Luka smiled, as Dave's hand moved further up his leg. Gently removing it, he stood up.
"If I'm not back in half-an-hour, send a search party," he smiled, and then walked out the door.
Ricardo was working under the hood of his car, when Luka walked in. He and Florence had debated last night, which of them should be the one to 'talk' to Luka. The thought of simply not talking to him, never crossed their minds. Dave was their son, and even though he was nearly thirty, they were still going to 'talk' to whomever he brought home.
"I should be the one to talk to him," Ricardo had said, while in bed the previous night. "After all, he is a guy."
"Yes, but he's with Dave. I'm always the one who talked to Dave and Tony's girlfriends," replied Florence, climbing in beside him.
"Yeah, but he's no girl. Unless there's something Dave's not telling us." Florence and Ricardo looked at each other for a moment.
"No," said Florence shaking her head. "He's a man. I'm sure of it."
"Okay then, I'll talk to him tomorrow."
They fell silent as the clock in the hallway chimed. As the sound died away, Florence looked at Ricardo with a smile, "Do you think he made to the guest room?"
"There's one way to find out," replied Ricardo, pretending to throw back the bedclothes.
"Ricardo Joseph Roberto Malucci, you are not going to barge in on them while they're in the middle of, well, of whatever it is they're doing."
"You're no fun," said Ricardo, smiling.
"Do you want to see how much fun I am?" asked Florence, before switching off the light.
Ricardo had a smile on his face at the memory of how much fun Florence had been the previous night. To Luka, who had just walked in the door, it did not seem very reassuring.
"Ricardo," said Luka.
"Luka," said Ricardo. "Sit down, I just want to finish this." He quickly made an adjustment to the engine, and then stepped back, nodding in approval.
Luka handed him a rag and he proceeded to clean the oil off his hands.
"Dave told us about your wife and children," said Ricardo suddenly. "My wife and I are very sorry for your loss."
This was not what Luka had expected to hear. "Thank you," he said softly.
"So, how long have you known Dave?" asked Ricardo, idly rearranging the tools on his workbench.
This was more like it, thought Luka. "Almost a year now. I was working temporarily in County when Dave started there. We have only been seeing each other for a few months."
"Is he your first?"
"I don't understand."
Ricardo sighed. It was awkward enough doing this when it was his daughters' boyfriends, but when it was his son's...well that was a whole different ballgame.
"What I'm trying to say is; is this the first time you've been seeing a guy." Ricardo was glad that his back was turned so that Luka wouldn't see that he was blushing.
Meanwhile in the kitchen, Florence was baking. Dave crutched his way in and sniffed the air. "Chocolate cake?" he asked hopefully.
Florence nodded, "With strawberry frosting. Your favorite."
"Thanks Mom," said Dave, peering into the mixing bowl. He dipped his finger in, to taste the contents, but was rewarded with a rap the knuckle from Florence's mixing spoon.
"Yeow," exclaimed Dave, sucking on his bruised fingers. "That hurt."
"It was supposed to. How many times have I warned you about tasting stuff before it's cooked? And you didn't even wash your hands first." Florence shook her head.
"Can't I have just a little taste?" asked Dave, looking at his mother with an expression designed to melt even the hardest of hearts.
Florence however, had seen this expression on Dave's face many times before. It hadn't worked when he was a child and it didn't work now. "No," she said firmly. "But if you start measuring for some biscuits, then I might let you lick the bowl. Deal?"
"Deal," agreed Dave.
Back in the garage, Luka was thinking over Ricardo's question. "I do not feel that my personal history, is any of your business," he said quietly. "Who I have been seeing before your son, is a matter for Dave and I."
"Anything that affects my sons happiness is my business," said Ricardo, turning around to face Luka. "Look, you seem like a nice guy and all, and I'm not trying to be rude or nosey. But you've been married before, so you obviously like women. What I want to know is, is this just some passing fancy for you, or are you serious? I've seen the way Dave looks at you, so I've a fair idea of his feelings. I just don't want him to get hurt if you decide that being with a guy is just a fad."
"I love your son," said Luka, simply. "I do not know if it will last. But what I do know is that I would never do anything to hurt him. Believe me. The past few months with Dave, I have felt happier than I ever thought I could after my family..."
Ricardo nodded. It had been evident from the tender look on Dave's face when Luka was nearly choking on the popcorn, that he cared deeply for Luka. Now looking into Luka's face, Ricardo saw the same tenderness, when he spoke about Dave. "I can't say that I'm entirely happy about the two of youse getting together." Luka started to protest, but Ricardo held up a hand to silence him. "I made my feelings clear to Dave some time ago. Whoever he wants to date is up to him, I won't love him any the less for dating a guy instead of a girl. But I don't want to see him get hurt. So, take this as a friendly warning; don't hurthim."
"I would never knowingly cause him pain," said Luka.
"Good," said Ricardo, turning back to the car. "Glad we understand each other. Now, come here and I'll show you how to clean spark plugs."
When Luka came into the kitchen with greasy hands, Dave was busy scraping the inside of the mixing bowl. "Hey, you're still in one piece," he said, on seeing Luka. "What did he say?"
"We had an interesting conversation," replied Luka. "He showed me how to clean a set of spark plugs."
"Wow," said Dave, clearly impressed. "He must like you then, if he let you near the car. It took Steve three years and two kids before Dad let him near the car. Course that was probably cause he didn't marry Kat until after Jamie was born."
"Ah Luka," said Florence, coming back into the kitchen. "Wash your hands, and you can give me a hand with the baking. Dave, isn't there something on TV you want to watch?"
Dave shook his head, "No, not for a few hours."
"Then I'm sure your father has something you can do in the garage."
"Translation, it's your turn for a 'talk' with Luka," said Dave, grinning as he retrieved his crutches.
"Don't be cheeky," said Florence, swatting him lightly on the head.
"Don't worry," he said to Luka in a stage whisper. "I'm sure you can run faster than she can; just keep an eye on the rolling pin."
"Out," ordered Florence.
"I'm going, I'm going," said Dave.
to be continued