“WHAT is that!?” Ezio exclaimed with urgency into the quiet of the dinner.
Everyone’s eyes followed where his finger was pointing on Adrianna’s upper arm, where from underneath the short, billowy sleeve of her tunic dress reddened skin and some darker staining was as obvious as a neon sign.
“OMG – you got tatt’ed!!!” her little brother Marco yelled. “Whoa, if she can have a tat, I want one!”
“That had better not be real! You better tell me this will wash off!” Ezio was now bright red and looked VERY angry.
“Ezio…” I tried to calm him by touching his other arm, but he just shook me off.
“Adrianna!” he demanded for an answer.
“It’s real …” she quietly replied without looking at her father.
Ezio was usually very composed and while I have had the dubious pleasure of seeing how mad he can get, I have not seen that in a long time, not since we had kids.
“What in the world would possess you to do this to yourself?!”
“It’s my body. And it is tasteful…” Adrianna tried, her eyes now fearfully begging for my help.
“Ezio, the kids do this nowadays…”
“Oh, do they now?! Well, I guess then let’s all get scribbeled on from top to bottom. It will be a hit with my clients at my job! Oh wait, right …THAT was the reason why she SHOULD NOT do this! Adrianna, how do you want clients to take you serious when you look like a toddler’s coloring book?!”
“Dad … I am 14!”
“Now you are. But I have news for you, my sweet daughter! You will not always stay 14. Or 15. Or 16. One day you will find yourself in the position of having to stretch your wings and carry your own weight. And you will need to look the part if you want to work in the family business! Financial advising is not a playground for your foolish childhood experiments! Especially permanent ones.”
“But I do not want to work in the family business…”
Oh dear! Oh no she didn’t…. I was bracing for impact, but to my surprise, Ezio calmed down.
“You think your mother’s little flower shop is the right place to waste your talent?”
“Excuse me!?” I enquired forcefully. “My ‘little’ flower shop brings in quite a handsome sum each month…”
“Honey, not now.”
“Oh yes, now. Since you brought it up…”
“Fine. Your income is better than I would have expected for your ridiculous little hobby, but it is merely the gravy. The main income comes from Auditore Financials and without that, we would not be living in this house with all the creature comforts…”
“GRAVY?” my voice tipped over shrill and a tad too loud. Both kids sat now with eyes wide open and stiff as boards. They had never seen us fight.
“Call it what you like, but my intelligent daughter is not going to waste her talent and skill selling weeds to old ladies and bridezillas!”
“Oh no, you did not! Weeds?”
“Sorry, that was a little off, but as pretty as your arrangements may be, this is a hobby, not a career. You used to work for me, I have seen what you CAN do and I tell you it is much more than using some fancy methods of laundry folding and when that bored you wanting to sell posies!!!”
My mouth fell open as I gasped for air.
“So that is what you think of what I do all day every day? I literally tear myself to pieces keeping house and then I work full time, yet make sure I am home in time so you guys do not have to wait for dinner or want for nothing, stay up late cleaning and preparing for the next day just to get back up at the crack o’dawn to get you all ready for your days of learning 1+1 and sitting in meetings feeling important patting yourself on the shoulders!”
“Viktoria enough! I am not going to argue about your …. schedule, nor am I going to justify mine! And you Adrianna, I want to know how the hell you got them to tattoo a minor, as that will have legal repercussion for that junkhole artist that dared!”
“I … umm … had … consent.” Adrianna said quietly and stared intensely at her feet.
“I know I did not consent and hope your mother did not! So … enlighten us!”
“WHAAAAAAAAAAAATTT!!!?” Ezio glared at me. My older half brother.
“That no good hippie brother of yours now interferes into OUR lives?! Did he get bored ruining his and his lives?! Raised three boys who can barely tie their own shoes, lived in a two bedroom apartment on government assistance cos neither of the parents could be bothered finding a job until we bought them a house, which they had nothing better to do than make another child they could not afford and now THIS!??! I am going over there NOW!”
“Ezio! Leave them alone, I will handle…”
“I have seen how you handle … snuggling on the couch with him instead of talking to him about getting a job like I asked you, not once, not twice, thrice now! I hope you are happy with this now!”
“Can you please get off his back?! As if your family was much better. Your oldest brother keeps breeding kids … Jennifer is pregnant AGAIN with child number – I lost count – Petruccio and his cold as ice wife have been on the rocks forever and he has come onto me a million times when he was drunk, and Claudia I don’t even need to talk about her shortcomings. 4 kids by 4 men, only one of the kids by her actual husband, who moved out and away with his daughter after she got herself knocked up by some teen? And you want to get high and mighty about my brother?”
“None of them affected us. He did. And I will be right back!”
“Ezio!” I was torn. I had two traumatized children at my hand and trying to stop that stubborn husband of mine now would be useless. Plus, Guenther could well take care of himself, as a former professional boxer … and Ezio was pretty build as well .. so let them knock each other around. But Addy would have some more hell …
I hugged them, talked them down, calmed them, told them sometimes mommies and daddies get angry, but it is harmless…. do your homeworks …
“Good night kids… oh and Addy …” she turned around after the good night kiss while her brother continued up the stairs.
“You are aware that you will be doing chores until you turn 18, right?”
Eyeroll and a sigh “Night Mom!”