CHAPTER FOURTEEN

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Immediately aware of the smell of bacon hanging in the air and the sound of meat sizzles in the kitchen area, I woke up. Turning in bed, I reached out for Zion and met the uncomfortable cold emptiness of his side of the bed. My next action was turning for my phone on the ground next to my discarded jeans and saw that it was nine in the morning. Opening my eyes, I looked around the room that was being faintly lit by the sun streaming in from a small opening in the curtains.

I slipped out of bed and looked around for my things that Zion placed near the door before I woke. With my luggage in tow, I walked into the connected bathroom and took a quick shower before dressing in a simple purple shirt, pants, and socks that matched my shirt. After I was clean and dressed, I walked out the room seeing Zion wearing nothing but a pair of briefs that left little to the imagination. He was flipping a slice of french toast with one hand and downing a glass of orange juice with the other slamming the glass on the counter when he noticed my presence.

"Good morning," I said, walking up to him. He smiled down at me. The toast went to a plate full of other slices and he grabbed me when I was close enough.

"When did you get food from," I asked as he placed a crispy piece of bacon to my face. Taking a bite, I hummed with delight at the flavor.

"Angela called me this morning, which made it hard for me to fall back to sleep. It's a shame since I enjoyed holding you all night. Anyway, I went out and got some stuff from the grocery store down the street to make something for both of my boys." He kissed me on my cheek before feeding me a spoonful of well seasoned scrambled eggs.

"Is he up yet," I asked as Zion rested his hands on my waist. His phone rang from where it sat on the counter. Zion looked at the screen and then rolled his eyes.

"It's her again she called like five times. She wants something." He huffed out a long breath that smelled of syrup before he answered the call and placed it on speaker.

"Zion," she yelled. Her voice was deep and slurred. The sound of people in the background. Bass was blasting in the background. She must have still been at a party even though it was close to seven in the morning, her time.

"What do you want, Angela? I Cisco okay." He continued to feed me while he talked.

"Yeah, I think so. I dropped him off with my mom for the rest of the weekend." She sounded exasperated and distorted like she was jumping.

"You asked me to see him and then dropped him off at your mom's house. He wanted to spend time with you." Zion sounded annoyed but kept feeding me a slice of toast.

"I don't want to hear all of that. I called because I got the opportunity to go to Europe for the month with this new guy and he said he doesn't like kids," Angela said as the song hit a crescendo.

"So instead of picking your son over this man who will never like your son, you choose a man. I wish I could say that I'm surprised but you doing the opposite of what you are right now would be a real shock." He stopped feeding me and stared at the phone like he was looking directly at her.

"It's not like that. I just need this trip." The reasoning sounded hollow to me as an outsider which made me wonder how he was processing it.

"Yeah, Angela, it's always about you. Your needs always come before Cisco's. You can't keep walking in and out of his life when you want to." Zion looked at me apologetically. I felt like I was intruding but couldn't get up. There was a long pause before the line went dead. Zion visibly calmed when the call ended.

"Sorry about that I shouldn't be surprised by her but I always am. Anyway, how would you feel about going to a party tonight? My buddy Salazar is having a second one tonight and asked me to come through. And some dudes on the team want to meet you." He helped me off the counter, and we walked to the couch. I recognized the television had been on the whole time on mute. Sports highlights scrolled on the bottom of the screen while the group of commentators argued about football. He calmed down quickly from the call. He was used to coping and doing it quickly. It was something we had in common.

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