A Diary Emergency [ - ]
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Tony is setting the table in the kitchen, the tantalizing aromas of garlic, sauce, and Parmesan cheese permeates the room. He is humming while he works, facing away from the back door as young Samantha comes bursting through it, almost running into her father and causing him to drop and break a dish. He grabbed her by the shoulders to stop and steady her.
"Whoa, whoa, Samantha, where's the fire?", he asked her.
Samantha takes a few quick breaths, and replies. "Sorry, dad. I was so excited I forgot to walk." She pauses, catches her breath some more. "Can I stay over Bonnie's tonight? Please?" She gave Tony her sweetest, most angelic face.
He sits down in one of the kitchen chairs. "I don't know, Samantha. I thought since this is da end of the school week, you'd want to spend some quality time with your Papa." He gives her a pouty look.
Samantha raises her eyebrow at him with a slight grimace. "Papa?" She rolls her eyes at him. "Really, dad."
"Fine. Fine. If you'd rather spend time with Bonnie than with your dear, sweet, loving, handsome, adorable father...". Tony breaks off, peering hopefully at Samantha, wanting some daughterly appreciation.
"You're laying it on thick, dad." She sighs and gives in and gives him a hug, then asks again, "Please can I go?"
"Well, didja clean your room?"
"Didja do your homework?" Tony's expression brightens, as he thinks he has her on this question, as she just got back from school.
"No, but I'll do it at Bonnie's. We were planning to study together, anyway."
"Well...okay..." Samantha beams, about to run off and get ready, when Tony finishes his statement. "I'll think about it."
She stops, turns to him, about to plead again, when an idea strikes her quick, teenage mind. "Did I mention how wonderful it smells in here? Nobody cooks like you. Your food is to die for, Papa." There was a slight stress on the last word.
Tony looks amused, then says, "Thick, Samantha." He slumps his shoulders, defeated by his daughter's irresistible charms that remind him so much of his own. "Okay. Okay. You can go."
Samantha squeals in delight, hugs her father again, pecks him on the cheek, and runs out of the kitchen. Tony stands there staring at the spot she just left for a moment, a slightly sad smile on his lips.
It's about an hour later. Mona, Jonathan, and Tony are sitting on the couch lazily, recuperating from the hearty dinner they had consumed.
"So, Mona," asked Tony, "Angela won't be back until late?"
"Yeah. I promised her I'd watch a movie with Johnathan and put him to bed. It's the least I could do after today's catastrophe." Mona filed her nails nonchalantly.
Tony laughed. "Yeah, Mona. You gotta stop flirtin' with da clients. Their poor hearts can't take it."
"Hey, I still don't see how it's my fault. The guy walked in, said he needed Angela immediately. I just told him that whatever services he required I could deliver faster. And with superior packageing." Mona's voice is sultry, seductive.
Tony covered Jonathan's ears and looked disapprovingly at Mona. Jonathan is looking back and forth at the two of them. He appears confused, but eager to know what is really going on.
Mona sighed. "Is it my fault the man had no sense of humor?" She paused. "Or taste." She thinks for a moment. "In fact, I am not even sure if it was a man..."
"Mona!" Tony groaned, pleading with her to stop.
She shrugged. "Oh, well. So she's busy convincing the eunuch that we are not an escort service. Shouldn't take too long with my virtuous daughter on the job."
Tony glares at Mona, almost ready to slap her. She gives him a wicked grin over Jonathan's head, then hugs her grandson, ignoring Tony.
"So, Jonathan, ready to watch that movie?" she asked.
"I don't know," he replied. "This seems more interesting."
"Ay...oh," Tony interrupted quickly. "Think you could watch the movie in your apartment, Mona? I really would like to get some spring cleaning done."
"Whatever you say, boss," Mona said with a wink. "C'mon, my precious grandson. What do you wanna see?"
Jonathan looks slightly disappointed, but then has an answer for her. "How 'bout a gory, bloody horror flick?", he asks excitedly.
"I got the perfect movie for you. It's called 'Dracula Meets Lady Godiva'. I've been dying to see it myself."
"Mona," Tony sighs, knowing it pointless to argue with her. "Dontcha think that sounds a little inappropriate for your precious grandson? It could scar him for life."
"And? What's your point?" Mona grabs Jonathan by the hand and they both wander happily out of the room.
Tony shakes his head, then goes to get the vacuum, happy to have the place to himself for a little while.
Tony is busy with his work upstairs. He stops and makes his way to Samantha's room, opening the door. Her room is a complete mess, clutter everywhere. Clothes and books are amassed on the bed. He looks at all of this in horror.
