Hot Crossings -7- A Night To Remember: Faux Pas

Originally posted to Classic Big Closet on Thursday, August 12, 2004

~HOT~
~CROSSINGS~


Part 7
~A Night To Remember: Faux Pas~


By Becky Stewart & RickkiB.

~[]~

faux pas

Though it seemed like mere minutes later, it was well over an hour when Robert's eyes suddenly popped open. In that first few moments of awakening daze, he wondered where he was, and what he was doing there. Suddenly he smiled remembering the special package he was keeping safe and secure in his arms.

Somehow always alert to his employer's every move, Martin from his position in the drivers seat, said quietly, "Good evening Bob... Did you enjoy your rest?"

"Yes I did Martin... Thanks... Where are we?"

"Just entering North Van, we're on the Upper Levels Highway. We should be at the hotel in..." He glanced at the car's chronometer, "approximately twenty minutes, traffic permitting of course." The chauffeur chuckled then in a rather crude manner that only another professional would understand. The term 'traffic permitting' covered a host of unexpected events that could cause travel delays

"Of course." The big man answered with a knowing grin, he then stifled a huge yawn. "Oh excuse me." He exclaimed.

Then, at a tiny movement, Bob looked down at the small perky bundle, which had managed to snuggle in quite close during their trip. Quite reluctant to break the magical spell that seem to surround the girl like an aura, he knew that he should wake her, so that she had a chance to become fully alert before their arrival.

Fortune smiled on him once again, as he was not burdened with making that decision. Becky awoke with a beaming smile, looking for all intents and purposes like a small child awaking from her afternoon nap. Bob, spellbound by the imagery, couldn't help but stare and make that comparison.

"You're simply beautiful when you sleep. Did you know that?" He quietly enquired of the slightly dazed nymph.

"Oh my... I must have fallen asleep. I'm sorry. How long did I sleep? Where are we? What time is it? Why did you let me do that?" Rebecca whispered as she slowly returned to the land of the confused conscious.

Bob answered the questions in short fashion. "Just about an hour, North Van, just after seven, and because you needed the sleep."

She stared at him and shook her pretty head, dazed, but coming out of it.

"Hungry?" He asked his amazed companion.

"Not really." Her lilting voice now resumed its now familiar soft Scottish tone. "But I am pretty thirsty, though."

Opening the sliding door that held the beverage containers, Bob selected two crystal highball glasses. He then opened the bar fridge and took out a container with fresh cut lemons in it. Then he extracted a bottle of Perrier. The impressive man smiled and split the mineral water between them, squeezed a wedge of lemon into each glass, and somehow managed to produce two 'crazy straws,' which he placed in the bubbly refreshments.

"Nice touch." Rebecca giggled. She was duly impressed. She laughed uproariously at the absurdity of the sight before her. Very responsible looking drinks in fine cut crystal, with a child's playful 'curly straw' sticking out the top, gave the entire episode an utterly eccentric air. Cautiously the happy couple resumed their prior curled-into-one-another positions and sipped on their drinks like well-behaved little children. That is to say as well-behaved as any children confronted with such an opportunity, laughing, nosily slurping and snorting, as they played games with their silly-straws.

Finally the noise the duo created settled down to a dull roar. Rebecca, happy with the way the day had gone, but realizing it had to end soon said. "Oh Bob, I've really enjoyed myself today. It was a lot of fun. Thank you." She then stretched her lithe, curvy body delightfully across Bob's lap, gave him a nice, but wet kiss on the cheek.

"Hey gal, you make it sound as if the day is over."

When she, still draped across his knees, thrust her head back and looked into his eyes in surprise, and quizzed in a tiny voice, "It's not?"

"Ha! Not by a long shot. We still have dinner to take care of... Remember? You owe me."

"Pardon me?" The winsome wench wriggled wickedly, wondering at the wanton possibilities a night on the town with Bob might produce.

"You owe me. Remember on the ferry, you said, and I quote... Why yes Bob, I would love to have dinner with you. Remember? And besides, if I remember correctly, and I do, YOU lost the discussion, so I won by default."

"But-bu..."

"Martin. Please swing by my hotel and drop me off. Then drive Rebecca to her apartment, and wait there for her, while she changes... Then, return her back to the hotel and pick me up." Robert commanded.

