Morning broke, but only slivers of light made it into Rachel’s bedroom. The brown curtains kept the room dark. Rachel and Julia both slept on their sides, facing each other, the sheets covering them. Both completely naked, only one long white glove on Julia’s right hand. The black-hair held the blonde’s gloved hand all night. Rachel’s eyes began to open. They were reminded of the beauty lying next to her. She softly moved the delicate blonde hair behind Julia’s neck to see her face, eyes closed. Those soft lips; they may have been the best lips Rachel ever tasted. Her cheeks; not a scratch on them, no acne scars. Her nose; a perfect small nose, even arch of the bridge. Her neck; as thin as could be. But aside from her traits of beauty, Julia had some invisible glow that captured Rachel’s heart. Perhaps there was something to this “Soul-mate” business everyone babbled about. Rachel watched as Julia’s eyes slowly opened. Julia looked at Rachel: her hair as black as a raven. Julia could tell it was dyed. Her nose was not perfect, slight bump in the bridge, a little pointy, but still cute. Her cheeks had a couple of scars on them, nearly invisible, but they were there. But these little imperfections meant nothing to Julia. All she could see was a girl she loved.
“Did you sleep okay?” Rachel nearly whispered.
Julia rolled onto her back reminding herself of everything that had gone on the night before. Rachel had taken her virginity. It was one of the most intense nights of her life. After she had returned the favor to Rachel, with the raven-hair continuing to pleasure the blonde, Julia practically collapsed on the bed. Julia spoke up just above a whisper:
“I had a dream last night,” she hesitated. Rachel wrapped her arms around the blonde, gently touching one of her bare breasts. Julia nearly ignored it and continued, “I can’t remember too much of the dream, but you and I… we were in Venice… along the waterfront.” Julia now turned to hold onto Rachel and kiss her. She broke the kiss and continued, “It was like we were living there as…” Julia being unfamiliar with lesbian lingo was unable to conjure a synonym for husband and wife.
“Amore Ragazze?” Rachel suggested.
Julia smiled hearing her girlfriend echo back the phrase she had suggested a week ago. Maybe it would become a new catch-phrase. Unfortunately, Rachel and Julia weren’t in Venice together as lovers. Both of their families were at war with each other. If Julia told her father about this, it would be their last night together. Rachel would meet her end. She squeezed Rachel harder.
“What are we going to do Rachel? I can’t tell my father about us, I can’t tell anyone. WE can’t tell anyone.”
The raven-haired girl sighed silently, still holding onto her girlfriend, “No we can’t. We can’t tell anyone.”
Her first love, and Julia couldn’t share her happiness with anyone. She looked up to Rachel, “We could leave here,” She said sincerely, “There’s nothing for us here. We could escape to Venice. Wouldn’t that be romantic? Running off together and starting a new life?”
This was something Rachel always hated. One night with the girl, and she was already planning their wedding. Rachel did take a good look at Julia. She was still the soft innocent flower she was when they first met. But, she was glad to find out, Julia did have a fun side, perhaps a wild side she hadn’t discovered yet. Julia obviously saw Rachel as her ticket out of this hellhole she called her life. That’s why she loved her. Rachel let go of Julia and fell back onto the bed.
“You know,” she reminisced, “I could have left this city anytime I wanted to. I used to look at maps planning road trips across the country. Both my mother and father said they would have supported me if I moved away. In fact, my father was hoping I would.” Julia began to run her naked hand across Rachel’s naked stomach. It was sad that her love also didn’t have a good relationship with her father. At least Giovanni loved her enough to let her go. “But,” Rachel continued, “I couldn’t leave. I feel like there’s something here I’m meant to do. I know it sounds strange.”
Julia shook her head, “It doesn’t sound strange. I’ve felt the same way, there’s a reason I never ran away from home.”
Rachel looked to her girlfriend.
“I think this is what I was waiting for,” Julia said, “I was waiting for you. Now that I’ve found you, maybe we could plan a road trip. Let’s get a car and drive out to California.”
