Sure, you do, Vits, thought Saks.
“The Serafina girl, I’m told, don’t want it neither. Her grandfather wants to see her settled. She doesn’t date, hasn’t had a boyfriend in years. It wouldn’t be such a bad thing to meet her, eh? She’s a good girl, and not afraid to work hard. You’d like that type of woman, eh?”
“Uncle Vits, like I said, I can find my own dates.”
“I’ve heard about your women, Anthony. Not one of them is right for you. Marriage is good for a man, to go home to someone and not be lonely.”
“I never said I was lonely.”
“Anthony, you’re a young man. I’m an old man. A young one like you wants to—”
“Enough, Uncle Vits. I get your point.”
“So you’ll meet the Serafina girl this Saturday. Here.” He pointed at the ground.
“At this crazy party Sheldon’s throwing?”
“I asked him to throw the party. Give you and the girl a low-key way to meet.”
Saks resisted the urge to scoff. Yeah, Uncle Vits, in front of the whole family, no pressure at all. “That's nice of you,” Saks said grudgingly
“Yeah, well,” the old man muttered.
“But I tell you, Uncle Vits, I’m not sold on this scheme of yours. I’ll meet her, but I’m not making any promises.”
Vits looked up at him and slapped his meaty hand on Saks’ shoulder. “Good. It’s a start.” He patted Saks’ cheek. “You’ll like her, you’ll see.”
Uncle Vits, his business concluded, left the stockroom. Saks leaned against the shelves and rubbed his face with his hands. This was not going to work out well.
Especially since he couldn't get one golden-haired goddess off his mind.
Chrissy settled into her train seat and pulled out her work tablet just as her phone started vibrating. She clicked the on button to her earbuds without looking at the phone.
“Christina!” her father said. “How’s my girl doing?”
“Dad,” she huffed with exasperation. “Why are you calling me in the middle of the day?”
“I need to tell you to leave this Saturday open.”
“Why? What’s happening?”
“There’s a dance that your grandfather and I want you to attend.”
Chrissy glanced at the spreadsheet she assembled for contacts and became distracted on a detail, so she wasn't paying attention to his words. “That’s nice,” she replied.
“Then I can count on you, right?”
“On what?” She snapped back to the conversation. What had she just agreed to?
“The dance. It’s a party. At the Red Bull. You’ll meet the Roccos’ man there.”
Chrissy drew up straight and her eyes narrowed. How dare he push this on her? But she also remembered her promise to her sister to act cool and play for time. She had to make it look good, to give Marcus the hint he needed to propose to Gloria. And a dance? What the heck? What was this? High school? “Sure, Papa. I’ll be there. When?”
“It starts at eight and goes to closing.”
“And why are we doing this at the Roccos’ bar?”
“Because Vittorio Rocco thought it’d be good for you two to meet in an informal place, and I agree.”
Chrissy sighed. “Fine, Papa. And how am I supposed to recognize this guy?”
“The bartender, either Sheldon or John, will introduce you. You want me to be there?”
Hell no! She panicked at that idea. The last thing she needed was her father's eyes on her every move. Or any of her bloody family. “I’ll be okay.”
“That’s a given. I told Gloria and Marcus to go with you.”
Fabulous! she thought acidly. They left no room for her to back out. Gloria, the snitch, would tell them everything.
“Be there,” he growled. “Too much is riding on this for you to display your independent streak.”
Streak. That’s how her father thought of it. Not that she had thoughts and opinions of her own. At another time, she’d give him a piece of her mind. But this was for Gloria. So, she’d show up and play this thing out. “Okay, Papa, whatever you say.”
He grunted and clicked off the call, and her phone buzzed with a text.
Oh shit. Saks.
Saks: I keep thinking about last night.
Her lips pursed tightly. Chrissy didn’t have time to answer any of Saks’ texts. She had more important things to do, like attacking the strategy for her job hunt. She had no idea how soon she might lose her position. But when the ax came, Chrissy wanted to look the bastard in the eye. She had her speech crafted. “Oh, what a relief, because I didn’t know how tell you about the fabulous employment offer I’ve accepted.”
Despite the butterflies in her stomach she strolled into the building, all business, dressed in a handmade gray raw silk suit expertly tailored by her mother. This she paired with Christian Louboutin pumps with the signature red soles as she marched into reception. Chrissy restrained the urge to look toward Richard Hamilton’s office. She had a story ready if the snake should ask why she came in.