Home > Hold on Tight (Sea Breeze #8)(7)

Hold on Tight (Sea Breeze #8)(7)
Abbi Glines

He jumped up and nodded enthusiastically.

It was better to go into this prepared than for my mother to walk over here and realize who Micah was on her own.

I stood up and held my hand out for Micah to take. “Let’s go,” I told him.

He slipped his little hand in mine. I was one hundred percent sure Sienna would not be okay with this, but I had been so damn anxious to spend time with Micah that I hadn’t thought through the fact that my folks would see my truck over here. When I’d pulled in this morning, I knew I had a problem. Pointing it out to Sienna would have meant her canceling our plans, and she would have taken Micah to day care. So I’d kept my mouth shut.

I knocked and decided to let Dad open it instead of just walking inside with Micah. Dad would help me handle Momma if she didn’t react as calmly as I thought she would.

Dad opened the door and started to say something snide to me, but his gaze dropped to Micah. Recognition didn’t dawn on his face. At least it wasn’t just me who missed how much the kid looked like Dustin.

“This the drug lord?” Dad asked with a smirk.

Shit. The man had no boundaries. That wasn’t funny.

“What’s a drug lord?” Micah asked, looking up at me.

“Nothing you need to be concerned with. Ignore the old man. He thinks he’s funny. He’s not.”

Micah nodded, then turned his gaze back to my dad. “I’m Micah. I live over there,” he said, pointing to the house across the street.

Dad grinned down at him. “Is that so? Well, it’s about time you got over here and introduced yourself.”

“He and his momma, Sienna Roy, are living over there now. I’m watching him while Sienna works this morning, and I thought I’d bring him over to meet y’all. Think you can handle that . . . ? Can Momma handle that?” I informed him, hoping he understood what I was trying to say.

Dad’s eyes swung back down to take in Micah, and I watched him as the realization slowly began to seep in. His hand tightened on the doorknob, and he stood there silently, unable to speak or stop looking at Micah. I cleared my throat.

“Can we come in now?” I asked, hoping he caught the warning in my tone.

It took him a moment, but then he stepped back and let us in. His eyes never left Micah. Maybe this had been a bad idea after all. Hell, I’d almost collapsed on my knees in Sienna’s front yard when she’d told me. Was this good for my dad’s heart? Shit.

“Who’s here?” Momma called out just before she stepped around the corner and into the foyer. Her smile lit up her face when she saw it was me. “I didn’t expect to see you today,” she said. Then Micah moved beside me and her gaze dropped to him. “And you brought company.” Her smile wavered then. Just like I had guessed. Momma saw her baby in Micah’s little face.

“Momma, this is Micah. He lives next door.” I couldn’t bring myself to tell her who he was just yet. Even if she saw the resemblance, I knew she wouldn’t guess correctly unless she knew his mother’s name.

She didn’t take her eyes off Micah as she walked into the room. A range of emotions danced across her face, the last one being complete awe. Stopping in front of him, she held out her hand, and her smile was brighter than I had seen it in a long time. “Hello, Micah. I’m Tabby Falco, but you can call me Mama T, like the rest of the boys around here do.”

Micah held up his little hand and slipped it in hers. “I like the name Mama T. And where are the other boys?”

My mother seemed to be soaking up everything he said and did. “Well, those boys are all big now, just like my boy is,” she said, nodding at me. “So they are all over the place.”

Micah glanced back at me. “Oh well, that’s okay. I like Dewayne. Except when he made my momma cry. I didn’t like him then, but Momma said that it was a misunderstanding and that I shouldn’t be mad at him. So I ain’t.”

Shit! The kid just said whatever the hell . . .

“Dewayne? You made his mother cry?” Momma asked me, her eyebrows raised. She had a very concerned look on her face.

“Like he said, it was a misunderstanding,” I assured her, hoping the kid didn’t say anything else about his momma.

I glanced over at Dad, who was watching Micah with the same look of wonder that I had felt when I’d realized who he was. Momma didn’t know yet, and I decided that if Dad didn’t tell her, then maybe I should wait until later, when Micah wasn’t around.

