“Do I really have to talk to these people, Dad?” Giovanni asked, looking at the papers in front of him.
Dougal grinned at his son. “They’re potential employees, Gio. It won’t be so bad. And you’re good with people, at seeing what their strengths are and seeing through the masks they wear.”
That was only partially true. It was just one of the masks he wore on a daily basis. In the Magaldi clan, you had to be gregarious, or you stuck out like a sore thumb. So, he’d learned to at least act like it, even when all the socializing wore on him. There were enough other parts of him that made him stick out, he didn’t need one more.
“Why do we need more employees anyway? I already went through the hiring process once when we opened. It’s only been a few months. Shouldn’t have to do this all over again. Can’t you do it? I’ll go tend bar.” He always felt more comfortable behind the bar than outside of it. And once he hired another bartender, he wouldn’t have to do that.
His dad let out a rolling laugh. “I put you in charge of this location, Gio. Because I trust you to handle it. All the aspects of it.” There was a knock on his office door, and Gio ran his fingers back through his hair, pulling some of it from the short tail he had it in. His dad just stood up from his chair and clasped his shoulder. “I’m guessing that’s your first applicant. I’ll leave you to it.”
“You really don’t have to,” he murmured.
His dad just laughed again. Dougal Magaldi had always been one to laugh easily. Gio’s sister, Caitie took after him there. He opened the door, and Gio heard murmurs between his father and whoever stood on the other side. He couldn’t make out any of the words, though. He honestly didn’t try too hard. He was too busy trying to retain his composure as he pulled out the application for the man scheduled to interview right now.
He had experience, that was something Gio had noted right away. This wouldn’t be the first bar he’d worked at, though never in the pub setting before. He’d just left Tillman’s, on the other side of town. It was a decent place. Gio would have to find out the reason for his leaving.
At the approaching footsteps, Gio lifted his head. And instantly caught his breath. The man was beautiful. It was the first word Gio could come up with. And Gio appreciated beauty in all its forms: male, female, and everything that fell between that binary. His brown hair was shorter than Gio’s own strawberry blond. And those brown eyes. Gio thought he could get lost in them.
But, he cleared his throat. He needed to remain professional. His dad had said he trusted him with this place. So, he needed to prove that trust was warranted. The place had only been open for a few months, and everything had run pretty smoothly so far. Getting involved with an employee could change that really quick. And he didn’t even know if this man would be interested.
The other man took a seat and held out his hand. “Mr. Magaldi,” he greeted.
He had a nice strong handshake, something to take note of. And not let his thoughts wander over. “Call me Gio. Please.”
“Then, you can call me, Cam. Trust me, I’d prefer it.”
Some sort of tension there. Family issues? He’d noted he was from Ohio, so that likely wouldn’t cause problems here at work. “All right, Cam, let’s get started then. First, tell me what you like most about tending bar.”
They went through the questions Gio had written up ahead of time. And Cam’s answers impressed Gio. So did the way he kept eye contact. And Gio could be wrong, maybe it was just wishful thinking, but he was sure that was interest in Cam’s eyes, too.
“Why’d you leave Tillman’s?” Gio asked. “You were there nearly two years.”
“Time for a change,” he answered smoothly. Too smoothly. He kept his gaze intent on Cam, and the other man finally sighed. “It was a personal issue. With a customer. We’d been…involved. I figured it was easier if I left than have to face him when he came in.”
Gio perked up a little. So, there could be interest. No, no. That would be even worse than getting involved with a customer. “I trust that won’t happen if you work here.”
Cam hesitated for only a moment. “No. No, it won’t. I’m pretty sure I learned my lesson.”
Note: Gio first shows up in Flames of Retribution. That was his older sister’s story. He had a minimal role there, but he pop up a few more time through the next couple stories. And while I was writing Flames of Restoration(which Cam has a big part in) I realized he had more of a story to tell. And so did Cam. I also wrote another little piece that shows something developing between these 2 and also something that might come between them.
Note2: Also, yes, Gio is pansexual. Also genderfluid.
Note3: Cam really hasn’t learned his lesson. 😉