The thunderous voice of Ms.Palmas echoed in the now empty hall demanding my immediate attention.
Even the groaning duck at my feet stopped cursing at me for a second. Annoyed, he lifted his heavy lids to look at the raging fifty year old woman who was shaking visibly with a murderous glare directed towards me.
“Come here. Right away.” She ordered through clenched teeth.
I somehow felt embarassed whilst being very aware of Stefano’s eyes on me. I noticed him making a quick gesture to one of his men who quickly climbed downstairs and took the cause of the chaos by his arms.
The a*sh*le sneered and groaned reluctantly. He was subconsciously muttering something before getting dragged out of my sight.
Dragon was quiet. The floor was uninhabited. Apparently, the crowd had made their way home and it was now just the staff and the few men upstairs.
I grudgingly walked towards the counter to face the seething woman.
“Did I not tell you lass to behave yourself with the customers?” Her tone was unexpectedly very calm opposed to the visual her physical features offered.
“You earlier called a customer b*t*h.” She affirmed menacingly. I knew she was trying really hard to not burst out.
I stole a glance at Dante who was smiling smugly whilst avoiding my raging gaze.
“Did I or Did I not?” Ms.Palmas yelled, the decibel rising with each syllable. “Tell me.”
“Sofia.” A deep voice gently interrupted from behind me causing Miss Palmas aka Sofia Palmas to tense. She instantly turned more erect as was permissible in that age and nodded.
“Sir.” The way her voice showed timidity was almost imperceptible.
I swiveled around to see Stefano Romano, the ineffable man standing infront of me. He looked relaxed, his hands placed in the pockets. It was palpable how they all regarded him so highly. It was no doubt he owned every person here.
Taking a step forward, he stood close enough for me to admire his intoxicating ambroisal cologne. I hated this man with every fiber of my being yet it was incomprehensible how his presence was drawing me to him.
I maintained my rigid composure yet felt small standing in front of this man.
“That was-” he started, his right hand indicating the dance floor.
He took a moment in search for an appropriate word to describe my earlier action.
His voice was surprisingly sultry to my ears.
My mind was definitely not in the right state. Given, all I could think of was his attractive face, his alluring smell, his massive presence, his husky voice.
It was fortunate of me that an unwanted man from the earlier meeting interrupted us.
He cleared his throat to catch attention.
I could detect a slight annoyance as he acknowledged the man, turning around.
“I am assuming that was just an act for the crowd.” Walsh said impassively with a heavy Irish accent.
“My brother was drunk and high of course. You prude, lady?” He laughed at me arrogantly still continuing with his nincompoop words.
“You can release him now Stefano, the act is over.” He said it so nonchalantly that the urge in me to punch him on that ugly face was extremely intense.
The man had quite the audacity, I must admit. But he did not see what was coming his way.
Stefano didn’t contemplate long. Inching his face closer to the man, he kept his voice dangerously low.
“Firstly, I do not approve of that tone Mr. Walsh.”
“And second, we do not tolerate misbehavior in any form.” He emphasised each syllable gravely sending chills down the spine.
It didn’t take a minute for the uniformed men to surround the repugnant person.
“The lady does not know how to treat your guests and you are punishing us for it?” He rebuked angrily.
With no man on his side, the Irish man looked helpless. Those that had followed him earlier were invisible now. I doubted they must have already stopped existing.
Stefano took a small step forward, the tip of his expensive shoe boldly close to the man. Displeased, his lips pursed in a thin line. He stopped midway and turned his head ever so slightly at my direction.
I hadn’t realised that Eva was standing by my side all the while. When my feet didn’t propel me away, Eva sweeped her arms to hold me and almost dragged me to the exit.
I turned around hastily for a quick glance and saw one of the men pointing a gun at Walsh. He was kicked in the popliteus making him fall on his knees. Well-deserved.
I groaned taking my arm off Eva as soon as we made to the outside.
It was still dark. I could hear the birds chirping in a symphony. It soothed an unknown feeling inside me, almost calming my heightened emotions. Venice looked beautiful at this time.
“Thank you. You saved me today from that ass.” Eva stated, breaking my serendipity.
I turned to her and smiled slowly to which she reciprocated sheepishly. I put my arms around her shoulder and squeezed it lightly.
“Let’s head home.” I repeated the words Stefano had said.
Next day I asked Eva if she would mind me driving her car to Dragon since she was having the day off.
I didn’t tell her why I needed it which included a lot of following people, spying them and driving around unknown places. I mentally made a note to ask George to arrange a car for me.
Eva was revelling herself with a sappy movie and vegging out with a bucket of popcorn.
“Want some?” She said in a singsong, sticking it towards me.
She licked her fingers with a pop before picking the car key from the table.
“I know you will handle it well but just be careful. It’s vintage.” She said softly not to offend me.
I promised her I’ll take good care of it before unlocking the vintage volvo and heading east.
It was the same old routine for few days at workplace except the fact that I’d quite expectantly wait for Stefano.
It was Saturday, that means I should expect him any time. I didn’t realise a week had passed working in Dragon. The customers were undoubtedly a pain in the ass. And the lesser staff didn’t help much. The irony is that I was told it was for the security.
