China. . . Again. This time though I wouldn’t be here for four months like the last time. No, this time I intended to get the job done and get home. I already missed Hana and the kids and I had only been gone for fourteen hours – just as long as the plane has been in the air.
When I got on the plane I was given the files needed for my next job. It involved the trading and selling of black-market diamonds, or blood diamonds as they are referred to. I didn’t know much about diamonds, I just knew I had to go talk to this man named Mao Zu, an imports and exports specialist.
Zu worked in the downtown district selling rare and possible illegal artifacts. I walked into the store, acting as if I was searching for something rather important. “May help you?” Zu asked in broken English.
“Uh… Hi. I’m, uh, looking for something for my girlfriend back home.” It wasn’t completely a lie. I intend to find something for Hana here after I finished my job.
“What looking for?”
This was my opening. This is what I was here for. “Diamonds.”
“Ah, you come in right place. Follow me.” He waved his hand for me to follow him into a back room. I followed.
He took me down to an underground basement where there were plenty of different jewels, including diamonds. Zu walked out to go bring out more “delicate” wares for me to look out. I was in disbelief that this man kept a large bounty of illegal jewels. Of course I knew that Zu wasn’t getting “delicate” wares as he put it, he was getting his gun. I’m not stupid, nor naïve. This guy didn’t really think I didn’t have my own personal friend on me, did he?
Zu came back, though he looked even more nervous than when he left me. “You see what you like?”
I shrugged. “To tell you the truth I’m not even sure what I’m looking for.” I lied. “I was just told this is where you go to get the best of the best.”
“How much you know ‘bout diamonds?” He asked.
“Well, I know they are the hardest substance found in nature, they can cut glass, they suggest marriage, and I suppose they replace the dog as a girl’s best friend.1”
That got a chuckle out of Zu. “That they do.” He walked up to the display case and grabbed one of the diamonds and showed it to me. “See this, this diamond special. It found in rarest parts of world. Not too many left of these diamonds.”
“So where do you get these diamonds?” I asked taking the one he handed me and looking at it before handing it back.
He smiled an ugly smile. There was something there that he wasn’t telling me. It made my blood boil. It irked me and I grabbed him by the neck. “Answer me!?!”
“You already dead Mr. Rain.” And there it was, the answer I very well knew. No one should know who I am, unless of course they are working for one man. . . Fournier.
I started to choke him. “Where is he!” I yelled. “Where is that sonofabitch?
Zu smiled again.
I don’t remember firing my weapon. Hell, I don’t even remember taking out my gun. I just remember the sound of my gun and seeing the man stumble back away from me in pain.
He fell to his feet screaming in pain as he started to bleed out. “Where is he?” I whispered.
“I never tell.” he moaned. He tried to grab me with his bloody hands.
I pulled the trigger again, this time straight into the back of his head. His lifeless body collapsed on the floor.
I dialed Ellis quickly enough to tell her of the situation. “Did we get anything of Zu?” She asked me.
“Zu’s a dead end.” I answered. I searched through the diamonds and grabbed one that I liked. It was perfect.
“Dammit! You killed him.2” She yelled. “I wanted him questioned, Rain, not dead!”
“He’s one of Fournier’s lackey’s.”
I could hear her sigh. She was probably holding the bridge of her nose, trying hard not to get pissed off at me. She knew my position on Fournier, I wanted him and I wanted him dead. “Did he at least give you some kind of information? Like where he is?”
“No.” I mumbled.
“Well, next time if you could avoid killing every possible lead, it would be deeply appreciated. 2”
“I’ll try my best.”
“Now, get home. Your job there’s done. I’ll have my team in there to clean up your mess shortly.” She hung up.
I hopped onto a plane within a few hours of shooting Zu. I was back home within thirty hours from the time I left. That was the shortest trip I had done since working with SIA. “I’m home!” I shouted as I entered the apartment.
I heard a familiar scream of happiness which made me smile. At least Hana was happy to see me.
I was locked into her lips within moments of my arrival. She had run and jumped into my arms. I didn’t even get a word out as she started her assault on my lips. I didn’t mind. Her lips were just as fine, as was her tongue on mine. I was addicted to her lips and her tongue. Never would I tire of her kisses.
“Now, that’s how a man should be welcome home.” I flirted and received a blushing smile. “So, where are the kids?”
“Oni is playing with his new toy and Jahi went over to her friend’s house.” She swung her arms over my neck. “I’m so happy you are home Park.”
I held her in my arms, never wanting to let go. “So am I, babe.”
