12 Chapter 3 - Giovanni (4)

When Pantsuit disappears back into the building, the girl screams into her hand, cursing in…Spanish? Though it doesn't sound quite right, but close.

"You should sue her," I say, making her jump and gasp, abruptly turning around to scan behind her until her stare lands on me. We're about twenty feet from each other.

"You…" She pauses. With the soft light above her head, that's when I get a good look at her and I realize that she was the girl from the auto-shop two weeks ago. The same one who applied at my club but got rejected. So she did end up working for the catering that I got for her—until tonight. I think her name's Malia. I don't come across the name that often. Actually, I think she's the only one I know with that name.

"How long have you been standing there?" she demands.

"Since you spoke to your ma on the phone."

She swallows, her ears turning pink. "You were eavesdropping."

Shrugging, I push off the wall and stalk toward her. "Hardly called eavesdropping when you're in a public place. I just happened to be here while you two were shouting."

I stop a few feet away and examine her features. Short jet-black hair, brushing her shoulders; full lips; cute pert nose; and dark brown eyes that are almost black. She has beautiful tan skin, darker than mine; they're glowing and smooth. She's tiny compared to me, barely reaching my shoulders.

There's not an ounce of makeup on her face, which is a recommended practice if you work in the kitchen. I don't allow my kitchen staff at the club any heavy makeup either—they'll just sweat it off during the shift anyway. But despite the beads of sweat on her forehead, she looks absolutely fine with her natural beauty. I kinda like how simple she looks. It's a total breath of fresh air.

That day at the garage, she looked like a grown-up with her skirt and shirt combo and a face full of makeup. I even thought she was hot. That was until I knew she's only eighteen.

A jailbait.

Not really. Barely legal. But still.

Too young—not that I have any plans. I just know how to appreciate people's beauty.

She bites her lip, looking embarrassed. "Well, I hope you were entertained."

"Indeed, I was," I smirk and she glares, her eyes turning into slits as she regards me in a way that makes me believe she knows my dirty ways and wants to stay the fuck away from me—which would be smart. But I know she's probably just butthurt that I didn't hire her in my club. I offer her my unsolicited advice, "Seriously, though, you should sue her."

Her expression goes back to neutral. She looks down at her feet. Then she starts picking up the money from the dirty asphalt.

"You heard her. I'm too poor to sue. Look at me! I'm literally picking up money from the ground," she says the last part with a fake laugh.

I spot a dollar by my shoe and I pick it up, wiping it on my pants before I hand it to her. "There are organizations for that. You don't need to spend a dime."

She takes the dollar and sighs, then wipes the rest of the cash in her hand on her pants, dirtying the all-white kitchen uniform. "I don't have the luxury to do that. I need a job and not spend hours chasing for justice on this god-forsaken planet."

"Yikes. What did the world ever do to you?"

"Plenty," she mutters under her breath so low, I almost missed it if I didn't have excellent hearing. Then she waves a hand in the air. "Only bad luck that got us buried twenty feet underground with debts probably even my grandchildren won't be able to pay."

"You have grandchildren? You look awfully young." I smile.

She glares at me, annoyed. "Future grandchildren, assuming I'd even marry someone stupid enough to have kids with me with all of my shit."

I whistle. "No one would be stupid enough to marry a lady with shit all over her. At least wash yourself first."

She bursts out laughing, doubling over and clutching her stomach with the money tight in her hand.

I can't help chuckling at the sight of her laughing at my silly joke. For once, since she came out of the door, she sounds so carefree and light.

My chest quivers a little, making me pause. What the fuck was that? I'm surprised at the foreign sensation, I'm reminded to check my calendar for my next executive check-up. My father has started showing some heart problems in recent years. The thought of inheriting it slightly worries me.

She wipes the corner of her eyes, shaking out the remnants of her giggles. "Ah. Thanks. I needed that."

"My pleasure. You should smile more often. Life is too short to be spent under stress. That's how you get wrinkles, you know."

Her hands fly to her face as if checking wrinkles. I chuckle and tell her, "You don't have one yet, but if you keep scowling…"

She sighs, muttering something incomprehensible.

"What was that?" I ask.

"Nothing." Her gaze drops to my hand where I'm still holding a cigarette, and her brow arches. "That will kill you, you know."

"Yup." I take a long puff and blow it above her head. "So does a bullet in the head. A car when you cross the road or even just walking on the sidewalk and a planter drops on your head. Or you slip and hit your head. Choking while eating… I can go on." I shrug. "I'll take my chances."

The more I talk, the deeper the crease between her brows gets. I offer her a cigarette.

"Do I look like I smoke?" Her eyes go wide.

"You look like you could use one."

She clears her throat, then gingerly tucks stray hair behind her ear. A tiny stud gold earring catches my attention briefly. "I look that awful huh?"

Actually, you look pretty.

Woah… Back up. Not going there.

She's like a child. She's "pretty" innocent, that's what she is!

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