“You got your knife?”
“And a pistol in case stuff gets wild?”
“Mista, all of us have Stands.”
Giorno’s voice sounded slightly more tense than usual as he snapped his briefcase closed before turning to glance out the window to his left. It was late evening at the Boscolo Exedra Roma, and he could see the sun slowly dipping below the horizon, leaving just a trace of light behind. The three young adults were the only ones standing in the gigantic suite, which he thought could hold at least a small classroom’s worth of people, if not more. It certainly seemed like overkill to have to reserve three rooms at this hotel of all places, but this mysterious client had practically insisted on a local restaurant which was only a few blocks away. It made the most sense to just stay here instead of traveling back to Naples.
“You never know! What if there’s a Stand that requires a gun to defeat? I’m not going to be there to help you out!” Shrugging and looking at Trish for back-up, Mista saw her quickly folding and then tucking something in her suitcase. Her hair fell loosely around her face, with her bangs swept off to the side in her usual up-do. Mista and Trish were dressed in their street clothes while Giorno had a freshly-pressed suit on, complete with a briefcase that housed a couple stacks of cash and the handwritten note that the client had left him, just for reference.
“I don’t believe that’s going to happen…” Giorno replied distractedly, more focused on the cuff links he was trying to adjust than the conversation.
“Yeah, Mista.” Trish stood back up and gave Giorno a small smile. “He’ll be fine.”
Feeling his face heat up a bit from the compliment, he turned away. He would never admit it out loud, but he had felt bashful around his friend and former colleague for a long time now and he knew why. Trish had always been a breath of fresh air for the gang, even back when she was being kept in the dark about the mystery of her father, and Giorno deeply admired her for that. Her tenacity, her kindness to the ragtag group of mafia members who kept her at arm’s length for the longest time, her unwillingness to succumb to the legacy of her father… Giorno had never met someone he felt such a kinship with so quickly. In some ways, it felt like they were living parallel lives.
It was clear though, after the events at the Colosseum, that the two of them would part ways. Giorno was left to chart a new destiny in the mafia as a don, and Mista was unlikely to find somewhere else to work honestly, so he stayed on as Giorno’s right-hand man. Trish, however, had other options. She had no blood on her hands. Her life was hers to do as she pleased, whether that meant travelling around Italy touring with her music career or perhaps even starting a family. Still, here she was, even five years later, helping her old friends with a meeting that one of the biggest shipping merchants of Italy had set, a man named Damiano Mazza. Giorno had only gotten the handwritten note delivered a few days prior and was urged to take this seriously by his advisors. As the unofficial controller of trading overseas, this man had the ability to handsomely reward the mafia with access to the ports he watched over if they could broker a deal. Thankfully, Giorno was used to working under pressure.
“Damn,” Giorno whispered under his breath as he realized that they were behind on time. A clock in back of them was slowly ticking the hour down.
“Let’s just get you there and we can worry about the back-up plans in the car,” Trish stated, grabbing her coat off the couch nearby. Mista followed behind her, grabbing Giorno’s black jacket along with his own. Holding tight to the briefcase containing the cash in his right hand, Giorno led the three of them out of the suite and into the hallway, strolling as quickly as he dared. Behind him, he could hear the quick tap of Trish’s feet struggling to keep pace. Out of courtesy, he deliberately slowed his pace, which even Mista noticed.
“Hey, we gotta go,” the curly-haired man hissed, not understanding the change in speed.
“I’m the don. He can wait for me, if he so chooses.”
“You know that’s not how it works, man…” Mista scratched his head underneath his hat, a nervous habit he had tried hard to break himself of ever since assuming his highly-ranked position. Thankfully, his dark green beanie was almost glued to his head so it was unlikely anyone would notice his ruffled hair. The three were almost out of the lobby when a nervous bellboy hopped over towards them from behind the service desk.
“S-Sir? Don Giovanna?”
“Yes?” Giorno stopped in his tracks. Behind him, Trish almost bumped into Mista, who also paused to see what was transpiring.
“Uhh, there’s a call. For you. Sir.” Gesturing to the desk, Giorno saw another young bellboy standing with a telephone in his hand, waiting for a sign to hang up or pass the phone off.
