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"Um, okay," she said even more confused and admittedly a little frightened. Seriously, what had they done? And would they do it again so that she could see?

Chapter 24

"Wow, I've never seen Jason look so angry before," Zoe whispered.

He didn't bother looking up from his large plate of fried chicken, but he did smile. The look on Jason's face when he'd stolen the last piece of chicken off his plate was priceless and he may have rubbed it in Jason's face a little bit until he thought his cousin was going to lunge for his throat.

He probably would have too if Haley hadn't handed their infant daughter over to Jason. The murderous glare on Jason's face was instantly replaced by one of adoration as he pressed little kisses on the little baby girl's face. That is until he saluted Jason with a drumstick a minute ago.

Ah, good times, he thought, as he focused his attention on Zoe, who looked a little bored. If she was a Bradford she wouldn't be bored. This would be like winning the lottery to her, but alas she wasn't and he couldn't exactly encourage her to kill time by eating since she would probably bitch slap him for the suggestion, steal his chicken, and give it to Jason just to screw him over.

Granted, he wouldn't mind seeing her eat a little more food. He really missed how much fuller her curves used to be, he thought with a little inward groan. Then again she had been doing pretty good with that plate his uncle put together for her until halfway through she suddenly stopped eating, looking a little pale and pushed the food towards him as if she was afraid it was going to attack her.

Damn food poisoning.

Since he'd had food poisoning more than once in his life he could sympathize with her. It wasn't a whole hell of a lot of fun, especially not being able to eat. Although the cup of tea he went and grabbed for her did anything but calm her stomach she did manage to sip the glass of ginger ale he gave her.

"Is there going to be a riot?" she asked, looking and sounding hopeful. "Or a fight? How exactly do you guys get yourselves banned?"

"I cannot believe you took advantage of our weakness for your own entertainment," he said in mock disgust since it actually turned him on and he'd been struggling off and on with the desire to drag her adorable ass to his truck where he could show her just much it turned him on, but that would have to wait until the restaurant closed down for the night or they kicked him out, whichever came first.

She rolled her eyes as she gestured to the buffet tables. "I get entertainment and you get food. I really don't see what the problem is."

"I would have gotten at least a week's worth of the buffet if you hadn't told everyone," he grumbled, giving her his best pout.

"Would it make you feel better if I promised not to tell anyone but you about the next time that I spot a new buffet restaurant?"

"Yes, yes it would," he said, feeling somewhat appeased.

"Fine, you big baby," she said, sighing as she looked around the restaurant again. "Do you think it would be okay if I went over and asked Haley if I could borrow one of her books so that I have something to do while I wait for my entertainment?" she asked, gesturing across the room to Haley who had a small stack of paperback books on the table next to her.

"I'm not entertaining enough?" he asked, biting into a large juicy breast.

"Sadly no."

Even though he was damn entertaining and she knew it, he decided to take pity on her. "Here," he said, picking the black shopping bag off the seat next to him and handed it to her.

"You're giving me your condiments?" she asked, looking confused as she took the bag.

"Not that you deserve it after what you pulled today," he said, gesturing to the bag, "but I got you a little something. It's fully charged and it has a hundred dollar balance on it so you can start downloading whenever you're ready."

Nibbling her bottom lip in that nervous way of hers, Zoe shot him a curious look before placing the bag on the bench next to her and opening it. The stunned look on her face pleased him greatly.

"You're giving me an e-reader?" she asked softly.

He nodded, rather pleased with the wobbly smile she was giving him. "You mentioned how much you wanted one so I picked one up yesterday morning when I ran out to do errands," he explained, not mentioning that he called Jason up for help.

His cousin had been a little shocked by the call, but pleased. He hated asking for help and thankfully his cousin understood that which was why he called him. Out of all the people who knew about his problem, and there weren't that many, only Jason and his Uncle Jared made him feel comfortable about it. His aunt babied him and the rest of his family was too damn overprotective of him.

Although Jason was a little surprised that he wanted an e-reader, he didn't really question it. For two hours they looked around until they found one they both liked. He liked the look and the easy features that Jason read to him and Jason liked the rest of the technical nonsense so he bought one for Haley that he planned on surprising her with later.

It actually surprised him that he'd enjoyed shopping with Jason. Not that he wanted to make it a weekly thing, the shopping that is, but he wouldn't mind spending more time with his cousin. He hadn't realized how much he actually missed the man until they were shoving a couple of teenagers away from the demo video games so that they could play.

For the first time in a long time he was actually looking forward to having Thanksgiving dinner with his family. It was probably past time he gave up his bullshit and stopped acting like an ass over his cousin's happiness. Not that he ever truly begrudged Jason his happiness, but it had reminded him that he was unhappy.

He wasn't really sure when he'd gotten over his bullshit, but after spending time with Zoe and learning to relax a little more he realized he was being an idiot. Of course her telling him that he was being an idiot after he confided in her late one late night might have something to do with it. Any other woman would have probably been sympathetic and babied him, but Zoe stared at him for a minute, just stared at him before she reached up and slapped him upside his head and told him to get over it.

She told him that he was missing out over something that shouldn't matter since his family clearly loved him and it was more than obvious to anyone that Jason was trying to reach out to him. After he thought it over with the help of one of her delicious sandwiches of course, he realized that it really was petty bullshit. No matter how smart Jason was or how perfect his life seemed Jason was just......Jason, the cousin who sometimes went out of his way to embarrass everyone, but had a heart of gold.

After everything Jason did for him as a kid he wanted his cousin to have the best life and be happy. He also realized he wanted to be part of it. He wanted to hang out with Jason again and spend more time with his family. If he decided to have children he hoped their kids could be friends, granted Jason's kids would probably be freakishly smart and would probably have to help his kids out a time or two, but they could be friends. He wouldn't mind a second generation of Jason's looking out for his kids.

"Really?" she asked, sounding unsure and drawing his attention once again.

"I figured this way if you started to read a book and didn't like it you could always find another one," he said, shrugging it off like it was no big deal, but he was secretly pleased that he'd given her something that she clearly liked so much......