"YES SIR!" The obedient driver replied, unable to contain his pleasure.

"But... I don't... I mea..."

Cutting her off in mid word, Bob turned to her and asked. "Do you like Italian?" She automatically shook her head yes, trying to carry on protesting. "Good! Then, my precious, that is settled, and it's all arranged." The tone of his words explained rather graphically he would brook no further argument, so she meekly acquiesced.

"Oooh, MEN!" She giggled and again playfully punched him on the shoulder.

The determined businessman, suddenly in work mode, quickly removed his cell phone from his inside breast pocket. Flipping it open, he turned it on and punched in a double-digit number, and waited. Speaking a very passable Italian he asked to speak to a Angelo. "Angelo? It's Bob. Fine thank you. Angelo, I have a very lovely lady I am trying very hard to impress, and I was wondering if you could find room for two in your restaurant for dinner this evening? Around eight, eight thirty? Fine... That would be great... Perfect... Yes, tell Aldo I look forward to hearing him play tonight. Thanks again Angelo. We shall see you soon." With a quick press of another button, the determined businessman announced that he was closed for business for the day, and returned the small phone to his inside pocket.

"Everything is all set up. Mama Rosa's around eight-ish or so..." He said as though mentally making note. He then looked at his stunned conquest and asked, "Will that work for you?"

Quite simply, she was amazed at the many talents this incredible renaissance man of hers possessed, and could only squeak a soft, "yes," as her personal opinion of Robert Bartholomew Arnold just kept getting higher and higher.

Soon the impressive limo pulled to a smooth halt at the main entrance of The Hotel Vancouver. The ornately uniformed doorman saluted smartly and presented himself at the rear passenger door as it clicked softly, signalling that it was unlocked. Bob easily manoeuvred around Rebecca, and with a light peck on the cheek told her, "I will see you in about an hour and a half.

Once again she knew there was to be no denial, no argument.

The door closed and Martin and she were off.

"He stays at The hotel Vancouver... WOW!... Of course he stays at the Vancouver! Where else would he stay? He obviously has plenty of money... If I could afford it I would stay here too." Clearing her mind of such foolishness that was now presently controlling her, she focused on the events of the last six or so hours. "I have had more fairy tale dreams come true today than at any other time that I can think of."

Too soon it seemed the lengthy limo was rolling through the Kerrisdale area and the vehicle came to a regal halt directly in front of Rebecca's apartment building.

Only just, she remembered to wait for Martin to open the door, so she reached into the small freezer in the bar fridge and extracted the now soft ice cream.

The efficient employee, the chauffeur cum bodyguard offered his hand in order to make Rebecca's exit from the car easier.

"Martin. This is for you."

"For me? Miss. It wasn't necessary. Mr. Arnold sees that I am very well compensated for my services."

"I'm sure that he does." Becky continued. "However, we both had ice cream, while you didn't, so I thought it only fair that you should have some as well."

"Oh, that's where you are wrong, Ma'am. I already had my fix of Pip's Ices."

Suddenly Becky saw a casual side to the very proper employee as he made his next statement. "You really don't think we could go all the way up to the lodge, and I would not have any of Pip's wondrous creams. It's just not done." He said, quickly returning to his stately manner. "You know all of her ices are homemade." He slyly added.

They both enjoyed a good laugh over his enthusiastic comments.

"Well come on up anyway, and I'll fix you a bowl of Pip's creams anyway." The tall woman invited as she began walking up the path.

"OH! No Ma'am." He exclaimed. That wouldn't be proper. And besides, I've got a great many things to do while you are getting ready for Mr. Arnold. I need to remove the road salt from this car before it starts to corrode the finish. And if I hurry, I'll have the task completed and be back here to pick you up in just under the time allotted. I'll give you a hand with all the parcels and then I must be going, if I am to stick to the schedule."

Rebecca realized that was the most words she had heard the man speak since she met him. "Okay, well we better get going then. I would hate for Bob to be angry with you because I held you up."

"Yes Ma'am." The giant hulk responded, as they both shared another chuckle and walked up the flagstone path.

