Gianna stood poised at the door preparing to enter her daughter’s office. She mentally went over her game plan again in her head. She had too remember to stay away from words like blind date, marriage material and setup. Francesca was like a bloodhound when it came to sniffing out a matchmaking plots. She had sidelined with her last two attempts at finding her a potential husband and she was not going to ruin this third one. Angelo Binochi was the one she could feel it in her bones. So she had to be on point and ready to squelch any misgivings Francesca might have. When her old sorority sister Cella Binochi contacted her through a common social network they had started talking about their children and one thing led to another. Cella emailed her the picture of her handsome unattached son and she knew he was made for Francesca. So together they had come up with an elaborate plan to get their children together. The only problem was to getting Francesca to pick up Cella’s son as a client. This was going to take well thought out maneuvering on her part. She already had her cup of coffee and she had on her best armor Versace. She was ready to take on the dragon lady. Shrugging off any self doubt Gianna took a deep breath giving herself a mental push turned the knob and pushing open the office door. .“Hello baby girl.”
Francesca felt that tingly feeling she always got when her mother was up to something. Looking up at her mother standing at the door she first noticed the smile was to wide bright and cheery and second her eyes had that dangerous twinkle that she knew all too well.
“ No. Whatever it is mother. Absolutely Not.” Gianna closed the door. She was not going to be deterred. Taking a calming breath. She smiled.
“How can you say no when I haven’t even asked you anything.” Gianna walked toward her daughter’s desk taking a seat in of her plush leather chairs.. She would keep her cool and not let her Francesca’s paranoia keep her from accomplishing her mission.
“See this mother?” Gianna watched her daughter place a finger up on either side of her head. “These are my antennas. They have risen up, and they are tingling and sending me a signal to beware of you.”
“ Francesca, Please! “Gianna flagged her daughter. dismissing her words. “You have to do this for me. I made a promise.”
“No. Tell whoever. You can’t do it. Because your daughter said no.” Francesca rose from her chair walking around her desk. She knew her mother was up to something when she broke their ongoing lunch date the previous day. Tuesday was always mother daughter day and she had passé it up saying she had very important business to take care of. Of course when she asked about the business she eluded the question several times. That and the Versace her mother always wore Versace when she went on the attack it was her signature armor when on a mission . Her go to war fashion. This was going to be a battle she had to face her mother toe to toe . “I don’t want to be a part of whatever you and your friend are planning.”
“What makes you think I planning anything with one of my friends?” Gianna hated that her Francesca could read her so well but she was like most of the women in the family they had that sixth sense.
“It’s that smile and that twinkle in your eyes mom and your Versace.” Francesca pointed. “Francesca. Darling you're being paranoid. It’s a nice day for Versace and I have to meet your father for a lunch.
“Yeah. Right. Mom anything that involves one of your friends and you usually ends with me on a date with a son, a nephew or a brother. No thank you.”
“You see you got it all wrong. I just secured a new client.” Francesca watch as her mother sat back crossing her legs with a satisfied look on her face. She thought she had her well she was wrong.
“Okay you secured a new client. Is she a friend with a son?”
“Francesca why is it that you think that I'm always trying to hook you up with someone.”
“ Aa … because you usually are.” Francesca pointed at her mother. “ And you didn’t answer my question.”
Francesca gave her mother an identical look to her own. Crossing her arms over her chest she was just as determined to win this face off as her mother was , She was not going out with another one of her friends strange sons.. They were two opposing forces neither willing to give in because they were too much alike at 5’5 with Chestnut brown hair and grey eyes they could pass more for sister’s than mother and daughter. A demon in the gym and her mother's workouts paid off because she was still shaped like a brick house dressed now in a cream color Versace suite with her hair free flowing around her face. Her mother could pass for forty and that’s all she would admit to as her age even to those who actually knew the true birthday. Now standing here with hands on hips they were having their own Mexican standoff.
“YOU CAN'T DO THIS FOR YOUR OWN MOTHER?” Francesca smiled shaking her head. “Absolutely not.” Her mother was smooth she was about to switch tactics and turn on her infamous water works. She watched as her mother pulled her conveniently placed hanky from her sleeve. She hated she resorted to tears. Tears and the labor story. Manipulation Gianna Moretti was a master. She had a knack for making the innocent feel guilty.
“How can you turn me down Francesca? Your own mother. What’s happened to our mother daughter bond? Does that mean nothing to you? I was in labor for two days. Pure agony.” Francesca wanted to laugh as her mother held up her two perfectly manicured fingers to emphasize her old speech. One finger holding a three carat canary yellow diamond ring that her father had given her for their twentieth wedding anniversary. This woman didn’t even need to work lord forbid she chip a nail. The whole office was on lockdown until she got it fixed. When she had offered her mother a job three years ago to help her out while she was starting up her business little did she know that the woman would become a permanent fixture? Not that she wasn’t a great receptionist / secretary she was still her mother. A busy body, snoop and a want to be matchmaker with delusions of a talking psychic fish named Bobbie in her dreams.
