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By Enez Ensenia
In the small town of Catswillow, Melva contemplated on what to wear for her first
day at the county library.
“Brinks,” she turned to the handsome male sprawled out on her bed.
“Do you think this is way too much, after all it is only the library” !er voice cracked
!er male didn"t answer, #ust merely stared into space. $he knew males didn"t
care what females wore, #ust as lon% it showed a little skin. &ot that her male cared
anythin% about the latter, to him it was all the same, as lon% as she catered to his every
whim, he was content.
$he placed a cranberry'colored dress a%ainst her body that without a doubt (
e)pose too much le%. $he wanted to look nice, but didn"t want patrons" thinkin% she was
overe)posed. *ypical stereotypin% of what a librarian or someone workin% in a library
should look like+ wear stockin%s, ,bare, pale le%s a no'no-, dowdy all the way, and don"t
for%et eyewear that lets one peer out over the top of the lens. $he was none of these
thin%s, but she thou%ht she"d fit in nonetheless. $he %lanced at her male once more.
Brinks lay still as a statue, oblivious to the noise comin% from the female with the
worst taste in clothes, in his opinion. not that he knew anythin% about clothes, but if he
were %oin% to wrap somethin% around his luscious body, it would be warm and made out
of the finest cotton/wool blend. !e would love that0 !e knew the 1%ettin% place" for
such a particular sweater he could wrap himself up in 2 what a yummy feelin%...
Melva 3lick, a spinster to many. In this small town, many found her to be a little
weird, even for a spinster. *his wasn"t her fault, after watchin% her mother and father do
the most peculiar thin%s with their pantry+ alphabeti4in% the canned food, makin% sure
everythin% labeled faced the front, coffee cups in the cupboard labeled on the bottom for
every day out of the week, those sorts of thin%s. Melva was a creature of her
environment. $he went around pickin% lint off her clothin%, and off complete stran%ers
who waited in line at the supermarket or the local coffeehouse. Most of the women
found this habit 5 offensive, to say the least. *he men, well they #ust thou%ht she was
flirtin% with them. *his was not an attempt to pick up men. $he was #ust tryin% to help
others ( in her view ( to look their best.
$he stood before her spotless mirror and really didn"t like what she saw starin%
back at her. !er hair was out of place. Oh no, what’s this?
6 tiny piece of yarn started to unravel and peeked out of the sweater she was tryin% on.
&ot another person would have noticed, but Melva did. $he panicked.
“It"s my first day at the 7ibrary and nothin% to wear, and I"m %oin% to be late and
Brinks meowed at Melva"s annoyin% voice 2 he wanted some 8uietness while he
sniffed out that favorite sweater of his. !er number one male was annoyed with her. *he
C6*, like all the other male species, wanted into his “cave.” Brinks #umped off the
lu)urious bed and sashayed across the room to sniff out the closet.
*he closet was Brinks" cave, but Melva knew all men had one, a place to hide and
avoid the noisin% female with whom they lived. 6 place they insisted to think and sort
thin%s out for themselves.
*his was her first day as the 6ssistant 7ibrarian. $he had an M7$, a Master of
7ibrary $cience, which made her a real librarian, but this was a #ob and she needed one.
Besides, it was better than what was out there in the small town 5 nothin%. 6nd she had
to act perfect and look perfect, or else the whole day was ruined and her career tossed out
$he continued fid%etin% and tu%%in% at her clothes, one wrinkle and the world
would most likely end. “9hat if I say the wron% thin% to a patron, or stamp the wron%
date. $urely Mrs. 7omechick would roll the correct date on the stamper” $he winced at
the horrible thou%ht and Mrs. 7omechick.
Mrs. 7omechick, the epitome of what a librarian acted and looked like. 9hen she
interviewed her for the assistant #ob, she found it very rude for this woman to try to
strai%hten her desk, and ask if she"d like it dusted off.
9hen she applied for the position, she noticed #ust how dirty the windows were,
and asked Mrs. 7omechick if someone would clean them before her hire date.
7omechick #ust sneered and said, “:erhaps you would like to clean them” $he %ot up
and stalked toward the circulation, %esturin% Melva to follow her. $he turned and spoke
to Melva, “;ou"re hired and don"t be late, I do not tolerate such %hastly behavior in my
library0” Mrs. 7omechick said sternly. But, what she thou%ht was you, my dear strange
woman, are in need of psychiatric help. And why would I hire you? Because I need a
life outside this hellhole called a library!
*he interview lasted all but ten minutes.
Off to a great start. Melva si%hed as she left the library, feelin% Mrs.
$he sat down on the bed draped in e)pensive <%yptian beddin% that her wealthy
6unt Bertha had sent her. 6unt Bertha, who at the moment, was tourin% <urope with her
fifth husband"s money, =od rests his soul.
<veryone knew her 6unt Bertha. 7ord only knew how she mana%ed to ac8uire
such wealthy ,%ullible- husbands, but she did, and did it well. Bertha often boasted to
anyone in earshot, “I"m richer than =od0” 6ll the while sportin% her latest fashion fau)
pas, ,her favorite ensemble consisted of an oran%e fur'lined dress that was about two
si4es too small- she honestly thou%ht %oin% to the local market was same as %oin% to tea
with the >ueen of <n%land.
$he was referred to as 1Bankin% Bertha" because she banked the money of the
men she out lived and most folks around the small town #ust shru%%ed Bertha off as
havin% a stroke of %ood luck. $he had mysteriously outlived husband number three, a
man in his mid'thirties ,fifteen years her #unior-. Most fi%ured he had an underlyin%
health problem and left it at that. Bertha never elaborated to anyone about his sudden
death, only that he was a severely depressed person. ?ne day he thou%ht best to drive his
Maseratti off a cliff, leavin% Bertha with millions to do as she liked and she liked %ivin%
to charity. !er favorite was, of course, her only niece, Melva. $he also loved spendin%
time in her mansion, #ust outside of 7ondon, that he left her.
Melva be%an to sniffle, she was so frustrated, e)hausted, while still tryin% on
clothes and feelin% complete panic'stricken with thou%hts of doom. $he decided her best
course of action was to stay in and think about what steps she could take to make thin%s
%o perfectly tomorrow, instead.
But wait, omechic! will fire me if I’m late. "hat old goat would do such a
!er stomach in knots, she decided maybe another cup of coffee would calm her
down. $he %ot up and strai%htened the comforter, and walked to the kitchen. *here was
a pot full of $tarbuck"s coffee, but it had been sittin% there for at least thirty minutes, and
this was e)cessively lon% for it to be 1fresh." $he %rounded up some more beans and the
smell in itself calmed her down considerably. $he looked around her kitchen to see what
she could clean, or strai%hten a bit more. she found a hard water spot near the faucet knob
and ea%erly cleaned it. $he felt so much better.
#ood, all is spotless, but for whom? $he thou%ht about that for a second, not
feelin% the least bit ridiculous. If robbers bro!e in, they’d be impressed with such a clean
place, and would not ma!e a mess.
$he looked up while pourin% her fresh brewed $tarbucks and noticed her furry
1son" balanced on one of her barstools waitin% for any kind of morsel. ,9hen hun%er
strikes a male 2 any male 2 hidin% in his cave can wait0-
“;ou"ve eaten cat, so no more. @eally, you need to watch that ample butt of
yours or you won"t be able to fit in your litter bo),” she %i%%led and snorted.
Brinks stared at her as if to say, “;ou"re stupid. ;ou are beneath me. Aeed me,
*o the cat, this wasn"t the least bit funny. !e turned so that he revealed his ever'
so' lovely bottom.
“=uess you"re mad now. ?h well, I have issues that are more important at hand
than your one'eyed monster starin% back at me.” Brinks never looked back. *he %uilt
trip set in. “Brinks, come back, I didn"t mean it.”
Ai%htin% with her cat proved one thin% 5 I really could use more friends who are
Melva"s one %ood friend, =erdy Drake lived in a condo, a few doors down from
her. *he comple) was center of the small town where everyone knew you and your
=erdy was messy and carefree and I don"t %ive'a'damn attitude. $he was a
%enuinely happy person who readily put up with Melva"s constant cleanin%, nit pickin%
and worryin% about catchin% some incurable disease from public toilet seats. =erdy came
from a lon% line of females who could handle anythin%. =erdy"s mom had a friend like
Melva back in the fifties, and they"re still friends. =erdy hoped for that same everlastin%
friendship for her and Melva. Melva entered =erdy"s life 8uite suddenly and
*hey were in the fourth %rade, and in Catswillow #ust about everyone had a horse
or two. <very day Melva walked past a horse farm, on the way to school, and stopped by
to pet one of her favorite horses. ?ther kids be%an to notice her detour and soon they
started stoppin% by to pet the horse. Melva became #ealous when she saw others playin%
with him on a warm sunny day.
$he %ot upset, ran up to the horse, and %rabbed his head, “!e"s my friend, not
6ll the kids #ust lau%hed at her, includin% =erdy.
Mr. !orse didn"t like all the teasin% and yellin%, so he %rabbed the skin off the
back from the nearest pest, who was Melva, and bit ri%ht in. !orrified, =erdy tapped the
horse"s lar%e head and freed Melva from the Baws of !orse.
=erdy loved Melva, but she rather %ot a kick out of makin% Melva"s life
miserable, too. Bust before Melva would pop over for a chat, she"d make a complete
pi%sty of her apartment. $he found sheer #oy in watchin% Melva"s face wrinkle up, and
s8uirm on the sofa because of candy wrappers with half'eaten chews, and ma%a4ines
thrown about as if a bur%lar on a su%ar hi%h ransacked the place. Melva had no clue. she
#ust fi%ured =erdy was a slob. $he was ri%ht.
Melva poured herself a fresh cup of #oe and peeked around the kitchen once more
to make sure all was in its place, then wiped off the counter where the coffee pot sat. $he
%lanced up at the clock and noticed she"d be late if she lolly%a%%ed around her apartment
all mornin%. $he really wanted this #ob and looked forward to meetin% different people.
$he decided she"d face the new day with a positive attitude 2 $tarbucks did the
trick every time.
$he was sittin% on her lu)urious bed, deep in thou%ht, strokin% Brink"s lon% fur,
who decided to %race her with his presence. $he was in eternal bliss ( to be with ones cat
' then the phone ran%.
“=irl, are you dead or what” =erdy %i%%led and knew she was on her bed with
that cat contemplatin% what to do ne)t+ clean or %o to her new #ob.
“?h, hi =erdy, I was %ettin% ready for work.” $he held the receiver away from
her ear as if it were a cockroach. =erdy didn"t know what it meant to speak in a normal
tone of voice.
“7iar0 9hat you are doin% is pettin% that damn cat and he doesn"t even pet ya
back, what a bummer. 6re you ready yet 2 If so, I"ll drive ya today, whatcha say”
“9hat I say, is no. I know that you"re #ust makin% fun of me 5 I"ll drive my car,
“?h, yeah, for%ot about the Bentley or was it Mercedes” =erdy wasn"t #ealous
2 well, #ust a little.
“It"s a Mercedes, =erdy, and it"s nothin% to do with ridin% in your car, if that"s
what you"re thinkin%,” Melva crin%ed at the thou%ht of all those candy wrappers on the
floor attackin% her, and the pebbles and rocks hittin% her le%s while =erdy drove like a
bat'out'of'hell with all the windows rolled down 2 no way0 $he would end up lookin%
like Medusa when she %ot to work.
“$uit yourself %irlfriend, but don"t be late, it"s so not cool, even for you, you
weirdo.” *hey were thirty'five, but =erdy acted as if she were still in hi%h school.
=erdy lau%hed aloud.
Melva asked, “=erdy, how old are you like fifteen, or what” $he slammed the
phone down before she heard =erdy"s smart'ass answer.
$he dra%%ed her butt up off the comfortable bed, Brinks in tow, and headed
toward her walk'in closet full of 1nothin% to wear." $he then noticed Brinks pulled off
her most comfortable sweater from the han%er and then curled up on top of it, eyes closed
shut in a matter of seconds. “;ou look so handsome when you"re asleep.” $he cooed as
she stroked her number one man.
Brinks peeked at her with one eye open and one eye closed. $ra%y woman leave
me alone. &on’t forget to leave food for me. !e licked his whiskers and drifted back to
kitty dream world.
$he decided to wear a lon% ankle'len%th skirt, black of course, with a soft an%ora
tan sweater and a pair of Bimmy Choo boots from 6unt Bertha. *he lint, of course,
would bother her the whole day, as if she needed more of a challen%e today. $o, she
slipped her <vercare pet hair roller into her oversi4ed leather ba% and felt more confident.
6fter checkin% the stove three times, #ust in case Brinks learned to turn on the burners, or
some force of nature decided to make a mess in the kitchen, she left her apartment.
$he walked out to her private %ara%e and noticed someone"s fin%erprint on the
hood of the black and silver Mercedes.
“;ou would think people would not touch your car with their dirty hands0” $he
stomped her Bimmy Choo"s on the pavement.
$he unlocked her door, reached over, %rabbed some napkins ,for emer%encies, and this
was one-, and be%an to clean the smud%e fin%er print marks off. “*here we %o. :erfect.”
Drivin% toward the county library, which used to be a courthouse, the car phone
“9hatcha doin%” =erdy asked, knowin% Melva #ust left the condo parkin% lot.
“I"m on my way to work, so leave me alone, or I"ll have a wreck then you"ll have
to take care of Brinks.” Melva knew that =erdy didn"t really take to the feline'child of
“Cool, I #ust wanted to see if you ever %ot out of the apartment. 9as the stove
off” $he waited for Melva to answer. =erdy"s day was %oin% to be %reat if she could
piss Melva off. It was already provin% to be a %reat day.
“6ctually it was and I only checked it once.” $he rolled her eyes behind her
“7iar. ;ou know that I know you %o 1round and 1round in that apartment #ust to
see what"s on or off. ;ou have fun don"t ya Clearly you need to see someone about
“=erdy, I"m not listenin% to you, you should be more supportive and you know
how that devilish woman is, Mrs. 7omechick. I bet she already hates me.” =erdy
spooked Melva into thinkin% 7omechick was a mean wicked 7ibrarian, mirrorin% the
9icked 9itch of the 9est from *he 9i4ard of ?4. =erdy had that ri%ht.
7omechick had tau%ht =erdy <n%lish back in middle school. <very now and
a%ain, you"d hear a kid in the back hummin% the wicked witches" theme from *he
9i4ard of ?4. $omehow the theme son% stuck, labelin% 7omechick forever.
“=irl, #ust call me and I"ll thrash her once for ya,” =erdy lau%hed and snorted.
“*hat"s not %oin% to happen, you told me she mi%ht be nice to me, since it"s my
first day and all, but she"ll probably hate me anyway 5 @emember the interview, hello0
?h %reat someone #ust pulled out in front of me and no li%ht si%nal 2 what an ass0”
“I"ll let ya %o. come over to the coffeehouse if you can okay, bye.”
!er stomach ached. It must have been the three cups coffee. 'aybe I will ta!e
#erdy up on that offer, after all, it might (ust be what I need, a nice pic!)me)up from my
best friend * yeah right. $he decided to skip the coffee shop.
$he headed toward the library"s parkin% lot, and of course, all the close ones
occupied by $CD"s, what she liked to refer to, as Big +at #orillas. $he would tell
=erdy, “you know the ones, they"re the women on their cell phones cradlin% it with their
head and shoulder. oblivious to all traffic surroundin% them.” =erdy would #ust nod her
head in a%reement, =erdy really didn"t %ive a rat"s ass, but she wanted to be supportive.
Melva drove around to find the perfect spot, where no one would hit her new Mercedes.
*he library was an old buildin% built around EFGGs or so, she knew she"d love
workin% in an historical buildin%. *he upstairs part of the old courthouse was more or
less #ust an area full of old books and miscellaneous re#ects for which 7omechick
obviously had no use.
Melva mused, “maybe one day, Mrs. 7omechick would add that space to the
library. It would make an awesome addition to the library, nice and bi%, and roomy.
@i%ht now, I bet it"s #ust a cramped space full of spider webs and bu%s.”
Melva had no idea what creatures would be workin% with her, bu%s were ri%ht up
there alon% with lint.
$he walked into the library and noticed it was very busy for a *hursday mornin%.
$he wasn"t 8uite sure why 7omechick hired her toward the end of the week, ,guess she
had her illogical reasons.-
7omechick was behind the counter fiddlin% around with the newspapers and
ma%a4ines. $he looked up and noticed Melva ad#ustin% her skirt, sweater and hair.
“Miss 3lick,” the dra%on'lady hissed. &eed you behind the desk at once,” barked
7omechick and disappeared into her dra%on"s den.
“;es ma"am I"m comin%,” she answered while still ad#ustin% her outfit. “!ow are
you this fine mornin%” she asked throu%h the windowed wall of 7omechick"s office.
7omechick %lared at the wall. “Aine,” she mouthed.
$he turned toward the desk and clicked her Bimmy Choo"s heels, “there"s no place
like home, there"s no place like home5” $he was a true fan of &orothy’s famous wish
especially at this very moment.
6 lar%e plump man threw down his books to check out. “I"m in a bi% hurry lady
2 late for an appointment.” !e tossed his card to her as if she were an animal e)pectin%
her to chow down on it ravenously.
Melva was horrified. Idiot. Am I supposed to (ump when you say .(ump?’ I thin!
not! $he checked him out 8uickly. the faster he was out of the library the better. “Berk,”
By the time she knew it, a lon% line had formed. $he %lanced back toward
7omechick"s windowed office, but to no avail, she #ust i%nored her.
:atrons were so impatient this mornin%. she could hear the huffin% and puffin%.
"hey must all be related to omechic!. &amn dragons. I only have two hands people!
$he was e)hausted in the few minutes she was there, on her first day at that. $he knew
her lipstick needed checkin% after the nervous lickin% she had done on her lips. $he
decided it was time for a restroom break. $he went to 7omechick"s office.
“Mrs. 7omechick, would you mind terribly if I went to the restroom” $he
nervously played with the end of her sweater like a child suckin% his thumb and fiddlin%
with the security blanket. ;es, she felt pathetic.
*he old crow #ust hissed somethin% or another. a “yes” finally came out of her
Melva %ot to the restroom, which was on the top floor with all the old books and
opened the s8ueaky door. “?h, %ross0” $he noticed how awful the restroom was and it
smelled like a portable potty out in hundred'de%ree weather. $he fou%ht back the ur%e to
yak ri%ht there on the floor, and proceeded to lift up her skirt very %in%erly to take her
pee 5 when a %iant black spider made a dash back behind the toilet.
“?h, no, please not a spider0 $hit0” $he took some paper towels and was on a
mission to find the creepy thin% and flush it, if she could catch it in the ne)t few minutes.
If she didn"t hurry it up, she wouldn"t have time to primp and ad#ust thin%s. "he damn
thing needs to find omechic!, crawl up in her des! and leave me alone.
6fter about five minutes, 7omechick came ban%in% at the door.
“Miss 3lick you have twenty patrons waitin% for you. Do you hear me !urry
“Comin%, I"ll be ri%ht there5” $he placed toilet paper on the toilet seat so she
could sit down without catchin% the %erms the seat most likely owned. &e)t thin% she
knew part of her skirt was now in the toilet. “?h, double shit0” $he panicked. &ow she
was sweatin%. “&ow, that"s attractive.” Balancin% herself with one hand on the wall,
knees bent ,she"d learned the awesome techni8ue of balancin% from $tar Dustin%, the
;o%a teacher, from classes her and =erdy took last summer- and Choo"s firmly on the
%round, she was able to %o. *hen she proceeded to wrin% and wipe her skirt off. $he
wanted to die. But, she had to %et back to work, dreadin% the sneers and looks. $he
proudly walked down the steep stairs with a skirt trailin% behind her, soppin% with toilet
!er first day was a complete disaster. “what more could go wrong?- she
“Miss, you %ot anythin% for $*D"s” 6 bald stout man asked loud enou%h, even
demons from hell could hear him.
Melva was horrified. “9ell, personally no 2 but have you checked the disease
section !old on, I"ll be ri%ht with you.” $ould this stupid man be any louder? Idiot.
$he %runted. $he placed her pen down, walked over to show the man where to find his
“sub#ect” and came back to the desk.
9hen she %ot back, the circulation desk was a mess, must have been the old crow
omechic!. "hat woman must live in a pigsty. Melva couldn"t stand it. she immediately
started puttin% thin%s in their place, and made the desk presentable.
“!i there uh5” a plastic'faced woman came up to the desk with her brood and
read her nameta%.
“Ch, Melva, is that it”
$lear as day lady. /hat the hell do you want? I thin! I have to pee again, crap.
“!ow can I help you” $he put on a fake smile.
“;es, me and my little an%els here5aren"t they cute”
0ell no, they’re evil trolls!
$he swore she was havin% a ma#or :M$ attack. I could use some chocolate right now.
*he cra4y woman continued, “we"d all like library cards today.” *he woman
waited and smiled bearin% her lar%e horse'faced teeth.
“9ell, I"ll need to see proof of residency. Do you have that” !er voice stron%
and firm, she didn"t blink an eye.
“;ou don"t have to be rude about it. and no I do not 2 my license, is at home,”
her smile faded, now she looked like an u%ly horse.
“Ma"am, you have to have some proof as to where you live 2
!orse'face hissed, “let me talk to Mrs. 7omechick, she knows me.”
$he turned and motioned 7omechick to come to the desk.
“9hat"s the problem now, Melva” $he %lared at her throu%h her half'moon
“*his woman here says you know her, she wants a library card.”
“9ell, %ive it to her,” 7omechick snapped.
“$he doesn"t have proof of residency.” $he was now very irritated with both
“Mrs. 7ovecharm, do you have your check book or car insurance with you”
*he lady pulled out her checkbook and %lared at Melva. ,$he somehow remembered it
was there all alon%-. /hat a total bitch.
“?f course I do, all she had to do was ask for it,” the horrible woman
triumphantly removed her documents
“$ee, all you have to do is ask for the information,” the smart'assed woman
“?kay, this will work. Melva will take care of you. =ood day now.” 9ith that,
7omechick went back into her crow"s nest.
*he woman and her kids were annoyin%. the boys took after their mother, no
doubt. *hey crawled all over the counter knockin% thin%s off left and ri%ht, and makin% a
complete mess. 6ll the while, the woman stood by cooin% at her Children of the Corn.
$he was e)asperated, and when one of the brood dropped his filthy, slobbery
sucker on her hand, and then snee4ed in her face, she 8uickly slammed their materials on
the desk and ran for dear life up to the restroom.
7omechick #ust shook her head and si%hed.
?nce a%ain, in the restroom, Melva contemplated whether this #ob was worth it.
“I need to call =erdy 5 I can"t believe this is happenin% to me. ?kay, calm down
Melva,” she spoke calmly into the dilapidated mirror.
“I"ll %o back down after I clean this off and start over, but first I"ll call =erdy.
$he"ll tell me what I should do. Maybe I"ll %o work for her, that"ll show 7omechick, I
don"t need this stupid #ob.”
7omechick ban%ed on the door. “6re you %oin% to stay in there all day I
do not pay for restroom visits. I e)pect you to return at once to your workspace. Melva,
are you in there” 7omechick huffed like a bi% bad wolf and stormed off.
$he was clearly havin% a panic attack, “my sweater is filthy, my skirt is dirty, and
my make'up is smud%ed, my =od I can"t do it 5 I can"t0” $he told her reflection. $he
sat on the filthy commode and put her face in her hands 5 now for sure my ma!e up
loo!s li!e crap.
9ith her hands shakin%, she tried her best to wipe the contents of her soiled outfit
properly clean. &o luck, her outfit was now worse off than before. “$omeone kill me
now,” she sulked and sat on the toilet a%ain. !er Bimmy Choo"s had a new scuffmark so
she wiped that clean too, feelin% a bit better.
Ainally, she made it back down to the circulation desk where a number of
superfluous patrons stood an)iously and impatiently for her.
“9ho"s ne)t please” $he sulked in plain si%ht. I want my !itty.
!er cell phone ran% in the tone of the *he :ink :anther. $he looked adorin%ly
down at it and wished she could take it and throw it at the ne)t patron. But this would
only make matters worse no doubt. $he leaned over to see who was callin% her and it
was =erdy, she really wanted to answer it.
But 7omechick was eyein% her dis%ustin%ly behind her half'moon %lasses, lickin%
the front of her teeth copiously.
$he continued to work and help patrons, and fi%ured she"d %et a break, but to no
avail, a lady carryin% two lar%e medical books walt4ed up to the desk.
“!i there0” *he patron san% happily. $he smelled of mothballs, poor thin%.
$he looked at her with e)haustion, “yes ma"am what can I do for you” !er
“I was wonderin% what you su%%est I %et for irritations of the skin, or thin%s like
fun%uses 5 have any clue I seemed to have found this book and this one.” $he placed
each book on the counter for her to choose.
“9ell, what is it that you are e)actly lookin% to solve, a skin2”
*he lady interrupted.
“?h, no, no 5 look here.” $he be%an to lift her blouse off her shoulder to e)pose
a %rossly round ulcer or some kind of ailment.
$he held her hands to her mouth. $he murmured to the woman, “uh, ma"am
maybe you should %o see a doctor for that. I don"t know what to tell you, #ust take both
books 2 I"ll need your library card at once.” Melva checked her out, and stood back as
far as she could without droppin% anythin% on the floor while handin% the materials to the
*he two other patrons behind her were also nauseated by the affliction. 9ho
wanted to see that and ri%ht before lunch. Melva 8uickly %ot the woman and the others
checked out and out the door.
$he picked up her phone while 7omechick wasn"t spyin% on her with her piercin%
eyes, and called =erdy.
“Bava Bar, =erdy here, what can I do ya for”
“=erdy, are you supposed to answer that phone like that” $he felt like pickin%
“7ike what” =erdy spoke to some caffeine'hun%ry #unkies while #u%%lin% the
phone. “9hat"s up Melva, are you home already !ey, why didn"t you answer earlier”
Melva si%hed heavily throu%h her phone.
“&o stupid, I"m still here 5 I"ve been a little busy,” she be%an to sniffle, “I"m
#ust miserable, no one likes me and there are 1thin%s" all over the place, dirty thin%s.”
“=ood %osh Melva pull yourself to%ether, you really need to %et laid 2 is that
bu44ard 7omechick %ivin% ya a hard time there already”
$he composed herself and ducked further behind the desk. $he felt like
disappearin% and then remateriali4in% in her condo.
“&o, nothin% like that 2 well, she is a bit much for the first day, but no 5 it"s not
#ust her 2 like I said it"s so %ross in here and it smells.” $he #ust knew =erdy wouldn"t
be helpful but held her breath anyway.
“Is anyone there that can hear how paranoid and stupid you sound, you know you
won"t catch any kind of incurable diseases there, or do ya think” =erdy lau%hed a
$he was oblivious to =erdy"s insensitive comment.
“9hat time can you do lunch Can I come over there” Melva needed her
“9ell, promise you won"t try to clean up the place.”
“=erdy, thanks you"re a %reat friend, even thou%h I know you"re bein% despicable
toward me. $ee you around noonish, ok, bye0” Melva hun% up the phone, preceded
toward the animal section to shelf books.
Melva an)iously waited for the noon hour so she could flee from the bu% infested
old library. $he was dreamin% of the =rande cafH mocha. 9hen in walked the most
%or%eous man she had ever seen. !e was immaculate, every inch of him and she thou%ht
she #ust mi%ht be in love. ,In your dreams, girl,- she told herself.
!e looked around, and from the look of thin%s, he wasn"t impressed, ,she didn"t
blame him-, he took out a white handkerchief and wiped his hands. !er eyes opened
wider. “My kind of man,” she clasped her hands to%ether in e)citement.
0e’s a clean man, I can tell...
$he si%hed and looked at this tall drink'of'water with lovin%ly eyes. $he reached
down for her purse while not takin% her eyes off him. !e was so perfect. !ard to find a
man around her condo comple) who bathed at least twice a week, so this was a real treat.
$he nervously stood in what she called her 1se)y pose" and waited for her future
husband to say somethin%. &othin% wron% in dreamin% a little at work, she fi%ured.
“!ello,” the stran%er purred like Dracula. Melva had a thin% for Dracula he was
the most romantic, even thou%h he"d suck you dry, her favorite bein% Mr. Christopher
7ee of course.
$he cleared her dry throat as she approached him. “6re you lookin% for a
particular book” $he tried to coo professionally.
“&ah, #ust need your microfilm room please, meetin% someone, and I need to look
up an old newspaper.”
!e smelled so %ood, %ood enou%h for her to eat. $he wanted to dive ri%ht in and
smell his hair.
$he fumbled alon% the desk and proceeded to meet the man around the corner to
show him where to %o. !er Bimmy Choo"s cau%ht a small indent from the old worn out
carpet. she tripped and landed ri%ht in the stran%er"s arms.
!e be%an kissin% her hun%rily and ravished her body with a spirit of a hun%ry
beast. 9hile all the patrons watched in awe.
$he had hoped this had happened, but he simply stood her back up a%ainst the
“6re you all ri%ht, Miss” !e purred a%ain, ready for his bite.
$he re%ained her composure and pointed out an empty spot ne)t to another man.
“;ou can take that seat. I"ll %et someone to unlock the microfilm room.” $he
sped off back toward the circulation desk. I wonder if he’s loo!ing at me. ?n her way to
%et Mrs. 7omechick to unlock the door, she looked back at him and smiled, and tripped
a%ain, this time into the arms of a man merely wantin% to check out a ma%a4ine.
$he couldn"t keep her eyes off the stran%er. he was so mysterious. !is hair was
as dark as the ni%ht with a touch of %ray here and there. !e reminded her of a character
ri%ht out of one of her favorite racy'vampire novels by 6manda 6shley she loved to read
the ones =erdy refers to as “porno” in writin% 5 !er thou%hts interrupted by the
“!ello, public library.” $he turned her back to the men in the chairs.
“9hat the hell are you still doin% there =et your ass over here0”
“9ho 2 is this”
“It"s =erdy, ya comin" or not”
“?h, yeah0 Boy do I have someone to tell you about, he"s simply dreamy. 9ait
for me okay”
“9here the hell would I %o Melva I work all damn day0” =erdy slammed the
phone down and cursed a%ain, silently in the back of the coffee shop where the private
=erdy"s boss, <arl came around the corner. “=irl, %ot some customers out there,
hun%ry like wolves for their coffee, best %et out there. I %otta take a whi4, be ri%ht back.”
<arl owned two coffee houses. By first %lace he resembled a cook in a %reasy spoon.
7ooks were deceivin%. he was a %reat businessperson, and had people skills to bra%
about, but he hated Melva.
$he hi%h'tailed it ri%ht over to the Bava Bar in hopes of bein% welcomed by that
=rande cafH mocha.
*he Bava Bar was two blocks away, but by Melva"s %aspin% for air, it could have
been two miles. 6s soon as she opened the door to the coffee shop the whiff of the
variety of beans took her beyond blit4. a man would have brou%ht her this same euphoria,
but there was no man for her, #ust coffee for now.
=erdy waved her down.
“$ame ?r do ya wanna try somethin% else today” she asked knowin% damn'
well Melva was 1stuck in a rut of mochas."
“I"ll have the same. But make it really hot, last time it was lukewarm and you
now I hate cold coffee,” she scanned the room for the best clean spot to en#oy her mocha.
7ast time she was in, she tried to arran%e the su%ar and saltshakers, and then refilled the
napkins dispensers. <arl cau%ht her and cursed her out in front of a crowd of %run%y
kids, who #ust lau%hed at her. *his was #ust one reason she despised =erdy"s dirty boss.
Aeelin%s between the two were mutual.
“!ey, where"s the boss” Melva asked, hopin% to avoid her adversary.
“?h, he"s around, probably makin% another deal for another coffee place, why
9ant me to fi) ya up” =erdy %i%%led and spilled a little of the mocha mi)ture on the
floor. $he was relieved that Melva, cau%ht up in herself to notice. otherwise, she"d fly
behind the counter and start wipin% down messes.
$he was horrified, “absolutely not, I"ve %ot better taste than that.”
“Better taste than me I doubt that you old 5” <arl had overheard her re#ection
on his way back toward the front of the counter.
“&ow, now, <arl uh, Melva was #ust %oin% to sit for a while. 6 break for me too,
okay” =erdy knew he was not the least bit offended by Melva"s remarks.
