The calm before the storm

The calm before the storm

A Chapter by VLE321

One Week Earlier...

"Gesù Cristo." Jesus Christ, I muttered under my breath, taking inventory of my stubbed toe.  This was the third time this week I'd stumbled over my room mates Louis Vuitton stiletto's.  She'd tossed them into the hall, stumbling blindingly drunk up the stairs to her room.  For whatever reason, Cataline seemed to think of me as her mother, always picking up after her mess.

"Cat-ah-leen!"  I screamed each syllable as I hobbled over to the breakfast bar, holding onto the wall for support.  A whisteling hiss retracted through my clenched jaw after seeing the broken skin next to the damaged nail.  Blood was beginning to fester the wound.  I reached for the papertowels and had to keep myself from rolling my eyes as Cataline dramatically bounded down the stairs, her storming about only intensified by her lack of morning excitement.

"I tripped over your f*****g shoes again.  Io non sono tua madre!"  I am not your mother!

Cataline yawned and sinched her bath robe tightly around her dainty waist.  Her coiled hair was unkempt and bunched upon her head in a bun, her makeup smeared and blemished.  The redness in her eyes only solidified my theory that she was, in fact, still intoxicated.  I stared at her dubiously while tending to my toe.

"Scusa." Sorry. 

"I almost died!  Seriously almost snapped my neck this morning." 

"Bella, you're so dramatic!  It won't happen again, I promise.  I don't even remember taking these off last night I was so drunk.  When are you going to hit that club with me?" 

Cataline asked on another yawn.  This time I didn't hide my bad-mannered eye roll. 

"You know it isn't my thing.  Besides, what if we run into some unwanted company?  Like the Famiglia?  Those men are always out and prowling on young women."  I nodded at my handy work.  The paper towel was holding nicely in place around my big toe.

"I would love to run into one of those men.  I hear that the  Badadonchi brothers are so hot, they can make a woman come without even touching them.  I bet Geo is such a bad boy." 

I squirmed.  Sometimes Cataline was as vulgar as a man, her tongue lashing out profanities and using such crude language, I often wondered how the men she dragged back to our studio apartment dabbled in bed with her.  She was very vulgar, to say the least.

"Your blushing."  She said pointedly.  The wicked smile that tugged at the vixen's lips reflected my own smile.  She always called me out. 

"Perhaps it's your mannerism.  Ladies should not speak so harshly."  I giggled.  My mother had always said that, raising me to be a lady.  When we moved to the states when I was five, she made me practice and practice everyday to behave like a woman ought to.  Then I turned nineteen and moved far, far away from the country and leaped right into the city of Brooklyn, welcoming the skyscrapers, mobsters, the homeless and all. 

"Oh my Isabella.  Those days of prim and proper are far behind the both of us.  It's time to catch up with this generation!"  She mocked, coming toward me and swinging one side of her robe sash.  I couldn't help but laugh, dodging away from her as she swayed her hips as if walking on a cat walk.

"Look, I have to go to work or Doug will kill me."  I said.  Cataline sighed and bent to pick up her shoes.

"Sure, sure.  Seriously though, consider my offer on going out this weekend.  Per favore?"  Her deeply etched eyes pouted.  I snatched my purse from our two seated dining room table and tossed my long ringlets of chocolate hair over my shoulder.

"I'll think about it."  I said and bolted to the door, leaving behind a loud whiney of excitement.

The streets of Brooklyn were busy.  No matter what time of day, the streets bustled and hustled and the mainstream never seemed to ceased.  The chaos is what drove me here in the first place.  Something about the pandemonium jump started my life for the first time, away from the carefully organized being I was living before.  The city breathed new energy into me.  I was in awe of it.

Only a few short days of arriving did I land a job at Doug's Diner and Grill.  It was no high rise, six figure job I had read in so many novels, but it was a job none the less.  And as it would turn out, I met Cataline the same day as she busted a few tasteless jokes on a group of men who seemed to be still fatigued with left over alcohol.  Then she spotted me, threw a few Italian words in my face, and just like a sealed envelope, we've been stuck together ever since.

I opened the door to Doug's, the delicious smell of pastrami bustling past my senses the moment I stepped foot into the establishment.  I headed towards the counter and dropped my belongings under the cabinet, shifting some of the other server's things around to accommodate the size of my purse.

"Hey sunshine."  One of the servers greeted me.  "You have table three, four, five, and six.  You'd better hurry.  I just got those gentlemen four cups of coffee."  She patted my backside and slid out from behind the register to great a young couple who had seated themselves in her section.  I nabbed a pen and pad, tied my apron securely and headed in their direction.

"Good morning, gentlemen.  My name is -"

"Yeah, yeah sweetheart.  We got coffee.  When we need something we'll wave you over."  One man amongst the four said.  I swallowed the rest of my words.  My pen rested on the sheet of my pad and I couldn't pull myself to look away. 

The four men were dressed in expensive suits.  Each suit was tailored to their bodies perfectly.  A delicious aroma of assorted colognes gathered in my nostrils.  These men seemed lost in their own world as their hushed voices mixed together.

"Is there a problem?"  One of the men cocked his head to the side.  His deeply tanned skin and blatant Italian accent poked through my trance.  He had dusty brown eyes and gleaming white teeth that seemed more like fangs hissing at me than smirking.  His grey suit and white undershirt only intensified his unnerving self appearance.  I would have given anything to curl up inside myself.

"No- I'm sorry."  I whispered.  My converses could not carry me fast enough away from the table.  Unintentional heat scorched my cheeks.   I took refuge in the kitchen, leaning against a wall and throwing my head back.  Unlike my bubbly roommate, I was a stick in the mud when it came to men.  Completely stuck inside my own head, which made for such painstakingly awkward conversations, and the fact that my mothers hard wired consistency for maintaining my womanhood always prevented me from taking the next step.

I chanced a peek through the kitchens large window opening that looked out toward the guests.  The men seemed to be back to their world again, whispering amongst themselves.  Even the one who had sent me running was completely consumed by the conversation.  I ducked back in the kitchen to gather my wits.

And for the duration of the morning, I did not stop by that table again.

The long morning rush had began to die out.  The suited men had came and went, leaving a handsome tip in their wake.  I bussed table's until Doug made cuts, sending me home for the day.  I walked away with about seventy five bucks, which is more than I walked in with.  It was usually the night crowd of drunken fools, and lonesome heartbreaks that brought in the most money. 

Especially on weekends.


I made my way back through the crowded streets, weaving in and out of tourists and locals.  I pushed my way through a thick crowd awed by an entertainer.  However, when I took a shortcut to bypass the traffic I stopped abruptly. 

I saw the same men from the diner.  Still in their suits but they were on the other side of the ally, just outside of a blackened vehicle.  The man that had glued me to the spot, the one with dusted brown eyes, had his hands on his hips, his suit jacket unbuttoned and falling toward his back.  He looked angry, his eyebrows drew together in an ungrateful pinch.  He was gesturing with his hand to one of the other men that had sat at the table.  They seemed to be shouting at each other.

As if he sensed me, his eyes shot out in my direction.  I took no heed in standing around this time.  I bolted.  My worn converses slapped the warm afternoon concrete all the way back to my studio.

© 2016 VLE321

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Added on January 5, 2016
Last Updated on January 5, 2016



Prologue Prologue

A Chapter by VLE321

In the begining In the begining

A Chapter by VLE321