gerrard and Leontien’s place for the last night before they were heading to America.

When Dirk and Karine arrived at the house of Gerrard and Leontien, the four of them enjoyed a great Chinese meal that they had ordered and after the meal they enjoyed one last drink together before going to sleep early.

“Let us bring a toast to our new lives, in the company of our great kids!” Gerrard said when they had a last drink. They clinked their glasses and drank it. They discussed once more their plans in America for a last time. Dirk and Gerrard, who had been working at their company’s for almost thirty years now, had resigned their jobs. They both were now in their mid-fifties and had both lots of experience as technicians. Gerrard was a mechanical technician and Dirk an Electrician. They had mutually agreed to start up their own company in America as self-employed Technicians and had made the arrangements for their company. They even had a name already. Their company would be named: BelNed Technicians. They chosen this name as a reminder of their country of birth. Bel was Standing for Belgium, Where Dirk was born and Ned stood for Netherlands, or Nederland, as they said in their own language, where Gerrard was born.

Their mothers had also given up their jobs. Karine, who was an English teacher at the middle school, had found a job as teacher in the elementary school of Salton City. Leontien had agreed with Emma that they were going to work together at Emma’s kindergarten.

They all went to bed and the next morning they stood up and took a taxi to the airport. There they took a flight to Los Angeles and when they had taken place on the plane they were all excited about the new chapter in their lives, and especially being with their kids again. This time it wasn’t going to be for a short time and that was something they all were happy about.

Upon their arrival in Los Angeles, Giel and Emma were already waiting for them at the airport and when they were reunited again they all had a very touching moment. The next two days they were all staying at Giel and Emma’s place, so it was going to be busy again, but Giel and Emma didn’t mind it. They even loved it.

After two days they were able to get the keys of their new houses and now they were busy moving in. Giel and Emma helped where they could and so it didn’t took a lot time. In the two days that they had stayed with their kids they had been shopping for furniture and so they had everything ready when they were moving in.

When they all were settled they had a huge barbecue at Gerrard and Leontiens place and enjoyed their new lives and houses. Dirk and Gerrard had agreed that on Monday they were going to look for a new van for their job and they bought a new Volkswagen Crafter.

They also bought a new car each because they sold their cars back in Belgium and the Netherlands. Dirk and Karine bought a new Volkswagen Polo and Gerrard and Leontien bought a nearly new Mercedes C-class break. They had been to the car dealers with Emma and Giel. When they were at the garage, Giel’s eye had fallen on sports model that he really loved. He had been looking at it since their arrival and during the time that Gerrard and Leontien were inside for the confirmations of their car, Emma came up to Giel and said: “Why are you grinning so hard?” Giel looked at Emma and said: “I love this car, he so beautiful.” Emma overlooked the brand new model too, the one they were currently driving was a secondhand car they had bought when they had arrived here and they had been thinking about buying a second car for a while by now. “Well, if you like him that much, I suggest you should take it in consideration for yourself then?” Emma said and Giel looked to her with a shocked look. “Are you serious?” He asked. “Of course honey, I mean we really can use a second car, and we do can afford this one.” She replied and Giel gained a huge smile on his face. “So, yo wouldn’t mind if buy this car, and then you can drive our current car in the weeks, and when we are going somewhere together we do it in this one?” He asked and Emma nodded. “I love you honey!” Giel said with an excited voice and gave Emma a huge hug and an intense kiss.

“What are you excited about?” Gerrard said when they came out of the office. They had just made the arrangements for their car. The salesman had told them that they would receive a mail when their car would be ready and that they could come and pick him up. “Well,” Giel said. “If you don’t mind, I am going to buy myself a new car too!” He added and then went to the salesmen. Gerrard looked at Emma and she nodded to the a-class that they were standing next to, then rolled her eyes. “Men!” Leontien said laughing. “You don’t say!” Emma replied. She saw Giel beckoning her and said: “I’m sorry I think have to get to my husband for his new car.” Then went up to Giel.

A while later they were all Standing outside. Giel and Gerrard both were holding the papers of their new cars and when they came up to Giel’s parrents, who were sitting on a terrace nearby with a drink, they saw that Giel had a huge grin on his face and Dirk asked: “Why are you grinning like that?” “He just bought a new toy.” Emma explained while she nodded and rolled her eyes again. Giel showed his dad the papers of his new car and they both were busy for a while.

Also Gerrard was now involved in the conversation and the three of them were talking about their new cars and were slightly bragging about it. “Why is it, that when it comes to cars, men are always more excited then when it comes to us.” Karine said, just loud enough in the hope that the three men had heard it. Gerrard, Dirk and Giel didn’t even looked up and Leontien, Karine and Emma sighed deeply and looked at each other with an annoyed look. Emma stood up and took place behind Giel, she placed her hands on his shoulders and started massaging them. Giel looked up to her and said: “Hi sweetie, sorry was there something you were saying to me?” She gave him a kiss and asked: “Why are you men always so excited when it comes to cars?” “Oh I’m sorry honey, it is just a mans thing.” He replied, then gave her passionate kiss. “It’s nothing personal you know.” He added and Emma replied: “I know, I love you sweetie.” “I love you too honey, thanks again for giving me the chance to buy this car. He really caught my attention the minute we walked into the garage.” Giel said, then went back into the conversation with Gerrard and Dirk.

They talked about their cars for the rest of the evening. At home they continued, while Emma, Leontien and Karine went into the garden and started talking about girls stuff. So it was that this evening ended differently then it usually did. Eventually the men stopped talking about their cars and joined the women outside. Giel started a fire in the fire pit and so they all enjoyed each others company while the evening turned into a beautiful night.

A couple of weeks passed by on a fast pace. Gerrard and Dirk Had their van for their job. They were able to pick him up after only two weeks since they had been looking for it. Also Gerrard’s Mercedes was ready fast, but Giel and his dad had to wait a little longer because it were new cars. Dirk and Karine’s car was ready one week before Giel’s and that caused that Giel was even more excited then before.

Finally his wait was also over. One beautiful Saturday morning he woke up early and headed to the garage with Emma. A couple of days ago, Giel had gained an e-mail that his car was ready and they agreed to pick it up today. Therefor Giel was up and running before dawn. He couldn’t sleep anymore and was now waiting for Emma to wake up. They had decided to go to the garage together so that Emma could drive their old car back home. Giel had also said that, because He was driving their new car out of the garage, Emma was the one who would be driving their new car for the first weekend.

At nine o’clock Emma also woke up and after a quick breakfast they headed to the garage. When they saw their new car and got the keys, Giel got in and drove it home. He was very happy when he was driving the car and enjoyed every small detail of it. When he arrived home, after he had taken his new Mercedes for a drive, he parked it in front of the garage and when he came inside he gave Emma the keys.

“This car is just amazing!” He said with an excited voice. “You are going to love it too honey.” He added. “I can tell that you really like it.” Emma said. “I am already back home for almost half an hour.” She added with a huge smile. “I’m sorry.” Giel said. “I was just too excited and wanted to take this car for a good test drive.” He added. “It is okay honey.” Emma said. “I am glad that you are happy with it.” She added and gave Giel a passionate kiss. “But, words are words.” She said. “You have given me permission to drive it for the rest of this weekend, so I am excited to drive us to the cinema tonight with our parents.” She added with a teasing voice and Giel nodded. He wasn’t really taken down by these words and said: “I am sure you are going to love it too.”

That night, after they had diner with their parents, they went to the movies and Emma was driving. She also fell in love with the car in an instant and said to Giel: “Waauw, I did not expected this to happen, but I also love this car. You made a great choice sweetie.” Giel gave her kiss and said: “I told you that it was an awesome car.”

That night, when they came back home, Giel placed the car in the Garage. That they both had agreed. Emma’s car was now standing outside, but Giel had promised that in the next weekend he was going to try and build a carport for the second car in the front garden. That was also the first thing built at their house since they had bought it, besides the garden that they had remodeled, and Giel and Emma had chosen for a port that was only open at one side. The building of it didn’t took a lot time, thanks to the help of both Dirk and Gerrard and for their help, Giel and Emma had arranged diner in a cozy and lovely restaurant nearby.

With their parents back at their sides everyday, they now felt more at home then ever before and Also Gerrard and Leontien and Dirk and Karine felt home very quickly. Giel and Emma noticed that and they were happy with their lives here so far. The best thing they had ever done was moving here, Giel and Emma found and everyone may knew that.

Chapter nineteen: The trip.

Early in the morning, Giel woke up and made himself ready for his last day of work before the vacation was starting. The next three weeks they were going on their trip at the east coast of the country. Their trip was heading to Miami by car, therefor they had to take a plane at 6 am to New York, where their trip was starting.

On their last day in the studio, Giel and Adriano only worked until noon. In the afternoon they were doing stock count of their most important stuff they had in the studio. They were in need of only a small amount of new printing papers, as also printing ink. Further everything else had good resources. After the stock count, Giel and Adriano went for a quick drink nearby the studio, then they both went home to pack their stuff.

In the evening Giel and Emma joined their parents at Dirk and Karine’s house, there they had a candlelight diner with the six of them. The next day Giel and Emma were busy packing the last things for their trip to the east coast. They had agreed with Dirk that he would bring the three of them to the airport. Therefor Giel had invited Adriano over to sleep with them that night so it would be easier for them the next morning. When Adriano had joined them later in the evening, the three of them enjoyed a last drink, then went to bed early.

Next morning it was a little bit hectic at Giel and Emma’s. Giel went from the kitchen to the sleeping room, then to the garage through the living, all the way back to the kitchen with the luggage. Emma was driven crazy about it and said with a loud voice: “Giel! Will you please just stop being so restless!” She sighed deeply while she went further with the packing of the hand luggage. “I’m sorry sweetie, I’m just a little bit stressed.” Giel said on an exhausted tone when he came into the kitchen. “Just a little bit stressed?” Emma asked while she frowned her eyebrows. “I haven’t seen you this stressed since the morning of your first day in the studio, back in Mallorca.” She added. Giel took place at the table, looked around for a second, then stood back up and went into the living room for only a second before he came back in. “GIEL!” Emma said frustrated. She placed her hands before her eyes and rubbed them for a second. “Come on! What is going on with you?” She said. “You are about to give me a heart attack soon if you are going to act like this. Tell me what’s on your mind?” She added. “It’s the car, we just have him and now we are already leaving him alone for two weeks.” Giel said.