!e had a %irlfriend who fit him to a tee. $he also ran a few coffee places in
upstate &ew ;ork, and like him, she always looked as if she needed a weeklon% soak in a
“@eally =erdy, how can you stand to work here 5 and with him” Melva
wrinkled her nose as if she smelled stinky socks.
“Melva, not everyone has the lu)ury to work with the 1Bride of Arankenstein" like
you do.” =erdy would take <arl over 7omechick anytime.
“?h %od, here he comes a%ain, honestly doesn"t he have anythin% better to do,
like wash up, or somethin%” $he wanted complete privacy in order to enli%hten =erdy
of her new beau.
<arl continued to %ive her a monstrous %lare while she stared back at <arl as if he
were made of slime.
“9ould ya stop lookin" at <arl that way =ee4, he mi%ht take offense.”
“9ell, he started it,” she hissed mimickin% a child.
<arl came over anyway.
“!ey <arl, my break"s not over is it” =erdy hoped not.
“&ah, I wanna %ive this %al a piece of my special biscotti, hope ya like it sweet
cheeks.” !e winked at her and threw down the plate, and strutted off e)posin% part of his
crack, plumber style.
“I"m not eatin% that crap,” she pushed the morsel toward =erdy.
=erdy ate the biscotti in two bites, not %ivin% a crap about her wei%ht. “&ow %et
on with it I don"t have much time, you seemed to have pissed him off, why else would he
want to feed ya,” =erdy lau%hed.
“?kay, don"t lau%h at me, but I think I"ve met :rince Charmin% at the library, and
you know he reminds me of one of those dreamy characters from the Dracula movies,
with a little hint of %an%ster 2 and boy do your salt and pepper shakers need fillin% and
cleanin% 2 they are filthy0”
“!old up. 6nd can you for once stop reviewin% all the 1uncleanness" around you
9ho"s a %an%ster”
=erdy"s voice trailed around the small coffee shop, and the customers stopped
sippin% their drinks, suddenly interested in Melva"s conversation.
$he shockin%ly looked around. “&o, dummy, he"s not a mafia %uy he #ust dresses
like one,” she whispered.
“Melva, you can"t be serious 5 did he talk to you”
“&o, not a lot, he came in to look up stuff in the microfilm room. !e was so
handsome and clean, and if he comes back, a%ain I"m %oin% to ask him out. I"m tired of
everyone thinkin% I"m an old spinster in this town.”
“;ou are,” =erdy spoke the dreaded truth.
“I am not and stop interruptin% me 5”
“6ll ri%ht, hurry thou%h, this place is %ettin% packed and I know <arl will scream
for help soon.”
“9ell, as soon as he walked in I knew, that he knew, that I knew, that he liked
me, isn"t it wonderful” !er hands clasped to%ether and her eyes were as bi% as her
“9hat the hell did you #ust say”
Melva started whisperin% a%ain, “he knows that I know 5”
“2for%et it Melva, I can"t listen to you anymore. 9hen you start makin% sense
call me 2 oh, hell no, don"t call me I"ll call you. I wish I could %o home now. you"ve
e)hausted me with your stupid notions of some made up stupid %uy.” $he threw her
hands in the air and headed back behind the counter while the nosey customers looked on
to see what Melva would do ne)t.
$he %ot up and waved at =erdy, “see you later, you"re comin% to follow me home,
so don"t for%et bye0” 6nd trotted happily out the door.
“9hat a fruit cake,” one of the customers snickered.
=erdy and <arl started lau%hin% loudly, and %ot back to work.
?n the way back to the library, Melva %a4ed up to the sky and hoped that her
mysterious beau had not left yet. $he wanted to strike up the nerve to ask him out, but
not in front of old crow Mrs. 7omechick.
Mrs. Crow met her at the door.
“9here have you been It"s been way too lon% for a break, 3lick” *he old
librarian tapped her foot and waited for an answer, which she knew it would be a horrid
e)cuse. Mrs. 7omechick thou%ht Melva was horrid e)cuse for an assistant.
“?h, yes, I was havin% coffee with my %irlfriend =erdy, oh she"s a %reat %al, and
you know her ...”
“I do not want to know any of your friends. =ot that, %ood back to work. By the
way I e)pect you to stay rather late my dear Miss 3lick to make up for this retched
display of work you"ve done today 2 any 8uestions, %ood, now back to work.” *he
crow went back to her nest to nestle into her paper'filled desk.
Melva needed to wash her hands. $he could do this and at the same time check to
see if Mr. @i%ht was still in the library. 7omechick had ruined everythin% when she
walked in and attacked her for wron%ly assumin% she was late. *his added to her
nervousness. $he had to find him, “it"s now or never,” she told herself as she tried to
re%ain her confidence.
Melva looked around and to make sure no one was watchin%. $he bent over and
tousled her hair with vi%orous motions, then threw her head back emulatin% the models
who used this maneuver to produce %or%eous hair effects. 9hen she finished she noticed
a couple of patrons starin% at her from a distance waitin% to see if the “Clairol =irl”
would swish her hair from side to side. $he turned red and waved to the onlookers, and
proceeded to the microfilm room. 9hen she %ot there, she noticed that %reat head of hair
2 she was so e)cited she could #ust spit0
$he did the best catwalk ,she learned this by watchin% Brinks- she could muster
and when she %ot to the small desk, a man was sittin% there, he appreciated the se)iness
of it all, but he was not the mysterious stran%er.
“?h, hello there, do you need anythin%” $he smiled nervously.
“Ch, no, but thanks for the show I like the way you did that walk for me,” the
man stood up and headed toward the doorway, “I"ll be back tomorrow if you do this for
me a%ain.” !e winked and left.
$he felt heat on the back of her neck. it was 7omechick breathin% heavily like a
“6re you 8uite done” 7omechick with arms crossed and nostrils flared waited
for her response.
“;es, ma"am, I"ll be ri%ht back, I have to 2
“Miss 3lick, do you want to keep your #ob”
“;es 2 yes of course I do.”
“;our work is not in the restroom, where you"ve been runnin% to all day.”
Melva did want to wash up, but losin% her #ob here on her first day would be
tra%ic she couldn"t bear the thou%ht. $he wanted 7omechick to like her 2 at any
7omechick piercin% stare illuminated dis%ust.
“I"ll %et back to the circulation desk ri%ht away,” Melva turned and slinked away
another Brinks move. $he knew she wanted a #ob at the library, but felt as if she stayed
she couldn"t be honest to Mrs. 7omechick, or to herself. she really needed some
direction, but there was nobody to talk to here.
$he didn"t have to work at the library, but she truly loved the books and history of
the buildin%, and her aunt would be proud of her doin% thin%s for herself and not
dependin% on anyone else for help. ;es, she wanted thin%s perfect, no sna%s here or
there. $he thou%ht about the %or%eous stran%er. 9ould he #ud%e her also Maybe so,
but this was somethin% she had to face without reservations so that she could %o forth and
embark upon a happy, fulfillin% life. $he was entitled to this #ust like everyone else.
Melva took a deep breath and noticed by her watch it was fast approachin% the
evenin% hour. she so wanted to see her cat, she missed him terribly. 0e must be hungry
and totally lost without me, she thou%ht. $he would be disappointed if she knew he
wasn"t the latter.
7omechick left earlier to %o home to her emus, two pi%s, and a husband. @elieved
to have the place to herself, Melva locked the doors to the front of the library and waited
for =erdy to meet her. $he could use a piece of chocolate, or somethin% that melted on
contact to the ton%ue, somethin% that offered her stimulus effects. $he du% in her
or%ani4ed purse, but to no avail, all she found was a sli%htly opened %um, but she thou%ht
better not it mi%ht be stale, or have somethin% on it. $he sat down on the curb and
chewed on her ton%ue instead, “oh Brinks I miss you,” she %lanced at her watch, “boy,
your 6untie =erdy is late.”
“!ey :aulie you %onna clean your piece all day” =ino sat down at his &onna"s
table and be%an eatin% some antipasti. “My nonna is the best, man, betcha she beats out
your mamma"s cookin" anytime.” =ino"s nonna, ,%randmother-, was a small Italian
fireball, and in his opinion, the best cook imported from Italy.
:aulie continued to clean his %un, strokin% it as if were a small kitten, “ya know
=ino instead of stuffin% your bi% mouth, maybe you should be makin% plans to meet with
Bohnny “Bi% Bones.” Bohnny was a crewmember who took orders from the capo, who in
this case, was :aulie"s Cncle Arankie. “6nd find out when we need to leave this stinkin"
town, :ussywillow.” :aulie slid ne)t to his pal and be%an stuffin% his face.
“!ey, it ain"t like that it"s called Catswillow, %et it ri%ht, man.”
:aulie"s face turned red, “don"t ya ever correct me, it"s impolite, and I"m a %uest
here remember that. $o, I"ll call it anythin% I want.”
=ino stuffed his face with some sauce and bread, “yeah, you can call yourself a
%uest here, but don"t %et smart, I"ll smack ya ne)t time, %ot that.”
“;ou try it 2 %o on 2 try it, I"ll5”
,Abbastan%a!- =ino"s %randmother yelled and hit =ino upside the head and
proceeded to pick up all the plates with piles of antipasti still on them.
“$orry, &onna,” =ino sulked, “see, you"ve upset her and now she probably won"t
cook for you a%ain, happy =uess we"ll have to eat later,” he continued to sulk. !e
loved &onna"s cookin%.
:aulie shru%%ed, “%uess I"ll have that dit4y redhead I met today cook for me.” !e
thou%ht about how se)y she was even thou%h she was a little weird for his taste.
=ino lau%hed boldly, “the one that was trippin% and fallin% all over ya $he"s a
real fruitcake, you can tell. 9hat the hell :aulie, ya hard up or somethin%”
:aulie i%nored the comment. 6fter the antipasti, he had a cravin% for a nice ci%ar.
!e hated this town. !e couldn"t believe it didn"t have a place where you could buy nice
ci%ars. 6ll this town had were anti8ue stores, cafHs and a library. But the library, at
least, seemed to offer him a nice 8uiet place to think is all.
!is mamma hated the fact he was out here in the C.$.6. without her to cook,
clean and cater to him. this was after all, how it was for him in Italy. 6ctually, all men
livin% at home with mamma catered to their sons. it was the way of life there. !e had bi%
plans, his mamma didn"t like it, but he followed e)ample of his uncle. $till he missed his
:aulie had the utmost respect for Cncle Arankie and before lon% :aulie was in on
everythin% that Cncle Arankie had plans on with his 1boss." <ven when Cncle Arankie
took his .Omerta,’ they instructed him to make himself invisible, but to listen with
caution to the .Omerta,’ because when he became a man, he too would take this oath.
Diolation to this code was inescapably, death.
:aulie"s e)traordinary talents and ideas made him capo early on. he was 8uite
youn%, only twenty'si) at that time. !e was at the top of the ranks when a dispute
pro%ressed with a youn%er man wantin% nothin% to do with his instructions. Cltimately,
the ?r%ani4ation sent instructions to him to make his way down to this small town to %et
some thin%s started up here, with the don"s approval.
*he don didn"t want any kind of problems with either youn% man that would
result in one or both reprimanded. *hey both did %reat work for the don. *herefore, the
don sent :aulie one place and the other person to another town far away from each other.
:aulie, sent here to =ino, his consigliore, ,counselor-, but this wouldn"t stop him
from takin% control over what he thou%ht was his turf.
:aulie had bi% plans, and no one was %oin% stop him from succeedin% at them, not
even =ino. *oday he came up with a plan to make that library into a place where he
could do some business, and make some money of his own. he was smart he could do it.
?ne way was to make that %irl he saw help him, without her knowin% it of course, ,It
shouldn"t be a problem she seemed somewhat ea%er to help-, and he frowned. !e
decided to %et =ino in on the action when the time was ri%ht, but he would have to make
his move on the %irl soon. :aulie didn"t think that would be a problem, people always
used the library every day. !e"d have to find out her schedule, scope out her routine and
find out whom she hun% around. *his would be interestin% for him, he wasn"t really
attracted to her, but she"d do if it came to that. !e %rinned to himself at the thou%ht.
!e wasn"t sure if =ino would participate in his plan, but he would talk to him
about it later on over a meal, =ino was a sucker for %ood food. *here was an Italian
1hole in the wall" over ne)t to a coffee shop he noticed around town and not that far from
the library. !e decided to make Catswillow his town.
=ino had to make a phone call in private to *he Boss $tallino4, so he headed
outside with his cell phone. !e did not want to be disrespectful to his nonna and make
the phone calls from her house. *he less his nonna knew the better. the little Italian
firecracker was no dummy. $he knew more than she let on.
:aulie, on the other hand, decided he was fed up with sittin" around doin" nothin."
!e had cleaned his %un enou%h, but looked forward to usin% it. maybe shoot some tar%ets
out in a field, anythin% from %oin% nuts in the small town. “I"m %oin% for a walk, &onna.
I need to work off this pasta,” he said pattin% his stomach. !e bent over and kissed her
on top of her head. ,/hat a fea!in’ drag having to tell the old lady where I’m going,
stupid #ino and his stupid plans to stay here.- !is bad mood was due to the lack of
privacy and %ettin% laid. !e was so use to %ivin% everyone orders to leave the Italy house
when he needed his space and privacy.
!e walked around to the corner store, %rabbed a chocolate bar and coke, and
headed toward the library on foot. It was about two miles from &onna"s house, but he"d
%et =ino to pick him up when he was done bein% nosey about the cra4y %irl that worked
there. !e was a handsome man, so it was a %iven that he"d turn all the women"s heads
when he passed them by alon% the sidewalk. 6 few of them even whistled. !e knew he
looked %ood, so he acknowled%ed one in particular and tapped her butt when she walked
by, “small town broads %otta love 1em.” $omethin% funny was happenin% to him thou%h,
when he"d see these other %irls he"d start thinkin% of the %irl in the library. “'aybe she
has some !ind of voodoo on me,- he concluded. !e didn"t want her, or so he thou%ht. ,I
(ust wanted to use her is all,- he assured himself.
6s :aulie turned the corner he noticed the library"s parkin% lot was empty, “shit,
it"s closed,” he huffed and proceeded to walk toward the steps. !e stopped when he
noticed the %irl sittin% on the steps of the old buildin%, obviously talkin% to herself, “what
a whack #ob,” he said under his breath. But, she seemed so sweet and innocent like
someone that would take care of him, like his %ood mamma. “6ren"t these the kind of
women you"re supposed to marry” *he thou%ht 8uickly left his mind, she wouldn"t
know what to do with a man in his type of position, or would she “&ah,” he fi%ured,
“she"s more of =ino"s type, dumb.”
!e hid and watched anyway, she was pretty animated and entertainin% to him.
6 car drove up, stopped and she went over to talk to that person. “=erdy you are
late and you know Brinks could be starvin%, poor thin%, %ee4 ever think of him” Melva
lost it, “you know he loves his dinner and some kisses. 9hat will I tell him if he doesnIt
%et all this on time”
“Melva, you know I could care less about what Brinks thinks, so do me a bi%
favor %et in and I"ll drive you to your car so that I can toss you out on your ass0” =erdy
was in no mood for Melva"s drama, it was late and she was hun%ry.
“Aine0 But don"t say I didn"t warn you about him bein% upset ne)t time he sees
you.” $he reluctantly %ot in =erdy"s nasty car. =erdy sped off like two bats out of hell.
:aulie watched the two broads and listened to every word. “9ho the hell is
Brinks” 9as he a boyfriend or worse, a husband !e did not want to have to 1whack"
the dude, but he would if he %ot in his way. !e only wanted to deal with her5e)cited
also by this new, weird challen%e.
6 moment later, he saw the cra4y broad drivin% back down the street. “9ho
would drive someone to their car that they could so easily walk to” But, what interested
him more was the car. “&ice Mercedes, Melva,” he whispered.
Melva made a mad dash into the condo where she was convinced poor Brinks
must have been starvin% to death. “!oney, I"m home0” !er personal home security
system had ransacked the condo+ toilet paper was all over the livin% room, and one of
6unt Bertha"s priceless vases was in tiny pieces on the floor. *he undeniably culprit
sashayed across the floor and slumped his ample rump on the %round, mirrorin% a man
that had #ust put in a ten hour workday. $he ran to the phone and called =erdy, she
wanted his “aunt” to feel the full wrath of her an%er.
“;eah, what"s up” =erdy answered.
“6untie =erdy is in deep shit no doubt. you know what your nephew did since I
was so late %ettin% home” $he looked around and started calculatin% how lon% this
would take her to clean up, and then a panic attack set in because she didn"t have any
more dustin% cloths. “It"s your entire fault, =erdy, he could have been killed0”
“9hat the hell are you talkin% about” $he felt =erdy"s nonchalant attitude
throu%h the phone.
“*here"s %lass all over the place, and he"s actin% funny, and I"ve %ot to clean this
up now0” $he screamed throu%h the phone.
=erdy si%ned, “Is that all !e"s probably wonderin% what he"s %oin% to eat. I
swear that is all he does. he"s a damn cat, Melva.”
$he was floored now. “!e"s not (ust a cat, he"s my child and since you cannot
bear to hear that then I"m han%in% up on you now, %ood'bye,” she waited to see if =erdy
would apolo%i4e 5, waited ..., and waited.
“Melva let"s #ust %o out to eat, it was your first day on the #ob and you #ust need to
chill out a bit, okay, my treat.”
Melva didn"t really want to eat out, because she had so much to do by mornin%,
but she was hun%ry. $he knew she couldn"t ask =erdy to help her clean up the mess,
because she"d have to clean up after =erdy she was e)hausted thinkin% about this, but
hun%er won. “?kay then, but let me feed Brinks first and make sure he eats, so %ive me
about an hour then come on over, I"ll drive us.”
=erdy a%reed and she decided to wait out the hour in a lu)urious bath. $he had to
%et ready for 1Melva ni%ht," she"d rela) now since her dinner companion would be
stressin% out over everythin% and anythin%.
:aulie, back at &onna"s place, found =ino in front of the *D lau%hin% and
clappin% his hands while watchin% "he 1rice is 2ight with his nonna. !e rolled his eyes
at =ino. =ino noticed :aulie"s irritation and told his %randmother to leave the room. he
had business to talk with :aulie. $he stormed out of her livin% room and slammed her
bedroom door after she made it clear she wasn"t his slave, and then refused to cook for
him in the future since he was so disrespectful toward her.
“:aulie, you"re bad luck man, now my nonna won"t cook for me anymore, what
we %onna eat now”
“Man, fuh%eddaboudit, you should worry more about makin% some money than
eatin% your way outta your suits, let"s %o down to this place I saw on my way back here.
It looks like a %ood place to have some pasta and a drink. =ot a plan and I think it"ll
“Does it include that broad” =ino asked suspiciously.
“;eah, so you wanna %o or not”
=ino looked around the empty place and shru%%ed, “yeah, I could eat.”
“6nd what else is new, my compare,” they both lau%hed and patted each other on
the shoulder and left.
=erdy showed about an hour later holdin% a can of $tar3ist tuna for the %uilty
party. she fi%ured this would %ive his 1mother" a sense of relief on %ettin% him fed.
Melva vowed that =erdy was back to number two on Brinks list of favorite females.
*hey left after Melva checked her stove for the fourth time.
Bella @ini was a 8uiet Italian place sandwiched in between two anti8ue stores, it
had a co4y <uropean feel unusual for Catswillow. *he waitress that met them at the door
was indeed out to capture all the males" attention. “It would have helped if she at least
worn a bra5,” =erdy whispered to Melva after the vamp seated them. *he place was not
that busy. so the one waitress was it for everyone. *hey sat at a table near the back patio.
It was a lovely settin% with its palm trees and tropical plants and flowers embedded near
the narrow fence. If one wanted, they could %o out on the spacious patio and en#oy all the
aromas the %ardens offered and eat their meal. *he %irls #ust wanted to eat and therefore
decided the outdoors was too romantic for #ust the two of them.
Melva looked over the table and chairs, protested a bit about it bein% dirty so the
waitress obli%ed her and %ave the furniture a once over with her filthy ra%.
“Don"t make a scene. I swear I"ll take you home ri%ht now0” =erdy scolded.
“9e are %oin% to rela) and talk about the handsome devil you"re supposed to %o out with
soon, remember that topic”
“;es, I remember, how could I for%et he"s absolutely %or%eous, but I have to pee
first 2 I"ll be ri%ht back, so do not order for me.” $he sped off toward the restroom.
*he double D si4ed waitress appeared, “what can I %et you %als toni%ht, some
wine or #ust tea”
“?h, let"s see,” =erdy debated in her mind 8uickly how much trouble she"d be in
if she ordered everythin% ri%ht now. $he was so hun%ry. $he really didn"t care if Melva
“?kay, let"s see5I"ll start with your house salad 2 make that two, one for me
and one for her. 9ell, hell 2 I"m #ust %oin% to order for us both, ready”
*he waitress had her pen ready, “%o ahead.”
“I"ll have your Chicken Marsala 5 and to drink, a merlot for now.”
*he waitress nodded her head at Melva"s chair, “what would she like” =erdy
%rinned, “%et her your house :asta :rimavera and a salad, and to drink5she likes those
1splits" you"ve %ot in the @ossi wine, okay”
“=reat, it"ll be ri%ht out.”
“*hanks.” =erdy hoped Melva wouldn"t cause a scene when she %ot back to the
*he waitress sped off to take another tables" order. =erdy looked around and
wondered what was takin% Melva so lon%.
Melva was busy in the restroom makin% sure all was in its place+ her outfit. her
hair. her lipstick. and was tryin% to tidy up the place a bit from the last customer ( “the
*he waitress brou%ht =erdy"s drink #ust in time, she needed some alcohol and
fast, this way she was numb a bit by the time dinner came. $he looked up when she
heard the tiny doorbell rin% and noticed the two Italian'lookin% men seated by their
waitress. ?h, how they loved her. *hey were droolin% all over the place.
“!ow dis%ustin%,” =erdy winced, “sure if I had those set of 1twins" I"d %et all the
attention.” $he was envious of the bosoms their waitress sported, “they"re probably fake,
look how they point strai%ht out, betcha she could float with those thin%s.” $he 8uickly
for%ot about that, mesmeri4ed by the one man who reminded her of an Italian lover from
one of Melva"s books.
$he could tell they had some money to afford those obvious posh suits, she #ust
knew they were wearin% some type of 6rmani, or somethin% of that 8uality. “*his place
must be authentic if it attracts those !inds.” $he mumbled to herself, referrin% to Italians
actually %oin% out for Italian food. $he didn"t think the other %uy was that %ood'lookin%,
nor was he u%ly. he was somethin% in between 2 defiantly not her type thou%h. !e was
hu%e. at least carryin% around an e)tra hundred pounds, but he had a %entle face, like a
teddy bear almost. !e knew how to dress, subtract the pounds and %et rid of some acne
and he"d be %ood to %o.
“!ey, look over there :aulie, someone snakin" ya,” =ino noticed =erdy checkin%
him out as soon as he and :aulie walked in.
“Bullshit. $it down and let"s order,” :aulie %rowled and sat down.
=ino sat down and was about to pull his #acket off when :aulie noticed he for%ot to leave
his %un in the car.
“9hy do ya have your piece in the restaurant for :lannin% on shootin%
=ino felt his %un, “nah, #ust for%ot I had it on, ya know I sleep with her, too.” !e
lau%hed while pattin% his side.
“Betcha %ot a name for her too, huh Man, you need to %et laid 5 no worries
we"ll find ya somebody soon 2 let"s order.” :aulie snapped his fin%ers at the waitress
while =ino dove ri%ht into the complementary breadsticks.
“:aulie, tell me about the plan you been boastin" about to me 5 it"s off the record
“;eah, off the record.” :aulie scooted inward more and made sure no one was
listenin% in ,=erdy and another couple were the only ones who could have heard
anythin%-, but he made sure all was between =ino and himself. “@emember when we
went into the library and there was the top floor where those stairs led to”
=ino nodded his lar%e head, “;eah, what of it”
“*here my compare, is where I"m %oin% to have my business.” !e stroked his
hair back triumphantly. 6t the library, he fi%ured no one would suspect anythin% %oin%
on other than a bookstore and to :aulie this was a superb idea.
“It"s not a 1hot place," ri%ht” =ino was worried it could be watched by police.
“&o, goombah, it"s a freakin" library, use your testa, think my friend, think0” !e
smacked =ino on the forehead.
=ino continued to pry the rou%h plan out of :aulie, =ino had to know since he
was $tallino4" consigliere, but :aulie was a little unsure on what e)actly he"d do there,
once he owned the place. !e knew that he would have to %et some information from
someone as to where to proceed with rentin% or buyin% that area out. Most likely, the
city would have to rent/sell to him. *his is why he needed to speak to that dit4y %irl who
“*he plan, my compare, is still in the raw, but I do know for sure that I"ll have to
sell some books to pull this off,” he waited for =ino to ob#ect to any of this.
Boo!s? =ino arched his eyebrow, a little surprised. this was totally out of the norm for
=ino stopped in mid'slurp of his pasta, “$ell books, eh *his is somethin%
different.” !e peered at :aulie for a moment. “$osa 3ostra, this thin% of ours 5 would
be le%al” he asked suspiciously.
“&o. 9ell, the books are le%al,” :aulie smiled and sipped his vino.
“I"ll sit down and talk to Mr. $tallino4, or I"ll call him, this way you don"t %et
your hands in a mess tryin% to pull this off without approval, okay :aulie” =ino
s8uirmed in his chair, because he knew this %uy was determined to do his own thin%,
re%ardless of circumstances within the famiglia. “@emember :aulie, you"re in a tou%h
spot and you don"t want to %o a%ainst the don in any kind of way. If he approves then so
be it, a%reed”
!e didn"t need anyone to approve this for him, but he knew he"d have to %ive the
don somethin% to %naw on so he"d stay out of trouble. !e wanted to prove to them that
he could use his head and make %reat decisions on his own. !e looked around, sipped his
wine and stayed 8uiet. reassurin% himself all he needed was to start this ball rollin%. 6nd
once that happened, he"d be on his way to bi%%er and better thin%s.
6fter Melva threw a hissy'fit at =erdy for orderin% her dinner and wine, and
complainin% that the ve%%ies in the primavera would %ive her %as all ni%ht lon%, she
talked a little bit about the mysterious man in her life.
“$o, what"s his name” =erdy asked while finishin% her last drop of merlot.
“I don"t know, it"s not like he wore a nameta% or somethin%,” Melva responded
“Bitch,” huffed =erdy.
“9hat” Melva shocked by the name'callin%.
“;ou"re a smart'ass. ;ou know that, Melva” $he was ready to leave. she had to
%et up early tomorrow to open for <arl. “&e)t time you see this %or%eous man ask him
for his phone number. &owadays it"s not so presumptuous, ri%ht”
“9ell, he did let me fall on him, ri%ht” Melva %i%%led.
“Bust be yourself,” 1%od help us"2 she mumbled to herself 2 “and you"ll be
“?kay, I will. ?h, you should see him =erdy, he would remind you of one of
those %uys you see on the cover of a romance novel, well, e)cept he"s %ot short dark hair
opposed to the lon% locks they have, and he has bi% dark eyes. 6nd I did see his cute butt
throu%h his e)pensive trousers ...” she %rinned wickedly. “6nd he smelled so wonderful.
I could have eaten him all up then and there 5 even while Dra%on 7ady 7omechick
watched disapprovin%ly.” $he snorted at the personal #oke.
“6ll ri%ht, %ot it all then, let"s %o 2 I"m beat. <arl will have my ass if I"m the
sli%htest bit late in the mornin%.”
*hey summoned the waitress, and then =erdy paid the bill. 6s they were leavin%,
Melva became obsessed with a piece of lint on her sweater. $he was lookin% down at her
chest while they walked and she passed by :aulie and =ino without noticin% the two
men. =ino kicked :aulie under the table, “!ey :aulie there"s that cra4y broad, ya %onna
talk to her now” 9ith one fast movement, =erdy and Melva were out the door and into
By the time, :aulie reali4ed who it was it was too late. he was standin% on the
sidewalk starin% at the speedin% car headin% toward the downtown li%hts, ,malendi%ione!
“Damn0 Missed her a%ain, but not tomorrow, babbo.”
=ino patted his friend on the back, “no sweat compare, we"ll %et her tomorrow,
corner her if you have to, but %et her to talk 5 you know be nice, too.” !e smiled
e)posin% a %old canine tooth. *hey #umped into =ino"s "JK Chevy and sped off.
“Aeel like doin" some shootin%” :aulie asked.
“$ure, but my nonna don"t want us comin" in too damn late, she"ll throw my bi%
fat ass out for sure, yours too, compare.”
“Man, you really need your own place. maybe I"ll buy you a place soon, with all
the money my plan will make.” !e was hopeful and sure of himself. *hey sped off into
the countryside to find a %ood place to shoot.
6fter they made it back to &onna"s house, :aulie was tired and frustrated at the
fact that Melva slipped throu%h is Italian fin%ers a%ain. Damn he was irritated and horny.
=ino thou%ht best to sneak out a%ain and %ive some more tips to $tallino4, about
:aulie"s plan. Aor :aulie to %o do his own thin% without full authori4ation was #ust
dan%erous, anyone to do this would surely be 1broken," demoted in rank. =ino didn"t
want this to happen to :aulie. :aulie had a %reat future in the famiglia as lon% as he
didn"t screw it up. 6fter all, they were only in Catswillow to visit and watch over &onna
and wait for the or%ani4ations to meet, and then discuss plans the two famiglias’ had for
!is cell phone vibrated.
“4alve, =odfather 5 I have news, not to say bad, but not %ood.” =ino %i%%led
nervously and cautiously.
“=ino, consigliere, tell me, what"s :aulie done,” Carparillini wanted to hear it
from =ino that the rumors were true, before he sent out a 1contract" on the youn% soldier,
since he had named himself “Boss.” !is plan would be in place soon. no one needed to
know this yet, least of all =ino.
“!e is youn% and probably in love, he sounds like he"s usin% his dick instead of
his head 5 he only wants to %et this broad in bed.” =ino inhaled nervously and #ust then
reali4ed he wasn"t speakin% to his boss, but his underboss.
“I already know about the broad. $he will not be our problem for lon%.”
Carparillini assured the nervous =ino.
“I need to speak to $tallino4 himself, I thou%ht I was talkin% to him 5 him
directly is who I discuss this with, not with you.”
“$onsigliere, you are in deep shit if you skip ranks, besides all that is said will be
repeated to the don ( no need to worry, your words will be clear. Bust take care of thin%s
until I %et a hold of you ne)t time, then we"ll see how thin%s will %o. &ow, tell me the
=ino"s instincts had him skim throu%h little details. *o Carparillini, sounded like
=ino had it all under control and that :aulie"s plans were merely a #oke, really. =ino
never really trusted the underboss totally, somethin% always %nawed at his insides with
this %uy. But, he had no idea of Carparillini"s devilish plans.
“Bust keep an eye on :aulie as you"re told to do, consigliere, and you too will be
better off #ust listenin% at this time. I will be in touch a%ain soon. *hin%s needed lookin%
into with the Castocci famiglia. you are not keepin% any information from our famiglia,
are you If you hear anythin%, I advise you to call me.”
=ino wanted to oppose all instructions put upon him by this underboss, but
thou%ht better to play alon% for now. !e wanted to know where the don was, and why
the underboss was presumably walkin% in his shoes with lay outs of plans such as these.
!e knew there was a bi% meetin% with the Castocci famiglia comin% up, but
didn"t know e)actly what day this would %o down. 9ith talks within ranks, this famiglia
takin% over made him a little nervous for :aulie and him. &ot to mention keepin% his
nonna out of harm"s way ( this was always priority ever since he had taken his Omerta
*here was talk that the Castocci brogata had a new boss, but no one dared ask.
thin%s such as these would come out in the open at or%ani4ation meetin%s ( usually, they
did, but who knew this time, all the shit tossed around and $tallino4 was not available.
=ino was tired of all the crap he wanted some answers.
=ino mustered up some balls, “yeah, I"ll think about %ettin" back to ya.” !e
clicked off the phone down 8uickly, as if Carparllini would #ump throu%h the receiver
and kick his ass.
!e was tired and hun%ry, a%ain.
