Chapter 1

The Cast:

Sam Malone

Kathy Jenkins

Dominic Val Posey

Virginia Josephine Val Posey (Gina to her family, Joey to her few friends)

Minor Characters include:







Our story begins:

It had been a long drive, but I felt really good. Not all my attempts to do good always met with success; but this one did. Gail was safely home with her family, a trailer load of gifts, new clothes for everyone, electronic things, appliances, and 3 fairly large generators would make life on the farm a decent place to be, that; and the trouble she had met with here in Virginia made life at the farm preferably now.

I had met Gail when I was shopping at Tyson Corner Mall. The poor kid seemed like a runaway. That was, in fact what she was. It did not take long to get her to tell her story. Food and a sympathetic ear will do that sometimes; especially if the farm girl had already met the dregs of the city lowlifes.

In a nutshell Gail was seventeen, saw the farm as a dead-end life and thought the suburbs were a better place to go to rather than the big cities like New York and LA. She soon found out that life anywhere is what you make it. Over some food, real food, not the food court junk, Gail started to relax.

Getting her to describe her reasons for her leaving the farm, I soon heard that what she thought was 'greener grassland' was not really any better, it was just different. She was too ashamed to call her parents. The 'bridges had been burnt', or so she thought. I asked her to describe what she was hoping to find when she left the farm.

Oh, yes, I should tell you a bit about me, why I am doing this, and 'what's in it for me'?

My name is Sam Malone. I am twenty-three years old and for the past ten years or so I only took care of number one, me. Life took a turn for the worse before it became better. I just did not understand 'why?' so many things had 'screwed up' in my life. One day I happened to meet an old friend from grade school. We had known each other for almost twenty years. We agreed to have coffee and after I rambled on for a long time about how things never seemed to work out, she took my hand and said "Sam, you are in control of your life. If you just live it as it comes things will never get any better. I learned the hard way, that we all deserve a lot more than we think we should have".

She continued on, "Until I lost almost everything I had, I did not realize that happiness is a state of mind and unless we tried to make it better, things would only seem worse. We would not be in control, events happened and would control us. It was not meant that we would achieve happiness, but it was a far sight better to be doing something positive, rather that re-acting to what happened."

In Kath's case, she had gone from star of stage, screen and television, with her own series. Then two short failed affairs, a bad marriage and, 'God Knows' where the money went, and she now was starting over. We were the same age. Her outlook on life made me think why I was complaining.

I can't say that I took everything she said to heart, but I did start to get better control of my life. I guess in many ways the discussion with Kathy helped change the way I looked at things now.

About six or seven months later I had a chance to see those benefits in action. I had won the 'Virginia Power Ball' lottery. Forty-three million dollars. after taxes, I was on the road to... , to where, if it had not been for some good luck and few kind words from Kathy, who knows where I would end up or how?

I had kept in contact with her. We had never been very close, never romantically or otherwise, but I felt I 'owed' her now. The old me would have handed her a wad of cash then walked away. The new, improving me saw in her my way to becoming a better person. I needed to keep her close. I figured. I called and asked her out.

Her outlook was great, even though she still was broke, had not found a permanent job and lived with her parents at their home. So far her life and mine seemed the perfect match. We both had reached that same plateau, only difference was she was determined to claw and scratch her way out to something better, and I just existed. Then the money came and changed all that for me.

Kathy asked if I would pick her up as she did not have a car and hoped to get something when she had a job. I said I would. My offer for dinner was something where an old friend had asked me to see if I might help and we would be going there to dinner and to meet him, if that was Okay with her. We could go to a show or something else after. Kathy agreed. My plan was proceeding pretty well at this point.

I picked her up in my parents car. I still had not decided where to go and wanted to do that first, then buy a car and find a place to live. I pretty much had decided to also get a summer house where it was on the water or in the mountains, and a winter house near snow skiing, no matter where I ended up living.

Dominic owned a very fancy restaurant in Tyson Corners, which was considered one of the places to go to. His health was not the best and he was selling the business. I was hoping Kathy might want it. Like usual, he was outside waiting for us. He ushered us into the 'Reserved' parking slot and greeted both of us as 'family'. Kathy, needless to say, was confused.

"I didn't know you were Italian Sam?"

"Nope, Dom just likes me! He always wanted a son but only had a daughter. He is one of the reasons we are here tonight, that and the food is terrific."

