It was good to be home. He hadn't set foot in Bensonhurst in over two years but everything was still exactly how he remembered it. The sights, the sounds, the smells; they were all familiar and comforting. This trip was exactly what he needed after the unexpected end of his relationship with Lulu.
He just couldn't support the lengths that she has gone to essentially enable her father. She'd become completely wrapped up in trying to save someone who obviously does not want to be saved. If Dante had learned anything in the last two years, it was that you can't force someone to change if they don't want to; no matter how well intentioned you might be. It was a battle that he had with his own father time and again and he couldn't stand by and watch while Lulu systematically destroyed her life. After they ended things, he just had to get away from Port Charles for a while.
So here he was, walking the streets of his old neighborhood feeling lighter with every step. There really was no place like home.
"Well it's about time you graced us with your presence Falconeri," a familiar voice called out to him. He looked up and sure enough there was Gloria Cerullo leaning out of her window.
"Hey there Mrs C. What can I say? I missed the Bensonhurst insanity."
"Well from what I hear, you've had your fair share of insanity in Port Charles."
"Yeah things are a little crazy there," Dante nodded realizing that that was probably the biggest understatement of the year but not really knowing what else to say.
"So why are you still standing there. We're about to have dinner so get on in here."
"Well with an offer like that how can I refuse?" Dante chuckled as he made his way into the Cerullo home.
He could hear her laughter coming from the kitchen as soon as he stepped into the house.
He hadn't seen or really spoken to her since she left Port Charles to go on tour. As crazy as it sounded he was glad he hadn't because the distance had allowed him to move past the resentment he felt towards Brook ever since he found out about her role in Carly's revenge plot.
"Wow something smells amazing in here," Dante said entering the kitchen.
Brook nearly jumped out of her skin when she heard his voice.
"Oh my gosh Dante, what are you doing here?" He was the last person she had expected to walk into her grandmother's kitchen. She quickly set down the spoon that was in her hand and ran over to embrace her old friend, momentarily forgetting that things were still a little tense between them.
Dante eagerly returned Brook's embrace much to his surprise and hers too. Brook reluctantly pulled away reminding herself that her friendship with Dante wasn't as solid as it used to be. She had truly messed things up by agreeing to Carly's plan. Thankfully Dante had agreed to not give up on their friendship and she wasn't about to squander this second chance by pushing things too far too fast.
Brook finally broke the awkward silence that had settled between them.
"So tell me Detective, what brings you back to our little old neighborhood?"
"Ahhh well I heard that there's been a serious drop in swag so I just had to come down and set things right again."
"Oh so you're here to bring the swag back to Bensonhurst"
"You know it. So um whatcha got over there that smells so good?"
Brook quickly raced back to the stove. "No no no Falconeri. You get your hands away from that pot."
"Aww come on. Just a little taste," he pleaded giving her his best puppy dog face.
"Don't you make that face at me. Dinner will be ready in five minutes. You're just gonna have to wait."
Gloria couldn't help but smile at the scene that was unfolding in her kitchen. Olivia was right. All they needed was a little push and she was more that happy to give it to them.
"Brookie," she said walking into the kitchen. "Sweetie your aunt Teresa just called and they're having a meatball emergency. You know your cousin Angela is hosting the annual spaghetti dinner for the kids down at the school. Anyways, I have to get over there before the poor girl gives half the neighborhood food poisoning." She grabbed her keys and headed for the door.
"You two kids stay here and enjoy that dinner and maybe later you can head out to Coney Island for the Summer Festival it's a beautiful night out," she said before making a quick exit.
Dante and Brook were left standing in the kitchen completely dumfounded.
Dante finally broke the silence.
"Why do I get the feeling we've been set up?"
"It sure looks that way. Listen Dante you know my Gradma she means well but please don't feel like you have to do any of what she suggested."
"Are you kidding me? There's no way I'm passing up your cooking and summer in Brooklyn ain't the same without a trip to Coney Island. So stop teasing me with that dinner already."
"Um alright, you set the table while I get this ready."
Brook and Dante reconnected over a beautiful dinner of risotto al vino. She filled him in on how the tour was going and he caught her up on everything going on in Port Charles.
After dinner, they headed out to Coney Island like Gloria suggested and as they walked through the park it felt just like old times. Brook had to coax Dante into riding the Cyclone with her and he had to bribe her with pink cotton candy to visit Dante's Inferno with him.
Later, as they watched the fireworks together, Dante gently put his arm around Brook while she rested her head on his shoulder. It really was good to be home.