DISCLAIMER: I do not own Twilight, the series, or anything affiliated. It all belongs to Stephanie Meyer.
A/N: You guessed it, ANOTHER mafia creation from Miss Nae Malfoy! The name is Montebello (oh, I just love that surname!) in this fic. "Cullen" and "Masen" just weren't Italian enough for my liking.
His blue eyes connected with mine from across the room, but it wasn't in my heart to make any sort of intimate gesture to a man like him. I was, after all, a guest in the city that he owned, and I was nothing more than a stranger to him. "Are you ready for tonight, Bella?" Alice nudged me with her small, bony elbow as she helped fill a tray of tall shot glasses with expensive white tequila. That was the table, table 10, that the Montebellos used when not in private rooms; I liked it better when they used the back rooms, at least I wouldn't have to see them as often and pretend to interact civilly. Alice Montebello was the owner's precious Italian-American daughter, and for what reason she deemed we were twins, she dragged me with her to Staten Island, in a small city where she grew up most of her life. We studied together at University of Washington, clear across the country, and after realizing that my best friend lived a pretty lavish lifestyle, I accepted her offered plane ticket to New York. My dad was angry and nervous about such a big move, but I promised him frequent calls during the week and letters when I could. My mom was mostly numb to the world and the decisions I made in life, but she agreed with her Chief of Police husband just this once. Of all the things they would actually agree on!
"Table 12." Our manager, Garrett Trevino, was rumored to be kept here by a very bad secret and blood debt he owed to the Montebellos, but he seemed happy in the most part. Weren't caged birds unhappy creatures? Perhaps they were just rumors and nothing else? I nodded to her and pranced to said table, where guys like Lucas, Seth, and Luigi were seated. Two newer guys flanked some seats, but I didn't pay them any special attention. These Staten Island guys took the slightest look as a viperous outcry for sex, I learned very early on. "You know why I love this place so much?" Lucas began, and even if he shared the other men's wrinkles and peppered hair, he was the kindest. Seth was always showing off his gun and holster, and Luigi only spoke in Italian in front of me. When Alice first offered to put me up at her family's large estate and even went as far as setting up my first job in New York as a waitress for her family's Italian restaurant, I was appalled and felt that there was going to be a catch. Who was that nice, without wanting anything in return? The worst part of her deal was her demand that we shop every day we get off and to stay on top of our spa treatments before and after shifts. How was that a downside to complain about?
"Why is that?" I smiled prettily as I passed out the clear liquid spirits to the three men at the table. In the last seven days, I began to wonder why Alice even worked here. Her parents owned the joint, and it wasn't like she would ever need to work a day in her life.
"Because there are beautiful women, with light brown hair and crystal clear eyes, here waiting on me. That's a good feeling." A soft chuckled left my lips and I asked for any last calls before walking back to my station. There were always menus to give, orders to write down and pass onto the chef, Sam, and messes to clean- and this was my very first witnessing job. Before this, I worked in a pet shop through high school and then went onto assisting some big shot's secretary at a firm in Seattle. I was used to dressing classy and sitting at a small desk waiting for routine instruction, but here I was up moving constantly and conversating with everyone I met. High heels were out of the question and the plain jane black dress with/without panty hose was uniform. I wore different jewelry and tried different shades and colors of makeup to make it more interesting, and even went as far as coloring my hair a few shades lighter to catch the appeal in New York.
The night waned on quickly, but by the end of my shift, I was like a loose pile of jelly. My conservative plain black shoes and my loose bun made matters worse, so I took them off and unpinned my hair before sitting down with my receipts. It was funny, when I majored in Linguistics and Behavioral Development, I never saw myself being twenty-two and in a big city restaurant. I figured I'd be on my own in a small Washington town, working with the government to help kinds in need, or working for some big company and translating for Chinese business partners. Witnessing wasn't anything like I saw in movies- on a bad night, ass-grabbers were down to two guys a shift, and the tips I made… were large and definitely worth my time. If I smiled a lot and complimented more, I could see multiple twenties and maybe even a fifty dollar bill. What kind of translator ever got tipped for doing a good job, hmm?