Juggling parcels, Becky reached for the first of many keys that would allow her entry into the fortress. Finally she was in her bit of paradise, placing her burden on the bed. "Just put them next to these ones on the bed please." indicated the lass, with a sweep of her arm. "Thank you Martin. Are you sure you won't stay and get some rest, it could be a long night... I could make you a sandwich or something, and a cup of tea, if you like... It's no trouble?"

"No Ma'am. I need to get going. I have a lot to accomplish in the next hour." Martin said as he headed for the exit.

Rebecca, almost with a snotty airs about her said, "Very well... when you return, I want you to ring my bell, and I will stay up here until you arrive."

"Very well." The large man returned with a smile on his face, and a quick two-finger salute.

The door no sooner clicked shut when Rebecca went into hyper mode. "Oh my god, an hour... I'm never going to make it." She all but ran into the bedroom and began undressing. When she was halfway completed her strip, she went into the ensuite, and started a nice warm bath.

She applied a liberal amount of bath beads and perfumed oils to the water that was rushing in forming a foaming froth in the small swimming pool. Turning on her heels, she realized she must have been quite the sight, standing there in panty, bra, and incongruous mid-calf black boots. Almost like some fetishists fantasy, she scolded and turned away from the erotic reflection cast by the tall gilt framed mirror.

Giggling at the thought of it, she divested her slender body of the tall boots and reached for her robe hanging on the tall clothes tree standing by the head of her bed. Smiling to herself she knew there was only one outfit that was suitable for tonight. "Now, just to find it! Oh my god, look at all these clothes... That man spent a bundle on me." Finally after much tossing of clothes about the bed she locates the first outfit of today's 'Shopping Olympics.'

Becky laid out the knee length black chiffon creation with all the accessories, then grabbed the tiny strapless bra, and the matching thong panties; they had almost caused her fairy tale to come crashing about her ears just a few hours ago. Becky skipped back into the bathroom noticing the water level, and with a childish glee, announced, "perfect."

Becky stood in front of the vanity, and without conscious thought reached for the jar of Ponds and the little cotton pads. Spreading a liberal amount on her face she then took the pads and removed the remnants of her repaired make up. A thorough wash of the now exposed skin, and the application of her 'Biotherm' treatment and she is ready for that wondrous bath. She then squeezed a dollop of Pearl Drops on her brush and let the Braun buzz away. After she removed the rest of her clothing, the rushed nymph slid into the foaming elixir.

Sitting back enjoying the feeling that the soothing water had on her slightly tired body she allowed her head to rest on the back of the tub surround. "Hey girl! One hour remember. You are going to have to get rolling here if you are going to be ready on time." Bolting upright Rebecca took her loufa and her favourite soap and gently massaged away the day's grime. Wishing she could stay longer and relax she reluctantly lifted herself from the tub and with a practiced motion pushed down the plunger and jumped out before those pesky reptiles could get her toes.

Patting herself with the fluffy bath sheet she wondered what she could do to fix the Medusa like creation that sprouted from her head. Dropping the towel on the counter she slid into the black satin wisps that she had worn briefly that day already. She closed her eyes and with a disdainful expression put 'willy' away again. Positioning the strapless bra she reached around and snapped it closed. "Now, where's that belly binder?" she giggled at her own little wit and then took off for the bedroom again in search of that so necessary item.

"Oh my God! I better hang up that dress or it's going to be a mass of wrinkles," she exclaimed. "I'll never get it looking good." A frenzied grab and pitch ensued until she had located the object of her quest. Mona had packed the dress in tissue and had folded it in such a way that there were virtually no wrinkles what so ever. Saying a silent prayer she thanked Mona for thinking ahead.

Back in the other room again, Rebecca put on the waist cincher and with much effort managed to make sure that it closed in the last set of fastenings. "I don't need to eat tonight anyway. The amount of food I had at lunch was probably enough to hike me up the dress size anyway." She convinced herself. "Damn... Sorry Mama ..." "Not enough time to change my nails, cinnamon will have to do!" A quick glace at her nails did not reveal any chips or flaws with the perfection she had created Sunday night after packing. "I have to take all this off for tomorrow, but tonight it's perfect."

