I walk through the glass doors into a bright open lobby. High ceilings and marble accents match the stone-paneled façade of the open space. Middle-aged mobsters in crisp black suits stand guard at the security desk. Fiona stands in the middle of all that open space, watching me approach, a happy smile on her face.
When I reach her, she gives me a quick kiss. She’s so excited, she’s glowing. I grin nervously.
“Thank you so much for meeting Daddy. It’s really important to me.” Fiona beams.
“No problem,” I say, doing my best to appear cool and collected.
She grabs my arm and pulls me through the lobby so quickly, she’s almost dragging me. We head toward a pair of elevators in the lobby and one of the guys at the desk gives a cold penetrating stare from an expressionless face, but doesn’t make any move to stop us.
“Come on! I’ll take you to Daddy’s office!” she exclaims as she pulls me into the polished stainless steel box.
Fiona approaches her father’s office door and flings it open, much to my surprise. She steps in proudly, dragging me behind her with a huge smile across her face.
Sal is sitting at his desk and I can tell by the expression on his face that he’s more than just a little surprised. The experienced businessman and reputed mobster quickly regains his composure though.
He’s a lumbering man, large and wide with shiny black hair slicked back with grease. He has fat, wobbly jowls that seem to make his chin and neck blend to gather in one uniform lump. His brow is furrowed with deep creases from scowling, likely at his organized crime minions. That dark round face sits atop a very fine white business suit. The whiteness of it is impeccable, a sign that Sal does not do his own dirty work.
Fiona gestures toward me with a flourish of her free arm.
“Hello Daddy! Meet Joey!” she announces proudly.
Fifteen minutes later, Fiona is still talking. Sal sits, listening politely. I stand there nervously waiting for my turn to speak.
“…and he’s real smart Daddy and always treats me nice,” Fiona rambles.
Sal looks unexpectedly bright eyed, open and sincere with a jovial disposition.
“Well, Mr. DuPlacey, you seem to be a very nice kid and genuinely care about my daughter, so I’m happy to meet you,” Sal says with a grin and a nod.
Sal turns back to his daughter, beaming with fatherly pride.
“I’m glad to see you happy, honey.” Sal smiles.
Sal’s tone changes, more serious, but still friendly.
“We guys need to have a talk to really get to know each other. Could you step out for a few minutes so I can talk to Joe, man-to-man?” Sal asks.
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