Meanwhile Adriano also joined them and saw that Giel was a little bit stressed. “What’s going on in here?” Adriano said. “Good-morning Emma.” He added and took a pancake from the plate that Emma had prepared. “Giel is completely out of his mind. The car is his greatest concern.” Emma explained to Adriano. “Well, ask your parents that they can keep an eye on it?” Adriano suggested and Emma stood behind that idea. So it was that, when Dirk arrived at their house, Giel asked him if he could keep an eye on his car while they were away. Dirk said that it wasn’t a problem at all and so Giel finally calmed down, to Emma’s relief.

“Can we finally go now?” Emma asked and both Giel and Adriano nodded. They placed their luggage in the trunk of Dirk’s car, then they were on their way to the airport. There they thanked Dirk for his ride and then went inside to check in and not much later they sat in the lobby waiting for their flight.

When they arrived at the airport of New York, after a flight of almost five hours, they headed to the counter where they had an appointment for the car they rented. “It’s not the same like my new Mercedes.” Giel said when they took place in a Kia Rio. “I think it is a nice car.” Emma said teasingly when she saw Giel’s expression. “I do too.” Adriano added. “It’s not a bad car.” Giel said after they had driven away and he had driven it for five minutes. It didn’t took long before they arrived at the motel that they were staying for the next three days, to take time to enjoy the big apple to the fullest. When they arrived at the motel, and had checked in, they gained the keys for their rooms. There they placed their luggage away, and refreshed themselves.

Around noon they met up outside and went into the city. They first headed to the bronx where they took a guided tour through one of the most famous parts of New York, that is known for its reputation of being a very difficult neighborhood. In the past it is known for having a lot of gang-wars and rivalry between it’s inhabitants.

After the tour they walked through the big city and headed back to the motel. On their way there they enjoyed a meal in a typical diner and had a drink in one of the bars at the main street. That evening they went to bed early and fell asleep fast. It had been a busy day and they had been up and running since early in the morning so they slept well that night.

The next day they had arranged a visit at the statue of liberty. There they stayed the whole day. When they arrived there, all three of them were impressed by the huge statue. Giel thought immediately about what Michiel from Casa Musica had told him about their visit here a couple of years ago. “He sure hadn’t lied about it. It sure is impressive.” Giel told Emma and she nodded and gave Giel a kiss on his cheek.

They had taken lunch with them and at noon they enjoyed their sandwiches underneath the statue. After lunch they stayed their for short while before taking the ferry back to mainland and headed back to the motel by car. Because it was a busy city, and their motel was at the edge of town, it took a long time before they finally made it back there. Around five o’clock they did finally arrive back at the motel and had diner nearby. Again it had been a busy day, but that evening they enjoyed a good drink nearby the motel.

When they woke up the next morning, it was Emma’s day. She had been looking forward to this part of the big apple. After breakfast they headed to central park and visited the zoo. Emma loved this place a lot. She came to rest while they were walking between al the lovely animals that made central park zoo unique.

After a whole day at the zoo they arrived back at the motel late in the evening and went to sleep early, cause the next day they were heading further on their trip.

Next morning they packed their things and drove further to Philadelphia. During the drive they enjoyed the skylines of the big city. They passed New Jersey where they stopped for lunch. Around four o’clock they arrived in Philadelphia and had diner near the motel they were staying. After diner they went into the city for a drink and went to bed early.

The same thing went on in the next city they visited and Emma started to feel uncomfortable with them just driving around. When they came back at the motel in the evening she also told Giel about it. “Honey, I need to tell you something.” She said when Giel came out of the bathroom. “What’s wrong sweetie?” He asked. “It’s just that, we are just driving around and have several stops but it doesn’t feel as a vacation yet.” She said. “I’m sorry sweetie, I just thought that we were going to do a lot more things at the places we are stopping.” She added. “Well, the next city we are going to be a lot longer and there you can choose what we are going to do there. What do you say about that?” Giel replied and Emma said that that was okay. She now gained new energy for the trip and Giel saw that too. He always wanted to give her a good time and he knew that if that was not the case for her, she told him about it. That is why they loved each other that much.

So when they arrived at Washington DC the next evening, they went to a lovely restaurant and enjoyed delicious three course menu with the three of them. Emma enjoyed it more then the diners they had done the last couple days, even tho she also had enjoyed eating at the diners, but girls were more often fans of a lovely diner in a cozy restaurant.

The next day Emma was in charge of the activities. She chose to go shopping, but because there were also guys with her, they had made a compromise that, on their way there they passed the white house and the pentagon, they would stop for pictures and to get something to eat. Then they headed further to the national mall. That was Emma’s time. She went shopping while the guys first went to a barber and then took place at a terrace. Emma took the entire day to explore the shopping street of Washington and Giel and Adriano, who had taken sketchbooks and writing gear with them, were now busy of making a comic about their trip so far. They had been talking about it last night and had agreed that they would be keeping it a secret for Emma, so they could give it to her at the end of the trip.

After a couple of hours of waiting, Emma finally joined Giel and Adriano again. “Finally!” Adriano said. “I think my beard has already grown back as it was this morning.” He added and Giel and Emma chuckled. Emma hadn’t spend too much money. She knew that she couldn’t take to much with her because of the limits on the planes. She did bought new shoes, a new dress and also a pair of new dressed shoes for Giel. He loved them a lot. She knew what his style was and that’s why he loved her so much.

The next day they headed further on their trip. The next stop was Virginia Beach. When they arrived there they took another motel near the coast and after they had quickly refreshed themselves, they headed to the beach for a day of rest. That night they had dinner in a cozy restaurant with a bottle of red wine. The three of them enjoyed their diner to the fullest, Adriano had taken a beef plate, same as Giel and Emma had chosen a fish dish.

They arrived in North Carolina the next day where they stayed for the day and wandered through the city. The same went on in South Carolina the next day. Their last stop was coming closer now, on their way there they had one last stop in Jacksonville for a night before they finally arrived in Miami. There they stayed for the rest of their vacation and enjoyed the many beautiful beaches. In the evenings they had dinners in the most fancy and lovely restaurants. During the days they visited a lot of sights that this part of America was known for. They visited Key West, Fisher Island, The Venetian Islands and the harbor. They also went to the beach a couple times and on the last day before they headed back to the Salton Sea they visited The Everglades. With that they ended their trip at the east coast of America in beautiful atmosphere.

Next morning they had a taxi that took them to the airport of Miami where they took a plane back to Los Angeles. When they arrived back there, Dirk and Karine were waiting for them in the lobby. They all gave each other a hug and on their way to the car they talked about their trip.

When they arrived back at the Salton Sea and came back home they found it very peaceful. After being away for a while, coming home to such a beautiful place, it really made Giel appreciate the fact that he and Emma had chosen this place as their home.

That night they had a bbq at Dirk and Karine’s house, with both the parents and Adriano. There, the parents listened intensely to the story of their kids and Adriano. They all agreed that they would be doing this trip again someday, but then Dirk, Karine, Gerrard and Leontien would be joining them. Giel and Emma were very happy that they had taken this trip and the story about it, which Giel had written down in his diary, He and Adriano later putted it into a comic as a reminder for the three of them. Emma loved it and she and Giel placed their copy in the display cabinet where they had placed their most valuable memories in. The end of a beautiful time, Found Giel and Emma.

Chapter twenty: A special night

With the winter slowly coming to an end and making place for spring, Giel and Emma had been busy at home with the big cleanup. Giel had given the fence a new layer of paint, same as the rest of the garden furniture. Emma had been busy inside. She had taken a time sorting out their pictures, and cleaned up the cabinets in the living room. Since they had bought the house they did this on a yearly bases. The last three years, the fence was added to this list.

Giel had placed it right after they had been to the east coast of America, because Emma wanted to have a dog. Giel was instantly a fan of this idea ever since and they had chosen a Weimaraner puppy. Emma Immediately fell in love with this little fella that they had called: Henry.

On Monday morning, Giel woke up early and after a quick breakfast he headed to the studio. When he arrived there, he first made coffee and not much later Adriano joined him. They talked a bit about the weekend then went on with the scripts they had been busy on last week. During the break at noon Adriano had a phone call from Ricardo. He told them that he and Pedro would be coming to America in a couple of weeks and he had a lovely surprise for both Giel and Adriano.

So it was that at the end of February Ricardo and Pedro joined them in Studio Star Hermano. Giel and Adriano had taken the liberty to buy an extra bureau for Pedro. He would be joining them in the studio for the next two months. Because it had been a long time ago since they’ve seen each other they had a lot to talk about.

That evening they had diner with the four of them and Emma. Adriano had also taken his girlfriend; Bridget, who he had met almost a year ago. Giel and Emma had met her already but for Pedro and Ricardo it was the first time. She was immediately well received in the group, to the delight of Adriano.

During diner Ricardo told them the reason why they came over to America. “I have some great news for you all, and I really think you’re all going to love it!” Ricardo said. “When we last met each other a couple months ago I told you that the movie script for the movie: The cavalry, was well received by Star Animated Studio’s,” Giel and Adriano nodded. “Well, now I can tell you with great honor that the script and the movie both are selected for an award!” He added with a slight of enthusiasm in his voice. Giel and Adriano looked at each other in disbelief for a moment. Emma gained tears in her eyes, same as Bridget. Pedro was the first to come back to words and said: “Congratulations boys, you guys earned it!” He stood up and shook both Giel and Adriano’s hands. Emma gave Giel an intense kiss, same as Bridget did with Adriano. Ricardo followed Pedro’s example and congratulated Giel and Adriano. They clinked glasses on this news and enjoyed the rest of the evening at a bar nearby the studio.

In the following weeks, the four of them enjoyed being with the whole group in the studio again. They had a great time and laughed a lot with the jokes of Adriano, Pedro and Giel. Due to the fact that they were all together again, they did spend a lot more time in the studio and so it felt as in Mallorca again for a while. Also for Giel who did came home late almost every evening again, as it was in Mallorca. Emma had noticed it too and didn’t had missed that, but she knew that it only would be temporary because they had a lot of things to arrange for the award night. Ricardo was busy with arranging the list of things he had for the award night. He had arranged a limo for all of them who drove them from the studio to the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood boulevard in Los Angeles, that is also the home for a lot of movie company’s, a variety of museums, bars and restaurants, and hotels. Star Animated Studio’s also had his main building here and that was where they were heading first.

When they arrived there, the man who is in charge of the movie scripts joined them to the Dolby Theatre. The driver of the limousine dropped them off in front of the building, after which they were accompanied by a staff member on the red carpet. When they walked in they were greeted friendly with a glass of champagne while they were escorted to their chairs.