Standing before the vanity mirror she applied a thin base coat of foundation and began the laborious task of making very pretty eyes. Actually she never had to really put that much effort into this, as she had been blessed with 'doe like eyes' since birth. Taking up the eyeliner, the temptation quickly added a thin accent on each eye. With a quick lick of the pencil she then drew it across her severely plucked brows. Steadying her slightly shaking hand by resting her elbow to the surface of the vanity, Becky applied eye shadow a tad heavier than normal.

Picking up the soft makeup brush, the delicate darling deftly stroked the area so the colours blended perfectly. Smiling at the result, she then took another soft brush, lightly dipped into her face powder, and ever so lightly brushed that on the rest of her face so that no shiny spots would be seen. The blushing Rebecca put on her lipstick, blotting between the two coats. She then put on a topcoat of gloss to give that wet lip look that looked so very sensual that men seemed unable to wait to kiss off.

Plugging in the curling iron to allow it to warm, the dimpled dish dashed off to the bedroom to sort out the mess on the bed. Moments later the 'bargoons' had been carefully placed away in a semblance of order. The only thing remaining on the bed was the little bag containing the goodies, a secret treat that Mona and she shared a secret about, well one of the day's little secrets anyway. The wicked smile curling her full lips was positively wanton as she placed the bag on the large dresser and returned to the chore of fixing her hair.

With the same expertise as any trained hairdresser, she quickly had the golden spill at the back of her head upswept and had two tendrils, carefully placed to appear "fly away", draped downward deliberately framing the sides of her face, carefully looking for flaws in the 'do' she fussed with a few errant hairs before cementing the whole thing in place. Deciding that the evening's scent should be exotic, that there is only one choice, the winsome wench selected Paloma Picasso.

Smiling a decidedly anticipatory smile, she carefully dabbed a minute quantity behind each ear, a touch behind each knee and at the base of her flat abdomen before rubbing the rest of the quickly evaporating perfume on her wrists.

The light, lively little garter belt and the incredible sleek silk stockings she had very briefly experienced earlier went on next. A quick look in the mirror ensured the old-fashioned, but oh-so-sexy seams were straight. Giggling with wicked intentions filling her head, she walked over to the dresser and slithered sensuously into a black half-slip.

Next stop, the closet, to slide her small feet into the plain black three-inch high spike heeled pumps. Savouring several sensual sensations, she moved across the soft carpet and momentarily paused beside the bed, while a shiver of delicious anticipation rippled down her spine and then slid the cocktail-length masterpiece off the padded hanger.

Carefully then, she held it open and stepped into the dark circle, the slowly slid the light, almost fragile looking creation up over her full hips. Humming a senseless ditty, she fastened the catches in the back and slid up the almost invisible zipper. Glancing at her reflection in the mirror, with the strong bathroom light shining thru the dress, she suddenly realized why Mona had very deliberately selected the sexy, skimpy strapless bra.

"Damn!" she exclaimed, and then suddenly lifted her eyes. "Sorry, Momma, but..."

It appeared as though everything was in plain view, when in fact everything was quite covered. This gave the dress the illusion of something there but not quite in sight. "Mona! You little tease." Becky giggled.

Slipping into a lovely lass mode, she than transferred all of the evenings essentials into a small glittery clutch purse. Suddenly the crisp chirp of the phone broke her concentration. Verifying that it was indeed Martin on the other end, she buzzed the punctual man into the building. A moment more and Martin made his way into the flat and began singing astonished praises of the result of Rebecca's change in such a short period.

"Thank you. Martin. That's very kind of you... now if you will just bear with me I will get my wrap and we shall be on our way."

"Yes Ma'am!"

Taking her hand tied black shawl from the foyer closet, she handed it to Martin and smiled when he placed it over her shoulders and then she retrieved her purse. Then with a smile, and reminding Martin that his ice cream is still in her freezer they secured the door and exited the building.

"Thank you Martin" Rebecca said as she slid into the back of the now dazzling Mercedes.

The impressive limo rolls over the Burrard Street Bridge back into the downtown core. Rebecca's eyes flashed while watching all the small boats dotting the shoreline and twinkled with the sight of the luxury condos creating False Creek. Whenever the vehicle was forced to stop at a traffic light, it immediately became the centre of attention of pedestrian and driver alike, all trying to catch a glimpse of somebody famous. Giggling at the knowledge Rebecca discovered it fun to play the little joke on Vancouver's citizenry.