Rachel smiled thinking about finally taking her long awaited road trip.
Outside of the house, it was a beautiful day. One of those rare moments in Winter when the sun came out to warm the streets of Brooklyn. Outside Rachel’s apartment was Bobby’s car. He had taken Columbo’s orders to heart, waiting all night outside the apartment. The car was far enough away from the building as to not gain attention, but close enough to see what was going on. By now, he was sound asleep. Julia had spent the night at this building, whoever it belonged to.
Passing by his car, Angelo walked down the streets in a leather jacket and aviator metal sunglasses. He didn’t even bother to notice Bobby sitting inside the car. Of course, Bobby, in dreamland, didn’t notice Angelo either. The mafia son looked like he was in a bad mood, not far off for how he always acted. He crossed the street and came to the door. Before Angelo could ring his sister’s buzzer, one of the tenants opened the door. The tenant was dressed in a suit, seeming to be in a hurry. He took no notice of Angelo, but Angelo held the door open. He walked in and walked up to Rachel’s apartment.
“I guess,” Rachel said, “Now’s as good a time as any to get out of Brooklyn.” She turned her head to see Julia.
The blonde hugged her, fidgeting to get her to hug back. There was something on her mind that needed to be addressed:
“Hey Rachel,” she hesitated still holding her. Julia asked a question in the most innocuous girlish voice possible, “Do you love me?”
Oh no, Rachel thought to herself, not that word again. Remember the rule, Rachel tried to tell herself, you can’t tell another girl you love her. Rachel could not remain taciturn for long, she would have to respond this time. What would she say? Good fortune prevailed as Rachel heard a knock on her door. Thank God, Rachel didn’t allow this thought to pass her lips.
“Let me get that,” Rachel got up. She was completely naked. Her incredible body only became more alluring as the muscles of her back stretched out before Julia’s eyes. Rachel picked up a gray bathrobe off the back her bedroom door. She quickly slipped it on and tied it, “It’s my landlady.” Julia nodded her head and watched as Rachel left the room.
The black-haired girl came to the door. Without hesitation, she opened it, “Yes Maria-“
She stopped cold when she saw her brother standing outside the door. Angelo looked at his sister, who’s bathrobe barely covered her private area, in a befuddled gaze.
“Angelo?” Rachel looked like she was staring at a monster, “What the fuck are you doing here?”
“Nice to see you too,” Angelo replied rolling his eyes behind his sunglasses, “Especially in that outfit.” He began to walk in the door.
Rachel quickly pushed him back with the door, leaving only her face visible through the crack, “What do you want?” Rachel barked at him.
Angelo was silent for a second, “Can I come in?” He asked in a condescending manner, “I need to use the bathroom!”
Rachel rolled her eyes. Was he sent by Amy to spy on them? Did he know about her and Julia? Then again, maybe he was there for some other reason. So many questions, but it was probably best not to make him anymore suspicious. She opened the door and allowed him to come in, “Hurry up!”
Angelo walked in still looking at his sister with miffed eyes. He walked towards the bathroom, which was luckily one the opposite side of the bedroom. “What the fuck is wrong with you?” He turned his head before disappearing into the latrine, “Are you on your period?” The door closed.
“Why are you here Angelo?” Rachel shouted.
“Can’t I take a piss in peace?” Angelo barked back.
Rachel clenched her teeth and fists as she made her way towards the bedroom. Julia quietly peaked through the bedroom door seeing no one there but her black-haired lover.
“Is everything okay?” Julia asked.
Rachel got right up towards the bedroom door, “My brother is here.”
Julia’s face turned white, even whiter than her natural skin tone, “What’s he doing here?”
“I don’t know, just stay in there. I’m gonna get rid of him.”
“Rachel, does he know about us?” Julia began to shake slightly as her one bare hand reached for Rachel’s. She was still completely naked save one white glove.
“I don’t know,” Rachel whispered.
