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Authors: S. W. Frank

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #United States, #African American, #Romance, #Anthologies

Aftermath (6 page)

BOOK: Aftermath
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Time did not erase the guilt
, but with
faith
she found clarity.
Her
most egregious sin
was
fail
ing
to forgive herself for sleeping with a married man
. When
Luzo
visited her
in New York, she
sent him away with a heavy heart and allowed
him
to
return
to Italy believing
she did not love him
. She also did not tell him about his son.

She committed to
faith, and harbored her
flesh
.

Men flirted
, yet
none
caused
goosebumps
to
rise
like Luzo had. Oh,
the
crush of a young girl
when reflected upon is comical.
The crisp air carried with it a hint of sea and she smirked while thinking of her son and Selange.
The gentle laugh was
in
response to her embarrassment for having to witness her son’s lasciviousness. The horny man probably would have made love to Selange right there in the car if she had not awakened.  “Ahhh,” she clutched her chest at the image of the lovebirds and the laughter became a loud
melodic note. Alfonzo and Selange were her and Luzo and what
might
have been. The musical mirth faded,
drowned out by the
presence
of another.

“Maria?”

She became poised
and
stud
ied the distinguished man.
She’d seen him during the funeral,
standing
beside the widow
in fashionable
tinted shades. He
did
look
familiar
,
but from the distance she
wasn’t sure, until
now. D
evoid of the sunglasses
, she recognized Luzo’s friend
. “Bruno?”

He
smiled, “Yes.”

M
any years had
passed,
yet
time was gentle
on
him
.
Thin lines of wisdom at the corners of his brown eyes did
n
o
t detract from the handsome
gentleman
. S
treaks of grey gave him distinction
and that lopsided grin hadn’t disappeared,
instead it gave
a
boyish mischief to the mature face.

Bruno kissed each blushed cheek then wrapped Maria
into a friendly embrace. She inhaled his
pleasant scent,
felt the hardness of his body beneath the suit and
was
light-headed from being held so intimately
.
B
utterflies emerged from a hidden place
and a fierce pulsing occurred between her thighs
.
She began to silently pray for strength, no, actually, she begged for it and when he released her, it was if her prayers
were
answered.

“Ah,
Maria
, it’s so wonderful to see you again, how are you bella?” He
asked.

She clutched her rosary beads, “I’m good and you Bruno; how is the family?”

He sighed, “Sadness comes to my home, yet again
, m
y
wife and now my daughter Bianca’s husband.
Seeing you
has
restored joy
.

Maria was floored by his statement. “Lo siento. I am very sorry for your loss Bruno.” Her hands worked the beads, “I had no idea your daughter was Alberti’s wife. I can’t believe that is little Bianca you often brought to the house.”

“Yes, she has grown.” He watched the changes of color to her lovely eyes. The
woman was as
pretty as he
remembered.
She was
sex
ier, if that’s possible
. T
he red flame
s on her cheekbones
b
eneath the
moon
was breathtaking
. He had always thought she was beautiful and was saddened when she left. Luzo was heartbroken; he tried to conceal it but there’s nothing hidden between friends. “I’ve met your son. He has his father’s temperament aside from other things.”

Maria laughed, “He’s a good man. His surly attitude is only an act.”

Bruno nodded, “I suppose.” He replied looking toward the balustrade doors at the
younger
man approaching and smirked. “I came to say I’m leaving. I wanted to say hello earlier but you were surrounded by family and I didn’t want to interrupt.”

“Oh, well it’s good to see you again.”

“How long will you be in Palermo?”

“Not long…a few days.”

Bruno remained resolute when
Alfonzo
pushed open the heavy glass doors. He found the son as all sons were, rude.
Alfonzo’s
eyebrow was arched
high
,
like his father’s would have been and he wore an undisguised scowl.

“Mama, everything okay out here?”

“I’m fine Alfonzo. This is Bruno DeMarco, a very good friend of your father’s and the man who tried to teach me Italian. I failed the course.” She laughed.

Bruno chuckled and Alfonzo looked from one to the other, “Did I miss the joke?”

Maria shook her head. Yes, Alfonzo
was being abrasive and i
t was time she gave him a refresher
course
on social etiquette
and
a
remind
er
about respect
.

I’m not in any danger from Bruno, but I thank you for your concern, I’ll be inside shortly, okay s
on
?”

Alfonzo’s face flushed angrily. He would not offend his mother or speak his thoughts. He relaxed his muscles and walked to her and kissed the side of her face closest to Bruno. As he did so he glared menacingly at the overly-confident
Bruno
.

