When you walked into the little Italian restaurant on the corner of two relatively crowded streets in the farthest section of a little shopping mall, it was needless to say that you weren’t expecting much. However, your best friend since forever, Lauren Maes, and her boyfriend Antonio raved about the place, say that the food there was purely traditional and unlike any other knock off Italian place.
So you went. Sighing, you saw a bored looking man with dark auburn hair and hazel eyes leaning on the counter next to the cash register with his chin in his palm. His eyes flickered lazily over to you before he jumped a bit, startled at the sight of a customer.
The strange little curl on the side of his head bobbed as he made his way over to you, saying a quick apology to you in a thick Italian accent. You felt a small smile tug it’s way onto your lips as he guided you to a table in the corner nearest to what you assumed was the kitchen. His accent made it nearly impossible to decipher his rapid speaking, but you quickly go the jest of it when he handed you a menu.
Flashing you a quick grin your way he turned and shouted to someone in the kitchen. “Oi, fratello!” he called, sounding somewhat irritated, “Abbiamo un cliente!”
Another brunette who looked nearly identical to your waiter appeared in the little window leading to the kitchen, seeming a bit dazed and confused. An airy grin spread across his face once he saw you, though. “Ah! A pretty lady!” he chirped before disappearing again.
He nearly skipped out to your table, standing next to you. “Hello, pretty lady!”
“Hello,” you laughed, looking up at his amber eyes.
With that empty-headed smile still on his tanned face, the Italian boy asked you, “What would you like to eat?”
Glancing down at the menu once more, you decided that, instead of struggling through the bizarre world of silent letters and accents that are in the Italian language, to just let the man pick for you. Folding the menu up, you smiled at the waiter, “Just make me happy,” you shrugged.
From behind the counter, the darker-haired brother looked at you with interest. His younger sibling walked into the kitchen, “Veh, Lovi, the bella signorina said to-”
“I heard what she said!” he snapped, keeping the noise level down as to not disturb the young woman, “Go get her a glass of wine or something,” he ordered, voice still hushed as he watched you admire the red roses and white lilies in a little green vase on your table. You delicately touched the petals of a lily, smiling fondly at a memory from when you were younger.
Lovino sighed before starting up the flame on the stove to boil pasta. While the water was still heating, he chopped up a few tomatoes and a variety of other herbs before piling the mixture onto thick slices of toasted baguette.
Carefully, he walked over to the table where you were still sitting and placed the plate of food in front of you, struggling not to let it make a noise as he usually did. You glanced up at him, murmuring a quiet thanks before looking back down at the plate in front of you. When he walked away, you picked up a slice of bread topped with a pungent mix of basil, tomato, and pepper and took a large bite, pieces of tomato fell back onto the plate, but you got the majority of it.
Lovino smiled as you took another large bite, once more back at his position in the kitchen. His brother had placed a small glass of red wine next to you and you covered your mouth to mumble a quick thanks before continuing to indulge yourself with the tomato-rich dish.
About a half an hour later, Lovino had his brother bring out a shallow bowl with a thin-looking soup in it. The smiling Italian set the dish down in front of you and walked away as you eyed the peculiar-looking lumps in the broth. Your chef panicked a bit, but was relieved when he saw you dip your spoon in the broth, picking up a knodel along with the broth.
Raising it to your lips, you quickly found out that the strange lump was simply bread. Bread and some other things. You thought you could taste a bit of ham of some sort under the fragrant spices used once more in cooking, but you couldn’t really tell.
The Italian in the kitchen watched with growing interest with every dish he put out. You seemed to eat everything he could give you, so when it came time for him to start preparing dessert, he came out to greet you himself.
“It’s you again!” you smiled around a bite of grapefruit and spinach. Your plate of veal was completely clean, save for the remaining sauce, and now you were finishing up the citrus-scented salad. Lovino blinked at you, thinking you thought he was his brother until you opened your mouth again. “I was wondering where you went. You were the one who made the food, right?” He nodded.
You grinned up at him. “The food is fantastic,” you told the man earnestly, finishing the salad.
“Grazie,” he said quietly, his hazel eyes carefully examining you. Remembering his purpose after he saw the glass of red wine empty, Lovino managed to stutter through an offer of dessert.
Folding your hands in your lap, you leaned back in your chair. “Sounds lovely.”
Lovino smiled back at you, just a small tug on his lips, and walked back into the kitchen. His brother was already skipping out with a glass of sweet, white wine for the customer. She stopped him when he reached her table, having a short conversation in which they both shared countless glances to the kitchen.
The older brother pouted and blushed at this, turning his back to you so he could concentrate on plating the tiramisu. On a whim, he also added a small plate of chocolate mousse onto the platter he was bringing out.
His brother had left your side and you were patiently sipping your wine, waiting for the man. You grinned when you saw what was on his platter, eagerly shifting in your seat like a small child. He smiled at this, quickening his footsteps a bit to reach you.
Setting the two dishes down in front of you, he watched you eye them for a brief moment before looking back up at him. “So now what am I eating?”
Lovino was a bit shocked, “Tiramisu,” he said, voice gruff.
“And chocolate?” You struggled not to smile at the man’s reaction to your simple question.
He smirked at you, “Yes, bella. And chocolate.”
“Cool,” you told him, grinning broadly. You took a small bite of the berry topped tiramisu and silently cheered.
“So, bella,” the chef smirked, watching your reactions, “Did we make you happy?”
Just as you were about to answer him, he heard the door open and his brother usher a couple to a table at the other side of the restaurant. Smile dropping, he glanced longingly back at you, only to see you gesturing for him to go take care of them with a small smirk on your face.
“Yes,” you mumbled, taking another large bite of tiramisu, “You made me very happy.”