Oookay, here’s the last part! Thanks again for the support, likes and such, you guys. :3 Please feel free to give me feedback on what (little) there is of this short story; I’d really appreciate it.
Weston leaned forward on the picnic table, holding a half-full bottle of water in front of him. As soon as they’d gotten home his dad had dropped the nice father routine and jumped into his role of doctor, making sure he was drinking plenty of water. He was a little irked, but Weston did as told, for he knew it was necessary to get back on his feet.
“So… Tawny? How old is she?” his father asked conversationally as he grilled, glancing at his youngest son over his shoulder.
Weston smirked a tad before answering, “Twenty-one.”
His father spluttered, and Weston laughed. “She looked your age, younger even!” he said, much as Weston himself had earlier that day.
“Mm,” he hummed in agreement. “She’s in college,” he supplied further.
“We’ll have to keep an eye on your brother tonight,” his father said, letting out a long-suffering sigh. “If he comes home.”
Weston frowned. His brother was… well, he loved his brother, but it was more of an obligatory love, because he was his brother. He could be quite the asshole. He was in college, and was a smart kid, but… he was an asshole. A ladies’ man, he liked to party and get drunk, but somehow managed to keep up his grades. But it was the former quality that had both Weston and his father so worried. If Shawn did come home for supper (which he probably would; everyone in their family loved Walden Breton’s steak and potatoes), he would start in on Tawny in a New York minute…
Just then the doorbell rang, and Walden and Weston grinned at each other before they both went for the door. Weston already knew he liked Tawny, and obviously his father had taken a liking to her, as well. Even though they knew next to nothing about her…
Upon opening the door, both Breton men were surprised.
“Hello. Thank you for inviting us to your home…” Tawny said, smiling slightly and bowing a bit.
“Thank you!” piped in another voice. This voice came from a tiny girl clinging to Tawny’s back for a piggyback ride. She looked like a miniature version of Tawny to a ‘T,’ but with much longer hair. Rather than the many shades of green, her hazel eyes had more browns, and they were big and expressive. She grinned at the two men in front of her, and they saw she was missing a tooth on the top and bottom of her mouth.
The little girl slid down her sister’s back and held up a hand to shake. “My sister Tawny and I are very pleased to meet you, and thank you very much for inviting us over,” she said. Walden grinned and took her hand before Weston did the same. The little girl had obviously practiced her little intro before hand, for she said it with surety, but still with the underlying ‘accent’ of a child. “I am Celia Powell.”
“What a well-mannered peach,” Walden chuckled, moving aside to let the girls in. As Tawny passed him with a sheepish smile and a soft ‘thank you,’ he whispered to her as he shut the door, “I’ll be honest in saying I think my son and I assumed your sister was…”
“Older?” She laughed. “That’s why I was a bit leery about her coming here… She means well, but she can be quite the handful.”
“You watch her a lot?” Weston asked, and she looked away toward Celia before nodding.
“Your parents must be real proud of you for keeping an eye on her,” Walden added, ushering them onto the porch so he could finish grilling. In so doing, both he and Weston missed the look that crossed her face.
When she didn’t say anything, Walden turned to her as he opened up the grill again. “There’s a swing set if you’d like to go and play, Celia,” he told her gently, pointing out into the yard. “Dinner will be a bit, yet.”
She squealed happily and thanked him, and would have run down the porch steps, but she instead went to Tawny and asked, “Taw’, can I?”
“Of course,” she smiled, brushing her fingers through her little sister’s hair lovingly before patting her back, gently directing her to the yard. “Go have fun.” She jumped up and lightly pecked her older sister on the cheek before scurrying down the steps and to the swings.
Not looking away from the grill, Walden continued. “You don’t live with your parents and take care of her yourself.” It wasn’t a question.
So insightful, Dad, Weston thought. He wouldn’t have caught that at all, but by the look on Tawny’s face, he guessed his dad had hit the nail on the head. “How old is she?” Weston asked softly.
“Six and three quarters,” she chuckled, watching as Celia began by swinging on her stomach. “As she is so fond of reminding me…”
“Why aren’t your parents watching her?” he asked without thinking. His dad glared at him lightly over Tawny’s head. Weston shrugged sheepishly at him.
Guessing at the exchange, Tawny sighed. “No, it’s fine. Uh… Well, they weren’t the greatest; we’ll leave it there. So when I turned eighteen we moved here and I took her with me. It was a messy legal battle, but in the end it was decided I was a better guardian for her. I had already raised her practically by myself, as is.” She shrugged and looked them both squarely in the eyes.
“But you’re in school, right? How—?”
“I work when not in school, and she’s in school or daycare herself, otherwise.” She began fiddling with her hair absently, obviously a little uncomfortable about the conversation but, because of their kindness, she wished to be honest with them. And she had hit Weston with her car… Weston watched, taking note that instead of completely down or in a bun, her hair was in two twin pigtails lying down behind her head. She was biting her lip in thought, or nervousness, and was now not looking at either of them. Damn… she’s cute, he sighed to himself. I guess I like older women?
“Thought process back on topic, Wes,” his father commented dryly, noting the absent look on his son’s face. Clearing his throat with a slight blush, Weston turned to his father sheepishly.