|An Unexpected Customer
Author: Beatrice Benedick PM
A total stranger stepped inside Gio's Deli but Gio was about to find out that he had more in common with him that he could have imagined. Gio and Betty. GxB. Happening sometime during season 3.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship - Gio R. & Walter - Words: 3,660 - Reviews: 10 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 2 - Published: 01-09-09 - Status: Complete - id: 4780511
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AN UNEXPECTED CUSTOMER
This is to Foxy who wanted something with Walter in it.
Set several months after episode: 3.04 Betty Suarez Land
The deli door sprung opened and the little bell quickly announced that a new customer had arrived Gio's Deli. The person standing at the door was a tall young guy with curled hair. He looked around and saw nobody. Expecting to find someone inside, he took a few steps into the little restaurant. He noticed that the fridge was curiously misplaced in the corner. Thinking that the business was closed he turned and headed to the door.
"We're open" a voice was heard from somewhere. "Wait! Just a minute."
The newcomer walked to the corner where the voice was coming from. "Problems with the fridge?"
Gio was there, sitting on the floor looking into something down the back of the fridge. He noticed the man beside him and looked up. "Just a second. Be right in a minute… Ah! Damn it!" Gio hit the fridge out of anger with a screwdriver and licked one of his fingers. He seemed to have cut his skin with something from the machine.
"Um… a—are you sure everything is okay?" the man said with a hesitant voice.
Gio looked up once again. The man in front of him was standing tall by his side and looked like a nice fellow. There wasn't slightest trace of conceit in his features. And he held his stare in such relaxed manner that gave him quite an absent minded look. He also had a shy smile plastered on his face. Actually, he looked kind of stupid, Gio thought. But he didn't want to be impolite and answered: "Everything is just fine. It's just not cooling down".
"Eh… did you clean the coils?".
Gio sighed. "Well, of course I did! But still doesn't work".
"It's a dead wire".
He looked at him and then to the machine. What did this man knew, anyway?
"Nope. I don't see any loose cables or anything" Gio said in a sort of annoying tone.
"This is a very very old model," he said. Gio's teeth gritted at his comment. "There's a blue cable in the wiring right of the compressor… it's… it's always the blue one".
"No blue cable here".
"Can I? Please?" Gio breathed heavily and stood up letting the guy bent down and pull a set of tiny cables from where he carefully singled one. He made a bit cut with his teeth and wrapped the end to another one.
Gio gave him what he needed.
"It's done. Let's try it" They plugged the machine. "Just like new!" he said jumping and doing a little dance. Gio gave him a weird stare and the guest approached to him in embarrassment. "Just… just… give it a few minutes. You'll see the difference".
Gio was already amazed because it was really cooling faster. "Oh, yeah! Thanks, man".
"These models usually have the same problems. Cables too slim. Anything messes them up" The guest didn't want to add that the most common cause of the broken wire were the little rats roaming behind the fridge. He thought better not to upset the shop owner and said nothing about it.
"You might want to change the thermostat… Maybe buy a new refrigerator… newer model, if possible".
"Aw, man" washing his hands in the sink, "forget that. I don't think I can afford a new one. Those things cost a pretty penny."
The guy had nice sincere eyes. He suddenly looked for something inside his jacket.
"Go to this store. The one in Queens and ask for Ralph Martin. Just show my card or tell him I sent you. He'll get a special price for you and… you'll get a free transportation to here. Just tell him I sent you".
Gio dried his hands with a towel and reached to get the business card. He was a bit too nice but Gio found that the way he behaved, though a bit childish and insecure, was of an honest and gentle person.
"Walter Tabachnik, Pro-Buy regional sales manager" Gio read in the card. "Ah man. Thanks. Appreciate it". He put it in the little pocket of his apron. "So what can I do for you today?" He looked at him. He seemed a bit nervous, or maybe that was just the way he was.
"I— I don't know. I was just walking around here. You know I… don't really like Manhattan. Everything is so… different… fancy. I just wanted a place to eat."
"This is just the place to eat" Gio said with a proud smile.
"I haven't even got breakfast and I needed something quick but—"
"But you are hungry and you want something with substance" Gio interrupted again pointing at Walter's face. The guy looked quite thin but he knew the type. He was sure an eater.
