Introduction: In a sense there is a connection to this story and several other non-magic stories I’ve written. Two characters from Mike and Ashley show up briefly. They would be Mike and Ashley. This story, Like “Mike and Ashley”, “Discovery”, and “Cynthia and the Queen of Knight” takes its storyline from the work of someone else. In this case, a production by an Italian fellow named Joseph Green. The story is 16 chapters in length plus an epilogue. I’ve done as much tweaking as I can. Any errors are mine and I will gladly accept constructive criticism; as long as you’re nice.
Anita takes a cook’s tour of the Costa compound. She very quickly finds out Marietta’s intentions. Of course she accepts the job.
This work is copyrighted by the author and any publication or distribution without the written consent of the author is strictly prohibited. This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of the characters to persons living or dead is coincidental.
Costa showed up with his entourage two weeks later. By this time Anita and the head chef were on good terms. They would talk mostly in Creole, something that Rene didn’t understand more than a few words of. Anita assured the chef she was not after his job. She was just thinking of opening a restaurant elsewhere on the island, and wanted to polish her skills. That really wasn’t far from the truth.
“Costa likes to praise the chef if the meal is especially good,” Rene said. “He will call for the chef to come out if the chef isn’t already out greeting the diners. There is usually a very large tip for the chef separate from the tips to the other staff.”
Anita got a good look at the group as they were seated at what was obviously their special table. It had been marked ‘reserved’ for several hours. The bar was also obviously aware of their pending arrival as several ice filled buckets of pinot Grigio and prosecco were immediately brought to the table.
The order came in rather quickly: two orders of Griyo, fried pork with an assortment of fresh vegetable; two orders of Lanbi Boukannen, Woma Boukannen, grilled conch, grilled lobster, and two orders of Tassot/Taso, dried fried meat. The first course was pretty much the normal selection of salads and seafood cocktails. Anita didn’t have to worry about those. Samuel, the actual chef assisted, but it was Anita’s project.
Meanwhile, the first two bottles of wine were quickly consumed, and immediately replaced. The ladies and one of the men stayed with the prosecco, the other three men changed to a pinot noir. The six of them got a bit louder as the evening progressed, but quieted down a little as Anita helped the wait staff present the main courses. She quickly identified each member of the party. Tommaso Costa and his wife, Marietta, sat at opposite ends of the table. Eleonora Costa and Peter Mongini were side by side on one side of the table, and Paolo Medini and Adolpho Mongini sat on the other side. Anita’s assessment of Peter Mongini had been pretty accurate. He was the shortest one of the group; probably about five-eight. She could also see that he was quite fit in appearance. Eleonora Costa spent more time talking to others at the table than to Peter. Neither seemed to be paying much attention to the other. His eyes caught Anita’s once, but then quickly moved on. Anita retreated to the kitchen.
“Anita, Costa wants to talk with you,” Rene approached her in the kitchen. “I think you impressed all of them.”
Anita, with a bit of trepidation, followed Rene to the table. She stopped a bit behind and to one side. “Monsieur Costa, this is Anita Dangervil. She has been honing her skills with us for several weeks. She desires to open a restaurant in her home town far to the northeast. She has been a great help. Her mother taught her well.
“Anita, this is Signore Costa. He wants to tell you something.”
Anita turned to Rene with a confused look.
“He wanted to know if you spoke Italian.” He turned to Costa.
“She speaks French quite well as she does Creole. She knows a little Spanish and English.”
“Well, I guess it will have to be French or English, then.”
“Mademoiselle, how would you like to come to work for my family? We have other cooks who cook for the men, but they cannot cook like you do. What do you think?”
Anita tried to give a look of timidity while looking at Rene.
“Tommaso,” Marietta said from the other end of the table, “you’re scaring her.
“Come here, child. Let me look at you.”
Anita timidly approached Marietta while Marietta scanned her from bottom to top and top to bottom. Anita noticed she had slightly opened her lips and was running the tip of her tongue over them. The implication was not missed by Anita.
“My goodness, you are a tall one. May I ask how tall you are?”
