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“Thanks. Now, ask Alana out and tell me all the juicy details later.”

“You’re welcome, and no. You can have those girly talks with Marlie and Alana. I’m drawing the line at sitting around while you paint your nails, read magazines, and gossip. Those years are long gone, bug,” I call her the nickname I used for her.

“Fun sucker. Oh, well, love you.”

“Love you, too.” We get off the phone. I walk to my office to fire up my computer and see what all the fuss is about with this possible new client, already having a bad feeling in my gut from what Leena said about him. Now it’s time for me to do some digging of my own.



“Grams, tell me again that I shouldn’t be this nervous.” Yes, she’s my best friend. No, I’m not ashamed. I have other friends, but nothing like I have in her. It’s also been a week since Keller has been on his mission to fix things, and yes, I’ve made him work for it. I’ll text him back whenever he does. Sometimes, I’ll be the first, but that’s rare because he’s usually beaten me to it. And the phone calls. I don’t have to worry about him not calling. It’s like clockwork. By the time eight o’clock rolls around, my phone is ringing. The only time we’ve both gone silent on each other is last Sunday, when Keller was with his brothers and sisters and I was with my grandparents. I think the fact that we both value what family means to each other helps tremendously.

“You want the truth or for me to fib to you?” I hear her moving in the background. I’m standing in front of my mirror going back and forth between what I should wear, holding up a sundress and a romper. Of course, Florida would decide to have warm weather after a week of highs in the sixties, and yet today, the day of my date, the high is eighty-two. Sometimes, I think our weather is plain obnoxious.

“Do I ever want you to fib to me?” The dress is super cute, but since we’ll have Jace, it’s probably not the smart thing to do. It’s why I don’t bother with them at work either. There’s no way you can run after kids in a dress without worrying about it flapping up in the wind, which could very well happen today if we do any type of activity.

“Not particularly, but, honey, it’s okay to be nervous. In fact, I bet Keller is probably more so than you are. Think about it from an outsider’s perspective, which is hard even for me because you’re my girl, but I’ve also been where Keller is when your father did introduce you to someone. It’s not just your heart that needs protecting; it’s a little boy’s, too.” That hits me right in the gut, literally, because I’ve had my grandparents whenever I’d get attached to one of my dad’s girlfriends only for him to get tired of her, basically pushing her out the door for the next skinnier, prettier, and younger one. I always ran to Grams and Gramps. How could I have been so thoughtless not remembering that?

“Oh God, Grams, I didn’t think of that. Maybe I should cancel the date and wait until he has a babysitter.” I sit on my bed, my phone pressed to my ear and the other hand grasping my hair in a ponytail, bringing it to the side.

“No, you can’t do that either, and I didn’t mean to make you second-guessing everything. Plus, I have an inkling he could have gotten a babysitter if he really wanted to. I’m not buying that he doesn’t have backup in case his siblings or parents aren’t around.” Grams just puts everything into perspective. I let out a breath, relieving some tension.

“You’re right. We’ll all be nervous together. Thanks, Grams, for calming me down and also reminding me to handle them with care.” I stand up, moving back to the romper. It’s ridiculously comfortable, which is always a plus in my book, and covers things in all the right places while staying cute. A jeans-like fabric, two thick straps hold it together, it has buttons down the front and even pockets. I’ll pair it with white sneakers and a chunky cardigan in case I get cold, because let’s face it, anytime there’s a breeze in the air, a native Floridian can get cold.

“That’s my girl. Go get ready and tell me how everything goes later on. I love you.”

“Love you, too. I’ll be over tomorrow.” We hang up the phone. I glance at the screen and notice there’s a text from the man who has my stomach in a whole bunch of knots.

Keller: We’re on our way.

Me: See you guys soon!

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