The sizzle of the pan was a welcome sound to the owner and chef, Abbacchio. He had a perfect rhythm that, like his favorite music, without fail made him feel at home. He dishes up another perfect plate of spaghetti carbonara before going to plug in a CD player to entertain himself during the day. It was 5 years ago today exactly that Abbacchio had bought a beautiful but run-down restaurant overlooking the gulf and made it his. He only had a few dishes on his menu, but he made sure that every one of them was perfect before he added it. He also was careful at the liquor he served with his meals. Some might say his exacting nature was terrifying, however, he had locals that loved him, and the occasional tourist come on a whim and claim that his restaurant was the best they’d ever been to. That was enough for him. Or so he thought. The kitchen was starting to slow down after a lunch rush, and he stepped out back for a second to take a smoke break. If they really needed him to fire up something, his waiter and unofficial sommelier, Fugo, could come out and get him. He took a long drag off of the cigarette and looked a little bit down the alley. From a distance he saw a man laughing, with his gaze focused on his female companion. He looked absolutely enamored with her, and she with him. Abbacchio knew that was true love and it made his heart ache. He wishes he could feel what those two had for each other. As his mind wanders off, thinking about his future lover, the couple approaches him. They must have made an inside joke because just as they start to pass Abbacchio the man practically keels over from laughing. He wipes a tear from the side of his eye and then turns around and looks at Abbacchio.
“Oh… sorry to bother you sir.” The man says in a beautiful Neapolitan accent.
“What?” Abbacchio asks, not outright hostile, but definitely didn’t want to interrupt the love birds.
“We’re looking for a restaurant around here… it’s called Ristorante di Aureo.”
“That would be mine. Actually.” Abbacchio puts his cigarette out with the bottom of his shoe. “Entrance is round the front.”
“Thank you.” The man says with the sincerest smile Abbacchio’s ever seen. God, he could not do this to himself. That man was straight, and clearly in love with the woman he was with. He couldn’t even fantasize about him if he wanted to. He goes back in and stares through the window out to the dining room to see Fugo seat the two at a table nearby. Now that he got a look at her, he thought that the woman was rather beautiful too. He didn’t have much attraction for women, but occasionally when a woman like her came by, he knew he was going to fall hard. What was he thinking? He couldn’t be with either of them. God forbid he break either of their hearts by stealing one from each other. They really were the perfect pair. As much as Abbacchio hated to say it, it’s like God personally took the two of them and sculpted them for the other. It was that level of perfection. It was the very same God that cursed him to be alone like this. Fugo came back in and laughed,
“I might actually need a smoke break now.”
“You don’t even smoke. You have enough smoke blowing out of your ears half the time.” Abbacchio is quick to throw back at him
“That couple out there…”
“Don’t. Remind me.” He sighs and looks for the biggest wine glass in the house.
“They’re lovey-dovey. But they asked for the Chef’s recommendations.”
“I said, and I quote, ‘If he didn’t like the dish, he wouldn’t put it on his menu. He’s that crazy’.”
“Then what did they say?”
“Then they asked, well we want limoncello. What pairs with that?”
“A dessert?” Abbacchio raises an eyebrow. What idiots would want limoncello with their meal?
“I told them that. Then they said, ‘Okay, we’ll just wait then’. And smiled at each other, held hands and made kisses faces.” Fugo throws in a gag for extra emphasis
“I’m going to spit in their wine glasses.”
“Because they’re irritating. Do I need any other reason?”
“Because you don’t want to get sued?”
“This isn’t America, Fugo, they’re not going to sue me.”
“Well the woman is. Her Italian is terrible.”
“What do they speak in then?”
“So, should I fire up some meatballs and spaghetti for her?”
“Maybe. Oh. I should go and check on them.” He heads back out and gets their order. This time Fugo comes back and looks for the white wine glasses. “Pinot Grigio, two plates of Spaghetti Carbonara.”
“Got it. You told them the wait?”
“Yes. They said they were just at a café, so they’ll be fine until the food gets to their table.”
“They sound like amateurs. Going to a café before their meal.” Abbacchio scoffs, throwing the pasta into a pan to cook.
“Asking for limoncello for their meal. Maybe they met in America.” Fugo laughs
“They had to have. No self-respecting Italian drinks limoncello like that.” Abbacchio hides his smile from his friend. He works on the dishes as Fugo goes out every time he sees their glass get a little too low. Finally, the pasta is ready. Abbacchio grabs a towel to clean up the edges of the dish, and then finishes with the garnish. He puts it out for Fugo to bring to them and then they wait. As expected, Abbacchio can practically hear their moans from the very back of his kitchen as they enjoy the best pasta in Italy. Fugo and him talk for a few minutes until Fugo comes back like he’s seen a ghost.
“What the hell.”
“They want to talk to you.”
“I said they want to talk to you.”
“I don’t know. Go to talk to them before they sue you.”
“They’re not going to sue me, idiot.” Abbacchio rolls his eyes and walks out to the couple. Right now, they were the only customers he had so he wasn’t afraid of them. Maybe they were moles for the mob, and this was the point when they offered extortion. As he looked at them though, he could see that, had they been mob members, their faces wouldn’t have been nearly as bright as they were.
“Do you run this restaurant on your own?” The man asks, circling his wine glass with his finger
“I do, but my friend works here as well.”
“I see. Well. Are you busy?” Abbacchio knew those eyes, those eyes were eyes of lust. He had heard that the stomach was the gateway to a man’s heart, but he didn’t think it would be that immediate. He looks over at the woman, who looks at him equally as lustful as her boyfriend. He had to ask himself, what was going on. Two beautiful people, interested in him? He thought they must be crazy.
“I usually close early on Sundays.”
“Good. You should meet with us on the beach. We’ll be the couple drinking Limoncello out of order.” Shit. So they had heard them, “I’m Bruno by the way.”
“I’m [y/n].” She says, much softer, but in perfect Italian. God damn it Fugo. “What’s your name love?”
“Leone. But I’d prefer if you two called me Abbacchio.” He’s blunt with them. He knows they’re trying to hit on him, but he can’t really believe it. Why would a couple so perfect want a mess like him? He would throw everything in their chemistry off by simply being near them. Kinda like he was doing now. Shit.
“Abbacchio then?” Bruno smiles, that damn smile almost made Abbacchio fall to his knees right then. “May we have your number? So if you get lost looking for us, we can guide you?”
“Sure.” He hands them a cellphone number and Bruno tucks it in his back pocket.
“We’ll see you then, caro.” The couple leave, a happy flirty mess out of the restaurant as Abbacchio just stands there. What the hell was that. He unconsciously walked back to the kitchen and stared down at the floor.
“What happened?!” Fugo asks
“I just got hit on… by a couple.”
“I didn’t say no.”
“Maybe they’re not a couple. I mean… maybe?”
“You and I both saw how lovey-dovey they were! They were a mess getting out of the restaurant!”
“This has to be a prank or something.” Fugo crosses his arms and perches his head on his fingers as he thinks
“I don’t know. I don’t really care.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I think I’m going to go out with them.”