“One hundred eighty-five centimeters, Madam.”
“Do you have a family, any children?”
“No Madam, no children. My parents were killed in an earthquake many years ago.”
“How about a boyfriend or husband?”
“No Madam, no one.”
“Tommaso,” she said in Italian, “I want her. Make her an offer she can’t refuse.”
“Yes, dear,” he replied in Italian.
“Mademoiselle Dangervil, my wife would like you to become our cook. You must think about it. The pay will be very good. You will have your own suite with all the amenities. We live in a secure environment, and there are some strict rules; however, you will get Mondays and Tuesdays off to go to town or elsewhere if you wish.”
“I don’t know, Monsieur, I am just a poor black girl from the hills. You are a very important man. I can see that.”
Costa handed five $100 bills to her. “This is to thank you for the most wonderful meal I’ve had in a long time. Please think about it. Someone will call you later this week.”
As the Costas and associates left, Anita could hear Tommaso and Marietta arguing.
“I told you I want her. If you scared her away, I’ll never forgive you.”
“Would that make things any different than they are now?” he replied not too quietly.
As they passed the staff holding the doors for them, Peter Mongini looked back at Anita as if he were appraising her. He had a very nice smile.
“I think I’m in,” Anita said over her secure line. “There were several factors in my favor. They all liked my cooking and Marietta wants my bod. Apparently, Costa puts up with her desires. I’ll have to see where that goes.”
“Just be careful, Anita. We just need to know his plans, when he will be vulnerable. If things go sour, we can get rescue craft there within an hour.”
“I seriously doubt that. It’s what, 250 miles to Gitmo.”
“We’ll have ships off the south coast no more than 50 miles away. Costa has not shown a history of being concerned about the US Navy. We’ll have someone there. You can count on that.”
“We really don’t have an idea what we’re up against. This may be over quickly, or it may take months. We’re just going to have to play it by ear.
“Is my father there? May I talk to him?”
“Certainly, he’s been listening.”
“I know that. Would you turn off the speaker?”
An audible click and the lack of background noise let her know the speaker was off.
“Hi, Daddy, how’s Leslie doing?”
“Great, so’s your little brother. It won’t be long before he makes his appearance. We’ve already agreed that we are going to try to make a little sister for you.”
“Well, let’s get everyone through the current ordeal, first. I’ll be so excited to see him when this is all over.”
“Just be careful, baby.”
“I won’t be the baby for too much longer. Hug Leslie for me. Love you, bye.
The phone call she expected never came. Instead, there was a knock on the door shortly after she started breakfast on Monday morning. She had planned to take the day off after a very busy weekend.
“One moment,” she said in French.
She fastened her robe around her, and opened her phone to get the feed from the security camera mounted in the hall. It was Peter Mongini. At first, she thought about not opening the door, but after checking the other cameras, she realized he was alone. A lone Mercedes sedan was parked on the street. In spite of what Mongini’s reputation was as a martial artist, Anita was pretty sure she could handle him. She opened the door.
“Mademoiselle, Signore Costa would like to talk to you about future employment. He asked me to take you to the estate.”
“He asked me to come alone. He doesn’t want to intimidate you; however, he is not one who takes disappointment very well.”
“Perhaps then, I should come. Would you please wait outside so that I might get dressed?”
She quickly dressed, and then checked out everything to make sure there was nothing there that would tip anyone off about her true mission. She sent an email and shut down the computer. It would be safe. The silent security system was armed and ready to record if necessary. She walked through a mist of Channel and checked herself out in the mirror. Her shorts and blouse brought attention to her very fit body and long legs. Now, to find out whom I am seducing she thought as she made her way down the stairs to the Mercedes waiting for her.
The route to the coast had been easy for her to find on one of the popular websites. The preferred route would take them over the mountains on roads that would be considered cow paths in the US. The predicted time was a bit over three hours. That meant for the 70 kilometer route they would be averaging only 20 kilometers an hour, or less than 15 miles an hour. It was going to be a long ride. She knew it was a good thing that she didn’t get carsick.