“This is really the first time ever that I am on such a fancy occasion.” Giel told Adriano and he chuckled and replied: “Yeah me too, thank god we are dressed for it!” He said that a little bit louder then expected so that Pedro, Ricardo, Emma and Bridget had heard it too and they almost spilled their drinks while they started laughing. Adriano and Giel looked at them and started laughing too. “Boys,” Ricardo said, “Behave yourself will you?” He added with a grin and Adriano and Giel replied together: “We will, sorry!” Emma gave Giel a gentle push and said with a laugh: “you two are just like kids!” Giel gained a blush on his cheeks and replied: “I’m really sorry honey.” “It’s okay, but try to behave next time.” Emma said and gave Giel a kiss on his cheek. Also Bridget had a small talk with Adriano about it the same way as Emma had done and He also apologized.

When also Giel and Emma’s parents had joined them they all took place in their seats and when the ceremony started, silence took over the audience. It went on to a long list of awards that were given, to similar people, there were actors and actresses, directors, musicians that had made the music for the movies and much more. Finally the time was there for them. When Giel and Adriano’s names were called out, they went up to the stage and for both of them that was a very stressful moment on stage. They were nominated for ‘the academy award for best original screenplay.’ For a moment it became silent in the room and then the host broke the silence with the words: “The academy award for best original screenplay… Goes to… Studio Star Hermano!” The last words he almost yelled out and when Giel and Adriano heard them they stood motionless for a second. They were accompanied by Ricardo who had written a speech for this moment. Giel and Adriano took the Award together and held it above them for a second. Both Emma and Bridget gained tears in their eyes with seeing this picture. They leaned towards each other and said in choir: “Those are our husbands!!” They looked at each other for a second, then started laughing and gave each other a silent high five.

Ricardo took the word with his speech in which he thanked everyone who had supported them in anyway possible, everyone who was present here tonight and also the people of Star Animated Studio’s. At the end of his speech everyone started applauding and both Giel and Adriano were taken by emotions for a moment.

That night they celebrated their new milestone in their own way. They headed back to Salton city after the awards and had a small party with just the six of them in a bar nearby. Ricardo had also set up a special thing for them all that night. He had been out of sight for a while, when he came back into the bar and joined them again. “Where have you been?” Giel asked when Ricardo joined them and Ricardo replied: “I have arranged a surprise for you all, just now.” “Guys, and ladies off course.” He added with a wink. “Because of this perfect night and to celebrate the hard work that you all have done, I have arranged us a special treat. We are going to SeaWorld in San Diego!” “Waauw!” Giel and Adriano replied in enthusiasm. “I have never been there before!” Emma said.

“Me neither and I always wanted to go there once!” Bridget added in excitement. “Well, that that’s where we are going next weekend!” Ricardo said.

So it was that on Saturday they all stood up early and spent a whole day in SeaWorld park in San Diego. The sights of the animals was pretty unique and spectacular and they all had a great day and when they arrived back home they were exhausted and went to bed early. They had had a great time so far that Giel and Emma were very happy together and they would certainly never leave each other for not any reason at all, That they both were certain about.

Chapter twenty-one: Shivers.

Early in the morning Giel and Emma woke up and got ready for a new day at work. Giel had had a beautiful dream about winning the award four years ago and when they woke up he told Emma about it during breakfast and she loved the fact that he was always so honest to her about everything. He told her everything that happened and that’s why she loved Giel so much. After breakfast they headed to work.

Upon his arrival at the studio, Giel immediately started up his pc and started working on the new scripts they had been talking about last week, during the meeting. Not much later also Adriano and Ricardo, who was with them for the upcoming two weeks, came in and they talked about the weekends before getting to work. Ricardo was with them in the upcoming two weeks because they had a big deal to discuss at Star Animated studio’s, where they were heading to at the end of the week.

Therefor they had a lot of work to do before the end of the week and that they had started on this morning with the new scripts. One of them was a huge deal that had to be done around the end of the week and so Giel and Adriano worked together on it in full speed. They were a little bit worried about the time pressure but Ricardo was certain that they would be doing a great job.

Late in the evening Giel came home. He was exhausted after a heavy day. Emma had seen it too because he went straight to the sofa and dropped himself in it, spreading out and sighting deeply. “Rough day sweetie?” Emma asked when she joined Giel in the sofa and started massaging his neck. “Pretty much yeah.” Giel said. “We have gained a new project that has to be done by the end of the week so we are going to be working on it for as much as we can this week.” He added. Emma gave him a kiss on his forehead and said: “then you certainly will be hungry?” He tilted his head a little bit and said with a delighted voice: “Hmm, dinner would be quite awesome.” Emma stood up and said with a wink: “Luckily I had been cooking earlier today and left you a plate.” She headed to the kitchen and not much later she came back in with a large plate of spaghetti for him. He took place at the table and started eating.

For a moment it was quiet while Giel was eating, then he asked how Emma’s day had been. She told him that hiring her mom at the creche was the best thing she ever could have done. “The two of us are forming a great team.” Emma said and Giel felt happy for her. “Well, you should have learned it from someone right?” Giel replied with a wink. “Absolutely!” Emma said and Giel saw that she was very happy about it, which made him happy too. They cuddled a bit in the sofa, then went to bed together and fell asleep in an instant.

The next morning they both woke up early and had breakfast together. Then they went to work. In the studio, Giel and Adriano had been busy on the script in full speed and they were almost ready.

On Thursday they finished the script and read it through together. That evening Giel came home and found both his and Emma’s parents in the garden. Emma had invited them over for a barbecue and that came as a surprise for Giel, but he was happy about it. He was going to be away for two weeks so Emma came up with the idea to spent dinner with the whole family. After dinner they clinked glasses and enjoyed each others company at the fire pit outside.

A while later they said goodbye to their parents, then went to bed. They shuffled around a little bit and eventually Emma fell asleep in Giel’s arms. He gave her a kiss on her head and closed his eyes to wander off in his dreams too.

Next morning they both stood up early and after a quick breakfast, the time had come to say goodbye for a while. They gave each other a long and intense hug and then Giel headed to the studio. When he arrived there he found Adriano in the studio taking the most important stuff. They loaded them in together, then headed to the big city where they were going to meet up with Ricardo. Despite the fact that it was very early, Both Giel and Adriano were very happy and were singing along with the songs on the radio and so the ride was not too long.

Upon their arrival at Star Animated Studio’s, they saw that it was very busy, so they looked for a parking spot a bit further away and went back on foot. On their way there they passed a playing group of kids who were on their way to school and didn’t pay much attention to the traffic. Both Giel and Adriano had seen this too and were following them with their gaze.

On that moment a lot of things happened at the same time. A row of cars was passing by at high speed while one of the kids headed over without looking. Giel and Adriano headed back as fast as they could. Adriano placed himself before the other kids to make sure that they were not going to follow the other boy, that Giel had followed onto the street. He jumped before him right in time.

The boy ran further as fast as he could but Giel stiffened up and stared with big eyes to the car that was coming closer very quickly. A fraction of a second later he felt an immersive pain going through his body. As if he was hit by a bullet. Adriano yelled loudly: “NOOO GIEL!!!!” Giel fell down on the asfalt very hard. He had one last sight of Adriano’s face together with a lot of random faces, before it all faded to black.

Panicking heavily, Adriano called the alarm number and when he heard a voice on the other side he said with a panicking voice: “Help, We have a heavily wounded person on San Fernando Road!”

A small ten minutes later an Ambulance arrived who gave Giel First aid. He had passed out due to the smack and it didn’t seemed like he was going to be back soon. Therefor the Ambulance brought him to the nearest hospital. Adriano was joining them and while they were on their way he first called Ricardo to tell him what had happened.

When they arrived at the hospital, they immediately brought Giel tot the intensive care. Adriano was not allowed to get with them and so he went back to the emergency entrance where they had brought Giel in. With shaking hands he took his cellphone and called Emma with a stocking voice.

Chapter twenty-two: Diary

When Adriano heard Emma’s voice, He started crying even harder. Emma, immediately knew something terrible had happened. “Adriano? What’s wrong?” She asked. It took a couple seconds before Adriano could talk again and then he said: “Emma, it’s Adriano, I have very bad news. Please take a seat cause what I’m about to tell you is going to crash in like a bomb.”

For a moment Emma didn’t know what to say and just did what Adriano told her to do. She took a seat then asked: “What happened? Something wrong with Giel? Is he okay?” Again Adriano was taken by emotions but he recovered almost immediately and said with a shaking voice: “Yes, it’s about Giel, He had an accident here in Burbank when he tried to save a child’s life. That became fatal for him. Instead of the kid, Giel got hit heavily by the car and he is now at the intensive care. His condition is critical.”

Emma’s world collapsed when she heard the news about Giel. She desperately hoped that this was a nightmare and that she was waking up with Giel sleeping aside of her. But that didn’t happen. “Emma?” Adriano asked. “Are you there?” He added. Emma was sitting on the chair, staring in front of her with empty eyes. From the moment she opened her mouth to respond to Adriano, she started crying heavily. “I have to see him. Adriano where are you? Please tell me that this is a joke, or, or…”

Adriano heard Emma crying and that caused that he started crying heavier again too. “I’ll be there as soon as I can.” Emma said sobbing. “Please be careful Emma.” Adriano said and Emma replied that she was not going to do stupid things. She wasn’t even going to be able to drive crazy she thought. The only thing she wanted right now was seeing Giel. She took her keys and jumped into the car and putted the radio slightly harder to distract her mind a little bit.

When Adriano putted away his cellphone he started crying heavy again. He took place on the ground with his back against the wall and buried his face in his hands. Not much later, a nurse came up to him. She escorted Adriano inside and told him that there was no news yet in the case of Giel. The only thing she was able to tell him was that they had been trying the whole time to bring him back but so far without result.

The nurse took Adriano with her to a private space and asked if he wanted to have something to eat or drink. Adriano asked for a coffee and she nodded, then left the room. Not much later she came back with a plate with a cup of coffee and two slices bread with cheese and ham. “I took the liberty to get you something to eat too, in case you get hungry.” She said and placed the plate at the table then left Adriano alone.

The time passed by slowly while Adriano waited. Every once in a while he took a nap of his coffee but further he sat motionless staring in front of him. He looked at the clock and realized that he had seen almost every minute in the past half an hour. He decided to get some rest and closed his eyes.

Adriano woke up when he heard the door opening and he jumped up. Emma and Ricardo entered the room, leaded by the same nurse and from the moment Adriano and Emma saw each other, they both started crying heavily and fell into each others arms. “If we have more news, we’ll let you know.” The nurse said to Ricardo, who nodded and she left the room again and closed the door. Ricardo Took place aside of Emma who was now sitting between him and Adriano.