“Thank you,” Giorno replied shortly. In the last five years, he had encountered more citizens asking for him by name than he could count. Some begging for help, some for advice, some for money, and some merely for him to hear them out. Living in the shadow of Diavolo had its benefits, even if they were few and far between, Giorno thought, mulling over how hectic life would be like if the citizens of Italy realized how inaccurate his otherworldly public image was. Any busier than it was now would make him want to double-guess assuming this position. Not like he hadn’t had moments before when the thought had briefly crossed his mind… well, not for the same reason. But still.
He gave a short nod to Mista to go on ahead to the car. Trish seemed puzzled but followed him, giving one last glance at Giorno as she walked off. Taking the phone from the bellboy with a quizzical expression, Giorno merely listened to the line for a second before speaking into the receiver.
“Hey. Giovanna. You bringing someone, right? A lady friend?”
After the last question, Giorno could hear a hearty chuckle of a self-satisfied man coming from over the line. This must be Damiano. Giorno hadn’t heard his voice before but it had a boisterous tone to it, like his emotions just may bubble over at any moment.
Completely caught off guard, Giorno stuttered out, “Of course.”
Damn. He hadn’t thought of that. Of course this man was old enough to be married, but Giorno had assumed this visit would be strictly business. Did he mean to suggest that it was a couple’s date of some sort? Hurriedly thinking of how to switch the conversation, Giorno opened his mouth to further clarify when the man’s deep voice started to talk over the line again.
“Well, ya better get over here before I drink too much wine! Remember, you’re paying,” he continued with a snicker. Then, with a click and a dial tone, Giorno was promptly hung up on, without even getting the chance to scratch the surface of the questions he had about this meeting. Great. This man was already getting on Giorno’s nerves and he hadn’t even seen him in person yet. It was going to be a long night.
“Thanks.” Giorno’s voice was low as he hung the phone back up on the hook and gave a cursory wave to the bellboys for alerting him to the call. Instead of backing away, they stood in place, worried eyes locked onto Giorno’s face. Too anxious about this sudden change in plans to take notice of the fact they were watching him, Giorno had failed to shift back to his neutral expression while thanking them. Realizing his mistake, he gave them a quick smile to show they weren’t the source of his irritation. Mista had briefly mentioned this habit of his once and ever since then he tried his best to… look the part, as Mista called it. It was hard to remember he was no longer operating in the shadows. The instant look of relief on both their faces was the only sign Giorno needed to know that Mista’s advice did, in fact, work.
As he walked out of the hallway into the cool air, his mind ran circles around the few ideas that he could conjure up to fix this gap in preparedness. A woman friend… presumably a romantic companion. The truth was that Giorno hadn’t had any time or interest in making friends or potential love matches in the last few years. Being the don was a more than a full-time job, it was his life from now until…
Giorno paused. When would it stop being his job? His death?
Shaking off that morbid thought, he quickly opened the car door and slid into the long limo seat. Mista and Trish, already settled into their seats, were eyeing him with silent curiosity.
“So, who was calling?” Mista was the first to speak.
“Damiano.” Giorno barrelled on before either of them could ask any other questions, knowing he had to bite the metaphorical bullet and get the information out as quickly as possible in order to avoid teasing. “He apparently wants me to bring a, uhh, lady friend, as he called it, along. I figured I’ll just-”
“A lady friend?!” Mista shouted incredulously, almost starting to laugh right then and there. Trish sat silently, not giving away whether or not she was amused by this turn of events.
“As I was saying, I figured I’ll just say that she couldn’t attend and leave it at that.”
Suddenly Mista sat up straight in his seat like he had heard a shot. “Or you could just bring Trish along!”
“I- what?” Trish twisted her head towards him. “I’m not even dressed! Well, I’m dressed, but not properly for a-”
“Come on! We could get some new clothes! There’s tons of shops along this strip of road!” Mista seemed enamored by his own genius. “And you’d get free food. Win-win!”
“I don’t think so.” Giorno felt like the car was moving, even though he knew it wasn’t. “If she doesn’t want to, then there’s no reason why I can’t just say that she couldn’t make it.”
“Well, what did you say when he asked you?” Mista shot back. Both of the young adults turned towards Giorno. Mista’s eyebrows were raised in anticipation.
