2007-06-12: Chivalry Is Not Dead

Starring:

Elena_icon.gif Nadia_icon.gif

Summary: Elena meets the Mafia Princess outside of her old Starbucks, but does not make the connection. A discussion on protective fathers, Catholicism, and marrying Italian men ensues. Elena gets a mysterious and evasive phone call from her father afterwards.

Date It Happened: June 12, 2007

Chivalry Is Not Dead


Outside of Starbucks, Downtown New York City

Nondescript shopping bags slung over one arm while that hand is occupied with a cellphone to her ear. The other hand is holding onto a frothy frozen concoction from Starbucks. In between yakking on the phone, Nadia is taking slurps from her cup. "Yeah ma, I told you. I'll /tell/ Leo he's welcome to dinner. He's just scared dad's gonna pop out of the bushes and drill his kneecaps.. okay.. Ma.. Ma.. MA. Enough already, alright? Geez.. you're yellin' my ears off." The phone is held away from her ear as yup, Ma's voice can be heard shrieking from the other end. While letting Brandi have her rant, Nadia takes a lengthy slurp from her drink. Okay, long enough, "Okay Ma, got it.. and.. uh.. no I won't forget to pick up the pasta so we can make canneloni tonight. Look, you want me to get it or not? Fine, bye.. bye.. alright ma. See you in a bit. Bye!"

It has been a while since Elena actually hung out with Sam Jones, her friend who works at Starbucks. Elena lingers outside though, before the teary, excitable manager leaps out from the dumpster to hug her around the legs and beg her to come back. Still, she's got her own frothy, frozen concoction herself - strawberries and creme frappe from the coffee shop, and she's slurping contentedly through the green straw. She blinks, however, and inclines her head at Nadia as she stands on the other side of the shop, talking away at the phone….and hearing 'Ma' yell through it. It is loud, and shrill, and definitely Italian, but the other young woman's reaction just causes her to smile. To her credit, she hides a laugh. Dressed in business casual attire today, the Evosoft ID is clipped on her belthoop, a messenger bag slung across her shoulder and hip in a diagonal angle.

"SHEESH," Nadia exclaims as she folds up her phone and tucks it into her pocket. "I swear, nobody can nag like my mother," is the grumble to no one in particular. Giving a childish roll of the eyes, the Italian girl catches sight of Elena. And not to be stereotyping, but y'know, there is truth to them, "Tell me somethin', your ma as bad as an Italian one? Cause y'know, what they say about Italian, Irish, Jewish and well.. damn.. nevermind. I think mothers have one goal and that's to nag everyone to death or they die."

"…………." Elena pauses. "She never nagged." Past tense, but she does flash Nadia a small smile despite the faux pas. "Probably because she could just….make anyone do what she wanted to do with a -look- on her face. The sort of look anyone can't refuse. In many ways, it's a lot worse." She can't help but laugh though. "I'm sorry, I couldn't help but overhear……..well, most of that." And canneloni sounds delicious. By looks of it, the girl just spent the afternoon shopping too. Now that she works for Evosoft, she could at the very least indulge once or twice.

"Oh… OH.. Sorry about that then." Nadia says with a bit of a 'whupsie' grin. Past tense. Not good. Way to go motormouth. "Ha! I know those looks too, usually from dad, but ma has 'em of course. The Look is always harder to deal with." Bags are set down on one of the sidewalk tables and she helps herself to a seat. "Yeaaah. Sorry about that. Italian, loud, the two go together like pepperoni and pizza. So, what're you gonna do about it huh? Only family gatherings I know of where mixed in with the appetizers are bottles of advil."

"It's okay, my family's huge too, so family reunions and Cinco de Mayo parties tend to be incredibly loud," Elena says with a laugh, lifting a hand to scratch the back of her neck lightly. Looks like she's got some sort of recent injury, with gauze wrapped around the knuckles of her right hand. Taking a slurp of her strawberry-and-creme frappe, she grins. "I'm sure it could be fun though, I wouldn't have it any other way on my end. -Especially- when everyone else starts drinking. That's when the real entertainment begins."