Martin pressed a small button on his own cell-phone displayed on the dash and with a small beep the message has been dispatched. He allowed himself a smile knowing he would not be faced with the task of finding parking for the elongated auto when they pull up in front of Bob's hotel. "In fact if I timed this just right Mr. Arnold will be standing at the entrance as I arrive." The driver assured himself. The vehicle made the slow drive up to the entrance and the boss walked through the door.

"Yes!" the giant mouths jubilantly.

Because she is more interested in looking at Bob, than looking for Bob, Rebecca scarcely noticed their arrivals coincided so perfectly. He stood there holding a single blood red, long-stem American Beauty Rose. The well turned out man was decked out in a well tailored double-breasted, British suit in basic black, and with double pleats and cuffed pants. Becky smiled at the mouth-watering sight before her eyes and hummed ever so softly.

Apparently Martin heard her hum because his eyes flicked up, glanced in the rear view mirror to see if his passenger was all right. The man, smiling internally, knew instinctively what the impressive woman was thinking. When the vehicle had come to a halt the concierge opened the back door and allowed Bob to lithely slide in to rear seat of the special vehicle. With a solid thud the door was secured and the romantic carriage made its way back out into the busy Vancouver evening traffic.

Bob, staring as intently at Rebecca as she was at him, barely squeaked out, "Good evening," before clearing his throat and presenting his gift to her.

"Good evening Robert. You are looking very impressive tonight." The reclining woman responded while taking in the light floral scent of the proffered token.

"Nay milady, nothing is near so beautiful as the vision before my eyes right now. Isn't that right, Martin?" he said without taking his eyes off his date for a fraction of a second.

"Most assuredly... I agree wholeheartedly, sir."

"Oh go on you two." Rebecca joked.

"No I'm serious." Robert said.

"So am I." Rebecca continued. "Go on, and on, and on," as she made hand gestures to indicate that they should continue.

Both males cracked up at this and soon all thre of them were enjoying the light-hearted feeling.

"Did you manage to put away all the clothes that you purchased today or is there still another truckload to be emptied tomorrow."

Being quick on the comeback tonight, Becky joked back, "Well I did manage to find places for the first fifty, or so boxes, but I must admit...if you keep this up I shall be forced to find a larger apartment."

"Well, then that is something we will definitely look for in the near future." Robert flatly stated.

Unsure of whether he is serious or not the suddenly confused woman sat and stared out the window as the Black Cherry limo navigated the busy roads. Bob asked in a soft, modulated voiced, "Rebecca, would you like to hear some music?"

"Oh yes, please." The reply was enthusiastic.

"I have a thing for The Classics. Would you like to hear a little of that, or would you prefer something a little more contemporary?"

Rebecca's bear-trap mind 'clicked' on the word classics and she suddenly realized the dance at lunch had been pre-arranged. Going for broke, deciding to put all the eggs in one basket, she grinned, "Not contemporary... but some more Bach, like that piece you arranged for at lunch today... that would be perfect."

Bob looked a little uneasy for a moment until he looked into Becky's face and saw the sly smile pasted there. Returning his own, he replied, "Busted!"

Rebecca then gave Bob the most radiant smile and softest kiss on record. "Thank you," she whispered.

The precious moment was sharply broken by a loud click and the swift opening of the rear passenger door by the doorman at the fine Italian dining establishment. Bob was the first to exit and held his hand out for his date to take. Rebecca, after wrapping her shawl around here to ward off the cool autumn weather, graciously accepted and stepped out on to the sidewalk in front of Mama Rosa's.

The efficient doorman closed the car door which allowed Martin to find parking arrangements for the larger than standard vehicle. He was secretly hoping for two spots together so that he could just stay in sight of the restaurant. Martin's well-trained eye discovered just what he needed and he quickly headed off to the empty area just a few feet away.

Bob escorted Rebecca into the soft-lit entrance of what has to be the finest place in all Vancouver to get authentic Italian foods. It was as if you were personally visiting a homespun region in Italy. The door had no sooner closed than a slightly portly, totally bald man in a sharkskin black suit, with the biggest, furriest moustache that the overwhelmed nymph had ever seen, descended upon them. "Mr. Arnold! You finally made it."