"Yeah. That's the thing" the other one smiled and nodded. He had nailed it.
"I got what exactly you need".
So Gio clapped once and got ready to work on the order as Walter sat in one of the tables inside the deli. Not many minutes have passed when the fridge started to sound funny again.
"You know? I might take your advice and get a new one" Gio said as he was making the sandwich. "That Pro-buy store is even close to home so I wouldn't mind to take a look".
"From Jackson Heights, eh?" asked Walter.
"Yeah" said Gio adding a special dressing to the sandwich and putting it on a plate.
"Me, too. Used to live there. Friends are still there and family"
"A guy from the neighborhood? That's cool" Gio said walking to where the client was and putting the dish in front of him. Gio took off one of his gloves and offered his right hand. "The name is Gio" he slightly bent his head towards the window where the logo was glowing "Gio's Deli".
Walter shook the hand that was offered to him. It was as if they were brothers, now.
"Went to the local junior high?" said Walter.
"Sure I did. Which year?"
"Nah. I'm senior. Got out of prison at 1996."
They both laughed. "We might have met."
"We might. Actually, I live quite close by. Know the little Italian restaurant just at the corner of the school? That's my uncle's."
"Eh? Leonardo Rossi is your uncle?" His eyes were open wide. Gio was amused by this guy. He was so expressive. "Best meatballs in the world! Used to go there several times with my— well, now ex girlfriend. She used to live just a few blocks away" And then he blushed, sighed and looked outside "Now she works around here and it's just somehow… makes me nervous".
"Come on, man. Are you serious? You came all the way down to Manhattan to visit an ex girlfriend?"
He gave a shy smile. "Yeah, well. Haven't seen her for some time. And I was in town so..."
He looked at the sandwich and went silent. Gio didn't say anything else. Maybe he had hit a nerve. That woman, she must have been a heartbreaker, he thought. And then he was certain that the guy had been chewed and spat to the floor mercilessly by that woman. He looked the type: the type that women mistreat and abuse, the type that women use to their selfish purposes and in the end, when wasted, just left to be thrown away like any disposable object. Classic, Gio laughed, not realizing he was thinking too much. Women just loved to make good guys miserable and fall for those who make them suffer, didn't they?
He resolved to leave him alone so he turned around and reached the cooking counter to clean it when Walter started talking again.
"She would have liked this place" he started saying looking around and his eyes had a hint of nostalgia.
Gio kept cleaning the counter. Seems like that was a fragile topic and it was interesting how he changed mood even when all he served him was just a carbonated beverage. He smiled at the thought of what he would say if he brought him a beer.
"This tastes really good. Maybe you could make another one to go?"
"Right on it" Gio smiled. He knew he chose right. That was actually one of the most popular sandwiches in his deli. He had taken an old recipe, added a few new ingredients and the taste just went to the peoples favorites within a week.
By the time Walter had finished his plate Gio already had the additional sandwich wrapped in a transparent foil. The client approached to the counter and pulled his wallet he was eyeing the sandwich and talking more to himself than to Gio.
"It's almost lunch time. I think she will like this. You know, she had a thing for sundried tomatoes and turkey. 'Never enough sundried tomatoes' she always said."
Gio smile suddenly faded and his heart sank in his chest. Of course that was just a coincidence. His mind was just playing games with his heart. Still he wanted to ask him something but he was afraid of being improper.
"How much for this?" Walter asked.
"It's on the house" Gio said touching his apron pocket with his right hand feeling still uneasy. "—for the fridge and the card".
Walter thanked him, picked the sandwich and walked towards the exit. Gio scratched his head and couldn't resist the words that came out of his mouth.
"She lived very close to school, you say?" Gio continued "I might have met her… you know, living around there and all".
"Oh! No, no. We were in the same year at school. So probably you didn't."
Gio's frown deepened and he wore a stern expression.
Walter noticed that and mistook his reaction. Afraid that he had been uncivil, he said with a conciliatory smile. "But she works just a couple of blocks from here. She might have come here. She works at Mode. Her name is Betty—"
"—Suarez" they both said at the same time.
Gio looked at Walter from head to feet and now wore a crooked smile on his face.
"You are kidding me. You are Betty Suarez ex boyfriend".
