“Jesus! Someone smack that dude! I can’t take that creepy grin anymore.” Harrison growls and stalks out the door.
“Let me know if you need help with your sister, man! I’ll be happy to give you some pointers!”
“You just met your son and he’s too little to talk back to you! Come back to me in about twelve years!”
“My boy will still be a good kid.”
“Are you saying my sister isn’t a good kid?”
I shake my head, my eyes watching him warily. The big guy is wound tighter than a two dollar watch. “No! Absolutely not! Your sister’s a good kid for sure. She’s…well, she’s sometimes a handful, huh?”
He grunts and glares at me before he stomps out of the house. I let out the breath I’ve been holding. For a minute there I thought he might rearrange my face.
“Hey, man.” I wait until he turns. “If you need anything you know you only need to ask. We’re all a family. We’d gladly help you however we can.”
He eyes me and then grins. “You’re already pussy-whipped. See you later, bastard.”
I shake my head and chuckle before picking up my things and following him out the door.
It’s only ten minutes until I get home and it can’t come fast enough for me.
I decide to stop off at the diner in town and pick up some food and then I also duck across the street and grab dessert from the bakery and then flowers from the florist next door.
By the time I’m heading down the road and to my house, I’m struggling to keep the grin that wants to break out from taking over my face.
I pull up outside the house and frown when I don’t see Candy’s car. I grab all the stuff and head up to the door, using my key and shoving it open.
“Hey, Candy! Where are you at? I picked up dinner and dessert.” But I can already tell from the way that the house echoes that it’s empty.
I drop my packages to the table and grab my phone, looking to see if she sent me a message.
Thunder rumbles over the mountain outside and my heart stops, my breath stalling. I can see the dark, iron-grey clouds building up and swirling.
“Shit!” I hiss. Candy doesn’t know how fast the storms can move in over the mountain and she’s out there somewhere with Edison. Both of them unaware of the danger that they’re in.
Lightning flashes and there’s another closer rumble of thunder. I pace around the room and keep staring at my phone. When it doesn’t ring, I try and call her to warn her but it keeps going to voicemail.
My heart feels like it’s climbing into my throat, blocking my breath. I can’t even swallow the lump is so big.
“Where the hell are you, Candy?” As far as I know she doesn’t know anybody in town. Where could she be?
The storm gathers intensity and I can feel the buzz of electricity in the air. Lightning streaks in crazy flashes outside the window and it’s already pitch-dark. I can’t stop staring out the damn window, my hand on the glass, fear eating at me until I can barely stop myself from calling emergency rooms.
My stomach churns and I see the trees bending before the wind. The storm wails and tears at my cabin, destroying me in the process.
If something’s happened to Candy and Edison, I really will climb into a hole somewhere and bury myself. Because there’s nothing else that matters. My life would be over.
“Thanks for letting me stay while it was storming!” I holler back at the photographer and the two guys who were getting their pictures done for the calendar today. I’m still working on my article and each time I get to see a little peek at these men’s lives, it’s better and better. My editor is loving it and I might end up getting my own by-line out of it.
“You be careful out there!” Tom calls out to me.
I smile and wave, grabbing for Edison’s hand and picking him up. I grunt.