“You don’t know?!” Julia’s voice became louder and more panicky.
“Shhhh!” Rachel silenced her.
Suddenly she heard the bathroom door open. Rachel quickly pushed Julia into the bedroom and closed the door.
“Owww,” a faint cry of pain came through the door.
Rachel winced in pain but turned to see her brother walking toward her, his glasses now off. He looked at her in confusion:
“What the hell is going on?” Angelo’s eyes vacillated between Rachel and the door she was protecting.
“Nothing,” Rachel commanded, “Now what do you want?”
Angelo began to figure it out. As he looked back and forth between the door and his sister, he began to crack a smile until he was silently laughing:
“Oh,” Angelo moved toward his sister, “I see!”
Rachel closed her eyes in annoyance.
“Why didn’t you tell me you had a guy over?” Angelo put his hand on his sister’s shoulder.
A guy? Rachel thought. Thank God he was clueless. Rachel played along subtly. Rolling her eyes was the equivalent of telling her brother he was right.
“Awww,” Angelo teased, “My little sister has a boyfriend!” He began to pinch her cheeks.
“Angelo,” Rachel snarled with daggers in her eyes, “I swear to God, I’m going to kick you right in the fucking nuts!”
“Hey,” Angelo didn’t let up, “Did you use protection?” He seemed serious this time now placing his hand on his sister’s shoulder. Rachel did not reply. The tall man screamed at the door, “You better have used protection buddy or I’m kick your ass-“
“Okay Angelo,” Rachel raised her hands up, “You’ve embarrassed me enough. Now would you please leave?”
“Okay okay,” Angelo laughed, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know you had someone over tonight.” His now switched on his professional voice, “Look, mom wants you to come out to the house this weekend: have dinner, spend the night with the family, you know the usual thing.”
Rachel closed her eyes, eyebrows raised, and opened them, “You know, you could have just called me!”
Angelo now paced the room in annoyance, “You don’t answer your phone. I called you like five times; Amy did too.” He then saw Rachel’s phone sitting on the coffee table.
“Well I was busy,” Rachel replied.
Angelo made his way towards the coffee table. Julia’s hat and scarf was layed on the furnature, but luckily Angelo took no notice of it. He probably thought they belonged to his sister. Same went for the coat that lied on the ground. However, Angelo did pick up Rachel’s phone, “Does this thing even work? I think you should-“
Angelo stopped dead in his tracks when he looked down at the couch. Rachel wasn’t sure what her brother was looking at until he picked up Julia’s white glove. OH NO! Rachel thought. She stood there like a dear in the headlights as Angelo looked at her confused, “Since when do you wear long white gloves?” Rachel was tongue-tied as her brother examined the glove, “Wait a minute,” he said, “I know who’s this belongs to.” He threw the phone down on the couch but kept the glove in his hand. He passed by his sister and walked towards the bedroom.
Rachel finally broke out of her trance and raced towards the door, “Angelo, wait!”
It was too late. Angelo opened the door and saw Julia Columbo sitting on the bed, completely naked with only one white glove on. Julia quickly covered herself up. Her arms covered her breasts and her legs covered her pelvis. Rachel’s bed was a complete mess. Angelo just stood there, eyes wide opened seeing a sight he thought he would never see in his life. Rachel simply stood next to him hanging her head low. Now Angelo knew. As he and Julia stared each other down, he could only bring himself to say, “Hi,” completely emotionless.
“Hi,” Julia replied, her face as white as the sheets she was sitting on.
“All right,” Rachel finally grabbed a hold of her brother’s arm, “You’ve seen enough, get out.”
Angelo dropped her other glove on the floor. He stuttered as Rachel forced him out, “Uh… your… glove,” Pointing to it on the floor. He was finally out of the room, Rachel gestured for Julia to hold tight as she explained the situation. Julia was still motionless. The door closed and Angelo walked very slowly towards the kitchen.
“Angelo,” Rachel began.
