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Fueled (Page 59)

“Kids Now definitely is,” I muse.

He grins widely. “Speaking of good causes, I hear you and my boy are working on a little something together for your own organization.”

“Yes we are!” I exclaim, a thrill shooting through me at the sudden realization that this is really happening. I am actually here promoting the new facility and its culmination. “With Colton’s help—”

“There you are,” a sultry voice interrupts me. I turn to see its owner and find that I am face to face with Dorothea Donavan-Westin. She is absolutely stunning, and there is a gracefulness about her—in her movement, in her smile, in how she holds herself—that makes you want to just watch and admire.

“Dottie, sweetheart! I didn’t know where you went off to,” Andy says as he kisses her cheek.

Dorothea looks over to me, her sapphire blue eyes alight with humor. “He’s always losing me.” She laughs.

“Dottie dear, this is Rylee…”

“Thomas,” I finish for Andy.

“Thomas. Yes,” he says, winking at me, thankful for my assistance. “Please meet my wife, Dorothea…” he turns to her “…she’s the one that Colton is working with on—”

“Yes I know, dear…” she pats his arm affectionately “…I am on the board after all.” She turns to face me and extends a perfectly manicured hand. “So glad to finally meet you in person, Rylee. I’ve heard such great things about your work through the committee.”

I reach out to shake her hand, surprised by my nerves. Where Andy is warm and inviting, Dorothea is reserved and regal. A person who makes you want to have their approval without so much as saying a word. Commanding. “Thank you. So lovely to meet you as well,” I smile warmly at her. “Your husband and I were just talking about that. Your son’s generous donation has made the facility become a tangible reality for us. Once his team figures the total lap match sponsorship, we just might be able to start pulling permits.”

Pride fills Dorothea’s face at the mention of her son, and I can see the unconditional love in her eyes. “Well I guess it was a good thing I fell ill and forced him to attend in my place then.” She laughs. “Despite the incessant grumbling I had to listen to about being forced to wear a tux.”

I can’t help but smile at her words; I heard the same grumbling earlier. “We are overwhelmed by his generosity. Words cannot express how much it is appreciated. And then to go above and beyond and try to get sponsorships to complete the funding…” I place my hand over my heart. “It just leaves us—me—speechless. Overwhelmed, really.”

“That’s our boy!” Andy exclaims, reaching for a flute of champagne from a passing waitress and handing it to Dorothea.

“You should be so proud of him. He’s a good man.” The words are out of my mouth before I even realize it, and I find myself slightly embarrassed. My unexpected admission to his parents is insight into my feelings for their beloved son.

Dorothea angles her head to the side and regards me over her champagne flute as she takes a sip. “So tell me, Rylee, are you here with Colton tonight on a professional or a personal level?”

I must look like a deer in the headlights at her words and I look from Dorothea to Andy and back again. What am I supposed to say? That I’m in love with your son, but he still thinks of me as a woman he fucks because he refuses to accept that he might have feelings for me? I hardly think that’s an appropriate thing to say to one’s parents regardless of its truth or not. My mouth opens to say something when Andy intervenes.

“Don’t badger the girl, Dottie!” he says playfully, winking at me as I silently thank him.

“Well…” she shrugs in apology, although I doubt she’s remorseful “…a mother likes to know these things. In fact, I think—”

“What a pleasant surprise!” I hear the smooth rasp of Colton’s voice, and relief floods me that I won’t have to answer her question.

“Colton!” Dorothea exclaims as she turns to face her son. I’m surprised when he grabs his mom in a huge bear hug, rocking her back and forth before kissing her on the cheek, his face lighting up with love for her. She accepts his affection openly and places both hands on his cheeks and looks into his eyes. “Let me look at you! It feels like forever since I’ve seen you!”

He smiles at her, his adoration apparent. “It’s only been a couple of weeks.” He smirks at her as he pats his dad on the back in greeting. “Hey, Dad!”

“Hey, bud,” Andy says, putting an arm around Colton’s shoulders and squeezing momentarily. “What’s this?” he asks, bringing a hand up to playfully rub Colton’s cheek. “You actually shaved for tonight? Your mother was surprised when she saw the picture from the event the other night of you and—”

“You looked so handsome, Colton. All clean-shaven…” She cuts her husband off with a warning glance before smiling adoringly at her son. “You know how much I like when you shave that scruff off of your face. You look much better without it!”

Colton looks over at me, a crooked smirk on his face, his eyes telling me that he remembers my comment about just how much I enjoy the scruff against my inner thighs. “I see you’ve met Rylee?” he says as he slides an arm around my waist and pulls me against him, leaning over to brush his lips to my temple. I instinctively lean into him, not missing the look of surprise that’s exchanged between his parents. Over what I’m unsure, but Andy’s look to Dorothea appears to say see what I mean.

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