Koktails with KOKET, Back at It 4CENTO Style
It’s a candlelit evening in the middle of a paradise garden. Nature has been fully furnished and accessorized with bright lights adorning trees and love seats on wooden patios. This outdoor museum entertains and delights your senses; 4CENTO Ristorante, Milano, in all its grandeur, keeps its unique roots of old with an added modern twist. And while it’s great for date night, it’s especially fitting for a party of three.
She turned heads as she strolled to the candlelit wooden table; her black open-toe Louboutin pumps made an entrance almost before she did. Her magenta blouse and black wrap-tie-side skirt accented her pear-shaped figure. Spiral dark brown curls with blond highlights bounced as she moved while her beautifully beat face was almost completely hidden.
“Randa, miss missy, what are you doing?!” Brooke said in a slightly snarky way.
“Brooke, sweetie, I told you I was not coming to the table until you remove that ridiculous mask that you’re wearing. Three people stopped me already to ask if we were professional scuba divers.”
Brooke pulls her phone away from her face and looks at it as if it had insulted her before placing it back on her ear. “I like my snorkel just fine; it works great, and it doesn’t smear my make-up. Now c’mon girl so we can order.”
Candice leans in closer to Brooke’s ear to be heard on the phone. “Yea Miranda, it’s not like she’s going to wear it while she’s eating.”
Miranda reluctantly moves from the corner of the room; her chic off-white wide-leg pants expanded like a parachute as the breeze blew. Her large brim white hat leaned slightly to the left side of her face. She was giving runway model meets Kentucky Derby vibes. She finally reaches the table with her hand covering her brows like she was attempting to block the sun.
“It is so beautiful and comfy out here; I could almost spend the entire night right here on this couch,” Candice said.
Miranda snickered. “I’m surprised you allowed us to bring you out here, but then I remembered you have a gallon of bug spray in your purse.”
Brooke looked at Miranda like a light bulb went off. “Oh, is that what I’ve been smelling?! I was wondering why Candice’s perfume smelled like household cleaner.”
All the women fell in laughter. Delicious chilled cocktails were served in glasses with exotic fruit garnished over the rim. Succulent, delicious appetizers with capers and anchovies and another with tuna, salmon, and sea bass was the savory treat of the evening.
Brooke holds up her glass to eye level. “This would have been perfect for the “gram” before I started sipping. It’s so pretty!”
“Never too late.” Candice positions her phone horizontally while Brooke poses like an infomercial model.
“Excuse me, ladies.” Brooke turns in her seat immediately recognizing the voice.
“Hey Anthony, what are you doing here?! Hey guys, this is Anthony my honey boo, and Anthony, these are my girlfriends Candice and Miranda!”
“Nice to meet you ladies.” Anthony then directs his attention towards Brooke. “Babe, you left your umbrella in the room and I think there’s supposed to be showers tonight. “
Candice smiles. “Awww, how sweet!”
Brooke gets up and gives him a kiss. “Thanks babe!”
“Ok ladies, I hope that you all enjoy the rest of your evening.”
No sooner than he walks away Candice can barely contain herself. “Brooke! He is gorgeous, why are we just now seeing him and since when did you bring a man along on our girls only weekends?”
“He is very attractive. I have to agree with Candice on this one. I was wondering when I would finally meet the stranger always complaining in the background every time we’re on the phone.” Miranda said playfully but serious.
Brooke playfully hits Miranda on the hand. “He just wants to spend some alone time with me. With his crazy schedule, we hardly get a chance to see each other.”
“I thought he was unemployed. I mean…furloughed since Covid.” Candice said.
Brooke’s head stayed buried in her phone as she spoke softly. “He’s under a lot of stress and he really needs me to be there for him.”
Miranda glances at Candice. “Brooke, how about we double date next weekend? You and Anthony and me and Daniel……and Candice of course.”
“Gee thanks…. I would love to be the 5th wheel.” Candice states sarcastically.
“Hey, babe. Yes, yes…were just talking. Ok. Ok babe, bye.” Brooke hangs up the phone.
Brooke visibly frustrated excuses herself to the restroom.
Miranda watches Brooke swiftly disappear into the darkness. “I don’t like him. I don’t like him at all. He won’t let her breathe and honestly I’m surprised that Brooke is putting up with it.”
“I don’t know. I think he’s just a little overprotective.” Candice added.
Miranda shakes her head. “It’s definitely more than that. I think I need another Cosmo or maybe a good dessert.”
Candice giggles. “A dessert would be nice. Anything with chocolate!”
Miranda calls the waiter over to order when Brooke comes rushing back to the table.
“Sorry ladies, I really have to go. But I’ll call you later.”
Miranda interrupts the waiter. “Brooke…. wait! You have to leave now? What’s wrong?”
“Yes, Randa, I’m sorry, there’s something I forgot to do but you two carry on. I will call you later.”
Miranda and Candice both sit in silence as the waiter continues.
“Thank you, sir, we’re fine.” Miranda dismisses the waiter.
Miranda sighs loudly. “I can’t believe this! We weren’t even here an hour.”
Candice whimpered as she watched the waiter walk away.
A blaring car alarm sounded from the nearby parking lot that pierced the ears of all the patrons.
“Candice, are you sure you’re not sitting on your keys again?” Miranda asked jokingly.
Candice chuckles. “Nope, it can’t be me. My car barely warns me when I’m low on gas.”
In between the alarm sounds, they hear a loud scream. Candice and Miranda look at each other and in unison get up and run towards the noise.
“Brooke are you alright?! Miranda yells.
Brooke was crouched forward breathing heavily in a quarterback stance, while Anthony stood motionless looking back at her.
“I’m…. I’m….I….am…done with him.” Brooke said pointing her finger in his direction. She lunges towards the passenger side car door attempting to pry it open.
Candice looked on confused. “Brooke, honey, what’s going on?
“I’ll tell you what’s going on. Mr. Anthony here is a horrible person and I’m done putting up with his crap! The way he talks to me, the way he never wants me to be around my friends, the way he only took me shopping so he could control how I dress……”
“Brooke…..” Anthony starts.
“What? What do you have to say?!”
Candice softly grabs Brooke by the hand to lead her further away from Anthony. “C’mon, hon, this isn’t healthy. We’ll walk you to my car.
The three women walk in silence as they approach Candice’s car.
Miranda breaks the silence. “What happened back there?! I thought you all left.”
“We were arguing in the car and he told me that I spend way too much time with my girls and that it’s messing up our relationship. He told me it was either him or my girls.”
Miranda glares at Candice. “See, I told you.”
“But Brooke, why didn’t you just come in and get us? Why were you insistent on leaving with that loser after that?” Candice asked.
Brooke gawks at Candice. “Leave with him? I was trying to get my stuff out of his car. I forgot my snorkel mask and demanded he give it back to me, but he refused unless I would leave with him.”
“What?!” Miranda looked dumbfounded.
Candice stood speechless.
Words by Jada Ledbetter