Melva already had the day from hell at the library, and it was only EG+GG am0
9hen she arrived back at her condo last ni%ht, the answerin% machine was blinkin%
frantically. It was 7omechick tellin% her to be at the library very early, because she had
business to attend to at the Community Center. !er feelin%s of kismet rushed back #ust
as they did the day before, but she dismissed it all by runnin% a hot bath and
contemplatin% whether or not she should call dear ol" 6unt Bertha for a substantial
amount of money. *his way she wouldn"t have to endure anymore of 7omechick"s
commands. 7et 6untie take care of her 2 well, why the hell not
:eople were everywhere. 6nd rambunctious kids ran up and down the stairs like
complete lunatics. 6nd where were the “parents” “?h yeah,” she reminded herself,
“they” were all there lettin% their monsters wreak havoc on the “new %irl” behind the
desk.” $he"s constantly pissed off. $he was up to her eyeballs in provocation on this
Ariday. “6ren"t Ariday"s supposed to be a %ood'mood sort of day” she si%hed. $he was
nauseated a%ain. $he thou%ht maybe she should %o see some kind of specialist+ a
%astroenterolo%ist ,for her colon issues-, or neurolo%ist ,since she was tin%ly all the time
now-, or as =erdy would su%%est, a psychotherapist. #erdy should be the one going, she
concluded. $he felt so much out'of'sorts it wasn"t even funny. $he worried she was
e)periencin% an out'of'body e)perience ri%ht at this moment. Melva felt the walls cavin%
in on her and rush up to that favorite room in the buildin%. *he restroom.
=ino and :aulie drove up to the library to “clock” Melva.
“Do you really think she"s brainy enou%h 2 this cra4y'ass broad of yours 2 to
really be involved in other thin%s besides this here library, :aulie” =ino drove around
cautiously throu%h the parkin% lot, hopin% no one took interest in them 2 like the cops.
“$ompare, you #ust never know, so we watch her 1till I"m comfortable with the
surroundin%s, capisce” *hey decided to park and watch for a while. :aulie noticed
Melva"s shiny Mercedes parked at the end of the lot all by itself.
“=ino, that"s hers,” he pointed out the car.
“&ice ride.” =ino stroked his dashboard, “nothin% like mine here, but it"ll do.
!is fin%er followed the curves of the dashboard.
“:aulie, you %onna %o inside today If ya %o man you need to %et somethin%
done, like try and %et in her pants or somethin%.” =ino devilishly lau%hed.
“;eah, well, you"re not the only one thinkin" that compare, I have to be slow
about this. I want her to trust me. you %et the trust thin% with these women, or not
@emember that flame you had with the dancer broad, she trusted you until you shot her
e) for sayin% hi to her out on the street.”
=ino scratched his lar%e head, “oh yeah, boy you remember a lot goombah.” !e
chuckled. “;eah, I ban%ed her few times, but she wasn"t %ood enou%h for my nonna.
6nd after the shootin%, well, she wasn"t so hot after my body like before.” !e placed his
hands on his chest and remembered that the sweet old woman had wrapped him some
sausa%es for lunch today. &onna somehow for%ave him for his despicable behavior the
ni%ht before. “$he met her one time ya know5 it didn"t %o so well with &onna. &onna
saw ri%ht throu%h her, and %otta have that approval, ya know”
:aulie shook his head and smiled, “you"re stupid.” =ino slapped him on the back
and they both had a %reat lau%h down memory lane.
“9hat you say we %o in, take the broad to the back of the library and talk to her,
wouldn"t hurt nothin", ri%ht” =ino asked feelin% his crouch. !e was %ettin% a hard on
thinkin% about the freaky broad.
“;eah, let"s see what she"s all about 5 one thin% I don"t like is that 1problem" we
have with that Brinks dude. we may have to 1whack" him if he %ets in the way, %ot it”
“Ch, :aulie we doin" no whacks unless it"s Bohnny Bi% Bones, he"ll be the one
doin" the 1whack" if there"s one to do, capisce”
:aulie was mad. !e fou%ht to %et to the point where nobody was doin% his work
for him. If there was a problem to solve, when it concerned his plan, he would do the hit
himself. !e si%hed an%rily and looked at his %ood friend. “=ino, you trust me, ri%ht”
=ino nodded his head, his dark eyes fi)ed on his compare. “Bust do what you
need to do with this %irl and %et the plan rollin%, and I"ll step in and spot your back,
:aulie tapped his friend"s head, “now that"s what I call a %ood plan 5 let"s %o in
and see this %irl and her e)tra space upstairs.”
:aulie and =ino stood at the door ama4ed on how the library mimicked a damn
circus, Melva the @in%master nowhere in si%ht.
“Do you see your broad, :aulie” =ino #ust wanted to %o upstairs and scope out
the area, and sit for a while to en#oy the si%hts of women comin% and %oin%.
“I don"t see her anywhere. 9here in the hell could she have %one her car"s out
there.” :aulie walked to the desk and noticed the empty office behind it. “&o one in
there,” he felt a tu% on his pant le%.
“Do you know where my mommy is” *he snot'nosed kid s8ueaked fretfully.
“!ell no kid0 Beat it, before I have =ino eat ya0” :aulie lau%hed and clearly had
a %ood time scarrin% the kid. Didn"t take much to make kids scream, ,his sister, the one
he never saw, had one back in Italy, spoiled beyond belief that kid-, who was scared of
him. :aulie scoped the library some more while =ino hovered in the corner tryin% to hit
on a woman way too youn% for him. !ey, anywhere the opportunity arises was the best
time for both of them.
Melva came rushin% down the old stairs unaware of who was waitin% for her at
the desk. =ino spotted her first and whistled a low sound to :aulie to turn around. Melva
had on a ti%ht pencil skirt and matchin% sweater in her favorite color, pink.
$he sported some black pumps 6unt Bertha sent her from Milan when she was there last
year, and many ban%le bracelets that sounded #ust like a cow"s bell when she walked.
“I shouldn"t have worn these bracelets they don"t %o 2 what kind of idiot wears
five different bracelets” $he scolded herself while walkin% down the stairs in a hurry
afraid someone would report her to 7omechick for %oin% to the restroom again. $he
thou%ht she"d tidy up the books in the adult fiction section and then dust. she was e)cited.
$he didn"t notice :aulie until it was too late 5Oh crap there’s my husband! $he
s8uealed inside her head.
“!ey, how"s it %oin"” :aulie looked ri%ht into her eyes and waited for her to
melt. !e knew his own se)ual powers.
Melva felt her heart palpitations increase. $he was %oin% to die. $he didn"t know
if to run and hide behind the lar%e shelves, or talk. Bust as she was about the say “hi,”
7omechick rushed in like a herd of elephants. 7omechick had decided to come in after
all, she was nervous leavin% Melva alone for too lon%.
“May we help you, sir” 7omechick offered her help to :aulie. she didn"t notice
Melva standin% beside him. “?h, I see you"re already bein% helped.” $he spotted Melva,
who decided to stand directly in front of :aulie. $he smiled and thou%ht he was a
dashin% youn% man, but dan%erous.
“&o, ma"am, he #ust needs the back room. I think he left somethin% there
yesterday, so I"ll %o and check and show him to the room, thanks.”
7omechick strutted off to her office and slammed the door.
:aulie turned to =ino who was busy feelin% up his new female friend.
“!ey0” :aulie motioned to =ino who had wondered off with a youn% blonde
“I"ll call you some time all ri%ht, %otta %o now,” =ino bid farewell to his female'
candy and walked to meet :aulie by the desk. “!ow"s it %oin"” =ino asked Melva who
was still stunned that her fantasy was here in front of her.
$he cleared her throat, “the room 5 you 5 needed 5 it"s ri%ht over there.” $he
8uickly turned and headed toward the non'fiction section of the library. 4tupid cornball.
4tupid dor!. $he was mad at herself for stumblin% with her words.
:aulie and =ino #ust shook their heads in disbelief on how someone they were
“watchin%” could be so stran%e, but she didn"t know she was bein% watched and a soon'
to'be goumada, mistress.
“<h, :aulie, did you ask for a room, what the hell is she talkin" about” =ino
shru%%ed his shoulders, he was totally confused, and picked at his teeth.
“6ll ri%ht, enou%h of this shit, it"s now or never. I"ll be ri%ht back, =ino. =o wait
for me back there man.”
=ino reluctantly a%reed, “okay babbo, but if she ain"t talkin" then %rab her and
take her out the back door.
:aulie #ust %lared at =ino, “%et outta here, or %o back there, man. I"ll be back.”
!e followed Melva who was still talkin% to herself. !e si%ned heavily and wished he had
9hen he found her, she was on a stool strai%htenin% the shelves. But, he could
see the shelves were fine. !e shoved his hands in his pocket and placed a broad friendly
smile across his face, “you doin" all ri%ht Can"t help but notice you look like you"re
ready to leave this #oint.”
Melva wanted to disappear and at the same time lusted for him. “?h 5 I"m okay,
#ust tryin% to keep the place nice for our nice patrons such as you.” $he lau%hed
nervously and cleared her throat. “Do you need any help with anythin%, or can I show
you somethin%” $he reali4ed how that sounded when the handsome stran%er arched his
eyebrow. “I mean, do you need me for anythin%” 6%ain, she was fumblin% what to say
2 he made her cra4y0 $he was stunned when he answered.
“;eah, wanted to talk to you, is there a place we can talk 2 that back room you
were talkin" about would be okay.” !er eyes, bi% as the moon, reflected her ama4ement
that he would want anythin% to do with her 5 much less talk to her. $he didn"t know
what to do, so she did what Melva did best 5 panic. 6s she was about to run, :aulie
%rabbed her arm. $he didn"t know what to do. she thou%ht she already loved him, but to
:aulie noticed the horror in her eyes, “$orry.” !e let %o of her arm. “Bust like to
%et to know you is all, so how 1bout it”
Melva looked up at him, “you want to talk to me 9hy”
“!ey, lady, I"m no maniac, okay I"m #ust a %uy wantin% to talk to a %irl, you.”
:aulie was e)hausted already and hadn"t even done what he came here to do with her.
!e bet that that friend of hers felt the same way with this %irl. $he sure was some piece
Melva contemplated for a moment+ shelve the books evenly, dust the filthy
shelves, or %o with the tall handsome man. =erdy would have her ass if she missed this
opportunity, so she decided to %o with him. “9hat could happen” she wondered. $he
“9ait, I"m supposed to be workin% I can"t #ust walk out. Mrs. 7omechick will
fire me for sure 5 see my first day was yesterday and 5”
:aulie couldn"t believe this broad, and all the work it was takin% to take her
outside to talk.
“9ait a minute 5 what"s your name”
!e asked a%ain. “9hat"s your name 2 Mine"s :aulie. !e e)tended his
masculine tanned hand.
$he felt her stomach flip when he took a step ne)t to her. !is voice was like
velvet, chocolate velvet. 6nd he smelled so %ood0 !er heart was beatin% and surely, he
noticed her sweaty palms and forehead. 'y ma!eup! $he was horrified that she mi%ht
look like a sweaty pi%.
“ 5 My name is Melva 5 uh 5 nice to meet you Mr...” $he took his hand and
kept it for a minute.
“Bust call me :aulie.”
“=reat. :aulie.” $he repeated his name as if in a spellin% bee.
“=reat place you %ot here,” :aulie sniffed around and looked Melva up and down.
“=lad you like it. see it"s really old and has a %reat history behind it 5” !e never
took his eyes off her, lookin% her over like a %rade 6 choice of beef. $an he see through
“&o history lessons for me, %or%eous, #ust want some help on somethin%, if you
don"t mind,” intuitively he watched her for he knew what her answer would be.
“9ell, sure. 9hat can I help you with, I"m all ears.” $he %i%%led and motioned
her hand to her ear. Idiot.
6ll :aulie knew is that this would most certainly be a challen%in%, “talk.”
&ow that she knew that he wasn"t about to rape her in the non'fiction isle, or
anythin% like that, she felt a little more comfortable with him all the sudden and a%reed to
meet him when she closed the library this evenin%.
7omechick made the e)cuse that one of her farm animals was sick and had to rush
home to take care of it, so Melva a%reed to lock up a%ain. $he was so e)cited, she didn"t
even keep in mind that she wouldn"t %et to the dustin% she needed to do by the followin%
week. $he couldn"t deny the communal animal ma%netism they shared. this scared her,
because she really hadn"t been this attracted to someone this forcefully 5 well, only once
if you count =erdy"s e%otistical and %eek'of'a'cousin, she slept with one time, which was
one time too many.
Melva %lanced at the lar%e clock han%in% on the wall across from her, it was
8uarter after ei%ht and he still hadn"t shown up. $he felt an awful feelin% in her stomach,
but 8uickly disre%arded it as #ust nerves.
=erdy had %iven her pointers for her date earlier when Melva called askin% her to
%o check on Brinks when she %ot to the condo. $he #ust knew he"d be “starved” by si)
o"clock. =erdy a%reed ea%erly, because she too wanted #ust to %o home and call it a day.
Most of =erdy"s customers today had been the worst she"d ever seen+ hollerin%
obscenities at one another, %ripin% about their latte"s bein% too hot/cold 2 no one was
satisfied whatsoever, she attributed it to the full moon. $he had a split'second thou%ht
about strokin% Brinks upon her arrival there, because she"d heard by pettin% these
un%rateful creatures they would brin% relief after a horrible day. Brinks mi%ht bite her,
but she"d take her chances. “!ere kitty, kitty.” $he called the kin% of the condo. “Damn
cat, where are you”
Brinks sat perched on the sofa arm, in kitty'%ar%oyle form.
It’s my house. /hat in hell do you want? And where’s my food!
=erdy noticed how Mr. 9ide'Butt hun% over the side of the couch and shook her
head, “you really ou%ht to think about kitty'aerobics or somethin%.”
Melva paced the library floor practicin% her Brinks catwalk, #ust in case she
needed to walk toward him for any reason. 3ow how does he do it? Oh yeah, he crosses
one paw at a time in the bac! 5 no wait6 he crosses the front ones too. Oh #od, I’m so
confused! $he noticed a spot on the wall and walked over to it, and moistened her fin%er,
and be%an to smud%e the u%ly mark off the wall. *here were a few books stickin% out of
the shelf, uneven, so she thumped those back into place. *hen she noticed 7omechick"s
repulsive stacked desk and thou%ht of a brilliant plan. $he was e)cited0 Melva be%an
stackin% papers by dates. then she stacked papers by cate%ory+ committee, city plans,
%rants and book lists.
“?h how wonderful this will be when it"s done. 7omechick will be so surprised. I
mi%ht even %et a raise.” $he beamed. 6s she pulled out a drawer and a piece of used
straw flun% out, she fell back. “?h how %ross0”
$he dared not to touch it, not even with her shoe. $wiftly she reached for a tissue
that was in a bo) at the bottom of one of 7omechick"s bookshelves and picked it up very
carefully, as if it were a breakable valuable item. “*here"s somethin% on it, I"m %oin% to
be sick.” $he 8uickly ran to the e)it.
*here to meet her was :aulie dressed in a casual tailored ensemble. !e looked
like he had #ust stepped out of 6rmani"s website catalo%. !e smelled crisp and clean, as
if =od had lovin%ly showered him in a forest of ever%reens.
Oh, god does he loo! and smell great! I thin! I’m in love! 0elp me stay calm.
Oh, and loo! se7y too 5 don’t forget that! $he pleaded with her Maker.
!e 8uickly looked around, and then pushed her a%ainst the circulation desk. not
takin% his eyes off her, he waited until he had her where he wanted her and then spoke.
“9here"s the #ohn at” !e was so close to her, but he wanted to wait that part
out, the seducin% part.
Melva only moved her head, “it"s up the stairs,” she pointed toward the
mysterious upper floor.
!e smiled, “I"ll be ri%ht back, or do you wanna help” !e waited. !e was
serious and winked at her.
Am I about to have se7 with this hun! right now? Birth control? But, I don’t have any.
4hit! &ouble shit!
“Ch, I can show you the way if you want me to, or hold the door closed for you.”
/hy not un%ip his pants for him, 8e%ebel!
!e knew he had scared her a bit. “&o, goumada, after I 1%o" you can show me the
stuff upstairs, or is that off limits”
!e stepped forward and could see how amber her eyes were, like a wild flame
he"d never seen before.
/hat did he (ust call me?
“;es, you can see whatever you"d like, mi casa, tu casa.- $he tried her best
$panish and %i%%led like a school'%irl.
“?h, hey, I don"t speak $panish, sorry.” !e turned his head and %i%%led to
himself softly. /hat an airhead 5 pretty airhead.
$he started up the stairs, but fro4e. $he was nervous about him scopin% her out
from behind, but she remembered all he could see were curves, nothin% else. 6fter all,
they weren"t even datin%. 6s she walked up the stairs, she could feel her ass on fire. the
stares were comin% in full throttle0 $he turned around to make sure her new “friend” was
Damn ri%ht he was okay, more than okay. !e smiled wickedly at her. $he cau%ht
him with a fi)ated eye %a4e on her crack.
“*here"s the restroom. I"ll wait ri%ht here for you, okay” $he went and stood
ne)t to a column post, arms at her side like a soldier %uardin% the 8ueen of <n%land.
“I"ll be ri%ht back, is there a li%ht up here, or we %onna do this in the dark 2 I
can"t see a damn thin%.”
&o what? Oh god!
“$ure, I"ll find it,” she hurried around kickin% at bo)es and nearly toppled over
some books to find the switch.
!e went into the restroom and she be%an to scan throu%h the room that she only
saw while runnin% to the restroom.
*here were treasures beyond belief in the musty upper room. ?ld poetry books
and bo)es upon bo)es of old literature stood dan%erously stacked in the middle of the
room. Aor someone who collected old novels this was heaven0 $he noticed a bo)
marked Various uthors. “Cm, bet there"s some %reat stuff in here.” $he bent over
sli%htly to look inside the dusty bo) and made mental note to %et some damp paper
towels for her hands. *here were oodles of old hard'backs, includin% one of her
favorites+ Mary 9ollstonecraft $helley"s Fran!enstein.
“?h my %od0 *his is mine now0” $he screamed and #umped up and down.
“9hat the hell did you find” :aulie stood in front of her and reali4ed he never
seen anyone this e)cited before about a damn old book. !e wanted to reach out to the
dit4, but he refrained. *imin% was everythin%.
“?h, :aulie, look0” Melva handed him the dusty, smelly book. 9ho knows how
lon% it had been in the stack of old bo)es.
“;ou like this stuff” !e scoped it out and recalled watchin% the movie when he
“9ell, don"t you It"s like the best, well, Dracula"s the best, but this is pretty
darn close.” $he thou%ht she"d better calm down, he mi%ht think she was cra4y.
“6re you %onna keep it”
“?oh, what do you think I mean it"s not e)actly mine, yet. Maybe 7omechick
will let me have it after I donate some money. I think she"ll let me.” $he decided to sit
on top of some sturdy bo)es, but remembered the towels she needed first. “I"ll be ri%ht
back okay.” $he sped away.
!e walked around and sniffed the air. it reminded him of an anti8ue store he"d
visited back home when he was youn%er. ;ou #ust knew the 1old smell" as soon as you
walked in. !is %randmother"s house smelled of that and espresso. !e missed his
famiglia back in Italy, maybe he"d %o back in the near future, and maybe take this broad
with him. !e %rinned.
“?kay I"m back,” Melva ad#usted her skirt and saw :aulie starin%, a%ain.
“$it. I %ot an idea.” !e wasn"t one to beat around the bush.
Melva sat down on the spot she vi%orously cleaned for herself, and cleaned another for
“I %otta know you wanna help me, or what, goumada” :aulie made sure his
voice was smooth as silk when he asked. !e also made it a point to touch her knee with
!is dreamy, delicious dark eyes mesmeri4ed Melva. $he held Fran!enstein
close to her chest, her breathin% raspy. she didn"t care what he wanted from her, but she
hoped it was nau%hty. !er amber eyes trailed his face and down to his #aw, then to his
neck where she could see his pulse ,she wished she were a she'vampire so she could
suck'suck him dry0-
“!ey what"s wron% with you” :aulie snapped his fin%er in her face.
$he wanted to kiss him, but she wondered if it was too wonton to do so, especially on
their first meetin%'date. If it were a full)blown date * then hec! yeah!
$he shook her head, “oh, I"m okay 5 uh, #ust a little hun%ry is all.” $he lied.
“$orry, goumada, didn"t even think of food,” he touched her soft face with his
hand, “so, what"s it %onna be, you %onna help me, or what”
“?h, yeah, sure thin% Mr.5uh, :aulie.” $he smiled sweetly.
Oh, shit, what is it I’m going to do for him?
“7isten, if you want se), well, I can"t say it"ll happen 2”
“;o, lady, hold on a minute 2 slow down, we"ll %et to that, but not ri%ht now.”
“?h, sorry, my bad,” Melva snorted.
:aulie couldn"t believe this was happenin% so fast. ;eah, he burned inside for
this %irl, but he wasn"t so sure he wanted to %et involved romantically #ust yet. !e knew
this one would want romance, especially after he saw how e)cited she %ot about the damn
book. !e fantasi4ed he could drape himself in book paper and let her do nau%hty thin%s
to him, but he had to make sure this Brinks %uy wasn"t %onna interfere. !e"d have to
take care of him first.
:aulie %ot up and paced the upper floor. “I need you to help me find out who
owns this buildin%. Is it this 7omechick woman”
“?h, I don"t think so, but wait 5 she mi%ht, her family owns half the town.”
“$o, who"d know” !e looked around and picked up an old novel by !erman
Melville. “Moby Dick, huh *his is about that whale and shit, huh” !e couldn"t
remember if in Italy he read that while in school. !e doubted it. he was too busy han%in%
out with Cncle Arankie, a capo for the $tallino4 famiglia. !e played a cugine, as lon% as
he was around his favorite uncle and learned all he could. &ow he would do thin%s for
himself, the boss 2 well. he"d deal with that matter later.
“;ou read the book, huh” Melva asked, ecstatic that her soon to be man was a
“&ah, I don"t think so. $o, you are %oin% home, or what” :aulie was tired of all
the books. it wasn"t what he had in mind. 9hat he really wanted to “do” was Melva
a%ainst the wall or on top of the bo)es.
Melva looked around uncomfortably and tried to keep the conversation up.
“Do you want to meet a%ain and talk about the buildin%”
“;eah, sure. *ell ya what, talk to that broad you work with about the buildin%
1cause I need to %et this rollin" soon, okay” /hat rolling?
I wonder what Brin!s is doing? 1oor baby of mine, I hope they li!e each other 5 what if
Brin!s hates him.
$paced out she finally answered him. “?kay, I"ll ask her, but what if she doesn"t
tell me anythin% I"ve only known her couple of days now and I"m not e)actly sure that
she cares for me, you know” $he nervously licked her full pink lips, which %ot him
“I"ll handle her if she %ives you any shit, abbastan%a bene”
“Ch, okay” $he didn"t know what that last part was, but took a %uess at its
meanin%. $he made a mental note to check out a book tomorrow on Italian phrases. $he
wanted up'to'speed lan%ua%e help with her newfound lover.
:aulie cleared his throat and shru%%ed his broad shoulders. “I"ll walk you to your
car, c"mon.” !e was about to reach for her small hand when she darted up the stairs.
1a%%esco donna, cra4y woman0
,&ove va? 9here are you %oin%” !e shook his head while he watched her run
up the stairs in her ti%ht pencil'skirt.
“I"ll be ri%ht back, #ust have to wash my hands 2 dirty,” she %i%%led and
continued to run up the stairs. Melva"s heart was racin% when she entered the restroom.
$he wanted so much to ask him over, but she knew that was not the ri%ht thin% to
do, she wanted to take it slower. 6nd when she %ot home, she would have Brinks smell
her cheek where :aulie had touched, so that he could %et his kitty'smell in, and %et used
to his scent.
“I look horrible0 &o wonder he wouldn"t kiss me.” $he sniffed her underarms.
“=ross.” $he did the best she could to tidy up and cursed herself for for%ettin% her purse
downstairs. “*his will have to do.” $he looked into the mirror and did a primp pose and
did her best 1Boey from Ariends" e)pression, “how you doin"” $he felt ridiculous.
“!ey, you come down soon” :aulie yelled up at her, impatiently.
$he swun% open the door and walked toward the stairs. $he swished her hair
around a bit, “sorry I took so lon% 5”
*otally i%norin% her efforts :aulie opened the lar%e doors of the library.
$he hurried and %rabbed her purse and keys to lock up. $he felt :aulie up a%ainst
her 5 very close he was, indeed. Oh my god, he feels so good.
:aulie noticed her tense up, a%ain. “Don"t worry. I"m not %onna rape ya. I #ust
want to feel ya before I %o, that"s all.” !e was direct.
Melva could feel his hot breath a%ainst her ear.
:aulie slid one hand up her thi%h, then pulled her ti%htly close, “;ou like”
“?h 5 uh, yeah 5” $he dropped her purse on the %round and had to bend over to
“Don"t do that, goumada, it"s not fair. I"ve still %ot my clothes on.” :aulie
smirked and he then let her %o.
Melva fumbled with her purse and keys, but mana%ed to %et the doors locked. I
need a cold shower.
:aulie did too.
!e walked her to her Mercedes and patted her on the butt. “*ake care, goumada.
I"ll see you tomorrow, don"t for%et me.” 9ith that, :aulie was %one.
$he fi%ured he must live some place nearby. $he slowly %ot into her car and
=erdy was rela)in% ne)t to a se)y plump youn% male. Brinks. Brinks purred and
loved the way =erdy stroked his fur this way and that. $ome felines would oppose this
awesome rub, but not Brinks. *his feline was in heaven with his tuna'smellin%
=erdy %lanced around Melva"s condo and noticed the entire movie collection was
cult classic movies with Bela 7u%osi, 7on Chaney or Christopher 7ee. “9hat a damn
dra%, Melva.” $he was irritated with the selection Melva had to watch. $he should have
brou%ht over her own collection of blood and %uts, the way movies were filmed
nowadays. %ory and stupid, in most some cases it was the latter. 6s she was about to
disturb the “se)y %uy” from his comfortable spot to %rab a movie, Melva"s home phone
“It"s your mother,” she si%hed as she reluctantly answered the phone.
“Melva"s whore house, how can I help you”
“=erdy0 9hat the hell 2 don"t answer like that. it could have been 6unt
Bertha, you know she"d have a cow,” Melva huffed, but then %athered herself and
thou%ht about the %reat news she had to share with =erdy about :aulie.
“$o 5 you do not want a whore toni%ht” =erdy %i%%led and winked at Brinks.
Aunt #erdy is so cool. I should !now I’m a cat. And I !now cool.
“7isten =erdy I"m on my way home. !ow"s my boy doin% Did you even
remember to feed the poor thin% Did you mess up the kitchen” $he noticed while
drivin% out of the parkin% lot :aulie was nowhere in si%ht.
“&ah, didn"t mess nothin% up, oh yeah, #ust the bedroom. I had my way with
Brinks. !e"s 8uite the lady"s man,” she lau%hed and opened the cupboard to see what
else she could eat.
“=erdy, I think he really likes me.”
“&o, :aulie.” !er insides started to tin%le. $he turned on her heated seats to
warm up “down there.”
“?h, %awd, tell me you did somethin% besides talk toni%ht. I didn"t watch this
wad of fur all ni%ht for nothin%. Did ya” $he opened a bo) of pop tarts and started in
on them, skippin% the toaster.
“6re you eatin%” $he winced at the thou%ht of the sure'to'be mess =erdy was
makin% a mess in her kitchen.
“&eeww, wheeff” $he mumbled, spreadin% crumbs all over the place.
“7iar. 6nd don"t feed Brinks any he hates them. I"ll see you soon.” 9ith that,
she hun% up and floored it home to clean up.
9hen she entered her condo all the li%hts were off e)cept the old Dictorian lamp,
6unt Bertha had sent her a while back, thinkin% it went with all the other Dictorian
furniture she"d sent her. It was important to 6unt Bertha that she have a comfortable
place to reside when visitin% her favorite ,only- niece.
6unt Bertha thou%ht she was <n%lish. $he had the accent down, althou%h it came
and went #ust like Madonna"s. Melva humored her and went alon% with the <n%lish
accented' conversations. 6unt Bertha"s last husband, 7eopold, was the <n%lish
%entleman, so Bertha fi%ured she would be the proper <n%lish wife from Alorida. Born
and raised there, but she thou%ht she could adopt a much more sophisticated ton%ue. $he
went to live with 7eopold and be%an her transformation, and she fooled everyone e)cept
=erdy. =erdy knew 6unt Bertha when she lived in Alorida, when the whole family
would visit out there on various holidays and towed =erdy alon% to keep Melva
=erdy and Brinks were snu%%led up with Bela 7u%osi on the tube claimin% his
“6w, this is so cute0” Melva went to the plush couch and held out her arms for
Brinks to #ump in. !e did not.
“!ey, %uess we do4ed off,” =erdy said. $he still had crumbs on her chin from the
pop tarts, and Brinks had leftover tuna on his whiskers.
“;ou both ate in here” Melva be%an to dust off the couch and coffee table with
“!ere, I"ll clean my own mess. *ell me about the date, I have ten minutes I can
spare. I need to %et to bed, remember I %ot a #ob to %o to in the wee hours.”
“=erdy, it was so spectacular, our chemistry, I mean,” she sat down and hu%%ed
Brinks, who then bit her on her fin%er and dashed out of the room, and headed toward his
“!e"s so sweet,” she i%nored her cat"s sour attitude, “okay, sit back and rela)
while I tell you everythin%.”
=erdy plopped down on the oversi4ed >ueen Dictoria chair, reached over and
%rabbed a handful candy from the martini'styled dish. $he spat.
“9hat the hell is this” $he screamed and nearly choked.
“?h, that 5 it"s Brinks snackums, #ust a little somethin% when he"s a %ood boy.
&ow, he doesn"t %et them all the time, mind you.” Melva tucked her le%s to her side, and
made herself comfortable on her couch.
“Melva are you freakin" cra4y ;ou #ust tried to poison me with this crap0” $he
ran to the sink and held her head under the faucet, and %ulped down water by the mouth
“Come on and sit down, I"m tryin% to talk to you. 6nyway, you should have seen
what he was wearin%. =irl, he looked %ood. I couldn"t concentrate at all, but we did %et
a chance to talk about books and stuff. ?h, wipe the sink after you"re done in there, you
know, water stains.”
“I knew it0 ;ou bored his fine ass off. 9ay to %o %oofy,” =erdy picked her teeth
for any last bits of cat treats still stuck in there. “$o, when are you sleepin% with him
Because I"m bored hearin% about your inconse8uential bedroom escapades that may
never even happen.”
“=erdy, I #ust met the %uy. 9hat am I a slut 2 $he held up her hand, “don"t
answer that. Bust because I slept with that cousin of yours, doesn"t make me 1easy."
Besides, I think he #ust wants me to help him with somethin% important,” she started
pickin% stray hairs off her sweater.
“7ike what” Bored, =erdy started to think of what she had in her fri% to eat.
Bored a%ain, “Melva, I told you that he was in the mob or somethin% correlated to that,
don"t make me say 1I told you so," okay Bust watch yourself. those kinds of %uys aren"t
easy to %et rid of, if you happen to chan%e your mind.”
“!ow do you know 6re you a pro at datin% mobsters =erdy, I really don"t
think he"s into anythin% ille%al. 6ctually, he #ust wants to buy the buildin% that I work in,
“;ou airhead, do you know honestly think he wants that old buildin% Boy,
you"d have to be blind not to see what he"s after. Call it woman"s intuition. you do have
that, ri%ht” =erdy shot her an arro%ant %lance.
Melva didn"t like where this conversation was headed. $he was not an airhead.
$he wasn"t blind to the man, even thou%h his powerful muscle and his %or%eous locks of
hair coated her thou%hts with lust, but she felt pretty confident that he wasn"t into
mobster stuff. 6nd even if he was, these days it"s not like 6l Capone. $he was sure she
didn"t need to be afraid of him, or his mysterious, stocky friend. $he really liked him and
she wouldn"t let =erdy scare her into not likin% him, she"d have to %ive him the benefit'
“=erdy, I don"t like you stereo'typin% him at all, you barely know him,” she
crossed her arms and stared across the room, really wishin% her friend would be more
“?h, okay, I"m not sorry thou%h. Bust be careful and call me, I can always borrow
a small hand%un from <arl.” =erdy looked at her and knew she scared her out of her
Melva shot up and %rabbed =erdy"s arm, “;ou"re out of here, now %o0” $he shot
her a smile and knew =erdy was pullin% her le% about the %un. $he hoped.