“I have chocolate chip cookies and apple pie in my kitchen, fresh outta the oven. You want some?” she asked Micah, squeezing his hand in hers.

He nodded vigorously. “Yes, ma’am, I do. I love both those things.”

Momma didn’t even look at Dad or me. Micah had her undivided attention. “Well, it’s a good thing you moved in across the street, then. Because I need someone to eat all these sweets I bake.”

Micah walked away, still holding her hand. “I like sweets. I’ll eat ’em,” he assured her.

I waited until they were in the kitchen and I heard Micah rattling on about superheroes needing lots of cookies before looking at Dad.

He shook his head and let out a heavy sigh. “Wow. He looks just like him. Just like him,” he said, before turning his gaze toward me. I saw the hope there. The feeling that there was something of Dustin’s to hold on to. I understood because I was feeling it too.

“I wasn’t sure telling Momma in front of him was a good idea once I got over here. Changed my mind.”

Dad nodded. “Yeah. She sees Dustin in him. She just doesn’t realize exactly how much of Dustin she’s seeing. She thinks it’s just a coincidental resemblance, and she’s already in love with the kid. He’s gonna be good for her. I just”—he paused and glanced back at the house across the street—“I can’t figure out why she kept him from us. We loved that girl. She was like our own. Why would she not let us be a part of his life?”

I wasn’t sure, exactly, but I knew she thought we didn’t want him and didn’t care to know him. That was something I was going to figure out today. “I’m talking with her later. She thought I knew who Micah was and thought I’d chosen not to be a part of his life. Not sure how that works, since I didn’t know where the f**k she was all these years. No one did.”

Dad rubbed his stubbled jaw and shook his head. “Your momma is gonna want answers. So let’s wait until you got them before we tell her.”

I nodded. I was in complete agreement.

Chapter Five


My morning went fast. Three cut-and-styles, one highlight, and one root touch-up. All of them were last-minute walk-ins who couldn’t get an appointment with their regular stylist. Right now that was what I had to work with, and I was okay with that. Hillary was even telling people we accepted walk-ins, for my benefit.

The only employee other than Hillary who was working today was Gretchen. This was my second time working with her, and she was very loud and chatty. She laughed a lot too. And she had a ton of male clients. The tight leather pants she was so fond of seemed to be popular with the men.

“I heard you talking to your son earlier on the phone. You mentioned Dewayne,” Hillary said as she sauntered back into the room in spiked heels. How that woman wore those heels and stood on her feet all day was beyond me.

I nodded, not sure why she was bringing up the short conversation I’d had with Micah an hour ago to make sure everything was okay. He’d been outside throwing the football around with Dewayne and had been ready to get off the phone with me and go back to having fun.

“Was it Falco you were talking about? Seeing as how you knew Amanda Hardy when she came in, and then I heard Dewayne’s name, and since he’s one of Preston’s friends I thought maybe you knew Dewayne, too.”

Still wasn’t sure why this mattered. “Yeah, it was Dewayne Falco. He’s watching Micah for me today.”

Hillary studied me a moment, and then a small grin tugged on her lips. “You’re not messing around with Dewayne, are you? He ain’t a sticking-around kind of guy. He’s more of a several-girls-a-week kind of guy.”

I already knew this. Dewayne had always been a player. However, I wasn’t interested in Dewayne for any reason other than to be a part of Micah’s life. Micah needed a man in his life, and his uncle would be his only chance to have that.

“You seeing Dewayne Falco?” Gretchen asked, swinging her head around and sending her dark curls bouncing. “That boy can . . . do it well. You know what I mean. Damn near ruined me for anyone else. I had to work him out of my system.”

Hillary gave me a pointed look as if to say, See what I mean?

I was trying to push all thoughts of Dewayne and Gretchen doing it well out of my head. Not a mental image I needed, even though I was sure Dewayne’s na**d ass was a lovely sight to behold.