I walked into the living room and found Oni playing with a new doll. I tried to go walk up to Oni, but he completely ignored me. I called out Oni’s name and he still ignored me. He was too much involved with the doll. Mom told me that she found it at a store and thought it would be perfect for Oni. She didn’t realize how true her statement would be. Now, he won’t talk or do anything but play with “Puddle” as Oni calls him. Mom said the doll’s name is Puzzle though.
I went to say hi to dad and he got up, narrowed his eyes at me and stormed off. I turned and followed him with my eye. “What’s his problem?” I didn’t realize I actually voiced my question till mom answered.
“I dunno. He was fine a minute ago.” She walked to me and put her hand on my shoulder, “Could be that he’s stress from work. He’s been working all day from the computer.”
I nodded, but I wasn’t too sure it was work that bothered him. Truth was, dad had been ignoring me for months. Now, I come home from a mission and he’s still ignoring me.
Well, no more. I stormed into his room where I found him. . . I found him crying. “Dad?”
He snapped his head up and looked at me through the mirror. “Go away.” He was pissed, I could see it in his eyes. “Just leave me alone Park.”
“No.” I snapped. “You’ve been avoiding me like the plague and I have no clue as to why. Did I do something?”
“I’M NOT A SELFISH, HEARTLESS ASSHOLE!” He screamed and then started to cry. “I’M NOT!”
I backed away. Holy shit. . . That was like. . . Holy shit he’s been avoiding me for four months. Ever since I yelled at my sister he’s avoided me. I didn’t think I’d hurt him that bad. I never meant anything by it, and I thought he’d figure it out by now that I didn’t mean it. Guess I never realized how much it hurt him.
Dad started to cry harder this time. “Dad, I. . . I never meant to. . . Dad, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it.”
He nodded and dabbed his tears away. “I know, that’s what pisses me off. I’ve been so mad. Partly because I knew you were just angry at Les. The other part is that there were truth behind those words. I guess I never knew how much it pained you when I was gone.”
“Dad.” I stepped closer to him. “Dad, I’m sorry. Please, don’t. . . I love you dad, you know that right.”
He nodded. “I love you too son.”
I heard the door slam before dad and I could finish our conversation. I heard another open and slam. I met Hana in the hallway. She said she saw Jahi storming down the hall. I knocked on Jahi’s door and peered in. Jahi was at her desk with paper and a pensil. “Jah, you okay?” I asked.
“Leave me alone!” She yelled and threw her book bag at the door. I closed it and heard the thump. Hana and I just looked at each other. Jahi had been having a lot of problems at school, we knew that. She was struggling with kids calling her names and teasing her. It was never easy to be the new kid. I knew that first hand. Yet, when I moved to Bridgeport and got into the public school system, I enjoyed it more than ever.
Jahi had only one real close friend, Deidre Little, daughter of porn star Kelly Little. (Hottest woman ever!) At first Hana and I were a little skeptical letting Jahi go over to a porn star’s house. Then after meeting Kelly and her husband – porn director Tom Little – they put us at ease. Like Jahi, Deidre was also teased at school. They formed a bond and I was happy that Jahi had someone. (Though I do have to admit that I got smacked by Hana after meeting Kelly. . . Twice.)
Since Hana and I couldn’t get through to Jahi, mom pulled her out of the room that night. Hana forced me away, even though I wanted to listen into their conversation. It turns out, from what mom told me, was that Jahi likes a boy. A BOY! It also turns out that this . . . this boy doesn’t like her and teases her relentlessly. Mom tried to explain that when a boy does that he probably does like her. Which made Jahi excited; me not so much.
Dad laughed when I went crazy after hearing this. He thought that it was funny that I was acting like a dad – overly protective. I do feel like I have to protect Jahi at all cost. She’s. . . She’s . . . Dammit! I want to be my daughter!
That’s why this morning I knew what I wanted to do. During breakfast I looked over at Hana and tried to figure out how I was going to make my family actually my family. I brushed my hands through Hana’s beautiful, silky, long hair and smiled at her as she ate. She narrowed her eyes. “Your beautiful.” I whispered.
“No touching the hair!” She barked. To be fair, she hadn’t had her morning coffee or her morning shower.
I laughed. “Why do you cover it? It’s so gorgeous, you’re so gorgeous.” I wish I could wink and be all suave, but my “winking” looks more like I’m blinking. Damn eye patch! I smiled what hope to look like a sexy “I want you” smile. “Care to meet me by the river at lunch?” I asked.
She nodded and got up before I could run my hand through her hair again. Damn she was hot!