“&i%ht then, lock up behind me,” =erdy said feelin% the protective vibe.
“=oodni%ht, and thanks 6untie :ussycat for babysittin%,” Melva snorted loudly
out in the hallway. $he closed the door and headed down the spiral staircases that lead to
her library/office. $he felt the ur%e to send correspondence to her favorite 6untie Bertha.
9hen :aulie arrived at &onna"s, the smell of calamari still lin%ered, but he knew
damn well all of it was %one. =ino the pi% ate it all up in two seconds flat, no doubt. !e
walked into the parlor area of the old house and sure enou%h, there was the pi% laid out
comfortably on &onna"s recliner. !e went over and kicked it hard, “hey %otta talk, wake
=ino"s eyes blinked, “9ha ... the matter &onna”
“&o. 9ake up goombah.”
“!ey, yo :aulie, when did you come in” =ino sta%%ered off the chair, and
strai%htened his wrinkled slacks as if he were %oin% someplace.
“$it down,” :aulie kicked his leather shoes off and sat down on the couch.
“9hat"s wron%, man Date %o all ri%ht with the dit4” =ino sat down a%ain and
noticed :aulie"s stern look.
!e lit up a ci%arette. “9ent okay, I %uess 5 she"s hard to fi%ure out, but she"s
nervous as hell around me, don"t like that much.”
“Damn, :aulie, did you try stuff on her, or what. !uh” =ino sent :aulie a
“&ah, nothin" like that, compare. 9ant to play it low for now.”
=ino looked confused. :aulie could have his way with any female from here to
Italy if he wanted. 9as this dit4y broad takin% a hold on him that would make :aulie
think twice about usin% someone !e hated to think this woman “broke” :aulie"s streak.
*o him, Melva was not much to write home about, but then a%ain, some women #ust have
“it” in them and can take an e)traordinary man like :aulie and make him into a bi% %ob
“9anna talk about the plan you %ot for the books” !e offered.
“&ah, #ust one thin% 5 tomorrow we"ll head out to the library a%ain, and if we
have to we"ll talk to this 7omechick woman there, she"s the head tuna there, that"s what
my goumada says.” :aulie stretched out and put his hands in the back of his head, and
%ot very comfortable. !e thou%ht about Melva"s soft skin and of course, how her ass
looked in that ti%ht skirt. !e doubted he could hold out for much lon%er without takin%
her ri%ht there in the library. Maybe he"d find him a nice room in the back, secluded,
where he and his goumada could %et thin%s nicely done.
“;ou hear how you talkin", compare *alkin" as if she"s yours, you don"t know
her, and you want her involved like this I"m nervous :aulie, with all these damn
females involved. ;ou remember Bi% Bones is comin" ne)t week. we %ot lots to %et
s8uared away before our 1beef" %oes down about the situation with Castocci borgata.”
$ince neither =ino nor :aulie knew of $tallino4 leavin% &ew ;ork abruptly, they
#ust fi%ured the meetin%s were still takin% place when Bi% Bones came summonin% them
back to &ew ;ork. *hey had no idea that thin%s were about to chan%e for all involved.
=ino still felt in control over :aulie despite :aulie"s stron% actions to take thin%s into his
own hands, but he knew that his %ood friend would not make mistakes. !e"d watch
:aulie throu%hout the years from cugine to now, and knew :aulie had special 8ualities to
make a damn %ood boss some day, if it were in the cards for him.
“Don"t mess with me ri%ht now, =ino I know what I"m doin" and nothin%"s %oin%
to happen with the females, I can handle them, remember I"m :aulie'the'freakin"'%reat0”
!e %ot up and headed toward the kitchen. !e washed down some milk and headed for
bed. &onna was hidin% behind a door listenin% to the whole conversation, and when he
walked by to %et to his bedroom, she whacked him with her hand towel. “9hat the hell
,4anto $ielo!- &onna attempted to swat :aulie a%ain. Bust as she was about to
strike =ino took hold of his little nonna.
“&onna, please0 :aulie didn"t mean nothin" about any females bein% hurt. &onna
apparently didn"t take to the idea of her fellow'women citi4ens bein% involved in any of
the perilous events about to take place around Catswillow.
=ino took his nonna back to her peaceful sanctuary at the back of the old house
and then came back up front. “$he heard it all, man and she ain"t happy with me, and
you 5 well, she doesn"t like you very much anymore. :aulie, she"s %onna write to you
“9hat the hell for I swear I need my own place and 8uick,” :aulie hoped the old
bat wouldn"t write home to Italy, because the short, cute Italian woman there would
surely cut his balls off. !is mamma wouldn"t mess around. “$hit and I was %oin% home
after all this %ot s8uared away down here, now what *ell her not to write her, compare,
please. My hands and balls are tied, damn'it0 I"m %oin% to bed.”
=ino thou%ht it was pathetic that he and his friend were afraid of these women.
But, he knew the impressive power of the Italian women. =ino followed and went to bed
Castillo $tallino4, placed in the Chianti re%ion, within beautiful *uscany, tempted
most to steal a %lance, or better yet try to sneak a peek inside its massive walls. *he
muscular %uards that surrounded the $astillo intimidated tourists. *uscany"s infamous
Mafia 1Boss" was in residence this time of year.
Mr. $tallino4 had abandoned his &ew ;ork sky rise apartment for the time bein%.
!e had much to deal with, includin% the Castocci brogata, who were tryin% a complete
take'over of the entire or%ani4ation. *he word was they had a certain hi%h'rankin%
member helpin% them out. $tallino4 had a feelin% it was Carparillini.
!e wasn"t happy with thin%s in the small town where he"d sent his consigliere,
=ino, and he wanted to make certain he was in a place where he could concentrate on
thin%s and at the same time, he"d en#oy his true home.
6s the Boss was in a foul disposition, his administration felt the need to meet at
the *uscan $astillo.
*he Boss stroked his :ersian feline with his #eweled hand.
“9e have problems that need attention %entlemen, why haven"t those problems
been resolved” !e looked around the lion'clawed wooden table for answers.
“9ith all respect, Boss, I"d like to know where $onsigliere is and why hasn"t the
matter been looked into before now,” Carparillini, his underboss, demanded. !e was
irritated lately no one shared those decisions.
$tallino4 sat up strai%ht and placed his feline companion on the *uscan ru%.
“;ou my friend, need to find Arankie, capisce” !e %lared at his underboss.
Carparillini cleared his throat and spoke firmly. “!e is to be sent to Catswillow
within the day. I"ve made certain he will be on the plane. I will send his crew with him,
and does this please you, Boss” he asked this with a newfound air of arro%ance.
$tallino4 stood up and then placed his ci%ar in his mouth, headed toward the lar%e
window that looked out over his vineyard. “;ou speak to me as if you know e)actly
what needs to be done. 9hy not do it yourself” !e continued without e)pectin% an
answer. “Does Arankie have power &o, he does not ( what he has is one nephew that
%oes a%ainst the brogata, therefore must be dealt with swiftly. 6nd, the %irl, who
“$cusi Boss, she"s been taken care of 5 no trouble with her. =ino said she"s
:aulie"s goumada now, or soon to be. $he"s no threat 5” Carparillini stopped mid'
9ith one swift move, $tallino4 was standin% with his ci%ar on one member"s
hand. *he man yelped in pain as the others watch. no one dared ob#ect to this action.
*he =odfather could do as he wished. they were all %uests in his $astillo.
“;ou find me Arankie, :aulie and the %irl, and I want them brou%ht here ( =ino, I
will deal with later. My consigliere has much to answer for. 9hen you find Arankie,
%ive him the 1contract" out on his nephew, no one %oes about plans themselves, he will
learn the hard way. “'i lasci in pace! 7eave me alone0 &ow, %o.” !e sat down and
swiveled his leather chair around to face the window, with his feline companion once
a%ain on his lap.
?ne member looked over his charred, painful hand he was marked to do the #ob
his boss instructed him to do+ Aind Arankie. *his member knew e)actly where Arankie
<ach member, includin% capos and their soldiers kissed $tallino4" #eweled hand
as they left each proclaimin%, “=odfather.”
$tallino4 felt a presence within the room. *he room was lar%e enou%h for one to
%o unnoticed behind a massive piece of furniture, perhaps. But, his well'keyed instincts
let him to know when someone was there. “Carparllini, is that you” he asked without
turnin% to face the doorway.
“;es, my friend, it is I.” Carparllini sat down ne)t to $tallino4, no one else was in
the room, or so it seemed.
“9hat is it you need now, Carparllini” !e didn"t look at his underboss, #ust
stared out the window.
“My friend, it is time for a chan%e in the or%ani4ation,” he paused a minute
ponderin% how to put his ne)t step into words. !e thou%ht about actions 5 they do
present a more swift response than words would. “Aor%ive me =odfather, but your time
Aaster than $tallino4 could eat a bowl of pasta, his life was taken with a steal
blade. *he two men that held him down were hidin% behind tapestries. near the favorite
window of the one, they called 1=odfather."
$tallino4" favorite :ersian feline mana%ed to escape the whole murder. !er si)th
sense, kept her nine'lives intact for a while lon%er 5
%!ey, Bi% Bones you leavin% today” Arankie, capo, asked as he cracked his
knuckles at the blindfolded man sittin% in the middle of the floor, blood droolin% out of
his mouth. *his man was a @at, and @ats are whacked swiftly.
Bi% Bones had arrived in &ew ;ork a few days after receivin% the burn mark on
his hand and instructions to take care of thin%s in Catswillow. “;eah, capo, better %et it
done soon. =ot any words for your nephew” Bi% Bones stood there in the musty old
basement by the bloodied, dead man and kicked him with his pointed boots.
“*ell him not to screw this one up, or I won"t be there to help him anymore 2 oh,
don"t let on that I know about the chick. 9hen I %et there, I"ll take care of that problem.
=o.” !e %ave instructions in Italian to the two men hoverin% in the corner, and then
%rabbed a pack of ci%arettes from his sleeve and be%an to smoke. *he room was 8uiet
now, #ust as he liked it, which %ave him space to think about his ne)t move. !e knew all
he needed to know about his nephew"s escapades in order to make the decision to move
in, and take care of thin%s himself. :aulie was his favorite nephew, but the brugad was
Melva sat in her home library lookin% around the bookshelves tryin% to see if
anythin% was out of place, she knew =erdy had been in there, evidence by cracker
crumbs that were around where she kept some of her favorite old movies. $he also found
a Dove bar wrapper in the trashcan beside the half'moon shaped desk. *he decorated
trashcan was #ust for looks, not for trash. $he thou%ht that fact was obvious. In the back
of her mind :aulie popped in, naked, sprawled out on her bed. *he blankets covered
some of his muscular parts, but mostly revealin% his stron% thi%hs 5
“Meow0” Brinks came in as if a bat'out'of'hell with his tail puffed out like a
feather duster, eyes lar%e and round.
Melva stroked her pussycat, “9ant Mama to love on ya for a bit”
Brinks hissed and #umped down and knocked over a cat fi%urine that was on top of the
desk. “Boy, are you in a pissy mood0 =erdy must have really done somethin% to you to
piss you off.” $he walked around her 8uiet little library and tried to pick out a racy
romance novel she hadn"t read in a lon% time. $he had a plethora of vampire/werewolf
novels she adored readin%, especially $herrilyn 3enyon"s paperbacks. $he finally picked
one out, turned off the li%hts and headed up to her bedroom.
In her lu)urious bed with her furry'male at her ankles, mornin% was indeed her
favorite time of the day. here with Brinks, she couldn"t think of a happier place to be 5
9ell, #ust one other place 5
$he sat up and %rabbed her kitty, as he stru%%led to tear loose from the %rips of
Medusa, ,her hair was wild in the mornin%s- he flun% himself off the canopy bed and
onto the carpet. “;ou"re hun%ry aren"t ya 9ell, Mommy has to %et ready and 8uick.”
$he remembered 7omechick wouldn"t open the library today, somethin% about a farm
animal, or somethin% stupid like that.
$he padded to the bathroom to take a shower the overly snippy feline met her
there. Brinks nipped her ankle a few times and meowed an%rily. “?kay, cat, I"m
comin%, I"m comin%0”
Brinks circled around like a bu44ard, ran between her le%s, which made it even
tou%her to %et to the kitchen in a hurry. $he poured Brink"s favorite crunchies in his
bowl that read *he 3in%. 6s she headed back to the bathroom the phone ran% 5
“!ellooo0” !er aunt Bertha san% soundin% like Mrs. Doubtfire.
Melva winced. “!ello there, 6untie, where are you at my dear 6untie” $he 8uickly
adopted the pristine tone that amused her aunt.
“I"m on my way on holiday, dear child, come to see you. *his, I %ather, is all
ri%ht with you dear.” $he didn"t wait for the answer. “=ood, %ood. I shall have my
driver dash me to the airport 2 Melva dawlin%, you should see my plane, it"s fab 2 it"s
absolutely fabulous0” Bertha sensed somethin% 5 “Child, did your 1friend" come this
month Is this why you"re %rouchy”
“?h, no, 6untie, I"m fine, really I am. Bust runnin% late for work, not %ood you
know But, tell me when are you e)pected to arrive” $he needed some coffee and
“;es, yes, I"ll be there most likely in a day or two. must pop in on my %irlfriend
from 7ondon 2 oh, oh, do be a deary and %rab me some biscuits and tea from that local
bakery so that I have somethin% for my mornin%s out on the patio. *hank you, you are
such a doll, ta'ta dear. I"ll call you a%ain when I"m 4ippin% throu%h traffic.” Bertha
%i%%led e)citedly and then hun% up.
Brinks sat on the counter. after he made a pi% of himself with the “crunchies,”
,this cat knows %luttony-, and licked his paws and face. Melva thou%ht and then noticed
that Brinks was readin% her mind.
“?h what are you lookin% at” $he slumped down on the Dictorian couch.
M<'?90 !e complained a%ain.
$he sat there for a few minutes dread encapsulated her body. with 6unt Bertha"s
arrival, she really didn"t have that much time to spend with :aulie. $he had made bi%
plans in her mind. 7ike when would be the ri%ht time to ask him over. $he could cook
for him, well, orderin% out was more like it, but now that her aunt was comin%, and who
knows for how lon%, she wouldn"t be able to carry out her plan. “Damn.”
$he peeled herself off the couch and slowly walked into the kitchen. $he really
wanted to stay home with Brinks today. #ust for%et about the conversation and take a lon%
hot bath and piddle around, like Brinks does.
=erdy always said, “cats are %ood for three thin%s+ eatin%, crappin% and sleepin%.
Aor our amusement, they let us pet them, and don"t for%et the part about playin% #anitor
with the litter bo), oh yeah and food service 5 the list could %o on 5.” But, Melva
knew the most important thin% was companionship.
9hen she %ot into her bedroom, she noticed what time it was. $he had e)actly
forty'five minutes until she had to hi%h tail it outta there. $he picked out a lon%, strai%ht
chocolate'colored skirt and a %olden cashmere sweater that made her boobs stand out,
fi%urin% :aulie was comin% to the library and would like what he saw. $he %rabbed a
pair of pointed'toed kitten heels to wear with that outfit and #umped in the shower.
Before headin% to work, she popped in the small %ourmet shop on the s8uare, not
far from the library, to purchase Bertha"s re8uest for her visit.
6 contentious old man on the steps of the old library met Melva. !er stomach
ti%htened. she hated confrontations.
“=ood mornin%. !ow are you” $he tried to be polite.
Mr. Contentious didn"t say anythin%, #ust kept lookin% down at his watch.
Melva finally %ot the door opened, completely i%norin% the old %rouch. 0ow can
someone that old be in that much hurry? $he %lanced 8uickly toward 7omechick"s
windowed office and noticed how filthy it looked. ,&oes she ever clean?- $he winced
at the si%ht of candy wrappers all over the dra%on"s desk and thou%ht she"d better keep
that door closed today. $he heard a loud ban%.
“!ey lady, I"m in a hurry, #ust check me out.” 3ot so much is a ,hello- or a
,how are you? Or, even a !ic! in the ass. +ine, you’re in a hurry buddy, too bad!
“9ill this be all 2 9e have other sub#ects on this matter, if you want to check
some more out,” ... she was tryin% to be helpful and cheery.
“Did you not hear what I said,” the old fart %rumbled. “*his is all I want. ;ou
really should listen, instead of standin% there like a lon% skinny pole.” *he old man
placed his hands on his old bony hips and waited while he played around with his
dentures in his mouth.
!er day wasn"t startin% out very well. $he looked forward to callin% =erdy and
hopefully 7omechick"s farm animal wasn"t too ill, so she"d show up by noon. $he
wasn"t sure, when :aulie would show up, but fi%ured it was when he %ot %ood and ready.
9ith the %rouch %one, it was finally 8uiet and Melva decided to scan the library,
and tidy up a bit. $he noticed the children"s section in a complete turmoil, like usual.
Mrs. 7omechick seemed to be oblivious to the messes around the library. “$he"s
oblivious to everythin% it"s a wonder she even hears the phone rin%. I wonder if she"d
hear a bomb if one e)ploded.” Melva was depressin% herself. $he needed a pick'me'up
from =erdy, ri%ht now0 $he went to her desk and %rabbed her cell phone.
“Bava Bar,” =erdy yawned.
“9hy are you yawnin% It"s like only ten o"clock. !ello” $he didn"t hear
“9hat the hell do you want so early” =erdy"s head hurt.
“?uch0 *hat was rude, what"s wron%”
“?h, nothin%, I"ve #ust been here for four fri%%in" hours already.”
“$orry. =uess stayin% up late didn"t help either, huh”
“;ou don"t say 5 what"s up, Melva 6re you %ettin% ready for a break already
;ou may want to wait until <arl %ets back.” =erdy chuckled. $he was her ol" self a%ain.
“I do not think so. *hat man"s a pi%, honestly, he"s so rude and I don"t think he"s
like that to everyone, ri%ht 2 Don"t lie, =erdy0 !e hates me, and for what” $he didn"t
like <arl sin%lin% her out like that. it made it hard to han% out at the Bava Bar with =erdy.
<arl came walt4in% in hummin%, wearin% a t'shirt that read 17IA< I$ *??
$!?@* *o Cook Aor ;ou :eople."
“=erdy, you takin% an order, or are you talkin" to that whack #ob” <arl spoke
into the receiver so that Melva could hear him loud and clear. <arl and =erdy %i%%led.
“I"m not a whack #ob0 *hat was so uncalled for I"m never ever steppin% foot into
that nasty coffee place of yours. Do you hear me”
“?kay, calm down. !e"s #ust messin% around, Melva. 9here"s your sense of
humor Boy, you do need to %et laid 5”
“9ho"s %ettin% laid, that old prune” <arl yelled back from across the coffee
“9hat 9hat did he say, you better tell me, =erdy.” Melva fumed.
“&othin%, he"s #ust kiddin% around, really.” =erdy walked around the counter to
sit down. “9hen"s lover boy comin%”
“&ot sure,” Melva answered.
“6re you all ri%ht” $he knew she let <arl %et to her. It didn"t take much to do
“;eah, I"ll be okay %otta run, bye.” $he really didn"t %et the pick'me'up she
needed. 9ith 6unt Bertha on the way and no way in hell :aulie could come over and
have his way with her, she felt melancholy, a%ain.
6 few hours passed with the occasional pi8ued patron+ bitchin% about fines,
nothin% on the shelf to check out, or #ust simply in a bad mood. $he"d had enou%h, and to
top it all off 7omechick came char%in% in like a deran%ed animal. it was plain to see her
farm animal was in peril althou%h she didn"t elaborate on the situation when asked.
Melva was in the back section of the nonfiction section shelvin% and havin% a
%ood time strai%htenin% books when she heard the voice of an Italian %od. :aulie.
:aulie walked in lookin% like =ary =rant, but 7omechick was the one that %reeted
him, not Melva.
$he watched in horror as :aulie kissed 7omechick"s callused hand0
$he nearly fell face first as she sped from the back to the front desk, dod%in%
patrons to %et up there 8uickly.
?ut of breath, “hi :aulie,” she puffed. $he steadied herself with one hand on the
counter while she primped her hair with the other.
“!ello. If it"s all ri%ht I"d like to talk to your nice chief 7ibrarian in private.”
Oh ... 'y 5#awd! 0e cannot be serious! But he was.
Before she could say anythin%, they were in the windowed office chattin% away
like old friends. $he hated it. her %od was not for sharin%. $he had completely for%otten
that :aulie needed 7omechick"s information on the buildin%, captivated by :aulie powers
that made her a blubberin% idiot, which didn"t help matters.
6fter what seemed to be an eternity, :aulie came out of 7omechick"s office with
a triumphed smile on his %or%eous face.
“$o, all went well I presume” !er voice was a 8uivered with hurt.
“?h yeah, %ot the man"s number ri%ht here. ;ou know she was a bi% help, you"re
pretty lucky to work for her, no” :aulie was sincere, but badly mistaken.
“;ou are not serious, are you $he"s the one that hates me, since day one, which
was #ust this past week.” $he didn"t want to talk about 7omechick. the old %oat looked
like she"d been in an or%y and loved it.
“9hat"s wron%, goumada” :aulie sensed his %irl was perturbed.
$he inspected a book obviously dama%ed by the previous borrower. “?h,
nothin%, #ust that I wanted time to visit with you too before you left.”
“9here am I %oin%” :aulie was confused.
“Can you stay a bit and chat” !er amber eyes sparkled.
!e leaned back to see if 7omechick was busy in her office.
“;eah, I can stay 5 there"s that back room, is anyone in there” !e pointed to
the stora%e room tucked in the corner of the downstairs area. Books, D!$s, and DDDs
were stored in there for easy access.
$he dropped the old do%'chewed book.
*hey walked over to the room and she peeked in, it was a musty room, but room
enou%h to 1chat." $he was %iddy.
!e %rabbed her ass with both hands and be%an to kiss her neck. 6ll at the same
time kickin% the small door closed. !e hiked up her ti%ht skirt and felt his way up toward
her thi%h searchin% for the wetness her body was sure to have by now.
$he couldn"t believe how %ood he was with his hands and how 8uickly she was
aroused. =uess she must have felt the tin%les when he walked in the library0
$he didn"t know what to do with her hands so she ran them throu%h his dark thick hair.
!e moaned, and mumbled somethin% in Italian, which made her even hotter.
0e feels so good ...
!is hand found her bra and unsnapped the front closure. !er breasts sprun% out
like two happy youn% sisters %oin% to a carnival. !e licked one while coverin% the other
with his hand. !e sucked and sucked. Melva couldn"t wait any lon%er.
“:aulie, take me now0” $he spread her le%s farther apart. $he remembered the
dirty desk she was on, but then decided, “9ho the hell cares0”
“#oumada, I will.” :aulie %ruffly answered.
*hen a knock vibrated on the door 5
7omechick peeked into the tiny stora%e room, “I thou%ht I heard voices. Melva
are you in here” 7omechick could see :aulie ad#ustin% his belt and slickin% his hair
back and messin% with his collar. 6ll she saw of Melva was the top of her head from
behind the desk, which stood in the middle of the room.
“;es, yes Mrs. 7omechick I was #ust 5 uh 5 showin% :aulie our collection of
DDDs and so forth. !e wanted to donate a few thin%s.”
“2?kay, okay, enou%h e)plainin%, #ust %et back to the desk. :atrons are waitin%
to be check out and they are impatient today. 9ith that, she turned on her heel and was
$he smiled up at :aulie"s crouch, and then stood up with his help.
“I was for sure she"d catch us. ?h my %od, I cannot believe we were this close,”
she %estured with her fin%ers.
:aulie i%nored her overreactions to the whole thin% and #ust simply kissed her
“It"s okay, don"t you worry, goumada. &ow, I %otta run and you %otta %o do
whatever it is you do around here. !e kissed her passionately and walked out before her,
lookin% around to see if there was anyone else lurkin% about.
“$o Mr. :ala4ollo you want to rent out the top part of my old buildin% Is that
correct” 6 plump man with a brown polyester suit asked :aulie, who sat directly
opposite him, in a stuffy, ci%ar'smellin% office.
“;eah, that"s ri%ht. 6nd I can %et ya si) months" rent toni%ht 2 if we %ot a deal.”
*he plump shyster peered over his %lasses and then reached for a fresh sto%ie. !e offered
:aulie one, too. !e refused.
“9ell, bein% that you know my old cranky'assed sister'in'law, the librarian, I
think I"ll take your offer.” !e %rinned e)posin% a lar%e %ap that you could run a
“Can I ask you what you plan on doin% up there” *he shyster leaned back in his
“If I tell ya, I %otta kill ya,” :aulie chuckled, but was serious.
“6h, a stern business man, I respect that. =ood luck to you, but don"t screw me
with this rent, %ot it” !e pointed his sto%ie at :aulie.
:aulie %ot up and walked to the %lass door, “no, you don"t screw with me, that"s
how it really is. Arriverderci, figlio di puttana!
“9hat 9hat does that mean” *he shyster sat there dumbfounded. maybe he
should have asked 7omechick more 8uestions about this %uy.
It was late by the time :aulie reached &onna"s old house. he had a beer at a local
bar, and then decided he was hun%ry. !e could smell &onna"s home cookin% and scent
of ci%arettes in the air. !e saw a car in the driveway, which didn"t belon% to any one of
them, and then he remembered Bi% Bones was due in at any time.
“!ey, :aulie0” Bi% Bones stood up. he was a lot taller and stockier than =ino,
which put :aulie at a %ood three'inch disadvanta%e.
“9hat"s %oin% on, Bones 9here"s Cncle Arankie !e is comin" in soon” !e
pulled up an old chair from &onna"s retro avocado'%reen kitchen table and turned it
around, and sat down, arms leanin% over the back of the chair.
“&ope, no Arankie this time. !e sent a messa%e, but you know me and my mind
2 for%et thin%s from time to time,” he %rinned at :aulie.
“Don"t believe ya, so where the hell is he” :aulie"s temper was risin%, and it
didn"t help he still had a hard on for Melva from earlier today.
“Don"t %et cocky with me :aulie, you have no idea the shit you"re in for %oin" and
doin" stupid shit on your own.” Bi% Bones %lared at him.
:aulie %lanced at =ino, who was #ust sittin% there like Baba the !ut pickin% his
teeth. !e felt somethin% was up, but didn"t think =ino would rat him out.
“?h yeah, so what do ya know,” :aulie waited.
Bi% Bones i%nored :aulie, “I hear we %ot ourselves a problem here in
“*hat"s Catswillow, dumb'ass.” :aulie was in no mood.
“?h yeah, well I call is as I see it and it"s %ot a lotta pussy here,” Bi% Bones
lau%hed and nodded toward =ino, who was still pickin% his teeth.
“9hen are you leavin%” :aulie wanted this fat bastard %one. *he lack of news
about when he"d see his uncle made him even madder and was all he could think about,
well, e)cept his new bookstore and Melva of course.
“Mr. $tallino4, wants to know what deal you made, so I su%%est you %et back to
him and have that sit'down and %et thin%s out in the open, eh” Bi% Bones %rew tired of
the conversation and he had other matters to attend. !e left in a matter of minutes, but
not before =ino"s nonna stumbled into her kitchen from her ni%ht out playin% bin%o with
her friends. $he flew at =ino with her purse and cursed him.
:aulie was beat mentally and physically, se)ually frustrated, too.
*he week has passed eventfully for Melva. =erdy and she made up after the
whole fiasco with <arl. $he #ust didn"t %o into the Bava Bar, unless he was out of town.
:aulie started cleanin% up his rented space and it was ama4in% what he did in a
matter of weeks, and he had help, too. <a%er, pleasin% women helped men that looked
like they stepped out of the => ma%a4ines. :aulie trusted the men, who were part of the
or%ani4ation. :aulie knew all of them for many years. $ome of these men would stay
here in Catswillow to operate the bookstore, since :aulie seriously toyed with the idea of
%oin% back to Italy to see his Mamma.
*he women that came into use the library lin%ered lon%er than usual Melva
noticed. they #ust wanted %limpses of the %or%eous hunk runnin% up and down the stairs.
:aulie had a desi%ner come in and redesi%n the layout of the top floor, like put a door
where the stairs met the top attic. Melva would have to %o throu%h that door in order to
%o to her favorite place, the restroom. $he didn"t mind, she"d have that chance to steal a
kiss from him, if no one was lookin%, and if dra%on'lady 7omechick was not there.
Books came in from all over, but :aulie did take Melva"s advice and stocked
some old literature throu%hout the store. 6s soon as he showed a profit from the
bookstore, he"d use the clean money to channel throu%h to place a %amblin% #oint in
every other basement in $icily, #ust like he and Arankie talked about doin% for so lon%.
?n the last evenin% of perpetual cleanin% and storin% up in the loft area, he was
completely beat. !e hadn"t seen much of =ino, but then no one had. !e fi%ured =ino
went out and found him some slut to han% with and pass time since he had been so busy
with Melva and his enterprise.
!e noticed Melva by the circulation desk. she was bendin% over to %rab
somethin% off the floor, most likely lint. !e reached over and %rabbed her waist.
“Come over here with me 5” !e led her to the small dark area #ust under the
“9hat 5 are 5 you 5 doin%” $he was already breathin% heavily with his
stron% hands caressin% her. $he had on a looser skirt, which made his hands more free to
“Don"t move. 7et me do somethin% 5” he pulled one of Melva"s le%s and placed
it over his hip, and slowly sou%ht out his wet'pri4e that lay between her le%s.
!e noticed she had on a %arter belt, so she wasn"t wearin% the difficult pantyhose she
wore last time. !e loved these 5
!e started to feel his way up her crisp white collared shirt and be%an to unbutton a
few buttons to reveal Melva"s %olden tanned breast, he had no reservations about placin%
his mouth on her chest #ust then. !e tasted her with his ton%ue and %lided over her
nipple, he wanted to put the whole thin% in his mouth, and then the other.
Melva felt his Italian'rod a%ainst her, and she wanted him inside her at that very
moment 5 but then reali4ed they were still in the library0
“:aulie 5 stop, #ust for a minute, okay” $he tried to pull herself to%ether.
“9hat"s wron% I thou%ht you wanted this, was I wron%” !e arched a perfect
“?h, boy, uh, I have to check on Brinks 2” Before he could stop her, she was
headin% toward the circulation desk where she kept her cell phone.
“Brinks 9hat the hell for” !e pulled himself to%ether.
“It"s okay, really, I"ll %et =erdy to check on him and we can 2”
“Don"t bother goumada. I"ll catch ya later.” !e walked out of the library without
a second %lance.
“Damn0” $he stomped her new :rada heels on the carpeted floor.
6 few patrons were %awkin% at her and :aulie.
“9hat &ever seen a 7ibrarian 5 mad”
$he called =erdy, who was at home en#oyin% some bon'bons she purchased at the store
earlier. $he fi%ured no one was payin% attention to her fi%ure, so why should she.
Melva sniffed, “I really blew it, =erdy. !e walked out of here like I"d done
“9hat the hell did you do now 2 1cause I know damn well you did somethin%
to that Italian lover to piss him off. Did you try to clean him with the vacuum cleaner”
=erdy lau%hed, “or wait, wait, you asked him to wash his hands before he touched your
ass, or somethin% else 2 no doubt 2 ridiculous like that.”
“6re you 8uite done &o, nothin% like that, he"s pretty clean, actually. *hat"s
one of the thin%s I love about him 5 he smells wonderful 5”
“?kay, well, I %otta run, my bon'bons are meltin%, and this conversation so not
“9ould you do me a favor and check on Brinks, I can"t remember if I fed him
enou%h to last him throu%h supper. :lease” $he be%%ed. =erdy had a key to her condo,
so she knew that wouldn"t be an e)cuse.
“Aine, I"ll feed the furry prick 5 uh, prince, I mean.” =erdy clicked off her
phone. $he was relieved. her boy would %et supper and a nice visit from 6untie =erdy.
7omechick had made herself scarce #ust after ei%ht o"clock, so it was up to Melva
to %et the library in order for the ne)t day.
