With a scoff, the disgusting man threw the performer to the ground. Venezio noticed Bella’s tip basket was still in the man’s grubby paws and told him to drop it.
“I’m not gonna take orders from some light post with a butter knife.” The man tried to not sound threatened, but his voiced failed him. Cracks riddled his speech as Venezio approached and grabbed him by his collar. He held the point of the knife into the side of the greasy man’s throat. Oh, what Venezio would give for this to be Il Capo’s throat.
“Drop the basket and I won’t have to kabob your head on my good knife.”, Venezio whispered. The man dropped the basket, and Venezio motioned for Bella to grab her money.
“Now, go back inside, and don’t tell a single soul about what happened, or else you’ll have to deal with Il Capo.” When Venezio said that name, the man’s eyes grew as he rushed into the backstage door. As Bella tried to stand, Venezio rushed to help her up. He asked her if she was okay and was relieved to see that she wasn’t too bruised. He gently examined her face for any cuts, but he lost himself in her eyes. The stars seemed to reflect in them, and in that moment, he knew this was the woman he’d marry.
The pair walked out of the alley into the chilly streets of Italy, and Venezio wrapped Bella in his suit jacket. She thanked him for his actions in the alley, but it surprised her that he threatened the man’s life. Venezio scratched the nape of his neck in embarrassment.
“I mean, he hurt you, and men who hurt women already don’t deserve to walk these streets.” Venezio had to admit that what he did was a little extreme, even for him. He gave her an apologetic, shy grin, “I hope that doesn’t change what you think of me, Bella.”
“My real name is Natalie LaFontaine.” Venezio’s eyes expanded at the surprisingly French name.
“I knew your accent wasn’t exactly Italian! What part of France are you from?”
“Toulouse, but you cannot tell anyone! The only reason I can even perform here is because of my stage name!” Venezio mimicked locking his mouth and throwing away the key, earning a giggle from Natalie.
They wandered the streets of Italy for what seemed like hours until they found a bench overlooking the river. Natalie leaned her head into the crook of Venezio’s neck and thought it the perfect place to rest her eyes. He glanced at her from the corner of his eye and saw her brown locks fall over her slightly bruised face. Gently moving the hair behind her ear, he felt his heart leap. If this is what Venezio’s night looked like this for the rest of his life -her by his side and the Verona lights glistening off the river, illuminating her enticing visage, he would be content. With Natalie, he forgot how many people he had hurt. With Venezio, Natalie felt protected and needed. Together, they became the balance that their worlds needed, and they both hoped it would stay that way.