One cold evening was enough to change my life and throw it into a sea of endless possibilities...
“Excuse me,” A strikingly handsome, young man called out to me. He must have been just a few years older than me. Taken aback by his features, I blinked several times, jabbing my finger against my chest and mouthing, “Me?” He laughed at this, his confidence radiating off him as he stood before me.
“My name is DeAngelo Divicci.” The corner of his mouth turned up. He was containing his enjoyment. I was so innocent and naïve—the perfect prey.
“Well,” I nervously cleared my throat, “DeAngelo, I clearly must be in your way. Excuse me.” I turned on my heels, as quick as ever, preparing myself for the long walk home from the small town. I was window shopping on my only day off all week, while my mother was at home with my siblings.
Before I could make even a step, I felt a gentle grasp tug me back around. “I said my name is DeAngelo DiVicci.”
His stormy, blue eyes searched my own, seemingly desperate for some sort of response. I heard the words spill out of my mouth before I realized I was saying them.
“I go by Nina, but my name is Angelina.” He graciously picked up my hand, kissing it so slightly I hardly felt it.
“Now tell me what a young, fragile thing like you is doing out alone in these dangerous streets?” He gestured to the alleyways nearby with a few suspicious figures walking in and out. The sun was setting, and I did admit, I had let time get away from me, but it wasn’t often that I could just do as I pleased.
“This is what I do on my days off.” I smiled awkwardly, twirling my golden-brown hair before pushing it behind my ear. I shocked myself with my response. I wasn’t one to get personal with strangers, no matter how gorgeous they were. Curiosity brimmed my mind. Who is this man and what does he want from me?
He checked his watch and his expression became abrupt, “Your presence has been lovely, for that I hope to see you soon, Angelina.” His piercing eyes opened my soul up to him, and I felt oddly taken advantage of. With that, he jumped into the stalling luxury vehicle a couple feet away from us and sped off.
The sun had completely gone down now, and I was quickly walking down the dirt road, which lay in the middle of nowhere. As tired as I was, traveling on foot became customary to me, since my family could not afford a car.
“Mama!” I called out, hearing several screams so loud that I heard them as I approached the front door.
“Gino and Ryan go to sleep!” My mother shouted in Italian, her words bounced off the walls and echoed through the barely-furnished house.
My little brothers laughed deviously and scrambled to the room they shared with my two youngest brothers. Four kids in a small room, I know, not the greatest idea.
“Mama, what’s for dinner? I’m starving.” I dropped my ratty, old bag at the front door and dragged my body into the kitchen. A guilty look was strewn across her face and she turned to look at me.
“I’m sorry, Nina, the kids were so hungry today. They finished it all, but I’m making you some soup.” She scanned the empty refrigerator, finding something, anything, she could use. We had nothing else besides a bag of lettuce, carrots, and garlic. She looked at the floor, wiping her hands on her apron.
“It’s fine, Ma. I’ll just eat a lot tomorrow morning.” I forced a smile just as my stomach grumbled. I held it, trying my best to muffle it. Her eyes looked me up and down, taking in my exhausted appearance in. Tears welled up her eyes and she cursed in Italian. My heart ached as I held her close to me.
“I never meant for this life,” She cried. “I always wanted the best for you. Your father had a plan, he had a plan for us. We were doing so well. He always wanted more kids. One after another, he begged. He never knew he would have to leave us so soon. I am so sorry my dear Nina. I am so, so sorry. This is not the life you all deserve.”
I rocked her comfortingly, shushing her. It was ironic to me that as she cried in my arms, she was as beautiful as ever. Italian words flowed from her lips and I knew right at that moment that I’d never find someone as truly amazing as my mother.
“Ma, we’re trying to get through this. That’s all that matters.” I repeated. Suddenly, the doorbell rang. I rubbed her back and gave her a nod. She went into the pantry to scrape things up to make for me. I rushed to the door, surprised to find the handsome stranger, DeAngelo, in front of me. How did he know where I lived?
“Hi…?” I spoke hesitantly. My younger sibling’s laughs filled the house and I blushed, suddenly self-conscious for some reason. I felt extremely vulnerable in front of this man.
“Hello Angelina,” He smiled and my heart was sent on a frenzy. “I hope you are not busy. I came to see you.” He looked past my shoulder.