"Hey, Mama's making a mean Calzone tonight. Are you catching a ride with me or what?" I had never seen so many Italians before New York, but I enjoyed the culture immensely. Alice's family was loud and exuberant, and made every word they spoke count, and most of them accepted me with open . I shook my head.
"Garrett wants to review my receipts for the next few days." I said, feeling that prickly sensation run up my spine again. Alice didn't trust him all that much, but she knew she had nothing to worry about. She was a Montebello, nothing touched her.
"Is there an inconsistency with the numbers? Service hasn't been slow whatsoever." Her tone was a little bristled, probably because she was too curious for her own good.
I shook my head. "No, he just says that he doesn't trust me. I don't blame him, it's a lot of money." Things like these I shrugged off, only because I didn't need the negative energy to affected the great life I was preparing for myself. Alice and I shared the ten to six0thirty shift together, and boy did I love Esme Montebello's saucy dinners. She was half-Italian, half-Irish, but she only knew her father's language and his family traditions, while her Irish mother wasn't around to teach her anything of Ireland. Carlisle Montebello was something else; he spent a lot of time at the restaurant, wooing clients and eating Rizzoli. He was loud and liked to laugh a lot, but I didn't mind. It was better than my quiet dad, who never shared his childhood stories or moved me with life lessons he pursued in adulthood like Mr. Montebello did.
"How long does he plan on taking? We still need to drop by Dillard's for those purple dresses." I nodded and tried to get a peek at where he was; there was a main floor with twenty-five table clothed seating areas, the front patio housed twelve more iron-rod tables, and the three private rooms were conjoined, and could be separated by French shutters.
"I'll meet you there. He cant take that long." I smiled and waved her off before the green giant came and ruined the rest of my day. I lived rent-free at Montebello Manor, so my first pay check was going straight to my savings- once I had enough, I would buy my own car and perhaps new wardrobe? And then I would start looking for another place to live, a place on my own. What Alice and her family gave me was very thoughtful, but I didn't plan on depending on them for my living and career for the rest of my life. I was a Swan, I could make a dime into fifty cents. "I've counted the money to the last penny, and all of the receipts are right here." His beady black eyes roamed over everything, while he shifted articles around passed me hard glares. "What?" I asked innocently. I didn't like the way he seemed to hate me for no goddamn reason! It was upsetting.
"I don't like you, never have and never will. You're just this prissy little white girl from a city no one's ever even heard about. If I owned this place, I would have never let a cagna bianca into a pureblooded Italiano shop!" His angry hand swiped at the table and knocked everything onto the floor. I pretended not to know what he was saying in Italian, since it wasn't common knowledge that I was fluent in five different languages. I guess every other employee was Italian, or had very strong bloodlines to work here. wasn't that a hate crime to deny someone a job because of their ethnicity, or skin color? Dimes and quarters sounded as they rolled under tables and the receipts scattered everywhere. "Pick it up, Isabella, what the fuck are you looking at?" I blinked a few times to dispel myself of the oncoming headache. Why was he talking to me like this? I never cussed in front of him! "Pick the fucking money up, you stupid slut. Why the fuck are you just staring at me? Do it!" Some sentences were calm, some were filled with unaided anger. I could feel Jessica Stanley's and Tanya Denali's eyes burning holes in my back, and I could just see the pity on their faces. They were both sweet girls, but probably wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire in fear that they'd be held responsible for it.
With a forceful hand, he shoved me into a table and I wobbled dangerously. "Alright, alright! I'll do it, stop treating me like you're my pimp!" I muttered before bending down on my knees and collected the loose papers.
"That's right, Isabella, down on your knees." He called before walking off and sharing a loud greeting with one of his regular customers. There weren't many people around, as we were closed for personal hours and wouldn't be open until eight-thirty again, but some of the other workers most definitely heard and were probably feigning empathy for me at the moment. Alice was always telling me about this white knight of hers, and how he was going to come in and save her one day. Why would anyone with her fabulous lifestyle need to be saved? I finished reorganizing everything and locked it in the company's wall safe before changing into jeans and a cardigan for the cold weather. I stepped out into the dark evening; wasn't New York supposed to be good weather and tantalizing landscape? But the sun went down so early, and it was still summer! Sure, city lights and car sounds kept the city alive all times of day and night, but it just wasn't the same as the sun and all of it's natural appeal.