The tall brother held up his index finger and raided the fridge. Rachel took this opportunity to gather her thoughts. What was she going to say to him? She could trust Amy with information like this. Amy was calm and level-headed. Angelo was impulsive. Who knew what he would now do knowing his sister was sleeping with the daughter of his enemy. Hell, Angelo didn’t even know until now that she was Amore-Ragazze. How would he respond to this bombshell? She heard a bottlecap open. Angelo closed the refrigerator door and emerged with an open bottle of Coors. He took a drink, chugging every drop. Rachel could hear the gulps of beer flowing down his throat. Within five seconds that bottle was empty and he slammed it on the counter with a loud sigh, “Ahh!” He moved silently towards his sister. Rachel closed her eyes, wishing not to have this conversation. Angelo seemed very calm. He rubbed his hands together and looked around the room. His brown hair stared at Rachel as he looked at the ground.
“Can I ask you a question?” Angelo raised his head. Rachel opened her eyes and waited, “Have you… COMPLETELY LOST YOUR MIND?” His voice changed toned dramatically halfway through the sentence.
Rachel still said nothing.
“You’re with Julia Columbo? Naked Julia Columbo?”
Again, no response. Rachel now looked at her brother like a rebellious teenager looking at her didactic mother.
Angelo had to gather his thoughts. His voice calmed down slightly but he grabbed a hold of the back of his head. He quietly made his way towards the couch and sat down. He almost stared off into space, “My God, my sister is a lesbian!”
Rachel did felt somewhat empathetic for her brother. She remember what a shock it was for Amy to find out that her cousin was Amore-Ragazze. She slowly walked to the couch and sat next to her brother. He was still taking all of this in.
“I mean,” Angelo looked to her in complete shock, “You are a lesbian right? You like women?”
Rachel didn’t even look at him. She stared at her blank TV screen, “I don’t like the word Lesbian. Julia and I use the term ‘Amore-Ragazze’.”
Angelo’s eyes became crossed, “What the hell does that mean.”
Rachel didn’t even answer him.
“This makes sense,” Angelo looked towards the blank TV screen now, “All those guys I introduced you to, that’s why you were always rejecting them.”
“Angelo,” Rachel finally looked at him with an agitated voice, “Even if I was strait, I wouldn’t have gone out with those losers you tried to hook me up with.”
The brother did not argue, his mind was now shifting towards a more important matter, “Look, Rachel, if you’re gay… or amore-whatever-the-fuck-you-call-it…” He couldn’t exactly approve this, “Whatever, but…” He now looked Rachel in the eyes, “ANYONE but Julia Columbo! I mean seriously, you could have an orgy with Joan Jett, Katy Perry, and Taylor Hanson for all I care, but Julia Columbo…” His mind began to wander again. Rachel remained silent and allowed her brother is figure this all out, “MY GOD! Columbo’s little glass object of a daughter is a fucking lesbian! I mean… Did she come on to you or you to her?”
“What difference does it make Angelo?” Rachel snorted back. “I already had this conversation with Amy. Julia and I-“
“Whoa whoa whoa!” Angelo stood up and held his hands out, “Amy knows about this?”
Rachel nodded her head.
“And she was okay with this?”
“I wouldn’t say she was okay with it,” Rachel explained, “But look, listen. She already told me how dangerous it is to be dating Julia. I know Columbo is a maniac that’s why we’re keeping it a secret… and why YOU need to not saying ANYTHING about this to ANYONE!”
“And what you need to do,” Angelo became more aggressive, “Is check yourself into an asylum, because only a mental defective would go out with Julia Columbo!” He shouted out towards the bedroom, “No offense Julia!”
“You know something Angelo,” Rachel stood up, “You’ve been pushing me around my entire life and I’m fucking sick of it! See this is why I never told you I liked girls, you would’ve been on my ass like-“
“No no no no no,” Angelo stopped her, “Fuck you, if you wanna go lick pussy, that’s up to you. Just not Julia Columbo’s! Rachel, if Frank Columbo finds out that you’re fucking his only daughter, he’s gonna nuke our houses!”
