Page 47

Really, who would have thought a large paranoid man could be cute? She certainly hadn't, but she just couldn't help but find the dirty looks he was sending his cousin anything but cute, especially the way he scowled when Jason discretely flipped him off.

"Why exactly are they the enemy?" she asked, drawing his attention away from Jason, who appeared to be glaring down at his son as Cole grabbed another fistful of spaghetti from Jason's plate.

"Because one of them is going to get banned today and if we're not careful he'll take us all down with him," Trevor said, handing her a plate. "Now go get some food, some real food."

With a little sigh she took the plate from him and wandered around the long self-serving tables as she looked around to see how many Bradfords were there. After Jason, she spotted Jared and his wife sitting at the far end, but they didn't seem to see her or rather they didn't acknowledge her in any way. She found several of the Bradfords that either worked for Jared or stopped by the office from time to time and several large devastatingly handsome men that could have passed for Bradfords.

As she walked along the buffet tables, trying to figure out what wouldn't upset her sensitive stomach she wondered which Bradford would get banned. That of course led her back to her earlier thoughts.

How exactly did someone get on a restaurant's banned list? Or more importantly how did the entire family get on the list? The possibilities simply boggled the mind.

"You're with Trevor?" a gruff voice demanded, drawing her attention. She looked up from adding French cut green beans onto her dish and kept looking up until she saw a rather stern, yet incredibly handsome older man with peppered short black hair looking down at her and looking way too serious for a man with deeply etched laugh lines around his mouth and eyes.

"Yeah, I guess, I mean we're friends," she said nervously.

The man nodded firmly, once, before shooting a look of what could only be described as a warning across the room at Trevor, who was sitting at the booth with two overflowing plates and several glasses of water. Trevor either didn't realize he was the object of a glare or simply didn't care as he dug into his food.

"You tell him as long as Jared's boys don't screw the rest of the family over like they did in Las Vegas we'll forgive them for Disneyworld," the man said, never taking his eyes away from Trevor.

Wow, there was so much in that warning that caught her attention, but she found herself asking, "Jared's boys?" As far as she knew Jared only had one son.

The man nodded. "Jason and Trevor. Although we all have a soft spot for the boy, Jared's the one who kept the boy in line and was able to be there from the start because he lived closer. He also took over when my beautiful baby sister passed away," he explained, his scowl softening as he continued to look at Trevor.

He looked away from Trevor to send her a faint smile. "That doesn't mean we didn't care. I lost count how many times I asked Sarah to allow Trevor to come live with us, but she was damn determined to raise the boy on her own, of course Jared just ignored her wishes and made sure they had everything they needed and that included keeping Trevor in line."

"Jared's a very good man," Zoe mumbled, feeling close to crying. When the hell did she become this pathetic woman where everything made her cry? Last night when she was watching television one of the old Downy commercials came on with that cute little bear and she found herself bawling her eyes out. Thank god Trevor hadn't been there, but poor Toby didn't fare as well. She'd hugged the dog, crying into his fur until he managed to break free and run to safety in Trevor's apartment.

The man looked at her with a little more than curiosity. "Will we be seeing you this Thursday?"

"For Thanksgiving?" she asked, wondering why the man would think she'd be joining a family dinner. When he nodded she said, "No, I have plans." The same plans she had every year since she was fifteen. It was a tradition mostly because she'd never had another choice, but one she actually enjoyed immensely.

He sighed heavily as he absently reached out and took her plate from her and starting piling it with food almost as if he wasn't aware of what he was doing. "Alright, sweetheart, you make sure you give Trevor the message and have yourself a nice Thanksgiving," he said, placing two large dinner rolls on the plate. He leaned down and pressed a kiss to her forehead and even more surprising, placed the large plate filled to the rim with food back in her hands.

"Thank you," she murmured, looking down at her plate and feeling her eyes tear up at the gesture. A Bradford giving up food? It was unheard of and very sweet, she thought as she made her way over to Trevor. Thankfully by the time she was sliding into the booth across from Trevor her eyes had dried up and her traitorous stomach was demanding food, which was a blessing after the weekend she'd had.

"What the hell did my Uncle Ethan say that upset you?" Trevor asked, starting to get up and presumably go have a word with his uncle.

Zoe rolled her eyes as she reached out and placed a hand on his arm. "Nothing. He was very sweet."

The glare he sent his uncle, who was now carrying a large plate of food to an area well away from Jared and Jason clearly stated that he didn't believe her. He looked like he wanted to tear his uncle's head off and that just made Zoe want to cry again.

"Are you crying?" Trevor whispered, sounding truly horrified.

"No!" she snapped, grabbing a napkin and dabbing at her eyes. "I'm just tired." Which was sadly true and she really couldn't understand it since she should be caught up on her sleep considering she'd slept most of the weekend away.

Trevor looked at her for a moment before letting out a heavy breath. "You need to make a doctor's appointment to make sure you didn't make yourself sick with that diet. You could be anemic," he said as he reached out and snagged one of her biscuits.

She frowned at the thought. She really hadn't considered that possibility when she decided to go on her diet, but she'd lost weight and while her energy had gone up in the beginning it was lagging most of the time now and she felt tired and weak lately. With her luck she'd probably made herself really sick with that damn diet.

"I'll make an appointment tomorrow," she promised. Hopefully they could get her in before the holiday weekend started on Thursday, because she really wasn't sure she could keep this up.

"Good," he said, giving her the look that meant he would spank her ass if she didn't.

"Can I ask you a question?" she said as she scooped up a bite of meatloaf.

"Shoot," he said, not bothering to look up from his plate while he ate or when his hand shot out and stole her second roll.

"What happened in Las Vegas and Disneyworld?

His fork stopped halfway to his mouth as his eyes shot to her. He pointed a mashed potato filled fork in her direction. "What did that bastard tell you? Did he tell you we got the family banned?"

"Well, he-," but he wouldn't let her finish.

"Because that's bullshit. Okay, maybe the Las Vegas thing was our fault, well mostly Uncle Jared's and Jason's fault, but it was supposed to be a twenty-four hour buffet," he explained. "And that Disneyworld thing," he shook his head in disgust, "was all a simple misunderstanding. There was no need to get the police involved," he said on a sniff.