“I knew it!” Mista slapped the seat headrest behind him. “You said yes, didn’t you? Otherwise you wouldn’t be telling us this.”
“I panicked.” Giorno left it at that, feeling irritated that Mista of all people was getting the upper hand on him. The man obviously had no clue about Giorno’s feelings about Trish, otherwise he wouldn’t have been pushing this idea so hard. Ironically, the less information he gave Mista, the more he seemed to guess by pure luck.
The three sat there in silence for a minute. Suddenly, Trish spoke in a hushed tone.
“I wouldn’t mind.” Her hands were resting nonchalantly in her lap and she seemed at ease with the conversation. Keeping his eyes on her, Giorno could feel his cheeks heating up again. He was caught between pushing the subject and simply going along with the two of them. Deciding the path of least resistance was to agree, he managed to eke out a reply.
“Alright. If that’s ok with you.” Looking out at the bustling city around them, Giorno continued to speak. “So should we…?”
“Yeah, let’s hurry!” Mista whipped his head towards the front of the car and addressed the driver. “Can you take us to the clothing shop over there? Quick!”
Used to taking orders from Mista as well as Giorno, he sped off with all three in tow. They rushed in the first formal-wear store they saw and Trish instantly spotted a rose pink dress in the window that she thought would match the dark red dress shirt Giorno was wearing under his suit. With money being no object, they found some low-heeled pumps that matched and Trish was ushered into the dressing room with an armful of new clothes and shoes.
“But my hair and-” She protested, peeking out from the curtain.
“No, it’s ok! We can worry about that afterwards!” Mista was impatient, and Giorno had to agree. They were already behind schedule and his nerves were all over the place. He sat outside the room, subtly clenching and unclenching his hands in order to try to calm himself.
“Alright, well then, I think I’m ready,” Trish announced, after a few moments of rustling and the sound of zippers.
Looking out of the side of the curtain at first and then going back in the dressing area for the full effect, she pushed the curtain with one hand and quietly stepped out.
Her earrings were the first thing Giorno noticed. Glistening in the soft light of the store, they dangled close to her shoulders, and he saw her grin as she twirled around slightly, showing off how the gown flowed from the waistband to the floor. The sweetheart neckline fit her just right, even though they had grabbed the closest size without double-checking which one fit the best. He was still trying to come up with words that would describe how he felt when Mista clapped his hands once and stood up.
“Alright! Let’s go!” He triumphantly said, already gathering the coats near him.
“It looks very nice,” Giorno finally stated while keeping his eyes conspicuously on the floor. He couldn’t bear to have her see him looking directly at her. Thankfully, she was too busy rushing to grab her coat from Mista to notice.
“Thank you!” Although she hadn’t turned around, her voice sounded appreciative. Her nerves from earlier seemed to have calmed, Giorno noticed, seeing how she held her head up high while heading towards the shop’s doors.
A few minutes and a hurried car ride later, Giorno and Trish stepped out in front of the elegantly lit golden doors of the restaurant they were to meet Damiano at. The building itself was multiple stories high and constantly referred to by the locals as one of Italy’s hidden gems. With the ability to pay for the finest seating available, Giorno had reserved a table up on the highest floor. Already running about twenty minutes behind schedule, the two waved a quick goodbye to Mista, who stayed in the car. Thankfully, the restaurant had an elevator near the back that patrons often used, and with a quick push of a button, Giorno and Trish were alone for the first time that night.
Trish’s right hand was clenched around her elbow. The only sound in the elevator was the slow beeping each time it rose another floor. Tapping her arm with one finger, she quietly sighed.
“What is it?” Giorno was equally tense. He had expected this night to be hectic, but not this hectic. It took everything in him to act casual.
“Oh, nothing. I just hope I look decent.”
“You always do.” The words came up from somewhere deep in his chest, full of softness that he carried with him despite the layers of fear long wrapped around his heart.
He could tell she was taken aback, whipping her head around to look at him straight on. “That’s very sweet of you to say, Giorno!”
“Thanks,” he replied softly, meaning it. Part of him wanting to take back the words, even though they had made her happy. Now was not the time to let his mind wander. He had to stay focused.
The next few seconds ticked by slowly, with neither of them attempting to talk again. Finally, the elevator’s doors opened into a bustling room with tables spread out a few feet from each other. In the dim light, you could barely make out the faces of the people chatting and biting into food. Stepping out into the room, Giorno was greeted by an older man with a large mustache and velvet suit.
