Say I'm Yours (Page 9)
I nod. “I appreciate it. I’m on duty.”
Zach’s eyes narrow in suspicion, but he recovers quickly. “Be safe and don’t do anything reckless.”
I grin. “I don’t have the slightest idea what you could mean.”
“Have a great weekend, Zach. Give my love to Pres.” I hurry my brother out the door. I have something I need to do, and it can’t wait.
“I will, and I’ll see you in a few days for our fishing competition!”
“Thanks for the reminder,” I say as I close the door. “Another thing I wish I could forget about.”
“Grace, are you out of that chocolate peanut butter ice cream?” Wyatt asks, seeming frustrated.
Mama said she needed to help Mrs. Kannan with something, which is code for she wants to play bridge with the girls, so here I am at the store. I don’t mind. It’s better than sitting at home and thinking of all the reasons I need to run away.
“I think we had a pint left!” I call out as I come around the counter. “I know Angie has been practically buying it in bulk.”
He laughs. “I don’t remember this when she was pregnant last time.” His dark brown hair is longer than normal, and the circles under his eyes are dark. “She’s awake all night, puking all day. This is the only thing she can keep down.”
He must be going crazy. That man is a fixer if I’ve ever met one. He can’t handle not being able to do something to make things better. There’s no way he’s taking this well.
“I clearly can’t talk, but I assume each pregnancy is different.”
Wyatt searches through the small freezer and groans. “If I don’t come back with this, I worry she’ll find my shotgun and use it. Besides the tiredness, I think she’s become inhabited by Satan.”
Angie has been a little hostile, but I chalked it up to her adjusting to this new life. Marriage, another pregnancy, living in Bell Buckle again . . . I can’t imagine it’s been easy for her. Plus, knowing her, she’s most likely still making Wyatt pay for being an asshole not too long ago.
“Let me check the back, orange definitely isn’t her color.”
“Glad to see you’re worried about me, Grace!” he calls out as I walk back.
I lift my hand and keep moving. “I’m on her side.”
As I open the door to the storage room, I almost fall over. What the hell? I organized this a week ago. Boxes are piled high, things thrown around, and nothing is where it should be. In all the years we’ve owned this store, I’ve never seen it like this. My mother is methodical about knowing where her inventory is.
I’ll never find anything in here.
I climb over the boxes and make it to the deep freeze. Thankfully, there are a few pints of the ice cream Wyatt is looking for on a shelf so I don’t have to dig through boxes.
“You okay?” he asks as I stumble out of the storage area and shove my hair back.
“I apparently have a lot of work to do back there.”
He peaks his head around and nods. “You could always call Trent.”
“I know you didn’t just say that.”
“I heard you have a pretty interesting night comin’ up.” Wyatt smiles, egging me on.
This town is frustrating as all hell. I’ve always loved it here—until now. “Wyatt Hennington, you better get back to your wife or you’re going to be full of holes.”
He laughs and hands me a ten dollar bill. “I’m just sayin’ is all. My brother can’t be too happy if he knows you’re goin’ out with Cooper.”
“You can just say yourself right out that door.” My accent thickens as I say it. “Your brother had plenty of time to stake his claim. He chose not to.”
Wyatt, Presley, and I were all in the same grade. The three of us were partners in crime, always into some kind of trouble. Before he met Angie, Wyatt had a thing for Presley, which was awkward at times, but it was always the three of us. Then Presley fell in love with Zach, and my heart became attached to Trent. Poor Wyatt was suddenly the odd man out. Plus, his heart’s desire was tied to his brother.
I always felt bad for him, but he never once felt bad for himself. Too many nights he would listen to one of us cryin’ over what one of his brothers did. He’d listen, tell us we were nuts, and make us laugh.
There’s no one in the world who deserves happiness as much as he does, but if he brings up his brother again, I may have to beat his ass.
“I know you’ve finally had enough, not like I didn’t tell you to put your foot down a million times, but you know he loves you.”
