“Paulo,” Grillo said in Italian. “Would you be so good to tell Beatrice that Aaron Servi is here?”
“Beatrice is here?” Servi asked.
“Yes,” Grillo explained, now more composed. “She back from La Sapienza for the weekend. She lives in Rome, but visits me nearly every weekend.”
In his dread of meeting with Frank Grillo, Servi had nearly forgotten about Beatrice. Grillo appeared to anticipate his befuddlement and smiled.
“You and Beatrice were inseparable as children,” Grillo said, pouring what Servi counted as his fifth glass of wine. Servi could now tell he was quite drunk.
“I can’t tell you how much it meant to me. There is no sense in hiding this from you now, and you probably know this already, but I wanted to marry your mother, and would have if she would have had me. But she picked your father. And you know, she made the better choice. Your father is one of the finest men I know. But I always imagined that you and Beatrice would marry. It seemed fated. And your father, your mother, me and my wife, we were all like one big family. Brooklyn people out in the sticks with the oysters and the WASPS. I know you and Beatrice kissed when you were kids. Jesus, after you did it, she came right in through the screen door and told Eileen and me. We laughed and laughed…” Grillo choked on the wine, and then leaned forward. The weight of his bulk nearly upset the table, and sent the wine and glasses crashing to the floor.
Servi stood up, about to rush Grillo, but a young women appeared and grasped Grillo by the shoulders. She held him in place by balancing his bulk. She wore a knee length, sky blue skirt and pressed white blouse. He blond hair, black at the roots, was tied back tightly with a clip. She looked at Servi skeptically, quickly absorbing the clothes, the beard, the smell, grimacing with a face she perhaps reserved for trespassing Algerians.
Paulo!” she screamed . “Get out here on the veranda immediately. Bring Guiseppi and Franco!” she spoke in rapid Italian and continued to do so when she addressed Servi. “Are you Aaron Servi?”
“Yes,” Servi answered in Italian. “Are you Beatrice?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Can I help?” Servi asked, taking a step forward.
“No,” she answered as the three servants arrived. “This happens quite a bit.” The three men lifted Grillo from the chair with considerable effort.
“Please go take a walk in the olive grove,” Beatrice said in Italian, only to end in English. “I’ll join you once I get father settled into bed.”