“Hey Vik…” Blaine avoided looking at Viktoria, and shuffled his feet.
“Blaine, what are you doing here?” Viktoria was wiping her hands on the dish towel in her hands.
“I … there is a problem … well, actually not a problem, but it could be one. The Mafioso isn’t home, is he?” Blaine asked carefully.
“He is.” Ezio now came into view behind Viktoria from some door to the right.
“Oh .. shit. Sorry.” Blaine considering running away.
“Come on in, umm … Blaine. I promise I will keep my knee cap busting to a minimum today.” Ezio grinned and waved Blaine in.
Viktoria and Blaine exchanged a surprised look, but Blaine did as requested and followed him to the living room.
“Can I offer you a drink, coffee or alcoholic? We have some leftover cake if you like.” Ezio offered. Blaine nervously looked at Viktoria.
“I am good thanks.”
“I need some coffee. Viktoria, you too, cara mia?”
“Yes, sure.” Viktoria sat on the couch facing Blaine, the set was arranged in a U shape.
“What’s with him? Should I be worried?” Blaine whispered.
“No, no it’s fine. I told you he is a nice guy. You two just got off on the wrong foot.”
“Here we are. Blaine, I made you one anyway, just leave it if you don’t like it. It’s just the Mafioso in me, I was raised to be hospitable. So, Viktoria tells me you moved into her childhood home? It’s a beautiful area, everything is in walking distance and it is lovely in the summer.”
Blaine was confused about the small talk flowing so freely from his arch-enemy’s lips.
“Yes, it is and always was a beautiful and serene neighborhood.” Blaine agreed.
“That’s right, you two have known each other for a very long time. My apologies but I think I left a terrible impression with you when we initially met, and your first time coming to this house was not much more pleasant. My brothers are not always the most refined if it comes to something disturbing their idea of what a family should be like. I would like you to know that I have acknowledged the errors of my ways and made amends to Viktoria, to Adrianna and your son as well. Truth be told, I wanted to go see you for the same reason, but Viktoria thought it a bad idea. Luckily you came to me now, so here goes: I am sorry Blaine for any harsh words I may have ever spoken about you, and I also apologize for the behavior of my brothers. Truly sorry.” Ezio extended his hand to Blaine, his arm crossing over Viktoria. As nice as Ezio seemed, him so close to Viktoria just bothered Blaine. He felt like a traitor and a liar when he accepted Ezio’s hand and shook it. Ezio’s grip was that of a typical successful business man. Firm, but not painful. Blaine also wondered if Ezio meant what he said or if that was some sort of tactic.
“So, that being out of the way, what is is that you came to see my wife about today, if I may inquire?”
Blaine thought that Ezio even sounded better than he did. Wonder what he would sound like when he dropped the news. Oh yeah, he had wanted to tell Viktoria in confidence, but after her husband’s spiel we would put to the test how much of this was real.
“Umm … well, to make it short and sweet, I know that there have been issues with my son dating Adrianna. I know you said that is behind us. But I found out today that my middle daughter is seeing your son. I am not quite sure how serious this is just yet, but I wanted you all to be aware.” Blaine watched Ezio’s reaction, except, there wasn’t one. Not until he smiled. It seemed genuine.
“I truly appreciate you making all this way to tell us. Funny thing is, we already met your lovely daughter Emmy. She had dinner with us last night. What a bright young lady she is.”
Blaine was speechless. Not something that happened often. He looked at Viktoria, who just shrugged, when Ezio’s cell phone rang. He looked at the Caller ID and excused himself.
“Is he for real?” Blaine asked once they were alone.
“Yeah. He meant what he said. We had some very long talks. I finally told him about my mom’s house, about your new job, about everything. I did tell him about our childhood, particularly yours. I hope that was ok. I just wanted him to understand. And he did. Why did you think I was able to stay all day with you when we got the furniture?”
“I .. don’t know … I didn’t really think much about that … figured you lied to him.”
“I do not lie to my husband. I may omit some truth sometimes, but eventually we do talk. About everything. Always.”
“And he has no problem with … me?”
