I do not own Hetalia okay? Now that the work season is over, I might be able to get more updated. Anyway, don't have much else to say here, so enough of this A/N, on with the fic!
"Enzo, my best friend," Julius said as he dragged Alfred into the tailor shop while Feliciano held the door for him. "I have a favor to ask of you."
"Ah, Julius! My best customer, what do we have here?" Enzo added with disgust looking at Alfred's farmer attire.
"Hey, I didn't have anything else, Julius here took me from my farm to his place and well, yeah I didn't bring a change of clothes..." Alfred said defensively.
"Even if you did, I doubt anything except maybe your old dress uniform would be suitable for where you are going tonight." Julius said proudly.
"Oooooooooh," Enzo smiled, "And just were is this fine Americano going?"
"He's taking my cousins Felicia and Lovina to the opera!" Felicano added, wanting to be included in the conversation.
"oooooooh." Enzo smiled as he pulled out a tape measure. "Let's make sure that we have this man looking fabulous for your granddaughters..." He paused and looked over at Julius. "When is this guy taking those young ladies out?"
"Tonight." Julius said proudly.
"Tonight!" Enzo panicked. "I certainly don't have the time to finish all the work by tonight. Maybe in a few days, sure, but tonight?"
"Well," Julius began, sending a chill through the air with his tone and look that scared even Alfred. He looked over and saw Felicano looking happily at some of the artwork on the walls. How can he stand that? Is he used to it because it's his grandfather or just oblivious? I'd rather deal with a coyote with an empty shotgun near a newborn calf... "You must have something for Alfred so he doesn't look like a poor dirt farmer." Alfred looked over at this, noticing there was some disdain in that tone. "I promised Felicia and Lovina a handsome escort tonight and I will deliver. Their cousins can't do it. I wouldn't trust Feliciano to protect them and Lovino is on a run tonight."
"Do not panic!" Enzo said. "I have a few suits that are already made. Let me just do a few measurements and I'll find something that suits this handsome young man just fine." He said as he walked behind a rack of suits and looked at what was in stock in the back room. "And of course Julius, it is on your tab. You do not have to worry about paying a thing."
"Oh, you are too good Enzo." Julius smiled as Alfred looked down at Enzo who measured various parts of Alfred's body without saying much of anything.
"Which way do you hang?" Enzo said as he looked up at Alfred while measuring his inseam.
"Excuse me?" Alfred asked.
"When you are buck naked, which way does your dick sit?" He rolled his eyes, as if Alfred was stupid for asking it.
"Ummmm..." Alfred said, not ever recalling ever being asked this. "I never really thought about it..." Alfred then widened his eyes. "Dude!"
"Found it." Enzo sighed. "Seriously, if you get more bespoke clothing, you will need to know this. No need to be such a Puritan about it." he scoffed.
"I think I have a few Puritan ancestors...I think we do go back all the way to Plymouth rock..." Alfred noted.
"Good for you." Enzo sighed. He finished his notes and looked up. "You have the measurements of a very athletic young man. Strong but not overly muscular." He whipped the measuring tape over his shoulder and headed to the back room."
"I trust you will find Alfredo something wonderful that will make my granddaughters fall head over heels in love with him." Julius smiled. Enzo smiled back and nodded. He then headed to the back office where he had most of his inventory that was to be pre-made for his shop so those who did not want a bespoke suit could buy it and move along his way. Things were changing, fashion was becoming something people just wanted to buy and go home. Not very many people had wanted something unique just for them.
"Yeah if I can unload some of this in exchange for no protection money this month, I might be able to get caught up on a few things..." Enzo muttered to himself as he looked at some of what was already made and the measurements he had noted down. "That boy has very blue eyes," He said as he pulled down a blue and white pin-striped suit. "Go with that." he said as he found a few others as well. "Of course, black is classic." He added. "Good thing it's mid spring, won't need a thick jacket, but a hat," He added grabbing a white fedora with a blue band. "There, he will look like a million dollars and Julius will have one of his granddaughters go so crazy in love that he will get him in the fold..." Enzo said. He may have been a tailor but could read people well. While normally he used this gift for getting good sales and matching men up with the perfect suit, he was able to use to to read Julius, who often thought himself as unreadable. He never said a thing, but he knew Julius's motives to everything. He did not care what happened, as long as he kept his shop running and did not drag him into his bigger schemes beyond just happening to be the man's tailor. He knew that one day that Roman's luck was going to run out. When, he didn't know but he knew Prohibition could not last, and that the government would do whatever they could to bring men like him in. It was all a matter of time. "Back to business." He told himself as he headed out and put the blue suit in Alfred's hands. "Try this on Yankee doodle." He smiled. "It will bring out your eyes with your bright hair."