Glancing at his Movado watch, Bob, winked and exclaims to the man. "Angelo, I am very sorry we are so late. I do hope we have not put you to too much trouble?"

"For you Bob, it's never any trouble. You are like family, no?" The restaurateur's eyes took in the sight of the woman Bob was escorting. Quickly, forgetting all about talking to Rebecca's escort, he turned his attention on to the slightly nervous blonde heroine he escorted. Turning on that "special" charm he and so many of his fellow countrymen are famous for, the rogue sidled up to her and announced in a clear baritone, "I am Angelo Salvatore Valenti, and YOU are the Goddess Venus. I would recognize you anywhere. I am honoured to have such a famous deity grace our humble establishment."

If Becky would have had a fan to wave at that time, it would have looked for all the world like a scene straight from "Gone with the Wind" when she blushed deep scarlet from the effects of the obviously successful flattery.

Bob quickly moved to Rebecca's side, firmly re-establishing his claim on his soon-to-be lover. Angelo, realizing that once again he had been shot down, shrugged sadly and smiled as Bob and Rebecca laughed at the end of his act. Finally, with a shrug of shoulders, and a. "Please follow me this way," he escorted them to an intimate table for two in a private alcove off to one side of the busy restaurant. As they reached the table Angelo suddenly yelled across the room, his baritone booming, "Mama. Look who is here?"

The couple turn around to see a four and half foot tall, heavy set woman quickly making her way across the room, all the while speaking a steady steam of Italian. The tirade was, obviously, aimed dead centre at Bob, because a few words Rebecca understood were Roberto, and then a few words later bambino. When she finally stood directly before him, it seemed she really set upon the man who was twice her size, or so it seemed.

The little grey haired folletto began with a traditional cheek pinching, then the belly patting, and finally numerous slaps about the head, while an arthritis-inflamed finger kept stabbing him in the chest. From the sounds of things, Rebecca had to assume Roberto was getting a dressing down for not stopping in to see her sooner.

Only after the verbal assault finally ended, was Bob permitted to speak. "Mama Valenti. This is Rebecca Stewart, my girlfriend."

Becky, stunned to the very core, wondered silently, "Did he just say girl friend? Bob actually called me his girlfriend." A smile bigger, and brighter, than any ever before measured in previous history, erupted from Becky's face. And as the words sank in, the fires of a lust, long though to be totally dormant, flared anew within her lower regions.

Though stunned by her beau's revelation, Rebecca managed to turn and face the approaching woman with her features all-aglow. Mama just stared intently into Rebecca's eyes and then raised one ancient eyebrow, as if she suddenly understood something no one else did. "Roberto. I like her she has a beautiful smile. It starts in her heart." The Italian pixie decreed as if she had ordained the union.

Now focusing her attention on Rebecca directly, she held both of the younger woman's hands. "You are a very mysterious woman... You have seen much hardship in your life, and have had to hide many secrets. But you have a big heart and a gentle soul. You are truly a kind person." The wise old oracle proclaimed.

The look on Rebecca's face was priceless, half way between fear and gratitude. "OH MY GOD! SHE KNOWS! ... How could she know? We just met." She fretted. "It can't be, no way I'm just being paranoid... There's no way she could know."

"I know a great many things my child. And, I too have had to keep many secrets in my life." Mama Valenti stated while still staring into Rebecca's eyes. If not for the support of the small woman, you could have bowled Becky over with a feather at that point in time. Breaking the concentration, the old woman told her, "Now sit my child. You are hungry, I can tell." Turning to her eldest son, she began rapidly giving orders to him in a steady stream of Italian.

"Yes mama," was all he said as he rushed away.

Turning her attention back to Bob she started in on him again. This time to Becky's delight in English. "Robert Bartholomew Arnold! You treat this woman with all the kindness and respect you can give her. She is a very precious gem. And it would not go well for you, if I were to find out that you, one of my adopted sons, took advantage of Rebecca's kind and gentle heart!"

The cowering man could only reply. "Yes Mama Valenti."

"Good. Now you will enjoy your dinner. I have made sure that Angelo tells the chef to prepare something very special for you and your lover." Turning to Rebecca she continued. "You and I will talk very soon and many secrets will be revealed at that time."