Nadia laughs as she stretches out her legs, getting all comfortable in her chair. She tips her sunglasses up and back into her hair like a headband. "No kiddin'. It'd be boring if dad didn't at least once threaten to drive the skewers into someone or attempt to take one of my cousin's faces to the grill." Oh that wacky Carmine. "Still, exaggerating on that, a little. At least once everytime the family's together we got somethin' to argue about. Used to embarrass the /crap/ out of me if I had friends from school over. All the cousins, uncles and extended members having one too many to drink." She takes a sip of her own drink and studies Elena briefly, "So, you're all dolled up, all fancy like and you're sporting a bandaged hand. What's that about?"

"Sounds like Papa," Elena admits. "He doesn't brake for small animals and he's protective over his daughters. I couldn't even date through high school - it just wasn't allowed." She can't help but laugh, though. Too bad she doesn't know that she's -serious- about the skewers thing. She hesitates, but she moves forward, and takes the seat across from the woman. She can't help it, she's a social creature, and if they're going to keep talking, might as well talk in a polite distance. She waves the hand. "Oh…it's not me, it's the job. I'm more of a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal, but I'm working for a software company over the summer. PR. This is just…well. I punched someone yesterday and since I'm not used to punching anyone, the knuckles puffed up like a rattled porcupine."

"Oh my god. You sure your papa ain't Italian too? My dad tried to punch my boyfriend, just cause we're dating and didn't ask his permission." Nadia sits up straight and eyes on Elena as the two 'bond' or something. "Lucky ma divorced dad, so I got away with dating in high school. That was the only good part about it." But hey! Shrugging that off. "Wow, hey, regular Wonderwoman! What'd this cretino do or say?" Just as social, Nadia's got a hunger for gossip. Of any kind. It's what happens in a loud and talkative brood.

"I'm pretty sure he's a fullblooded Mexican," Elena tells Nadia with a laugh. "Believe me if you ever saw him, you'd know." Because Ramon has the Latin Miasma going for him whenever he stomps into a room with the gruff, stoic look on his face. She wanted to get away with the talk on the injury, but Nadia seems to be curious so, without going into detail, an exasperated cast falls on her expression. "It came right out of an episode of Jerry Springer. Papa's girlfriend's ex-husband went to our apartment. Papa wasn't happy. Papa's girlfriend's ex-husband started insulting me, and Papa punched him. He started insulting Papa, and I punched him. We….kind of tag-teamed the guy. I felt bad about it afterwards though, but now that I think about it, the pendejo definitely deserved it." She snorts. "I'm sure if we kept a chihuahua in the house, he would've insulted it too. I think he was a certified case of foot-in-mouth disease."

Nadia giggles at Elena. "Man. Sounds like our families don't help the stereotypes any!" Another drink of frappuchino goes down the hatch, as she stares wide eyed and eagerly listens to Elena. "Oh my gawd. Seriously?? Sounds like daddy and his wife having it out. Kinda. Without the making up later. That guy sounds like a pezzo di merda. Never feel bad about punching someone in /your/ home who's insulting you. Never. And I got a feeling my dad and your dad should never, ever meet. Don't need 'em swapping ideas. Cause daddy's got enough and it sounds like your dad does too. He hasn't chased anyone with a power drill has he?"

"I know. I know he deserved it, I just can't help but feel a little guilty. Catholic and all," Elena says, tucking the bandaged hand away and taking a sip of her frappe. But when she mentions the drill, she stares at Nadia. Was her dad for -real-? And then, she bursts out laughing. "No, I don't think so. Papa's straightforward. If he thought anyone needed a -real- lesson, he'll just grab his gun." She thinks about it for a bit, and continues. "….though to be honest I think he's a little cavalier with the van. I've lost count as to how many things he's run over with it."

"Jeez, all I get are wiseass Sopranos comments, just cause my family tends to stick to businesses together. Could be worse I guess!" Nadia waves her hands in a wild nevermind that gesture. "C'mon now. Look at me here! Italian and Catholic! Well.. not as practicing as I should be. My grandma would beat me with her Bible if she knew." Throwing back her head, Nadia just /laughs/. "Girlie.. I think I just found my long lost sister.. If I had one that is.. 'course, I probably do and just don't know about it. M'name is Nadia, what's yours?"

"I thought all the real mafia types were stuck in Jersey?" Elena quips, grinning at Nadia. Of course, she can't be mafia. Can she? Sure her father's nuts, but maybe he just has a huge collection of power tools that he really, really likes! "Oh, you are too, huh? That's okay, a lot of Catholics lapse these days." She isn't one of them, but she can accept one who is. But she does smile, and extends her left hand to shake it - her right hand is out of commission after all. "Elena. Elena Maria Alejandra, if we're talking about cultural stereotypes," she remarks with a teasing grin. "And your grandma sounds like my grandma when she's mad. Except she would never use her bible. There was one time when my uncle got her so mad about spending money he didn't have that she picked up the -neighbor's- lawn gnome and -chucked- it at him. I didn't know whether I ought to be horrified or drop laughing hysterically."

