Luke held his hands up in protest. “No! Seriously, Morgan. No tickling.”
Morgan dove toward him with her hands held high. She let out a cackle of laughter. Luke was doing his best to fend off Morgan, but losing ground by the second.
A loud coughing sound caused them both to turn toward the front door. Pearl Lucas—Morgan’s mother—was standing there with a perturbed expression plastered on her face.
“Mama! Why didn’t you knock first?” Morgan asked. Her cheeks were flushed, and Luke couldn’t tell if it was from their tickle battle or her irritation with her mother.
Pearl frowned. “I did knock, but you didn’t answer. And I was worried when I heard a bunch of high-pitched screams coming from over here.”
“I’m not in any danger,” Morgan said. “Clearly.”
Mrs. Lucas looked back and forth between them as if she was sizing both of them up.
“So, are either of you going to tell me what’s going on between the two of you?” Pearl asked.
“Mama,” Morgan hissed. “You’re embarrassing me! Go back to the house.”
Pearl crossed her hands over her chest and began tapping her foot. “I’m going to prete
nd that I didn’t hear that! If you want to go head to head on embarrassing moments I can match you tit for tat. I’ve lived through some very humiliating childhood antics of yours, Miss Morgan Lucas.”
Morgan let out a groan and shook her head. Luke wanted to laugh out loud. Morgan seemed as if she wanted to disappear through the floorboards.
Luke focused his attention on Morgan’s mother. “Mrs. Lucas. It’s great to see you tonight.” He put up his hand and whispered behind it. “I would never tell you to leave. Just saying.”
Morgan sputtered and glared at him.
Pearl patted Luke on the arm. “I like your style, Luke. I always have. You and Callie are such lovely young people. I’ve always been mighty proud that Callie and Morgan were the best of friends.”
“Why thank you,” Luke said with a grin. “If you don’t mind I’m going to pass on the compliment to my mother. She’ll get a big kick out of it.”
“What are your intentions?” Pearl asked with a deadpan expression.
“Mama!” Morgan let out a squeal of outrage. “Are you trying to humiliate me?”
Luke held up his hands. “No worries, Morgan. She’s your mother and she has every right to ask. I’ll never shirk at answering any of your questions. My intentions are completely honorable. I love your daughter, Mrs. Lucas. I have for quite a while now. I’m sorry if this comes as a complete surprise to you, but your daughter and I were dating a few years ago. Things didn’t work out then, but I’m very grateful for a second chance.”
“Nothing surprises me, Luke. I know a lot more than I let on,” Pearl informed them.
Morgan’s jaw dropped. She began to sputter. Again, Luke tried not to laugh out loud. Tonight was turning out to be pure entertainment.
“Somehow that doesn’t surprise me,” he drawled. “Things didn’t end between us the way I’d hoped. But now, we’re both older and wiser and more grounded in our lives. I’d like to see where this relationship goes. And I intend to treat Morgan with dignity and respect. Of that you can be certain.”
Pearl nodded and let out a few sounds of approval. She turned toward Morgan. “Now was that really so difficult to explain to your mother?”
“No, Mama. It wasn’t,” Morgan said in a sheepish voice.
Pearl turned back to face Luke. “I hope you enjoy a wonderful evening, Luke. I look forward to seeing you soon. You are one very devastatingly attractive man.” She turned on her heel and walked toward the door and sailed through it. The sound of the door shutting closed heralded her exit.
“She called me devastatingly handsome. I think she likes me,” Luke teased. He rubbed his two fingers together in a scolding motion. “You on the other hand are on her bad list.”
Morgan rolled her eyes at Luke. She grabbed her purse and a light sweater from the sofa. “Let’s go before she comes back. Something tells me she might have a few more choice words for me.”
By the time they pulled up to the Lucas Theater for the Arts, Morgan’s stomach was grumbling like crazy. Today was one of those days she’d forgotten to eat lunch. She’d nibbled on a few things while she’d been cooking lunch for the Savanah House guests, but she hadn’t sat down to a full meal. And now she was paying for it with a groaning belly. And she couldn’t very well hint to Luke about feeding her before the movie.
“Let’s go inside,” Luke said, offering her his arm. She looped her arm through Luke’s. Excitement trickled through her veins. She couldn’t think of a cooler venue for a date with her guy. Luke held the door open for her and she stepped inside, looking all around her as she walked in. It was breathtaking!