Overture: Chapter 5

Antonio led her out of the music shop after she said yes to having coffee with him. Her eyes were downcast when she heard him say her name.


Her head snaps up with the sound of his voice, and she looks towards him. Her heart was sitting in her throat when she answered, “Yes?”

He smiles at her again and repeats his question, “Where is your car parked?” And looks at the only two cars parked in front of the music store. Hers was the only one sticking out like a sore thumb, an old Audi model next to Antonio’s obviously flashy Emperor. She looks at him with sarcasm written all over her face and he smirks, shaking his head. “I had to ask,” he said with a laugh and they walk towards her Audi. She unlocks her car and Antonio gently eases her newly bought cello in. After she locks it again, she stands sheepishly, and looks at him, annoyed at the blush creeping up into her cheeks. 

He really was absolutely gorgeous. The epitome of an Italian man with his olive-green eyes, slicked-back raven hair that would fall into his eyes occasionally, and his body.

Oh god, his body. 

Tall, broad, and muscular. His arms were tattooed as well as the fingers on his right hand.

Amy wasn’t aware that she was staring when she suddenly made eye contact with him and felt her cheeks burning. Antonio had been looking at her with a smirk on his face when he held out his hand for her to take. She looks at his hand, and takes it, uncertain of what else to do. 

Clearing her throat after she found her voice again, she finally had the courage to ask the question that has been on her mind, “Antonio, I know it’s silly to ask this now, but where are you taking me?” 

Leading her to the passenger side of his Emperor, he opens the door for her, and she gets in, nerves suddenly taking over. Was she really doing this with a man she barely knew?

He closes her door and gets into the driver’s seat. As he starts up the engine, he answers her with one line, “My favourite coffee shop,” which left Amy with a lot more questions than answers. 


During the car ride, Amy felt extremely nervous. Antonio had an intimidating aura around him that demanded submission, so she wasn’t sure if she should speak up or not. That and the fact that she was absolutely terrified of him and his family. She sneaked a look up at him to read his expression, but all she got was stony silence and a passive expression. 

This was getting a bit pathetic. Since when does she just hop in a stranger’s car at the mention of coffee? Suddenly feeling panicked, she manages to find her voice and was about to speak up when she feels the car slowing down and Antonio kills the engine. They were parked in front of a small countryside coffee shop. Wow. She didn’t expect him to come to such a small establishment, being from a wealthy family.

“We’ve arrived.” is all he says and gets out of the car. Amy was about to open the door, when she noticed him at her side opening it for her. “What a gentleman.” she thinks to herself and giggles inwardly. Antonio leads her inside and chooses a table closest to the back. No sooner had they sat down when a server walked over and asked for their orders. Antonio ordered black Italian coffee with no sugar and Amy ordered a hazelnut-infused mocha. After the server left the table, Amy felt a wave of awkwardness again but looks up at Antonio and caught him staring again. 

He smiles at her and breaks the ice. 

“You play beautifully,” he says, and she finds herself blushing again. “Thank you.” is all she answers, and Antonio frowns at her as if he just gave her the most common compliment in the world. “I don’t think you understand at all. I have never heard a cellist play with such intimate sadness before. You have a gift, Amy. Why are you not sharing it with the world?” he asks her, leaning back in his chair and eyeing her with curiosity. 

Amy swallows hard. Should she tell this man the reason for her block and refusal to pursue her music further? She decides to give in and sighs heavily, making Antonio look at her closely. 

“My family and I moved to Sicily six years ago with the intention of getting me into the Olivewood School of Music, the most prestigious classical music school and my dream school. They made me learn Italian as soon as we arrived, a trait they deemed necessary. A year after my admission, I had a solo recital set up by my teachers in order to get my name onto the Sicilian Operatic Board. My parents were so proud!” Amy tells her story. She casts her eyes downward and feels a tear falling down her cheek. Antonio notices this and sits forward, knowing her story could not possibly have a good ending. When she looks up again, she could see something flashing in Antonio’s eyes. Was it worry?

Frowning, she continues, “On the night of my recital, I didn’t notice my parents in the crowd. I had gotten off the phone with my mother twenty minutes before and they were about five minutes away at the time of my call. Our babysitter had run late, so they were rushing to get to the opera house. After my recital, I tried calling them again, but their phones were both off. I started getting worried and was just about to leave the opera house when I got a call. My parent’s car had been in a hit and run, a drunk driver had rammed into them at full speed and fled the scene. They were both pronounced dead on arrival.” She stops abruptly to catch her breath and looks at Antonio, eyes filled with grief. “So, Mr. Russo, that’s my tale of woe. I vowed never to play for a crowd again as my gift caused their deaths.” Amy finishes her story and could feel the pity radiating off Antonio.

She hated the pity she got afterward and was drowning in so much guilt that she wasn’t fit to raise her sister at the time due to her mental state. So, she got professional help and has been doing fine ever since.

She looks at him, waiting for his response. 

Antonio reaches over and takes her hand in his, a gesture that surprised her and when she looked up again, he was gazing at her. “Your gift did not cause their deaths, Amy. An irresponsible drunk driver did. By the sounds of it, your parents wanted you to share your musical genius with the world, and not playing is an insult to their deaths.” He responded to her story, and she felt like a ton of bricks hit her.

No one had ever been that honest with her when it came to her music. She stares at him apprehensively and shrugs, “I did what I had to do, and I had my little sister needs me much more than the world needs to hear me play music. And that’s what’s important to me right now.” she takes a sip of her mocha the server had left a few seconds ago. Antonio smiles and shakes his head, “You are the most tenacious woman I have ever met, Amy.” he says and brings his coffee towards his lips.

Amy wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but took it as a compliment, anyway. She was about to ask him another question when his cell started ringing. He took it out of his jeans pocket and answered. “Russo.” 

Amy sat there quietly drinking her beverage and tried not to spy into his conversation. What he said had really made her think. Was she letting her parents down by not playing her instrument? Was her laying her cello down an insult to their memory? She would need to do a lot of soul searching after this. She had never looked at it in this way before. Exhaling deeply, she could feel her night terrors returning tonight...

“Yes, I’ll be there soon.” Antonio fires in rapid Italian and hangs up. He looks over at her apologetically and says, “I apologize, duty calls. My father needs me to meet him. Can we continue this sometime soon?” Amy looks at him, perplexed. Did he want another coffee date? “Yeah, s-sure.” she stammers out and they get up to leave. Antonio pays and leads her out again, opening the door for her as she gets in and they were off again. They drove in silence, but this time it was a more relaxed silence. Why did Antonio want to know her? She was practically a nobody.

As they reach Herr Schmidt’s music store, Antonio gets out to open the door for her again. It was the strangest thing but knew she would have to stop herself from getting used to it. Antonio was obviously just being nice to her on account of his father being taken by her playing. “I hope to see you again soon, Amy.” He says as he closes the door behind her after she got out. “That reminds me, my father wanted me to get your number.” 

His father, not him.

Feeling a pang of disappointment, she gives her number and nods a goodbye. As she walked towards her car, she could feel his eyes boring into her. She doesn’t make a move to turn around. As soon as she gets into her car, she starts it up and speeds away, not wanting to be around Antonio Russo any longer than was necessary. 

A promotion, a new cello, and a coffee date with Olivewood’s most handsome and wealthiest men. Good things happen in threes. What would be the thing that would make her streak end? She wonders as she walks into her home, exhausted but happy.

What a day.

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