I wished I had packed smarter when I left my life in Washington, but I left all of my heavier clothing at my parents' house and figure they'd give it to Goodwill or something sooner or later. Mm mom hated junk, anyway. I hailed a cab and gave him the directions to the Dillard's Alice was already at; I couldn't take cabdrivers to the Montebello Estate- hell, I was barely let in most times. Alice didn't like driving, so I was usually the one that drove around her silver Prius, and the guards didn't like that very much. She was the local celebrity at Dillard's, so we were served champagne and seated in a private room while floor employees brought dozens of purple dresses to us for inspection. I liked dresses, but these weren't the ones I was used to. They were silk, chiffon, Egyptian cotton- they were more expensive than my only pair of Louboutins I bought when I got my first paycheck ever; I treasured those things with my life, but never got enough courage to buy another pair of five hundred dollar shoes again. I crinkled my nose at a dark purple number Alice held up to her body for inspection in front of the long mirror.
"You're going to look like a plum!" I exclaimed with a few girly giggles of my own. She made everything so carefree and playful with me, it was hard to take life serious when around her. In her own words, we were instant friends our freshmen year of college, but it was more like I was dragged around at her whim and after time, I grew to enjoy her company. People got a kick out of our friendship story, and sometimes even I had to take a break and glance over how far we came. If we had never met in Biology II, and if Mr. Duboiur had never paired us up in French Literature, where would I be? Certainly not in a three story retail store sipping on champagne and only worrying about the color coordinating dresses we were going to wear for the upcoming Gala held at Montebello Italian Cuisine. "Oh, this one!" I muttered after my second glass was empty; I held out the lavender razorback tunic to her, and her eyes lit up like a Christmas tree.
"So cute!" Her high-pitched voice soothed me on my worst days. She fingered through a rack of more gowns and pulled out one with a small gold trim; when she finally fought me into the scrap of material, I wrapped my hands around my middle protectively. I wasn't as skinny as Alice, she had to know that showing the sides of my hips wasn't as complimenting as it would have been for her. She barged in my dressing room without knocking and let her eyes visibly widen before me. "Bella, this is gorgeous! Please pick this one, I love it! Oh, please, you look so good in it!" She shoved my hands from their places and made me look at myself fully. The two shapes cut out on both sides of my waist made the dress look symmetrical, and the mid-thigh was pushing it for me, as I wasn't a huge fan of my thighs.
I did love my body, I worked kinda hard for it after all, but I didn't like flaunting it so easily. I liked keeping some mystery, and this piece wasn't going to leave that much to the imagination. "I don't know, Alice, it's kind of… racy." I wasn't seventeen anymore, I knew that, but I was trying to make a good impression with her family. Her older brother was constantly vying for my attention as it was, would I like to give him the incentive of ogling my body in this dress? I blushed at the thought. Emmett Montebello was very sexy in his own right, seeing as he was over six feet tall and his chest and biceps were always begging to burst from his button-up business top. Did I like the fact that his clothes were always expensive and tucked in? Yes, but I hated that I understood the type of business he dabbled in.
"Jesus Christ, Bella! It's totally cute and we aren't leaving until you let me buy it for you!" I shook my head and fingered the triangular shape that was cut out over my collarbone and part of my cleavage. The tight fabric spanned thinly over my shoulders and wrapped right above a quarter-sleeve cut, leaving little room for breathing and mobility. What if Garrett ordered to wait tables and serve platters during the night? I would be royally screwed.
"Miss Montebello, Miss Swan." A suited security guard stepped into the room, and before Alice could throw her shoe at him for not first knocking, he covered his eyes and tipped his head another direction. "You will both be escorted out of the building immediately, there has been a breach of security. Gather your belongings immediately." We were both still in our dresses, and when I voiced our dilemma, he opened his eyes and sent me a cold, hard look. "That does not matter. The garments will be charged to Mr. Montebello's account. Let us leave." We snatched out purses and shoes before following him out of the open door. Two dark coats were thrown over our frames and I felt two strong arms envelope us, correctly smashing us together, as we blindly traveled out of the back door. We were hurled into an awaiting car and only when our initial fear off, we swam out of the mass of cloth.