"Yes, Mama Valenti," she sheepishly replied.

"Enjoy!" was all she said after that and hurried off to resume her duties.

After a few seconds of absolute silence Becky uttered the word. "Wow!"

"Something else isn't she?" Bob responded.

"Is she always like that?" Becky asked.

With a slight smirk her date answered. "Only with people she likes."

"Why did she call me her child, and... and... God, I felt like a little girl again," she remarked unsure of the emotion rising to the surface.

With a hearty laugh Bob continued. "That's because you are now, her child. She read you heart. You are now her responsibility."

"But I don't understand?" the thoroughly confused woman stated.

With another smile Bob asked. "Why did you call her Mama?"

Thinking for a moment Rebecca really couldn't come up with a valid reason. "I don't know... It just felt right, like it was the proper thing to do."

"See." was all Bob said. As if that was to explain everything and this discussion was over.

Presently a mid-twenties young man approached the table with a dusty bottle of red wine. As the lad began the ritual cork removing ceremony, Bob looked up and said, "Anthony? Anthony is that you?"

"Yes uncle Bob it's me." The smiling man returns.

"Let me look at you... My God, how you have grown... You must be what, twenty-two, twenty-three now?"

"Twenty-three in August, Uncle Bob," the kid beamed back as began to appreciate the beauty of the older woman sitting across from his 'uncle'.

"How long have you been working for your Aunt Rosa?"

"Oh, I just work part time... to get some coin to blow on stuff... mostly inconsequential things like books and such for school... you know unimportant type things." The lad with the wandering eyes remarks as he poured out a glass in front of Rebecca.

"That's right." His uncle exclaimed, and then turning his focus back to Becky he continued, "Tony is taking his pre-med at U.B.C. Antonio Venchenza's little boy is going to be a doctor.'' His attention returned to the lad now pouring Robert's wine. "What's the matter the furniture moving business not good enough for you Tony?"

With a hearty, "Ha! You must be joking! I should end up like the old man, with a chronic back problem, when I'm 65... no thanks, Pizanno!"

Suddenly from across the room, "Anthony!" and then a very excited stream of Italian invectives streamed. Immediately, the lad gave the couple a little smile and said, "Gotta go now. My task master is calling."

Immediately, Tony was replaced by the man doing all the yelling.

"Hello Aldo. I thought I recognized that voice." Bob rose to greet his old friend.

The men hug, and Aldo sighed, "Ah, Roberto. It has been far too long. Does Mama know you are here?"

Bob replied rather simply, "Oh ya! My ears are still burning from the lashing I got." Both men enjoyed a huge chuckle over that understatement.

"I know what you mean brother. I am over 50 years old now and Mama still treats me like I am ten."

All three on them join in on that as Rebecca can appreciate how the old doll could make you feel like a juvenile delinquent who just got caught sneaking something.

"Excuse me." Becky's partner stated crisply. "Rebecca this is Aldo Valenti. Angelo's little brother... Aldo this is my best girl Rebecca Stewart."

Rebecca reached to shake Aldo's hand, but he had another idea, and slipping past her outstretched hand, moved straight in to steal a kiss. Rebecca, slightly surprised at the audacity of such a move, just sat there transfixed for a brief moment.

Quick off the mark, Bob replied, "Aldo! You sly old fox...you still do that old movie stuff so well! I thought you gave that up years ago?"

"Naw! If it works, why change it, and this, my dear brother, works every time... Especially on very pretty girls like your Rebecca."

Becky, having regained her composure and feeling a little spirited returned with her own form of wit, "Are all Italian men this flattering? Or am I just so fortunate enough tonight to meet the cream of the crop?"

The two macho males are dumbfounded as Rebecca drew Aldo back down and gave him back some of his own medicine. Aldo could only stare in disbelief at the forwardness of this woman with the strange accent, while Bob is having a hard time keeping himself upright from laughing so hard at the look on Aldo's face.

Seated at the table Rebecca directed Robert to retake his seat because he is causing a scene. This only makes the love struck male laugh even harder. "Me causing a scene...me? What about you? Honey, you're precious...you truly are. One second you are so prim and proper, the word demure would not even begin to describe it. The next, you are carrying on as if you are just as flirty as Aldo. I love you. Don't ever change! Not one iota!"