“Stop it mom! Please! Why me?”
“Because I told her that you’re the best darling. Francesca your number one in this city. You’re worth every damn dollar they're going to pay you.”
“You make it sound so sordid like I’m for sale like a prostitute.”
“Francesca you’re so dramatic.”
“So you swear this is not one of your schemes to get me a husband?”
“ Of course not.” Francesca let out a relinquishing breath and headed back to her seat. She knew her mother could tell a white lies without squirming under pressure she had witnessed it firsthand growing up. A renowned shopaholic she was good at working figures and hiding the evidence. “You promise mother that this is not one of your attempts at match making.”
“I promise Francesca.” Francesca felt the goosebumps the minute her mother uttered the words.
“Let me see your fingers and don’t cross your legs.” Francesca watched her mother cross her heart than pinky swear.
“Ok tell me about her.”
Giana let out a breath of relief. This was going to happen.
“Marcella Binochi is the wife of Vincenzo Binochi the former CEO of Binochi Tools and Construction. Their son is Angelo took over the business about five years ago. Robert Deluca is his CFO. It’s so wonder we never meet Angelo. “
“So Marcella wants’ to hire my maid service for her son. I knew it.” Francesca sat squeezing the bridge of her nose shaking her head. It was obvious that the guy was being set up too by his mama.“ Tell me why can’t he do this for himself? Francesca could almost hear the wheels spinning in her brain as she tried to come up with an answer. ”What’s this guy's real problem?”
“He’s a momma’s boy Francesca. She does everything for him. She cooks, cleans and she still washes his clothes.”
“Mom this is not unusual this is what most Italian mother’s do, spoil their sons. What’s new?”
“The thing is, Marcella husband Vinny is tired of her taking care of Angelo. He craving that extra attention since his retirement.”
“Then she should stop treating Angelo like a baby and take care of her man. “
“That’s why she wants’ you.”
“Ma, where did you meet Marcella Binochi?”
“In my spin class.” Giana lied. “Don’t look at me like that Francesca.” Francesca looked at her mother in disbelief she knew better than to trust those words.
“This better not be another sorority girlfriend with an unattached son.” She pointed
“Noooo. Of course not. Just meet with Marcella. I’m telling you Francesca. Cella really has this boy spoiled. She really needs our services. She can’t sleep for worrying about how he will survive without her.”
“Tell her to take a sleeping pill and cut the apron strings Ma.”
“I wish you had a brother. I would have spoiled him.”
“Put it out your mind those days are over. You have me and this is it.”
“You never know stranger things have happened. Your dad still has it going on”
“Stop!” Francesca put her hand up in disgust. “Eww, you and daddy. You just traumatized me for life. The picture of you two actually having sex is just unsettling.”
“Please that’s how we made you it wasn't artificial insemination..” Giana smiled wickedly thinking back to her morning romp with her husband. “Your father is my Italian stallion.” If I wait for you to settle down and start a family Francesca. I‘ll be in an Urn on your mantelpiece.”
“No Ma the bookshelf in the dining room.”
“You don’t have a bookshelf in the dining room.”
“Exactly.” Francesca smiled.
“See how you treat me after I’ve sacrificed my time to help you out here.”
“Mom you take hour and half lunch break and talk to your friends all day on the phone.”
“But do I get the job done.”
“Yes, mother you do.”
“And remember I look great doing it. So now. On that note, you have to prepare for you ten o’clock meeting.” Francesca looked at her wrist watch as her mother stood.
“So who is my ten o’clock?”
“Marcella Binochi of course..”
Francesca batted her eyes as the words sunk in her mother was indeed good at manipulation and she knew it her wicked smile in place as she turned and walked out the office without a backward glance. “You are so wrong.” Francesca shouted at her. Looking down again at her watch she had ten minutes to prepare for the other match-making momma.
Marcella did her research French Maid may sound more like an undercover name for an escort service but it was legit and highly recommended housekeeping agency it was considered one of the best and the owner dependable and beautiful. Not that she didn’t believe her sorority sister when she said she had a daughter that would be the perfect match for Angelo. She still had to do her own investigating and true to her word Giana’s daughter was perfect. It had been like a god send when she had used that social network to find old friends and Giana’s name had popped up. And the fact that her daughter was successful in her own right made it perfect. So of course they had come up with a plan to get their kids to meet it was crazy but stranger things had happen she wasn’t having any luck with Angelo any other way this seemed the best alternative, two stubborn children and two determined mothers.
Giana greeted her with a hug an announced her arrival through an intercom then led her in. “Make it work Cella.” Giana whispered after she made the introductions and left.
“Hello Mrs. Binochi,
Cella mind began to process all the possibilities once she laid eyes on Francesca in the flesh. The woman before her was very beautiful, nice height, beautiful smile, and long shapely legs. Her handshake was firm and no nonsense she was perfect. so far at least physically. Taking the seat she offered in front of the stylish glass desk. Cella took stock of her surroundings. The office of the young woman was classy not overly furnished simple with two black leather chairs a couch a couple beautiful abstract paintings a nice view of the city skyline. Organized very organized nothing was out of place even the fresh flowers on the desk didn’t dare to wilt. Nice. She definitely would work. Good teeth and great posture. Her son would definitely sleep with her but does she have what it takes to make him settle down. Marcella mind was working fast. This one was perfect. Her pitch had to be perfect.