“I don’t know. I think he understands how important you are to me. But you are a good looking man with a lot of charisma and a reputation of a bad boy. Naturally he is not thrilled by that. But he trusts me.”
Blaine’s heart raced hearing her desciption of him. Truthfully, next to her husband he felt little and scrawny, just like when he was a boy. He was very tall now, but very slender, albeit muscular. Ezio was more impressively build and he did not need to see him shirtless to guess that he worked out his fair share. One thing was for certain, in a fist fight with Ezio, Blaine would not leave victoriously. Still, if all it took to get Viktoria were a fist fight, Blaine would still try, or die trying. He was ashamed of his obsession, he should be a good friend to her, like she had always been to him and be happy that she had such a good man. If his plan had worked, had they been together, who knows if he would not have let her down as well. Once a loser, always a loser.
“Penny for your thoughts, Blaine.”
“Oh, nothing good as usual.” he smirked.
“We really like Emmy. She is a sweet and smart girl, very well mannered.”
“All kudos go to her mother for that, I am afraid.” Blaine lowered his head.
“Oh stop it! You are a good father and those kids adore you!”
“Apologies for the interruption. Business never sleeps I guess. Which brings me to another topic I meant to discuss with the both of you.” Ezio had returned and sat down on Viktoria’s other side this time. Viktoria now sat in between both men who loved her, how descript, Blaine thought.
“Ok, discuss away husband, Blaine and I are all ears.” Viktoria said.
“I know I should have run this by you first Viktoria, but, I am just going to lay it out there. I understand your difficult upbringing and how much certain life choices from your past unnecessarily complicate your life now. While I do not know how either of your feel about this, I would like to offer you a position within my company. It would be entry-level, as it is not something you can be taught overnight, but if you are willing to put yourself out there, I promise you I will assure that you will be given fair chances to better yourself. A fair warning though, it will take long hours and lots of effort. I do not expect an answer right away. Here is a job description from our files, read it over and tell me if you want to give it a shot. You can call Viktoria, or if you like, here is my business card. And I understand you are Viktoria’s friend, so if you prefer to speak to her, no hard feelings. I will leave you two to it then. I have this afternoon meeting at the club I told you about. I’ll see you tonight, cara mia and good seeing you and good talk Blaine. Bye!”
“WOW!” Blaine said, staring at both the card and the job description.
“WOW indeed. I swear I had no idea …”
“It’s a nice offer but tell him something nice and no thanks from me…make it sound appreciative and … smart.” Blaine handed her the card and sheet of paper.
“No no no no no! Not so fast. You keep it. You heard the man, think about it. Sleep on it. Then make a decision.”
“Vik, I do not need to sleep on it to see that this is way out of my league. I don’t even understand what half this shit even means, let alone if I could possibly do it. No way am I going to humiliate myself – or you – like that.”
“You find trying to reach for the stars and potentially failing more humiliating than not trying at all?”
“I AM trying. You know how hard I work.”
“If by trying you mean shoveling dirt in bags and then driving it across town, sure.”
“YOU got me that job!”
“I did. And it was a job when you needed one. This here in your hands is a chance. If Ezio says it will be hard, it WILL be. But he is a good teacher, very patient. And he is very proud of his company. No way would just have offered it to you had he not seen something in you. Oh, and maybe this will make your decision easier: you’d see me a helluva lot more. We’d be colleagues. I am selling the shop and am starting back in my old position. So we’d both be the newbies everybody makes fun of.”
“Hardly. You are the boss’ wife. Nobody would make fun of you. And congrats. I must say this job suits you a lot better than selling flowers to single women with 15 cats.”
“See, you are starting to sound like Ezio already!” Viktoria laughed.
“Ok Vik, if you truly think I can do this, I am in. It would be nice to tell the kids that their father is less of a loser now, as he is sitting in an office counting incoming faxes all day.”
“Nobody uses fax machines anymore, Blaine.”
“See, you taught me something already!”
“Now we are going to teach you how to type up a letter of resignation for your old job and a resume for your new one.”
“Shut it, trainee! Man, this is going to be so much fun!” Viktoria shoved him towards the stairs up to their home office.