I was so nervous at lunch. We ate a small picnic. After, we cuddled on the blanket and smiled happily together. I voiced my concern about Jahi liking boys. Hana laughed. “She’s a girl, it’s what girls do. When did you start noticing girls? Hmmm Parker?”
“Truthfully?” I asked. She was going to be so embarrassed when I tell her. She nodded which made me sigh. Was I really about to confess something I didn’t tell anyone. I sat up and stroked her headband. “I was fourteen.”
Hana laughed. “Yeaaaa right Parker. Come on tell me the truth.”
“I am.” I looked her in the eyes. “I mean I noticed girls, but they were on the big screen. At school, the girls all teased me and made fun of me and it wasn’t like the teasing Jahi endured. I was tortured because I was an outcast. I was the only one that wore a tux.” I smiled. “I wanted to be James Bond.”
Hana laughed, hard. I narrowed my eye. “Sorry.” She stifled her laugh.
“Uh, huh. It’s true. I wanted to be Bond. I was teased for wanting to be the amazing MI-6 agent with a license to kill. So, the only girls I ever liked was Bond girls. Like Pussy Galore.” This time I “winked” which I got another laugh from Hana.
“So when did you start liking real girls.”
This time I smiled. “Egypt with my grandpa. I met this one Egyptian girl my age who didn’t want to have anything to do with me. I tried hard to get with her, but she insisted I just leave her alone.”
Hana looked at me. “You are such a charmer. Now tell me the truth.”
“That is the truth. You were the first girl I ever noticed, Hana. I fell in love those first moments you spat Arabic insults at me and I haven’t found any girl as gorgeous or wonderful as you.”
“Except for Kelly Little.” She pointed out. I stuck my tongue at her and we both laughed. She grabbed my arm and looked at my watch and sighed. “Do I have to go to class?”
I nodded and got up, helping her in the process. “Come on girl, lets get you to class.”
She held me in an embrace before having to leave. “You know, I did like you. I wasn’t allowed to, but I did.”
“I know. I’m just glad it worked in the end Hana.” I kissed her. “Plus, if it hadn’t been for Grandpa’s death I would have never given up on chasing you.”
“And I would have enjoyed the chase.” She teased.
She went to walk away and I pulled her back into my arms and kissed her. She tasted like heaven, and I didn’t want her to go. “Please stay.”
“I have a test.” She kissed me again. “I’ll be back by five, promise.”
“I love you, Hana Badawi.”
“I love you too, James Bond.” She laughed. I stuck my tongue out which she captured with her mouth. She kissed me one final time and started to walk away. I grabbed hold of her.
“Hana.” I said more stronger than I wanted to. “Hana I need to tell you something.”
She turned again. “Parker, I really do have class. Can this wait?”
“No.” I shook my head. “I need to tell you about China. I. . . uh. . . got you something there.”
“And it can’t wait.”
I shook my head. “Please, it will only take a minute.”
“I , um. . . Have something for you.” I started to get on my knee. “Could you help me.”
She laughed and helped me down to my knee. “Parker what are you doing?”
“Um, well. . .” I looked to my jeans. “I have to give this present to you this way. I promise it’s good.”
She rolled her eyes, which I think was a first for her. “Parker, I really need to get going.”
“It won’t take long. . . Promise.”
I dug out the diamond that I stole and had placed inside a ring. I told the ring-setter that it was my mom’s diamond – no one needed to know where I truly got the diamond. I pulled out the ring and looked at Hana. “You know how you said you wanted a diamond ring?” I smiled. “Well, I found one.”
I took two deep breaths before I asked the question that’s been burning my heart for far too long. “Hana, I love you. I love your kids. I want us to be a real family. I want to adopt your kids, and more importantly I want to marry you. Hana Badawi, will you marry me?”
She started to cry she was so happy –or I hope those were happy tears. “Yes.” She whispered. Thank God!
I placed the ring on her finger and stood. She ran into my arms and we kissed. We kissed so deeply and passionately I didn’t want to let her go. I assaulted her mouth and lost track of time. When I did realize that she had to get to class, I didn’t want to let her go. “Please, stay here.” I whispered.
She laughed. “Parker, I have a test. Believe me I want to stay, but I need to get this degree so I can start nursing again.”
I nodded. “Okay. I love you.”
“I love you too.”
I let Hana go and she hopped into the first taxi we could find. I paid the man the money, knowing Hana didn’t have any cash. I told her I loved her again and turned to face the lake. My heart was still pounding. I couldn’t believe that I was now an engaged man, and more importantly I was going to marry my one and only true love. I smiled and decided that I didn’t want to leave that spot right away, so I picked up my fishing pole I brought with me earlier that day and went fishing.