“How are you?” Adriano asked softly and Emma shook her head. She was still crying softly and she wiped away her tears every once in a while. He placed her arm around her shoulders and she placed her head on his shoulder. After what seemed hours the doctor came inside. Emma, Adriano and Ricardo stood up at the same time. “How is he?” Adriano asked with a rough voice. “Can we see him?” Emma asked sobbing. “I think it’s better if you all take a seat again.” The doctor said. He sighed deeply and added: “We were able to bring him back for a couple seconds but unfortunately he started hyper-ventilating immediately, so we placed him in a coma. For the moment it is not allowed to visit him in his room, but you will be able to see him at the window.” Emma nodded, stood up and followed the doctor. Adriano and Ricardo headed to the entrance hall where they were going to meet up with Emma again in a while.

When they arrived at Giel’s room the doctor told Emma that his chances were very small and that if he was able to make it, he would not be able to live his live again as before. Even that he would not be able to write again, what his biggest passion was. With hearing this, in combination of arriving at the room and seeing Giel laying as if he was lifeless, Emma fell down on her knees. She started crying so heavily that she wasn’t able to breath for a couple seconds and the doctor picked her up and took her with him to the closest room where he gave her a mask to give her air again. After a couple seconds that worked, but she panicked and took off the mask and started running outside.

She wanted to get away from here, as far and as fast as possible. The doctor followed her but was nearly able to keep her with him. Only when they entered the lobby and he saw Ricardo and Adriano, he stopped his attempt to follow her. When Adriano and Ricardo saw her running they followed her outside.

They were already at the parking when they were finally able to get on the same pace as Emma and Adriano took her by her shirt. She worked back so hard that Adriano had a lot of pressure holding her. “NO! LET ME…, LET ME GO!” She yelled crying. “Not before you tell us what is going on!” Adriano said. Eventually she gave up and Adriano pulled her close towards him. Together they were now crying on each others shoulders. “Giel will not be able to live properly again.” Emma said sobbing and when Ricardo heard these words the courage sunk him in his shoes. He stood with one hand in his side, looked up, sighed and closed his eyes, causing a tear rolling down his cheek.

The doctors joined them and insisted that Emma stayed at the hospital so she’d be close to Giel if he was going to wake up. She agreed to that and Ricardo and Adriano decided to go back home. “I will come back tomorrow evening to see how things are going.” Ricardo said to Emma and she nodded. “Try and take some rest, you are going to need it.” Adriano said while giving her a hug. “I, thank you, both of you, for everything!” She whispered softly. “We will always be there for you Emma!” Ricardo said. She nodded, then Ricardo and Adriano headed back home, cause they had still a long trip ahead.

Emma followed the doctor who guided her to a room not far away from Giel’s room. When she arrived there she took place in the sofa that stood aside the bed and took her phone. She first called Giel’s parents, because she found that they should be knowing first. She had let them know that Giel had an accident, and now she told them about the tests and the results. After she had informed Giel’s parents she also called her parents. They mutually agreed that they were coming over the next day and with that news Emma became a bit calmer.

But sleeping was a huge issue that night. She turned around so many times and wasn’t able to sleep which caused that the night became very long. Eventually the sun slowly started to rise again early in the morning and a nurse entered the room. She took Emma with her to the restaurant where she could have a small breakfast. After breakfast she headed to the room of Giel. Giel was still unconscious which caused that Emma’s mood didn’t become better either. She also wasn’t allowed to enter Giel’s room that morning, only when the time past eleven ‘o’ clock and the doctor had been with Giel she was able to join Giel for the first time.

She took place in the seat aside of him and placed her hand on his. For a moment she had hoped that he would be responding to her touch, but that didn’t happen so she sacked back slightly disappointed but kept looking at him, as if she thought that he would be opening his eyes every second. After a while her eyes were slowly closing and she fell asleep.

Adriano opened his eyes. He had been sleeping badly overnight and was also still taken by emotions. He stood up and tried to eat something but wasn’t able to get food inside and so he decided to go down.

In an attempt to set his thoughts from the case he took place behind his desk and decided to go through some of the scenario’s. But his concentration left him and when he looked at Giel’s bureau he felt a tear rolling over his cheek. He stood up and saw that there was a book laying on Giel’s desk. He went to the bureau and picked up the book. On the cover of it was written: ‘Diary of Giel.’ A soft smile appeared on Adriano’s face. He opened the diary and started reading. While he was reading Giel’s story he gained shivers every once in a while seeing what a fantastic writer Giel was. That gave him a great feeling. He already knew of course that Giel had been a great addition to the studio and now he knew why. When he had finished reading the diary he had gained tears in his eyes. For a moment he looked at the cover of the diary and suddenly he gained a great idea.

He took place behind his desk again and took a pen and paper by hand, thought for a second, then started writing. A couple days went by and every evening, He, Bridget and Ricardo had been visiting Giel at the hospital. His situation was still the same, he was still in a coma.

At the end of the week Adriano and Ricardo stopped working earlier and on their way to the hospital Adriano told Ricardo about Giel’s diary and that he made a story about it. He had planned to give it to Emma as a reminder to Giel if he would not make it and Ricardo was a fan of this idea. When they arrived at the hospital, The parents of both Giel and Emma were there too. Ricardo, Adriano and Bridget gave them their biggest hopes. The eight of them were quietly looking at Giel when Adriano said: “Emma I’ve got something for you.” He stood up, took the diary out of the bag and gave it to Emma who took it over. “I have found it a couple of days ago in the studio and took the liberty to add a couple of things on it.” Adriano said and gained a lump in his throat when Emma took the Diary.

She opened it and saw that Giel had been keeping his diary as a story. Every day had been written down in perfect scene so that it would fit between the other days. She gained tears in her eyes when she saw it. “I didn’t even knew that he was holding a diary.” Emma whispered. “We neither, Adriano had found it a couple days ago for the first time too.” Ricardo said and Adriano nodded.

Emma went on to the last part of the book. There she immediately noticed that it was written by someone else but it was as beautiful as the rest of the book was. “That is wonderful!” Emma said, “Thank you so very much, Adriano.” She added and stood up to give Adriano a hug. “You are welcome. I hope you like it?” He said on an asking tone. “I like it a lot!” Emma said. “What would Giel think about it?” Ricardo asked.

Emma looked from the book to Giel and back. “Are you thinking about doing what I think you wanna do?” Adriano asked. “Exactly!” Emma said and she opened the book on page one and started narrating.

Ricardo and Adriano listened with full attention while Emma was reading the story. In the meantime also the doctor had joined them and was also listening with huge admiration. When she reached the end of the story she nodded to the doctor who understood the hint and shut down the monitor, causing Giel’s heartbeat softly falling away.

She closed the book, placed it at Giel’s chest and gave him a kiss on his forehead while a tear rolled over her cheek. “Saying farewell is a sad thing to do, it’s never goodbye after all, so I’d rather say; until we meet again.”

And with these wonderful words Emma finished the story.

End Of Part Two…

Fate Collides Part Three: Reborn

Short content

After the tragic loss of Giel in shivers, Giel’s pupil; Zayn comes to know what had happened and joins Emma, together with his parents to be with her as support. He also has a surprise for all of them. Zayn has inherited Giel’s passion for writing and that does not go unnoticed. Meanwhile Emma struggles with the loss. She starts reading Giel’s diary and gets inspired to do something she’d loves to do. 


  • Chapter one: Loved Ones And Leaving
  • Chapter Two: The Diary
  • Chapter Three: Family Matters

Chapter One: Loved Ones And Leaving

The church-bells were ringing on a constant tone, to alert the people of Salton City that a resident of the village has passed away. Oliver, of course already knew what had happened. His neighbor; Giel Willems, had passed away last night after a terrible accident and a very heavy struggle in the hospital. 

Oliver had seen only a glimpse of Emma last night when she arrived home, along with Giel’s parents. He had seen immediately that something terrible had happened. They all were crying and seemed heavily shocked. 

However, Oliver did not went over to them instantly. He thought that they would need a bit of time on their own, so he decided to wait until next morning. When he woke up with the sound of the church bells ringing, he immediately knew that someone passed away and seems that Giel was not with them last night, Oliver knew it would be something to do with him. 

When he came outside the door that morning, he saw Emma sitting at the front door of their house with her head buried in her hands and the shaking of her body told Oliver that she was crying. He walked towards her. 

“Emma? Are you okay?” Emma looked up when she heard Oliver’s voice. “No.” She said grieving. “Giel has passed away last night.” Emma added, still sobbing and she buried her head back in her hands. Oliver took place aside of Emma. He blinked away a tear when he heard the news and wiped it away. For the past six years Giel and Emma had lived right next to him and they had become close friends. 

For a moment Oliver was shocked. He knew Giel as a very friendly and helpful young man and that brave man was gone now. A couple of minutes there was only silence and the sound of the church bells that slowly faded away. “I don’t know what to say Emma. But do know that my door will always be open for you if you need someone to talk to, or a shoulder to cry on.” Oliver said and Emma thanked him, then placed her head on his shoulder. 

That night Emma did not sleep well. She turned around every five minutes and it took hours before she finally fell asleep.

Next morning she was woken up by her mom, who had made breakfast. Emma tried to eat something, but couldn’t eat a lot. The grief over Giel’s passing caused her having a lump in her throat. Gerrard and Leontien had decided to spend the next couple of weeks close to their daughter, in order to assist her in anyway possible. Also Giel’s parents were joining her on a daily base. They of course were also going through hell at the moment. It is not a natural thing for a parent to bury your child and that was a heavy struggle for Dirk and Karine. The three of them had decided to keep watch on each other and Emma’s parents had insisted to be there for all three of them at any time necessary. 

After breakfast The five of them went to the mortuary to discuss the last points of the funeral that was going to happen the next day. Emma, together with Dirk and Karine, had mutually agreed to do the ceremony at the church of Salton City. Also Zayn and his parents, along with Michiel, Thomas and the rest of the Casa Musica gang were attending the funeral. Michiel and Thomas also had insisted to do the music during the ceremony. Therefor, Michiel and Thomas had been in church the whole day, getting everything ready for the ceremony next day. 

After they were through the set up and a rehearsal, Michiel and Thomas, along with Elise, Jana and Samuel headed over to Emma’s place. They were staying there for a couple of days, as Emma insisted on that. The five of them then also gratefully appreciated that offer and did everything in their power to stand alongside Emma, during this very difficult time in her life. 