“I swear, if he came sniffing around again, I’d give him a go and deal with the withdrawal later. He’s just that good.”

Okay, I’d had enough of Gretchen’s sexfest with Dewayne. “He’s an old friend. He was my high school boyfriend’s older brother. Nothing more. He’s just helping me out by watching Micah.” I finished cleaning up my station as I talked. I didn’t want either of their prying eyes on me, but I could feel them burning a hole in my head.

“You dated his younger brother? The one who was in the accident?”

Crap. Not what I wanted to talk about. I simply nodded and kept busy. I wasn’t allowing Dustin to become a topic of conversation.

Gretchen seemed to get that, so she didn’t pry and she shut up. Relieved, I put the broom away and grabbed my phone to see if I had a text from Micah. Normally, he texted me several times when he was staying with someone. He hadn’t texted me at all today. Dewayne must’ve been entertaining him.

Gretchen changed the subject to her need for a pedicure and the date she had tonight with some guy named Green. Anyone with the name Green sounded unstable, but I didn’t say anything. Gretchen had a different guy every weekend, mostly her customers from the salon.

“Tomorrow night is girls’ night. When are you coming out with us, Sienna?” Hillary asked as she looked at me in the mirror she was standing in front of to fix her hair.

“I can’t leave Micah at night,” I said by way of explanation. I would never be going out with them. I was positive their going out meant drinking and men. I didn’t have time for either.

“Can’t you get a sitter?” Gretchen asked.

It was odd how Gretchen was two years older than me but acted much younger. She seemed like she never had any real worries and was always partying and going out. I shook my head. “I don’t know anyone I can leave Micah with and feel comfortable. I don’t think Dewayne would be open to watching him on a weekend night. He has his own social life to see to.”

“My younger sister is a sitter. She has been to classes and everything to learn CPR and handle all those emergency situations. She’s only seventeen, but she’s good at it. Makes good money and has several regulars who have come to trust her and call on her.” Hillary’s seventeen-year-old sister was the same age I was when I’d had to grow up fast. I didn’t doubt her because of her age, but I wasn’t sure I was ready to leave Micah with a stranger.

“I’ll think about it,” I said, not wanting to insult Hillary.

She nodded. “I understand. But she would gladly come spend some time with you and Micah so you can get to know her. She learned that it was better for the kids and parents if she did that first before sitting for them.”

Hillary’s sister would also require money. From the sound of her professionalism with the whole sitting thing, she probably charged more than I could pay. I didn’t want to spend our money on me going out when Micah needed so many things. I had his future to think about.

“Money’s tight right now. Maybe when it isn’t so tight, I’ll give her a call,” I said, hoping this was enough to get Hillary to stop pressing the issue.

She shrugged. “Just let me know when you think you’re ready. I’ll hook you up.”

I thanked her and checked my phone again for a text.

Still nothing.


The kid could throw a football. For five years old, he had an impressive arm. He was obsessed with basketball, but he had a talent that was going untapped. I caught the next ball he hurled at me and watched as he grinned and blew his fingers as if they were on fire. It was something my brother would have done.

Instead of my chest hurting with the memory of a little boy who looked so much like this one, strutting around the basketball court like he was king, I felt an empty place inside me being filled. Micah was so much like Dustin that I had fallen in love with him in less than six hours.

My dad hadn’t been able to take his eyes off Micah either. Once the shock wore off, he’d sat down beside his grandson and asked him so many things. And when Micah told him that he was a basketball fan and that he was going to be the best, Dad beamed like I hadn’t seen him do in six years. Micah also mentioned that his dad had been the world’s best basketball player. It had been pure luck that Momma had gone back into the kitchen just when he mentioned his father.

But my father had heard him. Seeing his eyes mist over with bittersweet tears had gotten to me. I’d needed to get the kid out of there. My momma had to be told gently, and when Micah wasn’t around to see her reaction. I had explained that Micah and I had some things to do, and we’d said our good-byes. Momma had made Micah promise to come visit again soon, and my dad had kissed the top of his head. He hadn’t been able to help himself.

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