I went home and my mood went from overjoyed to pissed off in seconds. The house was in ruins. My parents left a message on the table stating that they had to get to the office and left Leslie in charge of BOTH kids. Oni was tossing toys and chewing on his blocks. His eyes were red and his underwear soiled. “Where’s your sister?” I asked him as I changed his soiled “Big Boy” pants.
“Gone.” He said to me.
I searched the house and found my sister napping. NAPPING! I slammed the door which made her jump. “Get your ass out of bed so I can kick your ASS!” I screamed.
“What’s wrong?” She asked as she batted her eyes.
“YOU!” I pointed at her. “That’s what’s wrong!”
She jumped out of her bed and walked to check her cell-phone messages. “Damn, it’s only 5. Did you have to wake me up so early?”
That was it. I snapped. “YOU WEREN’T SUPPOSE TO BE SLEEPING!” I screamed. “YOU WERE SUPPOSE TO BE WATCHING MY KIDS!”
“Says who? No ones paying me.” She barked. “Plus they’re not even yours. They’re that whore’s.”
Normally I would never hit a girl, let alone my sister. However, I am afraid to admit that I hit her square in the face. She was lucky my gun was locked up in its safe. I probably would have killed her if I did have my gun. We fought in the room until Jahi walked in. I stopped throwing my punches, and ran and gave her a hug. She admitted that she went to Deidra’s house, and would have taken Oni with her but didn’t know if she was allowed.
I wasn’t mad at Jahi, and understood that she didn’t like my sister.
After yelling at my sister for an hour and letting my dad yell at her more I sat and waited for Hana to get home. I played with Oni and helped Jahi do her homework. Finally when Hana returned I took her by the hand and asked mom, dad, and Jahi to join us in the living room. It was time to tell them our plans.
“Mom, dad, Jahi. . . “ I smiled and looked over to Hana. “Hana and I are. . . Do you want to tell them?”
“No, this is your news.” Hana told me.
“Mom, dad, I asked Hana to marry me.” Mom screamed and stood to hug me. Dad slapped me on the back and congratulated me. They both knew that unlike all the other women I have been with, I truly was in love with Hana.
Though there was one person that wasn’t too thrilled with the news she just received. Jahi sat there with narrow eyes directed at me. “Jahi?” I asked. “You okay?”
“You’re not allowed to!” She screamed.
“JAHI!” Hana yelled. “Jahi that’s not how you speak to Parker.”
“It’s okay Hana.” I told her. I bent down to Jahi’s level. “Jah, why can’t I marry your mom?”
“Because she’s married to my father.”
“Yes, but we’ve discussed this.” Hana butted in. I placed my hand against Hana and looked at her. Hana took the message and left to celebrate with my mom.
“Hana, I know you miss your daddy. I do. I know what it feels like to not have a father around at your age. But I was hoping, that by marrying your mom that maybe I could officially adopt you and Oni. I will never replace your dad, but I want to be your new dad. You’ve called me daddy before, and Oni calls me it. So, give me a chance to be your dad, for real. Please.”
I saw tear in her eye and I brushed it aside. “How come you didn’t ask me?”
“Ask you what?”
“If you could marry mommy?”
I about cried. “Jahi, can I marry your mom and make us a family?”
She wrapped her hands around me. “I guess. . . . daddy.” We both laughed and I held her in my arms.
Life picked up fast after the proposal. Oni and Jahi started to only call me dad. Before the engagement Oni was the only one to call me dad on a regular basis. Jahi only did it when she slipped, but now, she only calls me dad.
I started on the documents to make them legally mine, so that by the time we were married I’d officially be their real dad. Starting the process really hit home. I went to mom a few times when I had questions with the paperwork, She and I both smiled, knowing what this meant for the me. I was doing the same thing for these kids as she did for me.
Oni turned four and we celebrated it that morning. I made pancakes for all of us and we sang to him. We would have had a birthday celebration, except I had to go on a new mission that day. So we celebrated over breakfast, and I gave him a small birthday cake pancake.
When I returned from my short mission – nothing exciting happened. No kills, no kidnappings, just overall routine. When I returned, though, I found that the wedding planning was in full swing. I walked into the apartment and found my parents and Hana looking at magazines and planning for the upcoming wedding. Mom had bride magazines out, and they were looking at invitations. Dad was fighting with mom about the guest list.
