A Legacy of Secrets(2)

By: Carol Marinelli


Unable to live like that, she had swapped a very good job for a not-so-good one, and bought a home nearer her parents. Now, after all those years of trying to help her mum, Ella knew she just had to get away.

She had references in her bag and could speak Italian.

It was time to get a life.

Her life.

It never entered her head that she might need some time off to heal from all she had endured—instead Ella’s focus was on finding work.

Except it was just rather more intimidating than she’d first thought.

It was January, and she had left the hot Australian summer for a cold Italian winter. Rome was busier than anywhere Ella had ever been. The Gypsies seemed to make a beeline for her every time she ventured from the hotel, but she took in the sites, stood in awe in the Vatican and threw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, as her mother had told her to do. But what was the point, Ella thought, for her mother would never be back.

She took a train to Ostia Antica, visited the ruins and froze as she walked along the beach, wondering when the healing would start, when the revelation that she had done the right thing by leaving would strike.

It didn’t.

So instead of sitting around waiting, Ella set about looking for work.

‘You have a lot of experience for someone your age, but...’ It was the same wherever she went—yes, her résumé was impressive, but even though they were conversing in Italian, Claudia explained at her interview, as the others had yesterday, Ella’s Italian simply wasn’t good enough for the agency to put her forward to any of the employers on their books.

‘You understand it better than you speak it,’ Claudia said. She really had been nice, so Ella chose not to be offended. ‘Is there any other type of work you are interested in?’

Ella was about to say no, to shake her head, but with nothing to lose she was honest. ‘The film industry.’

‘We don’t handle actors.’

‘No, no...’ Ella shook her head. ‘I’m interested in directing.’ It was all she had ever wanted to do, but saving up enough money to give her mother the option to move had been her priority. Instead of trying to break into the industry as a poorly paid junior, Ella had gone for better-paid jobs. But this morning, sitting in a boutique Rome employment agency, Ella realised she could perhaps focus on herself.

‘Sorry.’ Claudia gave a helpless shrug and as Ella went to thank her, she halted her. ‘One moment. We have a client, Corretti Media—they are in Sicily—Palermo. Have you heard of them?’

‘A bit.’ Ella was obsessed with the industry. ‘They’ve done well with a few blockbusters recently.’

‘Alessandro is the CEO, and there is Santo—he’s a film producer.’

‘I have heard of him.’ Ella said, though chose not to add that it wasn’t his producing skills he was famous for—more his scandalous ways. Still, Claudia seemed quite happy to discuss them.

‘He goes through a lot of PAs!’ Claudia rolled her eyes as she pulled up the file. ‘Yes, it is Santo who is looking for someone—you would go with him when he is on location. You would need an open mind though—he is always getting into trouble and he has quite a reputation with women.’

Ella didn’t care about his reputation, just the thought of being on location. Maybe she could get some experience—at least it would be a start. ‘Perhaps he would be more forgiving of your Italian if I tell him that you are familiar with the industry.’

‘My Italian is improving,’ Ella said.

‘And you’d need to seriously smarten up.’

This time Ella was offended. She was sitting in a very expensive grey suit—one that had been suitable for Parliament, she wanted to point out—but then again, it was three years old and politicians weren’t exactly known for their stand-out fashion.

‘Santo Corretti expects immaculate.’

Ella forced a smile. ‘Then he’ll get immaculate.’

‘One moment.’

Ella sat as Claudia made the call, trying to quell the excitement that was mounting. Because for the first time she actually wanted a job, wanted it in a way she never had before, though her cheeks did burn a bit when Claudia looked her over and said that yes, she was good-looking. Was honey blonde hair really a prerequisite for this job? Ella wondered as she heard her hair being described.

As it turned out it didn’t matter.

‘Sorry...’ Claudia shook her head. ‘That was his current PA, and though she is very keen to leave, she says there is no point even putting you forward. He is very particular.’

‘Well, thank you for trying.’