“Eyy, Giovanna! There you are!”
Slinging an arm around Giorno’s shoulder, the man took a good look at him and Trish, who were standing in confusion as he greeted them. Thinking Giorno’s pause was a sign of confusion, the man spoke again. “It’s me! Damiano! You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
Chuckling a bit, he finally took his hands off Giorno, who had been standing as still as a board while trying to stop himself from twitching with annoyance at the unwanted physical contact. Trish was uncomfortably looking around in the meantime and trying not to draw too much attention to herself.
“Hello, Mr. Mazza. Pleasure to finally meet you in person.” Holding out his free hand to shake, Giorno faced him head-on. He was a few inches taller than Giorno and had dark brown hair that flowed down to his shoulders in messy waves. With a flash of his bright white teeth, he greeted Trish with a nod and a smile and then turned his attention back to Giorno.
“Ahh, just call me Damiano,” the man replied with a small chuckle. Enthusiastically taking the younger of the two’s hand and almost flinging it up and down, Damiano turned a bit towards the right and pointed towards an isolated table near the corner of the room.
“I already got a table and Rosa’s ready to order. Come, come!”
Rosa must be his wife, Giorno thought to himself, nodding to him and following his quick pace. He kept an eye on Trish as he dodged patrons who were also trying to walk around the tables, doing his best to not jostle any seats while doing so. Quietly following his lead, she seemed less than impressed with what she had seen.
“Does he know you’re the don?” Trish whispered in his ear in an unimpressed tone. “He’s been very familiar.”
Giorno nodded slightly as he kept his eyes facing forwards. “Let’s just act along. Remember, it would really help to have this connection.”
Trish solummly looked back at him in agreement.
“Oh hello, what a pair of sweeties! It’s nice to see you both!” The jangle of bracelets on Rosa’s arm cut through the crowd’s noise. A curly-haired woman who couldn’t be more than forty was waving her hand at the three of them. She had a bright blue short-sleeved dress on and wedges that matched. Even though she was sitting down, Giorno could see she was a good foot shorter than both Trish and himself.
“Thank you, Mrs. Mazza,” Trish spoke for the first time this evening, pulling out her chair and sitting next to Giorno, who was facing the Mazzas on the other side of the table with his briefcase at his side. The room was almost dark except for the candles sitting on the circular tables and the chandelier hanging far above their heads.
“Of course, of course! Call me Rosa.” She chuckled and gave Giorno a wink.
“You didn’t tell me the don was so handsome, Dami!” Laughing just a little at her own joke, she took a sip from her wine. Giorno sat silently with his hands folded, watching the two’s expressions. Damiano looked a bit pained, but still laughed along.
“Yeah, well, flattery won’t get you anywhere in this place! I hear Mr. Giovanna here is a real tough bargainer,” he quipped, turning towards Giorno with a sly grin.
“I suppose.” Giorno leaned a bit forward so that his voice wouldn’t carry in the quiet upstairs dining area. “I mean, it depends on what ports we-”
“Ahh, ahh, ahh!” Damiano grunted, giving a little wave with his right hand. “We don’t have to jump right into it! Let’s talk a bit first, ehh? I like to know who I’m doing business with.” Purposefully, he leaned back against his chair and cast his eyes over towards Trish.
“So, how long have you two been married?”
“Oh! We…” Trish whipped her head towards Giorno, masking her fear at getting caught off guard in a smile.
“A year this month.” Giorno could feel something inside him twist in his stomach, but he kept on talking. “Time flies.”
“Oh yes! It really does,” Trish added sweetly, keeping the smile on her face and nodding her head up and down while watching how the guests reacted.
“Aww!” Rosa cooed. “Young love! I remember when you and I were just a couple of love birds, without a care!” She gave Damiano a playful little shove that made him crack a smile.
“It feels like yesterday,” he mused, reaching over to quickly kiss the side of her face. Giorno saw Trish shuffle in her seat out of the corner of his eye.
“So,” Rosa continued, learning back over and lifting up her napkin to blot her mouth, “you two have any kids?”
“I, uhh, not yet!” Trish answered promptly before Giorno could open his mouth.