“What’s going on?” I asked as I kissed Hana and taking my own seat.
“Your mom and Hana want to invite the entire family.” Dad grunted. “I told them no.”
“Who do you guys want to invite?” I asked. Mom blushed while Hana looked at her feet.
“Grandma, Mike . . .” Even dad started to go crimson and I barely heard him when he said Sue’s name.
I jumped out of my chair. “NO WAY IN HELL!” I yelled and looked at all three of them. “I don’t care if grandma or grandpa Mike come, but I don’t want to see that bitch ever again!”
“Okay.” Mom sighed. “We won’t invite her. Now, we have one more we all wanted to discuss with you.”
Dad squirmed. I looked at all of them and without them saying it I knew who they were going to ask about. “You wanna invite Rose, don’t you?” I asked.
Mom nodded. “It wouldn’t hurt. Plus, she probably won’t even show up. It’s up to you.”
I looked over to dad. “What do you think? I don’t know the woman, do you think she’d even come?”
Dad shook his head. “It’s Rose, if it doesn’t benefit her she won’t care. It is up to you. I told your mom she’d have to ask about that one. I washed my hands of her when she walked out on you the first time.”
“Invite her.” I told mom. “If she comes, she comes. She doesn’t, she doesn’t. Either way, it won’t affect me at all. I’ll have my mom there and that’s all that matters.” Mom smiled and nodded. With that we had the list of who was allowed to come and who wasn’t. Dad was pissed that I was alright with grandma’s invitation. It was no secret my dad hated his mom.
Hana and I started to do a bit of house hunting. Dad had handed over me a trust fund that had been in my name since I was an infant. When I checked out the account, I was surprised that it was $150,000. I couldn’t believe it. Dad said he made really good investments over the years with my money. Now, the money was mine to do with what I wanted. Hana and I searched for a house for over a month and finally found the house we wanted.
Four bedrooms three baths. The house was perfect. The front yard was beautiful and perfect for Hana to start a small garden if she wanted. Out in back was Jahi’s dream. There was a pool, a rundown metal tree house, and a slip-n-slide. But the most important thing in that backyard that caused both Hana and I to say the words “sold” to the realtor was the Jacuzzi.
After seeing it the first time and walking out of the house with the realtor, Hana pulled me into a hug and a kiss. “We can really buy it?” She sounded so surprise.
“It’s the house you want, right?” She nodded with the widest smile I have ever seen on her. “Then it’s ours babe.”
“Thank you!” She jumped into my arms. At that moment I realized that Hana may have never gotten anything she had ever wanted, I intended to change that right away, starting with the house and the wedding of her dreams.
After signing the papers I went to the house daily. We were waiting for the old owners to move out, but I still headed over there. Asking the couple that lived there, I went inside the house again, but this time with a camera. I wanted to show my parents and Jahi the house. When she saw the room that Hana and I thought she’d like to have, Jahi screamed and told us it was perfect.
After returning home from another quick mission to Russia, I walked in to a shouting match leading dad storming out the place. “YOU DEAL WITH HER!” He yelled at me before slamming the door. I stared at the door in shock.
I was in more shock when I found mom pacing the room nervously. She was fuming mad. “Mom, what’s going on?” I asked.
“Well, we got the R.S.V.P. letters today. Your aunt and your uncle plan on attending.” I nodded with a smile. I was hoping to see my aunt again. “Your grandma and Mike said yes and added a. . . .” She shook her head. “Please don’t kill me.”
“No. No. No.” I shook my head and backed away. Mom tried to hold me. “Don’t! Just. . . just leave me alone.”
“I called them, but they insisted that she come. They don’t want to leave her home alone at the house.”
I just shook my head no and mom finally walked away. She knew I hated my aunt like my dad hated my grandma. I didn’t want to see her. I didn’t want to ever see that bitch for the rest of my life. I was glad that moving to Bridgeport meant I’d never see that devil spawn ever again.
I picked up the other R.S.V.P. letters and looked through them. I was happy to see that my Uncle Jake responded and that my boss did as well. I smiled thinking about asking Ellis if I could have her order me to kill my aunt. I saw the last unopen envelope and I opened it. It was from Rose.
Congrats on your upcoming nuptials. That’s great! However, I won’t be able to attend. My sons’ High School Graduation is that day. Please don’t be mad, but I must intend my kids’ graduation. Thanks for thinking of me when you sent out invitations. It must have been hard to think about. I doubt you’d want me there anyway, but thanks all the same.
I shook my head. It didn’t surprise me at all. “Mom! Rose isn’t coming! Her sons are more important than my wedding!”