"They are, they just wish they were all up in New York!" Nadia seems to take that quip good naturedly from Elena. "I figure the years of Catholic school make up for my lapse in going to church regularly. Tho Ma seems to have found religion since the divorce.. not that it does her any good. She's still all bitter and clinging to alimony." Too much information? Yeah, a bit much, but hey! Another laugh escapes as she shakes Elena's hand, "I got you beat chica. Nadia Carmina Isidore Gioia Selvaggi. How's that for a mouthful? I think they had to make a second birth certificate for all that." Okay, a lawn gnome. That's something she /hasn't/ seen, so she laughs. "My cousins clobber each other with the pizza pans and whatever they can get their hands on in the kitchen."

"Oh my god, you have a longer name than me?" Elena says with a laugh. "Alright, I concede the crown. I never got the point of having so many names, but…hey, it's not like we have control over it unless we have the names legally changed." Though at the bit about the alimony, she purses her lips. "Well….if she's not working it could be the reason why she's so dependent on it." If the conversation made her uncomfortable, she doesn't show it. And then she laughs when she hears about Nadia's cousins. "Damn, well, at least all the people in your family'll come out with enough exercise then. Live a little longer."

Nadia shrugs her shoulders and spreads her hands wide. "I don't get it either. Took me /years/ to learn my full name. Embarrassin' AS HELL in school. 'Course, I know when daddy's really pissed off, cause he uses the full name." Scootching her chair a little closer, she's just full out in chatter mode. "I could, but don't want to. It'd break papa's heart and I can't do that. Bad enough he's upset I told him I was eyeballing legal studies. So, I may just not do that." A hand waves dismissively in the air, a dramatic gesture. "Please. Ma isn't hurtin' for money, she's got some of her own. She just likes to ride papa's ass because she can. It's great playing him against her sometimes. For example, papa wanted to beat my boyfriend to a pulp, told ma this.. Leo's now welcome at ma's house anytime."

"What's wrong with legal studies?" Elena asks. "It's helpful to have a lawyer in the family." Oh if she only knew. Next thing she knows, Nadia will be on her way to being her branch's consiglieri, or whatever Robert Duvall was in the Godfather movies. She smiles. "I'm going to med school myself, pre-med in NYU. Where are you going?" In terms of universities. Maybe she went to NYU too. But when she hears about the domestic problems, she couldn't help but facepalm inwardly. The mom sounds MEAN, but at the same time, she does sound like a character. Maybe the divorce was just that messy. She wondered how upset the grandmother was when they did the huge catholic no-no that was the divorce. Then again, if she hated the daughter-in-law… "Hope your father doesn't stop by during these visits then," she says with a laugh.

"THANK YOU. That's what I tried to tell papa, but noooooo.. he got all disappointed and pissed off!" As she speaks, Nadia's off and 'talking' with the hands as she goes along. "He's also paying for my college too, so that's just y'know, an extra.. oh I don't know.. guilt trip to do what would make him proud." Leaning forward a little, her elbow rests against the table, hand in the air, giving a little wave. "Eh. What'cha gonna do? I got other things that interest me, so, something will work out. I just know I don't want to do what every other woman in my family does. Marry a good Italian boy, cook and have babies. Wait what? Pre-med? NO SHIT. Wow, you go girl! And NYU? Daaamn, small friggin' world here! Me too! Just finished my second year there. HA, you kiddin' me? Dad's not allowed near the house. I never saw him from the time they divorced until my 18th birthday. Lost custody /and/ visitation."

"…..but what does he want you to do then?" Elena says, blinking. "I mean obviously he's not that opposed to you getting an education if he's paying for your college, and law is a very practical major to get into. It's so useful, you know? So why…? I mean have you asked him what he wants you to do? Fashion design?" Well, they are in New York, and Nadia looks like she loves shopping. But when Nadia enthuses over being Pre-med, she laughs. "Yeah….after Mama passed away, I decided to be a doctor. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a professional chef, but I figured….doctors make more money." She winks at Nadia. "And yeah? Really? Maybe I'll see you around then, I just finished my first year, so I'm a year behind you….I'm gonna see if I can take summer classes next year, though. Get in the dual MD/PhD program early." When she talks about the custody issues, her eyes widen. "Really? It's that bad?" she says, looking startled.

