Friday, November 13, 2015

Only a Kiss ~ Part 19

He gunned it out into the street and Ana grabbed the door handle.
“Do not worry, Bella Sera, I am an excellent driver,” said Neptune.
As they made their way to the Italian restaurant it did not take Ana long to realize that was a bold faced lie. The man couldn’t drive to save his life, in fact Ana wondered if she would make it out with her own.
They pulled in front of the swanky Italia Bacio. The valet opened the door and Ana scrambled out of the Ferrari and fought the urge to kiss the ground.
“What did I tell you,” said Neptune, his fake accent even thicker at the smell of pasta wafting through the air. “Excellente.”
If that was Neptune’s version of excellent driving, she didn’t even want a glimpse of what he would deem horrible driving. He wrapped his arm around her waist and led her inside the restaurant.  The maître d didn’t hesitate at the sight of Neptune.
“Ahhh, the god of the sea and blessed us with his presence,” said the maître d. “Right this way to your usual table.”
“You must eat here often,” said Ana.
“I’m a bit of a hero here,” said Neptune. “I helped the head chef perfect his red sauce.”
“So you’re a chef, as well?” asked Ana. “Did you go to culinary school?”
Neptune shook his head. “No, but I eat enough Italian food to be an expert.”
“Ah, here we are,” said the maître d, leading them to a poorly lit round booth in the corner. He took Ana’s hand and helped her sit. “Chef Massino has created a masterpiece today with his Pasta Pescatore. A fresh seafood melody of mussels, clams, scallops, shrimp and squid over a bed of freshly made linguini and our house red sauce. It is a dish influenced by Chef Massimo’s childhood along the Adriatic Sea in Macerata.”
“That sounds lovely,” said Ana quickly, hoping to speed up the date by not looking at the menu. “I’ll have the special.”
“Very good.” The maître d turned to Neptune. “Would you like your usual, Mr. Neptune? Spaghetti and meatballs or would you like to try the Pasta Pescatore?”
“I can’t stand seafood.” Neptune grimaced. “Just bring me the spaghetti and meatballs, and use the Neptune sauce. I don’t know why you insist on keeping that house sauce, when you have my secret recipe at your disposal.”
“Yes, Mr. Neptune it is a travesty that more people do not appreciate your fine pallet,” said the maître d. “I will place your order, myself. Your server Bradley will be here momentarily with the wine list.”
If Ana went to the kitchen, she guessed she’d find a single small pot of Neptune sauce while everyone else was being served a classic red sauce.
“Don’t forget the garlic knots,” Neptune barked at the maître d as he hurried off.
Ana couldn’t help but giggle.
“What’s so funny?” asked Neptune with a smirk.
“It’s nothing,” said Ana, waving him off. “I just had a funny thought.”
“It would be rude not to share,” said Neptune. Ana couldn’t tell if that was his attempt at being sarcastically funny or if he was just perturbed she didn’t outright share her inner joke.
“Well, it’s just that you are so very …” She searched for the right word. She was sure Neptune was the kind of guy who took things the wrong way all the time. But she knew he’d be even more upset if she didn’t share. “Italian infused, but you ordered a non-Italian dish.”
“What are you talking about?” asked Neptune. “Spaghetti and meatballs is as Italian as they come.”
“Actually,” said Ana. “It’s American.”

Neptune let out a harsh laugh. “That’s about the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. You should probably stick to what you’re good at. What was it your mother told me you did …” A cruel smile formed on his lips. “That’s right … shoes. Stick to shoes, bellasera, it’s what pretty girls like you are good at.”

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