"I'm gonna kill her," her mutters as he proceeds to make his way through the room, picking up items here and there, attempting to sort everything out. As he begins putting things away, he opens one of her dresser drawers. His eyes fall upon a book shoved back into the furthest corner. He picks it up, and reads the words "My Diary" printed on the front cover. His eyes widen. He looks around guiltily as he starts to put the book back. He pulls it out again, his curiosity getting the better of him. He tiptoes out of the room and down the stairs with the diary tucked under his shirt.
He sits down on the sofa, and places the diary next to him. He looks at it, starts to pick it up, sighs in frustration and puts it back down next to him.
"No, no, no...I can't..." he mumbles to himself. "It's her private, personal thoughts. It'd be wrong."
He sits for a few more moments, his legs restless, his foot tapping on the floor. "Oh, I gotta!" he suddenly bursts out and reaches for the diary again. At that moment Mona and Jonathan come in through the kitchen door. Tony flips the book up in startlement. It falls on the floor and he quickly places one foot upon it, forcing it half way under the sofa. He looks at Mona and Jonathan, innocence personified.
"How...how...wat...how was the movie?" he stammers out, smiling at them encouragingly.
"Oh, it was great!" bursts out Jonathan. "Blood, guts, the works!"
Mona is staring into space, her eyes have a glazed appearance to them. "It...it...was awful," she stammers out. "Tony...it...Lady Godiva...she was this 500 pound woman who ate chocolates all day long...it reminded me of Angela during her delicate years...and she...she..." Mona is at a loss for words. She looks shell-shocked.
"She sat on Dracula as he was about to suck her blood...and he went spppplllllAAAAAT!" finished Jonathan delightedly.
"I'm scarred for life!" wailed Mona in abject misery.
Tony grinned and laughed uncomfortably, trying to join in the fun and forget the guilt of his desire to pry into his daughter's private thoughts. "Well, that'll teach ya, Mona. No more gory movies for your young, impressionable mind."
Mona sits down next to Tony and nods, slowly recovering.
"Now, Jonathan," said Tony, "You go on up to bed. I'll tuck you in. I'm not sure when your mother will be back."
"Okay, Tony." Jonathan gave him a quick hug, another for his grandmother, and ran up the stairs.
Mona notices the object underneath Tony's foot, reaches for it, and snags it away from him, clutching it to her as he tries to get it back.
"What's this?" she asks. She reads the cover. "Oh, a diary! Hmmm..."
"Gimme that, Mona. I found it in Samantha's room." Tony looks at her nervously as he tries unsuccessfully to retrieve the book from her.
"Oh, I see." Mona's eye are twinkling in glee. "And you have been sitting here, torn between being respectful of your daughter's privacy and that yearning, pulling, itching desire to find out about things she may be keeping from you. I understand, Tony." She patted his arm in commiseration. "I went through similar experiences when Angela was growing up. But you know, Tony, it would be wrong for you to pry into Samantha's private thoughts too much. We all have them. Especially you." She winks at Tony knowingly. He looks back at her slightly confused, slightly sheepish. Mona continues. "What I'm saying is that you shouldn't be reading Samantha's diary because you are a caring parent with a conscious."
"You're right, Mona," Tony agrees reluctantly. "I'll put.."
"Alright. I'll do it," she blurts out before he can finish, and she quickly opens the diary and starts reading.
Mona reads the diary to herself, an occasional gasp or "hmmm" emerging from her mouth. Tony is squirming, frantic to know what is causing these reactions from her. He finally breaks and pleads with her to read it out loud.
"Awww, c'mon, Mona. Read it out loud. I gotta know what she writes about."
Mona peers at Tony, feigning worry about revealing the contents of Samantha's diary. "I don't know, Tony. This is some steamy stuff. I'm not sure you could handle the real thoughts of..."
Tony interrupts her, desparate to know the secret thoughts of his daughter. "Please, Mona."
"Oh, all right. Brace yourself. In fact, you might want to sit down for this, Tony."
"Just read." Exasperated.
"Okay. Don't say I didn't warn you." Mona clears her throat, and starts to read from the diary, embellishing the parts she deems worthwhile.
"'Even though I see him almost every day, I can't stop thinking about him. His dark smoldering eyes seem to bore into my soul, and it makes it hard for me to breathe. I so often long to be alone with him, but I can't ever seem to find the time or the place. There are always too many others around, too many distractions. Sometimes he touches me, just lightly on the arm or back, and it sends bolts of electricity shivering up and down my spine. I want to be touched more. I want his arms around me, his hands caressing my face, his lips on my lips, so soft and yet so passionate. I am blushing as I write this. Does he know my feelings for him? Sometimes it seems as though he does. Sometimes it seems he feels the same way. I wish I could express in words what he does to me, but words don't go far enough. I also know this all can only be a fantasy. We are so different, he and I. From different worlds. But oh, there is something so forbidden about him...this man...oh, he is everything a man should be...'"