Over a fabulous dinner, Dom outlined his ideas with us. Prior to that, he and I discussed the role I needed him to play. He would be the 'Godfather', funding the two of us taking over his 'baby' while he went into retirement.

Long story short, on the way back to get her home, we discussed his 'wonderful offer'(At least I thought it was) only to find out that Kathy's reaction was flatter than a pancake. She just talked all the way back how she was going to be a 'big star' once again. I wished her luck and told her that I wanted to help her out if she needed anything. We parted as friends, but we parted. I bought her a very nice CD in a national bank and included some cash for her new start. I gave her $150,000 all told. By this time it was near midnight and I headed back to fill Dom in on Kathy's negative reaction.

"Too bad Sam. This place has a fine reputation, it is well situated and has space available next door for expansion; my Gina would 'die' for something like this but she can't afford it and she is too young(18) to get the finance. She is leaving college to help me run the place till I can get it sold. She is quite the 'kid' Sam, I really wish I could afford to give her the place, but I can't. Her flight arrives at 11:45 AM tomorrow, I should go get her and bring her here but I'm showing the place to a potential buyer; so a cab will have to do, I'll call her to let her know."

"Dom, wait, I'll get her, my plans all of a sudden got changed, I could do with a familiar face. I have not seen her for a while, will I recognize her or can she meet me somewhere?"

"Sam, I know this is her Papa speaking, but you would not recognize her now. She is not the scrawny little thirteen year-old you once knew, she is a woman now, at least she looks like one. If I was thirty, no, forty years younger, 'Mama Mia'! Give me your cell phone number and I'll have her call you when she lands and meet you out front at the Delta entrance."

"Okay, Dom, you have my interest now, I rarely get to 'pick up' a beautiful woman. If I never bring her back, don't blame me!"

I was a little bummed at the reaction my ideas got from Kathy, but I did leave Mom and Dad a note on the kitchen table to wake me in time to get to the airport. It was Saturday, and we lived close to Dulles. I fell asleep and woke up to the smell of fresh brewed coffee, the 'nectar' of the gods.

I remembered to take my cell with me, but almost forgot to turn it on. How bad is that? I waited for her call near the entrance. I was glad I was early, so was she. It was perfect timing, she was already out front. I told her what kind of car I was driving and went to meet her.

Dom was right, I would not have recognized her, she in no way resembled the little girl I remembered. What stood waiting for me was not model, movie star, or a goddess, but a girl I would always forever think of. As I pulled up, I got out of the car and said, "Sorry miss, I'm looking for that little scrawny waif I remember, not some beautiful woman."

"Well if I can't find a better offer, maybe I'll go with you then? You always were a smooth talker Sam, for an 'older guy!"

"Gina, it is hard(no pun intended) to imagine you used to wear braces, torn jeans and a sweatshirt. Look at you now, my god, you need a bodyguard, can I apply?"

"Sam, it's 'Joey' to my friends; and if anyone is to guard my body, I always hoped it would be you!"

I'm not sure how long I stood looking at her with my mouth open and a glazed look on my face until the traffic guy smiled then said, "move it and you two need to 'get a room'."

We both looked at each other, shook our heads, I opened her door, and put both the bags in the car, then we drove off.

"Hungry?" I asked?

"Staving! The food in school is not like Papa serves!"

"Dom said you were coming back! He and I were discussing the restaurant, but the person I was hoping to run it never even gave it a second thought. You remember my friend Kathy, Kathy Jenkins from school?"

"Actually no, we 'twerps' never got to 'hang' with you old folks very much."

"Yeah, but look at you now, as Dom would say, 'Mama Mia'.'

"Funny, you know I had a crush on you forever!" much softer was heard, "I still do."

"I know this great place we can get some food, let me call for a reservation and see if we are dressed appropriately? Hello Dom, can I get an early lunch there for two in 20 minutes, we both have shoes on but no socks though!" After listening, "Dom, can't we get a table in the kitchen and get two meals for the price of one? I think you know my table mate?"

'Come to think of that, she would make a very fine mate!' I thought.