“Darling, I’m in desperate need my son Angelo is incapable of taking care of himself. He’s my spoiled baby boy. And I just can’t do it anymore my husband wants me totally to himself. “
Francesca couldn’t help but smile. She knew a matchmaking momma when she saw one and Cella was one dressed similar to her mother but in black. She had to wonder if they had discussed what to wear on the phone the night before.Sitting back she took a good look at Mrs.Binochi she was a very attractive woman with Strawberry blond hair that framed her face in a mass of loose curls just like her mother she wore her age well. And if the two of them thought she was slow she had news for them she hadn’t missed the little wink and head node as her mother left the office.
She could smell setup all over this; her mother and Cella were in cahoots she knew that for sure. Putting on her best poker face she wanted see how the two she devils were going to play their hand. So putting on her sweetest smile she gave Mrs. Binochi her undivided attention as she explained why her son Angelo needed her services.
“Alright so your son needs a maid male or female, which would you prefer?”
“You! I prefer you darling. “
“Me, I don’t do field work any longer unless it’s absolutely necessary.”
“It has to be you.”
Francesca arched a dark eyebrow at Marcella
“Well he’s a terrible womanizer, I don’t want any young impressionable girls as his maid. “
“Ok, so you want a man then.”
“Mrs. Binochi. I don’t think I’m going to be able to help you.”
“Francesca darling, I want you. You’re perfect.” Francesca felt a chill. Mrs. Binochi’s blue eyes seemed to sparkle and a devilish smile spread across her face. Too big of a smile. One she recognized one similar to her mother’s. That sinisterly evil smile that says you are going to do my bidding. “I’m desperate Francesca I won’t be able to sleep at night if it’s not you who takes care of my Angelo.”
“Cella I’m not a baby sitter and your sons a grown man not a baby..”
“Okay Francesca. I see I can’t pull the wool over your eyes.” Francesca could actually see the change as Mrs. Binochi tried another approach. The woman was good. “Francesca I hate to be blunt but here it is. I need you to seduce my son, break his heart and show him that he can’t keep using woman and discarding them like underwear.”
“Excuse me?’ The direct approach was surprising but it was still a way of manipulation. What did her mother and Cella Binochi do take a secret class in how to manipulate your children to do your bidding. If they didn’t take it they could sure teach it. She could see it now first lesson. How to maneuver your words quickly.
“Your mother said you would be perfect because you have no intention of ever getting married. She said you're set on being a spinster.”
“My mother called me a what?” Francesca held up her hand to quiet the woman in front of her. She couldn’t believe her mother had said such a thing. She had plenty of dates in fact she had one tonight she just didn’t believe in marriage because she hadn’t found the right man. Why couldn’t she enjoy sex without commitment? This wasn’t the fifties . If she didn’t want to settle down she didn’t have too. Her best friend Lauren was the nun material still a virgin at twenty eight how she managed to keep herself sex free and physically satisfied boggled her mind . Now she was irritated with her mother and Mrs. Binochi.
“I’m not a spinster. I just turned twenty eight. I date. I just haven’t found that special someone and truthfully I’m not looking. “She explained. Francesca watched the smile spread wider across the woman’s face as she took her hands in hers in a motherly gesture.
“I know darling sometimes it takes time. It’s not easy finding a good man in this day and time. Back in the day we older girls went to college, found jobs then husband's. Now days you girls are all about careers, even after you have it all you still don’t. One day you want to turn in the bed and feel a man wrap you in his arms not reach in a draw for a plastic ding dong.”
Had Mrs. Binochi just been insulted? Yes she had. This woman had politely insulted her with a smile on her face. Basically telling her the goodie draw wasn’t going to work forever. She needed a man. She had news for her King Dong did wonders on lonely horny nights.
“Look darling you’re a modern woman .You're perfect for my Angelo. I mean for this special job.”
“Have I just been hoodwinked?”
“Of course not. You have been chosen to take care of a difficult task that takes an exceptionally special person to handle.”
“Are you a witch Mrs. Binochi?”
“No. Why would you say that?”
“Because I feel like I’ve been bewitched.”
Francesca looked at the older woman who laughed a little like the wicked witch of the west causing a slight chill to go up her spine as she agreed to take on the job.
“Two hours later she had half a notebook on Angelo Binochi likes and dislikes and his mother refused to give up a picture. She would have to google him definitely. “When you see him you’ll know why he gets what he wants from women but you Francesca you have the same type of personality and you’re beautiful. You take what you want. Mrs. Binochi stood and instead of shaking her hand gave her a hug and was gone. Maybe she was an armature when dealing with the likes of Giana and Cella.