Authors: Heather West
This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons--living or dead--is entirely coincidental.
Mobster's Baby copyright 2016 by Heather West. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission.
I flashed a smile at myself in the mirror, trying to buoy my confidence. It didn’t work—I felt just as unattractive as before. It was towards the end of summer, one of the last really brutally hot days that I thought we’d be getting. Outside, the temperature had held fast at over ninety degrees for a week now. I shuddered; every time I stepped outside, a faint sheen of perspiration broke out over my body. The heat made me feel weak, sluggish. I could barely move without sweating like a pig. It wasn’t fair. I was a woman. Weren’t women supposed to sweat less?
I sighed loudly and felt my bangs rise up in the humid air with the force of my exhalation. No matter how I wanted to look at it, I was still Portia Campanella. Blonde hair, straight nose, slightly crooked mouth.
And tits for days
, I thought as I stretched. I grimaced. Men loved to stare at my curves, but men didn’t have to walk around with giant bags strapped to their chests until their backs were aching.
Stop being so melodramatic,
I told myself.
It’s just another long shift. You’ll get through it. You’ll be fine
I’d been waitressing at Maison Bridges for almost two years now. Originally, when I was hired, I didn’t think I’d be there more than a month. I’d told the owner, Rocky, that I thought my singing career was just about to take off. He’d nodded with a grin partially concealed on his broad face. At the time, I’d been angry that he hadn’t taken me seriously. But time had proven Rocky right and me wrong, and there was really no other way to look at it. That was back when I was singing a few nights a week at this little club in Brooklyn. It had been a two-hour drive from where I lived in New Jersey, but it was worth it every time. The audience, while not huge, was always appreciative. And the little man who ran the club had a crush on me, so he let me take longer sets than the other girls. I really thought that I was on my way to fame.
That was when I’d met Chris. Chris Delmonico, the fastest talking asshole I’d ever met. He was charming, too. With his blond hair and blue eyes, girls mooned over him whenever he stepped foot in the club. But, seemingly, he only had eyes for me. I remembered the first night we’d met.
“You’re beautiful,” he said. “I’ve been watching you all night. You really know how to draw people in.”
I blushed. “Thank you,” I said as sweetly as I could. He winked at me and I felt my heart slow to a stop. “I’ve never seen you in here before. Are you local?”
The gorgeous blond man threw his head back and roared with laughter. “Sweetie, it’s New York. Is anyone really local here?”
I giggled nervously. “I live in Jersey,” I admitted. “I bet that makes me less beautiful, huh?” I was so used to men flirting with me until they found out I lived in Jersey. It was like a stain on my face, something unavoidably unattractive. I couldn’t figure it out—most of the people in NYC had come from Jersey. So what made me so bad?
“Nah,” the man replied. “It makes you human, like all of us.” He winked at me. “So, have you always lived in Jersey?”
I nodded. I was relieved that he wasn’t turned off, but it was almost suspect. “What about you?”
The man grinned. “Honey, I’m from everywhere,” he said in a low drawl. “But I happened to wind up in a big city. It’s the only place you can be really anonymous, you know?”
I nodded again. I did know. Being alone, really alone, was something that I’d felt for almost my entire life. But back in the sleepy little town of Morris, I didn’t feel nearly as alone as I did every time I made the journey across the river to New York City. There was something about all of the lights and the buildings. On a dark night, I felt like I was going to be swallowed up by the landscape. It was so intimidating, so incredibly powerful and big.
“I’m Chris,” the man said. “Chris Delmonico.”
“Portia,” I said softly, slipping my hand into Chris’s giant paw. “Portia Campanella.”
The man hooted. “And you’re Italian, too! Damn, have I struck gold!” He laughed again and I felt a warm blush spread over my cheeks. “You’re blonde and you’re Italian?” He shook his head, still chuckling. “You’re perfect, did anyone ever tell you that? You’re a perfect angel.” Chris waved the bartender over. To him, he said, “Barkeep, this woman is a beauty. You seen her before?”
“Oh, yes,” the bartender replied. “She sings here every week.” He smiled at me. “And she likes gin and tonics, isn’t that right, Portia?”
I nodded shyly. “I do,” I admitted. “But I have to drive home tonight, so I really shouldn’t have any more to drink.”
“Two gin and tonics,” Chris said. He winked at me. “I’ll keep you company. I promise I’ll let you go after one drink.”
Except he didn’t let me go, not after one drink, and not after ten. After the second cocktail we were finding ourselves even closer together, our heads nuzzling and bumping. I felt my skin growing prickly and hot with arousal and the warmth of the alcohol. When our lips finally met, it was like stars exploded in my head.
“I’m taking you back with me,” Chris said gruffly. “Come on.”
I shivered as I followed him out of the bar. Chris led me to a motel across the street and we made love all night. I shrieked every time he plunged his hard cock inside of me like I’d never been with a man before. Chris was so loving, so skilled. He worshipped my body. In his hands, I felt like I was made out of gold and diamonds. I’d never been treated like such a precious commodity before.
In the morning, everything felt shy and new. “Are you feeling okay?” Chris looked at me. “You seem quiet.”
“I don’t normally do that,” I confessed. “I’ve never had a one-night stand before.”
Chris crossed the room in a quick stretch. He lifted my chin up and looked deep in my eyes. “You think that’s all this was? A one-night stand?”
I shrugged. “I’ve learned not to expect much from men.” I winced as soon as I’d said it; the remark sounded more callous than anything I’d intended. But I meant it. I’d been fooled by men like Chris before. And sooner or later, all of them disappeared.
