“Not when your work and personal life are combined. I don’t know Marcus. I’ve seen two separate sides of you so far. Last night you seemed angry and quite the asshole.” He raised an eyebrow. “Sorry…and then today you seem to be polite and a gentleman.”
Relaxing his shoulders, he leaned into the table, folding his hands. “Last night my anger was not directed towards you: I was angry at Jeremy for leaving you behind. He was willing to allow you to take a cab alone at that hour. It upset me; that’s all. I apologize if I offended you in any way.”
I stared at him for what seemed like a long time, trying to think this through. We didn’t say anything for a few seconds, just stared at each other. In less than twenty-four hours everything had changed. He was a very handsome man but a busy man as he himself said. What did he want from me? Why me? Fortunately the older man reappeared, ready to take our order, Marcus gave him our selections, and he rushed away.
“Can I think about it?” I needed a clear mind to analyze this on my own time, not while he was staring at me with those big brown eyes.
“Of course.” Leaning closer, he studied me. “How about we change the subject? Where are you from, Mia. I can tell you’re not from Boston from your accent.”
I giggled. “My accent? I'm from Philly, and we Philadelphians do not have accents, whereas Boston natives do.”
He shook his head, smiling. “How long have you been in Boston? Did you come here for Harvard Law, or were you living here prior to your attendance at the university?”
Why was he so formal? I’m not on a damn interview, or maybe this is the interview!
“I moved here with my brother when I was fourteen years old. He was ten years older than me and took care of me after our father passed away. It was emotional for us, so we left. He was hired as a detective, and he purchased a home here and took care of me.” I took a sip of water to distract myself for a moment. I didn’t want to cry. It was still too soon; every time I talked about my brother I’d get a little emotional.
“Sorry to hear about your loss. If you don’t mind my asking, how did your father pass?”
Taking a long gulp of water before answering, I shifted in my seat. “He was a Philly cop. He was shot and killed while responding to a robbery at a local gas station. When he appeared on the scene, he was alone. He phoned in on the radio, letting them know it looked clear and that he was going in to question the clerk. But when he entered, the robber was still there: a nineteen-year-old boy. He was startled when he saw my father in uniform, and his initial reaction was to pull the trigger.”
He raised his eyebrows, not expecting that answer. “Wow, I'm so sorry to hear that.” The atmosphere between us became too serious. This was a subject I liked to avoid when people asked…because no one could understand why I had no one in my life. I had told these stories a few times before, but that time it felt different. I couldn’t quite explain why.
“Your mother?” he continued to question.
Clearing my throat, I thought to change the attention onto him, but I caved in. “I don’t know who my mother is. After giving birth to me, she left my father, leaving my brother and me in his care. I’d heard different stories, but the main one was that she suffered from depression and couldn’t deal with being a parent…and while on the subject, I don’t know anyone from my mother’s side of the family as well. My father was an only child. His father passed when he was young, and my grandmother died when I was nine of breast cancer.
“So after my father passed, it was just my brother and I. When my brother died in October, I took it very hard.” I stopped myself and tried to make a joke out of my self-pettiness. “Well I guess I’m a loner, all by myself.” I nervously giggled, taking another sip of water, wishing I’d ordered that wine instead.
His eyes widened in shock. I thought that maybe he’d see that I was emotionally messed up and rethink this getting-to-know-me-better bit. “Your brother passed too?”
“Yes, but that’s a subject I rather not discuss. It's been a few months since his death, and I'm still taking it very hard.” He nodded in response, knowing not to touch that subject anymore. I managed to hold back my tears when talking about my brother, a first since his passing. “So you mentioned a brother. Is he older? Younger?” I asked, trying to steer the conversation away from me.
He squirmed in his seat now that the tables were turned. “Uh, yeah, he's older but not by much, by four years; he's thirty-three. Uh, it was just he and I growing up. We have a close relationship. When my father passed, I was just beginning my freshman year in high school. My mother took it very hard and forced my brother and me to have a good relationship. At that time, we hated each other.” He laughed, thinking back. “It worked. I guess mothers know best, huh?”
I shrugged my shoulders; I wouldn’t know. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t mean—,” he said.
I interrupted him, “Don’t worry about it. You know, I think I will have that wine.”
“Yes, I agree.” He called for the older man.
After a couple glasses of wine, we forgot about the touchy subjects and discussed other things, such as Marcus taking over the firm from his brother who began it all. His brother quit practicing law and started a private company. We didn’t discuss this company much. He also mentioned how within a year after taking over the firm, he managed to double the size and clientele and tripled the profit.
We also talked about Harvard, which he also attended. He remembered Professor Johnson as his instructor. He made me feel a little more comfortable when he explained that Professor Johnson was attached to him and made similar comments about one day him being bigger than the average attorney. To know that Professor Johnson had an eye for knowing who would succeed made me feel at ease. Marcus also translated between Mr. Giuseppe and me, and I grew more fond of the old man the more we talked and laughed throughout the evening.
Pushing my plate aside and wiping my face with a cloth, I felt overstuffed. “Ugh, if I eat or drink anything else, my stomach is going to explode.” I laughed and Marcus joined in.
“Yeah, me too.”
We sat and talked a little before Mr. Giuseppe cleared our table. Marcus asked for the check, but the old man refused to take any money. He said that Marcus was family, and he wouldn’t take no for an answer. Marcus told him he’d leave a tip for the cook, and Mr. Giuseppe approved. We rose from our chairs, and I watched as Marcus pulled out his wallet, opening the flap and revealing several hundred-dollar bills. He placed three of the bills on the table, and we left. It was darker out, but the lights from the park made it feel earlier than it really was.