“That’s fine, that’s fine! Plenty of time for that,” Rosa winked again with an exaggerated goofy look on her face.
Giorno felt more mortified than he could remember in recent history. He should have just left the whole subject alone and said that he was single when he was first asked. Anything was better than sitting through this conversation. Anything.
“And I mean, I bet money’s no issue, huh,” Damiano piped up with a chuckle. “What with a don’s spending power.”
“Yes, yes,” Giorno hurriedly agreed, anxious to wrap this portion of the conversation up. “The monetary funds are quite decent.” Not that he would feel right using them for anything besides what he already did.
“Decent?! You’re rollin’ in it, young man!” Damiano’s belly-laughs got a bit louder with each sentence.
“I mean, where’d you even come from?” Rosa asked sincerely. “Passione is so expansive.”
“Around Naples.” Giorno didn’t feel much like giving any more details than the absolute bare necessities. Thankfully, neither of the Mazzas seemed to mind much.
“Oh yeah! I do remember some of the men who worked in that area. Wish I could remember their names though,” Damiano pondered.
“Dami’s just terrible with names! I swear it took him half a year to remember mine,” Rosa giggled, pinching her husband’s cheek. Gently pushing her away with one hand, Damiano seemed lost in thought.
“I know there was this one older gentleman who kept showing up once in a while when I was out surveying the ports. He wouldn’t talk, but I caught him staring at me a few times. Short man, almost bald?” Damiano turned towards Giorno and Trish with a questioning look.
“Can’t say I’ve seen him,” Trish politely replied. Giorno shook his head in agreement, but he secretly had a feeling Damiano was referring to Pericolo. They had only seen him once, but he fit the description. Or rather, twice, but…
Giorno shivered from the memory of the gunshot he heard all those years ago.
“What about that one guy…” Damiano leaned back a bit further in his chair and absentmindedly picked his teeth. “He was always wearing a white suit. I swear he was out to get me or something. We talked a few times and he came off as a real hard-ass. Had some personal vendetta against drugs, like he was some kind of moral crusader.” Clicking his teeth together once, he looked back at the two young adults and shrugged with a grin. “Oh well. I haven’t seen his sorry ass around lately!”
The table got deathly quiet. Giorno’s jaw twitched just once before his face smoothed over again with the polite but detached gaze he had been donning all evening. The two younger adults sat for a minute before Trish coughed lightly and finally spoke up with a simple, “I see.”
Sensing a change in the air, Rosa clapped her hands together and exclaimed, “Well, I think it’s about time to order! Where is that waitress?”
Giorno heard the words but couldn’t reply. The only thing he could concentrate on was the feeling of his stomach dropping to the floor. In a second, he was cast back to Libeccio, with everyone’s faces staring back at him from around the table. Each one laughed and yelled without a care, voices overlapping and almost drowning each other out while reaching for plates of the newest dessert that was set out. Bruno, Narancia, Abbacchio, Fugo…
How long had it been? The years felt like they went by like months.
Suddenly, he felt something warm on his shoulder. Turning his head, he saw Trish had gently put her hand there and was gazing at him, her eyes slightly watery under the dim lights of the room. She knew.
Taking a breath in, Giorno nodded at her. She tentatively took her hand off him, still watching his expression.
“I wouldn’t mind ordering now, either,” he heard himself say out loud.
“Good, good!” Rosa crooned, reaching her hand out to flag down the nearest worker. A waitress who was setting a drink down on another table caught her eye and hopped right over, notebook in hand.
“What’ll you all have?”
“I think I’ll go for…” Damiano tapped his chin. “Steak. And you?” He looked at Rosa.
“Oh, could I have the potato gnocchi?” Rosa chirped.
“I think I’ll have some spaghetti,” Trish added, turning towards Giorno expectantly.
“I… uhh, excuse me.” Standing up so suddenly that he hit his knee on the table, Giorno numbly stumbled in the direction of the single stall restrooms that he had seen when he entered. Before he walked completely out of earshot, he could hear Trish faintly say, “He’ll have the margherita pizza.”
Sloppily pushing the door against the wall as he rushed in, Giorno slammed his hands against the sink’s marble counter and screwed his eyes shut.
