• XXXIII •

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I wish I could wake up with a view like that every morning. . . Enjoy the chapter! -May

                  

For dinner, Mom simply throws two frozen pizzas into the stove. The four of us eat pepperoni and supreme slices of pizza and drink water and beer in the living room while chatting and watching TV. Dinner is nothing fancy but is a familiar scene because my parents and I would end up like this at the end of day—eating an unhealthy meal and talking about our work or school day.

The fireplace below the mounted TV creates a calming mood for our conversations and sends a natural glow to all our faces. I end up cuddled in Zeus' arms once we all finish our pizzas and drinks and the plates have been dumped into the sink.

"So, you're only going to be staying tonight, tomorrow night, and Sunday morning?" Mom is curled up on the couch with a quilted blanket pulled up to her shoulders. Dad sits beside her, and has his wife's legs and feet resting on his lap.

Zeus and I are sitting on the floor of the living room in front of the fireplace. "Yeah, not very long, though." I admit, carefully.

"I have work on Monday," Zeus clarifies for my parents, and I send him a grateful look when they aren't looking at us but are instead taking sips of their drinks they kept. Zeus squeezes my hips.

Mom swallows her sip of drink and leans forward to set her beer on the coffee table in front of her. She quickly grabs a coaster and places the can on stop. "What exactly is your job, Zeus? I never got the chance to ask until now." Mom questions while adjusting her blanket back into its spot.

Dad, who hasn't stopped watching Zeus, nods his head in agreement to Mom's question. I internally groan. This lie is going to sound dishonest. Mom and Dad are going to know what's up, ask more questions, and then the truth will slip through our lips! Zeus' entire culture and family will be out in the open for the press to stick their noses in and—

"I own—well, it's been passed down—a minor, unknown hotel business out in the Rocky Mountains. It's becoming rundown, but your daughter has been helping me with changes that'll bring in more guests." I smile up at Zeus; a wave of relief hits me.

"Really?" Dad blurts out, looking shockingly surprised with his gray eyes widened and his mouth parted in an o shape. "How is your income?"

Mom whips her head and glares at her husband and I gasp and hiss, "Dad, stop," under my breath.

But Zeus conquers the questions thrown at him with ease. Not a single look of embarrassment washes over his face, he doesn't squirm on the floor, and he looks right into my parent's eyes when he talks to them. And, if I ignore the fact that my parents are right beside me and talk about income and our "hotel business", then I have to admit that Zeus is downright turning me on.

He's taking complete control of the situation, and his nervousness he was talking about hours ago isn't peaking its ugly head. Zeus appears to be calm and collected.

Damn it! How is that even a possible thing for him!

"How many siblings do you have," asks Mom.

"One. A younger sister named Beatrice. She's just started college on the East Coast."

Mom turns to me with a bright smile on her face. "Looks like to me you finally have a sibling, Aurora!" She chuckles.

My cheeks flush. Zeus lifts a thick eyebrow in confusion. Mom opens her mouth to explain what she meant, but I purposely beat her to it because I know she'll make her explanation more embarrassing than what it needs to be.

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