Francesca moaned with delight melted caramel and chocolate syrup on vanilla ice cream with peanut butter baby cravings. That’s how she was justifying eating a whole half a gallon of ice cream in one day. She had hooky work, and laid in bed moping all day only rising to eat ice cream. She had spoken to everyone briefly telling them that she just wanted to rest. Everyone knew she was moping but respected her privacy. The ring of the bell pulled her attention away from her bowl of ice cream as she walked over to the door looking out the peephole. Surprise to see Angelo on the other side with his day old beard uncombed hair and wrinkly clothes that he wore yesterday. Despite all this he still was handsome as hell. And she looked a hot mess wearing an old sweater and his boxers on from his last visit. “What do you want Angelo?”
“First I want to apologize for last night.”
“Ok you apologized good bye.”
“Frenchy, I know I was an ass and I have a lot of making up to do.”
“You got that right Binochi, you hurt our feelings.”
“Yes it’s two of us here.”
“I ’m sorry to both of you then.”
“You should be.”
“Can we stop talking through the door?” He watched as the door opened. Francesca stood before him chocolate on chin messy hair and his boxers. She was beautiful.
“Come in.” He watched her move aside allowing him entrance.
Closing the door she led him in the living room they sat down opposite each other.
“So your eight weeks.”
“Yeah almost nine...”
“You don’t look any different.”
“For now, until I become a blimp.”
“You’ll still be beautiful.”
“I’m here for you and the baby French.”
Francesca could not stop the tears from falling or resist him pulling her into his arms. It felt good being held tightly against him. She felt safe.
“Don’t cry baby please. Everything will be ok. I promise.”
She nodded her agreement as he lifted her on to his lap
“So tell me what happened after I left.”
“You dad and mine argued, we had to keep them from fighting. Cella and my father wanted to hunt you down and drag you back to the house.”
“I bet.” He laughed.
“And my mother, keeps talking about a dream with a talking fish.”
“Ok that’s strange.”
“Your dad disappeared and I sat talking with your sister’s.”
“I can only imagine what they said.”
“They’re really nice and protective of you, I got grilled.”
“So what’s next French?” She looked into his eyes.
“I don’t know, I guess we play it by ear.”
Angelo watched as the garage door lifted allowing him entrance into his home a renovated factory he had brought when he was twenty- four after making his first million. The garage housed his red hot 67 Corvette and his custom Harley Davison motor cycle. Pulling into the garage he wasn’t surprised to see his father’s black BMW occupying his usual parking spot of his Mercedes. Parking next to his father car Angelo got out and headed to the elevator that he rode up to his loft. Opening his door found his father had made his self at home sitting in his favorite reclining chair with his feet up watching Star Trek on his 70 inch flat screen TV the surround sound booming like in the movies. The fragrant smell of fresh lunchmeat onions and tomatoes on the hoagie his father was eating caused his stomach to growl loudly and reminded him he had not eaten in almost two days.
“Hey pops.” Angelo sat in the matching leather chair next to his father.
“Hey son, how is everything going?”
“It’s ok.” Angelo watched his dad lay his sandwich down as his stomach growled loudly again.
“So did you talk to Francesca?” Vinny turned looking at his son. “And don’t think about touching my sandwich.”
Angelo looked innocently at his father knowing that had been his very thought to grab half of his pop’s sandwich. “Yeah, that’s where I am coming from and you would deny your only son nourishment. Knowing what I’ve been through?”
“Yeah I would deny you my sandwich. This sandwich was especially made by Telly. It’s from the 20th Street deli. I don’t share, not even with your mother.” Vinny smiled at his son taking another bite. “An, how is Francesca and my grandson?” He asked between bites.
“So what have you two decided?”
“To live together until the baby is born.”
“Oh no you got to be shitting me. Angelo this is not going to go over well with Francesca’s parents or Cella. These people are expecting one Fat Italian Wedding.”
“Dad, they’re just going to have to do with having a grandchild. Hey can I at least get a bite…I’m hungry? “Angelo reached for a chip for which his father gave his a hand a hard slap.
“No! I’m hungry too. Look in the refrigerator I brought you one.”
Angelo shot from the chair heading to the kitchen. “Thanks dad I knew you loved me.”
“Don’t thank me, you owe me big time, I had to convince Cella to let me talk to you first. The woman has lost her marbles not to say that she ever had them. She’s on a cooking strike all she does is rant and rave about you and Francesca on the phone to your sister’s all at once. Shit I had to pretend to go golfing to escape the constant chatter this morning and go to the diner for breakfast.”
“She’s not the only one Sal wants to put you in cement shoes and drop you into the Schkull River and I can’t blame him she’s his daughter. The difference between us is that you would already been gone if it were my daughter.”
“I’ll apologize to them dad.” Angelo took a deep breath sitting back down.
“Yes the hell you will and to Francesca again in front of them. This will eliminate the bad blood.”
“Pop once they find out it’s not going to be a wedding there going to be mad all over again.”
Angelo watched his father take another bite of his sandwich than turn. “You and Francesca are going to pretend.”
