“My parents know that you didn’t send those texts,” I say gently.
“I know.” He takes a deep breath. “I'm sure they don’t believe that.”
“My mom thinks your ex sent them.”
“She’s the only person who could have,” he says, and I can feel my pulse speed up. I have never hated anyone in my life, but what I feel for her is close.
“Well, I know once my dad gets to know you, he will love you,” I tell him. He is honestly my dad’s dream-son, and I hope he gives him a chance.
“I'm sure it will be fine,” he says, and my stomach flips, wondering if this is a huge mistake.
“Honey, you have to move that out of the way, at least until I can get the camera turned on,” I hear my mom say. I look over at Cash, who is sitting next to me at his dining table. The computer is in front of us, the screen black, but we can both hear my parents arguing back and forth. Cash smiles, and I laugh when I hear my mom yell to get the damn thing out of her face. Finally, the screen turns on, and I see my mom sit down hard in her chair and glare off camera.
“Hey, honey.” My mom smiles then looks over at Cash, and her eyes get big before coming back to me. “Well, at least he’s hot, even if he is a prick.”
“Mom,” I snap.
“Oh, please, now I see why you went all gaga over him.” She waves her hand back and forth, and then I see a shadow over her right shoulder before my dad sits down next to her in one of their kitchen chairs. I suck my lips into my mouth, trying not to bust out laughing. My dad is wearing his hunting gear. His short hair is slicked away from his face, and under his eyes are black smudges of paint. He also has his shotgun out and his hunting knife in a knife holster under his arm.
“Hi, Dad.” I give a slight giggle. He glares at me, looks over at Cash, and I look over at Cash as well. His face is slightly red and he looks like he is trying not to laugh. “Dad, Mom, this is Cash. Cash, these are my parents, Frank and Tina Donovan,” I say.
“Nice to meet you, sir and ma’am.” He nods at both my parents, and we can hear my mom mumble something under her breath about manners and good looks.
“Dad, why are you wearing that?”
“Well, I thought that I should let this young man here know that I was a Seal. I know how to go into places and get out unnoticed. I know how to kill someone before they even know I'm there. And I know how to—”
“Yeah, yeah, I know, but what does that have to do with your hunting gear?
“He can’t fit into his uniform,” my mom chimes in. “Trust me, honey, he tried. Even tried to have me button him up, and it was still a no-go.” My mom shakes her head, and then smiles when my dad turns to look at her and glare.
“Woman, I told you to stop baking all the damn time.”
“Oh, stop. Don’t blame your weight on my baking.”
“Mom, Dad...” I sigh.
“Fine,” my dad says, still looking at my mom. “Know that you’re going to pay for that later,” he says quietly, making my mom blush.
“Gross, can you both please act like normal parents for five minutes?” I shake my head.
“Memaw!” Ashlyn shrieks climbing onto Cash’s lap and waving into the camera.
“Hey, baby.” My mom sits forward, smiling.
“Papa, look! My daddy’s here!” Ashlyn looks at my dad then leans back, looking up at Cash. He leans forward, kissing her forehead.
“I see that, angel.” Dad’s face transforms into a smile. Ashlyn looks away from Cash, back to the computer.
“Oh wait! You hab to meet my brother!” Ashlyn squeals, climbing down from Cash’s lap. I can hear her in the other room yelling for Jax to come meet her Memaw and Papa. Cash and I look at each other and laugh. Cash slips his arm around my shoulders, pulling me into his side. I feel his lips at my temple, and then Jax and Ashlyn are running into the room. Ashlyn climbs back onto Cash’s lap, and Jax looks at me for a second, seeming unsure. I hold out my arms and he smiles before jumping up to sit on my lap.
“Fuck me,” my dad says, looking between Jax and Ashlyn.
“Daddy!” I scold, covering Jax’s ears. Jax starts laughing, and then Ashlyn joins him. I look at both of them and shake my head. “Do not repeat what you just heard.”
“They could be twins,” my mom says, and I look up from the kids’ smiling faces to see tears in my mom’s eyes. “Nice to meet you, Jax. You can call me Memaw or Grandma,” my mom says, “and you can call this guy here Papa or Grandpa.” She points to my dad.
“Hi,” Jax says, giving a small wave before leaning back into me. I wrap my arms around him and kiss the top of his head. We have gotten closer over the last couple months, but it’s rare that he will cuddle. Just like Ashlyn, he likes to be off running around creating havoc and chaos.
“So how are you, angel?” my dad asks Ashlyn, who is cuddled back into Cash.
“Good! Daddy says I can get a dog,” she says randomly, and I look over at Cash and glare.
“I didn’t say it was going to happen today.” He looks a little sheepish.
“I want a dog,” Jax says, leaning back to look up at me.
“Um…I…well, one day.”
“Do you think that Spike will like having a dog?” he asks. I know, I know…I kinda ended up liking Spike; he’s cute. But I wonder if dogs eat ferrets.
“I don’t know.”
“I don’t want Spike to get hurt,” Ashlyn says.
“Who’s Spike?” my dad asks.
“My ferret,” Jax says, looking over at Ashlyn. “We should go get him.” Ashlyn nods before they both jump off our laps, running to the back of the house where the bedrooms are.
“Seems you two have your hands full and a good reason for birth control,” my mom says, and I laugh.
“Yeah, but they are both really good kids,” I say, leaning into Cash.
“So, what are your intentions with my daughter?”
“Don’t you ‘Dad’ me; I want to know what his plans are.”
“Well, I would like Lil and Ashlyn to move in with me—” Cash starts to say something else, but my dad cuts him off.
“So you want to get the milk for free?” my dad asks with narrowed eyes, and Cash looks confused.
“Sorry, I'm not following.”