$he finished tidin% the library and still felt terrible about what happened earlier
with :aulie. !e really had her #uices flowin%. 6nd what would he do to her with that
ton%ue $he wanted to find out. $he #ust hoped she hadn"t blown it. “It"s as if
mentionin% Brinks set him off,” she wondered why. Maybe once he met him he"d
appreciate Brinks too.
$he was stru%%lin% with her purse when she heard a horn honk and turned to see
who it was, hopin% it was :aulie. It was 6unt Bertha. 6rrivin% a day too soon at that.
#ood grief woman, why today!
Bertha flew out of her black and silver stretch limo. Bust as she was set to arrive
on the library"s steps to %ive her niece a hu%, two thu%s came out of nowhere and %rabbed
them both. *he limo driver was hit over the head and dumped out onto the parkin% lot
:aulie was already near &onna"s house when the thu%s attacked Melva and
Bertha, so he had no idea of their perilous situation. 6ll he knew was that he felt se)ually
frustrated and tired of hearin% about Brinks. he would 1whack" him toni%ht. !e thou%ht
about it and decided to call Melva first, maybe she"d put somethin% se)y on for him that
would be nice. Better yet, he decided #ust to pop over une)pectedly, have his way with
her, but first 1whack" Brinks, and throw his ass out0 !e knew where her condo was since
him and =ino 1clocked" her a few times when they first met. !e"d head over there after
he %rabbed a beer.
Melva"s head hurt and she couldn"t feel her le%s. 9hat she did feel was
somethin% very heavy a%ainst her back. $he tried to move, but it was too painful. $he
tried to speak, but only her inner monolo%ue was present. $he blinked and tried to make
out where she was. 9here was 6unt Bertha $he turned her sore neck and saw her
aunt"s head bent down. Oh god, she’s dead! 8ust great, after I cleaned the place up and
had her special teas ready for her, she goes and dies on me.
Bertha moaned a bit.
“6untie, are you all ri%ht” $he moved her shoulders and then her fin%ers tryin%
to see if she could %et free from the ropes that were di%%in% into her flesh.
“?h 5 dear 5 I think I am a tad bit 5 thirsty,” she turned her head to see part of
Melva"s face. “?h, %ood it"s you. Be a dear and try to reach for my flask. it"s in my coat
“;ou want a drink now?”
Bertha nodded her head 1yes."
“Aor pete"s sake0 ?h, all ri%ht.” $he wi%%led a bit and mana%ed to turn her
whole body toward the left. $he reached as far as the rope would let her, and felt the
bindin% %rippin% her hand that she was usin% to di% around Bertha"s pocket. “I"ve %ot
it0” Bust then, the flask slipped out of her hand and hit the cement hard, revealin% the
owner"s name on the front+ 7eopold Aro%%enhall III.
“My 7eopold"s flask, Melva, look what you"ve done0” Bertha started whalin%.
“6untie, best be 8uiet now, because I"m not so sure our captors want you drunk.
It"s better this way. !onestly, do you really think li8uor is the answer” $he rolled her
eyes. ?nly the walls witnessed her irritation.
Bertha was livid. !er drink was %one, she was strapped like a horse to a stall, and
she needed to pee. $he tried to %o to a “happy place” without her flask contents ,it was
#ust a little vodka, no harm in that really-, but to no avail 5
“I"m wonderin% child, why is it that we are tied up !ave you any idea” Bertha
re%ained her proper'bred woman composure.
$he wondered now why men would do this to her and her aunt. $he never
thou%ht about :aulie once. $he #ust hoped =erdy would have sense enou%h to %o and
feed her cat.
Bertha snored. Melva nud%ed her.
“$orry dear, lon% fli%ht. I sure could use a spot of tea ri%ht about now,” Bertha
wi%%led a bit in her chair that she was constrained to.
“$orry 6untie, no tea time today,” she was hurtin% and started %ettin% a little
scared. Bust as she started to talk with her aunt three men walked in, armed with rifles
and one of them stood out considerably.
?ne man looked very familiar to her amber eyes. /hy, could it be 5 1aulie?
It was not :aulie.
“3on me ne importa un cavolo, I don"t %ive a damn0 Bust untie the broads, now0”
Arankie cursed and wasn"t happy havin% to leave his territory, and come to the small
town to clean up his nephew"s messes. In his opinion, Bi% Bones failed to carry out his
one task. Arankie thou%ht, “if you want somethin% done ri%ht, do it yourself.”
$he studied the handsome stran%er a bit. !e looked like :aulie and had some of
his mannerisms, but her man didn"t have a permanent scowl across his face.
“Melva dear, do not, and I repeat do not %ive out any information about us. ;ou
know, like where you live and that you have a wealthy auntie 5 oops.”
“6untie, do you really think I"m that stupid as to let them know everythin% about
me Bust sit ti%ht, no pun intended, and let me do all the talkin%.” *hey had no idea that
Arankie was standin% ne)t to her chair.
Bertha felt her niece tense up. “?h dear, he"s behind me isn"t he :lease sir,
she"s an old spinster, she has no husband and no children, well, if you count that silly
wad of fur she calls a cat, but don"t kill her0”
“!ey0 29ho said anythin% about killin% ?h %od, don"t kill me0 I"m too youn%
2 !ey, who you callin% spinster. I recall dear ol" 6untie you married 8uite old 2”
“Basta0 <nou%h already, you"re %ivin% me a damn headache0” Arankie felt the
side of his temple with one hand. the other hand rubbed his neck.
!e knelt down to talk to Melva face to face, “so, you"re the goumada, eh =uess
you"ll do,” he smirked as if he"d defiantly seen better. !e traced his fin%er down and
around her whole face, “%uess he could love you, but what about if I ruin this pretty face
of yours, what then” I don’t !now if I want to answer that. :araly4ed with fear, she
“9hat do you know goumada *ell me.” !e waited. !is dark eyes danced
around her face.
9ou, 'r. 4marty)pants are not nice. 0ope you don’t invite yourself over for
"han!sgiving supper either.
“My nephew made the mistake of %ettin% you involved with the famiglia
businesses, you know that” !e kissed her cheek.
It felt like a rat kissed her and she s8uirmed in her chair. “I know absolutely
nothin% about your nephew, only that he"s a %entleman, not an ass like you0” $he was
irritated and meant every word.
“?h dear, Bertha winced sinkin% deeper into her chair.
!e reached for his hand%un.
“!ave it your way, goumada. ;ou will talk, or you"ll never see your aunt alive
a%ain, %ot it” 9ith that, Arankie left the cold basement.
?ne tear left her e)hausted body. 1aulie where are you?
:aulie had his beer and %rabbed a piece of focacia bread that &onna had baked
and headed down the road in =ino"s car towards Melva"s condo.
=erdy looked at the time and noticed it was way past 1his royal hi%hnesses"
supper. he"d be ticked off for sure, “he"s a cat, of course he"s pissed,” she fumed to
herself slippin% on her moccasins she had purchased at a flea market some time a%o. 6nd
tossed on a worn out bathrobe for %ood measure, and headed out the door.
:aulie parked alon% side of the road to create the element of surprise for his
goumada, not that she knew what =ino drove, but he thou%ht it was clever enou%h. !e
recalled the %ara%e with the number ei%ht and headed up the public access stairs.
9alkin% down the hall, he reco%ni4ed the fri44y'haired woman in front of him 5
=erdy sensed someone behind her, but thou%ht nothin% of it. if he was a rapist
he"d better watch out, she was :M$in% and it was not a pretty si%ht0 $he turned on her
heel when she %ot to Melva"s door.
“!old it ri%ht there, buddy boy, I"ve %ot a %un,” she tapped her smelly robe
pocket. 6s soon as she said that, she reco%ni4ed him0 2It was lover boy0 0oly hell
what was he doing here?! $he smiled e)posin% some chocolate she had for%otten to lick
off her front teeth.
“!ey, is Melva home I wanted to see her for a minute.”
“Dude, she"s not here. I"m #ust here to check to see if Brinks ate is all. she"d have
my ass if I didn"t check on him, %otta have his damn tuna or else.” $he shook her head
with plenty of a%%ravated attitude as she opened the door to the condo.
!is 1<)cellency" met them at the door.
“;eah, I"d like to meet this Brinks, sounds like a real prick if you ask me.”
“9ell, there he is,” she pointed towards the fur'ball, “all in true furry'form,
wonderful si%ht isn"t he,” she reached down to pet the fur'ball who hissed at his auntie.
:aulie was dumbfounded, “6 freakin" cat” !e pointed at the cat, with the
attitude 1I"m better than you because I"m a feline." “*his is Brinks 6 frickin" cat” !e
put his hand over his mouth and lau%hed.
“9hat"s so funny” =erdy wanted in on the #oke.
“I was %onna 1whack" this little %uy, ain"t that a bitch” !e lau%hed a%ain whole'
*hey both had a %ood lau%h, at Brinks" e)pense of course.
augh some more I have claws people! Brinks was not humored one bit, 1but
then a%ain when do humans humor cats"
*he phone ran% when =erdy was placin% tuna down on the counter for Brinks.
supper had been late, so there was hell to pay.
“!ello, Melva"s house of whores,” she snorted and mouthed to :aulie, “she hates
when I do that.”
“:ut :aulie on, =erdy,” the voice at the other end demanded.
“9ho the hell is this” =erdy fumed, not reco%ni4in% the voice at the other end.
“&one of your damn business #ust do it0”
“Aine0” =erdy stomped toward :aulie where he was sittin%.
“It"s for you, can you believe that”
:aulie could believe anythin%. that"s #ust the way thin%s were for him with this
business and all. But, he didn"t e)pect this particular person to be at the other end of the
“4alve, my nephew.”
“!ey, Cncle Arankie, how did you %et this number” !e suspected Melva"s
phone and apartment to be tapped also. his mind was workin% overtime to be one'step
ahead of his uncle"s, this was one thin% Arankie tau%ht him as a youn% cugine. In his %ut
he had a bad feelin% somethin% was up, if his uncle had this number than most likely he
had this address. But, he didn"t want to %o and #ump to any conclusions, yet.
“9e need to talk, and I want you to know I"m very upset that I had to come all
this way to talk about this minchioneria, foolishness that you have %otten into. ;ou
know how the business works, and I"m afraid you"re in deep shit kid.”
“*o hell with it all0 I can do well on my own, capisce. I don"t need any of you
comin% in here to help me out with nothin%, you %ot that Cncle” !is hands were
sweatin% his neck ti%htenin%. !e was fed up with people tellin% him what to do like
some circus animal.
=erdy was nervous. $he could tell it was a heated telephone conversation. Boy,
are these Italians hotheaded or what. 0ey, I wonder how he !new who I was. I told
'elva not to get involved with the 'afia! 3ow I’ll have to save her ass from all this
crap. I wonder where she is, oh 5 my 5 gawd! *I bet he’s got her some place! !er
heart was racin%. she had a terrible feelin% he had Melva. $he looked down at Brinks,
who all the sudden looked like an innocent cherub in an <n%lish %arden. :oor thin%
didn"t know it, but he may have to live with 6untie =erdy if they didn"t find his mommy.
“I"ve %ot somethin% you may not want dama%ed. Brin% me the 1skim" and it"ll
stay 1off the record," I %uarantee your safety you"re famiglia after all. I"ll e)pect you
soon and don"t be stupid, :aulie.” Arankie didn"t wait for any ob#ections he #ust hun% up.
:aulie placed the phone down, but he didn"t feel defeated 2 far from it in fact.
!e would undoubtedly have to rescue Melva at all costs. !is emotions were rollin% in
many directions and he didn"t like it. 9hen he arrived in this small town, he had no idea
he would meet this %irl and her upside down life, but he knew he wanted to keep her #ust
where she was, in the center of his heart.
“I"ve %otta %o,” he headed toward the door, but first he kneeled down to stroke
Brinks, who was still as a statue for at least thirty minutes ri%ht by the door.
Brinks hissed and spat at him.
“!e likes you, can you tell” =erdy lau%hed nervously.
“*hanks for lettin% me in, see ya,” he pulled the door open.
“?h no ya don"t, I"m comin" with you0” $he placed Brinks on top of the
Dictorian couch, “%ood kitty, and stay.” =erdy had an a%enda.
“7ook lady 2” :aulie tried to ob#ect. =erdy bulldo4ed her way out the door
“6re you comin" Close the door, oh here lock it up,” she handed him the keys to
lock up and all the while he stared at her as if she were cra4y.
“1a%%esco donna0 Cra4y woman. Aine. ;ou really %ot a piece on ya” *hinkin%
“:iece 2 ?h, a %un ;eah hold up.” $he ran to her condo, raced in, ditched her
robe, retrieved <arl"s %un he had lent her and locked her place up. “?keedokie, ready or
not here comes =erdy, ready for action.”
“;ou"re braver than I thou%ht carryin% that piece of shit around,” he looked at the
%un and he lau%hed, “%uess it"ll work.”
*hey headed down the street and onto the main street where Arankie said he was
“I"m famished indeed0” Bertha fanned herself with the hanky she had stowed
away in her other pocket.
Arankie had freed up their hands since they bitched about it for hours now, this
was the very reason he never married+ Broads and their damn issues.
“7ady, one more word about food and we"ll make sure you never eat throu%h that
fat lip of yours, capisce” Bi% Bones barked.
“9ell, I never0” Bertha ob#ected.
“9ell, maybe that"s your damn problem lady 2 try %ettin% screwed once and a
Arankie tapped Bi% Bones on his meaty shoulder, “enou%h %o and do somethin%
else. I"m tired of seein% your u%ly face.
“?kay, boss.” Bi% Bones looked once back at Bertha and wished he could knock
her around few times on her prissy ass.
Arankie turned to Melva who was lookin% a little pinkish. she hadn"t eaten in a
while and was starvin%.
“My nephew has no idea what I have planned for him and you,” he lau%hed
Bertha wanted her flask. It had mysteriously vanished from the area where it had
fallen earlier. “Can I have my flask back, sir It"s a family heirloom, and I want it back
“9ould you like me to call Bi% Bones back and have him keep you company”
“I don"t believe I want that at this time, but thanks for askin%.” $he replied
s8uirmin% in her chair.
“;ou"re a smart'ass and I"m %ettin% pretty tired of it,” he started to pace back and
forth. If Bertha could do one thin%, it was to piss people off, especially men.
Melva reached her hand out to him, “please, she doesn"t know the affect she has
on people, if you"d #ust let her have her vodka she"ll shut up, I promise.” $he felt
horrible and thirsty, and wished it were the weekend so she could spend time with Brinks,
she missed him and hoped =erdy was tendin% to his every whim. :aulie, on the other
hand, she really didn"t know what to think 5 she %uessed she missed him, she didn"t
know any more, with his family actin% in this terrible manner. !er mind was spinnin% in
all sorts of directions, she #ust didn"t know anymore. $he didn"t understand it one bit.
$he heard Arankie talkin% to someone perhaps it was :aulie. $he really wished
she knew. $he had always pictured him on his white stallion comin% to save her from the
evil wraths of 7omechick, but this was a tad bit different. 7omechick would be pissed if
she didn"t show up for work on time, her first few weeks had been hell and she was tired.
$he wanted a vacation. $he dreamt of white sandy beaches, a Cosmopolitan and sittin%
with her 9a)9a sisterhood)4e7 in the city girl friend #erdy gabbing about men 5
“Do we #ust kick the door open or what” =erdy had an awesome adrenaline
rush+ %un in her pocket, cute %uy by her side. 9ell, he wasn"t up for %rabs, but she
thou%ht he still was pretty cool to have around.
“;ou"re %ettin% a kick out of this, aren"t ya” !e kind of liked havin% =erdy as a
sidekick, while he waited for =ino to %et off his ass, and took his time about meetin%
them there. !e called =ino on his way over and told him everythin% that was about to %o
down. =ino had to be% his nonna for the keys to her Impala so he could meet up with
them. this didn"t make him happy at all.
“I"ll look like a freakin" old lady, compare,” he %riped.
“&o one"s %onna see ya. Bust hurry it up, %ot a chick for a back'up.”
“*he hot %irl with the fri44y hair, am I ri%ht” In =ino"s mind, =erdy was
1doable." !e knew the lowdown about Arankie kidnappin% Melva and didn"t want
:aulie"s goumada to %et hurt. after all, she was an innocent bystander in all this.
“;eah, so hurry it up0” !e clicked the cell phone off.
=ino arrived shortly after they did. !e was sweatin% profusely, and chewin% %um.
“9hat"s the matter with you” !e noticed a soakin% wet =ino off the bat. !is
baby blue polyester suit was soaked in sweat.
“&onna"s car is freakin" hot, no damn air condition0”
=erdy started wavin% her %un about, “so, when we %oin% in” *he %un made her
=ino looked at =erdy, “you %onna use that thin% Do you even know how” he
“;eah, I had lessons 2 what of it” $he did not lie.
“!ey, shut the hell up you two I hear someone comin%,” :aulie placed his body
firmly a%ainst the cold brick wall of the old buildin%, he instructed his counterparts to do
*hey spotted two men that were dressed in black trench coats. they headed toward
a black BM9 and took off. *hat meant only Arankie and Bi% Bones were left inside.
:aulie knew they could take them both, three a%ainst two. 9ell, maybe Melva had some
hi%h heels on that could pierce an eye out or somethin%. If he knew anythin% about this
%irl ( this would be it.
Bi% Bones was sittin% le%s stretched out en#oyin% a ci%ar while shufflin% some
cards in his hand when Arankie walked in.
“;ou really %onna do somethin% here, Arankie If you want me to, I"ll take care
of your nephew for you. Didn"t know if you had the stomach to take care of that, ya
know bein% famiglia and all but, let me have the youn% broad ( I hate that one.” Bi%
Bones chuckled and inhaled his ci%ar.
“3nowin% my nephew, he"ll think with his dick instead of his head, so we %ot no
problems. ;ou"ll take care of who I tell you to take care of, so don"t ask me anymore,
#ust smoke your damn ci%ar. I %ot thin%s to think throu%h.” !e sat down across from Bi%
Bones, took out his pack of smokes, and lit one up. !e sat back and rela)ed a bit. !e
thou%ht about how he was the Bi% <arner for the Aamily, not :aulie. :aulie was
supposed to follow orders, not %ive them, and not %o a%ainst the Omerta. !e didn"t know
what he told this woman. !e had learned about the broad, she and her friend =erdy, and
somethin% %oin% on at the library. !e knew one thin%. the bookstore upstairs was rakin%
in some bi% bucks 2 this would be his now, that"s all there was to it. !is men did a %ood
#ob locatin% and bu%%in% the areas since day one when =ino and :aulie arrived. !e #ust
didn"t trust either of them, even thou%h =ino was supposed to make sure thin%s didn"t %et
out of hand with :aulie. =ino would have to pay his price too, for not followin% the
rules. Mr. $tallino4 made that clear to him when words leaked out, and that :aulie would
soon betray them all.
&on'one knew that $tallino4 was no more 5
“Melva, darlin% who do these men want 6nd why are they so hostile” Bertha
was oblivious a “Mafia thin%” was %oin% on in front of her.
“6untie, don"t you see who they are Dark, tall and handsome ( well ( e)cept for
that blob of a man, that doesn"t like us. but that"s beside the point. Don"t you notice the
suits 2 the lan%ua%e for %od"s sake” $he was tired of bein% tied up at the ankles. she
wanted to stretch out her feet, hu%%ed in a pair of black and white leopard'printed
Manolo Blahnik heels, which were a %ift last year, from Bertha of course. $he recalled
when she %ot the lar%e bo) full of desi%ner skirts, dresses and shoes. *he card read+ Aor
the wild min) in you0 $he %rinned at the memory.
!er aunt interrupted her thou%hts, “that friend of yours is #ust not a %ood
influence on you, Melva dear. It"s a %reat concern to me that you would associate
yourself with this =erdy throu%h all these years. !aven"t you %ot any respectable
friends” Bertha sat with her hands on her lap, flask cradle like a small babe. $omethin%
always bothered her about =erdy ... she couldn"t put her fin%er on it ...
“I do have friends, and =erdy"s not the problem. $he pouted, “wait till you meet
:aulie, you"ll #ust love him,” she said sarcastically knowin% Bertha may have a problem
with him at first si%ht. he did look #ust like their captor.
“?h, I think I understand. you"re friends with this :aulie that this thu% wants to
“6untie, I"m not so sure they will #ust 1talk" okay $o, my advice to you is to
keep your eyes and ears open, try not to make the bi% %uy mad, or :aulie"s uncle. I have
this distinct feelin% that he"ll come and save us. 6t least I"m hopin% he cares enou%h to
do so 5 but maybe he #ust cares about that bookstore and nothin% of me. ?h 6untie
what am I to do if I was #ust bein% used by that hunk of a man” 9as all of this for
nothin% ( the pursuin% ( the lust fest they had had in the corners of the library In every
passin% minute she %rew resentful towards the man, she called her future husband in her
thou%hts. $ince that day he walt4ed in, she knew he was the one for her. $he didn"t care
about back%rounds like =erdy did. she cared about true feelin%s. !e made her feel
important. 6nd he didn"t hold it a%ainst her that she had little 8uirks here and there ( and
the odd clin%in%'love she had for Brinks. 9as he a lie that #ust was passin% throu%h her
life, and for what reason
“I sure could use a spot of tea. It"s way passed the evenin% hour, I feel it in my
bones, child. *hat man ( if he would only have the decency to %et me that cup of tea (
I"d for%et the whole thin% and not summon the police when we are freed from this
%odforsaken dun%eon.” Bertha promised.
$he patted her aunt"s clammy hands, “I know 6untie, I know.”
Bust at that moment, :aulie burst opened the door. !e saw the two bound in their
chairs, strapped by the ankles.
0e came! 0e came! I am in love!
:aulie %ave them a hand motioned to stay 8uiet. !e %lided his way toward Melva
to untie her and maneuver her and her aunt out of the buildin%. !e didn"t want his
goumada in the middle of any of this. she"d had enou%h. !e %uessed her aunt was
shittin" bricks by now, poor woman.
!e smiled at Bertha and nodded his head at her. 6ll Bertha did was make a
“huff” sound. !e interrupted her attitude as discontentment for the all sufferin% that she
had #ust been throu%h because of him. !e couldn"t blame her for hatin% him, but perhaps
she"d accept him nonetheless ( after she would %et to know him better.
!e knelt down when he %ot to Melva"s chair. $he could have sworn he was about
to pop “the 8uestion,” but he didn"t. he did untie her thou%h. Ainally, she could stretch
out like Brinks. Before :aulie let her %o, he placed his fin%ers on one le% and traced her
calf, and %i%%led at the si%ht of the lethal pair of shoes she was wearin%. !e loved her
Before he knew it she shot out of her chair and threw herself at him, “I knew
you"d come ( didn"t I tell you 6untie0”
“!ey goumada, let me %et you and your aunt outta here, fast.”
Melva searched his face for answers.
“9hat"s wron%, :aulie” $he wanted so much to be with him, not run away.
“&ot now, goumada, #ust listen to me, okay ;ou and your aunt are %onna leave,
but I promise when this ni%ht is done you and me ( some place hot and romantic ( %ot
!e winked at her ( an irresistible wink ( which melted her insides. $he nodded. as in a
trace that took over her entire body.
!e untied his future aunt and looked her over #ust to see what was in store for him
when Melva reached that a%e.
“9ell, I suppose 1thank you"s" are in order. Is this what you"re e)pectin%”
Bertha asked :aulie, spitefully.
Melva %rabbed her aunt"s chubby hand, “&ot now 6untie 1cause these bi% bad
men are about to fi%ht and we don"t want to see all that, ri%ht 2 ?r, would you rather I
leave you here with :aulie” $he winked at him. $he was clever. he"d %ive her that.
:aulie sent Melva and Bertha around the other side door and instructed them what
route to take back to her place, and to wait for his phone call. !e instructed her to pack a
suitcase 2 and the cat0 !e didn"t want her to be disappointed in him. !e was after all
her Italian kni%ht in shiny armor a newfound role that he liked. !e would keep her safe
no matter what the conse8uences were for him ( and there would be ( no doubt about it.
$he was so beautiful and when all this was over, he"d take her far away from all
this, maybe soon he"d %et the %uts to have her meet his mamma 2 that was a scary
thou%ht. I hope 'amma li!es s!inny golden)redheads. I sure do! !e thou%ht.
=ino came from around the corner and summoned :aulie back out the doorway.
“Aound 1em, they"re in the back room towards the rear entryway, we %ot 1em, so
now whatcha %onna do, :aulie ;ou know my ass is on the line because of the broad
you love so much. 9hat of &onna and me” !e was as %ood as dead, they both knew
that, but :aulie didn"t want that outcome for either one of them.
:aulie knew of Arankie"s well'kept secrets and his shady dealin%s here and in
Italy and some throu%hout <urope. !e was a very %ood businessman. If he wanted all of
this to be over ( and have somethin% to show for it (, he"d have to kill his uncle. !e
knew contacts that Arankie had at these locations. 6ll he"d have to do is make thin%s
le%itimate with each one, pay them off a %ood sum for their silence, and find a nice place
to live life out comfortably without any interferences. !e planned to have a family of his
own one'day. *his family would be with Melva and her pa%%esco, cra4y aunt.
$ompare, don"t worry about &onna, or yourself. I %ot us covered. *rust me.”
9ith that, he placed his hand on =ino"s back to comfort his close friend and nodded his
head to continue.
6 few minutes later, =ino went back toward the restroom only to find =erdy
standin% over Bi% Bones in the hallway.
“=ood #ob, comare. !ow did ya do it”
“I came in here I saw the door open, I stuck my le% out and tripped him, as he fell
I thumped him on the head with this here %un :aulie didn"t seem to think I could use.
$ee, told ya I knew how to use the damn thin%.”
*hey lau%hed. 6nd a spark between them flickered within each of them. *hey
went to find :aulie, who was now on his way to confront his uncle.
“!ey, %ood #ob,” he looked down at Bi% Bones" body, “he"ll be out for a while,
but he"ll be no threat to me after toni%ht.”
“9here are Melva and her aunt” =erdy asked, worried about her friend.
“*hey are headin% back to her apartment. I want you both to pack up somethin%
fast, we are all leavin% when I"m done here, okay 2 so %o0”
=ino went over to pat his friend on the back, “#oombah, I"m thankin% you ri%ht
now for what you did for me and &onna. 9anna know somethin% I think this broad
likes me too. *hey both chuckled.
“Man, don"t %et your hopes too hi%h on her. she looks too tou%h for ya 5 %et
movin". I"ll call ya later. ?h, %et your nonna outta town for a while, too. =o.”
!e strolled into the dark smoky room Arankie was in and nonchalantly sat down.
“$o, you had the coglione’s to come and kill me, eh” Arankie went over to stand
face to face with his nephew.
“Does it come to that, Cncle” !e knew it deep down in his %uts it was now, or
never. !e didn"t think of anythin% but Melva at that moment 5
Arankie could feel the hatred runnin% throu%h :aulie. “If you think my associates
will tell you everythin%, then you"re a dumb ass.”
“;ou let me worry about that.” !e popped his neck and shru%%ed his shoulders,
and then popped his #aw.
“I tau%ht you better than this, ceffo. ;ou"ll never %et away with any of this shit
you planned out, because you"re nothin" but wet behind the ears, &ephew. ;ou know
nothin" of this kind of business. 6s soon as Arankie said the words, he knew they weren"t
true, look at what he"d done with the bookstore ( and in a library, at that.
9ith one stroke, :aulie pulled out his %un and shot his uncle dead.
!e wiped his brow, and then knelt down where Arankie"s lifeless body laid. !e felt
around in his pockets and took out his pack of smokes.
6fter he %rieved for a minute, he called =ino and planted a plan to %et the %irls
out of town. &ot sure what Melva"s rich aunt would do, surely she"d be terrified to say
the least 5 he"d have to make sure all were safe and out of harm"s way. &ot knowin%
that $tallino4 was dead, he could not anticipate the reaction to Arankie"s death. :aulie
knew one thin% for sure 5 he was %oin% back home to see Mamma. Italy. !e needed a
lon% vacation before he started makin% plans for the business side of thin%s and personal
decisions with Melva.
6nd he"d have to %et use to a fur ball. !e never considered himself a cat person,
but for Melva he"d do anything ( and that 1anythin%" would include kissin% that cat"s ass,
Melva rushed into her condo after tellin% =erdy and =ino she"d need time to tidy
up a bit before the rende4vous with :aulie. $he was so nervous to be on her way to spend
more time with her Italian hunk, not to mention meetin% his mother. =ood %od, hope she
was ready for a specimen like her. $he didn"t know s8uat about this little Italian woman,
but from what the clichH"s were in all the movies, there would bound to be some friction
upon their meetin%. !owever, she was too e)cited to think about all that ri%ht now. $he
had to %et herself and her furry wide'butt feline ready to tote around the %lobe.
*he phone ran%. It was =erdy.
“&ow don"t %et you panties in a wad, but you really shouldn"t want to clean ri%ht
now.” $he and =ino panicked when Melva mentioned 1tidyin% up a bit" before she left
with :aulie. “7isten, we are about to be killed and you want to clean your damn place
up, for what %irl 9hoever"s out there will not care if your stove"s spotless, they"ll #ust
ransack the place and then shoot a bullet in you and your precious Brinks0” $he was
fumin% and a little scared as it dawned on her that yes, this could really happen. Melva
wouldn"t be able to handle anythin%'horrible happenin% to her precious Brinks. $hit0
“?h, =erdy, you"re #ust tryin% to hurry me up.”
=erdy wondered if she was in shock or #ust out of touch with reality.
“Besides, 6untie Bertha needs to lay down a bit, and I"ve %iven her some tea to
help her rela). $he"s been throu%h an ordeal and I must say she"s not use to this, =erdy.”
“Melva are you retarded or somethin%” $he resorted to raisin% her voice. “;ou.
&eed. *o. =et. ?ut. ?f. *own. &ow. Do you understand me :aulie"s waitin%0”
“?h, very well =erdy, I"ll skip the vacuumin%, is that okay with you”
“$o, hurry up and %et that cat, Bertha, and yourself ready to %o. Aor all we know
this comple) may not even be standin% when and if we ever come back.”
“=erdy, :aulie"s %oin% to take care of everythin%, you"ll see. $o, what are your
plans, because if you stay here, I"ll worry all the time and won"t be able to en#oy myself
in whatever part of country I end up. Brinks too, he"ll miss his auntie,” she %i%%led
nervously. $he was terrified. $he knew her aunt would be on her private plane to
7ondon. But what of =erdy
“*o tell you the truth, Melva, I need to stay around here. I have the coffee shop to
help with, I #ust can"t leave, you know. Maybe =ino has an idea, or :aulie knows where
I can stay to be safe for a while. !onestly, I"m not that afraid 2 you should have seen
me with that %un. =irl, I was smokin"0” $he snorted proudly. $he had plans already.
“I really don"t think you should stay around here 5 maybe you could take a leave
of absence, would your terrible boss %o for that Melva answered her own 8uestion.
“@eally, he doesn"t need to know everythin% that"s happenin% in your life, what is he
“I dunno, maybe <arl can lend me his back room for a while, I"m not as pickin%
as some as to where I live.” $he wanted Melva to know that she"d be able to take care of
Melva reali4ed that she mi%ht never see her best friend a%ain, “=erdy” $he
sniffled into the phone, “$ay you"ll be careful and call me all the time, please”
“?kay, %oofy, don"t %et all mushy on me” 5 there was a silence between them,
“#ust hurry up and %et ready, we"ll talk before you leave, #ust come by on your way out,
okay” =erdy hun% up the phone 8uickly. $he headed over to her bedroom, reached into
her ni%htstand, %rabbed two lar%e !ershey bars, and wolfed them down comforted by the
Melva helped her frantic aunt pack up five suitcases.
“My dear, I really ur%e you to think about what you are doin% with this character,
:aulie. I am nervous, I tell you. I know he"s %or%eous, but honestly, looks aren"t
everythin%. I know you think he"s %rand and perfect for you, but what if he turns on you
5 and I never see my only niece a%ain. 9hat of that” *errified she broke down. !er
make'up ran down her face makin% her look like a deran%ed raccoon.
