Home > Hold on Tight (Sea Breeze #8)(11)

Hold on Tight (Sea Breeze #8)(11)
Abbi Glines

I slipped my feet into a pair of flip-flops and refused to care that I hadn’t painted my toenails since taking off the old polish last week. It did not matter. At all.

“You ready, Momma?” Micah asked as he bounced on the balls of his feet, looking out the screen door toward the Falcos’ house. He was anxious to see them again now that he knew they were his family.

“Yes, sir,” I replied, reaching for his hand and opening the door. “Let’s go meet your grandparents.”

“I already met them, Momma. Remember?”

I nodded. “Yes, you did, but this time will be different because now they know how important you are to them.”

Micah seemed to take that in as he started walking toward the street, pulling me with him. Dewayne’s truck was still in the driveway, and although I knew he needed to see Micah and talk to him now that Micah knew he was family, I kind of wish he had left.

As much as I shouldn’t care about the ‘average’ comment, it had hurt my feelings, and it was going to make me feel uncomfortable around him. I hated that. I wished I could just get over it. That teenage crush I had on Dewayne was rearing its ugly head and taunting me with his opinion of me. Men sucked.

DEWAYNE

Momma stood at the door, watching Micah and Sienna walk toward the house. She was wringing her hands, barely able to contain herself. She’d been watching their house ever since we got back home. I was glad Sienna wasn’t going to make her wait. She had talked to Micah right away, it looked like.

Figures the kid would be curious and want to come over. He was like his dad in that way.

“Look at him. He’s so perfect. Looks just like Dustin,” Momma breathed in awe as they walked up the front steps.

“Open the door for them, Momma,” I told her.

Dad stood up from his spot on the sofa and walked over to join her as they greeted their grandson. Dad’s hand settled on Momma’s back, and she reached back to squeeze his hand. This was good for them. Micah was gonna be good for them.

Momma opened the door just as Micah arrived. He studied her for a moment, then looked at Dad. Everyone remained silent, waiting on him to say something. Finally he shrugged and held out his arms. “So, I’m your grandson.”

His statement caused everyone to relax, and both my parents started laughing. Then Momma bent down and held her arms out to him. “Yes, you are, and I’d really like a hug from my grandson.”

Micah went into her arms willingly. His little gaze met mine across the room, and he smiled. “Hey, Uncle Dewayne,” he said.

Nothing in my life had prepared me for that. I managed not to make an idiot of myself by getting emotional like a f**king woman and nodded. “Hey, little man,” I replied with a grin.

He pulled away from Momma and looked up at her seriously. “You got any cookies?” he asked.

Momma’s laughter was musical and light. I hadn’t heard that in a really long time. “Yes, I do. I made a batch just for you. Come on in the kitchen.”

“First I need my hug,” Dad said, and Micah walked over to him as Dad bent down to hug him.

“You’re really big. My daddy was really big like my uncle Dewayne. I seen pictures. Do you have pictures of him?”

Dad tensed up for a moment, then relaxed. We hadn’t looked at photos of Dustin since his death. We never even talked about him. But this kid was gonna want to talk about him.

“Yeah, we got lots of photos of your daddy. We can look at ’em together,” he said, and Micah beamed up at him excitedly.

“You hear that, Momma? You was right! They got lots of pictures of Daddy,” he said, looking back at Sienna.

It was the first time since they’d walked in the house that I’d allowed myself to actually look at her. And it was a mistake because, damn it all to hell, she had on shorts and a tight little shirt that showed just how above average she was. Her hair was brushed into silky waves, and I missed the mussed look from this morning. I wanted to muss it up again. While those legs were wrapped around me.

No! Fuck! I had to stop that shit. She was Micah’s mom. Not a f**k buddy.

“Come on in, young lady. We have cookies for you, too,” Dad told Sienna, who hadn’t spoken yet.

She blushed and glanced at me, then back at my dad. “I’m okay. Probably shouldn’t eat cookies this early in the morning.”

