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[ Don Salvatore Renzella ]
Agnes answered the door to find a tall, fit-looking man in a white suit and dark glasses.
"I'm Giovanni Gotti, the son of Don Salvatore Renzella. Madame, my respects for you. And to offer my condolences for the death of your husband. And also - my compliments on your wearing black, if I may be so bold as to offer you a compliment for your respecting the traditions of the Old Country."
"Thank you, sir. But I don't think we have met?"
"I've been living in Bridgeport - but I believe my father knew your father." His face crumpled, in that very expressive Continental way. "My late father."
He had a beautiful face, thought Agnes. She would like to paint him. "Do come inside, Mr Gotti."
"Oh, I am sorry. What happened?"
"He died in China. On a business trip." Agnes was embarassed to see tears running down the brawny man's cheeks. "He was - quite young. There was some kind of accident. I have to go over there and try to find out what happened." He sighed deeply and wiped his face.
"And you, madame - I heard your husband drowned?"
"Yes." said Agnes flatly. "Clowning about in a swimming pool on our honeymoon. He was - well, he was being very silly. There was a breath-holding competition and - he just didn't come up to the surface. I was at the bar getting refill drinks and when I came back I couldn't see him. The lifeguard found him at the bottom of the pool, later. I - try not to think about it. The doctor on the ship gave me some pills - they help a little."
"Ahh," he said.
"Anyway, I contacted your brother in law, who gave me your address."
"I see," said Agnes, thinking this was ANOTHER black mark for her brother in law, Gunther. She must remind him not to give out her address.
"And the purpose of your visit?"
"To offer my condolences. And my assistance."
"Well, I've been doing some research. There might be a way to bring him back."
"I have some contacts at the landgraab Marine Science Facility, and they have been working on a way to ah - bring back the departed. I wanted to know whether I could do anything for my father. He certainly didn't live out his allotted lifespan."
He blew his nose into a large monogrammed handkerchief. "Excuse me. I am still very angry about my father's untimely demise."
Agnes thought hard. Bring him back. Bring Eric back? Regain the years together that they SHOULD have had, if he hadn't been such a fool? She had loved that foolishness, laughed at him and with him, laughed more with Eric than she had ever laughed in her life. And he had loved it, natural clown that he was. He had told her that she shone when she laughed, that she had a face that opened up with a smile and glowed like the sun. She sighed. If only. She had not smiled since his death.
"This is the real world, Mr Gotti. Not a fantasy. I have to get on with my life - and you with yours. I don't have time for this nonsense."
"It is not nonsense, madame. There are theories that we can bring them back. Let me explain. It seems we can get them back, initially in ghostly form. And there are experiments going on that suggest a certain food will return them from ghostly to real Simlife. My contacts at the Science Institute tell me this is still being tested but appears to be sound. There is hope that we can get them back!"
Agnes looked at him. He seemed genuine enough. And he was from the Old Country, like her father. She liked the accent, it made her feel comfortable with this man. He wasn't bad looking either.It was very nice to have a man about the house once more, even if only for a short time. She decided she wanted to prolong that experience.
"I was about to get dinner, Mr Gotti. Would you care to join me? At least we can discuss this research."
"Oh madame, please call me Giovanni."
She smiled up at him. "I am Agnes. Make yourself comfortable and I will start dinner."
He glanced around. No servants then. Unusual in such a large house. But that could work to his advantage.
Over dinner he explained. "My problem is that I need capital, to get to China and retrieve my father's remains. Then I can try to recover him. And as we are in similar positions, I wondered if we could join forces. I have information and contacts."
After dinner he relaxed and sat back in his chair. "That was macaroni and cheese the way Mamma used to make it."
"Where's your mother now, Giovanni?" The name felt good as she said it. His soft Old Country accent, the wine they had opened, his large, unthreatening and determinedly masculine presence all contributed to her feeling very comfortable.
He crossed himself. "Mamma died... a long time ago. Back in the Old Country, where we did not have all these technological miracles. There, the old women said that we could bring back the dead, but - well, it was thought to be dangerous. The Strega, the old women, they said that the dead once returned would eat the souls of the living. Or was it their brains? I am not sure now. Old wives' tales, of course."
He started to get up. "I am so sorry, it's very late, almost 2. I have kept you talking so long, I must start on the long drive back to Bridgeport."
"I won't hear of it. I have plenty of space here, stay overnight. It's too late to drive, and you've been drinking; it wouldn't be safe."
"And I like having you around," she thought.
"Madame, you are the perfect hostess. And very beautiful as well, if I may be so bold."
She blushed. "Let me show you where your room is."
Giovanni and Agnes
August 14, 2012