“Gather around, gentlemen. Gather around,” Nick dealt out cards as the brothers and Art gathered for their poker game. “This is New York style poker. If you ain’t got the goods, please take your ass home and let the big boys play.”
“I got your big boy right here,” Tony added as he perused his cards, “one month of shave, mani and pedi, and cut.”
“What?” Joey sat back and the others looked at Tony, astonished. “Someone ain’t playing tonight!”
“I’m feeling myself, I’m feeling myself.” Tony replied. “What’s up? Put up or shut up.”
“Okay, I got you four tickets to any Broadway play,” Joey added. “Let’s go!”
“No waiting list to any restaurant in New York,” Eli quietly replied and the others sat back in their chairs. “Yeah, this reality show bullshit came in handy.”
“Two months of Sunday dinners,” Nick added and everyone knew he was serious. It was no secret Nick threw down in the kitchen. “Yeah, I’m not fucking around tonight.”
“I got you one month of maid service and an additional month of child care,” Kieran placed his bet. “Top that.”
“A trip to Italy for an entire week,” Art added and all of the brothers fell silent. “Daddy’s home.”
“So how is everything going, Brother Eli?” Nick began as he studied his cards. “It seems awfully quiet on your part.”
“Everything’s going great.” He smiled. “The baby’s keeping us up but that’s to be expected. But no complaints here.”
“That’s all good but I think he means the other thing,” Joey chimed in. “She Who Shall Not Be Named with a Lifelong Package That Should Not Be Discussed.”
“You can go ahead and say their names. They’re not lepers.” Eli defended.
“Any news on that?” Kieran asked. “Last time I heard anything, you wanted a DNA test.”
“I did ask for one several times.” Eli tossed out two cards. “She’s slow going on it.”
“Slow going?” Art repeated. “She doesn’t want the test?”
“I don’t know what she wants. First, she wanted just me to be involved in Elena’s life. Then, when I went to visit her in Houston, she tried to fuck me…”
“What?” Joey laughed. “She still want that old thing back?”
“I have no idea what the hell is going on,” Eli shook his head. “So I told Ma about it and she was the one that demanded the DNA test.”
“Well, Mom’s about that money.” Nick added. “She ain’t trying to give it away.”
“Damn straight!” Joey scoffed. “After all the shit I went through to make sure our great-great-great-great grandchildren will be set for life? Bullshit that bitch is getting our money!”
“Hmmph…” Tony harrumphed.
Kieran looked over to his brother. “Speak now or forever hold your peace.”
“Am I the only one seeing any of this?” Tony asked.
“Seeing what?” Eli questioned. “Fool, I have no idea what the hell you’re talking about.”
“Are you for real?” Tony moved his cards around. “Wow…”
“Tony, I really don’t…” Eli began.
“Simone and Faye got pregnant around the same time, bro. If I remember correctly, the time between Faye and Darren breaking up and her reconciling with you were only a matter of days.” Tony added.
Eli settled his cards down and took a long swig of beer. “You just need to hurry up and say it.”
“Say what you’re already thinking and feeling?” Tony questioned. “Say what everyone else in the room is probably wondering? You don’t want me to say it or anyone else because if we do, it means the possibility is there and let’s be real for a moment, Eli, can we? Let’s be real for just one moment – while you hope Faye can forgive the fact you might have an outside child, you and I both know…hell, everyone in this room know, that there is no way in hell you’d be able to forgive an outside child by her.”
“Dude, you don’t think I haven’t thought of that?” Eli replied. “You don’t think I look at E.J. and wonder if he’s truly mine? You honestly think I’m just going around with my head in the clouds?”
“You’ve been pretty vocal about Simone, bro,” Nick chimed in as the others agreed, “we didn’t know what to think.”
“Simone coming back is funny as all hell and anyone can see that,” Eli acknowledged, “but it doesn’t take away from the elephant in the room known as my wife and her little friendship with the quarterback.”
“You said it yourself Faye started talking to Darren again while she was pregnant with E.J. Why else would a married pregnant woman, committed to working on her marriage, would be in contact with her ex-boyfriend during that time?” Kieran asked.
“They have a point, Eli.” Nick added. “It is suspect.”
“I’m just saying…” Tony placed his bet. “…if Elena is getting a DNA test, so should E.J.”
Wouldn’t that be something if Eli was the father of Elena but not E.J.? *smile*
Love is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords. Soon to Kobo, and selected local libraries. Print version coming soon to Amazon.
& War…the follow-up to this will be out sometime this year. (I’m purposely not announcing the release date but it’s sooner than you think.)