Tony looks as though he is about to explode into flames, he is so angry. "Stop. Stop! Mona...man? Forbidden? My daughter is writing about a forbidden man? Whatever happened to boys and ohhh, Chad, he's so cute." Tony is pacing back and forth as he rages.
"Now, calm down, Tony. I'm sure it's just a boy she's talking about. She just thinks of him as a man." Tony fails to hear the amusement in Mona's voice. He is still raging.
"Anything else I should hear, Mona?" He pauses, thinks. "Do I even wanna hear more?"
"Hmmm...well...'everything a man should be; caring, warm, supportive.'", she reads. Then stops. "Uh oh."
Tony stops pacing. "Wat 'uh oh'? Tell me, Mona!"
"It says 'Maybe I can find time alone with him tonight. Maybe I can move things in the direction I want them to go. I am going to try. I must not be afraid to tell him what I want.' The entry is marked with today's date. But Tony, I think you..."
Tony cuts her off, making his way to the phone. "There are no buts, Mona. I'm calling Bonnie's father right now. And if Samantha isn't there...I'll...I'll..."
He cuts off as he dials the phone, not sure what he is going to do.
"Hello?" Tony says into the phone. "Who's this? Bonnie? Put Samantha on the phone right now." There is a pause. "Samantha? Yeah, it's dad. Don't you move! I'm coming to take ya home right now. Don't give me any buts. We need to have a talk. About what? Uhh...well...I'll explain it to you when we get back. Bye, Samantha!"
He slams down the phone and rushes out the front door. Mona tries to stop him. "Wait! Tony. I need to tell you..."
"Not now, Mona!" he replies as he slams the door behind him.
Mona shrugs, and flips back to page one of the diary, preparing to read some more. "I tried."
Mona is still sitting on the couch, utterly absorbed in the diary when she hears the rattle of the front door. She quickly hides the diary under a pillow, and looks up expectantly as Samantha walks in, followed by her father.
"Samantha, sit down. Mona, I'd like to talk to my daughter privately, please."
"No way! I'm not missing this for anything. Even my date can wait." Mona places her hand beneath her chin, all eyes and ears.
Tony glares at her, then sits down next to Samantha.
"Dad, will you please explain what's going on? I haven't done anything!"
"Oh, not yet you haven't," responded Tony. "It's a good thing I stopped you before ya did."
"Dad, what are you talking about?" Samantha is truly exasperated, and cannot understand her father's anger. Suddenly, the light dawns in her face. She thinks she gets it. "Is this about my room? I'm sorry. I'll go clean it now..." She gets up, and Tony pushes her back down, although gently.
"Don't you play dumb with me."
"I'm not playing dumb. Jeez, dad. I gotta know what I did before you can punish me for it."
Tony stops, suddenly worried about what he has to admit. "Yeah...yeah...you're right. Look...uh...Samantha...Mona read your diary..."
"Mona read my diary?" Samantha says, confused.
"Okay...okay. She read it out loud ta me. I know it was wrong. But Samantha...Sam...baby...you can't be going off to meet a man...". He can barely say this last word without flinching. He clears his throat, about to attempt to try again.
"But...dad...what diary? I don't have a diary." Samantha looks at him, perplexed. Tony looks back, perplexed as well.
Samantha shakes her head.
"The plot thickens," Mona speaks out in a mysterious voice.
Both Tony and Samantha turn to Mona.
"Then whose is it?" asks Tony. "Yours?" He looks at Mona in surprise.
"Oh, please," replied Mona with an eye roll. "Give me some credit. Do you really think I would write about my inner passions and desires? Yours truly doesn't write about it. She lives it."
"Then who..." began Tony again.
"I tried to tell you earlier, Tony, but you left in such a hurry. I'd recognize my daughter's chicken scratch anywhere." Mona pauses, then begins again. She sounds impressed. "Although, I have to admit, I didn't think Angela had this in her. Even I had to fan myself while reading it. And to think you were the inspiration behind her hungry awakening..."
"What is going on here?" blurts out Samantha, as Tony tries to cover her ears, as he did Johnathan's earlier. "I'm confused."
"Good!" said Tony to Samantha. "Whaddaya mean, I was the inspiration behind...uhh...what you just said?" he said to Mona.
