Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Regina has Concerns while Anthony Plots

Regina sat in her office and tried to figure out what Vinny could have possibly been doing in there earlier. Anthony obviously didn’t trust her. She wondered if he somehow knew about the copies she’d made of his private book, but she doubted it. If he had, he would have made her life much more miserable than it already was, if not worse. She had been surprised to find out at lunch that Poppy wanted to get involved in business again; that would make Anthony even more difficult to live with.

But back to the matter at hand — Vinny.

Think, Regina, think. Use the brain God gave you.

Her gaze landed on the antique phone on her desk, and for some reason, she felt a draw to it. She lifted the receiver, unscrewed one end, and was not surprised to see a tiny electrical device hidden inside. This wouldn’t be the first time he had done something like this. Instead of being angry, she wondered if she could use this to her advantage. Anthony had no idea she’d discovered his little bug. Of course, if he’d bugged her office phone, what else had he bugged? Was her car or even her home safe?

But who was she kidding? Home was never safe. Lord, show me the way out.

The knock on her door startled her. She quickly screwed the receiver back together.

“Come in.”

The door opened, and it was Dave, one of the bartenders. “Mrs. Cavelli, I thought you might like to know that we’re out of gin.”

“Did you check the cellar? We were supposed to have gotten a shipment today. Didn’t it come in while I was out?”

“No, I’ve already checked the cellar. We don’t have any. I guess I can stretch out what we’ve got.”

“No watered-down drinks. If you run out, then apologize and give a free drink of something else.”

“No problem.” Dave started to leave, but then he hesitated, and a frown pulled across his forehead.

“Mrs. Cavelli, is everything okay?

“Sure, Dave. Why do you ask?”

“You look like something’s bothering you.”

“This is the third time this has happened in the past two weeks. I’ll have to change suppliers. I don’t like firing anybody.”

“Don’t worry, Mrs. Cavelli. If you’d like, I’ll call them for you.”

“Thanks, but no. I’ll take care of it. Thank you for your concern, Dave.”

Dave was obviously not satisfied with her answer, but there was nothing for him to do if she didn’t want his help. An ex-con, he was as big as an ox but as gentle as a lamb. Regina had hired him six months ago, believing that everyone deserved a second chance. He was a very hard worker and was getting married for the first time at thirty-five. Lauren, his fiancé, led the Bible study Regina sometimes attended.

Dave was very loyal to Regina because she had done so much for him. He didn’t like Anthony, or his men. More than once, Regina had broken up some near skirmishes between Dave and some of Anthony’s crew. She would hate for anything to happen to him because he was defending her.

Sitting in his semi-dark office, Anthony was on the phone. He wasn’t happy and was getting more upset by the moment. “Look, you moron, what saved you today is the fact I had lunch with my father, and by the time we were back, you had the books ready. If he finds anything amiss, you can kiss your family good-bye.”

Anthony slammed down the receiver. He had bigger problems on his hands than that idiot, like what to do about his father. He’d grown accustomed to being the boss; his men had grown accustomed to his being the boss, too, and he didn’t relish being sent back to second place. That couldn’t be allowed to happen.

Mario knocked then stuck his head in the door. “Hey, Boss, is everything okay? I heard you yelling. You want me to take care of something or somebody for ya?”

“No. That moron accountant won’t make the same mistake again.” He rubbed the back of his neck, scowling. “Poppy is starting to . . . Poppy is starting to breathe down my neck. He wants back in, and I know he wants full control again. The old man didn’t fool me for a minute. I won’t let it happen! I’m in charge, and that’s the way it’s going to stay.”

Mario couldn’t believe how Anthony was talking about his own father. He knew Anthony was ruthless, but he almost sounded like he was threatening Poppy, something Mario had never thought possible, even for him. Mario didn’t know what to say or what to do, so he remained silent and just stood there, waiting for further direction.

“You know,” Anthony began, “if only I could find a way to distract him from this idea of coming back to work . . . but what?” He got up and started to pace.

“Well . . .” Mario began, but then, after getting that one word out, he wasn’t sure he wanted to continue.

“Well, what?”

“Well, Boss, if Regina was pregnant, he’d be busy with the grandchild he always wanted. He wouldn’t care about the business then. He’d be too consumed with chasing after a grandkid.”

Anthony looked at Mario like he had ten heads. “Are you crazy? That would mean I would have to . . . ya know. That only happened once, and I was drunk at the time. That won’t work. She hates my guts as much as I hate hers.” He hesitated for a moment and then continued, “But you know . . . Regina could be the key. I don’t get it, but the old man acts like mush when she’s around. It really bugs me. The thing is, how do we use that to our advantage?”

“I don’t know, Boss.”

“Maybe between the two of us we could come up with something. You hungry?” Without waiting for an answer, Anthony continued, “Let’s go get some pasta, okay?”

“Sure, Boss. I’ll get the car.”

Before Anthony left, he looked at the picture of Regina on his desk. He kept one there for appearance’s sake. Every man had a picture of his wife on his desk, and he didn’t want to cause suspicion with Poppy.

Anthony picked up the picture of Regina and said, “You’re going to help me get the old man off my back, whether you know it or not.”

© Nadine Z. 2007

1 comment:

Shionge said...

Oh how it sadden me to see Regina in this trap but good thing she discovered the bug :)

But....Anthony oh gosh..something up his sleeve again so cruel :(

Good progress Nadine...way to go pal!