“Pretend? Pretend what?” Angelo bit into his sandwich relishing the taste of that first bite..
“That you got married at the justice of the peace.”
Angelo chocked. “Dad they’ll want proof.”
“That’s easy son. I have connections well have pictures a license. If you want a flower girl bridesmaid. All the proof you’ll need.”
“It won’t work dad, Francesca is the one who doesn’t want to get married I asked her she said no.”
“What the hell? You’re shitting me? I have never known a woman to turn down marriage. This is crazy.” Vinny looked at his son in shock. “I’m not going to be able eat or sleep for the next eight. Nine months you mother’s going to drive me crazy.”
“She has seven months to go and you can hang out here until I lease it out and Francesca is not your ordinary woman.”
“She must not be if you’re buying a house and leasing out you hoochie pad too?” Vinny took a swig of his beer wishing it was whiskey.
“This is a miraculous day in Binochi history son. You’re giving up your cars and the bike your freedom.”
“The cars and the bike they’re going with me.”
“You’re like a love sick puppy.” Vinny laughed.
“That’s not funny dad.”
“It looks like I have to buy some miniature Eagle gear for my grandson.”
“Dad, that’s not happening either, my son will never wear the green and white only black and silver a little Raider.”
“Mark my words Angelo my grandson will wear the colors of the birds baby boy.”
“What the hell are you talking about Francesca? “ Gianna shouted.
“Mother, I said no, when Angelo asked me to marry him.”
“Are you completely out of your mind? Is this pregnancy sucking all the senses out of your brain?”
“Your baby deserves to have his father’s family name.”
“And he will but I don’t have to be married for the baby to have his name.”
“I think you’re making a big mistake with this one honey.”
“We’ve decided to live together ok.”
“Oh no. Whose idea was that? Angelo’s that boy has more balls than brains and you go for whatever he says.” Sal walked in the kitchen looked from his daughter to his wife was he the only sane one in this family. He walked out without a word they wouldn’t listen anyway.
“We’re getting a house together daddy.”
“Why get a house if you’re not getting married Francesca.”
“It’s so we can raise the baby together.”
“Francesca you both have beautiful homes why not just live in one of them.” He yelled.
“This will be our family home.”
“Did, I just miss something here? You want to play house without obligation?”
“Don’t mom me Francesca, are you two planning to sleep together?”
“We haven’t really talked about that yet. “
“So you don’t know if this will be an open or closed relationship? Are there going to be ground rules?”
“Francesca listen to me you will have a new born baby and now you will be cooking and cleaning for free while he may or may not be stopping past his hoochie loft to get some coochie with someone else. And all obligation free because you my dear said no to marriage.”
“That’s definitely not happening mom.”
“Oh so you think Angelo a handsome, sexy, successful, wealthy, attractive free young man is going to sit here with you and a baby and not get some booty from somewhere if you’re not giving it to him?”
“Oh mom he’s not going to cheat on me. I would kill him”
“No your father would believe me when I say. Anyway we just had to have this little talk.”
“Angelo is your destiny. You’re going to have five or six kids believe me.”
“Mom, I’m like you only one.’
“I would have had more children if I could have I wasn’t given that gift Francesca but you I see it.”
“Not in this life mom, that’s one too many.”
“The fish already told me.”
“Ma you keep talking to the fishes I’m going to have to put you away.”
“Francesca the fish is my psychic advisor, he’s always right.”
“And I think you better not tell anyone about this but me and daddy.”
“Whatever Francesca…Bobbie never lies and never fails me.”
“Who is Bobbie mom?”
“The fish I talk too.”
Francesca looked across the table at Angelo. She couldn’t have a drink to calm her nerves. “You think I can have one glass of wine?”
“It’s not fair you can drink and I can’t.”
Angelo looked across the table at Francesca trying not to laugh at her sexy red lips poked out in a pout. “Baby I’m sorry, it’s just one drink. I’m drinking for the both of us.”
“I goggled it and in Scientific America they said it’s not harmful to the baby if the mom drinks one glass of wine a week only if she abuses it.”
“I don’t care what science who said, we will not have our baby a lush rolling around in your belly because mommy had to have her a glass of Moscoto.”
“Angelo it’s not fair.”
“Look you want to taste wine I’ll put some on my lips and you can kiss it off.”
It was then that both their parents arrived. Angelo smiled at Francesca’s red cheeks as their parents arrived and greet each other cordially. Cella was all smiles with kisses and hugs for everyone. Giana gave her usual cheek kiss and wipe so no lipstick was left. Sal and Vinny just nodded heads in greeting.
When everyone was seated, Vinny coughed signaling Angelo.
Angelo stood as all eyes turned towards him. He held on to Francesca’s hand tightly as he spoke. Turning to her. “Mom, Dad and Mr. and Mrs. Moretti I want to apologize for walking out the other day. It is my sincere hope that we can put that behind us and move on. And Francesca, I again want you to know that there is nothing that I would not do for you and our child. Angelo watched as Francesca stood and wrapped her arms around than kissed him. Her green eyes held unshed tears. She felt so right to him.