Mona gets up from the couch, beginning to get bored. "You really are dumb, Tony. It's obvious Angela was writing about you."
Tony laughs, not believing a word of it. "Me? C'mon, Mona. This is Angela, my boss, we're talkin' bout here."
Mona stares him down, a huge grin on her face. "I read the entire thing, Tony. You didn't."
"Yeah? Well...uh...what else did she have to say?" He's a little curious now, and very uncomfortable.
"No, Tony," replied Mona gently. "If you want to know, read it for yourself. Or, if you think it's an invasion of her privacy, don't. The diary is under one of the pillows there. If you're feeling really brave, maybe you could just ask her how she feels."
Tony stares at Mona, dumbstruck. Before he can speak, Mona heads for the front door. "I'm off with my date. Don't wait up. I need some real excitement." Mona exits the house. Tony and Samantha look at each other. Tony is very embarassed now, and is unsure what to say to his daughter.
"Dad, WHAT was that all about?"
"I'm not sure myself." Tony looks at Samantha sadly. "Can you ever forgive me, Samantha? I know I don't deserve it. I rushed outta here without thinking, made you come home from your sleepover, read your diar...uhhh...Angela's diary...and worst of all, I didn't trust you. You didn't deserve any of this."
Samantha looks down, bites her lip. "It's okay, dad. I'm still not sure what this is all about. What were you worried about?"
"I thought by little girl was thinking and writing about some guy...a boy that maybe she thought too much of...and I was concerned that she'd get in over her head...become obsessed...do ya get what I mean, Samantha?" He gives her a pleading, let-me-out-of-this look. "Please don't make me go on!"
Samantha nods, looking wise beyond her years. "Dad, I can forgive you for everything. The truth is...I didn't want to stay at Bonnie's tonight. You wanna know why?"
"Yeah, I do. Why?"
"I WAS thinking and writing about a guy tonight, dad. We were given an assignment at school today to write a paper about someone that we think of as a role model. I was so excited. Me and Bonnie both were. We were gonna write about Bruce Springsteen, do our paper together, ya know? But when I got there, I could only think of one person to write about. No matter how hard I tried to think of someone else, YOU kept popping into my head." She paused, and gave Tony a hug. "Maybe I do think too much of you, dad, but I can't help it. I knew Bonnie wouldn't understand, so I just wrote my paper by myself, and I couldn't let her read it. But...I'd like to read it to you. Maybe you won't mind my obsession with you, huh?"
Tony's eyes are tearing up. "You wrote...wrote about me? I'm your role model?"
"Of course, dad. Who else?"
Samantha, slightly embarassed but proud of her work and her father, began to read her paper.
"When I was given this assignment, I was so excited because I thought I would be able to talk about my favorite singer or favorite athlete. It would be so much fun writing about Bruce Springsteen or Davey Johnson. But when I sat down tonight to write my paper, the only person that came to my head was Tony Micelli. My dad.
I realized that he is my favorite singer. My favorite athlete. I was a little surprised that the most important role model in my life, the man I look up to the most, is my dad. But why should I be surprised? Sure, he's great at sports and he can croon with the best of them. But he's so much more than that.
When my mother died, my dad had to take over her job. I know it was hard for him. He had to teach me how to be tough and stand up for myself in a rough neighborhood. I don't know how he did it, because he didn't seem so tough himself when mom died.
But my dad always wanted something better, for me and mom. She never got the chance. But my dad made sure I had it by bringing me heare to Connecticut. He wanted a better life for me.
Well, my life has been better. I have learned so much since leaving Brooklyn. It doesn't matter where you live or where you come from. As long as you have people that love you, support you, and believe in you, you will always have a chance at a better life.
I have so many wonderful role models in my life. Angela, Jonathan, Mona, my teachers, friends, Bruce Springsteen, Davey Johnson, and so many others. But not one of them compares to my dad. He's been everything for me. Father, mother, friend. Someone to look up to and learn from. Someone who gets up every time, no matter how many times life has beaten him down.
There are so many opportunities for me as I look to role models to inspire me along the way. I could be a doctor, a pilot, an advertising executive, a teacher, a dancer, a Mets manager, anything. If I became a housekeeper, just like my dad, I would be just as proud of who I am. Prouder, even. Because he is the support structure that will allow me to become the best I can be. And I love him."
She finished, and Tony clasped his daughter in a tight, tight hug, unable to let go.
"Da...Dad...I can't breathe, dad."
He let go. "Oh, sorry...sorry. That was beautiful, Samantha." Tony does not know what else to say.