“I don’t wanna hear another word about Frank fucking Columbo!” She raised her voice. “I’ve been hearing that fucking name from you and dad since I was born!”
“Maybe if you actually gave a shit about this family,” Angelo raised his voice, “You’d know why sleeping with Columbo’s daughter is like committing suicide!”
The two siblings were arguing so loud, they’re voices became incomprehensible. The noise fell to complete silence as they both turned to see Julia walk outside the bedroom. Julia was now completely dressed: t-shirt, pants, socks, and gloves. Julia stopped looking the two Giovanni siblings in the eyes. Silence polluted the room. Angelo could not forget the image he saw earlier. Julia’s curves were slightly visible through her t-shirt and jeans. The brother’s turned his head to look at his sister.
“I should go,” Julia finally vocalized as she bent over to pick up her cashmere-shirt and jacket.
Angelo sighed and rubbed the back of his head.
“No wait Julia,” Rachel moved towards her, “I’m sorry I-“
“No no,” Angelo interrupted in a surrendering tone of voice. He began walking towards the door, “I’ll leave. Call me when you two are done.”
“No Angelo,” Julia looked to him as she pulled her cashmere shirt over her neck, “I really need to go?”
“Julia wait,” Rachel tried to stop her, “Let’s talk. I’m sorry my idiot brother barged in on you like that.”
“Really Rachel,” Julia grabbed her girlfriend’s hands, “It’s okay, I need to leave anyway. My father’s going to send a search party for me if I don’t get back.”
Angelo had to turn around now to address this issue, “Oh my god! What are you going to tell him?” He was now standing right before the two girls.
Julia began to slip on her coat. She herself was not sure what she was going to tell him, “I guess I’ll just tell him I was at Rachel’s house.”
“What?” Angelo freaked out.
“He doesn’t know we’re a couple!” Rachel assured him , “He doesn’t even know his daughter is gay.”
“Amore-Ragazze?” Julia corrected her as she grabbed her hat and scarf.
“Well hold on a second Julia,” Rachel said, “Let me walk you to the station.”
“In that outfit?” Angelo pointed towards her robe, “You can’t walk around outside like that, you’re not Britney Spears!”
“He’s right Rach,” Julia slipped on her hat and began to tie her scarf, “I’ll be okay… We’ll be okay.”
“I’ll walk her out,” Angelo volunteered. He pointed to Rachel, “You get ready to go to mom’s.”
“Angelo,” Rachel nagged her brother. She quickly looked to Julia grabbing her boots, then back to the tall man standing before her, “Can I just talk to Julia a minute without you interrupting?”
Angelo rolled his eyes and turned his back. Julia now sat back on the couch putting her shoes on. She obviously looked uncomfortable. Her girlfriend’s brother had walked in on her naked, how could she not?
“Julia,” Rachel sat down next to her, “I’m sorry, I didn’t want our night to end this way. Can’t we have breakfast or something?”
The blonde looked to her girlfriend as she finished tying her boots, “Don’t worry Rachel.” She now sat up and looked the black-haired girl in the eyes, “Last night was amazing. I’ll never ever forget it. But I have to leave, I’m going to be in trouble no matter what. You might not see me for a while.”
Rachel kissed her girlfriend and held her hands. She missed her already, “Call me when you get a chance. Or text me, email me, send a message in a bottle. You know where I am.”
“I will,” Julia smiled and kissed her back. The two of them looked each other in the eyes. “I love you.” Julia repeated again with every inch of sincerity in her body.
Rachel was stuck. Where was Angelo when she needed him? Of all the times for him to remain taciturn… She couldn’t look away. There was Julia, her girlfriend, smiling, having just dropped the L word on her. She couldn’t resist that sweet innocent smile of hers. All Rachel could do was sigh and whisper back, “I love you too.”
