“No, it’s not,” I said softly, my soul warmed.
He sighed and glanced to where we were walking. “Where are we going?”
“Antonio’s,” I murmured. I lifted the coffee cups in my hands. “I’m going bearing gifts, so when I yell at him for keeping me in the dark for so long, he won’t be grumpy.”
“Ah,” Ezra chuckled, “coffee, so you can bawl him out and he’ll stay silent.” His head tilted back and forth. “Nice tactic.”
“Thank you.” I pointed at Antonio’s tent. “That’s my stop.”
Ezra flicked his cigarette. “Do you mind if I go with you? I have a few questions about my dad I’d like to ask him.”
My lips trembled, and I couldn’t stop the grin. “Too afraid to ask Daddy Zeller?”
Ezra rubbed the back of his neck, but he didn’t flinch from my gaze. “I figured I could have some background information before I actually speak with him.”
My grin didn’t die. Men will be men. “Sure. You can come with me.”
Ezra nodded, looking only vaguely uncomfortable. “Thank you.”
I snorted, trekking the final steps to Antonio’s tent. “Don’t thank me. Thank him — if he rats out your dad.” I glanced at Ezra then at the tent flap I opened. “Good luck on that front.”
The structure to Antonio’s tent was exactly like mine: the same placing of furniture, and the same privacy spells, too. But that’s where the similarity ended. The entire inside was golden, except for a few streaks of black on the edges of his couch, chairs, and rugs. It was like walking into a solid gold bar. I heard Ezra groan in revulsion behind me, but it was like any other Mage ‘home’. I felt halfway comfortable in here as long as I stayed away from anything that seemed to waver or float in the gold. I figured it was safer not to touch if I didn’t know what it was.
Ezra opened the second flap for me, and we walked into the bedroom — also gold.
We both stopped in our tracks.
Staring, our eyes wide, the shock emanated from our statue-like forms.
Air puffed past my lips and my jaw bobbed. “Maybe we should have called first.”
The head of short, black and red hair of the man closest to us popped up from a golden pillow where the man lay on his stomach, his face turned away, his bulging arm lying over Antonio’s muscled chest and crooked at the elbow so his fingers threaded through Antonio’s golden hair. His skin was dark, even compared to Antonio’s bronzed skin, the golden sheet barely covering the two men where they needed to be covered since both were obviously naked, one leg of the man of the darker complexion dangling halfway off the bed.
It was Elder Zeller, Ezra’s dad.
Lying in bed with Antonio, my dad.
Their clothes littered the floor.
Ezra made a choked sound.
Elder Zeller’s head snapped in our direction, his dark eyes blinking sleepily. He woke fully, seeing us standing there. He stilled, not moving a damn muscle, nor breathing, an utterly blank expression on his face.
A half-hysterical chuckle escaped me, and I waved one of the coffee cups. “Good morning.”
Ezra made that noise again.
Lord, just shoot me now, because that was when Antonio stirred. I watched wide-eyed as he stretched, groaning quietly, blinking his eyes open to Cahal. His lips lifted in a sated, tired smile before he ran his hand over Cahal’s arm that lay on his chest, over his shoulder to the side of Cahal’s face, cupping his cheek. “Good morning.” Damn his eyes were sparkling as lovingly as his smile was.
Cahal finally breathed, his chest heaving, still with that blank expression, but ever so gradually he turned his face down to Antonio’s, staring, before rumbling, “Morning.” When Antonio’s hand slid to the back of his head, he bent his head down and flat out kissed Antonio’s lips very softly, a gentle touch — honestly, a bit reverently.
Ezra wobbled next to me.
I called loudly, “That’s what I said.”
I got to watch — for the first time ever — Antonio surprised and flustered.
At the sound of my voice, he jerked, banging his head against Cahal’s — earning a grunt as their faces completely smashed together —then he made it worse by elbowing Cahal’s head down into the pillow in an effort to sit up in bed, fumbling hastily with the sheet to cover Cahal. Then he took his own pillow and shoved it down on top of Cahal’s already blanket-covered head.
Hilarity bubbled, my chest shaking, as Antonio finally peered in our direction, his chest heaving, his cheeks rosy red. His jaw moved…but no sound emitted. I pointed around one of the coffee cups. “You missed his leg.” I waggled my finger. “It’s hanging over the bed.”
Ezra gurgled, turning to the side, his fist to his mouth and his eyes sparkling on me.
“Tony,” Cahal rumbled from under the pillow, the sound muffled, his Vampire growling, “How f**king old are we? Did you seriously just hide me under a damn sheet and pillow?”
Ezra lost it then, slapping a hand on my shoulder, deep, hard chuckles filling the air.
Antonio raised a hand in my direction, cheeks still pink and his chest still heaving. “But…it’s Lil.”
Ezra and I watched the sheet thrash as Cahal tossed the pillow off his head and pulled the sheet down to his waist, rising onto an elbow, his back to us. “And my son!” He waved his hand in agitation. “Last night you said the room was spelled for only Lily, Isa, and me.”
Antonio blinked, and peered over our heads at the tent flap. He stared. His lips twitched before he chuckled softly, shaking his head as he rubbed his forehead. “I gave access to the name Zeller.” He glanced at Cahal, throwing an arm our way. “How the hell was I supposed to know your son was going to come back here?”
Cahal’s Vampire growled, but when Antonio lifted an absent hand, his attention back to me, and flicked Cahal’s forehead, the growling stopped. Antonio brushed Cahal’s cheek once before letting his hand fall slack to the bed, saying, “Lil, do you want to talk about this?” He paused, his worried golden eyes darting over my face. “Are you confused or upset?” He inhaled heavily, his chest lowering and falling, and said rapidly, “This in no way means that I didn’t love your mother. I did. But we were only friends.”
I opened my mouth to say I had known he and my mother hadn’t been an item to begin with, but I stilled when I watched Cahal touch Antonio’s hand, resulting in Antonio’s shoulders relaxing, his quick intakes of air slowing. I closed my mouth slowly, lips pinching as I examined how Antonio’s thumb moved the slightest bit over Cahal’s, gripping it.