The Girl

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Chapter Twelve

Angela smiled at Luca’s kind actions and sat down on the chair and he pushed her in.

“Thank you Luca, that was...very...um...kind of you.” Angela said a bit nervously under the eyes of everyone in the dining room.

“You’re very welcome Angela.” Luca half smiled and then sat down in his chair and looked at everyone. “Time for grace.”

Angela watched everyone closed their eyes and clasp their hands in prayer. She was never really religious, but she wanted to fit in so she did the same. She then heard Alessio start speaking in a different language, she guessed it was an Italian prayer.

"Benedici, Signore, noi e questi tuoi doni, che stiamo per ricevere dalla tua generosità. Per Cristo nostro Signore. Amen.”

Angela opened her eyes, unclasped her hands, and then put her napkin in her lap. It wasn’t until just now that Angela noticed the spread on the table. She saw many big bowls to ladle soup from, a few plates of fish with herbs on top and tomatoes on the side, and a few bowls of salad. This was her first time eating with everyone, the past couple days the food had been brought to her. She was a bit overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start or what to do. She glanced at Luca a bit nervously and she something strange, he had a silly grin on his face.

“A bit confused are you?” Luca chuckled and grabbed her plate and served her some fish and salad. He put the plate down and then grabbed the bowl to get her some soup. “There you go, the fish is Pesce al cartoccio or fish in a packet. It was cooked in foil. The soup is Minestrone.”

“Thank you Luca.” Angela flushed a bit and looked at the food in front of her, it looked so delicious.

“You’re welcome Angela.” Luca nodded his head and turned his attention back to his meal and began eating.

Angela started with the soup because she noticed everyone was having the soup first. She had Minestrone before, but this one tasted so much better than any other Minestrone that she actually had. Maybe because it was made by someone who was Italian and not just a chain restaurant that said they served Italian food. Each spoonful of soup made her warmer and warmer inside and she relished the feeling. Before Luca, it had been so long since she had a hot meal and this soup felt like home to her and she wanted to hold onto the feeling of home. Which she hadn’t felt since before her parents died in the car accident so many years ago. Angela felt a gentle touch on her hand and looked up at what caused it. She saw Luca’s hand gently laying on hers and his face looked so worried.

“I’m okay Luca. I-I-I’m just happy. This soup tastes like home.” Angela said calmly and tears welled up in her eyes and she blinked them away.

“Mrs. Bianchi!” Luca called out and a curvy older woman in her sixties walked out from the kitchen with an apron out. She wiped her flour covered hands on her apron and put her hands on her hips as she walked over to Luca. Angela noticed that everyone stopped eating to watch what was happening and she looked over and saw Alessio quietly laughing and Abelia shaking her head at her brother. It seemed like they knew what was going to happen.

“Now Mr. Accardi. You are eating, do not be bothering me while I am still cooking. Focus on your meal and don’t disrupt others.” Mrs. Bianchi scolded Luca and he just sat there with a silly grin on his face again.

“Mrs. Bianchi, there is a reason that I called you. It was to introduce you to Angela.” Luca gestured to Angela.

Angela just blinked as she realized he put her on the spot and smiled nervously, “Hi, I’m Angela Kavanaugh. Nice to meet you?”

Elia burst into laughter and immediately quieted down when Luca glared at him.

“I’m Chiara Bianchi, nice to meet you Miss Kavanaugh. I’m the chef here. You must be the sweet signorina that Mr. Accardi has been making meals for the past couple days.” Mrs. Bianchi smiled kindly at her.

“She said that your soup tasted like home.” Luca smiled.

“Oh! Signorina! That is so kind of you.” Mrs. Bianchi patted Angela’s head. “Whatever you want, I can make for you, you just have to ask. Gotta get some meat on your bones, you weren’t fed properly. I intend to change that.”

“Thank you so much Mrs. Bianchi. That means a lot.” Angela’s face lit up and she was extremely happy.

“I’ll even allow you to sneak food from the kitchen, if you like. When Mr. Accardi and Mr. Corsetti were little kids, they were always in the kitchen sneaking food like little rascals. That one time that Luca made you spaghetti, he made a such a mess in my kitchen.” Mrs. Bianchi shook her head at the memory. Luca just sighed and laughed while Alessio ran a hand through his hair sheepishly.

“Corsetti?” Angela questioned.

“She means me, Corsetti is my last name.” Alessio chimed in.

“It was lovely meeting you signorina. I gotta get back to the kitchen to finish making dessert.” Mrs. Bianchi excused herself and went back to the kitchen.

“She’s lovely and so grandmotherly.” Angela said.

“Yes, she is. Mrs. Bianchi has been around since my father was a child, she was a teenager at that time. Her father was the chef before her so he taught her when she was old enough to hold a knife, so naturally when she was seven. She watched my father grow up, get married and kids and watched us grow up. I hope she gets to watch me get married and my kids grow up.” Luca smiled fondly thinking of the past.

“Yes, Mrs. Bianchi has always been a fixture in this manor. She lets her kids help her, but won’t let either of them take over, until she can’t cook anymore.” Alessio chuckled. “Anyway, let’s continue eating.”

Everyone was in agreement with that and continued eating. Angela was able to find a home here and the food was made with such love. When she lived with the Kavanaughs, they had a hired a cook, but he didn’t like working there. He had extraordinary culinary skills, but the food was filled with his hatred for the Kavanaughs because they blackmailed him into working for them.

Here, she was able to enjoy food and eating again. She was happy here and she didn’t ever want to leave.

____________________________

Through research, I found that Italian do not typically have a heavy dinner. It is generally light with lunch being the main and heavy meal. I looked up what Northern Italians eat because the families of the Accardi mafia all came from Northern Italy, thus they have Northern Italian traditions.

Writing an Italian mafia story, I would like to be as accurate as possible.
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