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Their eldest daughter Sofia was holding one-year-old Luca by the hand and encouraging him to walk in the shallows of the sea. He was squealing with delight every time a small wave washed over his feet and pudgy legs. He had a head full of thick dark hair, and sometimes he reminded her so much of Nico that it hurt.

The twins, Alicia and Alessandro, were building sandcastles nearby under an umbrella, their hair almost blonde from the sun, freckles dusting their cheeks. They both had the green eyes of their mother, while Sofia and Luca had dark brown eyes.

Happy sounds and splashing water filled the air. She nodded against Nico’s chest, feeling emotional. ‘This doesn’t even come’s so much better.’

Nico laced his hands with hers and squeezed tight. ‘I didn’t even have this dream—you gave it to me.’

Chiara tipped her head back and Nico pressed a kiss to her mouth. It held the promise of passion to come and endless love.

And just then came an excited squeal from Alicia, ‘Papa! You’re home!’

Chiara felt Nico smile against her mouth as the moment turned into happy chaos and four children aged from six to one, descended upon their parents and buried them under a sea of legs, arms and kisses.

As the sun set on the small beach Nico and Chiara gathered up their family and made their way home to the castello. The stone above the main entrance now read Castello Santo Domenico Caruso, reflecting what was on the deeds.

They passed by the two graveyards, old and new. They were one graveyard now—two families united by love in the end.

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