Peter had left the engine running and the car was pleasantly cool inside. He had been waiting at the passenger door for her. The first part of the trip took them through the suburbs away from the tent villages. Still, it was difficult to get away from the smell, even in the air conditioned car. Finally, they were away from the populated areas and entered the denuded mountains. There was nothing tropical looking about them.
“You speak excellent French, Anita.”
“Why shouldn’t I. It is my second language.”
“It’s not like the French I hear around here. It is almost too formal.”
“Ah, a bad habit I acquired in France. I went to cooking school there for two years.
“I must say your French is very good, too, for an Italian.”
“Touché. What else do you speak, may I ask?
“A little English, a bit more Spanish, and my native tongue, Creole.”
“That should be very helpful. Some of our men are Caribbean. Others are from this island.”
They spent most of the trip in silence. There wasn’t any way that the big sedan go much faster than the predicted time from the computer. It was about an hour into the trip when her phone gave a silent vibration. Suspicions confirmed, she’d just have to wait until she returned to see whom her visitors were.
She’d caught sight of the Caribbean several times as the car crested a ridge. Now, for the first time it was spread out in front of them. They turned along the shore, and in another five minutes they arrived in front of a massive steel gate at the point where the short drive met the massive limestone walls. This wasn’t your nice wrought iron variety garden gate. A darkened window had obviously been added in recent history. It was set in concrete and was most certainly bullet proof. The gate slowly opened; the steel wheels traveled along a concrete way. The wall had to be eight feet thick at the base while it tapered slightly as it rose to about 25 feet. The assessment she had been given was right on the mark.
The guard at the gate took her phone. Peter assured her she could have it when she left.
The place was huge; in excess of 300 acres. The property was wider than it was deep, and the wall followed the terrain up and down. Several small gullies penetrated the wall; however, she’d been assured those points were as impenetrable as the rest of the wall. Peter drove her to the front of the large French Colonial mansion. She could see where repairs had been made to the stone walls where it had been damaged by the massive earthquake decades before. There had been several since then, including the one that had killed her fictitious parents. Several out buildings were located around the main building that were contemporaneous to it. They had obviously been modernized. Beyond the main buildings were several low buildings that could easily have been taken from a motor court. Those had to be the barracks occupied by the men and their concubines. A larger building amidst them was obviously the chow hall. She could see the kitchen vents. Then there was the rather nice helicopter in a hangar beyond the chow hall.
“Signore and Signora Costa are waiting for you. Please follow me.” Peter led her up the fan shaped stairway to the front door that might have seemed a bit conservative when taking in the opulence of the place. The door opened into a large foyer or entry room with doors leading in all directions. She followed Peter to mahogany paneled library where Tommaso and Marietta were sipping what appeared to be glasses of wine. There were several other glasses and chilled bottles.
Tommaso rose to greet her. “Come in, Mademoiselle Dangervil and please have a seat. Would you like some wine?”
“Peter, pour the lady a glass.” He turned to Anita, “Forgive me, I forgot to ask. Would you like: white or red? We have an excellent Pinot Grigio or a very mellow Pinot Noir.”
“The Pinot Grigio would be fine.”
“Please sit by me,” Marietta said while patting the space next no her. “I won’t bite.”
I wouldn’t bet on it, Anita said to herself. She sat next to Marietta while Peter handed her a glass of what proved to be a very pleasant Pinot Grigio. Tommaso Costa and Peter remained standing.
“Mademoiselle, our offer still stands. We will pay you €1000 a week. You will cook primarily for my family and close associates. Normally, that will be four to six people for dinner. There will not be so many for breakfast or the mid-day meal. We do have a larger number of guests on the weekends. There are times when we have more important guests. For those times you will have help from the dining hall.
“Any questions so far?”
“Do I have an assistant?”
“Certainly, you will have Marie Vasquez for all meals. There are others who may help if the need arises.”
“May I see what there is to work with?”
“Tommaso, I would like to show her around the house. Peter can show her around the compound.” Marietta was smiling at Anita when she said it.