"Sure..." Alfred said awkwardly. Heading to the dressing room that Enzo pointed out, he changed out of his overalls and shirt and into the outfit. "Hey this isn't half bad..."
"I knew it." Enzo smiled as he turned to Julius. "If this doesn't woo your granddaughters, there's no hope for them except flower painting."
"Well, you know where to reach me when Alfred's suits are done, and as for this, well I won't charge you this month for our services." Julius said.
"Thank you for your generosity." Enzo said as Julius, Felicano and Alfred headed out of the tailor shop.
"Wait my other clothes..." Alfred began.
"We'll just give them to the thrift shop." Julius said. "You're in with a much better crowd than mere bovines." Alfred looked worried up at Julius. "Don't worry, your cows are fine. Your regular customers are happy and no harm is done. And we are funneling your payment for letting us use the farm right to the bank. In no time, you will not have to worry about that burdensome mortgage anymore."
"Uhhhhhhh thanks..." Alfred said. He didn't know if he could trust Julius's word or not on the matter but he also did not seem like a man who wanted to have that very word questioned. Just keep your head down Jones and do what your told. That's how you survived the war so far.
"It's nothing my dear." Julius smiled back. "But now we head back and let the girls know you're taking them to see Carmen tonight. It's one of the few things in this world Lovina actually likes..."
"What about Felicia?" Alfred asked.
"She's in love with all art forms, she's not picky." Julius said.
Arthur stopped by the thrift shop the way home from his job. His brothers were working long shifts at the meat packing plants and railways and Dylan had needed a new set of overalls to work on some of the train cars after his were torn up. Arthur had tried to mend them but it was too far gone for him to save. Shopping at a thrift shop, in here of all places... Arthur sighed with disgust. "But I guess it's something. And in his section of town..." Arthur growled. He had been working on connections with breweries that had either moved to other items like cheese products like they had during the war or trying to find other ways to keep their operations going. However, it had not been going too well. He had never pulled out that Wulver that Alba had called him from his war days. I do not want to stoop to Julius's level. I want some insurance other than buying the officials. Not like I could now anyway. At this, a young woman came out with some of the new arrivals of clothes and hung them out on the racks. He turned around, knowing this woman. "Amelia?" He asked.
"Oh, Arthur." She said shocked. "I did not expect to meet you here. You seemed like you could pick up the pieces from what the Volstead act did to you and your brother's pub."
"We tried." Arthur sighed. "And well, if I am shopping here..." He began. "Well, I see there's some overalls, Dylan needs a new pair."
"I hope he doesn't mind them smelling like cow." Amelia cracked a feeble joke. She was a waitress at the Kirkland family pub before it had gone under. She also had worked as a cook to help supplement the menu. She was excellent with deviled eggs and little burgers to go with the people drinking. However when people could no longer get alcohol, Arthur had to make some tough decisions, one of which after a few rough months of the food not being enough to bring in people, was to let her go. When he did so, he tried to make some food himself to sell, but it drove the customers away in droves.
"I think he will be fine if there is no hole in the backside that cannot be repaired." Arthur laughed.
"Things aren't going so well." Amelia sighed, looking right through the British man's feeble joke.
"No. Not bloody well at all." Arthur confessed. "But my brothers and I have a plan."
"Take on Julius?" Amelia joked. Laughing she looked at Arthur who was not. "You're mad!"
"Maybe." Arthur said, voice dropping to a whisper. "Look if that Goombah can make a fortune bringing in booze from Canada, why can't I use my charm and wit to make deals and do it myself with my brother's help?"
