Late Night

Zane

Halfway through present time where the family watch each other open up Grams’s gifts to us and my little cousin, Sam, was Santa – red had and fluffy white ball and everything I got a text. I never looked at the message while we were doing the family thing. Whoever it was knew I was busy. Either that or it wasn’t overly important as only one message came through. Probably just one of those stupid alerts I signed up for and never bother to unsubscribe.

The party was in full alcoholic swing when I stepped out the balcony to take a look at the text. It was colder up here but I was out of the wind and the cold air was refreshing, at least it hadn’t snowed anymore and it was clean of all the fluffy wide mess. But I didn’t get a chance to look at my phone when the door opened again and my father stepped out handing me my coat and after I pulled it on a Jack and Coke. “I figured you could use it out here too.”

My father took out a cigar and his lighter and started puffing away. “Don’t mind me son. I need a little time alone.”

“Me too. We aren’t exactly alone.” I chuckled.

“This is true. But we could be left in our thoughts. I’m man enough to know you wanted alone time. I wanted this cigar. I’m not out here to press you or question you. It’s your life.”

“I know it is. Why did you say that?” I asked tucking my phone back in my pocket to keep my hands warm. Holding the icey liquid only made it worse but Dad had been right it was warming as it went down.

“Jennifer called last night after you dropped her off.”

“Okay.” I said. “What she say?”

He laughed abruptly and sighed. “She asked me if you were even interested in girls.” He shook his head. “Jennifer told me that she’d played up being drunk so you’d take her home early. Which had worked well, except even after she got you home, you refused to see she was fine. Also mentioned you were more interested in the bartender than her.”

“She said that now?” I asked.

He nodded. “Yes son. I told her you were interested in women, that men was only a phase, just something you played with but weren’t serious with. But Zack let slip who you’d been, who left all those…” He gestured at me and stopped speaking for a moment and starred out over Queens. “It’s your life Zane. I can’t live it for you. Your mother can’t live it for you. I would hope I’m progressive enough to see that an alternate lifestyle would make my son happy. And grandkids can still happen.” My father looked at me then, his brown eyes darker than usual in the shadows of the balcony. “Grandkids are your mother’s dream, son. Please don’t give up on that one.”

I laughed. “I won’t Dad. I want kids. Not now mind you. But I want them. There is still plenty of time.”

“This man?” My father asked. “Is it serious, Zane?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“What’s his family like?”

“You know them actually. Daniel Vega and Chef Marco.” The words slipped out before my head wrapped around what I was saying. My head snapped to my father to guage his reaction, but he was staring out at the view puffing on his cigar.

“Daniel’s son? I knew they’d adopted though I didn’t know he was back in town.”

“Where did he go?” I was curious.

“Last I’d heard he was backpacking across Europe on whatever money he could make.”

Angel had mentioned that, but that wasn’t really my concern at the moment. “You knew Daniel liked men? Had a kid?”

“It’s my job to know things. Morris knows too. We let Daniel’s charade go on it’s better for the clients. And they don’t see the things we see. I should have known it was Chef Marco. Why Daniel introduced us all to Fiore.”

“What about his date?”

My dad laughed. “Ms. Angelina is all well and good cover for those who don’t know Daniel. Perfect image of Spanish beauty, but you saw her dancing with the bartender. She was more interested in him, than she ever was in Daniel.”

I rolled my eyes. “The bartender was a student of Angelina’s and Daniel’s son.”

“That was Daniel’s son?”

I nodded. “Yes, sir. His name is Angel. And he’s studying to be a chef like his dad. I don’t know why he thinks he has to study to be a chef, he’s a good chef already.”

“You’ve dined with him before?”

“Yeah. He’s been the head chef at Fiore when Finn, Drew and I have our weekly meeting. And breakfast… You really aren’t mad about any of this?”

My father shook his head and took a puff on his cigar. He turned to look at me with a level gaze. “You make me proud everyday son. I know I don’t say it enough. We don’t want you to waste your time on foolish parental whims. If he makes you happy then we’ll be happy, but we still want grandkids.” He smiled.

“Alright Dad, I got the picture.” I pulled out my phone and finaly looked at the text message

Angel: Just wishing you a Merry Christmas Eve from the kitchen of Fiore. Remember Santa is always watching.

You are working tonight?

I tucked my phone back in after sending the text. I didn’t expect an answer right away if he was working.

My father asked, “What is Angel up to?” The look on my face must have been surprise because my dad chuckled. “You lit up at the text. It had to be him. Finn and Drew don’t make you that happy.”

“Working Fiore I guess.” I said.

A response came back and I read it quickly.

Angel: Yeah, so Babbo can be with the family.

I added to my previous answer, “He’s covering for Chef Marco so he can be with family tonight.”

“We are done here. Go see him. Tomorrow will be busy for everyone I’m sure.”

I nodded. “I wasn’t supposed to tell you about Daniel.”

“I won’t say anything, son. I haven’t for years.”

“Good. I’m an idiot.”

My father patted my back as I walked past him. “Not an idiot, just in love.”

I wasn’t in love. But I sent a text anyway despite my recoiling at my father’s words.

Want some company?

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