Chapter 5 - Part 1

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Felix

For a long time, things hadn't been quite the same between Gio and Felix after their falling out. Felix's mom had been right about hard times bringing people together. Gio had been there just like everyone else during one of the hardest times of Felix's life. Then when Gio had gone through something eerily similar, Felix could tell Gio felt as if only Felix understood what he was going through. Though Felix was very close to all of his 5th Street partners and longtime friends, he now had a special bond with Gio and Bianca.

He stood at the front entrance of 5th Street with Gio, who was talking to him as his restless little boy squirmed in his arms. With Gio's pretty boy looks—something they'd always teased him about—it wasn't surprising he was the one most asked to sit in to do the sports commentary on the news.

That's where he'd been today and had only stopped by to pick up some paperwork.

"Almost, G." Gio said to his son, who was beginning to whine. "He fell asleep on the way over here and was sound asleep when we got here." He frowned. "I knew I shouldn't have brought him, but he wanted to come and I hadn't seen him all day."

Felix smiled at the little boy's big watery green eyes. "What happened, champ? Daddy woke you up?" Little G stared at him for a second before laying his head down on Gio's shoulder. Felix noticed he wasn't wearing his hearing aid. "He doesn't have to wear the . . .?" Felix pointed at his own ear. "Anymore?"

Gio shook his head with a smile, kissing his son on the head. "He still does on the other ear. Remember I told you they were never sure he actually needed the left? Well, after some more testing, they finally cleared him to get rid of it. But they said he'll likely always need the other one." He shrugged. "After everything we went through with him, I wouldn't even care if he had to wear them both forever. I'm just glad everything else is fine now."

"I hear you," Felix said, nodding.

"Have you seen Abel's moose?"

Felix laughed. "Yeah, I did the other night."

"That little dude's a monster." Gio laughed.

"I know. Nellie said he was almost twelve pounds when he was born!"

Gio laughed some more. "Bianca said she doesn't know how Nellie did it."

They talked for a little longer before Gio said he had to get going because it was getting too cold for G. "Tell Nino bye," Gio said gently to his little boy.

The little guy didn't even lift his head off Gio's shoulder, but he did wave. Felix leaned in and kissed his warm little cheek. "Yeah, get him inside. It is getting chilly out here."

Hector, Charlee, and Drew walked out just as Gio walked in. The girls fawned over his son for a bit before they let him go in and met Felix outside.

"I called Barros just now," Hector said, "so they could clear that back room for us or we won't get any breathing room with you there."

Felix nodded. "And they were okay with that on such short notice?"

Hector gave him a look. "I told them you were coming. What do you think they said?"

Felix laughed. No matter how long he lived this lifestyle, that treatment would never stop feeling weird. It was why his twin younger brothers had rejected the lifestyle early on. The two preferred complete anonymity. Last year, on their birthday, Felix gave them a lifelong dream-come-true gift. The two adventure seekers often talked about trying out for the reality show "The Amazing Race," but because of the whole-wanting-to-stay-anonymous thing, they never did. So last year Felix sent them on an adventure of a lifetime: a trip around the world that could start and end wherever and whenever they chose. He'd known for years he wanted to do it for them someday, but he'd waited until his sister was old enough to keep his mom company. A few months later, his brothers were gone, but there was one stipulation. They needed to check in with their mom at least once a week. So far so good and it didn't look as if either would be returning any time soon. Last Felix heard they were piranha fishing somewhere in the rain forests of Brazil.

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