Lorenzo led Pia out of the crowded restaurant. Pia was disappointed that they weren’t able to have a decent conversation between them. The place was packed, the music blasting and every time they started talking someone would stop by their table to say hello to him or a fan asking for an autograph. Hopefully on the ride home, they could talk and get to know each other better.
The valet pulled his BMW up to the curb.
Lorenzo opened the door, waited for her to put her seat belt on before closing it. Pia watched Lorenzo walk around the car and slid in next to her. He buckled up and turned the radio on.
“I hope you had a halfway decent time tonight. I never expected the restaurant to get so crowded.”
“That’s okay. I had a wonderful time.”
“I know of this outdoor café in downtown Brooklyn. Would you like to grab a cappuccino?”
“That would be nice. But I don’t want to keep you out too late if you have an afternoon game tomorrow.”
“I’m good. Thanks for asking. Tomorrow we are off. Then we have a four game series with Houston this weekend.”
“Okay. Just checking. I don’t want to be the cause of any bad games.”
Lorenzo chuckled. He pointed to the empty highway. “This is the best time of the night to travel. This BQE no mater what time of the day you travel is usually bumper to bumper. It’s a treat to breeze right over the Brooklyn Bridge.”
“Yes it is.”
Lorenzo pulled up in front of an outdoor café. He opened Pia’s door and the valet handed him a number coin.
“What do you think? I see there’s a lot of people, but I spotted a few empty tables around back by the promenade deck. Would you like that?”
“Yes. I think that would be wonderful. It’s such a beautiful night out.”
“I feel we were cheated tonight. I didn’t learn a thing about you except that you’re a huge baseball fan.”
“I’d know. I’d like to hear about the early days in your baseball career. How you worked your way up the ladder.”
A man dressed in a suit and tie with sweat beads on his forehead approached them. “Good evening. Would you like to be seated inside or out?”
“I’d love to sit at the table overlooking Manhattan.”
“Perfect choice. “You will love the view. It’s a full moon and the view of lower Manhattan is spectacular. Follow me.”
Lorenzo and Pia followed the man and sat at the white Roth iron table. He handed them menus.
“Someone will be with you to take you order.”
Pia placed the menu down and looked across the table at Lorenzo. His blue eyes glowed in the moonlight. “This place is so quaint. I’ve passed through this neighborhood plenty of times and never seen this place. I have to admit these streets have you going around in circles if you make a wrong turn.
“I know,” he chuckled.
“Was it always your dream to be a ballplayer?” Pia asked, leaning back in her chair crossing her short thick legs.
“Since I was a young boy. I was born with a baseball in my hand.”
Pia grinned. “The way I was born with a camera in mine.”
“You’re funny. Do you take pictures at the games?” he asked running his long fingers through his floppy dirty blond hair.
“Not often. I enjoy watching the game. I know this is going to sound crazy, but what I like to do is keep score in a special hardcover book.”
“I’ve got to get you into the dugout then. No one likes keeping score. Someone is always taking the heat for messing up the scorecard.”
“I bet. In a single blink you can miss a huge play.“
“Good evening.” Pia looked up at the young waitress. “What can I get for you tonight?”
“We’ll have two cappuccinos.” He touched Pia’s hand. “Would you like to share a piece of tiramisu and white chocolate covered strawberries?”
“Oh yeah.” Pia’s face lit up. “Two of my favorite deserts.”
The waitress tore a piece of paper out of her pad and handed it to Lorenzo. “If you don’t mind, can I please have your autograph?”
Lorenzo took the paper and pen from her.
Lorenzo personalized the paper and handed it to her. “Thank you so much. I’ll make sure you get a big piece of cake.” She giggled, walking away.
“Does it bother you that every place you go someone stops you to ask for an autograph?”
“Sometimes it does. Like tonight when all I want to do is talk to you and get to know you better. But in all honesty, it’s part of the game. That’s what happens when you’re a celebrity.”
“I’m sure it gets annoying.”
“It does. But I will never turn anyone away when they ask. The fans are who pay my salary. So yes it is annoying, but I am so happy to be in a good place where I can make a young girl giggle and give tips to the next generation of ballplayers.”
Once again he played with his hair. Pia thought that either it one of his habits or else he was obsessed with his hair. She was certain that time would tell.
“That’s great. I’ve seen a lot of players turn their backs to kids asking them for autographs.”
The waitress brought over their cappuccinos, and placed a mega piece of cake and at least a dozen huge strawberries on the table.
“Wow,” Lorenzo’s blue eyes bulged wide open. “This,” he pointed, “is one of the perks of being a celebrity. Another reason why we get weighted once a week.”
“After we have desert, I’d love to take a walk along the promenade deck before we leave. Does that work for you? Or do you have to be at work early tomorrow morning?”
“I have all night.”