He really thought he could do it. Sit and talk about them like he didn’t care, like he hadn’t seen them laugh and cry and joke and fight, like they weren’t even real to him. How could he? All these years, he had tried his best to move on and live his life in the present, do his duties, focus on keeping Passione running like clockwork, but there was no escaping the shadow they had cast on his life. Digging his fingernails into the cold sink, he internally berated himself for leaving Trish at the table alone. He just couldn’t stand another minute staring at those two’s grins. But how could he sit, in his freshly pressed suit with a warm plate of food in front of him, while his memories lingered on the painful, gory ends of the people they so flippantly used as a punchline? He might as well just spit on their faces at that point.
“Giorno. Are you in there?”
He almost jumped. Trish. It was Trish’s voice he could hear from outside the wooden door, calling softly.
“Yes.” He couldn’t trust himself to say more than a few words at a time right now.
Hearing the hinge creak, he whipped his head around to see Trish’s eyes peeking worriedly in from a crack in the doorway. When she saw him staring back at her, she stepped completely into the small bathroom and shut the door quickly behind her. The pair stood in silence for a few seconds. Giorno kept his eyes cast downward until he heard her start to talk.
“I miss them too, Giorno. Every day. I just…”
There was a crack in her voice as she rested her head in her hands and unabashedly sniffed her nose. Finally letting a single sob escape her throat, she wiped the stray tears that started to spill over onto her cheeks. Slumping against the wall just a bit, she hung her head down in momentary distress. Giorno, at a loss for words but feeling like he should do something to comfort her, turned slowly and reached a hand out to awkwardly pat her shoulder. Trish moved forward suddenly and, with purpose, stretched her arms around him and held him close against her.
Giorno could feel her head against his shoulder, and her soft hair against his cheek. She settled into the hug, putting her hands against his back with her palms flat, and the first thing he noticed was how warm she felt in comparison to his own cooler skin. Even through his suit, he could feel it.
Slowly, slowly, slowly, giving her plenty of time to pull away, he let his head rest against her. His ear was pressed uncomfortably down but he was too focused on her faint heartbeat he could feel against his own chest to care. After a few moments, Trish sniffed once again, but it had a sense of finality to it. All too soon, she pulled away and quickly wiped her cheeks of the tears that were left.
“Thank you. Sorry, I… I just needed that.”
“I did, too.” Giorno admitted, feeling like the stress of the last hour had melted off him.
“Do you think about them? Often?” Flicking her eyes between the ground and his face, Trish hesitantly ventured to ask him something she had been thinking of since she entered the room.
“I try not to.” And it was the honest truth.
“Oh…” Obviously taken aback by his answer, she paused before continuing. “I understand. It’s ok, though. I suppose we’ve all dealt with it in our own way,” she said, understandingly.
Giorno bit his lip and said nothing.
“He… Bruno…” Her voice faltered again, and then with a flash of courage, she squared her shoulders and spoke up more confidently.
“Bruno would be proud of you. I know he would.” She had a bittersweet look on her face, but her eyes were full, shining with nothing but love and respect.
Feeling his mouth twitch with the telltale sign of grief, Giorno opted to merely nod again. Words escaped him, but he wished he could say something to make her realize just how much she had helped. He had nothing to give her that could repay what she had given him.
“Thank you, Trish.” That would have to do.
“You’re welcome,” she replied with a faint tight-lipped smile, which faded from her face as soon as the words left her lips.
“I think we should get back out there. They probably ate our food already, along with their own,” Giorno dryly stated.
Snorting in laughter, Trish covered her mouth. “You’re right.”
Pushing the bathroom door open with one hand and ushering her out with another, the two shuffled back to the table and tried their best to seem casual about their sudden disappearance. Rosa saw them walking towards the corner of the room first, and waved her hands to get their attention with a surprised look on her face. Sheepishly, Trish waved back, while Giorno opted to nod.
“Where’d you all scurry off to?” Her voice had a chiding quality to it, like she had caught them with their hands stuffed in the metaphorical cookie jar.
“So sorry.” Giorno’s mind was flipping through excuses. He started to say in an apologetic tone, “My stomach wasn’t feeling too-”
“Well!” Damiano slapped the table with his hand, letting out a burp that he only stifled after he was halfway through letting it out. Trish grimaced. “No need to tell us about that. Let’s get back to the matter at hand.”