Mom walked in and read the letter, shaking her head as well. “Sorry Park.”
I shrugged. “Don’t be, your my mom. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t give birth to me, you at least love me.” Mom kissed me on the lips and I faked a gag, which she responded me with a smack.
“Butthead.” She laughed.
My aunt and her family arrived the day before the wedding. Aunt Alice and Uncle Rod brought their two sons with them. My cousin Kyle, who was now seventeen, I hadn’t seen him since he was in diapers when my aunt and uncle adopted him. I had never met their youngest son, Stephan. He too was from Egypt. His parents were missionaries living there and they were killed when he was four. He’s now ten and has been with my aunt since he was five.
When my aunt saw me she freaked out. Dad had told her about what had happened to me, but she never really thought anything about it till she saw me. My Uncle shook my hand and shook his head. He felt bad and I could see pity in his eyes.
My cousins were a bit taken back, but they gave me a half-hearted smile. Jahi told Stephan to just call me Captain Pirate, and with that he laughed and I became Pirate to him as well.
My grandparents arrived within an hour of my aunt and uncle. My grandma cried as she hugged me. She wailed on me, yelling at me for getting hurt. Grandpa Mike shook his head disapprovingly. “If only David could have seen what you did.” He said before giving me a hug. I turned scarlet. I rarely thought about how grandpa would have reacted to my injuries. He’d probably would have killed me if he saw that I lost my eye.
I asked them where their evil spawn was, and my mom said she was on her way. I moaned. I was hoping for just a bit that she wasn’t coming. Grandpa laughed and grandma hit us both.
Sue walked into the door and we both had a stare off. Neither said a word to each other. We just stood there, taking each other in. “How’s the Black Pearl?” She finally asked with a sneer.
“Just fine.” I answered with a charming smile. I didn’t feel at all offended. I embraced the nickname, Pirate that Jahi gave me. It’s helped me cope with the loss of my eye. “How’s the Addams Family?” She gave me the dirtiest look I have ever seen. “Uncle Fester let you out of your cage?”
“Fuck you Jolly Roger.”
“You can joke about pirates with me all you want, but it’ll never get on my nerve.” I said as she stormed off.
Later that night my dad and my uncle tied me up and blindfolded my good eye while I was watching TV and talking to mom, Hana, Aunt Alice and grandpa. Everyone was in on the rouse. At first I put up a fight when my dad and my uncle grabbed me. It took Hana whispering to me that they wanted to surprise me with a bachelor party that I calmed down. My dad took me down to the lobby of the apartment. I heard a car screech to a stop and I was thrown into the limo.
I rolled my eyes when they took off the blindfold and I was standing in the middle of the dance club, The Grind. Uncle Jake was there waiting for us.
“Well, well, well. . . Look who’s tying the knot.” He smiled.
I laughed. “Go figure you’d be in on this.” I looked at the bar and already craved a drink. “Of course you of all people had to be the one to pick out the location.”
“Actually. . .” He looked over at dad. “It was your dad’s idea. Like you, I’m sober.”
I looked at dad who gave me a sheepish smile. “Just because you boys can’t drink, doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t.”
Before the party started, my dad ordered a round of drinks to be passed out. Uncle Jake and I took our waters. Dad clinked his glass and held up his drink. “Now, before the entertainment arrives and we are all busy. . .” He smiled and winked at me. Great, just great. All I needed was strippers. I just rolled my eye at dad. “I have a toast. Parker, son, will you come here?”
I walked over to dad and he grabbed me by my shoulder. He smiled at me. “Parker hasn’t had the most perfect life. We all know that.” Everyone around nodded. “In fact, Parker has always had a very free spirit since he was a toddler. He’d run away, escape from public and private school. He’d be a pain in mine and my dad’s ass. Hell, he’d been picked up by his grandpa Mike a few times for truancy.” Mike smiled and raised his glass at me. He was probably thinking about all the times he had me in the front of his cruiser taking me to grandpa’s house. “He was a boy beating to his own drum. As he got older, his drum got louder. When he achieved his lifelong dream, no one doubted his ability.”
“Then all hell broke when almost two years ago I’d felt my heart stop. Him coming home with his missing eye nearly killed me. I knew he lived a dangerous life. Hell, he hitchhiked from Riverview to Bridgeport without a moments thought.” More laughter. “But seeing him in pain after realizing he wasn’t playing a game. That life wasn’t a game at all, but real and dangerous, it nearly broke my heart.”