The warning was not lost on Bruno and he frowned at Alfonzo’s quiet threat.
Alfonzo
was very protective of his mother, as he should be, Maria was very attractive
. Yet
,
when he wanted something, he went after it, threats were never a deterrent. He usually got what he wanted. Bruno’s eyes twinkled in amusement once Alfonzo exited, “Intense isn’t he?”

“Aye, sí!”


I
will be in the states on business, perhaps
we can get together over dinner when I’m
there.

“Dinner

Bruno…I…don’t know…I may still be in Puerto Rico.


I can
go
there.


To
Puerto Rico
for a date?

Bruno reached in his breast pocket for his
cell
, “
Yes, if that’
s where you will be.” His eyes went to the device, “The
number
please.”

Maria was taken aback by his persistence, “
You’re
going to
come to Bayamón
to have dinner with me?”


Does
it
surprise you?”

“Well, yes
.

The lopsided grin came, “Ah, bella then you are easily surprised.
The
number,
por
favore
?

 

 

                                              
****

 

 

The sleeping arrangements were made. Ari, Nico and the
boys
were staying as guests of Bianca’s in the spacious villa.
The Diaz’ were bunking at Sophie’s. That was the plan, until Sal decided he wanted to hang with his cousins the moment they were ready to depart.

Alfonzo stood in the foyer
of the widow’s home
, eyeing the boy, “Sal, you’re coming with your mom and me.”
Sal
gave an impressive puppy-dog expression
in a silent plea to stay
and Alfonzo
didn’t budge,
“Not working. Do you see a dog in our house, nino?”

Sal pout
and retorted
, “
Aw come on dad, pleeeeaase!”

Alfonzo cast a glance at Selange who waited near the door
holding Allie’s hand
, with a ‘hey it’s your call’ expression.
She wasn’t any help
.

Then Giuseppe emerged from the living-room with the woman Geovonna smiling adoringly up at him and each click of those sparkly
stilettos indicated
a step closer to what Alfonzo suspected was a night of debauchery
.
His eyebrow pointed skyward, wondering when his cousin planned to mention the damage to his bed.


Buena notte, cugino. I need sleep.”
Giuseppe announced. He halt behind Sal who continued to make imploring faces.

“Good night, Geo.”

Geovonna
removed
lipstick from her purse and applied another coat to an already glossy mouth
; p
uckered
then smiled, “Yes, buena notte, Don Alfonzo. It was so nice to have met you.” She bent low and gave Sal a loud smack on his cheek leaving a
red
imprint
.
“And you as well bello.”

Sal beamed. The boy loved busty women, Alfonzo could tell. “Good-night Geovonna,” he blushed staring at her and Alfonzo shook his head.

“Come on Sal, time to go.”

“But dad, I’ll behave. I promise.”

Giuseppe
came to Sal’s aid,
“What is the matter Salvatore, you can tell Uncle Geo?”

Alfonzo cut Giuseppe a look for interfering
which went
ignored.

“I want to spend the night here like the other kids and dad says no.”

Giuseppe frown
ed,
“Your father is a cazzo. Uncle Geo says
you can
stay. I will handle your father.”

“Geo I’m standing right here.”


I have heard it takes a village to raise children and it is true. I am the village elder and I say the boy stays. Shame on you cugino!” Then he slapped Alfonzo upside the head and grinned.
“Go make more babies with the boy’s mother,” he glanced over at Selange near the door and waved, “see, she is eager and oh so ready.”

Alfonzo dropped his head mortifi
ed
. His cousin was a character, a goddamn mess, but he loved him. “Ah,” he blew, “Sal,
you can stay one night.
Uno noche, no mas. Tomorrow, you stay with your mom and me, comprende?”

The boy’s head went up and down in excitement, “Sí, thanks dad!”

“I’ll send someone over with your suitcase.” Then Alfonzo cautioned,
“Sal, make sure to brush your teeth and keep the noise down. The woman just buried her husband.
Respeta ella, tu sabé
?”

“Okay, I will. I promise.”

Alfonzo nudged his son’s chin with a fist, “Okay,
hijo
, I’ll s
ee you tomorrow
.”

Sal turned to Giuseppe and spoke fluently in Italian, “Thanks Uncle Geo, you’re super cool.
Word
!”

A fondness for the boy showed when Giuseppe responded testing the boy’s fluency in the language, “You are the son I do not have Salvatore. As long as I live I will treat you like my own.
W
ho taught you
Italian
?”


Uncle
Vin
ny. We talked all the time
and he
was
really
cool like you
.”

Giuseppe nodded
, “Thanks young Alfonzo, now go say bye to your mama
.” He said and watched the
boy t
ake
off
on command
. Giuseppe’s eyes did not leave the child
. The boy had him considering fatherhood, goddamn!

BOOK: Aftermath
13.12Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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