Angelo did pick up on this and turned his head slightly. He caught the two of them engaging in another kiss. He had seen girls kiss before, but they were usually drunk, or performing in a sex scene. This was a romantic passionate kiss. It was love, not lost. The son may have found it strange that one of these girls was his baby sister, but this was indeed a couple dedicated to each other. No wonder Rachel risked death by Columbo to be with this girl. The kiss ended and Julia walked up slowly. Their hands were separated. Julia walked backwards towards the door.
“I’ll call you,” Julia said.
Rachel, still on the couch, nodded her head. Julia opened the door and walked out of the apartment. Angelo looked back towards his sister. His eyes confessed that he understood everything now. Rachel hung her head. Angelo closed the door and left his sister alone for the moment.
Bobby was awake now. His mind was caught in the spaces of Tetris on his phone. He was waiting for that long line piece to clear four lines. Instead he got four squares in a row. Eventually there were no spaces left. Finally he gave up waiting for a line piece and used an L-block to clear two lines leaving a block over the open column. Naturally, once this happened, a line piece came crashing down on him.
“God damn it!” Bobby said. He paused the game to take a look out his windshield.
There was Julia! She had spent the entire night in that apartment. She looked different somehow. Someone was with her; a man in a leather jacket and sunglasses. As they walked away from the apartment, Bobby casually placed his phone up towards the windshield switching to his camera. He began to take a few pictures of his boss’ daughter and the man with her. He discovered it to be Angelo Giovanni. Bobby was shocked to see this but instead just kept taking pictures. They eventually passed him walking towards the subway entrance.
Angelo was in deep conversation with his rival’s daughter: “Again, sorry about walking in on you like that.”
“Can we just pretend that never happened,” Julia was speaking to Angelo in her usual shy manner. This included not actually looking at him.
As they made their way towards the subway stop, Angelo placed his hand on the girl’s shoulder, “Julia hold on a second.”
Julia looked up to her girlfriend’s brother.
“When you told Rachel you loved her,” he hesitated, “Did you really mean it?”
Julia simply nodded her head. There was no lie in her eyes.
Angelo sighed, “I just want to know. I mean I know we don’t get along that well, but she’s still my sister and I don’t want her to get hurt… or die. No offense, but your father’s pretty insane.”
“Angelo,” Julia spoke up in a way he hadn’t heard before, “I’m serious, I love Rachel. She makes me feel loved in a way I haven’t felt in years. She’s so kind to me, she’s supportive. I feel like a different person when I’m around her.”
The brother nodded his head.
“And don’t worry, my father will not find out about this. As far as he knows, Rachel and I are just friends.”
There was a long pause before Angelo spoke back up, “Well, I guess I really would be an asshole to get in the way of you two wouldn’t I?” He smiled, “We’ll find a way to make this work for you two.”
Julia hugged Angelo, he embraced her in return, “Thank you Angelo.” Her ear was pressed up against his chest, “You know I always wanted an older brother.”
Angelo chuckled slightly. He was trying to think of a clever line involving his sister’s hatred towards him, but he was speechless. Julia was a good girl, even if she had a crazy father. Rachel had good taste. He was beginning to wish he himself could date this girl. Julia let go and ran for the train. Angelo watched that brown hat of hers disappear into the subway. He could only stand there taking in this crazy morning before he walked back towards the apartment.
Bobby simply sat in the car astonished. He quickly raced his fingers across his phone.
Rachel opened her apartment door, now semi-dressed, to see her brother standing before her. The two siblings stood at the door way looking at each other. Nothing was said. A lot had happened that morning. Angelo found out more about his sister in this past half-hour than he had in the entire 22 years he knew her. She was a lesbian. She was secretly seeing her rival’s daughter. However, she was Angelo’s sister, his father’s daughter. All he could do was embrace her. Rachel couldn’t remember the last time she and her brother hugged like this. Tears began to form in her eyes. She had to dry quickly, still too proud to let her brother see her cry.
The hug ended and Angelo commanded his sister:
“Come on, let’s go back home.”