image via The Sartorialist
Marco turned his wrist to look at his gold Patek Philippe watch. “It’s past my bedtime,” he said. “You two feel free to stay as long as you’d like, but I’m afraid I’ve got to be heading home.” He gestured to the waiter.
“We’ve got to go, too,” Francesca said, looking at Paolo. “Will you drop us at La Scala so we can pick up the car?”
“Of course,” her uncle replied. “I’ll drop you home if you’d like,” he offered. They stood and began walking towards the door.
“I’d better get the car,” Paolo said. “Thank you, though. And thank you for a wonderful evening.” Francesca smiled at Paolo’s manners.
“My pleasure, young man. My sons are going to be quite impressed that I spent so much time with a professional footballer, even if you do play for the wrong team. You’re a fine young man. Keep up the good work.” He turned to Francesca. “And you, my darling. Don’t worry about your brother–I’ll speak with him and do what I can.” He kissed her forehead. The driver and the Bentley were waiting for them outside the door. They drove the few minutes to La Scala and pulled up in front of the valet.
The driver opened Paolo’s door and he got out to retrieve his car. “Stay here,” Marco told Francesca. “You shouldn’t have to wait in the cold. And I want a word with you.” She scooted to the middle of the backseat so her uncle could see her face.
“Yes?” she asked.
“I meant what I said to Romaldo; I do think he’s a fine young man. He’s talented, he’s loyal, and he’s obviously in love with you. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he sincerely loves the opera. But be careful, my dear. You’re more than he is.”
“I don’t think–”
“You know you are. You’re going to break him. Be careful.” Francesca saw the bright lights of Paolo’s Maserati in the Bentley’s rear view mirror and heard the car’s low growl behind them. The driver opened her door and Marco’s. “Buona notte, my darling,” her uncle said, kissing her cheeks. “Give my regards to your mother,” he added, as an afterthought.
“‘Notte, zio,” she said. “Thank you.” She trotted to Paolo’s car, where he had propped open the passenger door for her.