As I had anticipated, Stefano did arrive with his men. Just after few minutes, Miss Palmas came to the counter and asked me to take a list of drinks upstairs.
I gave her a perplexed look since it was her who told me I was not allowed to go there.
“Sir has specifically asked for you. Don’t even bother asking why.” She seemed annoyed. This lady was a headache, I swear.
I was amused that Stefano trusted me in a week albeit I was looking for this opportunity for a while now.
Taking the tray, I climbed above and immediately noticed him sitting in one of the tables at the far side.
It was dimly lit and unlike at the floor, it was not smoky or congested. There were not many tables. The space was large enough and the music did not feel like blasting in the ears. It was cozy. I realised it was just a hangout place for important people.
I walked forward to the table I intended to serve.
“Your drinks, sir.”
“What a meat.” One of them passed a lewd comment, smiling disparagingly at me as I kept the plate of smoked meat.
“Indeed sir. You should try hunting it. If you are fortunate you might make it alive with that ugly face.” I remarked with a smile countering his.
I heard a roar of laugh emitted by the group at my mockery.
“Fluent shit.” One of them commented. I could see them intently looking at me.
“And you say you are a Barmaid, eh?” Stefano interrupted coolly, his eyebrows raised amusingly.
I must have lost it completely because what I said after was surprising to my ears as well.
“Why, sir? Can a barmaid not throw themselves on you and still be called a barmaid?” I taunted with a fake innocence.
I could hear sharp intake of breaths as the words left my mouth. But I kept my eyes fixed on him looking as his jaws ticked.
Stefano didn’t waste a second as he swiftly gripped my wrist with his large brawny hands locking it behind my back.
The tray clattered as it left my hands making contact with the concrete.
He was clearly incited by my words. I felt my chest tighten as I looked at him, his face now a mere inch away. Millions of emotions tried to surge from within me remembering how these Italians have caused a lifetime destruction to me but instead I masked a sneer mirroring his.
I bit back the flinch that was about to leave my lips and locked my gaze with his grays undeterred. He tightened his grip in response pushing my chest forward to him.
He slowly inched his face closer to mine. I was confirmed of my ablazing cheeks as the heat rushed speedily to my every cells. I felt goosebumps when I felt his hot breath on my neck.
“Are you.. sniffing me?” I blurted moving my head away even if slightly.
I could feel an unusual tingling sensation all over my skin.
“Is this what you called me here for, sir?” I said begetting his attention. He pulled his face away for me to see the desire clouding his eyes. I gulped visibly as if validating how hot he was.
He leaned closer again stopping at just a hair breadth distance breathing against my lips turning them dry. He was too close. Too close for me to think rational. I was hyperaware of his lips lingering over mine. It compelled me to tug it. To taste it. I knew my mind was clouded with irrational thoughts when his lips hovered over mine. I curled my toes in reflex, the air got stuck in my throat and my stomach tightened.
“Not exactly.” He hummed over my lips, the vibration causing unusual sensations and desires to surface. It was torturous.
I involuntarily leaned, ending the aching need, when he suddenly released me from his tight grip.
He did not try to hide the lust that was clouding his eyes. His lips were however curled to form a cocky smile.
“Barmaid it is.” He declared confidently.
He stood there to watch me burn as anger and embarassment coursed through my veins before taking back the seat nonchalantly.
You will definitely pay for that Stefano Romano.
I didn’t even care to pick the tray as I walked away with the little pride left in me.
I was pissed the whole day. Making and serving drinks like a machine with no nonsense face. My shift was done by six thirty for which I was very fortunate. I quickly revved the engine of the volvo and hit the road with a soft music.
My mind was playing thousands of scenarios in my head as I drove through the town. I had just crossed the main road when I noticed a black lexus furiously advancing behind me. It was about to hit the back of the volvo when I swiveled the wheel to the right defending the attack. Keeping my eye on the rear view, I dodged few more hits adroitly while reaching for my phone and speed dialing. It didn’t take long for the attacker to understand my defence as the lexus violently hit my side. It angrily smashed the vintage causing it to lose its balance.
I was conscious when the car rolled twice.The impact was instantaneous. I emitted a loud noise as my head hit almost every part of the car. It was agonising.
The shattering of glasses and the breaking of the car on colliding with the surface seemed highly sensitive. My voice got stuck in my throat. I saw the pool of blood forming before my eyes.
I heard footsteps approaching towards me as I lied upside town with my head seperated from the road by the car roof.
The Irish man looked at me pleased making a tsk sound in mockery.
“Walsh.” I uttered with a strenuous breath.
“Now you know never to mess with me, you f**king whore.” He warned spitting on my face.
I closed my eyes not a cell left to bother about the spit on my forehead.
It all felt like a dream.
“Dad.” I heard myself saying before I completely lost my conscious.
Or was it all just a replay?
A/N : Hey guys, did you enjoy the read? I so hope you did.
I took longer than usual to publish it because I was down for the past few days with my temperature sky high and the fever so annoyingly persistent.
I have taken proper medications so I am hoping I’ll be fine by the end of this week.
I hope the chapter was worth the wait.