That evening, Emma and her parents as also Giel’s parents and the gang of Casa Musica had a sober dinner together. They were also joined by Zayn and his parents. With all these people being there, Emma was able to get her mind off of the things going on right now. 

After dinner, Emma’s father Gerrard lit up the fire pit in the garden and everyone joined in. Michiel and Thomas took their guitars with them and played a couple of songs, while everyone started to get sleepy and sipped their drinks in silence. 

Before the break of dawn, Emma was up and running. After a sleepless night, she had decided to get up early and went to the kitchen quietly in an attempt to not wake up anyone else. When she entered the kitchen however, She saw that she wasn’t the only one awake. Michiel and Elise were sitting at the table. Michiel had his head buried in his hands and Elise was sitting next to him with her arm around his shoulder, whispering soft words into his ears, in attempt to comfort him. His body was shaking a bit, which told Emma that he was crying softly and she also gained a lump in her throat. 

She wiped away a tear while joining both Michiel and Elise. When she took place at the table, Michiel raised his head for a moment. He wiped away the tears and said with a hush voice: “I’m sorry Emma. It just came in very heavy overnight.” “You don’t have to say you’re sorry.” Emma replied. “Neither do you have to be ashamed for crying.” She added. Elise gave Michiel a hug and a kiss on his forehead. “He woke up sweating over night. He was so confused, I couldn’t even calm him down. That’s why we came here so early.” Elise explained. “It’s okay. You don’t have to explain that to me. I’ve been going through hell also lately, so I know exactly how it feels.” Emma replied. She and Elise looked at each other and a fraction of a second, there was a connection between the two girls. Elise smiled softly and Emma nodded, then turned her head down. She had that exact same feeling, only once before. The moment she met her best friend in kindergarten and knew exactly what it meant. Elise was one of those people with whom Emma had a sisterhood-connection. Nevertheless, the day was still young and it was going to be a day Emma hoped to be over in no time. 

Unfortunately, that was not the case. An hour later, everyone started to wake up and had breakfast. After breakfast they headed to the church to go through the final setup. Upon their arrival inside church, Emma saw that there were already people sitting in the chairs. At first she thought it was because of an early ceremony, but only a couple of minutes later the church started to become even more crowded. 

“Are they all here because of Giel?” Thomas asked Michiel, when they had taken their place at the side near the altar. “He did became a well known man in the last couple years, just as we did.” Michiel answered. Thomas looked again through the entire church and saw it getting very crowdy. Seeing that picture gave him a shiver and he spontaneously gained a picture of Giel, writing stories back in Etely Mountain. 

The pastor came up to them and asked them for the music to start the ceremony, so Michiel and Thomas stood up and went to the altar. There they took their guitars and started playing an emotional song they had written just a couple of days ago. Then everyone became silent and Giel’s coffin was carried into the church, followed by Emma and his parents aside of her and her parents right behind them. 

Emma was crying softly and she hooked her arm into Karine’s arm who, in her turn placed her head on Emma’s shoulder. 

When they arrived at the altar, The coffin was placed onto the table that was reserved for it. Emma and her parents and Giel’s parents took place at the front row. The music died away softly and the pastor started speaking. 

“We are gathered here today not to mourn, but to celebrate a noble man. Giel Willems, was in many ways a true friend to everyone. He was kind, friendly, helpful and was there for everyone in moments that these people needed it the most.” 

Emma started crying while hearing these words. She still couldn’t believe that this happened. Her husband, her best friend, the one person she loved more than anyone else ever before, was now gone forever. 

“In light of the recent events, let me remind you that no matter who you are and what you’re capable of, everyone needs a person who he or she can rely on in times that it is most necessary. Remember that and Giel’s passing shall not be in vain.” 

Michiel and Thomas started playing another song, meanwhile Samuel took place at the altar to prepare himself for the speech he had written together with Michiel and Thomas, as a tribute to Giel. When the music softly died away again, Samuel cleared his throat and said: 

“I know Giel since kindergarten. He and I, and Michiel and Thomas, were friends before we even understood what friends are for. We have done many things together, both great and honorable, as also stupid and unthoughtful. And yes, we have been separated during the past few years. It was therefor such a great moment when we’ve seen each other again a couple of years ago. And now, this is our final goodbye.” Samuel wiped away a tear while looking up to the starred roof of the church. “Wherever you are, you will always be with us. Farewell, dear brother.” 

Samuel again wiped away a tear, same as Michiel and Thomas, but also Emma and Elise did. Samuel headed back to his place where his and Emma’s gazes crossed. He nodded and swallowed a lump in his throat through. 

The last one who was giving a speech was Adriano. While another song was playing, he took Samuel’s place at the altar and when Michiel and Thomas were done with the song, Adriano started his speech. 

“Giel was in many ways, a remarkable guy. He was always there for us in times we needed him the most. For all the years that we had the privilege to work with him, we are very grateful. He had such great ideas and if it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have achieved the things we did today. He will therefor be missed very hard. Fortunately, we do have heritage that will remind us, and everyone else to him and that I am willing to fight for to keep that heritage alive for as long as I live. So that Giel will never be forgotten. We’ll miss you brother. You took a part of us with you when you departed. Farewell.” 

The entire ceremony lasted on for another hour and a half. After the ceremony, the coffin was brought to the mortuary where Giel’s body was going to be turned to ash and divided into one big, and three smaller urns. The big one was for Emma. She placed it at home on a very special place where Giel always loved to be. The other three were given to his parents, Adriano and Michiel and Thomas. Adriano placed his urn in the studio, so that Giel was always going to be with them. Michiel and Thomas took their urn with them back to Mallorca when they were going back home and gave it a special place there. 

When the ceremony finished, everyone gathered together outside, at the entrance of the church to see Giel’s coffin one last time. The coffin got placed in the back of the car and taken to the mortuary. Emma and her parents and Giel’s parents, together with the gang of Casa Musica and the studio gathered together at Emma’s parents place. They had prepared everything at their place for a small coffee table with Giel’s closest friends and family. 

There, Emma took a moment alone. She went to the bathroom to fresh up a little bit. In the backyard, the rest of the people took the time to give Giel’s parents their sincere condolences. 

When Emma joined them again a while later, she also gained condolences from everyone. Also Derek, Mia and Zayn had been invited. When Emma saw Zayn, she again gained a lump in her throat. Zayn however, saw Emma too and walked straight to her. 

“Emma! I am so sorry to hear what has happened.” Zayn said and Emma hugged him intently. “You must be devastated too I guess. After all, Giel was one of your friends.” Emma replied. “I still cannot believe it!” Zayn answered and started crying. “Me neither buddy!” Emma said while also crying softly. 

After a while they let each other go and Emma took the time to look at Zayn for a moment. “You turned out to become a handsome young rob you!” She said, while wiping away a tear. well, after all I turned nineteen this year.” Zayn replied. “Waauw! Nineteen?” Emma said with a surprising tone. “Indeed I am.” Zayn replied. “And there’s something else I wanted to show you.” He added and took a notebook out of his pocket. “You’re a writer too?” Emma asked. “Thanks to Giel, I am. He showed me the path to it.” Zayn replied. “That’s wonderful.” Emma said softly. 

At the same time, Adriano came across and Emma stopped him. “Hey Adriano. I think you need to see this.” Adriano turned to her with a painful look on his face. “Emma, I’m so sorry about everything!” Adriano said and pulled Emma closer to him. “Thank you Adriano. And seen as you were there with him, I assume you must feel terrible too. Just know that I will be there for you.” Emma replied. “Thanks. Same thing for you.” Adriano sobbed. “So what did you wanted to show me?” He added and Emma took Zayn closer to them. “This young man, I think he can be of very good use for you.” Adriano looked at Zayn and asked: “Who are you fella?” I’m Zayn. I’m a good friend of Giel.” Zayn replied. “Show him.” Emma said to Zayn and he took the notebook he had just shown to Emma and Adriano took it over with a surprised look. He opened the book and started reading. 

A couple of minutes it was quiet while Adriano was reading. Then he came back into reality and said: “This is very fascinating. Are you writing for a long time already?”  “For two years now.” Zayn replied. “And you’re working as a writer?” Adriano asked. “I’m still looking for a job. I only graduated this year.” Zayn replied and both Adriano and Emma felt the same thought going through their minds as they looked at each other at the exact same moment. 

“I think, we should be getting in touch soon.” Adriano said and added: Are you available anywhere near the next days?” “I do.” Zayn replied and Adriano concluded: “Keep an eye on your phone then! You might be getting an interesting call in the very near future.” He nodded and winked and then headed outside. 

Emma had followed the entire conversation and now that Adriano was gone, she looked at Zayn and thought to herself: “He would be a worthy follow up to Giel’s legacy.” 

When everyone had gone home and went to sleep, Emma decided to do the same thing. Thinking back on this day, she gained both a bad as also a good feeling, which she felt was strange. She did was going to miss Giel, but she was going to carry him with her for the rest of her life. That she was certain of. As for Zayn, she truly hoped that he was going to be the perfect replacement for her late husband in the studio. 

She turned on her side and saw Giel’s diary laying on the bedside table. She took it and started reading Giel’s story.

Chapter Two: The Diary

The early spring sun covered the charming village of Etely Mountain into a wonderfully warm glow. The aftermath of last winter still lingered around, but the warmth of the first spring sun gave the people of Etely Mountain a great feeling. Finally they were able to get back outside without their thick winter cloths. The warm feeling of the first sunshine felt great and gave everyone the feeling of waking up after a long hibernation. 

Opening up his eyes and seeing the spring sun shine through his curtains, Giel woke up with a great feeling. He jumped out of bed and putted on his clothes, then headed downstairs fast. Entering the kitchen, he saw his mom and dad sitting at the table and he greeted them joyfully. “Good morning mom, good morning Dad!” He said and took place at the table. “Good morning sweetheart!” His mom replied. “Looks like you had a good night of sleep!” His father added while Giel took a toast from the pile and spread his toast with chocolate.

“What are your plans on this beautiful Saturday?” His mom asked. “If it is okay for you, I was thinking of going to the park and take my writing gear with me.” Giel replied and his dad answered: “We have no problem with that.” Looking at his son, he gained a great feeling. In the past five years Giel had been writing stories. It all started when Giel was at the age of around ten years old and he came home from school one day, having gained a 10 for a short story that he had written for a project. Since then, The writing microbe was very much alive inside of him. By now he had finished three stories and his ambition then also was to go do something with it in the future. 

