Meet The Parent
"There really isn't any reason to be nervous, " Frank reassured Adriana as they sat in the back seat of is protection detail SUV. "Pop is just a regular guy."
Adriana glanced up at him. "He may be a regular guy, but he's your father. He's going to hate me on sight."
"Aid," Frank soothed as he took her hand. "He is not going to hate you. He's wanted to meet you for a long time. I can promise you he is not going to eat you alive."
Adriana smiled and whispered something in his ear. He smiled and patted her knee. As he did, she started to giggle.
"I'm becoming my mother. Every time she wants to distract Papa, she whispers in his ear. "
Frank smiled. "It's effective," he agreed.
The SUV pulled up in front of the house. Frank opened the door and stepped out. He reached inside for Adriana's hand to help her down. As he set her on the ground, he wondered how someone could walk on the heels she was wearing. He offered her his arm as they walked up the walk to the house.
Henry was waiting in the doorway and opened the door for them. "Dinner's just about ready," he said as Frank stepped aside to let Adriana pass.
"Thanks, Pop." He took her shawl and hung it in the closet, and followed the shawl with his own suit jacket. He closed the door. "Pop, this is Adriana. Adriana, my father, Henry Reagan."
"Judge," Henry acknowledged.
"That's Francis. I'm just Henry."
"Come in. Sit. Have a drink before dinner," he offered. "I don't know where Francis' manners are tonight."
"They got lost looking at her lovely long legs," Frank retorted as he escorted Adriana to the sofa.
"Good taste, Francis. Please get our guest something to drink while I finish up in the kitchen."
Drinks sitting on the coffee table, Frank sat next to Adriana on the sofa. "You realize he's showing off for you, don't you?"
"He is. He's been taste testing new recipes all week. I think he finally settled on eggplant and spinach lasagna."
"I hope I didn't put him out too much," she worried. "I know you all don't eat like I do."
"I think he enjoyed it. You gave him a challenge."
"I didn't mean to—"
"-It's okay, Aid. Really. Don't fret so much."
"Easy for you to say, Frank. You've known him all your life."
"If you're going to be a part of this family, you're going to have to relax and not worry so much."
Adriana took a sip of her Manhattan. It was strong, potent, and it would work on settling her nerves. She suspected that is why Frank made it for her instead of her usual glass of red wine. "You trying to get me drunk, Commissioner?"
"Of course. That way I can take full advantage of you later," he whispered in her ear.
She smiled and blushed.
"Dinner's ready," Henry announced from the doorway.
"It wasn't all that bad, was it?" Frank asked as the SUV sped over the Brooklyn Bridge.
"No. He's adorable. I want to adopt him. "
"I think he feels the same way about you."
"It's good to have one in my corner because I think the kids are going to be the ones giving you grief."
"They're adults. They'll get used to it. They may not like it, but they'll get used to it," Frank assured.
"I'm sure it will be hard for them,"she said as she chewed on her lower lip.
"What are you thinking?"
"I'm trying to imagine what my father would do if something happened to my mother."
"Your father would mourn forever and probably go join the Priesthood."
She laughed. "My father? A priest? No way."
"No. He likes sex too much. He'd never be able to handle that vow of celibacy." She grew serious. "You really think he would mourn forever?"
"Well, maybe not forever, but for a very long time. He adores your mother."
"That he does."
"And he adores you too."
She slid her hand into his. "I could tell you stories, but I won't. At least not now."
The driver pulled up in front of Adriana's building. Frank opened the door and helped her out.
"Pick me up at 8:00," he told the driver as he closed the door.
"Evening, Commissioner, Evening Judge," the doorman greeted as he opened the door.
"Evening," they said in unison as they made their way to the elevator.
"I assume that means you're staying the night?"
"Unless you don't want the company."
"Frank, I can never say no to you," she said as she fished in her purse for her keys.
"I noticed," he said as he took the keys from her.