“&ow, now,” Melva patted her aunt"s hand and sat her down as Brinks looked at
both of them as if they were the most borin% of creatures. !e wanted food, not two
women cryin%. “$it down by Brinks 5 see, he"ll comfort you, #ust stroke his fur ( it"s a
%reat de'stressor, I promise.” Brinks bared his teeth at both annoyin% humans, #umped
down, and sashayed toward the kitchen.
$he sat down ne)t to her aunt. “6untie, after all that"s happened, I"m sure :aulie
didn"t save me, only to invite me to %o away with him, #ust to murder me, ri%ht”
“9ell, it does seem that he does care for you, but I"m #ust so nervous. :lease
keep in touch with me and if you need anythin% at all, to %et away from him ( if he"s not
up to par, of course ( then, please telephone me in 7ondon and I"ll do whatever humanly
possible to %et you away from him.” $he 8uickly reminded her niece of the funds
available for her at all times re%ardless of any circumstances, “;ou can have whatever
you need, I"m only a phone call away 5 now, how about a spot of tea before I leave”
Bertha smiled and took a deep breath, she was tired and not use to all the e)citement of
the youn%er folks. $he lon%ed to be in her own house, en#oyin% crumpets on her balcony.
6fter their tea and talk, she called her aunt a limo to 4ip her to the airport. *he
8uicker Bertha landed in 7ondon, the better. $he went on sortin% throu%h her outfits to
take with her and nearly for%ot that she had a #ob, and what of the library
“?h crap0” $he turned to her furry, and most of the time, %rouchy roommate,
“Brinks you know what I totally for%ot” !e i%nored her. “7omechick 2 what the hell
do I tell her, huh” $he contemplated callin% =erdy for advice, but 8uickly threw that
thou%ht away. “*hink, think,” she mimicked 9innie the :ooh, one fin%er tappin% the
side of her head.
6 li%ht bulb went off in her head.
“I"ll tell her I"ve %ot an incurable disease and have to %o live with my aunt in
7ondon 5 or, I have to %o take care of a sick relative indefinitely 2 yeah, that"s it0” $he
flun% clothes across the bed and ran to the kitchen to call 7omechick, but noticed it was
%oin% on midni%ht ( she had no choice but to phone 7omechick at home. =od help her.
“9ho the hell"s callin% at this hour !ello” Mr. 7omechick was not happy.
“!ello, pleasant evenin%, may I speak to Mrs. 7omechick ( #ust for a brief
second, please,” she asked politely.
“9ho the hell are you, and do you know what hour it is lady0”
“;es, sir, but I need to speak to her, it"s very ur%ent. I work for her at the library
2 #ust for a second, then I"ll let you all sleep.
“9hy thank you, we wouldn"t want to sleep peacefully until you said so 5” his
voice trailed off as he cursed the very day she was born.
Mrs. 7omechick was #ust as pissed.
“Melva,” she already knew the din%bat was on the other line, “9hy in %od"s name
have you called me this late, or do I really want to know” $he si%ned heavily. $ilence
“I"m terribly sorry for this phone call, but I wanted to let you know I don"t think
I"ll be able to be at work tomorrow or any days after that 5see, I have 2”
7omechick didn"t want to hear any more e)cuses. $he was very sleepy and #ust
didn"t care one way or another if Melva fell off the face of the earth. “Aine. I"ll replace
you in the mornin%.” 9ith that, it was all over, no more seein% 7omechick"s stern,
Melva slowly hun% up the phone, her eyes swelled with tears insulted that
7omechick dismissed her so easily. $he turned to the feline, who was perched on the
back of her vanity chair. “9ell, Brinks, I %uess that"s it then, huh”
*he feline blinked once and then proceeded to lick his paw+ 6ll was “ri%ht” in his
fat cat, kitty'world.
&ews of $tallino4 traveled fast. 6fter wakin% up alone in the dark hallway, with
sore bones from the fall, Bi% Bones hi%h'tailed it out of town and =ino didn"t know
where the thu% went and he honestly didn"t care at the moment. 9ith &onna throwin% a
hissy fit about leavin% her nice, humble house, while hearin% about the Castocci famiglia
8uickly takin% over, he was e)hausted. !e decided to %et &onna s8uared away at a secret
location until the dust died down a bit. he told :aulie to %o have fun with his goumada in
Italy. he doubted very much that anyone would mess with :aulie, after news of him
killin% off his uncle, a capo, %ot out.
*he only thin% :aulie and =ino knew was that news of the new don of the
Castocci famiglia was+ Do not screw with this person, in any way shape or form. &ow,
the news that they had to come to %rip with most of all was the rumor that it was a
woman ( this was an ini8uitous idea that they really could not fathom. 6 woman 1Boss"
was #ust so preposterous, for anyone to think they could lead a crime family and be a
woman at the same time, was #ust not done. &ot even in the LE
century. 6 don was
usually male, late thirties or older, maybe it was (ust time for that change to ta!e effect
now. :aulie thou%ht.
:aulie had %athered around &onna"s table to eat a :anini sandwich she had
tearfully prepared before =ino forced her to pack.
“!ey =ino, is she %onna cry all freakin" ni%ht”
“!ey'ho :aulie, she"s sad, okay !ave some bad news for you, compare 5
“9hat” !e took a hu%e bite out of the sandwich. !e wanted to pick Melva up,
but first wanted &onna safely %one. “Damn old woman,” he mumbled.
!e had what could be called a heart'felt moment with her when he tried to hu%
her after =ino broke the news to her, but &onna cursed the day he was born and slapped
him upside the head with her wet towel.
“9ell, my nonna ( %od bless ( her, she"s %onna call your mamma to tell her that
you threw her outta her own house, this is bad news, eh” !e wanted to %i%%le, but
thou%ht better of it. !e knew :aulie"s mamma would not be a happy Italian woman
when she received that phone call. $he"d rip :aulie"s balls off0
“9hat the hell 2 $he"s about to ruin my plans, =ino0 *ell her I"m not the one
who"s throwin% her out, blame that shit off on yourself, okay ;ou know I"m on my way
to my mamma"s and now I won"t have no balls for Melva.” !e cau%ht =ino"s twinkle of
lau%hter in his eyes as they both busted out lau%hin%, #ust like old times. !e finished his
last bite and %ot up to finish packin% for his trip back home. he #ust hoped that his
mamma was in a better mood than =ino"s nonna was.
=ino stopped :aulie on the way out, “$ompare, don"t %et yourself whacked, since
I won"t be there to protect you,” he tapped his piece that he had hidden in his #acket.
“;ou do the same 5 now, %et your ass up and %et your nonna outta here,
capisce” !e left before =ino answered.
!e would miss his compare, but he knew that he"d be all ri%ht without him for a
while. !e needed to fi%ure out what to do with his life that was why the trip back to Italy
was essential at this time. !e wanted to %et to know Melva and %et use to the fur ball,
Brinks. !is drive to be out on his own doin% his own businesses be%an to diminish after
he saw how Melva could have been hurt, he didn"t know if that was what he wanted to do
and with $tallino4 dead, well, maybe this was a si%n of some kind. ?ne thin% was for
sure, he had feelin%s for someone that he didn"t mind puttin% first before himself.
*he fact that he killed his own uncle, which surely would not %o over well with
his mamma, since this was her brother didn"t bother him much 5 what did, however,
was the new don. !e couldn"t wait to find out who that woman was. If it came to
whackin% a woman boss, then that was what it was.
Melva didn"t have time to think about her condo after takin% what =erdy said to
heart. $he"d like to come back to it someday and perhaps share it with her two favorite
males. &o doubt about it, she was ready to travel. $he had picked out a nice bron4e
colored top with her favorite CavaricMi #eans and a pair of hi%h'heeled Bimmy Choo
sandals to match. $he wanted to look se)y for :aulie when he came to whisk her off. &o
phone call from him yet, but she knew that he probably had thin%s to take care of for
himself. $he had a talk with Brinks and told him to be on his best kitty'behavior. It had
#ust been spinster and feline for so lon% this whole relationship thin% was new to both.
$he went to the closet in her home library where she kept Brinks" kitty carrier.
Brinks had not traveled, ever. $till, she hoped he would en#oy the trip.
“!ere kitty kitty, come and %et in your carrier,” hopin% the temperamental feline
would #ust #ump on in.
“?h, there you are my sweet boy.” $he cooed at the %rouch, who was perched on
one of the barstools in the kitchen ( waitin% ( for kitty crunchies.
$he very %in%erly scooped up her hefty cat and wrestled him in the carrier, after
he had a few claws in her arm first.
“9ell, that wasn"t so bad, now was it” she asked the pissed off cat.
$he put the carrier down, while the contents yowled as if bein% murdered. $he decided
the scratches and bite marks were not a pretty si%ht and could use some antibacterial
“=reat, blooded arms, #ust %reat, thanks a lot Brinks.”
*he phone ran%.
“#oumada, how"s my %or%eous redhead”
“?h, hi there, I"m fine, where are you” $he felt all tin%ly a%ain. $he loved this
“I"ll be there soon, then we"ll %et outta town, okay” !is velvet voice purred.
“I"ll be waitin%. ?h, :aulie”
“Do we need to buy ticket for Brinks I"ve never flown with him before and I
really don"t want him without me, you know a mother"s concern.” $he %i%%led and
hoped she didn"t sound silly.
“&o worries, goumada, I"ve taken care of everything 5 what will you do about
your car 9ill your friend want it, hate to see that nice ride %o to waste parked there,
because I"m pickin% you up in a limo, so be ready.”
“!ow wonderful, a limo 9ow0 Ch, not sure about my Mercedes, but maybe
=erdy will take it and drive it while I"m %one, okay”
“$iao Bella, see you soon.” 9ith that, he hun% up the phone.
$he loved it when he spoke in his native ton%ue.
:aulie had arran%ed to have a stretch limo take them to the airport where a private
#et waited for them 5 Melva did not need to worry about her cat, he was set to arrive in
Italy in style.
9hen she arrived at =erdy"s door, Brinks in tow, she was already fi%htin% back
=erdy yanked the door open and looked as if she had fallen out of bed+ !er hair
was a mess, favorite robe turned inside out and chocolate ran down her chin.
“9hat on earth are you doin%, =erdy” $he proceeded to enter the no'so'clean
“9ait0” $he blocked Melva with her body.
“9hat"s %otten into you all the sudden” $he was confused with the odd behavior
from her best friend. *he chocolate runnin% down her chin was nothin% new, but all the
other thin%s were noticeably different.
“Cmmm, place is a mess and I didn"t have time to clean up before you %raced me
with your presence,” =erdy curtsied #ust for %rins, “let"s #ust talk out here, okay”
“Aine, whatever 5 kiss your nephew 1cause I really can"t say when you two will
%et to%ether a%ain to cuddle.” $he mana%ed a smile. $he felt somethin% was not ri%ht
about =erdy, but maybe she was #ust nervous about the whole trip and bein% alone with
$he tried to ob#ect to the kiss. “Do I have to kiss him throu%h the damn metal
door !onestly, Melva the poor thin% looks like he"s about to die in there ( you need to
%et him a lar%er cat carrier,” all of a sudden, his aunt was concerned.
eave me alone human or else. 0ello! I’m starving in here!
“?kay, #ust pretend then.” Melva didn"t want to say %ood'bye to =erdy, but she
sure was actin% as if this was no bi% deal, leavin% her all alone like this. “?h, before I
for%et.” Melva pulled her key rin% out of her purse and placin% it in =erdy"s hand, “keep
my Mercedes until I %et back, okay” $he %enuinely smiled at her best friend 5 she"d
miss her considerably, more than she"d know.
“Call me when you %et wherever Mr. !otpants takes you, okay ;ou know I"ll
worry about the two of you.” $he smiled and revealed a chocolate covered tooth.
*hey hu%%ed and then =erdy, without so much as a %ood'bye, closed the door.
Melva"s heart sank. $he really didn"t e)pect =erdy to react this way toward her 5 she
shru%%ed it off, “maybe she"s #ust upset that I"m leavin%,” she told Brinks, and headed
down toward the %ara%e area to wait for her Mr. !otpants.
:aulie was ready to %et the hell out of Catswillow, but noted to himself that he"d
like to come back and visit from time to time when he needed a 8uiet place to think. !e
hoped Melva loved his country and would love his mamma ( or the other way around, he
tried to think positive either way.
=ino and his nonna left to an undisclosed area. &onna was ea%er to %o back to
Italy also, but =ino convinced her to wait a while lon%er, then he"d escort her personally
back to her old nei%hborhood. !e had le%work to do on information leadin% to the new
lady'boss, so &onna would have to wait it out 5 hidden some place.
“$ompare, I"ll be in touch,” was all he said to =ino as he climbed into the limo.
Brinks had calmed down some, but not entirely. Melva was sure that he needed
his daily tuna. $he looked down at her marked arms and %rimaced. $he didn"t blame
Brinks for bein% a spoiled brat. after all, it was she who had catered to every kitty'whim.
9ould :aulie spoil him also 2 she knew he wouldn"t.
$he wiped an area clean on the bench with a tissue from her purse so she could sit
down and waited on her hunk, wonderin% why it was takin% so lon%. :assin% the time,
she looked around and %lanced at her %or%eous Mercedes parked where she had left it,
and it seemed like she had not driven it in a month. $he would miss it. $he %ot up and
walked toward it and as she neared she fumed, “damn, a nose print0” $he cleaned that up
and stepped back to admire her car that she was leavin% to her best friend. 6s she turned
back toward the yowlin% of the ca%e, she saw the limo :aulie had promised drive up to
where she was standin%. $he couldn"t believe how in #ust a few weeks she had a
%or%eous ,Mob- boyfriend, been kidnapped, and had 8uit her #ob. 6t the same time, she
worried some about her aunt, but knew that the old %al could take care of herself.
!e opened the door while the driver stayed put in the driver"s seat and motioned
her over. !is smile melted her from her head to her Bimmy Choo sandals.
“#oumada, are you ready”
“;es, we are.” $he ran to pick up the carrier where it sat and then ran back to the
limo. ?ut of breath, but e)cited.
!e %lided out to let them both in, looked the ca%e over once, “how"s it %oin"
gatto” !e didn"t e)pect the feline to answer, but wanted his goumada to know he was
makin% an effort.
$he smiled and kissed him on his forehead and hoped that was okay to do.
!e planted one ri%ht on her lips before she could climb in, “now that was how
you said 1hello" in my lan%ua%e.”
*hey hi%h'tailed it to the airport and boarded a Aalcon private #et that could seat
nine, it was a beauty, and she was about to e)perience travel in the fashion of her 6unt
Bertha. $he could %et use to this life.
“:aulie is this yours” she asked while steppin% out of the limo.
“Could be,” he %rinned ear to ear.
“I know 6unt Bertha has a #et, but I"m not sure if it"s 8uiet as %lamorous as this
“If you like it, after you"ve been in it a while, I can buy it for you. it doesn"t have
a bed, but it"s %ot a lar%e counter space,” he nodded wickedly. !e was use to #ettin%
around with his uncle and havin% business meetin%s with $tallino4, when he was alive.
$he stared up at him in ama4ement, “you"d do that for me”
“#oumada, I"d kill for you.” !e said this with every honest meanin%.
$he did not doubt this 5
*he three of them boarded with not so much as a 1meow" from Brinks 2 it #ust
mi%ht be a %reat trip after all0
9hile Melva, :aulie and Brinks were on their way to the airport, a full'recovered
Bi% Bones was awaitin% orders. “!ave we secured a meetin% place” *he female asked
the man on the other end of the line.
“&o screw'ups, Carparillini, %ot that”
“Bi% Bones is there and ready for his assi%nment.”
“&o assi%nments yet, let them %et settled in Italy, it"s not like we don"t know
where they"ve %one.” *he female"s voice was firm and confident.
Carparillini"s female boss knew systematically what she wanted to do, but he was
still %ettin% use to havin% a female don. &onetheless, he knew she was powerful and had
backin% of the Castocci famiglia, they had waited a lon% time for her to rise to power.
9ith a li%ht sense of humor, he asked, “have you thou%ht about what you wanna
be called+ don, boss, or donna” Carparillini asked his new boss and hoped she chose one
“&ah, #ust call me Miss 1C" I kinda like the way that sounds.”
“It"s customary to address the head of the famiglia as 1=odfather," maybe you
should think about somethin% other than Miss 1C," ya know”
“9hen I want your two cents I"ll ask for it, I"ve made up my mind, deal with it.”
$he hun% up the phone. she was a busy woman now.
$everal hours later and #etla% runnin% throu%h her body, Melva was relieved to
land and her pussycat was #ust as thrilled. $he had let Brinks roam about the cabin,
without any ob#ections from any of the pilots, or :aulie. $he was too busy playin%
ton%ue hockey with her Italian stallion to pay attention to her cat investi%atin% the #et.
!e wanted to take her in mid'fli%ht, on that counter he mentioned earlier, in front
of all to see, but thou%ht better of it since he wanted to play the perfect %entleman and
drive her cra4y with his kisses. !e did mana%e a small hickey at the base of her neck so
all could see she was 1marked."
$he had never received a hickey, ever0 $he was so horny she could barely contain
herself, and she was about to meet her ,no doubt in her mind- future mother'in'law.
/hat would she thin! of me? $he had full confidence that she would make a wonderful
6s the #et landed, :aulie had mana%ed to %et Brinks in the carrier without any
resistance or any type of body in#ury. $he wondered how :aulie did that. !e was a very
“#oumada, the pussy"s in the ca%e, ready” !e smirked and winked at her. $he
was so %or%eous with her tousled hair, due to their make'out session.
“I think so ( to be honest ( I"m very nervous, and I look like such a mess. I
wanted to look nice for your family. Do you think they"ll approve”
“&o worries, goumada, we are stoppin% some place where you can %et yourself
all dolled up, okay” !e took the cat carrier and proceeded out the door, which the pilots
opened for them. 6ll they did was bow at him as if he were the kin% of $audi 6rabia.
*here at @ome"s international airport was another limo parked in front of the
doorway to pick them up. !e had taken care of everythin%, in Italy too.
Melva was happiest she"d ever been and it only seemed to %et better. $he sniffed
in the wonderful <uropean air. $he noticed tour buses and $mart cars everywhere that sat
only two. this was very different since rarely seen in the $tates. $he wondered if these
cute little cars would ever catch on across the 6tlantic, and knew =erdy would like one.
$he patted him on the shoulder ,and loved the way that felt under her fin%ers tips-,
“*hose little cars are called what”
!e looked around and spotted one, “*hose are $mart Cars, you like”
“;eah, they are cute, but not for me, for =erdy 5 I think she"d like one.”
“Maybe you can send her one, she"ll be happy to drive one around Catswillow,
I"m sure of that.” !e motioned to the limo driver to open the door for her and her cat.
!e instructed in Italian where they needed to %o. $he loved to listen to him talk.
Melva looked around and tried to absorb the surroundin%s of her first si%hts of
Italy, even thou%h it was only the airport, she could see Italians from all lifestyles. ?ne
man was holdin% his small do%, perhaps waitin% on a %irlfriend or family member.
another Italian man held up a si%n for someone named “Connor,” perhaps an 6merican
e)ecutive. $he knew this much+ she was lucky, driven around Italy in a limo opposed to
a tour bus0
6fter sittin% in traffic for a bit, they finally reached their hotel.
Melva %asped at the si%ht of the beautiful, posh hotel.
6 few men scrambled to open the doors to the limo, and took their lu%%a%e out of the
truck. 9ithout askin%, they #ust did.
“Buongiorno0” 6 handsome man addressed her.
“?h, hello there,” and placed Brinks" carrier in his hand that he e)tended out
“*hank you very much, sir,” she said to the youn% man and proceeded to enter the
:aulie dismissed the driver and followed her into the loun%e area.
*he ea%er mana%er met them.
:aulie and the mana%er kissed each other on the cheek, from what she %athered
they had known each other a lon% time. It was nice to see him in his own country with
ac8uaintances and friends.
Melva looked around the hotel to check out how clean it was. It was immaculate
and she loved how the luminous of the li%htin% made everythin% so romantic.
:aulie waved to her to come closer. Brinks was a %ood boy, no yowlin% for at
least ten minutes, she wondered if he had passed out on her from lack of tuna. $he
checked him out and cooed at him. Brinks merely hissed, so she knew he was %ood as
“I want you to meet an old friend of my famiglia, 6%ostino, he"s the owner.”
“Bella, magnifico0” 6%ostino hu%%ed her before she could place Brinks down.
“6%ostino, her cat ( in the ca%e ( have you %ot food for him” !is carin% %esture
melted her inside. $he loved this man0 Did Brinks love him too But, knowin% her cat
he most likely had not yet made up his little mind.
6%ostino knelt down to see the ample cat, still as a statue, starin% back at him.
“I believe we #ust may have some fish left over from our dinner hour, I"ll check
!e went off, located one of his servers from the kitchen and returned with %reat
news. “My busboy will brin% somethin% up to your suite for him and you, if you"d like
some supper, no”
$he was ravenous and a%reed that would be %reat.
$he loved @ome, @oma, as the Italians referred. $he noticed the fancy bouti8ue
and stopped to take a look'see.
“#oumada, you want to shop” !e s8uee4ed her hand. !e wanted to s8uee4e
everythin% on her0
“Maybe later,” she really wanted to check out her suite first and shower, or take a
lon%, hot bath 5/ould he (oin me? 2 $he prayed he would.
“;ou can do whatever you want, goumada, #ust say the word, capisce” !e
kissed her forehead and took the heavy carrier from her hand.
$he didn"t want anyone else to carry Brinks, since he was around stran%ers and
*hey stopped at one door and 6%ostino opened it and stood aside while he
%estured to her to %o in.
“!ope that this is to the signora’s likin%” !e smiled and walked in behind her.
$he looked around in awe. she had only seen this kind of lu)ury in ma%a4ines.
*apestries lined the windows, the carpet was a soft tone %old and bron4e and the bed was
dark cherry wood dressed in satin sheets. $he pictured him ri%ht smack in the middle of
all that with her on top0 Brin!s would have to find himself some other room to occupy.
$he %i%%led to herself at that very thou%ht.
“:aulie, your room is #oined here,” 6%ostino went throu%h one door located near
the bathroom. “Both of you en#oy your stay and the supper will be ri%ht up, buonasera.
6s he left her room, he placed the key on the dresser for her.
$he proceeded to unhook Brinks" ca%e and let the poor thin% out and about. 6
feline cooped up wasn"t a pretty si%ht. !e ran off and then #umped on 1his" bed, and
started lickin% his behind. “*here, that"s more like it,” she chimed. !e was content.
:aulie started walkin% toward his door, “I"ll be back soon, rela) a little while.”
$he had no chance to ob#ect or say, anythin% 5 he was out the door fast.
“9ell, that was 8uick 5 maybe I"ll #ust strai%hten up a bit,” she stopped herself
from openin% a drawer ne)t to the bed and wondered how 6unt Bertha, =erdy and
:aulie"s friend, =ino were doin%. $he was certain that her aunt was ( by now ( en#oyin%
her tea out on her balcony 5 she hoped =erdy was in a better mood by now. $he
thou%ht of callin% =erdy, but thou%ht better of it. “I"ll call in a few more days and %ive
her a full report.”
9hile she was in Italy, maybe she"d take a train to :aris, then on to visit her aunt
in <n%land, spend some time with her and take in the fresh air, at her countryside
mansion. $he didn"t think :aulie would care, besides he was a businessman, was he not
!e would probably like that time to take care of whatever thin%s needed doin%. $he %rew
e)cited with the thou%ht of seein% her aunt and shoppin%0 $ome of her Bimmy Choo"s
looked worn out a bit anyway.
6fter what seemed a lifetime, he popped back over as promised.
$he had mana%ed to dust off the desk area, with tissues she found in the
bathroom, fluff her pillow, and slip into some stretch Capri pants and a snu% tee shirt #ust
in time for his return.
“I"m in here,” she yelled back to him that she was in the bathroom. $he wanted
that hot bath, but wasn"t sure if she"d %et her wish toni%ht. $he thou%ht about sleep for a
second and reali4ed she hadn"t slept in a %ood day. "ime flies by when you’re with a
hun! of a man!
!e found her bent over a%ainst the lavatory countertop. she was checkin% out her
make'up, but he really wasn"t lookin% at her face 5
“#oumada 5” he purred and slipped behind her. !e wanted to be inside her.
$he reached for him while she faced the mirror. she %uided his masculine hand up
$omeone knocked on the door.
“'aledi%ione, must be the supper,” he cursed and then left her there wantin%
“$hit0” $he was tired of interruptions.
*he server walked in after he led him into the suite. *he server then showed him
the spread of food for them and then lifted the silver tray cover to reveal, what :aulie
thou%ht was the main course, it was not, it was a knife. *hey stru%%led and she peeked
around the door to see what all the commotion was about and saw that they were makin%
a mess of thin%s. Oh god where was Brin!s?! $he panicked and picked up the first thin%
she saw back in the bathroom, a blow dryer.
$he dashed over toward the two men and hit the server ri%ht over the head with it.
*he blow dryer shattered into tiny pieces and the server tumbled to the %round.
“=ood #ob, goumada,” :aulie mana%ed to say after catchin% his breath. “9hat
the hell was this all about” !e felt it may have been a warnin% from the $astocci
brogata, but how would they know about him bein% here 5 e)actly at this hotel !e
was %oin% to find out, but first he"d %et rid of the body. *he server wasn"t dead, he knew
that whoever sent him here would try a%ain, maybe not with this same man, but someone
and he didn"t want her or the cat hurt in any way. !ow would he turn his life around
with so many disturbances !e %uessed he"d have to take care of loose ends and prove
that he wasn"t into takin% part of killin%s any lon%er. !e had too much to lose now.
“6re you all ri%ht, goumada” !e stepped closer to her and hu%%ed her.
“;es, I"m okay, but where"s my Brinks” $he panicked and then kicked the man
lyin% on the floor for scarin% her cat into hidin%. “Brinks, where are you. !ere kitty, %ot
fish for you, come on Brinks come out0” $he knelt down to look under the kin% si4ed
bed while :aulie took the man and placed him out on the balcony led%e, one wron% move
and the man would surely tumble to his death. !owever, he didn"t kill him, that"s what
Brinks was located at the very top of the bed directly under the headboard. !e
was not a happy kitty'camper.
$he crawled under the bed the best she could, %rabbed his furry arm, and brou%ht
him out to safety. $he kissed his furry face and Brinks wanted down. “*here now, all"s
better with Mama"s little boy.”
“9e need to leave.” :aulie said as he locked the suite"s door. “6s fast as you can
%et ready, it"s not safe here.” !e took her arm and kissed her hand, “we"ll be okay
someplace else, I"ll be ri%ht back.” !e went to his room and closed the door.
$he be%an her re'packin%, but first she did what she promised and fed Brinks his
fish. $he placed more in the carrier so that he"d #ump ri%ht in when it was time to %o.
Brinks did not #ump. /oman let me eat6 a hungry cat is a death wish.
9hen he came back into the room, he found her on the floor pickin% up pieces
from the blow dryer she used to save him. Brinks was sittin% on the bed supervisin% her
“#oumada, are you ready” !e reached for Brinks, who did not resist his stron%
%rip and led him into his carrier.
“9ow, how did you do that 9ith me he causes such a battle.”
“I dunno, maybe it"s because we both are %uys, we have an understandin% 5”
:aulie %rinned and hoped Brinks behaved at his mamma"s house, because that"s where
they were headin%.
*hey 8uickly took the elevator down to the %ara%e parkin% lot, where a%ain, a
driver waited on them. But, this was a Mercedes sedan, not a fancy limo.
*hey settled in the sedan and whisked off towards +iren%e.
“9here are we headin%” $he was so tired and #ust wanted some rest. $he laid
her head on his shoulders and tried to fi%ht the inevitable sleep.
“@est a bit, goumada. we are %oin% to my famiglia’s house in +iren%e.
“Alorence @eally I"ve always thou%ht that to be a beautiful area, well 5 the
books at the library had awesome pictures, which were of that part of Italy.”
“9ell, you"ll see it now, up close. ;ou"ll love it there, I"m sorry that you didn"t
see 2oma as I had wished, but you"ll see +iren%e and &aples, okay” !e winked at her
and she knew he was %ood on that promise. Airst, she wanted sleep.
Brinks had meowed until she let him out so that he could stretch out on their laps.
:aulie didn"t mind so much, after the lon% trip and then someone tryin% to kill him, this
was nothin%. *he fur ball had better not make a habit of it thou%h.
!e had told the driver to stop a local cafH so that he could purchase somethin% for
them to tie them over until mornin%. !e hoped his mamma would make a delicious
breakfast on his behalf.
*hey ate the small snack, kissed each other, and then closed their eyes a bit ( it
was a short drive ( but even the smallest of meals and naps were welcomed.
Carparillini cracked his knuckles. he was in a foul mood after the news that one of
his soldiers was dead, he was supposed to send :aulie a little messa%e, but the idiot fell to
his death, from what Carparillini could tell was this soldier could not even carry out this
small task. !is only %oal was to plant a fri%ht into :aulie and his woman, keep them on
the move, that"s all. Carparillini didn"t know how the lady'boss would take the news, but
with any luck, she wasn"t %oin% to be a bitch about it. !e should have taken care of
:aulie after he took care of $tallino4. *his bi% mess was takin% up time he didn"t have.
:ressure from his lady'boss to keep :aulie runnin%, and not #ust killin% the bastard, was
beyond his comprehension. 6ll he knew was she didn"t e)actly want them hurt. ;et. !e
didn"t want his ass thrown off a brid%e so he did what she asked of him.
Carparillini entered a lar%e room. !e noticed most of the faces seated at the table,
but a few were ones who came over, after a bit of persuasion from the takeover, and the
murder of $tallino4.
*he new consigliere was the lady'boss"s cousin, all in the famiglia, that"s how it
was. Bi% Bones stared at his scar that $tallino4 had %iven him the day of his death. Bi%
Bones cursed, “Bastard.” !e had been throu%h hell most of his childhood, %rew up with
the labels, he demanded some respect now. !is cousin was a pain in his ass, but bein%
famiglia you #ust put up with it.
Miss C. %ot up from her comfortable 4ebra printed chair, “was the messa%e
delivered to :aulie and Melva” $he looked around, at what she thou%ht were the most
pathetic of an or%ani4ation, #ust because they were all men. Besides, she had cramps.
$he fi%ured she would blame all the men for her sour mood.
Bi% Bones, her cousin, started to speak, “nah, dumb'ass bastard didn"t do as he
was told, %ot himself killed,” Bi% Bones snorted awkwardly.
“$hut'up or %et lost today. I"m in no mood for screw'ups from any of you, %ot
it” $he eyed each one to challen%e her, knowin% she really could use someone with
some wisdom. $he remembered her father and how he always told her she would reach
this point in her life, and told her he"d watch over her from above. $he remembered her
life and her friends, some she missed, but knew that they had moved on #ust as she did.
!er own life had been lies, even as a child, but it was all to protect her until adulthood
and the takeover of the business, which was inevitable. $he would do her best to profit
and to rule, #ust as her father did. $he learned from the most important men in her life,
that she was the only one who could carry out their le%acy, even thou%h most of it was
ille%al 2 but they would be proud of her accomplishments.
!er cousin was an idiot that is why he wasn"t the boss.
“I don"t %et why we play cat and mouse with these two, and where is =ino I"m
sure he can be persuaded to do work for us.” 6 man directly under Carparillini"s
directive asked Miss C.
“Carparillini, your man doesn"t have complete confidence in me, why is that you
think” $he stared at the two men.
“1er favore, with all respect, he does not understand the importance of the
situation, yet,” Carparillini continued, “we are all a little confused on why you want them
alive, may we all know now” !e hoped she wouldn"t blast his ass away in front of
everyone. !er father would not have thou%ht twice about doin% that.
“$apisco, I can understand why this must be important for all of you to know.
3now this+ Arankie left many businesses out there for the takin%, and :aulie, I doubt will
not let those businesses fade. our famiglia will be those who take it. 9e %o after the ones
in Italy first. I have no doubts that :aulie will try to make those le%it, but I"m not
interested in le%it, only makin% all of $tallino4" dealin%s ours now. 6s you know, those
were started by $tallino4 himself.”
*he lady'boss knew that she wanted the nice, lar%e, profitable shippin% business
near Alorence, a tip lead her to :aulie continuin% his #ourney there, so this was perfect.
