Page 11 of Changing Grades

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I nod slowly. “He’s very handsome, but there’s more to Griffin than his looks.”

I shoot Callie a look because we’ve talked a lot about how the way someone looks doesn’t define them, it is only part of them. I never wanted her to wrap her worth up in appearance and I never wanted someone to be able to tear her down or falsely build her up because of the way she looks. Both are dangerous and I wanted her to know her worth, from the inside out.

Callie sighs, a slight whine to her voice, “I know, Mom, but you deserve a guy who you find attractive and makes you feel butterflies.”

“What do you know about feeling butterflies?” I screw my face up and my daughter giggles like it’s the funnies thing I’ve ever said. Except I’m serious. Mom chuckles and shakes her head when I shoot her a questioning look. I can’t help but ask, “Have you been feeling butterflies?”

“Ew,” Callie wrinkles her nose, “no. All the boys in school are gross. I’m not interested in any of them, but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand that it won’t always be that way. At least that’s what Grandma says,” she adds dismissively.

I want to smack my forehead with my hand, but I stop myself. Instead, I settle in and tell my daughter and my mom everything I know about Griffin. I leave out the X-rated stuff, obviously, but I tell them everything else.

I tell them how he makes me feel like I’m the most important person in his world. How he listened to everything I had to say with interest that wasn’t fake. How he wanted to learn so much about me while also being open with himself.

I swear Callie and Mom both swoon the more I talk about him, and it only makes me smile. It settles some of the worry inside me. If things go well, I’m going to have to let Griffin into Callie’s life. I never want her to feel like she’s holding me back and I want the future I’m afraid to hope for, but desperately want. One where my daughter has more than me, where she has a father figure, a family.



It’s been a few weeks of dating my woman and it feels like everything is settling into place. Well, almost. There is still one thing missing, but I’m hoping that after today I’ll be able to ease Sienna’s concerns and she can see just how right we are together; how right we are as a family.

I totally understand why my Starshine has been hesitant to let me meet Callie, especially after what happened with the sperm donor who will get a punch to the face if I ever meet the man. As much as I hate that it hurt Sienna, I’m glad he’s not in either of their lives. They’re better off without him.

Which is why I haven’t pushed Sienna to go faster, to make things between us even more official. I want her to be comfortable and I want her to trust me. I need her to feel our connection and lean on it when she needs to instead of being afraid of it.

Today is one of those make it or break it moments and I have no intention of breaking the burgeoning trust and love between us. I want it too badly. I need it too badly.

It’s like everything in me shifted the night I saw Sienna again, which I could have never predicted would happen at my high school reunion. I thought for sure I’d have a miserable night, but it would be something I would look back on later and not regret missing out on. Now I’m grateful as fuck that my friends gave me the small push to go. If I hadn’t, I don’t know how long it would have been before I met Sienna again.

I have no doubt that we would have found a way to each other, even though I never really believed in fate before meeting her. Now, I know it’s real because we were both where we were supposed to be right when we were supposed to be there.

It was kismet, or whatever. If that makes me sound sappy, then so be it. I wouldn’t change what happened and how my woman came into my life. Consider me a believer in all things right and fated in the world.

The last time I was out with Sienna, she surprised the fuck out of me by blurting, “I think it’s time for you to meet Callie.” My eyes were almost bugging out of my head, and I was frozen, staring at her and trying to process her words. She fidgeted a little in her chair and started to trip over her words, “I mean, if you still want to do it. I just figure there’s no reason to put it off any longer, if-.”

I cut her off, “I desperately want to meet Callie because it means you’re giving me even more of your trust. I was just surprised that you were ready. I didn’t want to push you, but I know how important she is to you, and I’ve really wanted to meet her. I know she’ll be an amazing little girl all because you’re her mom.”

The nervousness in my woman’s hazel eyes evaporated. I started to breathe easier, not even realizing how scared I was that she would change her mind because I was caught off guard and didn’t react well.

Sienna gave me a shy smile, her voice soft, “She’s excited to meet you.”

My chest puffed up with her words as pride filled me. “You’ve told her about me?” She nodded and that feeling only grew in the center of my chest, engulfing my entire body. “Can I,” I swallowed hard, suddenly nervous before I pushed it aside and tried again. “Can I plan a day for us? Would you be okay with that?”

“Are you sure?” She didn’t sound suspicious, just curious.

“I am. I want to plan something special for both of you. You’ve been doing it all on your own for so long, the only one planning things to do with your daughter. I want to take that on.” I teased her, “You can score me after and let me know how I did.”

“Okay,” she whispered as her eyes sparkled with something deep, something fathomless.

Now our family date is here, and I hope I chose the right activity. Sienna was off today, and I left the jobsite early, all the guys telling me to go and get my family, supporting me and telling me not to be nervous. They all know how important this is to me.

I hope Callie likes me, that she can trust me to be in her life the same way her mom is doing. I only want the chance to be what she needs me to be. I’m not her father, at least not biologically, but I’ve listened to my woman talk about Callie and watched the way she lights up whenever she does. Part of me is already in love with the little lady.

I park my truck in front of their townhouse, only a few minutes early because I’m excited. I know Sienna picked her up from school about an hour ago because I’ve become very familiar with their schedules. If I want to be part of their life, their schedule will influence mine and I’m more than ready for it.

I hop out and stride up the walk, trying to push away the nervousness. Just like it did the night I stood right here to pick my Starshine up for our first date, a peace settles over me. This will be fine and we’re going to have a great time.

There’s no other way it can go.

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