Rachel stood outside the Williamsburg theater watching the cars go by, or more accurately sit motionless in traffic; it was Friday night after all. The tall dark-haired girl had bundled up in black for the cold spring night, winter weather still hadn't left New York. She wore a long black leather coat, black scarf, black gloves, black jeans, black stiletto boots, and a black cabbie hat with her black hair flowing freely in the breeze. She leaned against the brick wall of the theater. A couple of girls walked by, even more bundled up than Rachel, complaining about the weather: “God, it’s freezing outside.” What a wimp, Rachel thought to herself as the girls disappeared down the street. Rachel had experienced every New York winter since she was born. By now, she was completely numb to the cold. Her lightly tanned face and naked ears braved the storm without flinching.
Something else was bothering her. With a heavy sigh, Rachel picked up her phone. The time was 9:00 PM. An angry groan mumbled under her breath. Rachel tried to call a number, but her touch screen couldn’t recognize her leather gloves. The dark-haired girl looked angrily towards the clear night sky. Using her teeth, she pulled off her right glove. Rachel’s naked fingers now directed the phone to redial. The green phone icon came up. The mob boss’s daughter put the phone up to her ear; her naked hand now feeling the sting of the cold air.
The phone rang once, then was silent… It rang again, silence… It rang again, “Hello?”
Rachel hesitated before recognizing the soft angelic voice on the other end of the call: “Hey,” her low-cadence voice answered, “Where you at?”
“Look across the street,” the other voice answered, “To your left.”
Rachel looked to the left and managed to catch a girl in bright blue waved one white gloved hand, the other holding a cell-phone to her hat covered ear. It was Julia! Rachel waved her other hand and put her phone away. She stayed perfectly still watching the daughter of her rival walk towards her. Her bright-blue trench-coat was augmented by a white scarf, white gloves, and long white boots. It didn’t appear that she was wearing pants. Rachel could not help but smile at the sight of this beautiful girl. Her blonde hair was tucked away under her striped white hat, but just enough strands were visible. Her complexion was as white as the lingering snow on the ground. Rachel still couldn’t hold her tongue.
“Well,” Rachel said, “We missed the movie.”
“I’m so sorry,” Julia wrapped her arms around the taller Rachel apologizing most sincerely. Rachel put one arm around her date, but also looked up at the marquee in annoyance, “My father wouldn’t let me go.”
This didn’t really surprise Rachel, having seen the controlling Columbo in action at the funeral, “How did you get away?”
“Don’t ask,” Julia said as she let go of her date in black, “I’m sorry we missed the movie.”
“Well,” Rachel looked back at the marquee, “We can catch the 10:00 show.”
“Didn’t you already get the tickets?” Julia asked in a concerned manner.
“It’s no problem,” Rachel held Julia’s hand and walked towards the ticket-booth cutting in front of a line. Julia felt a shiver run down her spine as Rachel took her hand.
“Hey,” the man in front of the line complained, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” He was much bigger than her, probably weighed twice as much as she did.
Rachel completely ignored the man and began talking to the guy in the ticket booth. Julia did not say a word. “Yeah,” Rachel picked up her tickets, “I’m not gonna be using-“
“Miss,” The ticket-guy pointed towards the back, “There’s a line here.”
“Thank you,” the man in front of the line complained trying to grab hold of her.
As she felt the man’s hand take hold of her, Rachel quickly grabbed the man’s arm, twisted it around to his back into an arm-lock. The man screamed once in pain causing everyone around her to step back. Julia watched the black-haired woman in awe. Eventually, Rachel dropped the man to the ground and turned back towards the ticket booth as if nothing had happened: “Anyway, I want two tickets for Action Pope, 10:00.”
At first the man behind the ticket-booth was speechless having seen this woman take down a man twice her size. Eventually he shook his head and gained his senses, “Look, you need to get back in line.” He pointed towards the end of the line again.