When he had finished his breakfast, he took his writing gear and went outside. The warm feeling of the sun gave him a lot of inspiration. He headed to the park and on his way there he passed the retirement home. As he always did, he greeted the elderly people kindly and received an equally kind greeting back. “That is such a nice young boy!” One of the men said. Giel had heard him saying those words and gained a smile on his face. Every winter, during the cold and dark evenings in the weekend, Giel had been going over there and helped some of the elderly. He then always got back something great in return. Even if it was just a bit of candy, Giel was happy with that. He had also been reading a couple of stories for them last winter, also one of his own. That last one had been received great by them and it had given Giel a feeling of being very special when some of the elderly had congratulated him on that story and said that he was certain that if Giel was getting older, He was going to become a great writer someday. 

When he entered the park, Giel took place at his favorite bench. He took his writing gear and started working on the story about the Giants up in the north of Greece. This story he had been working on for almost three weeks by now and he had almost finished it. He first read through the last part on which he had been working on last night and got lost in his thoughts. As if he was in a trance, he started writing. “The last chapter.” He said softly to himself. 

A half an hour later he finished the chapter and started reading through the whole story. Just when he started reading, he heard two familiar voices and Giel pulled up his head. He saw Michiel and Thomas entering the park with their guitars and a grin appeared on Giel’s face. “Right in time!” Giel said softly while he looked at his clock. When Michiel saw Giel sitting at the bench, he tapped Thomas on his shoulder and nodded to Giel. “Look over there.” He said and Thomas followed Michiel’s gaze. He saw Giel sitting too and gained a grin from ear to ear. When they approached Giel, Thomas said: “Well, Well, if it isn’t our favorite town-writer.” Giel also gained a grin on his face and replied: “The best band of the world has also arrived! How are you guys?” “We are doing great. How about you?” Michiel answered while they took place at the bench next to the one where Giel was sitting. “I am doing great too. Happy that the weather turned around again.” He said and nodded to the sky. Michiel and Thomas nodded in act of understanding. “That we agree to mate.” Thomas said. He took his guitar out of it’s bag and took place at the bench. “Some new songs written lately?” Giel asked. “We do! Do you wanna hear it in sneak-preview?” Michiel answered. Giel placed his writing gear aside of him and said: “It would be an honor.” 

Michiel took place aside of Thomas and they started playing their newest song. Giel immediately went into trance when they started playing. Their music was not the typical music that the youth of today was listening to and that made that Casa Musica’s music was something unique. At least that was what Giel thought. When they finished their new song, Giel woke up out his trance and started clapping his hands. “That was truly beautiful.” He said and wiped away a tear. “Haven’t you guys thought about playing for a public yet?” He added and Michiel replied: “We did actually. We are playing in the youth center next weekend. Our first show.” “Are you coming to watch our gig?” Thomas added. Giel didn’t had to think long when he had heard these words. “Off course I’ll be there! Front row!” He said with an exiting voice. 

“So how about you? Written something new lately?” Thomas asked and Giel replied: “Well, as a matter of fact, I just have finished my first full story. Only a couple of minutes before you guys had arrived here.” “That’s great!” Michiel responded. “Can we hear a bit of that in sneak-preview too?” He added with a wink. “Sure.” Giel replied and started narrating the first chapter of his story. 

While he was narrating, Michiel and Thomas listened with huge admiration. They immediately saw the picture of the story in front of themselves. Michiel, got a bit lost into his thoughts too. He was so impressed by Giel’s story that, for a second, He forgot where he was and what time it was. He only came back into reality when Giel was finished and he said: “Giel, That is probably the best storyline I have ever heard and you narrating it made it even more special. I really want to read this story. I want to know how this is ending.” Giel gained a lump in his throat when he heard those words. “Thanks buddy. Those are the most warming words I have ever heard. I have only just finished it so I have to read it through first. When I’m finished with that, I promise I’ll give you guys the first copies of it.” Giel said and Michiel and Thomas nodded in reply. 

It was nearly nightfall when Giel came back home. He had had a great day in the park and had amused himself with Michiel and Thomas during the whole day. They had also been amusing the kids that were playing in the park. Michiel and Thomas did that with playing lots of songs for them and Giel with narrating stories he had made up. He loved those days. He, Michiel and Thomas then also became good friends in the time that passed and that gave Giel a great feeling. The feeling of being loved.

Chapter Three: Family Matters

Emma woke up in the middle of the night, with a picture of her and Giel at the show of Casa Musica which they had seen a couple of years ago. Thinking about Giel, she felt tears filling up her eyes and dried them off. 

She gazed through the room for a second, then laid back down and turned on her left side. She saw the diary laying open on the floor which tells her she fell asleep reading it and it must had slipped her hands. She picked it up, closed it and placed it on her bedside table. 

Wandering off in her thoughts, she wiped away her tears once again and closed her eyes in an attempt to go back to sleep. However, a couple of minutes later she opened her eyes again. Realizing she couldn’t sleep anymore, Emma started thinking of the events happened that day. 

Eventually, the thought of her and Elise came to her mind and she sat up. The conversation they had earlier was still lingering in her mind and she started thinking about it, while picking up a pen and paper that she had laying aside of her, and started writing down some of the ideas that just came into her head. 

After a half an hour, she decided to give it up for now and placed everything back at its original place. Then she turned back on her side and closed her eyes again, but still wasn’t able to fall asleep so she went out of bed and got dressed, then headed downstairs. 

In the kitchen she made a sandwich for herself and ate it quietly. She again sunk away in her thoughts and didn’t realize someone else was awake too, until she heard the door of the kitchen open up and she woke up from her dream. 

Her mother entered the kitchen too and said with a sleepy voice: “What’s wrong dear? Couldn’t find sleep?” 

Emma nodded and wiped away a tear again. “I just cannot get used to sleep alone.” Emma replied with a hush voice. Leontien yawned and went to the counter where she made a cup of tea for herself and asked: “You want one too?” Emma nodded and Leontien added: “If there is anything on your mind, tell me my love. You can talk with us about anything, you know?” 

Emma took the cup of tea her mom gave her and Leontien took place across her daughter. Emma sighed deeply once and said: “ I had a weird feeling earlier, at the funeral. When I was talking with Elise, I gained a good feeling inside of me.” Leontien listened with care to what her daughter was saying and Emma continued: “It was strange to have a feeling that good at a moment like that, but talking with Elise about Casa Musica, it gave me the feeling that it was some sort of an enlightenment inside me. Like it’s a calling or something like that. Does that make sense to you?” 

Leontien took a deep breath and then replied: “Honey, it’s perfectly normal to have all these feelings mixing up inside of you at a moment like this. Whatever it is that you and Elise had, I fully support you in every step of the way.” 

“You think I’m talking about feelings for Elise? As in… Falling in love with her?” Emma replied while her jaw dropped a bit. Leontien nodded softly and opened her mouth to reply, but Emma beat her to that and added: “That is totally not what I meant mom! It was more of a feeling for the band and a connection between me and Elise as being sisters for many years.” Leontien sighed in relief and said: “Oh, good. I thought.. Sorry honey.” 

A soft smile on Emma’s face appeared while Leontien added: “Well, if this feels good to you, I think you should follow that feeling.” “You do?” Emma asked. “Emma, you’re a full-grown woman and you are the only one who should take the decisions in your life. If this is what you wanna do, I give you my blessing.” Leontien replied and Emma stood up and walked up to her mom. 

They gave each other an intense hug and Leontien said softly: “Kids, They’re growing up so quickly.” And wiped away a tear too while saying those words. “As it is almost six o’clock, are you going back to sleep?” Emma asked. “I think I’m wide awake now.” Leontien replied and smiled softly. “I need to go to the store, mind if you’re going with me?” Emma said and Leontien nodded. “Let me get dressed and I’ll meet you again in ten minutes here.” Leontien replied and went to their room. 

When Gerrard woke up, he noticed that Leontien was not in bed with him so he realized that she had stood up early. He then also stood up and got dressed, then went to the kitchen where he saw a table filled with a rich breakfast. Leontien came into the kitchen too and when she saw Gerrard she said: “Good morning my love. Me and Emma went into town early and decided to get everything ready for breakfast. When we came back she felt a bit down however, so she decided to take a shower first.” “I get that.” Gerrard replied and he and Leontien took place at the table. 

A couple of minutes later, they were joined by Dirk and Karine. Karine however didn’t eat much, she was also still not feeling well. Emma however, did not join them and so after breakfast, Gerrard took a plate with a bit of everything and went to Emma’s room. He knocked at her door and said: “Sweetie? You’re in there?” Emma sobbed and replied: “Yes I’m here, door’s open.” So Gerrard walked in. He saw Emma laying on her bed with tears in her eyes and said: “I brought you breakfast honey. Whenever you’re ready, you can join us again.” “Thanks dad.” Emma replied and Gerrard put the plate on the bedside table where he caught a glimpse of Giel’s diary, then left the room and went back to the kitchen. 

“Emma’s not feeling well.” Gerrard said on a sad tone when he entered the kitchen. “ Let her rest for a moment.” Leontien replied. “We need to go back home I guess.” She added and wrote a note that she passed under Emma’s door, saying: 

“Emma, me and your father, as also Dirk and Karine are heading back home. If there’s anything you need, or wanna talk about something, don’t hesitate. Our doors are always open for you. Take good care sweetie. We love you!” 

In the following weeks however, Emma went through a very hard period in her life. She locked herself up at home, grieving about Giel and did that al on her own. She didn’t went outside anymore, only to go to the supermarket, but furthermore she stayed inside of her house. 

Gerrard and Leontien found that pretty disturbing. They hadn’t heard anything from their daughter and tried to go to her place, but she never opened the door. That feeling brought up tears to Leontien too. She knew her daughter was suffering and was more then willing to help in her in anyway possible, but Emma didn’t gave them the chance for that. So that made Leontien feeling upset too. 

After another week of not hearing anything from their daughter, Gerrard and Leontien decided to go to Dirk and Karine. They, of course also were going through a hell of a period in their lives, so they figured they also needed to get some help. 

When they arrived at Giel’s parents place, they hesitated for a moment, but then Gerrard knocked the door and a couple moments later Dirk opened it. He seemed also upset, but they saw that he was trying to be manned up for his wife. “Hi Dirk, How are you?” Leontien asked. “I felt better once.” Dirk replied. “Please come in.” He added and made way, so Gerrard and Leontien could enter. 

A couple moments later they sat with the four of them outside with a cup of coffee. Karine told them that they were trying to make the best of everyday in the past couple of weeks. “I understand that you’re going through hell at the moment. After all, you lost your son.” Gerrard said and added: “Emma is feeling bad too. We haven’t seen her in weeks by now. Ever since we left and went back home, she wouldn’t talk to us.” 