Dad put his arm around her shoulders. “Cookies are for all hours of the day. Don’t you know that? I remember when you ate Tabby’s cookies whenever you stepped foot in that door.”

“I was younger and in better shape then,” she replied, her blush getting worse.

What the hell was she talking about? The woman had curves in all the right places. It didn’t get better than that.

“You’re still a spring chicken. Better eat those cookies now. Middle age will change all that. Eat ’em while you’re young.”

Sienna laughed and walked with my dad to the kitchen. I remained where I was, unsure where I fit in here. It was my parents’ house, but suddenly I felt like the outisider.

“Uncle Dewayne! Come eat these cookies with me. Mama T has real milk too,” Micah called out to me.

Then again, maybe I did have a place.

SIENNA

The Falcos hadn’t been ready to let Micah leave. He’d been catered to all day long, and he was eating up all the attention. Dewayne had left around four, telling Micah bye and that he’d see him soon.

Shortly after Dewayne left, I’d tried to leave with Micah because I still hadn’t gone to the grocery store. I always went on Sundays to get ready for the week. Micah, however, had latched on to the idea of staying with Tabby and Dave while I did my grocery shopping. So I let him.

I wasn’t sure if I could remember a time that I’d gone grocery shopping without Micah. He was always with me, so I was used to telling him no and talking him out of sugary snacks. This was a much quieter and rather peaceful experience. I loved my son, but I decided I liked grocery shopping without him.

I took my time walking down each aisle and thinking about what we needed and how much money I had to work with. I kept a calculator in my purse for shopping because I had tried doing the math in my head but it’s embarrassing when you get to the checkout and have to take things out of bags and give them back because you don’t have enough money.

With no rent, we had more than we normally did for food, and it was nice to be able to splurge on the mint chocolate chip ice cream that Micah loved and some lemon tea for me. I stopped in front of the bread and looked for a sandwich bread that was healthy but still looked white enough that I could trick Micah into eating it. I also had to find one that didn’t cost too much. Five dollars for a loaf of bread was ridiculous. Most of the time I could find a honey wheat that was light enough that Micah wouldn’t complain.

“Bread is a serious matter. I can tell you agree,” a masculine voice said beside me, and I turned around to see a tall, dark-haired man who looked to be at least thirty. His slacks and button-down shirt might have been one reason he looked older, but the crinkles around his eyes when he smiled aged him. He wasn’t bad-looking, though.

“Pleasing my picky son is the trick,” I explained. Normally, if I brought up my son, the men backed off. If this one was going to attempt to flirt with me, I might as well go ahead and send him on his way.

The man nodded, still grinning as if he understood. “Yeah, I understand that completely. My niece always goes for the white bread when she comes to visit. She’s nine, and her mother won’t buy it at home. I’m the rule-breaking uncle.”

He picked out a loaf of the more expensive white bread and winked at me. “I have to break a few rules every once in a while to feel cool. My job makes me so uncool I need a little pick-me-up now and again.”

He was better than okay. He was actually really cute. He had that clean-cut look that I wasn’t a big fan of, but he wore it well.

“Really? What uncool job is it that you have?” I asked, surprising myself. I normally didn’t encourage conversations with men. But I liked this one. He was friendly, and it didn’t feel like he was trying to pick me up in the bread aisle.

“Vice principal at Sea Breeze High,” he replied, then let out a sigh and shook his head. “Major letdown, I know.”

A principal. He was young to be a principal. Or maybe he was older than I’d first assumed.

“That can’t be an easy job,” I replied, finally reaching for a bread I thought would work.

“It’s not so bad. But then there are days like today when I leave work late and stressed, then bump into a beautiful woman studying bread.”

Beautiful woman. He had no idea how nice that was to hear. It was a balm to my ego, which Dewayne had squished rather flat this morning. He wasn’t as devastatingly gorgeous as Dewayne, nor could he be considered sexy exactly. But he was attractive, and he had a kind smile. He was definitely more in my league.

“Was that too strong? Should I have been smoother?” the guy asked, and I had to laugh.

