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|Uncover Me(Men of Inked #6) by Chelle Bliss|
“Hear, hear,” we echoed, clinking glasses with the people closest to us. Then we sipped champagne, talking quietly until we couldn’t eat anymore.
After putting my napkin over my plate, I leaned back and rubbed my stomach. Somehow, Suzy was still eating. I watched forkful after forkful in astonishment.
“She’s growing a Gallo in there,” Joe said, rubbing her belly.
“So, what about you, Thomas? Were you seeing anyone?” James asked, throwing me for a loop.
“Oh, tell us,” Izzy begged, resting her head in her hand and batting her eyelashes.
Fuck. I made a mental note to punch James in the face or the junk.
I sighed, raking my hand through my hair and then dragging it down across my face. I want to kill him with my own bare hands. “Well, it’s complicated.” I turned to James and mouthed, “Fucker,” to which he smiled.
“Isn’t love always?” Anthony groaned before taking another sip of champagne.
“Shush it,” Izzy hissed, throwing another piece of bread at him.
Ma quickly reached across the table and grabbed the remaining bread from Izzy’s plate, her mouth set in a straight line. “Continue, baby.”
“I did meet someone. She’s amazing.” I bit my lip, not sure how much of the story I should divulge.
“Where is she now?” Pop asked, placing his napkin on the table and resting on his elbows.
“She’s at my place.”
“Why?” Ma looked confused by my statement.
“I didn’t want to scare her right away.” I sighed, knowing I’d just opened a giant can of “what the fuck,” Gallo-style.
“What the fuck!” Izzy yelled.
Yep, there it is. “She wanted to let me spend time with my family without her today. She’s resting since we got home late last night. I didn’t want to overwhelm her.”
“We’re not overwhelming. We’re loveable,” Suzy said, hiccupping as she scraped her plate clean.
“She’s not used to a family like ours.”
“What type would that be?” Pop asked, crooking an eyebrow at me.
“Pop, she has no one. No parents. No one. So yeah, we’d be overwhelming.”
Ma gasped, covering her mouth with her hand. “No one?” she asked, shaking her head.
“I couldn’t leave her behind. I love her too much. She kept me sane.”
“She can take all the time in the world, baby.”
“Thanks, Ma.” I smiled, hoping it was over, but I’d thought wrong.
“What’s her name?” Joe asked.
“Angel.” I smiled, happy that I’d used the right name.
“Angel sounds tough. We could use another tough chick around this table.”
“Bitch be trippin’,” Anthony mumbled, and was quickly slapped in the back of the head by Joe. “Ma, you’re going to let him treat me like that? He’s hit me at least twice at the table.”
“Yeah, honey. You deserved it, though.” She smiled.
“What’s Angel do?” Suzy asked, taking a sip of water.
“She’s going to go to school,” I blurted out, because for fuck’s sake, we hadn’t even discussed her plans.
“I can’t believe they let you bring her with you, son. Isn’t that risky?” Pop said, eyeing me with curiosity.
“Yeah. They declined my request to speak with her. I quit on the spot and went to her. She came with me blindly, Pop. She has no one on this earth but me. How could I not bring her with me?”
“Do you love her?” Ma asked, her devilish smile reaching her eyes.
“Yes,” I replied, shocked at how easy I could spill my guts to my family.
“You can’t go wrong by following your heart, Thomas. You’ve always been a good judge of character. If you think she’s the one and worth the risk, I’ll trust in your decision.” Her smile grew wider. “Plus, that means more babies!”
“Jesus,” I groaned. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Ma. One step at a time.”
“Bring her next time. I really want to meet her.”
I nodded, hoping that she’d be ready to face the group next weekend.
“But we’ll wait.”
“Wait for what?” Mike asked as he and Mia walked back in and took their seats. Their faces were flushed, like they’d just had a good workout.
“Work things out?” Suzy asked, giggling and shooting Mia a look.
“We’ve agreed to disagree,” Mike answered, and cleared his throat.
“I’m sure you did.” Suzy chortled, unable to control herself.
Mia just blushed, keeping her eyes downcast as she picked up her fork and began to eat again. “I’m famished,” she said between bites.
“I’m sure you worked up quite an appetite,” Joe responded, and as soon as the words left his mouth, Suzy hit him in the chest. He didn’t budge, but he stared at her hand like it was a bothersome fly. “Sugar, hit me again and see what happens.”
“That right there is sexy,” she said, batting her eyelashes before hauling off and punching him in the shoulder.
He caught her wrist, holding it in front of his body. “I warned ya.”
“I’m getting tired, Joey. Will you help me lie down upstairs?” she asked, a small grin on her lips.
“I’ll be right back. Let me help Suzy upstairs.”