A Strained Dinner
“……….Graziano, aren’t you in worse mood than even your usual? Could it be, that you know something about the meeting?”
“Not really. Nothing. I haven’t heard anything though?”
That reaction couldn’t be more obvious that he did in fact know something. But if her father had ordered him to remain quiet, Francesca knew that nothing she could do would make him talk.
“………Alright, let’s go.”
Giving up, Francesca straightened her back and readied herself.
And then climbed the carriage alongside her father.
After a while the place they reached was a top class Ristorante where only a few chosen people were even allowed to enter, located in a highly posh residential district.
Getting down from the carriage first as always, her father first checked the surroundings to confirm the security of the area, and then stretched his hand to help Francesca down.
When she got down while thanking her father, he simply looked at Francesca with a troubled expression,
“………no, it’s nothing. Let’s go Francesca.”
(I knew it, Papa’s acting a bit different than usual…….)
While feeling a bit worried, she was escorted inside by her father. Waiters dressed in black appeared, and bowed in front of her father.
“Welcome, Lord Calvino. Lord Serranova is already here, and waiting for your arrival.”
Without hesitation, her father began to walk. Inside the spacious hall with a red carpet covering the entire room, there was only one table placed on the entire floor.
Slightly away from the window, it was placed in the centre of the room, probably to protect from any snipers. And on that table were Ricardo and his father, already seated.
Only Ricardo stood up, and gave a polite bow to her father. Still seated, his father looked at Francesca and widened his eyes in surprise.
“Calvino. Is that young lady really your daughter?”
(So he did realize who I was after all. As the person who was alongside Leonardo in that party…….)
Francesca let go of her father’s hand, and grabbed the hem of her dress as she politely greeted them.
“My sincere apologies for not properly greeting you on that day. My name is Francesca Amelia Calvino. A pleasure to meet you.”
With that greeting, Ricardo’s father will have no doubts left either. He simply gave a short sigh, and while still seated returned the courtesy.
“—–I am Gerard Carlo Serranova. And Calvino, this is my son , his name’s Ricardo.”
“Ricardo Stefano Serranova. It is my pleasure to finally meet the great Calvino head in person.”
Once the introductions were done, her father came to the table and sat down and urged Francesca to do the same.
“Francesca, you sit down too.”
Seeing her speak unlike her usual mannerisms, her father simply hmphed.
“No need to be so overly humble. You can be and talk as you normally do.”
Her father told her that but, that only made her even more confused over what the goal behind this meeting really was.
Francesca gave a quick glance to Ricardo, and when their eyes met, he simply shook his head as well. Looks like he still didn’t know the objective behind this meeting either.
Once Francesca sat down, Ricardo did as well. And finally, his father, Gerard, spoke up.
“Calvino, let’s get straight to the point but……”
“Let us eat first. No complaints right?”
At her father’s words, Gerard instantly went silent again. Under the intense atmosphere, Francesca panicked and spoke up.
“ya…..Yaa, I’m so happy! To be honest, I was actually quite hungry. Right Ricardo, you’d like to enjoy the meal first as well right!?”
And so, they began to have their meal first.
As the dishes were brought one after another, Francesca continued to make small talk to lighten the mood in the place. But, her father remained as tight lipped as before.
“And so, Ricardo even helped our Graziano study better……….”
(wha, what do I do? Why is it that the more I praise Ricardo, the heavier and weirder the mood becomes??)
The reason she brought up Ricardo was more a way to make up for not helping him directly with the investigations. If Gerard were to hear of all the achievements his son had made, perhaps he’ll be more soft on him even though the culprit was still on the loose. But, for whatever reason, the two fathers were completely silent.
And because of this repeated cycle, by the time the last dish came, Francesca was already tired to the bone.
(………I feel like I have talked an entire day’s worth inside just this one hour……….!)
And even though she had tried so hard, the mood showed no signs of lightening up.
Just when she had given up, Ricardo’s father finally spoke up again.
“——–Can we finally talk now? Calvino. Your daughter, has been considerate enough already.”
(If you had realized, then at least go along with the conversation at least a little dammit!!!)
She screamed inside her heart, but her expression on the surface remained calm as always. Her father on the other deeply sighed again, clearly in a bad mood, and pulled out a cigarette to smoke.
Inside the extravagantly designed box, were a bunch of black cigarettes.
Attaching one to his gold filter, he lit it with a match, and then exhaled, away from Francesca of course.
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(Papa only smokes when he’s in a really bad mood, or when he’s really sad.)
And right now, he was most certainly in a horrible mood. Francesca’s heart began to beat faster, as she straightened her back again.
Just as she got a bad premonition, Ricardo’s father, after a deep breath, finally spoke up again.
“I want to continue our talk from the other day. Calvino, I want to formally talk about this with you properly.”
And then, Ricardo’s father, spoke words that she wasn’t expecting at all.
“———About the engagement between your daughter and my son, Ricardo.”
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