Camillo Mancini called his brother before the sun rose and said that they had a situation.
“What happened? Are you hurt?” Carlo said, ready to jump out of his chair and rush to his aid. “I can leave now, if…”
“No, no, it’s nothing like that. We just have a… visitor. Just wanted to know when you’re home.”
He sounded less like someone had a gun to his head and more like he didn’t know what to say. So that was something.
“I’ll be home in a few hours, I think.”
“It’s no rush. Just told her I’d ask when you’re back.”
Camillo sighed. “I’ll explain when you get back.”
Carlo didn’t get a chance to leave Good Guys Inc. until hours later. The name of the building that housed his gang was a bit on the nose; on the other hand though, it wasn’t exactly a secret what went on there. Carlo had never met the guy who started the gang, but he felt sure the guy had just thought ‘to hell with it’ when he named the building.
Nobody was fooled by the nice façade or the name. Not least because the real entrance around the back was made of heavy steel and surrounded by security cameras. In return for the city council turning a blind eye to the activities at Good Guys Inc., select people enjoyed little favours – the mayor got a little hand around election time, council members enjoyed discounts at the local restaurants, and local businesses received generous handouts if they struggled.
At least, that was usually the case. Lately, things were much too busy for them to be concerned with Monte Vista business. A small, but influential, gang a few towns over had lost their leader. Other gangs, big and small, were flooding to the power vacuum, hoping to take the town for themselves. Good Guys Inc. wanted in.
By the time Carlo was done at work, the sun was up. It was early, but already a warm morning. The red shingles of the Monte Vista roofs glittered in the light, and the old town centre smelled of flowers. He had almost forgotten his brother’s call that morning, and only remembered when he made it to the door and saw his brother pacing inside.
“There you are,” Camillo said.
“Yeah, sorry, we’re busy at the moment.”
Camillo waved him over, occasionally glancing up at the ceiling as though he thought it was going to collapse on him. He whispered:
“Do you remember Lucia Adesso?”
Carlo nodded. “Yes.”
“I think she was our stepmother’s nephew’s cousin or…”
“Stepmother’s nephew’s good friend’s cousin, actually,” Carlo corrected.
His brother blinked. “Uh, yeah, her. Well, her daughter’s upstairs. Apparently, she’s homeless and needs a place to stay. I said I had to ask you first.”
Carlo scratched his head. Lucia’s daughter. Lucia babysat the two of them when they were young, and he remembered her being nice. She stopped coming around after she eloped with some asshole; broke their dad’s heart.
“I’d better talk to her, then,” Carlo whispered.
Camillo looked relieved and left Carlo to go talk to the girl.
For some reason, Carlo had expected a younger girl, a teenager maybe, but of course she wasn’t that much younger than Camillo. As far as he knew, Lucia got pregnant not long after leaving. She looked to be in her twenties, and she was tall, slim, and dark-haired. Pretty. When she turned to face him, he took in a sharp breath.
“Lucia,” he said, before he could stop himself.
She chuckled. “I get that a lot. It’s Vittoria, actually, Vittoria Nespola.”
Nespola. The name was familiar, probably the name of the scumbag boyfriend, so he guessed this girl was the result of that union. He offered her a hand and she shook it firmly, with a measured smile.
“I hear you’re looking for a place to stay,” Carlo said.
“Yeah, I’m sorry to come to you like this. I know we’ve never met, but my mother always spoke fondly of your family. Your father especially. Was it Marco or…”
“Yes, he’s no longer with us I’m afraid.”
She bit her lip. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s been many years. Don’t worry about it.” He offered her a seat, but she declined. “But yes, your mother was very fond of dad, and he doted on her, I seem to remember. Until…”
“Until she ran off with a violent drunk and got pregnant at sixteen.” Vittoria said it without a hint of emotion in her face. “That’s my dad.”
“Right, yes. I don’t remember him much.”
She shrugged. “You’re not really missing out. But yes, I need a place to stay. I’m pretty quiet and easy to be around. I’ll pay rent, maybe do some cleaning around the place if you need it.”
Carlo was glad she changed the topic. “There’s no need for any of that. You’re free to stay. We have an extra room on the top floor you can take. It’s a big room. We’ll find you somewhere on your own quick enough.”
“I don’t want to be a bother.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
He grabbed her suitcases and showed her to the top floor. She unpacked quietly, all the while asking questions. How old he and Camillo were, if their family were doing well, what Camillo did for a living. Then finally the question he had dreaded:
“What do you do for a living?”
He paused for too long. “Working for an investment firm,” he lied then.
Vittoria smiled. He could tell she didn’t buy it. When she stayed quiet after that, he excused himself.
Vittoria was a quiet house guest and a polite one, too. When they sat down to dinner that evening, she laughed at all their jokes, and listened with interest to everything they had to say. She complimented Camillo’s cooking and their home.
“It’s no wonder you’re a cook,” she told Camillo with a smile. “I’ll have to try your restaurant.”
Camillo blushed and asked:
“And what do you do?”
“I’m a sculptor,” she said. “Well, that’s the plan anyway. I haven’t actually started – but I’ve done some painting in my day. Should be the same, just in 3D, right?”
“If Camillo hadn’t gone into cooking, he would’ve been a painter,” Carlo said, nodding. “He’s pretty good.”
His brother blushed even deeper.