“He became depressed. Drank himself halfway to his grave. I didn’t realize it wasn’t always about what had happened. It was also about how he lost the woman he loved. I wish I could have been the one to help him. After his return home I saw the light that was in his eye diminish with each drink. When he returned home from rehab, I expected that light to be gone. That was if Hana hadn’t shown up. Now, his light is there, but his lessons have stuck with him. He’s matured with the loss of his eye, but I know his heart is still as free spirited as it was when he was ten. Son, I am so proud of you.”
As everyone lifted his their drink I watched as dad reached over the bar and grab something. Not two seconds later I was sprayed and soaked with champagne. Everyone laughed at my demise. I couldn’t believe my dad just did that. He was laughing the hardest. I gave him a hug after and kissed him on the cheek. “I love you too, dad.” I whispered.
It didn’t take long before the strippers joined the party. They were dressed in police uniforms, with handcuffs and all. My grandpa Mike blushed and mumbled how he wouldn’t have retired if their were girls on the force looking like them.
The strippers did their thing and we all cheered and threw cash at them. They were hot, I do have to give my dad and Uncle Jake that much credit.
After the show, I watched dad, Uncle Jake, Grandpa Mike, and Uncle Rod give a wad of cash to one of the two strippers. Next thing I knew she walked towards me. “I’m to give you a private dance.”
“Oh?” I asked, looking behind her to my family. Dad had the biggest grin plastered across his face. He raised his martini glass to me. “Well, okay then.”
The naked woman climbed on my lap. She danced and grinded her body on me. Her breasts were in my face and I could feel the tightening of my pants get tighter. After all, I was a guy and naked or not, a woman grinds on you and flaunts her stuff, your gonna get hard.
The strippers danced around me and the rest of the group. My Uncle Rod couldn’t keep his drool under control as they kept coming up to us while we talked. I slid a ten in the woman’s thong and asked if she could get my uncle a drink. I wanted to talk to my uncle alone and not have him gawk at the young, beautiful girl who was just trying to work her way through school. I shivered at the thought. I could only imagine what Hana would have had to do if I didn’t offer to pay for her classes. Never. In. A. Million. Years.
“So, how’s the farm?” I asked my uncle.
“Well, we’re expandin’.” He said in his mid-western accent. “We got land coverin’ from Riverview to Meadows Glen. Ally got David’s land back, and my new farm hand and his partner are living there taking care of that land.”
“Wow. How many people you got working for you?”
“Twenty on my own lot. We bout have fifty across the land. Brian and Stephen take care of our land and David’s.”
“How bout Kyle? Is he planning on helping after he graduates next year?”
He chuckled. “Have you seen that boy? He’s more cowboy than I. He runs half the land already. I have to kick him off the fields when I notice he’s gonna be late for class.” I laughed with him.
“He’s a kid bein’ a kid. Ally says that he reminds her of another adventurous boy.” He nudged me. “She’s right too. He loves to get into mischief. We have our handful with him.”
The party finished by the time the sun was up. Many of the men were hung over when we woke at the hotel room just a few hours later. Dad was hurting the most. I have no idea how much he drank, but he could hardly function while the rest of us were getting ready. When we arrived at the butterfly sanctuary, we found Kyle and Stephan waiting for us.
Rod helped me set up the arch while the two boys cleaned up all the park benches. Grandpa Mike helped out the two boys. I noticed two things as I watched them. Stephan and Mike had a really good relationship with each other, always laughing. As for Kyle and him, they were always at odds.
I honestly don’t know what had happened before, as Rod and I were gathering more flowers from the rental van. We just saw the two screaming. Rod rolled his eyes at me. “Not again. I swear one of these days those two are gonna go to blows.”
“Why? What’s going on?”
“Kyle was caught with a bunch of his friends pranken the old man’s house. Kyle was punished, but within a week Mike’s and El’s house was pranked again. Mike thinks Kyle had somethin’ to do with it. Kyle says he didn’t, and Ally and I believe him. Mike and Ella don’t. Mike swears Kyle’s gonna end up in prison one of these days. Dumbass don’t know my son. Excuse me.”
I watched Uncle Rod walk over to poor Kyle and pat him on the back. The two took off for a walk and I felt horrible for Kyle. Grandpa Mike could be a real ass. I knew that. I remember him and grandpa yelling about punishing me. Mike always thought my grandpa was too soft on me.
As I watched the two I felt a hand on my shoulder. “Nervous?” Dad asked.
I turned to face my dad. “Nah. I’m more than excited to be honest. I’ve been waiting for this moment since I was fourteen.”