Fearing he had run out of Damiano’s good graces, Giorno felt his hands involuntarily clench under the tablecloth. It was all well and good to talk about problems, but action is always the only way to solve them. Deciding now was as good a time as any, Giorno once again leaned closer to the center of the table and stared Damiano right in his dark, unblinking eyes.
“If there is a way to get you to work with us on the port locations, I can assure that you would be taken care of handsomely. To the tune of ten thousand lira. Not only that, but-”
Damiano interrupted him by grunting once, the tips of his fingers nonchalantly holding his chin. Both his elbows were leaning on the table and his eyelids were drooping down a bit more than they had at the beginning of the evening.
“Come on, Giovanna, you should be able to do better than that. You and I both know that’s not we here in the ports would call a good deal,” he hissed, his brow furrowed.
Giorno, with a feeling of ice now trickling down his spine, tried to wrench back control of the conversation. “You think Passione doesn’t have the reach? What is the issue here?”
“You know.” Popping his lips together once, Damiano leaned back and stared down his nose at the younger of the two sitting across from him. “Maybe if you hadn’t run off to make out or whatever with your wife in the bathroom-” Off to the side, Trish’s face was definitely a shade more red than it had been before. “-then maybe, just maybe, I would have more patience.”
“I…” Giorno stuttered, caught off-guard by the embarrassment of what he was implying.
“It’s off. Sorry.” Shrugging once, the man abruptly stood up and motioned for Rosa to follow. With a short look of regret, she too stood up and quickly trotted after him, hands clasped in front of her.
Stunned into silence, Trish and Giorno sat at the table a few seconds before either of them dared to move.
Trish’s voice betrayed her tiredness at all the events of the evening. Giorno couldn't help but feel the same way, still processing what had just occurred.
“Uhh, I… suppose we pay this check and head out.” She finished her sentence, slowly standing up and brushing herself off. “They weren’t exactly the most trustworthy potential business partners I’ve ever seen,” she added bluntly. He had to agree.
“You want to go somewhere else?” Giorno spoke before thinking. They hadn’t even gotten to eat their food, but it felt wrong to stay there after all that.
“I… sure! Actually, that would be nice,” Trish gave him a big grin and put her hand thoughtfully against her chin. “I feel like I haven’t gotten to talk with you at all lately.” Clarifying, she added, “Without Mista or… someone else around you. You know? It’s not the same with all the mafia standing around, waiting to hear what you’ll say next.”
“I understand,” Giorno sighed, thinking about all the times he had been interrupted while trying to sit and rest for a few moments at his desk. Not that he hadn’t understood that his life would be a whirlwind of issues when he first became don, but it shocked him how often people expected him to be fully attentive to their personal issues from dawn to dusk. He was only one man.
“There’s that new gelato place I saw while we were driving by. Does that sound good?” Trish immediately perked up the minute that she saw he was open to the idea.
“I would love that,” he replied sincerely, standing up in preparation to walk to the elevator.
Reaching down to grab the briefcase he had set on the ground, he suddenly paused. Slamming his knees against the ground, he ripped it open to find that the bills he had meticulously counted out were gone.
“Damn it!” He was so focused on the conversation that he hadn’t thought to double check what he had walked in the restaurant with.
“Spice Girl!” Trish brought out her Stand, immediately ready for battle. Giorno stayed still for a few seconds before standing up once more.
“No,” he said.
“No, what?” Trish countered, pausing where she stood.
“Let’s just let him go. It wasn’t that much lira anyway.”
“Are you sure?” Trish seemed skeptical. Spice Girl floated by her side, cat-like eyes staring down Giorno as she watched the two converse.
“I’m sure. I would rather…” Almost losing his nerve, he trailed off. “I would rather go somewhere with you than worry about that.”
“Oh.” Her cheeks flushed a light pink as Spice Girl faded into the air. “I would, too. I-I just assumed…”
“It’s alright.” It was his turn to blush now, standing with his hands at his side. The briefcase laid on the ground next to him, still opened.
He thought back to what he had worried about while rushing out into the cold evening air earlier this evening. Passione would always be a part of him, but it didn’t have to be his whole life. Looking into Trish’s eyes, he realized that perhaps the best was yet to come.