Chris pursed his lips. He sat down on the bed and gazed deeply into my eyes. “Portia, I know this is crazy,” he said in a low voice. “But I’m feeling like I could fall in love with you. What do you say? Do you think you could fall in love with me?”
I shook my head to rid myself of the memory. I couldn’t waste any time thinking about Chris today. Every time he came back into my mind, the pain and the wounds felt fresh. Like someone had ripped the Band-Aid off my heart and rubbed salt into the worst of the heartbreak.
I realized I was going to be late. Even though I’d worked at Maison Bridges for longer than anyone else on the staff, I didn’t want to take my chances. Rocky liked me but not enough to keep me around if I kept showing up late. Besides, it was a Monday. Mondays were the slowest days of the week. I hated working them—there was almost no tip money to be had—but I didn’t have a choice. There were some bills due at the end of the month and if I didn’t act fast, I knew that I’d be underwater sooner than I could ever anticipate.
“Portia,” Rocky barked as soon as I stepped in the door. “You’re late! Third time this month, girl! What’s going on?”
“Car trouble,” I said darkly as I pushed past him and into the kitchen where I stowed my purse and changed from flats into platform pumps that hurt like hell after only a few seconds.
Yeah, car trouble. Like I don’t want to get into my car and drive out here.
Especially not on a fucking Monday.
“Portia, there’s someone at the bar,” Rocky said. He was tapping his toe, obviously waiting for me to finish getting ready. “Can you take care of him?”
“I’ve got it,” I said automatically. “I’ll just be a second, Rocky.”
Rocky huffed but he finally left me alone. “Thanks,” he said. I couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic or just rushed, but I was grateful for another few seconds of solitude. Thinking about Chris again had put me into a dark mood. I didn’t ever want to think about his name again, but I knew I couldn’t avoid it.
“Portia, I miss you,” Chris’s voice sounded tinny through the phone. “I wish I could see you tonight, but something came up.”
I frowned. “We’ve had these plans for a month,” I said. “What could have possibly happened?”
There was a wet squishing sound in my ear and I realized Chris had covered the receiver with his hand. I waited, growing angrier by the second, for him to return.
“I’m sorry,” Chris said again. “I have to go, but we’ll talk tomorrow, okay?”
I pouted. “Okay,” I said. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sound bitchy. I was just…I was just looking forward to seeing you. It’s been a week! I miss you.”
“I miss you too, baby,” Chris said. “I promise, we’ll see each other soon.”
I hung up and moped around my apartment for a couple of hours. Chris and I had plans to visit a local historical town and find a cute bed and breakfast to spend the night. I’d looked up tons of places online—I wanted to surprise him ahead of time— and I’d booked us a room there. I’d already paid for the room, and I wasn’t going to get my deposit back.
Suddenly, the idea struck me: why could I just go alone? Sure, it would be weird and I’d feel kind of lonely. But I’d get out of Morris for the night and have some alone time. Maybe I could be like one of those classy women in movies who brought a book to a nice restaurant and enjoyed a long, slow meal by myself. I envisioned myself walking down a dark street and then hopping into a cute historical inn for a long soak in the tub. Some alone time. It sounded good, and I thought it might be exactly what I need.
As quickly as I could, I packed a bag and hopped in my car. As I drove, a bad feeling started in the pit of my stomach. I kept checking my phone, thinking that Chris would call me. But as the minutes ticked by, I didn’t hear a peep from him. I texted him,
Just want to say I miss you, baby. Looking forward to seeing you soon
I’d thought I’d be lonely, but I was actually fine once I got there. The hotel was adorable, even if I did get a few raised eyebrows when I checked in alone and didn’t ask for a second key. I took a quick shower and headed outside to walk around for a while after dinner. I missed Chris. Every time I saw a couple walking by, hand in hand, I thought about him and my crotch gave a jump. It had been a few days since I’d seen him, and I was feeling horny as hell. I decided that I was going to surprise him as soon as I got back to New Jersey. I’d buy some fancy lingerie. The next time we met up, I’d put that on under a trench coat and show up, ready to surprise him. Just thinking about the plan was turning me on even more. I wished that I was back in the hotel room so I could lie down on the bed, spread my legs, think of Chris and maybe slip my hand between my thighs.
“Ma’am,” someone called. “You dropped this!”
I turned around with my cheeks burning bright red, almost as if the stranger could have been reading my thoughts. “What is it?”
“Your keys,” the voice replied. As I walked closer, I saw it was a younger guy, probably in college. He smiled at me. Then I realized he was wearing a busboy’s uniform.
“You work here?” I gestured to the Italian restaurant.
The kid nodded. “Great food,” he said with a toothy grin. “You feel like coming in for a meal?”
My stomach growled and we both laughed. “Sure,” I said as I took my keys back from his proffered hand. “Table for one.”
The kid raised his eyebrows but didn’t say anything. I was starting to feel sick of being ostracized just because I was alone. So what if I didn’t have a man with me? Women were allowed to travel alone, damnit. After a few minutes, I realized that I wasn’t being judged. It was just unusual; no one saw single women much anymore. A lump came into my throat as the kid led me to a quiet table in the middle of the restaurant.
“This is one of our nicest tables,” the kid said. “Your server will be right with you. Enjoy your dinner, ma’am.”
I wanted to tell him that I was too young to be called ma’am, but I kept my mouth shut. After he walked away, I took in the ambience of the restaurant. It was beautiful: dimly lit, with small candles everywhere. There were small tables of couples and a few families scattered throughout the dining room. Overhead was a terrace with real roses snaking through it. An odd feeling welled up inside of my chest and I realized that it was sadness. The atmosphere in the restaurant was so beautiful, so haunting. More than anything, I wished Chris was there with me to share it.