Dad laughed. “Is that why you never wanted to marry Nat? Cause she wasn’t Hana?”
I smiled. “What do you think?”
“I think that you’re a very smart man.” He winked. “I wonder where you get that from.”
“Grandpa and mom, cause I know I didn’t get it from either of my biological parents.” I gave him an evil grin.
My sister arrived shortly after I talked to dad. She came with grandma and Sue. Together Sue and Leslie brought over the cake and I was nervous that they’d poison it. I almost wanted to toss it, but figured Hana would be pissed off. I do have to admit mom outdid herself baking the thing.
I noticed Ellis walking up and I excused myself from my dad’s side. I walked up to her and smiled. “Glad you could make it Ellis.”
“One of my agents is getting married, of course I’d show’d up.”
I noticed a bulge within her jacket. “Uh huh. And what’s that?” I eyed her yellow envelope.
“A wedding present, and that’s all you need to know. Now get ready.”
As more guests started to arrive my Grandpa Mike started to play the bass. Grandpa couldn’t bring her drums, which was a good thing. Mike’s music was sweet and beautiful. I was kind of happy that we had free wedding music. He even played the wedding march when he spotted Hana and the kids.
Since we didn’t have much light time, we decided to take wedding pictures. Dad used my camera. We first did the Best Man and Bridegroom pictures. It was easy for me to choose my best man. There was no doubt in my mind that Oni was going to be my best man. He held onto me the entire time and fought when I had to put him at my feet when Hana walked down the isle.
As easy it was for me to choose Oni as best man, it was just as easy for Hana to choose her maid of honor. Jahi felt more than honored when her mom asked. She couldn’t believe she was going to be apart of the wedding.
When I first saw Hana my breath was taken away. I knew she was going to wear a traditional Egyptian white gown. When I saw her, I held my heart. She was gorgeous in anything she wore, but the way the white contrasted on her brown skin made me wish I had gotten a size bigger in the way of pants.
And because the sun was going down fast, I was allowed to see Hana before the wedding for our wedding pictures. Dad wanted a pic of just Hana and I, but I refused. I didn’t want one of the two of us, I wanted pictures of the four of us, since this marriage wasn’t just about Hana and I. It was really me marrying them all, gaining the family I always wanted.
I wish I could say I remembered the wedding and our vows. But I was so in awe at everything that I kind of spaced out. My heart raced the entire time as we said I do and placed the rings on each of our fingers. Though I wore the ring through the rest of the service, I planned on giving it back to Hana. As an SIA agent, I planned on not risking my family’s lives if one of my many enemies found out I had a family back home.
Now, I may not remember the actual service, but I do remember the kiss. The kiss was the kiss that rivaled all kisses in the world. I wasn’t just kissing Hana for the millionth time, no, I was kissing my wife. That kiss meant more to me than any kiss I had ever shared with her.
Right after the kiss and being announced as Mr. and Mrs. Parker Rain, we walked back to the cake and sliced a piece. I was very nice feeding her a slice. Hana, not so much. I had cake all down my James Bond suit. Everyone laughed as I stood in shock. Of course I got even when I kissed her and pulled her close to me. I made sure that she got some of the frosting from my suit onto her dress. She laughed at me as we kissed and shared not only spit but cake.
Ellis took me by the hand after cake was passed out. “Agent Nine, we need to talk.” I knew this was coming. There was no way that envelope she secretly carried all day was just a present. I had a new mission and I knew it.
I walked her into the sanctuary where we could have some privacy. “Rain, first off. Congrats. I’m glad you and Hana finally smarten up.” We both chuckled. “Now, I have something for you.” She took out the envelope and passed me it. “A honeymoon.”
“And where are we heading?” I asked as I took out the contents of the folder. Inside two plane tickets to France, an itinerary and a case folder. And it wasn’t just any case folder, it was the case folder. She was having me go after Fournier on our honeymoon. “So he’s back home?”
“That’s what our intelligence says. Just get in, and get out.”
I nodded. “I will. Thanks for the wedding gift.”
“Just be careful and keep Hana safe while you’re there.” I saluted and she was off. I stood there and looked at the file a bit longer before joining the rest of the party. I wish I could say that I was happy about the news, but now all I felt was nervousness. I vowed not to put Hana or the kids ever in danger, and here I am about to go on our Honeymoon and I was going after Fournier during the same trip.
1. Connery, S. (Actor). (1971). Diamonds Are Forever. [DVD].
2. Craig, D. (Actor). (2008). Quantum of Solace. [DVD].