I am on my way home after a long day at the office. My family and I got back from Sicily a few days ago. Once we got back, I decided to start working at my dad’s company. Helping Aurora at her office the other day reminded me how much I love my career. I finished my master’s a year ago and decided to take a break before working. I am not working for the mafia business, but the one we use to deceive the government all our money comes from. My father has a construction company. We build houses, hotels, anything name it, we make it. We also have a few apartment complexes we rent out all over the US.
I park my car and walk inside the house. I take the stairs upstairs to my room. Once I am in my room, I take off my clothes and hop into the shower. After I am done showering, I walk downstairs for dinner. I find mom and dad already seated at the dinner table, but Santiago is nowhere to be found. He does not live here, so I am not surprised he is not around.
“Hello, honey, how was your day at the office,” Mom says once I take my seat.
“It was a bit stressful but fine.”
“Were you able to get everything done today?” Dad asks
“Not all, but most. Hopefully, I should be done tomorrow.”
“That’s good, dear, but I need you to do something else for me.”
“How can I help dad.”
“The company is renovating the Costanzo hotel in California . Please, I need you to go down there tomorrow and see how everything is going?”
“No problem, dad. I will do that tomorrow.”
“And also Lorenzo’s boy is in town, so once you arrive in California , pay a visit to him and ask him if he has any complains or additions he wants to make to the building.”
“I will,” I say, wondering which of Mr. Costanzo’s sons is in California . I hope it’s Thomas because we get along really well, but I also hope it’s Stefano because a little part of me wishes to see him.
The following day I took the earliest flight to California . I just finished visiting the hotel, and everything seems to be going fine. I am on my way to visit Stefano at his office. I don’t know if I am happy he is the one in town because knowing the type of person he is, my mood can change from being happy to planning his death. It’s a little late in the evening, and I am going now because there was a lot I had to check at the hotel site. I arrive at his office after a few minutes of driving. I pay the taxi man and walk into the building. He knows I am coming, so he asked the receptionist to walk me to his office. Once we arrive, I thank her for bringing me and knock on his door.
“Come in,” He says
“Hello, Stefano,” I say once I walk in
“Hello to you too, Andrea,” He says, and for some odd reason hearing him say my name causes a shiver to go down my spine. I like the way my name rolled out of his tongue. His Italian accent made my name sound really hot. I shake my head to drive away the nasty thoughts that want to start building in my head.
“How are you doing?” I say, trying to make small conversations before we start with the business meeting.
“When does your brother get here?” He asks, ignoring my greeting while looking at his wristwatch, probably checking the time.
“He is not coming; why are you looking for him?” I ask, a little confused as to why he is looking for Santiago
“I presumed you both were attending the meeting and also in town for inspections of the renovations.”
“And why is that? You don’t believe I can do it alone because I am a woman,” I say, offended with his assumption.
“I don’t believe so, Miss Andrea,” He says, putting strain on the way he says my name. If I didn’t know better, I would say he is offended by my own assumption of him.
“Then why are you asking for my brother.”
“I asked for him because he has been in the business longer than you have, and I am also familiar with his ways in making deals. I assumed you were here to learn how the business works, and you just arrived before him. It has nothing to do with the fact that you are a woman.”
“Oh, I am sorry I assumed that,”
“It’s fine, and please let’s get down to business.”
“Sure, let’s begin. I am here to take in any complaints or additions you would like to make to the renovation of the hotel,” I say, taking a seat in front of him.
“Unfortunately they are quite a few complains and additions I would like to make.”
“I am all ears, but do mind, if the additions are above the budget, we will have to increase the funds.”
“That won’t be a problem.”
“Alright, what are your complains.”
“My first complaint is, I don’t want you working on this project.”
“Excuse me, and why is that,” I ask, confused with his request. I am starting to feel like Stefano has something against me.
“Firstly, because you are not an engineer or even an architect so speaking to you about the complains I have will be a waste of time.”
“I might not be any of those, but my main purpose here is to get information from you and pass it down to them.”
“Won’t it be easier for both of us if I spoke to them directly?”
“Yes, it would if you prefer for them to stop working and take their time to listen to your complaints; I am totally fine with it, even though it won’t be necessary given my use as a middle man,” I say, wondering why he is so difficult.
“I will decide if it’s necessary or not.”
“Ok, suit yourself.”
The following day, I wake up a little late because of cramps. They kept me up all night, and now I am late with my meeting with Stefano. I was able to get the architect and engineer to attend today’s meeting against their busy schedule. I quickly get ready and take a cab to Stefano’s office. I arrive at the meeting room five minutes late.
“I am so sorry I am late,” I say while walking into the room
“I am not surprised; please sit down let’s start the meeting,” Stefano says,
“Why are you not surprised,” I ask, feeling a little taken back by his response
“I am not surprised because you look like someone who does not keep to time.”
“Excuse me, I am late to our second meeting, and automatically I am someone who does not keep to time. I have a valid reason for being late today,” I say, feeling myself getting angry. I am sure my period has something to do with it, but I don’t care because I am actually offended by his answer.
“I don’t care what your reason is; it’s either you are late, or you are on time. Now sit down so that we can start the meeting.”
“Just because you don’t know the reason I am late does not mean my reason is not valid.”
“As I said, I don’t care to know; sit down so that we can start,” He says, raising his voice a little while sounding frustrated.
I look around, and I realize everyone is looking at both of us. I don’t want to sit down because I don’t want it to seem like he is telling me what to do, but there is nothing more I can say or do in this situation. I can’t tell him the reason I am late even if he wanted to know. It would be very embarrassing for me, so I swallow my pride and sit down. I still feel a little embarrassed with the way he spoke to me in front of everyone. The meeting starts once I take my seat and I try to forget what happened earlier.