It was Gina's first time away from home. She had not really wanted to go away to college but Papa had insisted. The restaurant had been like a second home to her since she was five. At one time or another every job that had to be done were things she learned. She had been hostess, cut meat, prepared foods and salads, desserts even. She cleaned toilets, threw away trash, set tables even polished tables in the bar/lounge. Recently Dom had her ordering things, both food as well as the staples and paper products. To say that she had given the restaurant her all was an understatement. It did not seem fair that all her work should be thrown away now. On the drive back from the airport, Gina told me that one of her hopes was that the new owner would want her to stay on. She had little official experience to show but anyone who knew her could readily see the tenacity and dedication she had shown. Why couldn't Kathy be like her I wondered. It was not a leap of faith or some bolt of lightning that made me recognize that for her, there was something I could do. I would buy the place and have her do whatever she wanted in it. My hope was that she would want to run it, to make it into something we would all be very proud of. I did not want to say anything about the money, but I had a 'cover' story about having some funds my grandparents had left me and if she and I could negotiate a 'family' discount with Dom, that maybe we could make it work. She threw her arms around me, crying, kissing and hugging me like we were lovers. "Oh Sam, I don't think we can even get close. No one will even lend us any money at our age and Papa has already told me that I could have the place for $2 Million, that is $1 to $1.5 Million less than he is selling it for. But thank you so much, it is so nice of you to offer, but, buddy boy, even that is not getting you into my pants. Unless we really do get it!"

"Gina, if that's what it takes to win you over, tell Dom that it is a done deal 'partner'. Now how do we get those pants off?"

I don't think she believed me, not really, but when we got to the restaurant, we held hands and walked in. She was shaking like a leaf in a high wind. It was still early and Dom was in the kitchen.

"Papa, did you sell the place or is your offer to me still open?"

"Ha, the man cancelled on me. I guess my asking price scared him away. Of course my little flower, as soon as you get $2 Million this, my life's work, is all yours."

"Will it be okay if I have a 'partner' in it, Papa?"

Dom looked at me, he knew I was interested once, I think he took the 'Partner' term to mean more than just the business. Hell, Gina and I grew up together. Dom treated me like a son, so even though I was not Italian, he knew I would never hurt his Gina. He said, "Maybe', but I eat 'free' whenever I visit you two.

Gina looked at me. I blushed and wrote out a check to Dominic Val Posey for $2 Million.

"You can close you mouth 'Partner' and did you plan to move in with me or do we need a new place? I'm very curious what is in those 'pants'.

Gina blushed now. Her mouth stayed opened and she just stared at me then the check and her Papa.

"Dom, could you help us get everything set up in a LLC with both Gina and myself as 50-50 owners. I wrote him another check, it was for $200,000. This is for the extra work we will need done, the lawyers and a start on your retirement, my friend."

It was not often that I had the feeling that I did that day. I had for once done the right thing. I had one more, no two more things yet. "Dom, Gina, I just want to tell you both that all this is for 'friends'. Gina owes me nothing, I expect nothing, and if she wants, she never has to see me again. I do, however, expect to eat here free too, if that happens. Put the business all in her name, try to avoid taxes and just transfer or add her name to it. I just realized how my 'joking' sounded and I never meant anything bad. If Gina will have me I'd like to be around, but everything is her choice. Like I said, I am doing this for her and you. I don't count, but I would be a real fool to not try to 'marry' someone like her? If she does not want me around, do you have any nieces that might be available, I can pretend to be Italian!"

For the first time now, Gina reacted. She 'punched' me. "Just don't forget who 'wears the pants in this family? Oh, that's right, I have to let you get in them, don't I?"

"Gina, will you marry me?"

"Well let's see, can you support me in the manner I want to be accustomed too. Right, your already buying me a restaurant that I have always dreamed of, good start Buster, now you better start calling me Joey and where is your place exactly Mister? Now what does Papa think?"

"I think I should have held out for more, or even the right to name all your children. Hell girl, if he adds some horses, goats and a boat in Sicily he has my vote." "Two horses, four goats and a small boat Dom. Joey love, I lied to you, I live with my parents so we will need to buy something new you approve of. You also have a huge thing you will need to also decide, like how many children will we have and when Does that also mean I need to get someone else for the restaurant?"

"Don't even think about it, I don't share and as far as children, it will be less than a baseball team, so there."

It may sound corny now, but it was the perfect way our life together started. I learned the famous words every husband commits to an automatic response, 'Yes Dear'. In the years to come I would never fail to be pleasantly surprised by my wife, Joey. I had planned on a vacation home, so with Dom's move to Sicily coming up, I decided a small Villa there could be his home as well as a place for us and the kids to visit. She cried at that, we would not be a 'broken up' family after all.

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Story tagged with:
Fiction / Slow /