Dirk sighed and looked up to the sky, then said softly: “You’ll be gone for only a couple weeks, and you’re being missed more than ever before.” Gerrard also looked up to the sky and added: “We need you more than ever now buddy.” Dirk looked at Gerrard for a moment and said: “You are the most wonderful people we ever met. I’m glad to call you family.” With hearing these words, Leontien gained a lump in her throat. She swallowed it in and said: “We must never leave each other out of sight.” “Don’t worry. As long as we are alive, you will always be a part of our family.” Karine said and she and Leontien fell into each others arms, crying. Also Dirk and Gerrard gave each other a hug. “We need to do something to bring Emma back to reason.” Dirk said and Gerrard, Leontien and Karine nodded in unison. 

“What if we, with the five of us, go on a small trip?” Gerrard said. “Sounds like a good idea. But where?” Dirk replied. “Somewhere Emma has a great memory to Giel.” Karine added and Gerrard and Dirk replied in unison: “Mallorca!” 

They looked at each other after saying this word together and soft smile appeared on their faces. “That is indeed a place where she must have great memories to Giel.” Leontien said. “But it is not nearby.” Karine added. “I know, but I guess it’s the best place for Emma to remember Giel.” Dirk said. “After all, that is the place where they first met.” He added. “True, then I guess we should plan a trip to Mallorca.” Leontien replied and the rest nodded. “But first, I guess we need to try and talk to Emma about this. I think it’s not a good idea to kidnap her and head to the other side of the world.” Gerrard said and Leontien added: “Let’s try and do that right away.” She looked at Dirk and Karine and Dirk said: “Maybe it’s best that you do that on your own? After all she is your daughter.” Leontien and Gerrard nodded and Gerrard replied: “Agreed!” 

The next day already, Gerrard and Leontien took their chance for this. Late in the morning they went to Emma’s house and to their surprise, Emma was outside weeding the garden. When she saw her mother and father coming up, she ran straight to them and fell into Gerrard’s arms. “Dad! Mom! I’m so sorry that you haven’t heard from me lately. I just felt I needed to be alone for a time.”  “We understand that sweetie, no harm done.” Gerrard replied. “In fact, your father and I have come over to you with a proposal.” Leontien added. “How would you like to go on a trip?” 

Emma looked from her mother to her father with an amazed look on her face. “I’d love to, but where do you wanna go then?” She replied. 

“Well, we talked with Dirk and Karine about this and both father and Dirk came up with a great idea. At least if you want that too.” Leontien said. “What do you think about going to Mallorca with all five of us?” Gerrard added and Emma looked at him with a surprised look on her face. “It’s where Giel and I first met..” Emma said. “We know, that’s why we also thought about it. It might give you a good feeling with the memories you have there.” Leontien replied and Emma nodded. “Sounds good to me.” She said and gained a soft smile on her face. “That’s settled then, we’ll arrange everything and keep you in touch.” Gerrard replied. He saw his daughter smiling again for the first time since long. That alone came as a victory to him. 

That evening they sat with the five of them together at Emma’s place. They had ordered diner and now Dirk and Gerrard had lit up the fire pit. They sat together and talked a bit about past events. 

Suddenly, Emma stood up and said: “Dirk, Karine, there’s something I need you to see.” She went inside and a couple minutes later she came back with Giel’s diary. She gave it to Karine and said: “This, is the only real heritage I have from Giel. I have read it many times in the past couple of weeks and I wanted you to have it.” 

Karine opened the diary and started reading it for a couple seconds. “This is my son’s entire life written down.” She said while wiping away a tear. She gave it to Dirk who, in his turn also looked inside of it for a second. “This is beyond everything I have ever imagined about my son.” He said. While reading it, he came across a part where he spontaneously chuckled. “What is it?” Emma asked. Dirk looked at all four of them for a second then said: “This is a part of Giel’s life that had a huge impact on him.” 

A silence fell between them all and Dirk started narrating.

Chapter Four: Good Times

Early in the morning, Giel woke up with a smile on his face. He jumped out of bed and took his writing gear with him, writing down the big lines for a story of what he had been dreaming overnight. He then put on his clothes and went downstairs where he find his dad sitting at the kitchen table, with a coffee and the morning newspaper. 

When he entered the kitchen, Dirk looked up from his newspaper, looked at the clock and then said: “You’re up early!?” Giel took a cup of coco and a toast and replied: “I know. I wasn’t able to sleep because of a dream that caused to wake me up.” He started spreading his toast with chocolate. “A dream?” Dirk asked while he folded his newspaper and looked at his son. Giel looked up and first took a bite of his toast, then he said: “I had a dream about our first week in school last month. Michiel and Thomas are really great guys and I heard they were playing songs together. I dreamt that they were playing a huge show in a very big concert hall.” 

Dirk listened with full attention, while Giel was explaining his dream to him. He was very impressed about how detailed he was able to explain it. When he was finished, Dirk said: “You should do something with your storytelling. You really have talent for that, son.” He gained a smile on his face saying those words and Giel started blushing a bit. “Thank you daddy. I’m writing my own diary, for now I think that’s more then enough.” Dirk said nothing. He just stared at his son. Only ten years old, but so beautiful. He was always a kind young man to everyone else, he was polite and gentle, and always gave his seat to the elderly in public places. He sighed and a smile appeared on his face. “I’m proud of you, my son.” He said, without even overthinking the words.

Giel Looked at his dad and a smile appeared on his face. “Thank you daddy.” He replied, then finished his breakfast. “Is it okay if I go to the park today?” He asked and Dirk nodded. “Sure you can by. It’s a beautiful day, it would be a waste if you spent it inside the house.” Dirk replied and took another sip of his coffee. Giel finished his breakfast and then went outside, taking a pen and paper with him, so that he could write down his dream over there. 

When he arrived in the park, he took place on a bench and started writing down the things he seen overnight. Suddenly, he gained a much brighter idea. 

The thing he dreamt about, was something that happened to him, but could have happened to anyone else. He looked up for a second and stared straight in front of him, then he softly said to him self: “William.”

He looked back to his paper and overlooked what he had written down, then he started to change his name into that one name that came up to him just a couple of seconds ago.

While changing the names, he gained many ideas and wrote those down on another paper. After only ten minutes, he started writing down a story, straight from the beginning. He named it: ‘The Wizard From Down Under.’ He chuckled for a second, seeing the title, then started working on the first chapter of his very first fictional story, about a wizard that had to face many challenges in Australia. 

He was so busy writing down the story that he hadn’t noticed that Michael and Thomas also had entered the park. Giel only came back into reality when he heard music playing right next to him. He looked up, and saw Michiel and Thomas sitting at the bench next to him, both playing guitars. He stopped writing and looked with dreamy eyes to the musical duo.

“So that’s what they have been up to recently.” Giel thought to himself. He listened to the entire song, and when it was finished he clapped his hands. Michiel and Thomas looked over to him and said in unison: “Thanks a lot!” 

“You guys are brilliant!” Giel said. “Absolutely love the song.” He added and Thomas replied: “Thanks Giel. We have been working on it for a couple weeks by now.” “What are you doing?” Michiel asked as he looked curiously over to Giel and his notepad. “I was just working on my very first story. Nothing special yet, tho..” He replied. “A story?” Michiel asked. “As in a fictional story?” He added and Giel nodded, then started explaining his ideas to them. 

When he was finished, a silence fell in between them for a moment, while Michiel and Thomas both stood with an open mouth, looking at Giel. “That is really awesome man!” Thomas said, when he was able to bring out words again. “I wanna read that book when it’s finished.” He added, and Giel gained slightly red cheeks. 

They had been such deep conversation in the last couple minutes, that they hadn’t noticed a group of older kids, from the same school as they went to, were heading towards them. Only when they approached them, Thomas got an eye on them and bumped Michiel’s arm. Michiel looked at him and Thomas to the group of guys. “Oh no!” He said softly. 

“Well well, if it isn’t the stupidest band in the world. And the most annoying writer in town is also here!” The leader of the group said and the rest of the gang laughed heavily. Giel stood up and took his gear with him. When he did that, one of the the bullies said: “Oh, watch out. He’s going to stab us down with his imaginary sword.” And laughed even harder when he said that. “Would you please just shut up!?” Thomas said furiously. “It’s not that you have any special talent or skill.” He added and Michiel stood up also. He went over to Giel, and while doing so, One of the guys pushed him over and Michiel fell on the ground, injuring his arm heavily. He gained tears in his eyes instantly, feeling the pain. Both Giel and Thomas came in between of them quickly. Thomas, who was already furious, now got even more angry and pushed one of the back. “Is this really necessary!?” He yelled.

Giel took him by his arm, and pulled him back. “Easy Thomas, they are with too many. Against Only three guys.” Those four last words, he said louder and one of the bullies responded to that, saying: “What’s the matter afraid that you can’t make it against, without your silly music or your stupid stories. Nerds!” 

Hearing that last word, both Giel and Thomas lost their control. They turned towards him together and both pushed one of the guys also on the ground. Thomas wanted to kick one of them into his stomach, but Giel kept him from doing that. 

“Just because we are not as big and frightening as you think you are, That does not mean we can’t fight you guys. We all have both strength and weaknesses. Yours?” Giel said and looked at the guy that he had pushed to the ground a couple of minutes ago. He noticed that his pants were wet and chuckled. Thomas saw it too and also started laughing, while Giel continued saying: “Being just little babies when you are being the ones on losing grounds.” He turned around when he had finished his sentence, same as Thomas. They both helped up Michiel and went out of the park, on their way to Michiel’s house. 

“Those words were incredibly brilliant!” Thomas said while they were on their way. “You really are a master when it comes to words.” Michiel added. And Giel replied: “As I said before: we all have strengths and weaknesses. You guys are awesome when it comes to making music, and I truly hope to see you perform one day.” 

The three of them headed away while the sun was slowly setting. They did, however, hadn’t noticed that Dirk had been standing behind a tree that they had passed just now. He had seen the entire scene and felt really proud of his son and his friends. 

“The trio of Etely Mountain.” Dirk softly said when he had finished the chapter in his son’s diary. Emma felt a tear rolling down her cheek and wiped it away. “They truly were a perfect team.” Maria said, and gave Emma a hug. Dirk also wiped away a tear, but this one, was from being proud of his own son. 