Vittoria chuckled. “Is this blushing a common thing for your brother, Carlo?” she asked.
“Oh shut up,” Camillo muttered under his breath, his blush deepening.
Vittoria winked at Carlo and returned to her food. The look in her eye stirred something up inside him, and he looked intently at his food. Lucia’s daughter was a very pleasant house guest indeed, and yet he still wanted her out of there as quickly as possible.
He said so to his brother, when Vittoria was out of earshot.
“You two seemed to get along,” Camillo said, then with a scowl: “A bit too well, maybe.”
“She’s a regular girl,” Carlo said. “A sweet girl. And before long she’ll notice what I actually do for a living; it’s not going to be pretty. I’d like her to be out of here before then.”
Hell, he would have liked his brother to be out of here ages ago. The restaurant he worked at was supported by Good Guys Inc., but it was still a legitimate business. Nothing crime related. The less involved he got in Carlo’s job, the better.
“She seems like she can handle a little bit of everything,” Camillo said.
His brother put away leftovers, humming quietly to himself. He had never been bothered by Carlo’s job, never even questioned it, but Carlo somehow doubted that Vittoria would be as forgiving. He sighed.
“I’m going for a walk,” he said.
Camillo raised an eyebrow at the window and the rain pelting down outside, but then he just shrugged. “Have fun, bro.”
Carlo only walked few metres, to the town square, and sat down on a wet bench. The sunset coloured the fog a strange pink, and the rain slowly soaked through his blazer and his shirt.
He hadn’t even thought twice about letting the girl stay. Lucia had been nice, if a bit flighty, and he had a feeling that his dad would have wanted it. It was the least he could do for his memory. Nothing else he had done with his life so far would have pleased the old man. His dad would have hated him leading a life of crime, as would he have hated that he lost the family villa and had to move into a house in the smoggy, busy town centre.
But they had a roof over their head and they had an income. That was what mattered. Even if his profession was the kind you felt a little awkward mentioning to sweet young women.
“What’s up with the creepy pink fog?”
Carlo’s head snapped up to Vittoria Nespola. She had been sensible enough to bring an umbrella into the awful weather.
“It’s the sunset,” he said. “You can’t see it from here, unfortunately. You could at our villa, back when we had it.”
Vittoria nodded. “I heard about that. Somebody screwed you over. Big time.”
His body tensed up. “You looked into us.”
She closed her umbrella and sat down next to him on the bench.
“When you’re chased away from home and looking for some place to stay, you want to do some research.”
There she went again, saying something so tragic with as little emotion as if they were discussing the creepy fog.
“Your mother kicked you out?”
“Something like that.”
He ran a hand through his hair. “You’ll want somewhere permanent to stay, then. I know some people who can… You’re welcome with us as long as you need, but it’s really not the best place to be.”
“Because you’re a criminal?”
“‘Good Guys Inc.’” she said with a smile. “The name kind of made me laugh. I asked around, and everybody knows what you do there. I thought of the risk, but I figure I can handle whatever you throw at me. Is your work dangerous?”
Carlo blinked rain out of his eyes.
“I usually do robberies, art thefts, safe cracking. It’s only dangerous for me. Mostly.”
One saving grace to this whole thing was that nobody had ever tried to get revenge through Camillo. Probably because he was well-liked around town.
She nodded. “I figured. Like I said, I think I can take it if you’ll let me stay.”
“In that case, I think I’d better go dry off.”
She stood up from the bench and opened her umbrella again.
“Vittoria.” She glanced back at him. “You ran away. You weren’t kicked out.”
It wasn’t a question, and she didn’t deny it, only gave him a smile that wasn’t a real smile.
“Why did you run?”
She shrugged. “Run isn’t the right word. I left. Wanted to see new sights, do new things, and here I am. Thank you for letting me stay.”
Carlo mentally reminded himself not to play poker with Vittoria.
“You’re welcome,” he said.
Hiiiii, and welcome to my new story! This is the second time I turn to Monte Vista (probably my favourite world for ts3), and it’s the second time I meddle in the affairs of Carlo and Camillo, the poor chaps. I’ve always found them – especially Carlo – interesting, and this is coming from someone who doesn’t usually care much for townies. Vittoria Nespola is my creation.
This is my attempt at an old-fashioned legacy type of story, though some cheating happened before I started playing – I shaved quite a few days off Carlo’s age (otherwise he would have aged up to elder four days after starting the game), and of course I moved in Vittoria, giving them a little more money. I sort of regret letting them stay in that house, though. Photoshooting with poseplayer and moveobjects is a nightmare with more than one floor + foundations. Expect a change of house to come at some point in the future.
I really, really hope you guys enjoy this little thing of mine. It’s been such a nice change from editing and perfecting the other stories I’ve been working on – it’s been a lot of fun to write. A fact to throw in before I say bye for now is that A Monte Vista Story was really just what I called the folder for the story and images, but I kinda like it, so I’m rolling with it. I’m only going to regret it a lot if I ever have to change towns for the story *SHRUUUUUUG*
In other news, if you’ve come to the blog via the usual link, you might notice that it is now called Notjustabooksims.com. I got sick to death of not being able to tailor the layout to my tastes – specifically, WordPress’ obligatory borders around images can go die in a fire. Now I can change that with CSS customisation, which is awesome. And really, having my own domain name is pretty dang awesome. That’s it for now, folks, I’ll see you in the next one!