CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

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My biological family had soured my day. I knew soon my family would worsen everything. Zion had his hand on my knee as we drove back towards my house. We were all quiet except for Cisco who played a game on his father's phone. I kept looking straight ahead, scared to see the looks that the people in the car were giving me.

"When we get there, I want you to go directly to your room and wait for me. I'll handle your family," Zion said. His grip on my knee tightened. I looked over at him and observed the way his brows furrowed and the downturn at the visible corner of his mouth. He turned to me, waiting for an answer.

"I don't want you to fight my battle," I told him. I did not want pity.

"You already fought a battle today let me take care of this one." Zion spoke to me delicately. It was like he was afraid I would break at any second. I nodded knowing that I was only a moment away from falling apart.

We arrived at my apartment after navigating the traffic-filled streets. When we parked, I got out and waited for everyone to walk up the stairs and then walked followed behind. Zion was marching his way you my apartment and forcefully. Nala walked inside right behind Zion while Joelle waited for me to walk past. Cisco secured in her arms.

My family lounged on the furniture like they owned the place. They dressed impeccably, all of them wearing black suits. Eon, Caspian, and Sonny stared them down from the kitchen where they waited. The only person who was uneasy was my mother who shifted under the gaze of my chosen family.

Eon stared at me and nodded. It was awkward; We were establishing new norms for our relationship. He still cared, which was all that mattered. Caspian had his eye on my brother, Kenya, who was laughing at something on his phone. He had always had an arrogant attitude that rubbed the wrong way. I stayed in the background but did not leave to go to my room like I had agreed to.

"Okay, so now that you people have invited yourself over and ruined my boyfriend's day what do you have to say so I can say no to it and you can leave?" Zion did not meet their eyes instead he stared over their heads. That made my father grimace.

"We just came here to talk to you," Kenya said.

"For what," Joelle asked. Cisco looked at my family with no expression while the woman who held him defended me.

"Did I ask for you to talk?" Kenya shouted, making me flinch.

"Watch how you talk to her." Sonny stepped in front of Joelle. Kenya looked angry but remained silent. He was dumb but not dumb enough to take on a whole group. I looked over to my father who stared at Zion like he was a trophy.

"How about we all calm down? There's no need to get loud or violent. This is a joyous occasion. I'm meeting my son's boyfriend for the first time." My father crossed his legs and leaned further into the couch.

"He's where he should be, away from you fucking terrorist." Eon had begun in English but slipped into Korean.

"Hush with all of that cussing," my grandmother said, speaking for the first time.

"Look old lady don't hush anyone in here. Don't even think about talking back to me I'm giving you a pass because you're a senior citizen but don't push it," Nala said.

"All right everyone, let's just get this over with without having to call the police or the ambulance." Zion mediated.

"Yeah so about this deal," my father said ready to get down to business that would not happen.

"Do you realize I'm gay also right? You can't get anything from me until you do right by your son who shut down at the thought of seeing y'all. You invited yourself into his house then act like he owes you something. If I was him, it wouldn't have gotten this far the night y'all would have done the shit you did to him to me you would have died." Zion tuned to me before looking at my family once again.

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