Taste Excerpt #2

April 4, 2011

“Lil, I’m afraid I can’t make it.”

“Why not?”

“I’m babysitting for a friend,” Grier explained. “I’m really sorry.”

“Is it that kid I saw you with the other night?”

“Yeah, Luca.”

“Bring him along.”

“Are you serious?”

“Is he well-behaved?”

“Very.”

“Then bring him. What the hell, I’m not child-phobic.”

“That’s good to know.”

“See you in about an hour?”

“Okay.”

Grier disconnected and stepped back into his room, where he’d left Luca happily watching The Penguins of Madagascar on the Nickelodeon channel. He was sitting cross-legged on the floor with a Pop-Tart in hand.

“Pick up your crumbs, okay, kiddo?”

“’Kay,” Luca nodded as he chewed loudly.

“And close your mouth while you’re chewing.”

Luca shut his mouth instantly and proceeded to chew his food like a cow masticating grass, moving his jaw slowly from side to side.”

“You don’t need to exaggerate, buddy. You’ll end up with TMJ problems.”

“Huh?”

Grier laughed and ruffled Luca’s dark fringe. “You need a haircut.”

Luca agreed with a nod. “Tito A said I look like a girl.”

“When did he say that?” Grier frowned. Since when did Ali have a say in anything involving Luca? A girl? What the fuck!

“I don’t remember…the other day.”

“At the Taste?”

“No, at home. He came to have dinner with Mommy and me.”

Grier froze. “Does he come around a lot?”

“Not tho much,” Luca said, slipping on the S word.

“How many times, Luca?” Grier raised his hand and spread his fingers. “This much?”

Luca folded down two of Grier’s fingers leaving three standing. “That much.”

What the hell? How come nobody told him about this new development? “Finish up your breakfast, buddy, we’ve got to get going.”

By the time the cab made its way to Bucktown, it was close to ten thirty in the morning. Lil was already waiting at the door, looking very summery in khakis and a Tommy Bahama shirt. He’d left his hair product-free, choosing to have it flop naturally, rather than dealing with a sticky mess that resulted from the high levels of humidity. The end result was more youthful, with the soft hair falling over his forehead. Grier couldn’t help admiring the blond who’d captured his interest so acutely. He would have greeted him with a kiss but held back due to Luca’s presence. “Hey.”

“Hey, yourself,” Lil smiled broadly. “And who is this young man?”

“I’m Luca.” The boy stared at Lil with frank curiosity. “What’s your name?”

Lil was charmed. “My name is Lil.”

“Do I have to call him Tito Lil?” Luca turned toward Grier.

“That would be best,” Grier replied.

Tito?” Lil inquired.

“It means ‘Uncle’ in Filipino.”

“But I’m not his uncle.”

“And neither am I, but we’re adults, and in his culture it would be disrespectful if he addressed us without a formal salutation.”

“I see.”

“Everyone buckle up and let’s get this show on the road,” Grier said, helping Luca into the cab and adjusting his seat belt. They headed toward the Loop, not very far distance-wise, but with the perennial gridlock, they inched their way across town. Finally, a few blocks away from Willis Tower, they asked the taxi driver to stop. Walking would be far more enjoyable than sitting in a stuffy cab. Lil paid and they exited onto the sidewalk.

“Wow,” Luca said, craning his neck when they finally arrived in front of Willis Tower. “I can’t see the top of the building.”

“It’s certainly impressive,” Lil seconded. “This should prove very interesting.”

“Why’s that?” Grier replied, noting the tiny bit of apprehension in Lil’s voice. “I thought you wanted to do this?”

“I’m not comfortable with heights,” Lil confessed. “They make me queasy, and I always have this urge to throw myself over the edge.”

“I’ll hold your hand, Tito Lil,” Luca said solemnly. “Don’t be afraid.”

“Thank you, Luca. I need all the help I can get.” Lil looked at Grier and mouthed. He’s so fucking cute!

Grier smiled. “He is.”

2 Responses to “Taste Excerpt #2”

  1. Lucia says:

    Luca is so cute :P

  2. mickie b. ashling says:

    Glad you think so. I agree:)

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