Chapter Five: New Opportunities

Along with the early and beautiful sunrise, also Emma woke up and immediately came out of bed. She dreamt about Giel last night, about how they met each other and the picture of Giel, sitting at the table back in Mallorca gave her a warm feeling. Of course, she missed him terribly, but she knew she was not alone. She had her friends and family, plus Giel’s family surrounding her which gave her a comfortable feeling. 

Seeing the picture of Giel writing, gave her an idea too. She went to the kitchen and took a bowl of cereals, along with her laptop with her and while she was eating breakfast, she opened up the internet browser and went to a website that Ricardo had recommended. A little while later she was setting up a website for herself. Something she had talked about with Michiel, Thomas, Jana and Elise. Because she was a big fan of Casa Musica, and wanted to help them out too, she came up with the idea of starting a music blog on which she was going to keep a diary of the band. Everything was going to be on it. From band practices to shows, and even reviews about the songs that Casa Musica created. 

Michiel and Thomas both were big fans of this idea right from the moment they heard for the first time. They immediately went into overdrive mode while brainstorming about what Emma could be writing about them. She and Elise looked at each other, while the two guys were busily talking about the idea. Elise rolled her eyes as they were talking and Emma gained a huge grin on her face. She came closer to Elise and said: “Men! Give them something to play and they don’t see us anymore for the rest of the day.” Elise also gained a huge smile on her face as she heard those words and replied: “Be sure of that. Boys and their toys!” They both laughed intensely about it and Michiel and Thomas apparently were too busy talking about it because they didn’t even noticed that the girls were laughing. The only one who did noticed it, was Samuel. He joined the girls and asked: “What’s so funny? Can I laugh too?” “Oh nothing, girls stuff.” Elise said but Thomas saw her eyes focusing on Michiel and Thomas for a fraction of a second. He also looked at the picture and a big grin appeared on his face as well, as he saw the two talking heavily. “They haven’t changed a bit!” He said and started laughing too. 

In the evening everyone gathered together at Emma’s place. She had invited them all for diner because She and Elise had a huge announcement to make. Emma and Elise had been working on an idea for the band that they had kept secret until now. Now, they found that everyone should know what they were up to. Or what, Emma was up to mostly, because Elise had invited her to join the crew of Casa Musica. They still needed the blessing of both Michiel and Thomas for doing so, and Emma wanted to make sure that her parents also stood behind the idea. 

When they were all sitting at the table with their drinks, Emma looked at Elise who nodded and they both stood up together. Elise clinked her glass with a spoon to get everyone’s attention and silence fell in between the group. “We have an announcement for you guys. And I truly hope to get the blessing of everyone here.” Emma said and continued: “In the last couple of weeks I have made everything ready to get started working on a new project. A music blog with short stories about what the band has been up to, along with music reviews and press releases about interviews and stuff. I’d like to call it: The tales of Casa Musica.” When Michiel and Thomas heard about this, they looked at each other with a huge grin on their faces. Elise opened her mouth and said: “In addition, we would like to get a blessing from both the band as also you two,” She pointed at Emma’s parents, “for Emma to join us on our journey around the world.” A short silence fell, Then Michiel stood up first and said: “You don’t need my permission for doing this. You are already part of our team, so I’d rather suggest to insist you doing this.” Emma gained a soft smile on her face when she heard those words. Then Leontien stood up and said: “We’ve seen you going through rough times lately, but we’ve also seen that, while Casa Musica was with us, You gained more power again. So I give you our blessing, even though you don’t need it really.” She smiled softly while saying the last sentence and Emma walked up to her and gave her mom a hug. “Thanks mom. I really needed to hear this from you.” “Well, that’s settled then. Emma, You’re officially part of our crew.” Thomas said and Emma smiled happily. “Thanks a lot. This means a lot to me.” She said while she wiped away a tear of her cheek. 

The rest of the evening they sat all together and enjoyed a lovely diner and each other’s company. After diner, Michiel and Thomas also played a new song they had written recently. They had written it in light of the recent events and had called the song: ‘The friendship’s spark’. Late at night everyone got back home and prepared for sleep, while Emma and Elise kept seated a while longer. They had been talking all night about the plans and made an overview of what Emma was going to do. She also had sent a mail to Michiel and Thomas’s producers about their plans and they both were now waiting for their reaction. 

When Emma went to bed eventually, she placed her gear away and fell asleep as soon as her head touched the pillow, with a smile on her face as she was thinking about the events of last night. Finally, for the first time since Giel passed away, Emma felt a spark of joy inside of her. It made her feel good again. And that was something she hadn’t felt for a long time anymore.

Chapter 6: Young Blood

After a wonderful day in the park, Zayn went back home with his writing gear in his backpack. He had been in the park the entire day because he felt that he needed a bit of time on his own. The loss and funeral of his friend had been a huge burden for him, which had caused that his inspiration had been on hold for a while. 

When he had stood up this morning, he had said to himself that he needed to go to a place where he was able to give it all a place inside his mind. That’s why, early in the morning, he had taken his gear and headed to the park, where he and Giel had played once before. That memory had given him a good feeling, and being at that same location also gave him a boost of inspiration again. 

When he arrived back at the hotel where they were currently staying, he placed his gear away and greeted his mom and dad, explaining them how his day had been. The three of them headed over to Emma’s place who had invited them, along with Adriano and Ricardo. The last two had something to talk about with Zayn, so that’s why Emma had invited them all. Zayn, however, did not know about this yet so when they arrived at Emma’s place and found out that both Adriano and Ricardo were there also, Zayn felt a warm feeling going through his body. 

They all took place at the terrace in the garden, where Emma gave them something to drink and when they all had taken a seat, Adriano said: “We have arranged this evening with a reason.” He nodded to Ricardo who nodded back and said: “Indeed we did. It has come to our attention that you have also great writing skills.” He looked at Zayn and added: “We wanted to do you a proposal. What do you think about the idea of replacing Giel as our main writer here in Salton City?” Zayn was stunned for a moment when he heard those words and looked at Emma, who smiled and winked at him. He smiled back said: “You’re serious? You want me to become the new writer of Studio Star Hermano?” Adriano nodded while Ricardo replied: “We sure love to do so. If you are interested too, of course.” Zayn looked from his parents, to Emma, and then to Adriano. The four of them gained a smile on their faces and that caused that Zayn also gained a grin on his face. “I’d love to do that. I do, however, am not that experienced as Giel was.” He said and Adriano replied: “Experience is not an issue. I have seen your work earlier and it was really good, so there’s a base and that is more important. Besides, we are more eager to work with a familiar face, then that we need to hire a new person we’ve never met before. After all, we are all family already.”

Ricardo nodded while Adriano explained all that and added: “We think that trust and bonding ship is more important than experience.” “Of course, we do understand if you need a bit of time to overthink this through…” Zayn immediately interrupted him and said: “I don’t need to overthink this opportunity. It’s a chance of a lifetime and I’d be honored to inherit the work that Giel started with. I will also then do everything in my power to fulfill this quest, so that Giel will be honored forever.” Both Adriano and Ricardo gained a smile on their faces when Zayn spoke those words. “Told you he’d be a small version of Giel himself. He’d be a worthy companion in our quest to success.” Adriano said and Ricardo replied: “He sure will be.” He then turned back to Zayn and said: “Please, join us in our studio tomorrow so we can get the papers ready.” “Just shoot me a time and I’ll be there.” Zayn replied and Ricardo said: “Around 10am? If that’s okay for you?” Zayn nodded and replied: “I’ll make an appointment of it in my agenda and I’ll be there. Thank you again for this great opportunity.” They clinked glasses again and toasted on a hopefully great companionship. But Ricardo, same Adriano, was not afraid of that.

Next morning, Zayn stood up early and got himself ready for the interview with Ricardo. Or at least that was what he thought it would be, but when he arrived at the studio he got greeted by Adriano and when they went into the meeting room, he found Ricardo sitting at the round table and another person, who he hadn’t seen before, was displayed on a big screen through webcam.

When Zayn entered the room, Ricardo stood up and gave Zayn a hand. “Welcome to our studio. Before we begin, let me please introduce you to our third man who’s working for us in Mallorca. Zayn, I want you to meet Pedro. He’s the head of our team back there and creates the covers of our comics. Back here in Salton City, in the United States, we have Adriano, whom you already met of course. He’s the creator of the comic drawings and helps with the scenario’s for the movies, which Giel was in charge of here and now you will be the one creating the storylines for our studio. Don’t worry, we’ll help you in the beginning to make sure that you become as good as Giel was, which would not take too much of work. That I’m certain of.” Ricardo said, and Adriano added: “And the man who has introduced you to all of us is of course the head of the entire team, called Ricardo.” Ricardo nodded and then said: “Now, we would like to get to know you better too of course, please explain to us a bit of your background.”

“Well, I’m Zayn and I write short stories in my free time. I have graduated school last June back in the Netherlands and I have obtained a degree in marketing. I do, however love to write stories, so I cannot thank you enough for this opportunity. Me and Giel have met each other a couple of years ago during our vacation in Mallorca and ever since we stayed in contact. I think I have inherited the writing microbe from him, as he had given me the opportunity to learn a bit of a writing process when I was with him during our vacation. I then also will be forever in his debt as he had given me the enlightenment to see what my journey in life would be.

Zayn wiped away a tear when he thought back about the time he spent with Giel. He really missed him, but the chance he now got, felt as a heritage Giel had left for him and Zayn was grateful for that. He looked forward to start writing for a living. It would give him a great feeling to do what he loved to do for a living. As Giel always had said to him: “If you can make a living by doing something you love to do, then there will never be one day that feels as a working day.” And that sentence, Zayn had kept with him ever since he had heard it for the very first time.

Along with Adriano and Ricardo, Zayn completed the papers for him to start working in the studio and so it was that from the upcoming Monday, Zayn was part of Studio Star Hermano. For Zayn this was an opportunity of a lifetime, and he therefor felt the luckiest person in the world at this very moment. He couldn’t wait to get started and head on to a journey that felt to him as the journey of a lifetime.

Published by AndyMeeus

I have always been a passionate storyteller and the influence of stories on people and their decisions impresses me. I like to immerse myself in the projects I work on and I fully focus on the research and the creation of the stories that I think are worth writing. I am a curious and enterprising Writer who likes to delve into the news from the music world. Putting that news into a compelling story is what I love to do and will bring to you today. I am currently found on Gigview, where I write the Album reviews from the heavy metal genres. Follow the link to my space on their site to get information about us. Link: https://www.gigview.be/andy-meeus. I am also writing for Musosoup. To go my page there, click following link: https://app.musosoup.com/submit/AndysMusicCorner

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