"Yeah, thank you. Ummm...dad...promise me you won't show or read this to anyone else?"
"But...why, Sam? You should be so proud of it."
"I am. I am proud. But...I want it to be just between you and me. Our secret, dad. It's special. I can write another paper for school."
"Of course. It is special. You're special, Samantha."
"Here." Samantha hands him the paper. She swipes at her eyes, blinking back tears. "It's yours, papa. Thank you," she whispers.
Samantha gets up from the sofa. "I'm gonna go clean my room now. And, hey, dad?"
"You're good enough."
"Oh, ay...ay, oh. Of course I'm good enough. For what?"
Tony appears shocked, then nods thoughtfully, his heart pounding slightly faster against his chest. He grabs the diary from underneath the pillow and follows Samantha.
Upstairs, Samantha walks towards her room and Tony stops. "I'll just put this diary back. Hey, wait a minute. How did Angela's diary get in your room in the first place?"
They look at each other, and the revelation hits them at the same moment.
"Mona!" they say together.
Both of them shaking their heads, Samantha enters her room and shuts the door while Tony enters Angela's room, looking for a place he can put the diary without Angela knowing it was missing.
Jonathan's door opens just slightly, and his small head peeks out.
"Rats!", he says. "Why does grandma get all the credit for devious acts around here?"
It is a few hours later. Samantha and Jonathan are upstairs asleep. Mona is still out on her date. Tony is sitting on the sofa watching Dracula Meets Lady Godiva. His eyes are wide in fright, and occasionally he flinches or appears horrified.
The front door rattles, and Angela walks in. She looks tired, unkempt, overworked, overstressed, and angry, but still beautiful.
"I"m gonna kill her!" she mutters as she removes her coat and places in on the rack. She notices Tony, who is just getting up from the couch to help her. "Oh, hi Tony. Where's my mother? I"ll..."
"Shhhh, Angela," Tony interrupts as he lightly takes her arm, guiding her to the couch. "Come sit with me. Let me help ease your troubles away." They sit. Tony moves quite close to her.
"Tony, I really don't..."
He shushes her again with a finger over her lips. Angela is quiet, looking at Tony curiously.
"Now," Tony says softly. "What was it? Oh, yeah.'His arms around me.'" He puts his arms around Angela, holding her close to him.
"Tony, what..." Angela's eyes are wide, her expression seems uncomfortable, but her body yields easily into Tony's embrace.
"And then," continues Tony, "'His hands caressing my face.'" He takes ones of his arms from around her, and gently, lovingly, trails his fingers down her cheekbones, first one cheek, then the other.
"Tony. I..." Angela is almost about to giggle, she is so nervous.
"Then," continues Tony, and his breathing deepens. "Then..." He trails off and moves his head towards her, softly pressing his lips to hers, kissing gently at first, then a little more forcefully as he feels her kissing him back. Their bodies move in closer to one another involuntarily. Tony's hands begin working through her hair. Suddenly, Tony stops and releases his lips from hers, backing slightly away from her. His eyes are gazing into hers intently.
Angela gasps, catching her breath. Her eyes are glazed. "T...Tony...have you...b-been reading..."
"Gotta go!" Tony jumps up from the couch and runs up the stairs, leaving Angela sitting there. The dreamy look in her eyes slowly fades, to be replaced by a smile that lights up her face from within. Her soul is showing through her eyes. She no longer looks tired, overstressed, or angry. She gets up from the couch, still grinning as she makes her way upstairs.
It is much, much later in the night. The house is dark, quiet, except for Tony who is again sitting on the couch with a dim light on. He is writing furiously, feverishly into a notebook. His pencil breaks at one point, and he throws it down to grab another, continuing to scribble down his thoughts, non-stop.
Mona enters through the front door, back from her date, and walks up behind Tony and the couch, watching him writing for a moment or two. Tony never looks up, oblivious to all around him as he continues to write. Mona peers more closely at the notebook, trying to read what Tony is writing.
"Am I the only grown up around here?" she pipes up suddenly, rolling her eyes in typical Mona-fashion. Tony looks up, startled and then embarassed by her presence.
Mona walks off into the kitchen. Tony looks after her sheepishly for a moment, then looks back down at his notebook, reads a bit, and sighs like a little girl. He writes "Tony's Diary" in very large letters on the cover. Softly tip-toeing upstairs with the diary in hand, he makes his way to Angela's bedroom door and shoves the notebook underneath, face up. He turns and goes to his own bedroom, and sighing like a little girl again, he stares at Angela's door for a few minutes before slowly shutting his own bedroom door.