I shook my head. “No. I was just thinking about how nice it was to be called beautiful,” I explained.

He frowned. “I would assume you get that a lot.”

Not really. The guys who normally hit on me called me hot or just flat asked me out. Then there were the guys who thought I was average. Ugh! I had to let that go.

I smiled and held out my hand to shake his. “Sienna Roy,” I said, deciding I liked the guy enough to exchange names.

He slipped his larger hand in mine and shook it. “Nice to meet you, Sienna. Cam Dodge.”

He didn’t let my hand go right away, but firmly held it a second longer than necessary.

“So, Sienna, what is it you do? Other than shop for bread for your son?”

“I’m a hairdresser,” I replied.

“And I’m assuming you’re not married. I did the whole casual glance-at-the-ring-finger thing when I walked up and got a good look at you.”

Laughing, I shook my head. “No. Not married.”

He nodded, and the easygoing smile on his face became more hopeful. “Let’s say I asked you to dinner Friday night. . . . Would you go?”

He was sweet. The cockiness that I was used to in guys was missing, and I liked that a lot. I normally said no to dates because of Micah, but now that the Falcos were in his life, they’d probably love the opportunity to keep him on Friday night. Sure, my body and maybe my heart wanted Dewayne, but it wasn’t like there was a chance of that ever happening. Crap! I had to stop thinking about Dewayne. He was Micah’s uncle, that was it. Letting him sneak into my thoughts like this would just end up causing me heartache I didn’t need.

“I need to discuss it with my son. Make sure he’s good with me going out. We normally do popcorn and a movie.” I was telling this man way more than was normal for me. . . .

Cam grinned and held out his phone. “Why don’t you put your number in here for me, and then I’ll text you so you’ll have my number. You can call me when you’ve spoken to your son.”

He wasn’t spooked by the idea of Micah at all. This was a first.

I took his phone and punched in my number, then handed it back to him. “Here you go,” I said after texting myself. “I’ve already sent a message to my phone. I’ll let you know about Friday no later than tomorrow.”

He gave me a crooked grin that was really very cute, then nodded toward the next aisle. “Guess I better go get some peanut butter to go with this bread. I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you, Sienna Roy,” he said, then turned and walked away.

I actually might have a date, I thought. A real date.

DEWAYNE

Micah had visited my parents’ house both afternoons this week, Monday and Tuesday. Momma had called to tell me everything he said and everything he did while he was there. She was fascinated by the kid. I was pretty damn thankful for him myself. I hadn’t seen my mother this happy in a long time.

Momma had called me this morning to let me know that she had to take Dad in for his routine exam at his cardiologist and wouldn’t be home this afternoon. She was worried about Micah not getting to come visit. I had assured her he would understand, but she hadn’t seemed too convinced. So I’d told her I would take dinner over to Sienna’s and eat with them. That had pacified her.

I was eventually going to have to talk to Momma about this. She’d smother Sienna if she kept this up. Sienna had been great about letting Micah go visit for a couple of hours every afternoon, but I was expecting her to limit this soon. It had been just her and Micah for five years. She wasn’t going to let my momma take her boy away all the time. I expected Momma to convince her to let Micah start coming to her house after school. It would help Sienna save money and I was sure she’d like the idea of him not having to go to after-school care. I just didn’t know if Sienna was ready for that yet.

Pulling my truck into Sienna’s driveway, I winced at the sight of her beat-up car. We were going to have to talk about that. I didn’t like Micah riding around in that piece of shit. It was dangerous. Sienna’s pride would be a hurdle. It was the only reason I hadn’t brought her a new car home already. I knew she wouldn’t accept it. I had to find a way to make her accept it.

The front door swung open, and Micah came running out onto the porch, waving at me with a big grin.

When I had called Sienna and asked her if I could bring dinner and visit with Micah, she had seemed reluctant at first. She was keeping her distance from me, and I understood that. I was okay with it. Hell, I needed it. Getting close to her would be a huge mistake. I was going to take care of her and the kid, but I wasn’t going to get too close to her in the process.

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