“Rachel,” Julia pleaded, “It’s okay, we can wait-“
“Do me a favor,” Rachel ignored her friend, now smiling mischievously at the ticket-guy, “Call your manager, and tell him,” she said the next words slowly and clearly, “Rachel Giovanni wants tickets.”
The name Giovanni certainly got a few people around her talking. This included the man on the floor who now looked up the girl with fear in his eyes. It didn’t affect the ticket-man who annoyingly called up his manager and briefly told his superior the story. Within milliseconds of mentioning the name “Rachel Giovanni” there was a terrible silence in the ticket booth. The young man behind the glass looked at Rachel, who was still smiling mischievously at him, with wide-eyes. He soon began to shake and hung up the phone.
“Oh my God,” he stuttered, “I-I am so sorry Ms. Giovanni.” He printed out two tickets, “That’s two for Action Pope, free of charge!” He quickly handed the girl the tickets.
Rachel said nothing as her black leather glove reached for the tickets. Her other hand reached for Julia’s who stood there jaw-dropped. “C’mon,” Rachel said, “We got an hour to kill, why don’t we go get some pizza?”
Julia looked behind her as they walked away. All eyes were on the two of them.
Rachel took a bite of her thin-crust cheese pizza somewhat dissatisfied, “It’s not that great,” Rachel said, “But it sure beats the crap they serve in the theater.”
Julia chuckled slightly, “Cheaper too.”
They sat at a four-legged table, covered by a cheap plaid tablecloth, in a typical dive-pizza joint. They were the only ones there, aside from the workers. Rachel had taken off her hat and gloves, but Julia left hers on, using a napkin to pick up her pizza.
“It’s bad enough,” Rachel talked with her mouth full, “We gotta spend like thirteen dollars a ticket, but do we have to spend another fifteen fucking dollars on stale lukewarm popcorn?”
Julia did not answer but laughed slightly. After a slow pause, and a bite of the thin piece of cheese, tomato sauce and bread, Julia brought up the elephant in the room, “I got the assumption last time that you were not proud of your family’s business.”
“Hey,” Rachel raised her arms while taking a sip of her soda, “If it gets me free tickets or free pizza, I don’t hesitate to use my name.” Rachel watched her date nod her head, “What? You’ve never mentioned your name to get what you want?”
“No,” Julia nodded sadly, “I don’t really go out at all. My father and his men do everything for me.”
Rachel was starting to understand Julia’s lifestory. She was obviously born with a silver-spoon in her mouth. Her father had given her almost everything, a great house, a good education, respectful manners, but he had never given her freedom. The only time Julia was allowed out the house was probably through an escort. If her father found out she was sitting in a pizza-shop in Williamsburg by herself, he’d blow a fuse. Still, one question was on Rachel’s mind:
“You mind if I ask you something?”
There was a hesitation from Julia. She knew Rachel had something meaningful on her mind, “Go ahead,” she finally answered.
“Have you ever had a boyfriend?” She asked so simply, “Or girlfriend?”
The hesitation was even stronger now. Clearly Julia didn’t want to answer that question. “Have you?” She answered with another question.
“Of course,” Rachel said taking another bite. Rachel’s eyes didn’t focus on the blonde this time, “I had a couple boyfriends in school, of course it didn’t last long once they found out who my father was.”
“Your father didn’t approve?”
“I didn’t say that,” Rachel corrected, “My father was pretty cool about letting me date people. Anyway once I got to college, there was this girl I fell in love with. My first girlfriend,” She smiled a little, “But you know, same old, same old. Intimidated by my father, she left me, never to be seen again. Ever since then, I’ve always liked girls.”
Julia was fascinated by all this, “Does anybody know?”
Rachel finally looked her date in the eyes, “Know what?”
“That you’re,” Julia hesitated and looked around, “A lesbian?” She said very quietly.
Rachel’s eyes vacillated. She finished off her slice of pizza and began to wipe her hands clean, “I’ve never liked that term,” Rachel said, “Lesbian. People always associate it with something immoral. Even the sound of the word… Lesbian. It just sounds so negative, when it should be something beautiful and romantic.”