Sal stood and slid his arm around Angelo’s shoulder. “Apology accepted, we our family now and families have their good and bad days. So all is well. Let’s lift your glasses and drink. Ad amore de famiglia e salute de vito.” (To family love and life salute)
Angelo watched as everyone lifted their glasses in celebration. Francesca at one side and Sal at the other.
He knew the happy moment was about to end the moment his mother spoke he could feel it in his bones.
“Oh this is so wonderful now we can start planning the wedding Giana.” Cella smiled.
Angelo knew his mother never missed anything and it his look matched the other three who knew the story it was going to be some fall out because the bomb was about to hit.
“There is going to be a wedding? Right?” Cella asked looking at Angelo and Francesca.
“Not exactly.” They answered in unison.
“What the hell kind of shit are you talking about?” Sal shouted. Looking at Angelo then Francesca.
Just than Angelo turned as his longtime friend Luigi the own entered the room.” Is everything ok?” He looked around at the group. “I hope you’re enjoying the wine and horderves that we set out?” He looked over at Angelo. “Just let me know when you’re ready to be served.” He rushed from the room. The looks from Cella and Sal were enough to send anyone running.
Angelo was happy he had opted for a private room he knew that the party would eventually turn around he hadn’t thought before dinner but by the thunderous look on Sal’s face he knew it was going to get ugly.
“Not exactly? What the hell does that mean?” Cella asked.
“It means that the baby will be an illegitimate.” Sal stated turning to Angelo.
Francesca stepped between them. “You sound so old fashion daddy the baby will have the Binochi name.”
“Francesca it is not old fashion for a man to take responsibility for his actions were is his honor.” Sal looked over at Vinny. “Vincenzo, What do you say to this?”
“Yes, Vinny what do you say? Since you spoke to him last night.” Cella spoke softly for his ears only.
Angelo watch his father take a swig of his whiskey then hold his hands up in submission. “I’m letting them make their own decision.” He answered.
“Vincenzo you’re telling me if it were your daughter it would be ok with this?” Sal asked.
Vinny looked around at the group all of whom were waiting for his answer. Sal really knew how to hit below the belt and put a man on the spot. He hated to say it but it had to be said. He looked over at his son who gave him a nonchalant shrug. “I would want the bastard’s balls on a plate.”
“Angelo did ask me to marry him, I refused.” Francesca shouted. She hated seeing the disappointment in her father’s eyes.
“Why did you refuse?” He asked.
“Because, I’m not ready for that type of commitment daddy.”
“But you’re ready for child? What sense are you making Giana speak to your daughter.”
“Mom can’t change my mind, I’m an adult.”
“If you’re an adult then act like one.”
“Then maybe I’ll solve the whole problem and get an abortion.”
“No.” Everyone shouted.
“Enough.” Angelo yelled. Looking at Francesca he saw the unshed tears about to pour and he refused to have them upset her. “Francesca has made her decision if any of you don’t like it you don’t have to be included in our lives or our child. Capisce.
Angelo took Francesca’s hand and was leading her out the room.
“Where are you two going?” Gianna asked,
“I’m taking Francesca away from all of you. She’s getting upset and I’m not having that. The group got quiet for a second.
“They’ll be married before the child is born. I feel it.” Cella looked around the table
. “I know they will Bobbie told me.” Giana put in.
“Who is Bobbie?” Vinny asked.
“Don’t pay her any attention.” Sal whispered to Vinny. “
“Anyone hungry?” Giana asked.
“I’m starved,” Vinny answered.
“All you think about is food.” Cella looked over at Vinny.
“I guess so since you’ve haven’t been cooking.”
Giana and Sal stared at the other couple.
“I don’t cook one night and he cries.”
“It’s been a week Cella a week.”
“I’ve been busy.”
“Oh don’t I know since you’ve been planning the wedding.”
“What wedding are you planning Cella? I thought your daughter’s were all married.” Giana looked over to Cella.
“I wasn’t exactly planning the wedding.” Cella smiled. Taking a drink of wine.
“Oh yes she was.” Vinny put in.
“Cella how can you plan my daughter’s wedding?”
Cella glared at Vinny. “You are such a Brutus.”
“So this mean you two will pay for it.” Sal asked.
“No one will plan our daughter’s wedding but me and you will pay for it Salvatore.”
“Vinny lost a bet he said he would pay for it.” Cella announced.
“Bad for you Vin but good for me.” Sal laughed.
“You’ve got to be kidding me Sal this is our daughter, it’s your responsibly.”
“That’s so old fashion Giana .Vinny lost a bet. “
“Sal if you think you’re getting out of this you mistaken.” Giana stated.
“Giana I’m sorry .if you need any help you have only to call.”
“Thanks and I will since you’ve been through this three times already.”
“Good, because I think we need to get started. “Cella reached over grabbing Gianna’s hand.
“Yes, or everything will be last minute when Francesca changes her mind.”
“I you think you two are being a bit premature with this wedding thing.” Sal looked at his wife and Cella.
“I do too.” Vinny added.
“You two just think about your pockets. “ Cella looked at the two men.
“Just get ready to cough up the cash it’s going down. “