6s for =ino, she knew that he would eventually speak to :aulie of his plans. $he had
men planted all around Italy, and knew =ino would show up in the near future to help
:aulie. Melva was another story, if she %ot in her way 5 then, that would be the end of
:aulie"s goumada. In her business, there wasn"t time for warm, fu44y feelin%s toward a
couple in love.
“9hat"s our ne)t move” Bi% Bones asked anyone who would listen to him for a
!is lady'boss cousin turned to face him, “I want you to head out to Italy and find
us a location which isn"t a 1hot place," let Carparillini know when that"s secure and I"ll let
you know when I"ll be out there. 7eave :aulie and Melva to me. =o.” 9ith that, she
left the room full of testosterone and headed to her dinin% area she was famished0
:aulie nud%ed Melva and Brinks, who was on his lap, to wake up. *hey were
drivin% up to the house his parents have lived in since they were married.
Brinks hated someone wakin% him up from a rela)in% nap, so he took his sweet
feline time and stretched this way and that, finally lickin% his lips and %in%erly #umped in
the carrier :aulie had opened for him. Melva wasn"t surprised at Brinks for bein% so
cooperative toward his soon'to'be dad. $he %rinned at the thou%ht of it all.
!e kissed Melva on the forehead and s8uee4ed her soft hand, “#oumada we are
here at last, it"s late so we will be very 8uiet, capisce” !e bid the driver farewell in
$he couldn"t believe how beautiful the house was, somethin% out of a dream.
*he modest, vine'lined home stood between other houses, but this one had iron accents
that %ave the home an even more the <uropean feel. *he house was in the center of town,
but hidden from all the shops and cafHs that tourists would most likely be occupyin%.
*he cobblestone road reminded her of the library books" pictures that she had told :aulie
about earlier. It stood, from what onlookers could see, on three stories. two balconies
e)tend out for one to sit and read, or #ust en#oy the %or%eous view.
It was very 8uiet around the nei%hborhood, but then a%ain it was in the middle of
$he %rew more e)cited #ust standin% there watchin% :aulie starin% at his home,
hopin% he felt relieved and happy to be home. $he %uessed that was why he looked so at
peace. !is handsome face was more rela)ed now than before. $he knew he had a lot on
his mind and she knew that she"d do whatever to please him. 6s she thou%ht about it, in
the back of her mind, the scary feelin% of meetin% his mamma was fri%htenin%. $he felt a
lump in her throat. $he wished the woman would pop out and say hello or somethin%.
$he looked around at the iron'%ated doors and thou%ht those were pretty well kept and
clean. $he knew it would not be %ood to #ud%e this Italian woman"s cleanin%. ?h, but
she hoped she had a tidy bathroom for her.
$he tried to make herself presentable and asked :aulie, “do you think I"ll %et to
meet your mother ri%ht now” $he smiled nervously. she knew it was a lon% shot.
“#oumada, they mi%ht be asleep, it"s very late. But, let"s %o in if you and your
cat are ready.” !e opened the iron'%ated doors and let her and Brinks pass into the
%ardened front area.
Brinks started meowin% at #ust the precise time that the door flew open.
Melva"s heart started to race, ri%ht out of her chest.
“4anto $ielo! 3o gatto!” :aulie"s mamma freaked at the si%ht of Brinks in his
“Mamma no0” !e tried to stop the Italian powerhouse.
“9hat the hell is she doin% with my cat” $he rushed in not waitin% to see
:aulie"s reaction, and followed the woman out onto the first balcony.
:aulie watched in horror as the two went back and forth in two different
“'amma! Basta! *hat is enou%h leave the gatto alone.” !e #erked the kitty
carrier out of her %rasp.
*here on the balcony sat poor Brinks yowlin%, in the carrier, his kitty'world had
flashed before his eyes. "una woman! I need tuna, now!
,"his was going to be an e7citing visit,- she thou%ht.
6fter his two women calmed down, a bit, so that he could put two words in, he sat
his mamma down on her wooden bench in her small kitchen. !is father stepped in as he
“My son, how are you =ood to see you, you"re mamma has missed you
terribly,” his father sounded so happy his son was home, he didn"t even notice his wife"s
“:apa, sorry we woke you up, are you doin% all ri%ht” !e knew his father
wasn"t in the best of health after his last birthday.
“#ra%ie, gra%ie, my son 5 I am okay, I think,” he pointed to the Italian woman,
on the bench, who had pursed lips, “she tells me I"m okay, so I %uess I am. !e chuckled
and :aulie stalwartly hu%%ed him.
!is father eyed Melva and %rinned, his son had brou%ht home a nice one.
“6nd this is” !is father went toward her. she kept turnin% her head, to check out
on the balcony, that her cat had not croaked in the ca%e that held him prisoner.
:aulie stood beside her and patted her on the waist. he wanted her to know all
would be all ri%ht, eventually.
“*his is Melva. Melva 3lick.” !e sli%htly pushed Melva toward his father
e)pectin% her to hu% the man. Maybe they would hit it off.
“Melva, this is my papa, Marcello, and my mamma, <rmelinda. I"m sure that
they are both happy to meet you.” !e eyed his father and nodded his head, hopin% his
father took the hint to %et his wife to acknowled%e his new %irlfriend.
“;es, this is %ood, no 9e will have company, <rmelinda, is this not nice”
Marcello sure hoped his wife would say somethin%, anythin% at all.
“&o, no, gatto. *hey stink. I cannot clean after the gatto. I"m too old for this.”
“Mamma, please be patient, Brinks2”
“Brinks” !is mamma slowly repeated the feline"s name. “Is he smelly” she
answered her own 8uestion, “no smelly gatto here0”
“Mamma, once you know him you will like him, per favore Mamma, welcome
both of them 5 for me.” !e smiled at the petite woman and melted her heart. $he
would die for this man.
Melva"s mind was in a panic, wonderin% if this woman would let Brinks stay
inside with her. !er cat was an indoor cat0 $he liked the dad. $he wondered if :aulie
would look like this when he was that a%e. !e was still handsome, no doubt about it.
9hile :aulie spoke to his mother in Italian, she decided she"d wonder around the small
livin% area, connected to the dinin% room. <verythin% was so authentic and for bein% a
small, confined area ,from what she was use to back home- it was very lu)urious. It
seemed to her they did have money, or her %ood son had been sendin% some ma#or funds.
&onetheless, she loved it. $he hope she could stay 5 and her cat, too.
!e came over to where she was standin%, “she will hu% you now,” he led her
toward the petite woman and waited for one of them to make the first move. It was late
and he wanted some much'needed rest.
$he stumbled awkwardly and then e)tended her hand, “nice to meet you Mrs.
:ala4ollo.” *he woman didn"t blink, 1sort of like Brinks when he"s eyein% the last
morsel of tuna," she observed.
“&ice to meet you, too Melva, our home is your home.” It wasn"t e)actly 1cold"
but not e)actly a 1warm fu44y" welcome either.
Melva took it either way. 6nythin% was better than Brinks havin% to sleep
outside in a forei%n country.
“Is it all ri%ht for my 5 how do you say 5 gatto, to come in now”
:aulie and his father chuckled. “;ou may brin% him in and let him out.”
Marcello said confidently.
!is wife"s e)pression told everyone she was not ready for the gatto to invade her
nice, charmin% home.
*he ne)t mornin%, Melva woke to marvelous aromas fillin% her small 8uarters.
$he was so terribly e)hausted from all the travelin%, and the small dispute in the middle
of the ni%ht with :aulie"s mother, that she really didn"t feel like rearran%in% the area to
her likin%. $he thou%ht she"d do that today instead, after a home cooked breakfast, of
course. $he stretched and took in more of the aromas and thou%ht she should %et up and
move around, and locate her feline, who had not bothered to present himself after she let
him out of the carrier. 6ll Brinks wanted to do was crouch low to the %round and find a
nice hidin% spot.
6fter she twisted her lon% auburn hair in up close to her head, she decided to wear
somethin% comfortable, “no heels today.” $he didn"t really know what :aulie had
planned, but hopefully she could #ust wear kitten'heeled shoes and still look %or%eous for
him. $he looked around the small bedroom, she thou%ht it looked as if it were a
bathroom at another time. perhaps they did remodel, but she liked it #ust as it was. $he
would add her touches here and there and she loved the tiny ad#oinin% bathroom of her
own. *he bathroom had a nice anti8ue, claw foot tub and a %or%eous levorotary, that was
a nice soft pink hue.
Bust as she peeked out of the doorway, :aulie was there to %reet his goumada. it
seemed an eternity since he"d seen her.
“Buongiorno goumada,” he purred in her ear.
“?h, hi there, did you sleep well” $he wanted to take him into the room and
for%et about breakfast, but her stomach reminded her that wasn"t %oin% to happen. $he
#ust couldn"t %et enou%h of her delicious hunk.
“<verythin% smells wonderful,” she chimed as she approached <rmelinda near the
stove. “!as anyone seen Brinks this mornin%, he usually sleeps with me, but I didn"t feel
him at all in the bed.”
<rmelinda"s eyebrow rose, she wasn"t use to cats sleepin% in one"s bed as a
person would, this was new to her. $he turned back to her pancetta and whispered to
herself in Italian.
Melva knew it was probably about what she had said ( it was #ust so different
here, but she"d have to make the woman take to her and her cat ( she #ust had to0
:aulie kissed his mother and then his father, who was already sittin% down at the
wooden table readin% the Italian paper. “Melva, your gatto was with me when I woke up
to walk down to %et my newspaper, he is a nice gatto.
*hey all looked over at Brinks, who was lickin% his ample bottom, on what
looked like a very comfortable chair. 1eople can’t you see I’m busy. /here’s the tuna?
$he char%ed at her busy cat and planted a kiss ri%ht on the lips that had #ust licked
:aulie"s mother was mortified 5 his father didn"t seem to mind.
$he picked up her cat and hu%%ed him hard. $he loved to inhale his kitty'smells.
“Did you miss me, Brinks ;ou know Mommy likes it when you sleep ne)t to her,” she
cooed a little more then reali4ed everyone was starin% at her. Besides Brinks wanted
down, like now.
*he food, laid out in a nice spread, looked delicious. Marcello said %race and
then they were all ready to eat the bountiful breakfast the woman of the house prepared.
:aulie noticed Melva wouldn"t 1di% ri%ht in" and wondered why. “Do you not
like what you see, it"s very %ood, try somethin%.” !e stared at his mother, the awesome
cook, and hoped she didn"t %et pissed off about Melva eyein% the food as it were %oin% to
“Cm, what"s that e)actly” $he pointed to a bread'like spread.
“*hat"s very delicious. it"s animelle in pangrattato con canciofi, breaded
sweetbread with artichokes 2 you will love it, I promise.” !e waited for his %irlfriend to
dive ri%ht in.
$he did not.
$he reached for some, all eyes on her, and placed some on her plate. $he took a
small bite of it 5 and didn"t really care for it, but mana%ed to swallow and smile at the
stern'faced cook. “#ra%ie, it"s very %ood.”
*hey all ate, had some small talk about :aulie"s adventures as a boy, how he
followed his Cncle Arankie around and wanted to %o where he went. !is parents knew
what :aulie and Arankie were into, but <rmelinda never trusted her own brother, Arankie,
and that tension never really escaped the famiglia where Arankie was concerned. But, she
need not worry about her brother any lon%er. :aulie #ust had to find the ri%ht moment to
tell her of his death. $ince he died in 6merica, news of that wouldn"t come until a %ood
week he knew of that much. If he didn"t tell her, then someone in the immediate famiglia
would, he wanted to be the one to break the news to her.
Marcello raised his head from the half'empty plate, “where are you two %oin%
today I think you should take her around, %et to know the locals, how lon% will you stay
$he placed her fork down and looked at :aulie, because she didn"t really know
how lon% her and Brinks were welcome here. $he hoped to stay a %ood while, besides
that, she couldn"t stand the thou%ht of bein% in 6merica while he was over here,
thousands of miles away. $he suddenly came to the reali4ation that they never discussed
their relationship, his business dealin%s, or really anythin% for that matter. $he wondered
when he would brin% up these thin%s. $he knew he wanted her, but there were
interruptions when they were so close to consummatin% this relationship, every sin%le
“?ooh, I would love to have a cappuccino in a local cafH, maybe one that"s your
favorite 2 that would be %reat0” $he %rew more e)cited each minute. $he had not even
sipped a cafH mocha, in what seemed like a%es a%o. $he thou%ht briefly about =erdy 5
she missed her best friend terribly. $he"d have to call her soon.
“:apa, that"s a %reat idea, but soon I"ll have to leave Melva and Brinks in your
hands, okay *here is much to do ... and Mamma, I need to speak with you soon also,
!is mother nodded her head and kept eatin% her scrumptious breakfast.
Melva had no idea :aulie was leavin%.
“6re you %oin% away” !er heart sank for a few minutes, but then reali4ed this
mi%ht be the perfect opportunity to hop on the <uro train and see her aunt. $he knew of
the nice transit systems <urope offered. 6unt Bertha often spoke of transportation
options all around <urope, #ust in case one day, such as this, Melva would travel out and
“&ot really, #ust local stuff, but you mi%ht %et bored,” he remembered at that
moment her aunt lived in 7ondon some place. “9hy not visit your nice aunt, it"s not that
far, goumada, what do you think” !e really didn"t want her anywhere near this area if
thin%s were to %et u%ly. he wasn"t for sure if they would, but #ust in case, she and her cat
“?h my %od0” $he couldn"t believe how they thou%ht the same thin%.
<rmelinda crossed herself at the mention of her savior.
“I was #ust thinkin% of tellin% you I may %o visit my aunt ( I can"t believe you
thou%ht of that ( I think I will.”
“=ood idea then.”
:aulie"s mamma interrupted their two'way conversation. “:aulie, figlio, son, will
she take the gatto” !is mamma was hopeful, because she noticed fur was accumulatin%
around what had become his 1favorite feline spot." <rmelinda said a silent prayer.
Melva %i%%led, “why of course, he %oes where I %o, so please do not worry, we"ll
<rmelinda %lared at everyone and then si%ned heavily. *hen she proceeded to
clean up, Melva 8uickly followed.
“:lease let me do this, I love to wash dishes,” she turned to :aulie, “please tell her
I can do this for her.”
“Mamma, per favore, let Melva help, you rest with :apa.”
9ith a little opposition, then showin% Melva how to use the dishtowel and place
her dishes on a rack, she finally she sat down in her livin% room, each time %lancin% back
to see if Melva was screwin% up her kitchen.
Brinks, the very brave cat, hopped onto the lap of his death 5 the vibe he %ot
from the old woman was a %ood vibe, perhaps it was a mislead vibe. It was a death wish.
$he #umped up as if electrocuted and tossed Brinks ri%ht on his fat butt and ran
out of the room. 6ll they heard was a blarin% 1meow" and a door slam.
6fter the fiasco in the kitchen, they walked hand in hand down the cobblestone
alley. soon %reeted by Alorence"s busy pia%%a. *here was a cafH to the ri%ht. it was like
somethin% out of a romantic movie. *o Melva it was #ust so surreal 2 that she was here
and her %or%eous boyfriend was beside her.
*hey walked up to the doors of the cafH, he told her to sit out on the bistro'style
table area and he"d brin% out their cappuccinos. *he air was crisp and clean, not like a
busy, smoky street back in 6merica. $he wished Brinks could see this, but then a%ain his
new %randfather was comfortin% him. 1Brinks would like the smell of the food circlin%
around the area," she thou%ht. $he knew he"d fit in a carrier with wheels she"d seen once
in a ma%a4ine. it was 8uite nice, because it had a screen that would protect him and he
could see out, maybe ne)t time she"d brin% him.
:aulie walked out with two cups and two biscotti, it all looked so wonderful, and
she couldn"t stand how e)cited she was.
“I love you0” she said it before he could place the cups down.
!e looked at her in a way she"d never seen him look at her before.
$he panicked and thou%ht maybe that she should take it back Idiot! &on’t scare
“#oumada, I love you too,” he smiled and kissed her on the lips, softly.
$he wanted to scream to the finely carved statues amon%st the pia%%a, that she loved him,
knowin% that ( if she did ( the statues would probably come to life and applaud her for
sayin% it. @omance was abundantly in the air 5
*hey sat 8uietly and stared at each other for a bit, and then her nervousness %ot in
the way of thin%s. $he started inspectin% the small table, arran%in% its salt and su%ar
contents, this was not %ood.
“;ou don"t have to do that you know,” he %uessed she was nervous, but from
what, he didn"t really know. Maybe he had it in him to make her this way.
$he fumbled and sat up strai%ht and cleared her throat, “does this area have any
nice shops, to buy shoes”
!e looked at her as if she were cra4y. “?f course, Italy has shops, fantastic
shops.” !e loved her innocence. “#oumada, there"s a shop on every corner, take your
pick, or %o to all of them, I do not mind. Do you not want to #ust sit and talk for a few
minutes I think we should discuss a little sub#ect 5 like my business. ;ou"ve never
asked me anythin%, why” !e was curious, or maybe she didn"t care.
“?h, :aulie, I"m sorry 2 it"s #ust that I didn"t think you wanted me to pry, %uess I
was wron%” $he felt a little relieved that he brou%ht up the topic. 6fter all, he had
killed his own uncle and lord knows whom else before she even met him. But, for some
odd reason, she did not fear him at all. $omethin% about his eyes 5
“I don"t ever want you to be afraid to ask me anythin%, capisce I want you to
know everythin%, because I"m not livin% my life the way I use to, before I met you. I
cannot do this anymore.” !e wanted as close to a normal life as possible for them. <ven
for his best compare, =ino, who he missed terribly.
“I think this is wonderful. we shouldn"t hide anythin% then, so %o ahead let it rip.”
$he placed her elbows on the table and leaned closer to him.
“I need you to %o stay with your aunt for a while. I need to %et one of the lar%est
shippin% businesses my uncle had and make it le%it, capisce, this way we don"t worry
about nothin" ever.” !e knew that the Castocci famiglia would want it but he"d make
sure they didn"t %et it.
“*hat"s not a problem, :aulie, I can leave soon. I have to call her first to let her
know, but I don"t mind, it"ll be nice to see my aunt. $he has a beautiful mansion outside
of 7ondon you"d love it.”
“I"m sure that I would,” he took her hand and kissed it and noticed Melva never
wore rin%s, #ust bracelets. !e"d have to chan%e that for sure. !e smiled at his small
“9hat” $he smiled back not knowin% what he was up to, but he looked as if he
were up to somethin%.
“7et"s walk around the pia%%a a while. I want you to see some beautiful places
here, then we can have lunch at this place I know you"ll like, okay my goumada”
“;es, let"s %o 5 oh, don"t for%et, I want shoes too0” $he was spoiled, she must
say that about herself, but she loved this place.
=erdy would kill her if she heard her wantin% shoes instead of se). $he wanted to
call her friend today.
:aulie pointed everythin% out, even thou%h, at this time, the replica of David was
in the process of cleanin% and maintenance, it was truly a movin% e)perience for her.
$he"d never for%et her first si%hts of David, and then of :erseus holdin% Medusa"s head,
she was in awe the whole time 2 she was lost for words.
!e didn"t for%et that his woman wanted shoes, but wanted to show her the
breathtakin% Duomo and Campanile tower first.
*hey walked down the narrow pathway chattin% about this and that alon% the
way, when they came upon the tower he literally held her up.
“It"s breathtakin% is it not, goumada” !e watched how her eyes dance about
tryin% to take in every inch of the tower and surroundin% Aacade of the Duomo.
$he held her hands to her mouth, “I don"t know what to say, it"s absolutely
divine0 !ow do you all live here with such beauty I #ust can"t believe somethin% like
this e)ists.” $he turned to look at her beloved.
“9e #ust do, goumada, we #ust do.”
6 %roup of youn% %irls around thirteen at the most, past them by and con%re%ated around
the Duomo as if it held no history or importance.
$he could not fathom this 5 it was somethin% she felt a connection towards
already. *his is where she knew that she loved :aulie ( no doubts ( and no reservations
whatsoever. $he knew he felt the same, well, after today of course when he said he loved
her. $he smiled with that thou%ht and she noticed somethin% else+ $he felt safe there in
Alorence. If she wished to %o off alone to shop or any place, she felt she could do that
6s promised, he showed her where a wonderful shop was, encoura%in% her to buy
those shoes that she desired. 1&othin% beat a pair of authentic Italian shoes, nothin%," she
$he didn"t want this day to end, ever 5 but she wanted to see her kitty. $he was
certain he must be so %rouchy by now since there was no one to feed, water, or play with
him. $he prayed that his father had at least %iven Brinks water. $he"d soon find out.
$urely, his mother would have known to feed him somethin%. $he felt terrible
that she didn"t at least have :aulie call once. he did have his cell phone with him all the
time she noticed.
6fter she bou%ht shoes, which were so %or%eous she couldn"t wait to show her
aunt ( who would be %reen with envy ( they headed toward a 8uant, little restaurant that
he said the Calamari was to die for. $he took his word, but doubted she wanted any.
she"d leave tastin% s8uid to =erdy.
:aulie, trained to notice people followin% him, had a %ut feelin% to keep his %uard
up, he was pissed that someone was “clockin%” him0 !e knew that these were Castocci
soldiers. !e had no idea how many, but they were like scorpions, travelin% in pairs. !e
kept his attitude toward Melva happy and interestin%. the last thin% he wanted was for her
to panic. Besides, he knew she"d be busy tryin% to clean the table up before their meal
arrived. !e was truly fi%urin% his woman out. 7et her clean, what the hell 2 didn"t hurt
anybody, his mamma was the same way.
!e wanted to %et back home, where it was secure enou%h so that he could call
=ino, find out where he was at, and %et a plan started as soon as possible. !e hoped she
would %et out of +iren%e soon, if he told her to, she would.
Dinner was superb, even thou%h she didn"t take a bite out of the Calamari :aulie
ordered. &onetheless, her pasta was delicious. $he asked for another cappuccino and
sipped that with pure deli%ht, she wanted to be blunt with :aulie about when they would
have time for se) or a heavy duty make out session like on the plane, but thou%ht better
of it since his mind was obviously elsewhere.
Did he want her as much as she wanted him $he wondered over dessert.
?f course he did. !is body ached for this woman with fiery red hair and piercin%
%olden eyes, but now was not the time, and his parents" home was defiantly not the place.
!e thou%ht about that rin% he wanted to %et her, he knew #ust where to %o for that
e)trava%ant piece of #ewelry. !e knew people and knew their 8uality was unbeatable.
!e #ust needed the ri%ht time to %et it and present it to her. !e wanted his businesses
settled and did not want any trouble from any of Castocci"s men or any other famiglia, he
knew there were other famiglia’s out there, but Castocci brogata was the one he worried
about the most.
*hey arrived at the house to find Brinks sittin% smack in the middle of the table,
but where were :aulie"s parents.
Melva panicked. 'aybe Brin!s !illed them with his nastiness, is that possible?
$he wondered. "hat’s so ridiculous, I’ve never heard of a cat !illing a human. $he
%i%%led at the thou%ht.
“Mamma, :apa, are you home” :aulie be%an to search the house in a panic. !e
knew men were after him who was capable of doin% anythin% they wanted once they
found out where he was stayin%. !e would kill anyone who hurt his parents, he didn"t
care who they were.
Melva picked up her furry, %rouchy feline and placed him on the floor, “you must
be so hun%ry,” she %lanced at the empty bowel she had placed ne)t to the door. $he put
down a bowel full of kitty crunchies for him to eat, but he wasn"t %oin% for plain, borin%
food anymore, no way0 $he %uessed by his uninterested look that he wanted somethin%
fresh, like fish. Brinks didn"t care that eatin% rich food every day wasn"t %ood for him.
“Aine, Brinks, I"ll look and see what <rmelinda has here for you.”
9hile Brinks supervised his mother, :aulie went around the house lookin% for his
parents. Melva fed her darlin% then #oined :aulie in the search.
*hey found them both outside the second balcony en#oyin% the bree4y, fresh air.
6pparently, the cat'butt hairs were contributin% to their respiratory issues.
“Mamma, :apa, buongiorno, come sta” :aulie asked his mother and father how
they were doin%.
“'olto bene, gra%ie, e ei” they asked.
“Bene, gra%ie,” and he hu%%ed and kissed his mother while Melva came out onto
the balcony to #oin them. Marcello e)tended his hand and kissed Melva"s cheeks, his
wife only nodded to her e)istence. Melva knew the woman was still be mad about the cat
hairs, and the fact that not havin% her son to herself.
*hey asked if they wanted supper for later on, :aulie told them that they had eaten
a bountiful lunch and would not want to impose on their time. !is mother thou%ht
nothin% of it and be%an headin% toward her domain, the kitchen, to start a hearty meal for
:aulie e)cused himself from Marcello and Melva, he told her he had to take care
of some phone calls and he"d see her shortly and reminded her to make sure she knew
this was her home too now.
$he kissed him, “I"ll miss you, but I understand you have other thin%s to do.
:romise you"ll be careful, okay. I"ll %o ahead and do some phone calls too, to =erdy and
6unt Bertha. I"ll make my travel arran%ements for ne)t week.”
“*hat sounds %ood, goumada, this way I"ll have you for a whole week to show
you around and show you off.” !is %or%eous eyes twinkled as he stared into Melva"s
eyes. &oes she !now how much she drives me cra%y? !e wished he could hold her here
!e wanted to take her by the coast in Derna44a. he loved it there, the church,
harbor, and the beach. !e would travel there with his parents, when he was youn%, they
would %o to church and then stay near the beach and #ust stare out at the beautiful water.
!e missed his innocent childhood, wished he could live that way as an adult. 'aybe
after everything settles I’ll ta!e 'elva there, or another region. !e wanted to take her to
so many beautiful places in Italy 5 he knew he would in time.
!e kissed Melva between her bedroom door and the hallway and s8uee4ed her
butt, “I"ll see you later, goumada.” !e left her there in the company of his parents.
!e walked around to the back of the house and then thou%ht better of it and went
to a local cafH. he knew that would be a %ood place to converse with =ino. ?n the way
there, he still felt that presence of someone watchin% him, he stopped and called out to
whoever it was.
“$hi :? 9ho"s there” :aulie knew the careless spy would probably be dumb
enou%h to answer 5
6ll of a sudden, two men #umped out, one %rabbed him by the arms and the other
man kicked him in the %roin.
!e mana%ed to %et one arm loose, pulled out his knife and drilled it into the man.
*he other man fled. It was so dark he couldn"t make out whom the man was who %ot
away. !e didn"t care to see who he had stabbed, he #ust took that chance to disappear
and make that phone call. !e knew it was someone from Castocci brogata.
6fter he cau%ht his breath, he phoned =ino.
“4alve, who"s this” =ino answered the phone without suspicions.
“$ompare, it"s me, :aulie, your line secure” !e called =ino on his cell phone,
but one could never be sure.
“$ompare! +inalmente! Ainally, you called me. 9here in the hell have you been
why haven"t you called me earlier 9hat in the hell is %oin% on there” =ino asked
impatiently to say the least.
“'aledi%ione! Damn, let me talk, compare.” !is patience was thin also.
“I %ot my nonna here, safe, but not without incidents, capisce”
“3on capisco, what are you sayin%, compare” !e was confused now.
“Bein% 1clocked," I %uess by Castocci men My balls are achin% to kick some
ass. &o one screws with &onna0”
“Damn, =ino, where in the hell did you take her” !e didn"t say anythin% about
bein% 1clocked" either.
“$hit, had to brin% &onna to $icily, we tried stayin% with her sister near Denice,
you know, had me some pretty %irls lined up too, but anyway, that wouldn"t have
worked. &onna would have cramped my style 5”
“9hat the hell, someone follow you to $icily or not” :aulie was pissed and
“&ah, I think we side'stepped 1em, you know, compare, I can be smart. I was
consigliere for christ"s sake0”
“;eah, well, not no more 2”
“;eah, Castocci lady'boss is %onna have us all by the damn balls if we are not
careful, whatcha %onna do” =ino went on, “hey, how"s the goumada doin% out there
with your mamma” !e snorted and knew that the transition would not be easy.
“$o, where are you stayin%”
“&onna"s in'laws, believe that shit ( the old people still alive out here ( and I
ain"t havin" no kinds of fun, what say I come over there”
:aulie was %lad his compare’s timin% was ri%ht on the money.
“$ompare, that"s a damn %ood idea, when can you train it over ?h, wait ( I"m
sendin% my goumada away ( ne)t week, come then, okay. *his is when I start le%ali4in%
the shippin% business, I"ll need you here, and advice you know” !e was happier that he
had talked to his best friend.
“I"ll be there, compare, hey, can you line me up somebody, you know, %or%eous,”
he lau%hed devilishly, as usual.
“I"ll see who I can round up for ya. 3eep in touch, come ne)t Ariday, capisce”
“;eah, okay 5 &onna says $iao0”
“;eah, okay,” :aulie sure didn"t miss that old lady"s backhand slaps.
*hey said their %ood'byes and hun% up.
:aulie decided he needed a drink, nice, stron% drink.
9hile he was there, he rounded up ( as promised ( somebody for his compare. !e was
happy he had his goumada waitin% for him and not some floo4y.
6fter :aulie left, Melva told his parents she was not feelin% well and went to her
room. $he slipped into her pa#amas and tried to %et Brinks to come into the small, co4y
room so that they could cuddle. !e did not %o in. !e had better thin%s to do, like keep
watch on the refri%erator, #ust in case a piece of tuna flew toward him when <rmelinda
$he dialed her best friend"s number, she"d try =erdy at home, with any luck at all,
she"d be there. $he was so nervous and e)cited, because she hadn"t talked to
=erdy in what seemed like forever.
=erdy answered on the first rin%, “;eah” !er voice revealed her sour mood.
“=erdy, it"s me, Melva. 6re you all ri%ht”
“?h, hey %irlfriend, where are you Callin% to let me in on the escapades 2 only
%ive me the %ory details, nothin% mushy, okay %o on 5”
Melva %i%%led, “oh =erdy, you know we haven"t %one that far yet.”
“9ell, why the hell not, damn'it did you blow the whole thin% with Mr. !ot'
pants already I swear Melva, you"d think you were tryin% to become a nun or
somethin%, do the deed already, you"re in a romantic place, ri%ht” Melva knew =erdy
wanted her laid and all, but she was offended that =erdy didn"t %enuinely ask her how
she was doin%, she was thousands of miles away.
“=erdy, you sound so 1pissy" what"s the matter with you ;ou"ve been actin% so
mean toward me lately.”
“?h, shut'up, have not0” $he mimicked a small child durin% a candy'tantrum.
“9ell 9hat do you have to say for yourself 6nythin% at all, I"m waitin% 5”
$he thou%ht maybe =erdy was :M$in% a%ain, poor thin%, and no one to vent toward
there in Catswillow, other than her horrible boss, <arl.
=erdy cleared her throat, “yeah, well, it"s possible I"m bein% a bitch about all this,
I miss ya, I suppose 5 and the fur'wad, how"s he doin%” !er voice wasn"t e)actly
convincin%, but Melva took what she could.
“?h, your nephew is fine, he really has taken to :aulie"s father, but his mother a
bit tou%h 5 we"ll see, I"m sure maybe she"s #ust not use to cats.”
“;eah, maybe he"s a pain in the ass,” she said sternly.
“=erdy0 9hat the hell"s the matter with you, we haven"t talked in a lon% time,
and you"re bein% nasty, why”
“I"m sorry, Melva, it"s #ust work 5 <arl"s been on my ass since I %ot back.”
“9here did you %o” $he knew =erdy had no family to visit, not even distant
relatives, well, e)cept for her %eeky, %ross cousin. $he shivered at the thou%ht of that
“;es, I went to see my aunt, you know my cousin"s mother” $he hoped that
kept Melva from %oin% further with 8uestions, she wasn"t in the mood toni%ht.
“;ou have an aunt that"s alive” Melva was perple)ed. =erdy only had that one
cousin, she never mentioned an aunt, or anyone else 2 all others were deceased 5 at
least that"s what =erdy always told her.
“$illy, of course I do, she lives in &ova $cotia, and you knew this, 8uit bein% so
darn cra4y0 7et"s talk about the fine man you have %ot %et between your le%s in this
millennium.” =erdy snorted, her mood had improved a bit.
$he lau%hed too. $he missed her =erdy.