The lesbian made a very good point to the blondie. She began to ponder the idea in her mind, “Well, howabout… Amore Ragazze?” Julia’s voice sounded so melodic and beautiful uttering the Italian phrase.
“What is that?” Rachel laughed looking at her date, “Love of girls?” Rachel could barely remember her Italian lessons, but she knew enough to understand the blonde’s phrase.
A grin escaped Julia’s mouth. Rachel couldn’t believe how much more alive she felt being around this girl. Something about Julia chased the dark vampire out of the black-haired girl and just allowed Rachel to be herself.
“Well,” Rachel chuckled, “The only person who knows I’m… Amore Ragazze,” Rachel felt a tingling sensation in her lips saying the phrase, “Is Amy.”
Julia was somewhat surprised to hear this, “Your sister.”
“Cousin,” Rachel corrected her, “We ended up living in the same dorm for a couple months. Dad thought it would be good for me. One day, my girlfriend and I come back to the dorm drunk off our asses.” There a slight pause as Rachel smiled, “Boy was she surprised.”
“Is she also…” Julia began to ask.
“Amore Ragazze?” Rachel responded, “Amy? Little Miss Perfect would never do that. But she kept my secret between us, I don’t really want anyone to know. I don’t think she does either. She actually thought the secret would bring us closer together.” She rolled her eyes and quickly changed the subject, “Anyway, what about you? When did you realize you were Amore Ragazze?”
Julia’s smile faded away. She looked uncomfortable. Her white gloved hands rubbed her cold cheeks. Rachel’s smile faded too as she picked up on the girl’s discomfort. “I think we should get going.” Julia immediately stood up. Her hands gathered her paper plate and napkin and carefully made their way to the trash. Rachel watched her somewhat confused, but realizing that she must have brought up something uncomfortable for her blonde friend to talk about. Not everyone was totally comfortable being ‘Amore Ragazze.’ Rachel stood up and grabbed the girl’s white gloved hands. Her leather gloves felt cold, yet soft in Rachel’s naked hands. Julia stopped in her tracks and stared into Rachel’s eyes.
There was silence.
“Julia,” Rachel whispered, “I’m one person in your life you don’t have to be afraid of.”
Hard to believe after the tall raven-head showed her strength outside the theater, but Julia knew that underneath her shell, Rachel was a soul to be savored. Rachel stared into Julia’s pale innocent face. Those lips called out for attention. She knew how shy the girl was, but never in a million years would she ever ask to kiss someone; only losers do that. So Rachel leaned her face in, ever so slowly. Julia’s face didn’t move, much to the taller girl’s approval. Her lips almost reached Julia’s.
Julia turned her face away to the side.
Rachel sighed silently not wanting her date to think ill of her. She almost thought about calling the whole thing off, but the night was young. She still had a chance.
“Can we go,” Julia said almost shaking, “See the movie now?”
Rachel nodded and let go of the girls’ hands. Rachel grabbed her own gloves and hat, leaving her pizza on the table. She did however, grab her bottled soda, hiding it in her coat. Julia was very confused by this:
“What are you doing?”
Rachel smiled as she zipped up her jacket now with an obvious bumb on the side of it, “Well there’s no way in hell I’m giving up my last week’s paycheck for another soda!”
Julia laughed in a way Rachel had not yet seen. Perhaps Julia’s shell was cracking. Julia honestly felt the same about Rachel. The taller one stuffed her gloves in her pocket and slipped her hat back on. As the two prepared to walk outside, Rachel decided to play this next move conservatively:
“Hey,” she said, “Is it all right if I hold your hand?”
There was a pause and a stare between the two. It was interrupted as a white gloved hands interlaced fingers with another naked feminine hand. Rachel looked down at the hand she was holding delighted. It was a glove-covered hand, but she didn’t care.
“Shall we?” Julia smiled.
“Yeah,” Rachel said as they walked out, “Lets go see Pope Schwarzenegger kick some ass!”