“I think he does, which is the issue.”
Wyatt leans against the counter. “Well, whatever you decide, it’s going to be fun to watch.”
“You’re such a jerk.” I toss a piece of paper at him.
“Is there any way you could stop by when you’re done workin’? Angie hasn’t really left the house much, and I think she’s ready to kill me.”
“Can you blame her?” I joke.
He shrugs. “I need to help Cooper on the farm, and I don’t like the idea of her home all day by herself.”
Wyatt isn’t an alarmist, but after all they went through last year, I can’t blame him. I would probably be cautious as well. “I was going to close early . . .” I offer. I wasn’t planning that, especially after the mess I found in the back, but Wyatt doesn’t usually ask for help.
“I really appreciate it.”
He leaves, and I decide to lock the door and focus solely on my task. If people come in and out, it’ll slow my progress.
After an hour, I feel a little better. I got a lot of the boxes sorted so when I come in tomorrow, I can really get it done. I worry, though, how it got this bad. This isn’t the first thing that she’s had problems keeping straight recently, and as much as I don’t want to, I think I’m going to have to suggest she hire some help.
Instead of driving, which would be much faster, I leave my car parked and walk to Angie and Wyatt’s. Summer time in Tennessee is my favorite. I walk down the street with the sun shining and a warm breeze blowing through the sky. There is something about the freedom I feel this time of year. Plus, I don’t have to go to work.
“Well, hey there stranger,” a voice I would know anywhere says.
I turn with excitement as Mrs. Hennington pulls up alongside me. “Hi, Mrs. Hennington!”
“Need a lift?”
“Oh, no thank you. I’m just walking over to see Angie,” I explain. “Wyatt said she isn’t feeling well.”
Mrs. H. shakes her head, a warm smile tilting her lips. “I don’t know what my grandbaby is tryin’ to do to her, but she’s havin’ a heck of a time. I was headin’ over to check on Zach since he’s watchin’ Cayden and Logan today.”
Oh, dear God. Presley is a brave woman for leaving Zach home with teenage boys. I’d put money on him being hogtied somewhere while they dance around him.
“I think that’s probably a good idea.” I giggle.
“It amazes me sometimes that my sons manage to get themselves dressed.”
Macie asks me how I’m doing, and if I’ve been to the store. We chat a little about what she and the girls have been up to. They’ve apparently decided to start planning another trip. As we talk more about my mother, I debate telling her my concerns, but I decide not to. If I tell her, she’ll worry or tell Mama. It’s probably something I should keep to myself.
We start talking about her trip, and I pray when I’m as old as those women that I have half as much fun.
“Well, honey, I’m going to get my behind over there and make sure my boys are all alive.”
“It was great seein’ you.” I smile.
“Grace, honey, don’t you stop comin’ by. I know you and Trent couldn’t work things out, but you’re always welcome in my home. Hell,” she lets out a soft laugh, “I’ll throw him out so you can visit with me, okay?”
And this is why she’s my favorite person in this town. Her and Rhett. No one says a mean word about them because they’re simply the best. Rhett didn’t start out with money, he worked hard and provided for his family, but he was always charitable. My parents couldn’t afford the horses we had, but Rhett provided them free of charge. He made sure everyone in this town had what he could give.
They’re good people.
“Thanks, Mrs. Hennington.”
“I’m sure I shouldn’t say this, but I’m an old woman, and keepin’ my mouth shut has never been my strong suit,” she warns. “I’m not askin’ you to give him anything. Not a damn thing, but I know my boy, and he’s missin’ you, sugar. Just know that.”
I squeeze my hands together and close my eyes. Each time I manage to get him out of my head, something happens, and he’s right back.
“I’d be lyin’ if I told you I didn’t miss him. But I want what you and Mr. Hennington have. I want a marriage, family, and commitment. I know Trent has some weird issue about all of it, but I would’ve settled for the appearance of a life. I can’t keep holding out hope for something I clearly won’t get.”