“?h, =erdy it"s fabulous here, I wish you would come and visit me, can you
9ould your boss let you I was meanin% to ask you 5 are you stayin% there at your
place or with <arl like we had talked about”
“&ah, you know me, I can take care of myself. I don"t need any man protectin%
me from anythin%, you know I"ll be #ust fine here 5 alone, well, with Bonbons of
course.” $he knew how to use a %un. she found that out when they rescued Melva and
“I know you can, but I still worry, you know like an older sister would,” she
wanted =erdy to be safe above all else, and come stay with her at her aunt"s mansion, “I
have a %reat idea, why not come and stay with me at 6unt Bertha"s, #ust outside of
7ondon, please” $he hoped =erdy would %o for it. it would be like old times.
“$orry, %irlfriend, but I %otta work. <arl"s really havin% it rou%h.”
“9ho the hell cares, come on0” $he could care less about that cra4y, horrible
“Melva, I don"t have the money or the time, so let it %o, okay <arl"s tryin% to %et
other Bava Bars off the %round, you"d be really impressed with him, believe me. ;ou can
always come back here.”
Melva was disappointed. she felt she and her best friend were 8uickly driftin%
apart fast. $he wished she knew why. Maybe it was her But, =erdy never had been the
#ealous type, ever.
“6ll ri%ht then, I"d better let you %o, still need to call 6untie. if you chan%e your
“I can"t, bye0” =erdy hun% up the phone before Melva could say another word.
$he felt weird and she didn"t like it, maybe =erdy did envy her, but never had they had
these issues before.
$he dialed her aunt"s number, Bertha answered ( as always ( in her Mrs.
Doubtfire voice. “!ellloooo0 *his is Bertha0” $he san% throu%h the telephone line.
Melva felt better instantly.
“6untie, it"s Melva,” she suddenly remembered to use her fake <n%lish accent,
#ust for her aunt"s amusement, of course.
“?h my dear child, it"s so wonderful to hear your voice0 ;our auntie has been so
feverishly worried about you, my dear are you all ri%ht”
“9hy, yes, 6untie 2 actually I"m so fabulous it"s unbelievable. I have a
fantastic idea, why don"t I come and see you and stay for a bit, is that okay” $he
couldn"t wait to pack up herself and her cat, and run off to the train station.
“Melva darlin%, this is a wonderful idea. Come, come 8uickly, when can you
come ?h, my, the shoppin% to do, is there a weddin% we need to shop for” !er aunt
%i%%led at the thou%ht. $he wasn"t too sure if that"s what she wanted for Melva 5
“&o, no, calm yourself down ol" %irl, but maybe in the near future, what do you
think of that” $he crossed her fin%ers.
6t that moment, :aulie peeked into her room, dropped Brinks on the floor and
went over to sit by her on the bed.
$he felt that 1tin%le" she loved feelin%.
“6untie, I"ll fi%ure all my details out tomorrow and call you with my itinerary,
okay $hall I stay a while, or are you plannin% to roam around <urope”
“;es, come when you can, will you be brin%in% your Italian lover 9e can chat
more on him when you %et here,” Bertha"s tone wasn"t e)actly thrilled at the thou%ht. she
was still havin% some doubts about a mobster for a nephew'in'law. But she wanted her
niece happy, that"s all that mattered to her now.
Melva s8uirmed as :aulie"s hand stroked her thi%h, “6untie, no, I"m comin%
alone 5 oh, with Brinks of course, do you mind”
“*he little tot is welcomed, of course, so come on. $tay as lon% as you"d like. Do
call me tomorrow.” $he hun% the phone up after their farewells.
“:aulie what are you doin%” :aulie decided he wanted a little time with his
“Mamma and :apa are asleep, so no worries, goumada 5”
$he tried to stop him, but he was stron%, but she loved it0
*here was a knock on the door.
“'aledi%ione!” !e cursed under his breath. “;es”
It was his mamma.
“Buonanotte, my son, is the gatto here in the room” $he peeked in to look about
and noticed her son practically on top of Melva.
“Mamma, he"s in here, so %o to bed. $orry we did not eat anythin% you made, but
I mi%ht. Bust leave it out for me, gra%ie.
Melva stood up, “gra%ie,” she said awkwardly and strai%htened herself up a bit, as
the woman stared at her disapprovin%ly.
<rmelinda looked around once a%ain and noticed a furry tail half'way stickin% out
from under the bed, she then bid %ood ni%ht to all.
“9ill she ever like me” Melva asked, worried she may never %et her approval.
“#oumada, do not worry, my mamma is a fair woman, she doesn"t #ud%e you at
all, it #ust takes time. $he"s from many %enerations of traditional Italian women. *rust
me, okay” !e knew how to calm her down and make her feel better.
*hose eyes did ma%ic on her body.
*hey decided they wanted a snack and headed toward the kitchen to feast on the
talented <rmelinda"s cookin%.
Brinks followed them out of the room, of course. &id someone say food?
*he week passed very 8uickly. Melva packed li%htly knowin% that her aunt
would most defiantly take her on a me%a shoppin% spree. $he hoped she wasn"t
e)hausted by the time she %ot there to do that.
Brinks was finally ready to %o after fi%htin% cat claws and cat bites all the way
into the carrier, he was not thrilled, he #ust wanted to stay there to rela) and eat. !e
didn"t take to disruptions where eatin% was concerned.
&onetheless, they said their %ood'byes to Marcello and <rmelinda. Marcello
kissed her on the cheeks, and when she hu%%ed <rmelinda, she did not hu% her back, but
she thou%ht she saw a small smile cross her face, probably because she and Brinks were
:aulie called for a cab to drop her off, but then he thou%ht better of it and went
with her to make sure no one bothered his goumada. 9ell, the one man he stabbed
couldn"t, he was most likely dead and the other had probably left to %ive news to
Castocci about the incident. !e knew they were #ust tryin% to scare him into leavin% all
of Arankie"s businesses as is, so they could #ump in and take over.
:aulie dismissed the thou%hts and concentrated on what he and =ino needed to do
in the weeks to come, and he would have to tell his mamma, before he went anywhere
else, about her brother Arankie.
Melva had a <uro *rain ride up in first class, of course, for her and Brinks.
Brinks had a seat all to himself of course. $he hoped he wouldn"t be a bad, %rouchy
feline all the way to 7ondon. $he had told her aunt to meet her at the train station, and
Bertha said that her driver would be there to pick her up, %ivin% some e)cuse why she
couldn"t be there to %reet her. $omethin% about makin% Melva"s room presentable for
her. $he didn"t reali4e Melva would end up cleanin% and chan%in% up the room when she
%ot there, for%ettin% about her niece"s tendencies.
*hey reached the train station without incident, :aulie was happy about that. he
didn"t want Melva to see him blast someone"s ass away. If someone had followed her to
this point, then he prayed that she knew how to defend herself. !is heart ached that he
couldn"t protect her every minute of every day. !e knew that she"d be better off stayin%
with her aunt.
“#oumada, call me when you %et there and if someone tries anythin% with you,
#ust use those shoes as weapons, capisce”
*hey both looked down at her two'inch spiked heels she chose for the trip.
“I promise, I"ll be okay you"ll see. $ay bye to Brinks, we both will miss you.”
!e %ave her his cell phone number. he reali4ed she never had that until now.
“Call me whenever you want to, I"ll be waitin%.” !e kissed her passionately for
all to see.
$he would miss her Italian hunk.
Brinks meowed super loud for :aulie to pay attention to him, for once.
“7ittle %uy, take care of your mamma, or else,” he %i%%led at the recollection of
the time when he thou%ht Brinks was an actual person, a person he would have to
*hey kissed a%ain and he %ave her a nice s8uee4e. *hey boarded the first class car
and waited for their train to start rollin%. $he was e)cited and sad at the same time, she
wanted so much to feel :aulie beside her, but she had Brinks ( besides, he was nice and
warm, and furry ( it would have to do for now.
$he loved first class. $he felt as if she were royalty. *he cabin was about half
full and she noticed all her fellow passen%ers, an old couple, a few youn% couples,
probably on vacation, or %oin% home and a handful of businessmen. *o her they all
looked very handsome. but there was one odd lookin% man who kept starin% back at her.
Dread filled within her ( she noted the restroom was out ri%ht passed his seat.
9hen she needed to %o to the restroom, for sure, she"d take Brinks with her,
convincin% herself that surely no one would hurt a cat'mom.
“4cusi, Donna Castocci,” the lady'boss decided she like the sound of this and
made it known to her “6dministration” to address her as such. Carparillini continued,
“9e have our secure area in +iren%e, when do we leave” !e, who was sick of waitin%
for a woman to tell him what to do, he wanted control. But, he remained calm in front of
the woman at the Castocci famiglia meetin%.
“Incredible0 I cannot believe my men pulled it off, why in the hell did it take
forever 6m I the only one who feels this crap is takin% too damn lon% to plan, and
where in the hell is Bi% Bones Must I be in the dark about everythin%. you men are
pissin% me off0 I am boss, capisce” *he donna paced the room. *he stress was %ettin%
to her and these men, whom she considered, balls for their brains, were makin% her even
madder. $he wanted Arankie"s businesses tucked away for her uses, no one else"s.
“9hat do we know about Arankie"s dealin%s around the country, anythin%”
“9e have followed :aulie and his %irlfriend as you instructed, but these thin%s
take time 2”
*he donna cut Carparillini"s e)planation short. “I don"t %ive a rat"s ass about
who"s followin% whom, #ust %et me some kind of proof that I ( no one else ( owns these
“$apisco, Donna Castocci,” Carparillini responded faithfully and knew that he
would travel to +iren%e and make certain the entire boss"s tasks were completed.
“$o, where"s Bi% Bones, I don"t see him here” $he waited patiently for any of
her men to answer her. *hey all acted as if scared of her today. $he purposely made it
tou%h to run up and hu% her.
“;ou will be happy to know that he"s with the %irl, Melva,” Carparillini added.
“!e"s with her, what do you mean, with” *he donna didn"t know what her
cousin was up to, but hoped he %rew brains and didn"t screw thin%s up for her, she"d be
so pissed, she"d have to kill him this time for sure.
“!e called, he"s on his way to 7ondon and he"ll keep an eye on the %irl for us.”
Carparillini sat down and made himself comfortable on the couch.
*hey had no idea of Bi% Bones" intentions with Melva, Carparillini sent him to
7ondon to check out a lead he %ot about a pub that was a front for an under%round casino.
Bi% Bones had his own plan.
“Aine, make sure he checks in with us re%ularly. 9hat else you %ot for me”
Castocci sat down also, across from Carparillini. $he found him attractive enou%h for
one ni%ht of passion ( only. !e was a little older, but she wondered if this is what she
needed, to relieve some stress ( a nice roll in the hay.
Carparillini cleared his throat, and %estured all the men to leave the room.
“9ith all respect, Donna Castocci, I think I should %o to +iren%e myself instead of
stayin% here doin% nothin%. I need somethin% to do, capisce”
“$apisco, what did you have in mind,” Castocci thou%ht best to cross her le%s at
that time revealin% some skin for Carparillini to see.
!e saw. !e liked.
“I would like to leave tomorrow, if that"s all ri%ht with you, of course, Donna
Castocci ...” !e %ot up, locked the door to the room they all had met in, and went over to
$he wanted the same thin%, and the couch would do #ust fine. “;ou can %o, after
you do somethin% for me ...”
!e only had to respond one way. this was by layin% his hard body on top of hers.
It was a bittersweet moment when two friends hu%%ed. =ino had finally arrived
to help :aulie. *he two men were more than happy to finally meet a%ain ( like old times.
“=ino, buongiorno! $ome sta?” !e patted his compare on the shoulder and then
headed up to the house.
“I"m fine now, my friend, it"s so very %ood to be here,” =ino felt at home here,
because he had known :aulie since his youn%er days chasin% after Arankie everywhere
Arankie would %o, :aulie"s parents knew this also. *herefore, he was like famiglia too.
“Mamma, :apa come, =ino"s here0” :aulie was e)cited to see his friend. *his
meant they could head out to the hills of Derna44a, where they could deal with the
!is mamma made a bountiful lunch that consisted of veal, pork and pasta. *hey
talked about years before and how he was such a pain in the neck for Arankie, always
han%in% on to him and be%%in% to %o everywhere with him. *hey talked about =ino"s
nonna and how their families would sometimes run into one another here and there across
Italy, it was a nice chat.
In Italian, =ino asked <rmelinda how she felt about hearin% about Arankie"s
death. *his was a bad thin%, when thin%s were %oin% so darn well there.
!e looked at :aulie who had nearly choked on his veal, and Marcello stared at his
petite wife, waitin%...
!e wanted to choke =ino for spillin% it all, and at dinner.
<rmelinda"s face turned beet red, and what followed were wails of sobbin% ( then
without warnin% ( <rmelinda stopped as if she were a faucet someone 8uickly turned off.
!e went over to stand ne)t to his mother, to comfort her, “Mamma, per favore
speak to us.”
$he wiped her red eyes and said, “Arankie was a bum, finish your meals, %o now.”
$he turned back toward the kitchen and be%an preparin% a sweet treat for everyone.
*he three men were perple)ed at her reaction. *hey #ust nodded to one another to
finish their meals and see what else the evenin% brou%ht.
!e wanted =ino to rela) a bit, but he also wanted them to be alone to speak of
plans. he wanted to head out and take to 1cleanin%" alon% the way. *he plan was to drive
stoppin% in various places to avoid anyone followin% them.
6fter <rmelinda cleaned her kitchen, she invited her husband to #oin her on one of
their balconies to en#oy the wonderful ni%ht air. =ino and :aulie stayed in the livin%
room to talk of plans.
“$ompare, I didn"t know she didn"t know about her brother, Arankie, she"s pissed
at me, huh” !e was worried and a carin% compare who hoped the woman would still
make him breakfast. he missed his nonna"s cookin% already.
“I should kick your ass for that, but I won"t, since you"re here to help me,” :aulie
lau%hed and handed =ino a ci%ar. !e didn"t really like smokin% around Melva, or his
parents, but this was =ino, his compare.
“*here is much to do” =ino asked. !e knew :aulie would pay him
handsomely. after all, he helped &onna out many times, like payin% his share at the small
house in Catswillow.
“9e need to head out first thin% tomorrow mornin%,” :aulie noticed =ino"s face
showed disappointment with somethin% that he had said. *hen reali4ed that =ino was
probably thinkin% about food, as always, “don"t worry, compare, we"ll eat breakfast first
( you cra4y babbo.” *hey both lau%hed and took in a nice puff of their ci%ars.
“!ey, :aulie, how lucky you been %ettin" with that cra4y goumada of yours”
“I"m not, I told you not a %ood time for that, but it"ll be %ood soon ( can we %et
back to what I need to let you in on” !e knew =ino"s mind was in the %utter at all
times, then he remembered the woman he rounded up for =ino to have a %ood time with
upon his arrival, he"d let him know this after they planned what they were %oin% to do.
!e told =ino they"d arrive in Monterosso al Mare by a boat to Derna44a, and
there they"d seek out the man Arankie left in char%e of shippin%. *his person wouldn"t be
any trouble, because this was an old man, with no ties to the mob whatsoever, this is how
Arankie wanted him to appear ( the less suspicions the better.
=ino would make the old man an offer he couldn"t refuse, and he would proceed
toward Derna44a, after the old man a%reed to call in all the ships that were out of port.
*hey would then brin% those ships in, which carried dru%s in the compartments, put le%al
products in the shipments, and made sure the authorities found the ille%al dru%s.
=ino a%reed to do this and knew that the sooner he"d be done with the mob and
connections, the better for him to find a nice woman and settle down 2 after all, he
wasn"t %ettin% any youn%er.
Melva arrived at the countryside mansion a little late in the evenin%, but
nonetheless she was so happy to see the flowers in bloom and felt like a princess in her
aunt"s stretch limo. $he absolutely loved it.
*he cat s8uirmed a bit in his carrier, she knew he was %ettin% a little restless in
there, and thou%ht she better let him roam around the lu)urious limo. Brinks #umped out
of his carrier onto the back of the leather seats. Cooped up for so lon% in that horrid
carrier, he released his claws releasin% his frustration as he popped his paw up and down.
“?h, my %oodness Brinks, 6untie Bertha will be upset at you for clawin% at her
leather seats, now do calm yourself.” $he knew her words were meanin%less, cats will
do as they damn well please0 *hey reached the main iron %ates lined with an intercom
and hu%e lions on each side of the entryway. Bertha"s deceased husband fi%ured lions
looked vicious and would keep them safe. It didn"t matter that he also had security
roamin% about to protect them.
Brinks decided to take a dive out of the limo with one swift move, as soon as the
driver opened the door, “do come and eat Brinks, you won"t find anythin% out there but
rats0” Melva hoped that latter part fri%htened the stubborn feline. It did not. !e liked
rats. Brinks tended to lick his rear before proceedin% to climb the fence, and headed
toward the one of several %ardens Bertha"s mansion owned.
“?kay, Mommy will see you at supper.” $he chimed and didn"t really care where
her cat was off to. he"d be safe around the %ardens.
!er aunt heard the limo drive up and rushed out the massive wooden doors.
“My dear child, you look so thin, have you not eaten since I last saw you I do
declare you"re thin as a rail, come on now 2 @ufus, tend to her ba%s, and %o on.” !er
aunt proceeded to poke her ribs for fat.
*he driver cursed at his boss under his breath, and %rabbed the carrier, which
smelled of kitty'cat butt, and proceeded to walk into the mansion.
Bertha bulldo4ed passed her many servants, usin% hand %estures and yellin% out
what each should do for her niece and her cat. $ome servants dismissed her and some
acknowled%ed Melva"s presence.
Melva 8uickly smiled at each one, she really didn"t want to be any trouble at all (
but she knew that her aunt was who she was and no matter what she wanted, they would
cater to her every whim re%ardless. $he couldn"t wait to %o shoppin%0
“&ow, my dear, would you like a sherry before supper, you know, to let off some
of the train staleness from your body” Bertha didn"t wait for her answer she #ust poured
?ne sip and she was a bit more rela)ed. $he sat back in a comfortable settee, old
<n%lish furnishin%s draped around her. $he loved the smell of the mansion. $he
breathed in 1old world" immediately and loved it. &othin% like luscious furniture and
surroundin%s to make one feel so spoiled. $he knew she was very lucky. $he thou%ht of
her boyfriend, and what he mi%ht be doin%, never once had she thou%ht he"d stray from
her ... somethin% about him reassured her that he would not.
6fter their encounter, the lady'boss decided she had enou%h lovin" to last her a
while, so she dismissed Carparillini and told him to %et his nice ass out to +iren%e at
once, and then %et back to her about Bi% Bones. $he didn"t really trust her new
consigliere, her cousin Bi% Bones ... she knew he would screw up, she #ust didn"t know
Back at the mansion several days later, the ladies decided it was time for a me%a
Airst stop was a bouti8ue located in :aris. Melva asked her aunt if this upscale
bouti8ue was the one that turned ?prah away not lon% a%o, but Bertha had told her it was
not the one. Melva didn"t care, she #ust wanted to step where famous folk stepped.
*hey shopped until they couldn"t shop any lon%er, an unusual situation for both of
them. $atisfied, they were ready to head back to 7ondon"s beautiful countryside. ?nce
back, they sat in one of the many da44lin% rooms with crystal chandeliers and %old leaf
for one to admire. *hey decided that they, and Brinks, would en#oy a luscious, supper in
the ballroom area. *hey played classical music and some rock'and'roll, Bertha had
stashed away, for this very special occasion with Melva.
6fter many hours of dancin% and %i%%lin% about, Melva e)cused herself and
Brinks to turn in. Bertha decided to lin%er about in her library for a mid'ni%ht read,
maybe somethin% #uicy.
“&i%hty'ni%ht my dear, you rest easy and tomorrow we"ll ride the %rounds on my
horses, you"ll #ust love @andy, he"s a dream. !e"s popular with all the fillies.” $he
%i%%led like a school%irl, and kissed her niece and the feline she had tucked in her arms.
“$ee you in the mornin% and thank you 6untie for this fabulous vacation.”
Melva, e)hausted from shoppin%, and Brinks headed off to dream world pretty
It was #ust after L+GG a.m. and Melva felt somethin% weird ... she couldn"t breathe.
$omeone had a pillow over her face0 $he tried to scream, but couldn"t, she was petrified.
6nd where was Brinks 0er precious !itty, where was he? $he heard Brinks yowlin%
and hissin%, and then she heard somethin% hit the floor hard ... she wanted to die, she
knew it was her cat.
Ainally, she heard someone"s voice, a man"s voice. $he panicked, maybe one of
her aunt"s servants wanted to rape her.
“7isten, if you 8uit fi%htin% me, bitch, I"ll let you %o, what"s it %onna be Melva”
!e knew her name.
$he mana%ed to a%ree to be 8uiet by shakin% her head best she could under the
!e lifted it off her head and saw the man that had kidnapped her in Catswillow0
$he screamed within, “what is he doin% here” $he was so terrified and confused.
!e sat her up on the bed and held her wrists behind her, he was stron%, and so he
knew she wasn"t %ettin% away. !e laid her back down on the bed and tried to kiss her,
“;ou remember me, don"t ya baby'cakes” !e reeked of %arlic and beer.
$he looked at him and tried hard to recall where she"d seen him before, other than
the ni%ht of the kidnappin%.
“Maybe if I do you one more time, you"d remember me from that, what do ya say
to that I do remember you were not that bad, but not that %reat either.”
$he knew there was only one other man she"d been with, and that was =erdy"s
%eek of a cousin0 Could it be $he #ust didn"t know for sure ... she then noticed around
Bi% Bones" face traces of scars alon% his hairline, could it be facial sur%ery.
“;ou do know, don"t ya” !e fi%ured by her horrific stare that she had fi%ured
out the truth.
Before she could react, Brinks #umped up from the %round and drilled his claws into the
back of Bi% Bones" head. $he was so happy her kitty was alive0
“=et him Brinks, %et him0” $he helped her feline out and du% her nails into his
eyes, she scratched at him until she drew blood.
*he door flew open and Bertha stood there shakin% with a %un in her hand.
Melva flew off the bed, took the %un from her aunt, and shot once.
“=et up and %et out, I never want to see the likes of you anywhere, ever, you %ot
that,” she still had the %un pointed at Bi% Bones, “I do this for =erdy, you"re the only
family she has, %o do somethin% with your life, you bi% idiot.”
Bi% Bones #ust nodded without another word, and left the mansion, on foot.
Bertha mana%ed to %et herself free, the stupid man had not tied the knot ti%ht and
she s8uee4ed out of her bonda%e. Most of her servants were at the other end of the
sprawlin% mansion, so they never heard any of the commotion.
*he ne)t day, without any hesitation, she decided she needed to %et back to
+iren%e. she missed :aulie tremendously and wanted #ust to be near him a%ain. !er aunt
knew that that was best. she was in love and needed to start her own family one day. $he
told her aunt that she"d brin% back :aulie as soon as she could, “don"t worry about
anythin%, and #ust en#oy your life.”
$he packed up her cat and off they went back to the train station, she was tired,
but wanted so much to %et back home ... home in +iren%e.
<arlier that day, in the secured place that Castocci had insisted they find in
+iren%e, was Carparillini contemplatin% what to do ne)t. !e had tried to reach Bi% Bones
for him to come back here, because his cousin wanted him to, but couldn"t find him. *he
lady'boss didn"t want Bi% Bones messin% up anythin%, it was too late to have him any
place else, so she wanted him to wait for her there.
Castocci decided she was flyin% out when she heard that :aulie and =ino had
8uickly taken Arankie"s shippin% business and turned it into some le%it doin%s. *his
really pissed her off. $he cursed at Carparillini, it didn"t matter s8uat that she"d slept
with him recently. $he wanted that shippin% business0
6 few men had %athered there at the small meetin% place and waited for their boss
to arrive at any moment. *hey didn"t know her plans, but were ready for anythin% she
had for them to do.
$pendin% time cleanin% up the shippin% business %ave :aulie and =ino time to
talk about the days passed. &ow lookin% at all they had done ,they had taken that
business and with no problems from the old man- they finally had themselves some cash
flowin% in, le%al cash.
:aulie and =ino decided to contact some men, whom :aulie left in char%e of the
bookstore, since they were trusted, to run the shippin% business, too. *hey wanted
everyone le%it in on the bookstore and the shippin% business. *his way :aulie and =ino
could live without fear of havin% a contract out on them or cops sniffin% around because
they were suspicious about this business.
“=ino, gra%ie for the idea on what we should ship all over the world without
worries,” :aulie was proud of =ino, who loved to eat and knew his cuisine. !is plan of
shippin% Italian food all around the world would make a %reat profit for all.
:aulie knew that this news would piss off the Castocci brogata. !e didn"t care.
*hey were both happy and he fi%ured he"d %o out and look for that rin% he told himself to
purchase for his goumada.
!e invited =ino to %o with him while his parents rela)ed a bit before supper.
!e picked out a pink diamond surrounded by white diamonds that cascaded all
around the band, and he decided his goumada deserved a nice bracelet and necklace to
match it all.
9hen they %ot back, his mamma had a nice supper laid out for all her favorite
Castocci arrived in a wad of an%er and slapped one of her men as soon as she
walked into that small place.
“I"m tired, hun%ry and tired,” she e)claimed to all her men. “9e %et :aulie
toni%ht and we %et him %ood. 7ead the way Carparillini.” $he knew that he had found
out where :aulie"s parents lived.
Castocci, Carparillini and two other crewmembers headed over to the :ala4ollo
residence. It was dark out, but they found the house in no time. *he li%hts were dim in
the house, but she could see movement.
“;ou two %o around the back, I"m climbin% the balcony.” $he had leather pants
and boots on, and she moved like a cat. $he was serious0
Carparillini followed his boss up the balcony.
:aulie"s mamma and papa had already %one to bed when he heard =ino snorin% at
the other end of the room. !e was beat and decided to %et a tiny snack before headin%
down to his room. =ino would sleep there, he didn"t care at this time. Bust as he was
about to open the refri%erator, two men #umped on him and tackled him to the floor.
*hey knocked him out, last he remembered was seein% Melva"s friend, the one
with the wild hair and attitude.
“!ey, wake up, come on, we don"t have all damn ni%ht,” she tapped :aulie on the
head. “Carparillini, make sure the other one"s no problem,” she pointed to where =ino
was, lyin% on the floor, face down, but not dead.
“9hat the hell lady ( what are you doin% here in my damn house” :aulie was
pissed and in shock.
“9elcome to =erdy'world,” her sinister lau%h told him this was no #oke.
“6ll will be all ri%ht if you hand over the shippin% business to me, ri%ht now,
capisce” $he waited, stared at him with bla4in%, evil eyes.
!e had no idea this was Castocci, who else $he was a woman, and that"s what
the word out there was, that the new boss was a woman. But, this was Melva"s friend
from her childhood !e could not comprehend. it was too farfetched, even for the mob.
Castocci could see he had conflictions within. “6re you ready then to die, no bi%
deal for me, Melva will never find out anyway ... she knows me as =erdy Drake, not
Castocci, she"d never believe you anyway, so out with it before I put this bullet in your
9hat she didn"t know was that he and =ino mana%ed to funnel millions throu%h a
$wiss bank under Brinks" name. In a million years, even a mob boss would never know.
6t first, they stopped all the ships from sailin% by tellin% the captains that they
were bein% 1clocked" and to %et out before the mob came in and made threats a%ainst
their families. Arankie never made threats to these men, because he knew they all needed
the money, and besides they had known Arankie for years and trusted his word. 6fter the
ships were free from those men, :aulie and =ino moved the other men from Catswillow
in to take over.
!e spit out some blood that was %atherin% in his mouth, ri%ht at her face, “you can
have it all and I don"t %ive a damn what you do, hear me.”
$he had thou%ht she won the battle with him. “$ee Carparillini, he can come to
reason and do the ri%ht thin% ... for Melva, ri%ht” $he looked at him and then slapped
him. “I"m done with you, but #ust one thin% before we %o from here ... tell my best friend
you heard I died in a car accident or make up somethin%, I don"t want her in my life 2
it"s #ust not %onna work for me, capisce” !er heart, for a moment, sank. $he then
remembered who she was and thou%ht it better that it ended this way.
$he came and went without another person hurt and Bi% Bones would leave
Melva alone per her re8uest. *his wasn"t the first time she"d save his ass.
:aulie didn"t know if she would come after him after she found out about her new
business bein% le%it, and with hardly any money comin% in at all, but he felt, for some
odd reason that she wouldn"t come after Melva or him for that matter.
*hey were safe.
9hen Melva arrived late that ni%ht, she walked into a bit of a ruckus. “9hat"s
%oin% on here, :aulie” $he noticed the house turned upside down. $he crin%ed at the
mess and wanted <rmelinda to know she"d like to help clean up the whole mess. 7ooked
as if someone broke in, but she didn"t know for sure.
:aulie went over to her and hu%%ed her hard, “want to help Mamma clean up a
bit” !e knew she did. !e mana%ed a smile, but was terribly bothered about what he
found out+ =erdy, her best friend, the Castocci famiglia boss. !e couldn"t %et this whole
bi4arre situation about =erdy out of his mind, but he knew he had to. 8ust try to forget,
best for all. :aulie thou%ht it best that they move on with their lives ( to%ether, which he
knew would be an adventure in itself.
6 month or so past without incident, he thanked the heavens above, and he and
Melva be%an to officially date. *his brou%ht happiness into a situation that had been
filled with all the kidnappin%s, and the dreaded news that he"d %iven Melva about =erdy.
6t first, she was in shock and thou%ht she would die. he let her alone for a week
or so to %rasp her emotions on losin% her best friend. !e knew otherwise, and so did
=ino. !is parents never knew what went down at their house, #ust that when they woke
up, as Melva came back from 7ondon, that someone had broken in lookin% for #ewels, as
this is what he and =ino had told them.
Melva contemplated whether to %o back to Catswillow, or stay here in paradise
she chose the latter. *here was nothin% in Catswillow, well e)cept for 7omechick, but
she knew that that woman would still be upset about her wakin% her up late at ni%ht a
lon% time a%o. $he thou%ht best to sell her condo and have the Mercedes that 6unt
Bertha had bou%ht her, shipped over. :aulie took care of all the details.
=ino bou%ht &onna a vineyard outside *uscany and made sure that she made up a
room #ust for him when he came to visit her.
Bertha came over to console her only niece after Melva called frantically that
=erdy had died in a car accident. $he ended up stayin% a spell, she rather liked the
mundane life :aulie"s parents lead in +iren%e. $he and =ino hit it off fabulously, so
much so that they be%an their own courtship. *his became somethin% of an odd affair,
but who cared, they were happy, after all that"s what really mattered in a relationship.
:aulie proposed to Melva on a %or%eous sprin% day. *he sunflowers were the
most beautiful, and the surroundin% si%hts and sounds were so happy. !e thou%ht it best
to take her and Brinks too, to the 6lmafi coast, #ust south of &aples.
$he fell in love with her rin%, and the 6lmafi coast. :aulie, she knew she loved,
from the first moment she saw him.
!is mamma even sent her a charm with $aint Arancis of 6ssisi to Brinks, and told
them to %o to the nearest church on $unday to see the Aather there ( it was Blessin%s of
the 6nimals, and Brinks should be first in line since he needed it most.
=ino called him and said that he and Bertha would be arrivin% in style, to #oin the
$he was so happy she thou%ht she would burst, but :aulie kept remindin% her that
she deserved all the happiness the world had to offer her. $he felt that she did, too.
$he knew Brinks was happy also, this cat had a whole ocean of fish to boot0 *he
cat even won the heart of <rmelinda ( that was not an easy feat to accomplish in such a
short time. !e was a special soul, to her most of all.
!er toes curled in the moment of e)treme passion.
!e felt somethin% cold ( and furry ( on his butt.
“9hat the f20” !e turned his head to see Brinks on his buttocks.
$he reached for :aulie, “don"t stop0”
“Damn cat 2 Melva is he %oin% to do this all the time”
Brinks didn"t move an inch. !e rather liked the nice, soft, smooth area his paw had
$he looked passed :aulie"s shoulder, “uh, well, I don"t know 5 he"s never done
this before.” !er heavy breathin% continued. “?h, #ust i%nore him. he won"t do anythin%
but sit there, really, he doesn"t bother me.”
!e i%nored the cat and continued to please his female.
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