I was exhausted since my last final an hour ago. I found myself lying in bed in my bedroom thinking about a certain set of blue eyes and a kiss that wasn’t a kiss. I wasn’t the only one home. Babbo was in the process of getting ready for work when the phone rang.
I groaned as I got up out of bed. I was hungry too and the thought of going to work on an empty stomach was a bad idea. I heard Babbo hang up and he turned to me in his khakis and mint green button down. His hair was still wet and unstyled. I got some of habits from him and others from Dad.
Babbo smiled at me and held out his arms for a hug. I stepped into his embraced and he pressed a kiss to my both my cheeks before holding me tight. I collapsed into his embrace. Rough day. He noticed, “Va tutto bene?”
“Long day.” I answered. “Just tired. And I have a shift later.”
“Call in sick, I’m sure your boss won’t mind.”
I kissed my father’s cheek and pulled away. “No, I need the money and it’ll keep my mind off things.”
“Something troubling you?” Babbo asked as he stepped into the kitchen and poured coffee into a large cup. He’d used the french press on the stove like a proper coffee should be made. I was a food snob because my father taught me to be one. Coffee made any other way was a fraud. I took the hot cup of coffee and sipped at it and let the warmth of the cup seep into my hand and glide down my throat.
I shrugged. “Boys. Finals. I’m sure break will be good. Then back to the grind. Only a little bit left, then maybe I can afford my own place.”
Babbo laughed. It had always made me smile when he laughed like the man on Lady and the Tramp. It was so cliche but that was my father minus the bouncing. Neither of my father’s had time to workout but neither of them had any extra curves on their bodies. It was genetic or so they said. That and they ate well, though they ate large – even the carbs. “You won’t get paid much at first even with your fancy new degree. You know this.”
I smiled. “I know Babbo. But I’m 22 still living at home. Not exactly …”
He pressed a finger to my lips, “I do not want to know what you need privacy for Angel. Boy trouble? Very unlike you, my boy.”
“Not trouble.” I sipped at my coffe. “Just different. He gave me his number. We had pie.”
“No, more like a I didn’t want to leave.”
“Is that some new metaphore?”
I laughed. “No, Babbo. He came into Fiore like he does every Monday. I cooked for them. Your favorite trio on the Chef’s special.”
“Don’t tell me it’s the blue eyed one, Angel.”
“Did you catch his name?” Babbo asked.
“Yeah, I have his card.” I pulled the slightly rumpled business card from my back pocket where it had found a permanent residence despite the fact his number was in my phone now. I pushed it across the island so my dad could see.
He let out an exaggerated sigh. “You see nothing wrong with the name on the card.”
“Kennedy? Doesn’t ring a bell.”
“Yeah one of Dad’s partners is Kennedy.”
“Angel, that’s his son. Do not tell your father you are fawning over a Kennedy. They don’t know about your father. Don’t know about you, don’t know about me. And your father has no intention of letting them in on his little secret. Why do you think Vega isn’t on your legal papers?”
I sighed. “You are telling me I can’t see him even if I wanted to.”
Babbo picked up the card and brought it over to me and wrapped me in a hug, “Baby boy I would never tell you you can’t see him. But your father won’t be happy. And I love Daniel, but he can be a bit of a stickler when it comes to that precious image of his, specially when things don’t fit.”
“I know.” I sighed. “I can’t stop thinking about him.”
My Babbo pressed a kiss to the side of my forehead and sighed. “To be in love.”
“I’m not in love.”
“Whatever you kids call it these days.” Babbo walked away from me with a smack to my head. “I’ve never seen you like this. Maybe your father will be happy. Though he’d have prefered a nice young girl for you.”
“You really think I’m going to be settling down with some girl?”
He laughed again, like he was missing that bowl full of jelly in his stomach. “No my boy, I wouldn’t. But your father doesn’t know you as well as I do.”
“Oh. Before I forget. I need you to fill in for Shane on Saturday for the firm’s Christmas gala. Shane’s wife went into labor and their first born is in the NICU.”
I nodded. “Alright. I could use the money. Though I hate the monkey suit.”
My father came over to me and took my shirt in his fist and made me stand up. “You will not embarrass your father. Hair will not be dyed. Finger nail polish will be removed and you will not know your father.”
“Yes sir.” I said as I pressed a kiss to my Babbo’s cheek. “I have to get ready for work too. Your hair is a mess.” I ran my fingers through the still damn hair and my father swatted my hand away with a smile.