Chapter Thirty-Six

Jonathan groaned, “Come on mom you can’t be serious.”

Reva pinned her son with a look, “Oh yes I am Jonathan.  Think of it as male bonding.”

“Male bonding? Yeah that sounds like something I’d really be into.” Sarcasm radiated with every syllable.   Jonathan wasn’t one for male bonding, hell he wasn’t one for bonding in general.  It was hard enough developing a relationship with his own family much less people outside the gene pool.

“Look we are doing this whole thing on the sly and I just think it would be a good idea.  The man is marrying your sister, the least we can do is give him a warm welcome into this family.”

“Next time you ask me out to lunch you are on your own.” Jonathan leaned back in his chair and grinned, “I know I am going to regret this but fine I’ll do it.  What should this male bonding entail? Should I take him over to some dive off of Fifth Street?  A strip club two towns over? I’m not exactly known for my bonding.”

“I never said anything about strippers.  And I’m not too sure how your sister would react to that one, not with their past.  Just go drinking, maybe catch a game.  Nothing too extreme because we don’t want him tipped off that this is his bachelor party.”

Just swell.  Not only was he now “bonding” but he had to do it without giving his mother and Michelle’s plans away.   This was going to be an interesting night.

***

“So you want to go catch the game later?  Villanova is playing UCLA so it’s bound to be a good one.”

Tony looked at Jonathan like he’d grown a second head, “You want to watch the game?  With me?”

Jonathan knew Tony was going to be a hard sell, but he also know he’d eventually give in.  Because Jonathan had a guarteed ace at his disposal, “Well I thought it would be a good idea since you’re marrying my sister and all.  But if you’re not interested that’s cool.”  He turned to join the reast of his crew who were finishing the renovations in the dining area.

“Wait.  What time does the game start?”

Jonathan smiled.  The Marah card works every time.

***

Tony didn’t know why he was doing this.  No that was a lie, he knew exactly why he was sitting in a bar watching a game that didn’t even interest him.  He was doing this for Marah.  She would never ask but the Lewis family were close, and if there was a chance he could “improve relations” he was going to take it.

“Hey Tony you ready for another round?”

Tony looked at the half empty beer in his hand then at Marah’s cousin Bill, “Sure.”

Bill raised his hand to signal the passing waiter, “That’s the spirit!  Danny you up?”

Danny lifted his beer and shook his head, “I’m good for now, but thanks.”

He may be doing this for Marah but he was no fool, he brought Danny and Rafael for reinforcements.  The bar erupted in cheers as one of the teams scored.  Not that he had a clue which on that was, that would require actually paying attention.

“We boring you?”

Caught off guard the beer Tony had just drank went down the wrong pipe causing him to gasp and cough.  When he could finally talk again he turned to face Marah’s father, and made a point to ignore Jonathan smirking at him from behind his own drink.  “Not at all Mr. Lewis.  I was just reeling from that amazing play UCLA made.”

Rafael nudged him with his elbow, “Villanova.”

“What?”

“Villanova scored, not UCLA.   Sheesh Tony, for someone trying to improve relations you can’t pay attention for shit.”

The whole table erupted in laughter, Tony included.  “Sorry basketball isn’t exactly my sport.”

Josh took a drink of his beer before answering, “Us either.  But sometimes you just have to let off some steam.  I’ve loved Reva since we were teenagers but lord knows I need a night out with the guys.”  He paused to take another drink, “Besides if you get Bill drunk enough he’ll do a rousing karaoke rendition of Every Rose has its Thorn.”

Bill groaned while the rest of the men laughed.  This might not be a bad night after all.

***

Wolf whistles and good natured jeers were directed towards the stage.  The stage where an off-key Bill Lewis sang his version of the 80’s power ballad.

“Man I don’t know if this is hilarious or extremely sad.”

Jonathan laughed, “I think it’s a bit of both.  So you having a good time yet?”

Tony was surprised that he actually was.  Sure he had Danny, Ray, and Rafael but tonight Jonathan and the Lewis clan welcomed him into their inner circle, made him feel like he was actually one of them.  “Yeah I actually am.”

“Good.  Marah would be all over our asses if you didn’t.”

Tony had to laugh at that one, “Nah my girl isn’t so mercenary.”

“You’d be surprised.  You know a while back I told Marah that from the stories I’d heard about you that she’d be better off without you.  Granted this was before we knew you were alive and all that.  But I was wrong.  You make her happy.  Just don’t make her cry or I’ll find a hole where no one would be able to find you.”

“Fair enough.  And just so you know I love her more than anything and would rather cut off my arm then hurt her.”  He saw Josh moving through the throngs of people carrying more shots, “And on that note I am going to the restroom before I have to force down more whiskey.  I think Josh is trying to kill me.”

***

Tony signaled the bartender for another drink.  He was in that pleasant buzzed state and that was only because he had been dodging Josh’s whiskey shots as much as possible.  If not he would have been passed out under the table.

“Hey handsome.  Buy a girl a drink?”

Tony didn’t even spare the woman a glance, “No thanks.”

She trailed blood-red nails down his arm in what could only be described as a pathetic attempt at seduction.  “Yeah I don’t think so.  I’m engaged.”

“Hmm but she’s not here.”

He finally looked at the woman, “Look I am sure you are a lovely person.  But I am not interested.  There are a ton of men in this bar who would love to buy you a drink.  Go find one of them.”

The woman flipped her hair back over her shoulder, “Your loss.”

He watched her walk off in a huff, “Yeah I seriously doubt it.”

The bartender finally set the beer down in front of him, “Never seen anyone turn down Angie.  Once she spots her prey she usually doesn’t give in until she’s got them in her clutches.”

“Guess they didn’t have as much to lose. ”

***

Jonathan raised an eyebrow when Tony rejoined the group at the table, “New friend?”

“You have that protective big brother act down to an art.  But no, she wanted me to buy her a drink and I declined.  I’m not a complete idiot.”

“Fair enough.”He raised his hand to point towards the stage,”Now check this out.”

Apparently Danny and Rafael hadn’t escaped Josh’s potent shots.   There they were in all their drunken glory crooning with Bill Lewis to Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer.  Tony dug his phone out of his pocket and pointed it towards the trio, “Oh Michelle is going to love this!”

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