Chapter Thirty-Five

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"Daddy, look at what I made at school," Marvel yelled as she ran towards me with a white piece of construction paper. I smiled and squatted down to face her as she handed me the paper. It was hard to be mad at her for calling me "daddy." Soon, she'd be gone for months and I'd miss hearing her voice in person rather than over a cell phone.

She stood beside me and wrapped her arm around my shoulder as we both peered down at the colorful picture that she had drew. My smile spread wider as I looked up from the paper and over to Marvel. "Is this me, baby girl?" There was a stick figure with a t-shirt and shorts with short, black hair. Behind the figure was a building that resembled the gym and Marvel added in some trees, and a street that was oddly a dark blue rather than black.

"Yes, it's you! Ms. Johnson said to draw our favorite person and I drew you, daddy," Marvel said with excitement.

My jaw dropped. Was I her favorite person? I knew she was a momma's girl while Milo was a mommy's boy, but still I didn't expect to be her favorite person. "I'm your favorite person," I asked in shock.

"Of course, you horse!" Marvel kissed my cheek and I kissed her forehead.

"This is picture is so beautiful. It makes me look good and the street being blue is a nice touch!"

"The black crayon broke when I did your hair, so I made it blue," Marvel said with a jump.

"Well, you made my hair look nice so that's all that matters, baby girl. Can I keep it? I'll put it on the refrigerator."

"Yes, I want you to have it," Marvel insisted.

I looked up to see Nya who was watching us with her arms crossed. I knew she'd be handing over the kids sourly. Our last encounter was bad and I said some pretty f-cked up sh-t, but only because she was taking away my damn kids. "Where's Milo," I asked Nya.

She didn't even have to answer. Milo came running around the corner giggling as Kobe chased after him. "Come here, boy," Kobe yelled after him. "You're like a cute ass dumbbell!"

"You dumb," Milo yelled at him as he hid behind my back.

I laughed and looked back at Milo. "He didn't call you dumb, baby boy. A dumbbell is a...weight. You know the things I lift all the time?"

"Ohhhh," Milo said as if he understood but then he pointed over my shoulder at Kobe. "Uncle Kobe's trying to lift me!"

"What? I'm strong. I won't drop you," Kobe said in his defense.

"Don't pick me up, bad boy."

"Come here, little man," Kobe insisted.


"Can I talk to you real quick, Tristan," Nya finally spoke up randomly.

I stood up and nodded my head. "Yeah. We'll be right back. Can you look after the kids, Kobe?"

Kobe ran over and picked Milo up who began screaming bloody murder. "Yeah, I'll look after your bigheaded kids."

"Hey," Marvel yelled.

"I'm sorry, Marvel. Your little brother has a big head not you," Kobe corrected himself.

Marvel smiled and hugged Kobe's leg. "Much better, Uncle Kobe."

"Your hair's dumb," Milo said as he pulled at one of Kobe's blonde curls. "How yo hair the color of a white boy?"

"I dyed it, genius."


"I changed the color."

"With a crayon?"

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