Of all the words he said, the only words registering in Rebecca's mind at the moment were those three little ones that every woman longs to hear. In fact, she is so lost in the ring of them in her ears that she does not even know that a plate of veal scaloppini has been placed before her, and a huge bowl of penne with garlic and mushrooms has been sat bedside that. All she can do is stare at Bob with this dopey grin on her face.

Robert, being the perceptive man that he is, figures out that another gate in their relationship has been opened. He quickly slides his chair and plate around to the side so that He is now sitting next to Rebecca, instead of a across from her. Looking at the girl's trance-like state he decided to break, or in Becky's eyes, seal the spell with a kiss.

Though finally returning to the same dimension occupied by the majority of those here on this planet, Becky still had the big, bright puppy dog eyes focused intently on Bob. "Becky, eat your dinner. Cause if you don't I will be forced to make you have dinner with me again until you do."

Rebecca muttered something half way between, "Whaaa?" and "Huh?" Bob had no idea what it was but found it quite cute. He sliced a piece of the very tender veal with his fork. "Open up," he said, then scooped it up and fed it to Rebecca as a parent would a little child.

Within a few microseconds of the incredible tasting meat hitting her palette the dazed damsel returned to a fully conscious state and began to enjoy the heavenly delight. "Um! This is delicious," she exclaimed as the savoury sensations hit home. "Do you think I could have some on my own?"

"Don't see any reason why not... and since you are responsible enough to feed your self now, and the fact that you do not need a knife to cut this because it is that tender. I think we can chance some in a small bowl for you. Now let me just find you a bib."

Rebecca just stuck her tongue out at Bob like the impetuous child he was treating her. Both enjoyed a good chuckle.

"Okay I'll quit... you just looked like you were lost in space there for a minute."

At that moment the returning Angelo joined them. "How is the veal tonight?"

"Angel this stuff is terrific." Bob praised. "It's so tender. How does he do that?"

"Bob I really have no idea. He won't tell me and anytime I go to watch him prep the meat, he somehow eludes me so I never get to see."

Rebecca is overcome with a brainstorm and rises to talk to Angelo. Placing her small hand on his shoulder she leans over and whispers something into the walrus moustached man's ear.

"Excellent! I shall see that it is done." and with a giggle from Rebecca the dark suited man is off bounding towards the kitchen.

"What was that all about?" Bob asked.

Becky being a little bit playful replied. "Nut'n honey. You'll see."

Shortly after resuming her meal Rebecca is glad she turned down the offer of 'la salada' and 'zoupa' earlier in the meal because she was positive that they alone would have filled her up. As it was she still had a small mountain of untouched veal and pasta in front of her that, there was no way on God's green earth she was going to be able to eat. Well, tonight anyway.

Tony returned to refill their wine glasses, but Rebecca waved him off hers. Bob still took his usual refill.

Bob noticed this and said to her. "I noticed you don't drink very much. Don't you like it?"

"Oh yes. Very much. I really do a lot, especially a glass of single malt scotch or a snifter of Glayva. But, I am not supposed to drink at all, but it's almost impossible to eat as we have been today and not succumb to the pleasures of the vine."

"Oh that's right! I forgot all about that. I'm sorry Becky. Here I am tempting you with all this booze and you aren't even allowed to partake. It must seem like torture."

"Not really Bob. It's no big deal. I don't miss it really. Matter of fact I don't drink a lot period. Just never found the need to. As I say I can enjoy a glass of wine or I can enjoy a glass of mineral water. It's not that much to me."

"Still I feel kinda bad about it," Bob pleaded, hoping for a little sympathy. Sheepishly Rebecca says." Well, if it makes you feel that bad there is one thing that I am addicted to, that I just can't seem to live with out."

"What is it?" her knight in shining armour asked. "What ever 'tis in my power to grant. You need but ask and I shall see that all four corners of the earth bow to fulfill even your smallest wish," dropping into the classic bended knee position to over dramatically emphasize the point.

"MAMA! Come quick! Roberto is proposing to Rebecca right here in our restaurant!" Vito, the youngest of the Valenti family yells across the room.

~[]~


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