Walter walked to the counter smiling.
"So you know her?"
"Hells yeah I do!" He eyed Walter as his quick mind kept working inside of him. How many broken hearts had that girl in her record? Did she have a special collection? Did she collect men like trophies? Now he understood the sadness on his eyes. He had seen the same eyes before across the mirror of his bedroom many times before.
"Well, I must head my way. She doesn't know I'm going and I must hurry before she leaves the office"
"Would you like to use the phone? Do you know how to walk to the Meade Building?"
"I have visited her many times before. But thanks I better hurry. And… umm… It's really nice to see one of us succeed in Manhattan. And, don't forget to go there" he said signaling the pocket where Gio held his business card. "Gio, right?"
"Gio's Deli" he reminded him pointing at the logo in the bag. Walter waved and left the place.
So he had been to the Meade Building many times before, Gio thought. Betty relationship with this man must have been quite recent. But how about Henry? And just how many boyfriends had Betty had since she came to Mode a couple of years ago? Even more, how many before even being in Mode? Those were the questions that troubled Gio's mind in a second.
He lifted his eyebrows. May the devil take him! What were the odds of running into one of Betty's former lovers inside his own deli?
He started laughing aloud and couldn't resist grabbing the deli's phone and pressing the third number he had saved on speed dial.
A very perky voice answered the other line.
"Daniel Meade's office".
"Ha! Guess who was right here in my Deli?"
"Gio?! Woah! Right on time! I was about to place an order for Daniel."
"Stop! Stop, Suarez. You know you are not allowed to make orders at the Deli yet. I told you must always ask Amanda".
"Don't be such an ass. I have been lunching from your deli for months after you forgave me—"
"Partially forgave you" he reminded her. "But still, you must always place the order via Amanda. That was the deal."
Betty Suarez let out a frustrated sigh that sounded across the line. She knew how impossible Gio was when he had a thing in his mind. "Fine, as you wish!"
There was a sudden silence. Betty broke it. "You were the one who called, Gio."
"Oh! yes" he said suddenly remembering why he had called. "I just met one of your many lovers in the deli".
"One of my lovers?! What are you talking about, Gio?" Betty's voice hardened. Gio sounded like an old gossip lady.
"Now, now aren't you the man eater, Betty Suarez. I really thought you were different but you are just like the rest" he said with a bit of a mock angry tone in his voice remembering the sad eyes of that man that so madly resembled his own eyes. He bit his tongue restraining the urge to protest and say 'You love just playing with men, don't you? What did you do to him this time? Did you eat him just like you did to me?'
The little bell rang announcing that someone opened the door of the deli.
"You know, on a second thought I think I should call her."
Gio opened his eyes wide and froze a smile in his face still holding the phone against his ear.
"Oh wow!" He said watching the phone in his hand, where Betty was shouting unintelligible words at him, and showing it to Walter "Isn't this an interesting coincidence? I just have her on the phone!"
"No way! Really? Perfect!" he said with enthusiasm and took the phone that was been offered to him. "Betty, is that you?"
There was a yell of happy surprise across the line. Gio rolled his eyes and leaned against the back counter staring at him from the corner of his eyes with a fake smile in his lips.
"I was just heading to your office. Are you busy?" Walter said holding the phone with both hands.
"In Manhattan! That's wonderful! Walter! How is job? Maryland! I saw you mother the other day she told me a bit about you. I didn't knew you were coming" Betty threw at him in an excited voice and then added "and what are you doing with Gio? "
"Easy, Betty. I can't answer everything at once. I— I think I'm doing very good. But how about you? I heard you moved to the big city. Wow! Are you doing what you always wanted to do? Are you happy?"
"Oh! I have never been happier!" She shouted and Gio frowned and drew a smirk on his lips. Betty voice was seriously annoying him "Everything is going better than ever. I'll tell you everything when you get here. I can't wait to see you".
Gio walked a few steps back. He didn't want to listen to their conversation but Betty's voice was so loud across the line of the phone that he couldn't help it.
Finally it was over and Walter left in a rush. When the door closed Gio noticed he was feeling even angrier than when he was there speaking by the phone. There was something wrong about that guy, he thought. Betty seemed to have obviously crushed his heart and he still keeps her friendship and talks to her in that feisty way and rushes so happily to meet her. They would probably have lunch and talk a bunch of silly things.