"Wow, you really don't like him, do you?" Amelia said. "He does more than sell booze. Yeah it helps to fuel his empire, but he does run other things. He has brothels, gambling, smoke shops and has his goons run protection on many of the businesses here. But he's also not horrible. He helps sponsor this thrift shop and it was what gave me a chance after I had that scare..." Amelia sighed.
"I'm sorry." Arthur said.
"It's no matter." Amelia said, "It was a stillborn but the damage had been done. At least I am not working in one of the brothels."
"Good honest work you have." Arthur assured her. "Even if it pays a pittance."
"Are you telling yourself that?" Amelia said.
"My dear poppet, you can read me so well." He laughed. He looked into her blue eyes and she into his green. They blushed, coughed and looked away.
"It's not so bad. I have some free time in the evenings." Amelia said. "I was able to save up some extra money and buy a Saxophone. There's a jazz band from New Orleans who live in the apartment near mine that taught me how to play. And that Cajun cooking they make...well, it's certainly spicy."
"You don't say..." Arthur said. "Well I don't want to take up too much of your time, so I will take the cow scented overalls and if Dylan says anything, he can buy them himself." Arthur sighed as he pulled out his wallet for the money he was going to need for this. He looked over at Amelia who had placed the other clothing she was going to have to put out and sighed. She had gotten herself into a bad spot with someone, she would never say who after the pub had to close and ended up here. He felt the pain too well. She was someone he had grown to like as a friend, seeing her as a sister. Having to see her in a similar state as he pained him.
"Well, I do get to vote for the President this November." Amelia smiled. "So that's something."
"You always try to find the bright side of things." Arthur noted. Looking around he turned to her after he made sure no one was listening. "If mine and my brother's plans work out, I want to give you a good job. Or something. I want to help you out."
"Sure. If you ever get your shenanigans to a level where you can support yourself, I'd love to help you out." Amelia whispered. "You know where I'll be." She then took a note pad and wrote down her address. "Here. If you ever wish to write or speak to me personally. I really miss you Arthur."
"As do I Amelia." He said as he paid for the overalls and left. "Huh, someone's initials are still sewn in here. Kind of badly," Arthur commented. "Looks like he just embroidered them. 'AFJ' huh..." he noted. "Must have been a dairy farmer. Only way a pair of overalls can smell that much like cow." with that comment he headed back to the small apartment he shared with his brothers. He now had another motivation to take on Julius and beat him at his own game. He wanted to give Amelia a good life. A good chance to make something for herself. He knew she could cook food that people wanted and that she was a hard worker. But to see her like him pained him so. "Prohibition be damned, Julius be damned, I am speaking with the head of that brewery on the North side. And this time, I won't be nice." He said shutting the door behind him to find Dylan sitting on the couch reading a book. "Here, I got you some new overalls. Let me know if I need to take it in or shorten the legs. That AFJ who owned it first seems to be taller than you."
"They smell like cow." Dylan said as the overalls fell on his face.
"They're the best we can afford." Arthur said.
"I get it." Dylan said. "Keep your Wulver back." Arthur looked back at him. "Alba told me of your guys' service in the war..."
"Don't you forget it." Arthur said as he headed to the bedroom, hoping for a nap before he was forced to share with Patrick again. "I need a nap."
So how was that? Good? Bad? Short? Long? Let me know in a review. The flower paintings is referring to Georgia O keefe who is well known as a lesbian painter who had in the 1920 painted flowers that often compared to female organs. Enzo the tailor is one I had gotten the name idea for from the Venture Bros. Goombah is an old slur for Italian Americans who were thought to be thugs or mafia. And thrift stores were common in lower class neighborhoods back in the 1920s, but it was seen as shameful to have to shop there. You were really down on your luck then. And yes some breweries made cheese during the Volstead act. Pabst Blue Ribbon being one. Found that while reading the menu for the speakeasy at the Mob Museum in Vegas. Plan on heading out there this summer and it looks pretty interesting. It's a bar that is like if you went to a 1920s Speakeasy. I'd recommend it if you are 21 and over. (Stupid 80s drinking law increase...) Anyway, historical fun facts aside, remember to read, well you just did, and review. Ciao for now,