Don Vito's Pizzeria was without a doubt the coolest restaurant I'd ever been to. It was a little hole-in-the-wall joint, but it attracted enough customers to be perpetually crowded on the weekends.
The place was dimly lit with old fashioned gas lamps attached to the walls. There were pictures of all sorts and sizes, some in black and white, some captioned in Italian or English, that covered every possible inch of remaining space on the walls. The black and white checkered floors looked pretty authentic, like they had once covered the floors in some 50's diner.
Down the narrow entrance hall was a big counter topped with an old, clunky cash register that closely resembled the one in Mama Rosa's Coffee House. Tacked up to the wall above the counter was a huge poster from the movieThe Godfather, displaying Marlon Brando in all his glory as Don Vito.
I'll admit the poster was pretty cool.
When all nineteen of the Incitti family - plus their guest, me - filed in through the doors, the old guy sitting at the counter gave a shout of surprise and jumped to his feet.
"Ah! The Incitti family!" he said excitedly. "It's been a while!"
The guy had a very thick Italian accent and looked like a shoemaker. His hair was starch white, what little beard he had was the same color, and he was wearing a checkered button down shirt that didn't match the atmosphere of the restaurant at all.
"Ciao, Emilio," Victoria greeted him. "It certainly has been a while, eh?"
So I was guessing the Incitti family knew this man very well, considering the old guy immediately shouted, "Andrea! Ophelia! Clear space for the Incitti family!"
Whoever Andrea and Ophelia were must have jumped into action, because the guy Victoria called Emilio gave a delighted laugh and clapped his hands together.
"I hope you don't mind the intrusion, Emilio," Sophia said loudly as she fought her way to the front of the crowd. "But the family's in for the weekend."
"Nonsense, nonsense," Emilio laughed, waving a hand. "Any family of Caesario Incitti are always welcome here!"
I was guessing that Caesario Incitti was Archer's grandfather, Victoria's late husband.
"Oh, and look here, the bella Regina!" Emilio continued, looking delighted to see Regina. "It's been a long time since you've last been here, caro."
"I know," Regina agreed. "We would visit more often, but running the coffee house takes up most of our time."
Emilio nodded understandingly. "I bet, I bet. No matter. Ah, what's the matter, principessa? Did you get hurt?" He was talking to June, who was being held tightly by Regina.
June nodded miserably. "I fell through a porch."
"Oh, I am very sorry. That's no good," Emilio tsked, shaking his head. "I'll make sure you get an extra bowl of spamone after dinner. How does that sound?"
June gave a small smile. "Grazie, nonno."
I shifted awkwardly on my feet, feeling out of place here, just like I had at Thanksgiving dinner. I was more at ease and comfortable with Archer's family now, but meeting friends of the Incittis was something different.
Emilio moved about the jumble of us, greeting the adults and bending down to pinch the younger kid's cheeks and exclaim about how big they were all getting. When he reached me - and Archer, who was slouched against the wall - he looked surprised and bemused at the same time.
"Oh? And who are you, bella signora?" Emilio asked, giving me a pleasant smile.
"Hadley Jamison," I said, grinning politely.
YOU ARE READING
In 27 Days (Watty Award Winner 2012)Adventure
Hadley Jamison doesn't know what to think when she hears that her classmate, Archer Morales, committed suicide. She didn't exactly know him, but that doesn't stop her from feeling like there was something she could have done to help him. So to...