I hope you enjoy these posts. Thanks and enjoy the read. In this chapter we meet Rico, he's a local crime Lord and he's having lunch with his Uncle.
Charlie’s shift started at eight, and the day was dragging by. She was thinking about the five hundred dollars the young man left that morning. All money should come so easy. Charlie took off her apron and went to clock out.
“Where are you going?” Jim’s tone was grouchy and that was unlike him.
“To take my lunch.”
“No. Not yet. I want you to wait on table five.”
“I’m tired and hungry. Can’t one of the other girls do it?”
“No! Go on over and take their order.”
“Do you mind telling me why?”
Jim’s brow furrowed as he glanced across the room. He sighed and his tone sounded angry though he kept his voice low. “Because you’re the best looking waitress I’ve got and that man could ruin me if he wanted to. Now go over there, and if you value your job, you’ll make his visit unforgettable.”
Charlie didn’t know what to think. She’d never seen Jim so edgy and it made her nervous. She liked being on her own and she needed this job, so she did as he told her.
She picked up two menus and walked over to a couple of well-dressed men. They both were nice looking, but there was just something about them that didn’t seem right. The younger of the two men checked her out as she approached and the older man watched in irritation.
“Can I get you something . . . to drink?” Charlie added after the young man gave her a look.
“Good thing you clarified that beautiful I was considering what my first request would be.” Charlie didn’t know what to say. She moved her attention to the older man and he shook his head as he spoke.
“Ignore my nephew; he’s spoiled and disrespectful. Bring us two iced teas and we’ll look over the menu.”
“Yes sir.” Charlie headed into the kitchen and, to her surprise, she found Jim watching. “Who is that?”
Her boss stood there for a moment and turned about the time she was ready to head back with two glasses of tea. “It’s Rico DeLusa. Whatever you do, don’t make him angry.”
“Rico? The . . . Rico,” her voice lowered, “the pimp?”
“Don’t you dare let him hear you say that!" Jim glanced toward the two men. “The man owns this part of town. His dad was in charge, but he’s in jail now. Rico took over, but he isn’t from the old school. He has his own way of running things. He’s not top man by any means, but he’s on his way up. Now, go and be polite.”
Charlie took the tea over, trying to be calm. What if she spilled something on Rico, or said the wrong thing. He watched her in a way that made her tense.
Rico smiled as she came back to the table, “May I say, I think your talents are being wasted here. Why don’t you think about coming to work for me?”
“Don’t bother the young lady, Rico. Can’t you see you’re making her nervous?”
“This is my Uncle Alfredo,” Rico gestured across the table. “Is he right? Do I make you nervous?”
“There’s no need for that.” Rico took Charlie’s hand and kissed it. “I’m trying to help you move up in stature. I can put you to work in a place where you’ll wear the best clothes and never want for anything.”
“Rico. Leave the girl alone.”
“You don’t order me around. You’re only my uncle! Don’t forget that.” Rico let go of Charlie’s hand and glared at the man across the table.
“Since Jerry’s in jail it’s my duty to be here for you.”
“I’m old enough to take care of myself.” Rico turned his attention back to Charlie. “Be a doll and bring me some lemon for my tea.” Charlie nodded and walked away from the table.
Rico’s uncle shook his head in disgust. “Don’t you know how to treat anyone with respect?”
“Sure I do. I’m good to all my women.”
“You’re a glorified pimp.”
“I’m not a pimp. I help women better themselves. I see to it they go to the doctor, and I treat them well. If it wasn’t for me, many of them would be on the streets, going hungry or freezing.”
Alfredo looked at Rico. He wanted to lean across the table and give his nephew a good shake. Rico hadn’t been taught right from wrong, and Jerry spoiled him way too much, but he should know better than to assume his dad’s role. Why couldn’t he see it would only lead him to jail? Jerry saw the light, but only after prison brought him to his knees. “Please don’t follow in my brother’s footsteps.”
“I won’t. I’m not going to jail.”
“That’s not what I meant, and yes, sooner or later, you will be behind bars. I only wish you could see how low you’re stooping in treating women in this manner.”
“I’ll say it one more time. I’m good to these girls. They live well. I don’t beat them. They can quit any time they want. Keep your opinions to yourself, old man. You’re not going to change me, so why don’t you go home and pray or something."
“I pray for you every day.”
“Good! Maybe that’s why I’m so prosperous.”
“God doesn’t approve of what you’re doing, and He sure isn’t going to bless anything you put dirty hands into.”
“I’m getting along fine the way I am. Go home! I’ve got some business to attend to.”
Alfredo rose from the table the moment the waitress returned. He put his hand on the young woman’s shoulder and looked her in the eye. He only hoped his few words would sink into her mind.
“Don’t let my nephew talk you into working for him. You have a good job; keep it. Stay away from Rico; he’ll lead you down the wrong path.” The man looked at his nephew and then turned and went out the door.