"Duh. Marry a nice Italian boy from a respectable family, cook and have Italian babies," is the response from Nadia with a bit of a scoffing tone to her voice. "Eh. He's not so big on the higher education. He wasn't thrilled about me going to college. He likes that I'm smart and he's proud, but.. not so progressive is my papa… but he's paying for it to make up for lost time and.. oh.." Her hands fly up to cover her mouth before she reaches to grab Elena's hands, as if they were BFF since kindergarten or something, "I'm such a moron, all that talk about ma earlier. I'm sorry, foot in mouth disease y'know?" As the topic shifts again, she waves a hand after pulling back. "Eh. Over, done with. Now I can come and go and see my papa whenever I want."

"….well, yeah, but that's all for the family, what are -you- doing for yourself?" Elena asks. "I mean, you'd need some sort of reprieve, right? I mean…this isn't the fifties anymore." At least -this- is where their fathers differ. Ramon loves that she's going out there to make something of herself. She smiles faintly. "But Papa's a little old fashioned too. You know, the husband is the man of the house, the husband is the breadwinner, and so on. I mean if anything, it's good that people can look at our fathers and think Chivalry isn't -entirely- dead just yet." Ah that's her, always looking at the bright side of things. "Oh it's alright, it was three years ago…I've come to terms with it." Sort of. She laughs, squeezing Nadia's hands reassuringly. "But I'm glad you can see your Papa whenever you want now."

Nadia throws her hands in the air. Okay, she can't help it. It's like .. something in the blood that causes her people to talk with their hands. "See, that's what I keep tryin' to say! Hell.. I just gotta declare a major or my advisor will rip me a new one in the fall." There's a faint pout, then a shrug, "Hell. I still want to give it a shot. My boyfriend wasn't so hot on the idea either. But I wanna try it out, see if I like it, if I don't, there's the next semester." It's a wide grin she now gives Elena, one that turns fond as she thinks of her father. Scary, big and strong, Carmine is. "True enough.. that goes for all the men I know. Prepare to die if you insult the women."

"Well, you should try it and see. I know lawyers get a bad rap, but historically it's a very noble profession. We just need more -good- lawyers these days is all." She actually knows several, like Alexander Marx and Jane Forrest. "I just think you owe it to yourself to have something." Because life is less colorful if you were -just- a housewife, though some women have found it extremely fulfilling. But she was young, and clearly this generation's gal. She's all about being progressive despite her Catholic roots. And then, she laughs, giving Nadia a big smile. "Same with Papa, and my brothers. Most of my friends too. I find it so great actually, that I know so many who still believe in some sort of chivalry."

"That's what I told papa. After he blew his lid at me. If I like it, I'll stick with it, and I can always threaten to work to pay for school and he won't like it." Yes. Nadia knows how to work her father and what will bring him around. "See, even if I /do/ wind up married and having babies, I always have the backup and the education… and it'll be because I /want/ to take that route… yeah.. same here too." Although she leaves out the violent outbursts between daddy and Francesca.. and other instances of spousal abuse that she knows of. (But death to anyone else who lays a hand on the woman in question.)

"That does sound reasonable," Elena says simply. "And practical too, I mean….what happens if your future husband gets fired or something? You'd need those skills to either keep him on the job, or….rake in enough money so he doesn't have to work. Either way, it only works out for the better. Right?" And it seems that Carmine could afford paying for law school anyway too. She can't help but smile at Nadia, and links her fingers together. "But good luck with all of that, I hear law school's tough. They actually try to get you to fail your first year."

Or if your future husband gets jailed after getting smacked with criminal indictments.. or shot in turf warfare.. put into a meat grinder, or gone the way of Jimmy Hoffa… oh so many exits from this world. Ah.. this is Nadia's life. "What? I'm not supporting the man. His ass better find a job and /keep/ a job if he's sharing my roof." Oh dear.. this is her mother's influence. Clearly. "Thanks, I'll see if I even make it /to/ law school. I've just been getting all the core classes done, now to focus in a little.. I don't want to waste my father's money by constantly changing my mind.. but if things don't feel right, they just don't."