"He really is an idiot. Real men don't do that" he said aloud to himself.
The phone rang and took him back to reality, to his work.
Gio approached the round reception desk at Mode offices and placed a big brown bag on top of it. He stared at the blond girl that was lazily sitting behind the desk reading a magazine.
"Here your order" Gio said.
Amanda rose a bit from the chair to have a better look of how nicely those fashionable jeans wrapped his body. She didn't even care that she was being very obvious about it. Amanda thought that she wouldn't mind at all to make a sandwich with that ham. Just not with Betty. She made a face just at the disgusting image of it. But then, she thought that maybe it wouldn't be so bad after all. And thinking so she put her imagination into work.
Gio chuckled at the silly face the woman in front of him that was totally ignoring him, staring at something into space biting and licking her lips absentmindedly. She really was a silly pretty doll, perfect sample of a Mode Girl, he thought. So, he put the bill under the bag and turned back to leave.
Amanda awoke from her trance.
"Hey, sandwich guy! You came a little late. I thought you would arrive earlier".
"Well" he said passively. "I had other orders".
"You just missed them. But I'll tell you anyway. Did you know your ex just went out to lunch with her ex?"
She waited a second for his reaction. He just answered.
"Aren't you jealous or what?"
"Why should I be?"
Amanda's lips formed a smile.
"I like you. And now that I live with her we sometimes talk about you. Well she is the one that does the talking. Especially when she is really hungry and she has nothing in the fridge... Anyway." she said dismissively as Gio listened to her as patiently as he could. "I don't see you as often as before. Why don't you come and stare at her a little bit more? This is getting really bored around here. No scheming, no action, no gossip... At least stalking you making the fool out of yourself was entertaining."
"Ha!" he said and pulled back to turn away.
She leaned closer to him and grabbed him by the arm preventing him to go.
"He cheated on her you know? I think it was by the time she came to work here. And with a bitch from the neighbor! A woman from Queens! Poor taste!" She said forgetting Gio and Betty were also from Queens. "Well, the same could be said of Betty, then. But she has improved a lot with every new guy. You know, she just had a crush recently with a singer that was looking like a million doll—"
"He cheated on her?" Gio interrupted.
"That's what I said. Didn't I?" Amanda let him go and pondered a bit. "What I was saying? Oh yes, our neighbor, the musician, is just too hot for Betty but she still wants him for her and no sharing. So greedy".
Gio stopped listening and went inside the office leaving her talking by herself.
It was late evening and Gio finished cleaning the deli. The phone rang again.
"Gio. I just found a note in my desk".
Gio stared at his hand for a second and then spoke.
"Well, yeah. You didn't have to call me back".
"You drew a pickle that says 'call me" Betty responded.
Gio remembered how after speaking to Amanda he went to her desk and before he could think twice his hand wrote "Forgive me. I was really an ass. Gio" and left it on her desk.
"Well, I am sorry for what I said to you today. I have not right to judge you about your past. I was crossing the line."
Betty stood silent for a moment.
"Especially if I don't know about it. Really, sorry. That's all I wanted to say".
Betty sighed through the phone.
"It's okay. I guess I should tell you more about my life".
Gio cut her short. They were friends again but he mustn't get involved with her too deeply.
"No. You don't have to tell me everything about you, anymore".
"But I want to".
He also wanted to.
"It's better if you don't".
"Oh! Okay" Betty said and then after a while: "Gio! God you really are an awful cartoonist".
Gio smiled at her comment.
"What?! I think the pickle was cute".
She smiled through the line.
"Does this mean that I can start ordering again?"
"No, Suarez, you can't. Don't push it."
Betty protested. Gio could imagine her lips making a little pout on the other side.
"Well… Maybe on Mondays and Fridays. Okay?"
Betty voice was lively again. The same way she had been talking with Walter just this morning, Gio thought, pleased. How much he liked to hear her overexcited voice so close to his ears!
"You can't take that back! I wrote it down in my agenda."
Gio laughed again.
"No, I'm not taking that back."
His heart felt a bit empty when, after they said their goodbyes, he put the phone back to its place.
He really was an ass. Only fools fell in love like that.