“Come Dear, I think you will like what I have to show you.” Marietta took her hand and led her to a long hall that turned out to be a rather large butler’s pantry. A door led to the right where Anita caught a glimpse of an opulent dining room. It could probably comfortably seat twenty or a few more.
From there they entered a spacious kitchen. It took Anita only seconds to take it all in. If she would ever be able to build the kitchen she wanted, this one was a close second. The massive Vulcan stove was perfect. The large walk-in refrigerator and freezers were very impressive. The stacked ovens would be perfect for larger meals as would the two microwaves. Just off the kitchen was a room the size of full bathroom. It was the wine cellar and probably held over a thousand bottles of some of the finest vintages. Within was a separate refrigerator for chilling those wines that should be chilled before serving. She would find that the liquor cabinet adjoining the casual living area was equally impressive.
“You will have plenty of time to familiarize yourself with all of this later on.
“Oh, here’s Maria. She speaks mostly Spanish. Since you speak some Spanish, that should be good enough. She is very good and will not give you any trouble.”
Anita looked at the shy dark haired girl who was probably about four or five months pregnant. She couldn’t have been much more than 16.
“Estoy muy bien, gracias,” María said with a little curtsey.
“Maria belongs to one of our men who seems to have fallen in love with her. We had a very nice wedding in the chapel a few months ago. She has the best medical attention.
“Come on, I need to show you where you will live. I think you will like it.”
Immediately outside the kitchen was a small area for refuse; beyond, a wall and an unsecured gate. Marietta grasped her hand and pulled her to a small bungalow. The building was probably original to the estate, or very close to it. Like the other older buildings the exterior was made of the yellowing limestone blocks; just on a smaller scale than the main building and wall.
The interior was very up to date; however, there was no kitchen, just a small counter with a coffee machine and a small microwave. A small refrigerator sat below the counter. If the eating area was spare, the bathroom made up for it. A large multi nozzle shower was in one corner, and next to that was a large tub with all the bells and whistles. The WC was enclosed. The bedroom was just as opulent. The king sized bed obviously freshly made up looked very inviting.
Back to the living area, Anita took in the large entertainment system. “This is cool, and so is the atmosphere in here. If I come, may I bring my computer?”
“Certainly; however, access is controlled for the sake of security. You can get just about anything you want on the television. We get all the major US, European, and Latin American Channels. We get our electricity from Haiti; however, we have a generator that will keep everything running in the event of a power outage. All our utilities are underground.
“So what do you think?”
“It’s very nice. I like it.”
“I do have a question. I think I know a bit about you.”
“Would you be offended if I said I think you are a very attractive woman?”
“Of course not, you just said it.”
“I find you very exciting. I know that I am old, not as beautiful as I once was, but do you find me attractive enough that you might want to spend some time with me in private?”
Here goes everything, Anita thought. She towered over the much shorter woman. She pulled her to her and gently kissed her fully on the lips. She let the kiss linger for a long time. Marietta moaned slightly as her knees buckled. Anita let her break the kiss.
“Now is not the time, but I think I know your answer. My daughter said she would be interested, too, if you didn’t mind. It can get lonely out here.”
“Oh, I thought she and Peter ….”
“Oh, they are, but that’s just for the sake of the organization. We want to keep this a family operation. She will bear children to help things along, and eventually she and Peter will take over everything. Unfortunately, after Eleonora I was never able to conceive, or we might have had a son to take things over. There has to be a man in charge for appearances sake.”
“It will be getting dark soon, and it’s a long drive back to the city.”
“Don’t worry about it. We will fly you back in our helicopter. We seldom drive. It takes far too long. When business requires us to travel we take our jet which is at the airport. Have dinner with us. One of our other cooks will fix dinner for us. I am so looking forward to your working here.”
“I think I will like that.”
Peter gives Anita a fairly detailed excursion of the compound. When they return Anita fixes lunch for them. Afterwards Peter says he has some more things to tell in her cottage. Anita is shocked by his revelations, but then again, maybe she isn’t.
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