For the next two days I didn’t think about the trip. I thought a lot about what had happened after Zane told me I was going. The way he said it made and the way it made me feel, the amazing sex afterwards was on my mind. I planned with my father the logistics of it. He had his secretary handling most of it – plane, residency, cars all that stuff. Mark was the only in the firm that new Daniel had a son. How the man kept things secret I didn’t know – maybe he hadn’t, maybe he was the reason Steven Kennedy knew of my family’s little secret.
Mark was one of those gay men that made all gay men look bad. He was professional but he work pastels. He spoke with the flip of his hand. He spoke higher than a normal guy. He was your stereotypical gay man, and a horrible flirt. I liked Mark except for his ability to grate on my every last nerve so talking with him to plan this trip was not my favorite thing, but we got through it.
Saturday came and both Zane and I were in our own little worlds. His mother was meeting me for the first time, and my father was meeting Zane’s family for the first time. Thankfully I had plenty to keep me busy. I should have gone with my best dishes that I already knew how to make and had perfected. No instead I was using this oppurtunity to put an entire fusion meal together. Italian appetizers with an oriental flair. An Indian flavoured soup for the second course. The entree was a Mexican take on fish and chips. Desert was my tribute to Zane, a homemade icecream filled crepe with a berry drizzle. Everything made from scratch that day. I’d been up for hours. Everything was except for a quick warming to finish the cooking and heat it all up, since I was required to actually eat with everyone instead of eating in the kitchen like we normally did so I could still cook.
This was a big day. I changed two or three times before Zane wrapped his arms around me. “You look fine. You are making me nervous.” He said into my ear. “What happened to my cocky boyfriend who likes the center of attention?”
I grinned as I turned around in his arms. “He’s meeting your mother.”
“My mother is a pussy cat.”
I laughed. “That’s what scares me. They have claws and teeth when they don’t like something.” I sighed, “I can’t give her grand children.”
Zane pressed a kiss to my lips and I hummed against his. He pulled away leaving me breathless. “She’ll get what she wants, but I’m keeping you.”
I ducked my head and pressed my face into the side of Zane’s neck.
“God, I love when you do that.”
I pressed a kiss to his collar bone and then looked up into his baby blues. The three little words sat at the tip of my tongue but… Zane grinned at me and pressed a kiss to my cheek. “I know. Me too.”
There was a knock at the door. Joe hadn’t called up to warn us. So we had no idea who was at the door. Zane tugged me out of the bedroom and shut the door behind us. “You can’t go back in there.”
“But…” I started to say something but Zane was pressing his finger to my lips giving me that look.
I kissed his finger and he smiled. He grabbed my hand and we answered the door together. Mr. Kennedy was about to knock again when the door opened and his hand fell to his side. Zane squeezed my hand and I took a deep breath and fell into host mode. I could be anxious at work, I had had to learn how to corral all those emotions, and that’s what I did now. I put on the fake bright smile and offered my hand. “Mr. Kennedy. Thanks for coming.”
Zane chortled off to the side where he held the door. I winked at my boyfriend then welcomed our guests in. “Come on in.” Mrs. Kennedy was serveral inches shorter than me but there was no mistaking those blue eyes for anyone else. I grinned at her, “Mrs. Kennedy, it is a great pleasure to meet you.” I greeted her offering my hand as Zane shut the door. She took it gracefully but with a firm handshake but I turned it up and placed a gentle kiss on the third knuckle. I offered her my elbow. “Can I get you some wine?”
I heard Mr. Kennedy laughing, “He’s a charmer.” I didn’t get to hear Zane’s response as I walked his mother into the kitchen and to the dining area. There was a second knock and my heart jumped into my throat. “Excuse me, that’s my parents.”
I pulled the chair out for Mrs. Kennedy and she sat down. I helped her with her chair. “I’ll be back with wine in a few moments.
Zane was already at the door with his father heading towards the kitchen. He was out of sight by the time my father came through the door. My dad sniffed the air and frowned. “Are you hiding your cooking?”
“Yes, sir. It’s a surprise.” I said and hugged both my fathers. I added. “We have other guests this afternoon too.”
Babbo looked at me with a great big smile and headed for the kitchen with Zane. I waved a hand for my father to go first and he looked at me with the ‘you are in trouble’ look. He didn’t know the half of it. He stepped through the door and turned on his heel holding a finger up to scold me. “¿Qué crees que estás haciendo?”
But it was Mr. Kennedy who spoke up. “Leave the boy alone, Daniel. There is absolutely no reason for you to hide in the presense of family.”
I hid the happy feeling that coursed through my veins – family, Zane’s family… The fake happy smile was back to cover my feelings and my father groaned and whispered, “Hablaremos de esto más tarde.”
I nodded, “Yes, sir.” And I knew we would.
My father walked to the table and joined the others. I watched as he greeted everyone with a bright formal smile. He was not relaxed at all. Babbo put a hand on his shoulder and I could see the minute jerk to displace his hand before he relaxed into his touch and I relaxed. Maybe lunch would go well after all.
Zane came into the kitchen, “What’s first, and where can I help?”
I smiled. “The appetizers are in the fridge. You can take them out, I’ll get the wine.”
Zane passed by me and kissed me softly. He muttered as we parted, “This will be okay.”
I nodded and went for the wine color and pulled out the bottle that went with the appetizers. Normally one bottle would go well, but today not so much. Each course had it’s own wine selection. It was all part of the classes I was taking. I knew how to pair wines before, but there was a lot more to it than I had realized. And I learned a few new wines I like. I was still a beer guy.
Zane set the little italian sushi type rolls down in front of each one. Babbo looked up at me as I pour his wine. “You are sharing your creations with us?”
I grinned. “Mr. Kennedy seemed to enjoy them the last time he was here. I figured you might to see some of the things I’ve been working on.”
My dad rubbed his hands together. “Son, do you want me to critisize as your dad or as a fellow chef.”
“Both please.” I smiled then looked around the table. “I don’t expect anyone else to give me their opinions unless you really don’t like it, then I might grill you on why. I want everyone to enjoy the meal it’s not about the food.”
Mr Kennedy laughed, “Of course it’s about the food.” He looked around the table and smiled, “We are the first recpients of the future chef of …” He looked at me, “What name did you decide on?”
I shrugged, “I like Novus.”
Dad nodded, “Latin for new. Interesting choice. Sit down you two and eat.”
I took a sip of my wine and and tried not to let my anxiety show. Zane moved his chair closer and put his hand on my leg under the table patting it gently. I rested my own hand on his and took a deep breath. I could do this.