“What do we have here?” John asks as he and Marlena are about to enter the penthouse. She reaches down to pick up a small package outside the door.
“That’s odd,” Marlena comments as she unlocks the door and they step inside. “It has my name on it, but there’s no return address.” She punches the security code and shuts the door. “I wonder what it could be?”
“Why don’t you open it and find out?” John suggests.
She does so and finds a small black velvet box. Opening the box, she gasps. “Oh, John, it’s exquisite!” she exclaims, removing an antique gold filigree ring with three fiery garnets. “You shouldn’t have,” she says, smiling.
“I didn’t,” he replies....
“Oh Kristen, it’s AWESOME!” André exclaims as the magnificent Palazzo diMera comes into view. The stone façade is split in three divisions, from the rough exterior and small grilles of the ground floor to the smooth surface and elegant double-bay windows of the upper level, topped with a massive cornice.
“It’s been in the family for centuries,” Kristen explains. “Since Adriano diMera had it built in 1486, after the Medici Palace.”
“Your ancestors knew the de’ Medicis?” André asks.
“Adriano was the Duke of Fiesole when the de’ Medicis ruled Florence,” she answers as the two of them step out into the cool Tuscan air. “This place has quite a history,” she adds, smiling as they approach the main entrance to the palazzo.
“We couldn’t have picked a more romantic place for our honeymoon,” André observes.
They are about to enter the palazzo when a woman’s voice calls out, “André? Kristen?”
The two of them turn around to see the visitor. “Mimi?” André asks, amazed. “What are you doing here?”
A team of scientists stands around the newly re-built time machine in a room tucked away in the furthest recesses of the hospital. The man in charge of this top-secret project is standing off to the side with his assistant.
“Now that Stefano DiMera is no longer involved, the time machine will be used for good, not evil,” the woman says. “By our taking over the project, we can ensure that this device never falls into the wrong hands.”
“And do you realize, Tessa,” the man responds, “that we have developed this technology even further than DiMera ever did? We have the ability not only to send someone into the future or past, but to bring them back as well.”
“It’s a good thing they never made it that far, Josh, or else Stefano would still be here today,” Tessa comments.
“We don’t have to worry about that,” Josh says. “From what we know of the last time the machine was used, DiMera and one of his minions were trapped in the past when John Black destroyed the control panel.”
“Which reminds me, we should try to contact John Black and find out as much as we can about his experience,” Tessa points out. “Him, and anyone else who was involved. The woman who came back with him....”
“Marlena,” Josh agrees. “Marlena Evans... or rather, Marlena Black. The two were married just recently. In light of their experience with the time machine, I thought it wise to learn as much about them as I could. Yes, I think we should get in touch with them as soon as possible.”
“How did you make it back, Mimi?” André asks as the three of them sit down in the salon. “We thought... well, when John destroyed the control panel we never thought we’d see you again.”
She hesitates. “It’s a long story....”
“Where’s Stefano, didn’t he come back too?” Kristen asks. “Don’t tell me you left him in the 18th century.”
“A lot has happened since then... Look, maybe I shouldn’t have come here, I didn’t mean to intrude, it’s just that I didn’t know where else to turn, and --”
“No, Mimi, of course you did the right thing coming to us,” André objects. “It’s a big palazzo, there’s room for you, isn’t that right Kristen?”
“Yes, of course,” Kristen agrees somewhat reluctantly.
“Thank you so much, I knew I could count on you!” She jumps up and throws her arms around André, who is momentarily surprised by the impulsive gesture but then puts his arms around her reassuringly.
Kristen looks at the other woman suspiciously. “Why don’t you go rest for awhile Mimi? You must be exhausted after such a long journey, I’ll have one of the servants show you to your room.”
She looks first at Kristen, then André. “Of course, I understand, you two want some time alone together. You won’t even know I’m here.”
André turns around. “Mimi, no, you don’t have to--” But she is already gone....
Inside the palazzo, André and Kristen are walking down a long corridor adorned with portraits of diMera ancestors. “You didn’t have to send her away like that, Kristen, after all she’s been through,” André says.
“Can you blame me for wanting to spend some time alone with my husband?” Kristen counters playfully.
“No, of course not,” André laughs and kisses her...
Alone in the bedroom, the young woman gazes at Mimi’s reflection in the mirror. Brushing back a stray lock of golden-brown hair from her forehead, she laughs....
To be continued....
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