“Nina, who’s there?” My ma called from the kitchen.
“Just a friend!” I called back in Italian.
“You speak Italian? I admire that.” He spoke slowly, mesmerized. I stared at him confused. Then, he looked at me curiously.
“Um, can I help you? It’s awfully late and… Actually, wait.” My eyes widened, “How did you find me?” I bit my lip in attempt to thwart my bluntness. It proved to be quite the problem time and time again.
He stared down at me with his piercing eyes and I subconsciously felt myself moving closer to him. “Miss Sorrentino, there’s a simple answer to that. I think I have something in my possession that might be of interest to you.” He ignored my question and a deep, handsome smirk carved into his face.
“I really don’t know what you’re trying to get at, but I think you need to go.” Out of sheer fear, I attempted to shut the door, but his foot stopped it from closing all the way.
“Look familiar?” He lifted his hand and in between his fingers was my flimsy old wallet. My cheeks burnt in embarrassment. Here I was kicking the poor guy out while he was just being a good Samaritan. Regardless, I still should have been more careful around him, but there was something about him that compelled me to trust him.
“I’m so sorry.” I grabbed the ratty, old thing out of his grip and stuffed it into my back pocket. He stood there for a moment, just staring at me. He wanted to come in. For a moment I considered the fact that he could’ve been a serial killer or a psychopath, but my heart screamed at me to let the handsome devil in. “Would you like to come in for some coffee or tea?”
He smiled politely before checking his watch, “I think I have some time. Why not?”
I led him to the family room to the nicest couch we had. It was my dad’s favorite leather sofa, that was made in Italy. He made himself comfortable and I realized I should get the coffee started.
I smiled tentatively, joining him. I stared at him, wanting to be afraid or nervous, but I found that in his company, that was hard to feel. I stood up slowly, “Let me...Let me get you something to drink. Is um-” He interjected.
“Allow me to help. A beautiful thing such as yourself should be doing no one’s work.” He stood up and walked in front of me.
You’d be surprised.
“Please, let me...” I stopped as he entered the kitchen. Ma was still fumbling in the pantry. I figured she got tired and sat to pray the Rosary like she so often did. He casually peered around the kitchen, in search of coffee machine.
“We use a percolator. I can make it right now.” I offered, rummaging around the cabinet to find our best bag of coffee.
He glanced around the humble kitchen, “I think I’ll just have a water.”
He leaned against the counter as I took a glass and filled it from the tap. He stared at it confused, masking his displeasure. My ma came out from the pantry, murmuring to herself. DeAngelo stood straight and smiled down at the frail women in front on him. He had a look of utmost respect and, for that, my heart sped up.
“Ciao signora.” He brought his lips to the back of her hand and my mother blushed like a little, giddy girl. I couldn’t help but smile along. I hadn’t seen ma smile like that in months. It filled me with bliss.
“And who might you be?” She asked, grinning, giving into his effortless charm.
“DeAngelo Divicci, it is pleasure.” Her eyes flickered for a mere second before looking at me.
“Nina, is there something I should know about?” She turned to me with bulging eyes. Clearly she thought he was a catch. I wasn’t sure if it was because of his good looks, expensive attire or his alluring magnetism.
“No, ma, I just-”
“We’ve actually been meaning to tell you we’ve been seeing each other for a while.”
“Excuse me?” I almost shouted. I noticed from behind him my siblings were peering from behind a wall, whispering. “DeAngelo.” I averted my attention back to him, clenching my teeth so hard it was wonder they didn’t chip. My mother’s face fell. I knew she felt heartbroken, assuming I had been hiding this from her.
“Would you give us just a moment?” He asked my ma politely before gently grabbing my elbow and leading me away.
“What is going on? You need to leave!” I began to curse myself for letting a stranger into my house, no matter how perfect he was.
I could tell he was trying hard to stifle his laughs. He looked at me as if I was nuts. Maybe I was! But, obviously enough, so was he.
“Why do you insist on getting all worked up? I’m not here to harm you, and to be completely truthful I’m a little insulted that you would assume that about me.” His tone was laced with some sort of dark humor.
“I know nothing about you, except for the fact that you’re clearly stalking me, so tell me what you want before I decide to call the cops.”
“I would like to make you mine, and possibly marry you in the near future.”