"Exactly. Trust your instincts. You know yourself better than anyone else knows you. I think you're really the only one who can determine what you want to do or be in the end." Elena glances at her watch, and cranes her neck towards the coffee shop. What's -taking- her? Looking at Nadia, she smiles. "Anyway, I better go grab my friend before it gets too late to do -anything-." She can't help but laugh, and drag out her cherry red phone. With the cartoon ninja. "Hey….since we're going to the same college and all, wanna exchange numbers? You know, in case I need a lawyer or you need a doctor in the future," she jests. Jane wasn't a criminal lawyer after all, and Alex was a prosecutor. She might need a defense attorney and who knows, maybe Nadia will will make it through law school. Either way, save for her dance group and Eric, she doesn't really know any other NYU students - save the occasional Lancaster frat buddy.

"Ain't that the truth! Oh and hey, not a problem. I gotta go meet with Tess for some gossip, then finally get back to ma's." Nadia starts to rise from her seat then just beams, "Hey you wanna excha.. Ha! Read my mind and all that! My cell's 283-2447. You can also find me around the family's joint, if you ever get tired of Mexican food and want some Italian. Vito's Pizza. Don't let the fightin' scare you off. It's our way of saying we love each other. No eyeballing the delivery boy either, that's my man. I branded him with my initials and everything." Grinning a lot, she fishes her phone back out and prepares to put Elena's number into the speed dial.

"…..really???" Elena says with a laugh. "Your family owns Vito's? I order there all the time. Hell my gal pals and I had movie night and that's where I called the other day. Small world! Are you serious?" Perhaps stars are aligning yet again. She stands up herself, and she opens up her 'Add Another Entry' option in her phone. "Mine's 283-9721. God…this is amazing." She can't help but laugh, plugging in Nadia's name in her phone, and saving it, slipping it in her pocket. "Well it was nice meeting you, I'll see you around, eh?"

"Oh my God. Really? Okay, so I kinda push it cause it's family, but there is better pizza in the area. Just don't tell 'em I said that," Nadia says with a wink. She's kidding. Mostly. "Yeah, I'm serious though. All family owned and run. I'm related some way or another to all the guys working there." Biological, marriage, or 'family' in other ways. "You serious? It was /great/ meeting you. I'll call you before the weekend, see if you wanna go out drinking and clubbing. Don't worry about the ID if you're not legal."

"I'm all up for clubbing. It's been -ages-," Elena says with a laugh. She slips the bag higher up her shoulder. "But yeah, give me a call, we'll hang out. Maybe I'll stop by your family's joint, too. I'm suddenly craving a Hawaiian." She gives her a bright smile, stepping for the doorway into Starbucks. "I'll see you, Nadia!"

Nadia laughs as she gathers up her shopping bags, shouldering her purse and all, "Just be careful, ain't no telling how long the pineapple was sitting in the can! Maybe I'll make some canoli and bring it to clubbing or something. See ya around Elena!"

PHONE: Your phone begins to ring. The Caller ID says 283-3147.

When Nadia leaves, Elena turns to head into Starbucks when her phone rings. Furrowing her brows, she checks the Caller ID…. "…Papa…" she murmurs softly. And then, she answers it.

PHONE: You answer your phone, "Hello?"

PHONE: Ramon says, "Where are you right now?"

PHONE: Elena pauses at the urgent tone in her father's voice. "I'm downtown, in front of the Starbucks I used to work in. What's up?"

PHONE: Ramon pauses for a moment and then says, "Be careful. I think things are about to shift into high gear. And make up with your brother. We can't be tearing ourselves apart like a pack of wolves right now."

PHONE: Elena frowns - so much Ramon might be able to -hear- the expression. "What do you mean? Papa what's going on?" she says, looking up from where she's standing as Sam gets out of Starbucks. Crap. Looks like she might have to cancel….

PHONE: Ramon is silent for a long time. "We're on cell phones. I can't talk. Just be careful."

PHONE: Elena frowns even further. "I'm coming home right now. I'll wait for you. Take care, okay?"

PHONE: Ramon says, "Don't do that, I've got three hours left on this job. You can finish up with your friend, I'm not trying to disrupt things. I got worried about you."

PHONE: Elena falls silent for a while, and then, she nods slowly…even if Ramon can't see it. "Okay….three hours," she says. Now she's worried about him too. "I'll see you when I get home."

PHONE: The phone call has been ended by the other person.

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