I’m a day early this weekend, but it’s for a good reason. My youngest son’s birthday is today, and we have our birthday dinner planned for my regular posting day tomorrow. And in a few days, my birthday month starts, so expect to see lots of pretty cake pictures. I’ve already decided on my actual birthday cake, too–last year I was in New York City for my birthday and brought home the best cheesecake in the world for my birthday cake, and I think I’m going to splurge this year and have them deliver it since I can’t go there to get it. That’s a good self-gift, yes? Now I have to narrow down my choices, but I have a little time.
I’ve whittled down and fine-tuned my writing goals for the year now, to a list I think is manageable and achievable for the next six months, and moved some things to my list for 2021 (much too soon to work out that list quite yet, though!). Obviously, I’m not thrilled that the original list is off the table, but I feel good about what I kept for the rest of the year, and I’m already working on it.
Before I go back to my Saturday chores, I have a little story snippet for you, from Light the Way Home.
Nate breathed easier when he drove the truck onto the island from the ferry. Mort gave him a thumbs-up, so he waved, then steered toward home.
He hoped Hayden had behaved. It had been a long time since he’d entrusted his son to anyone besides his parents. He hoped Lucie was really up to the task.
When he got to the house, the porch lights were still on, but he couldn’t see more than faint light around the curtains downstairs. He climbed out of the truck, exhausted. He couldn’t even summon the energy to square his shoulders for whatever he might find inside.
The house was quiet. Completely silent. He shut the door softly behind him, toeing off his sneakers and shrugging out of his jacket before he headed into the kitchen. The supper dishes stood in the drainer. He frowned, then continued to the living room. Where he found Lucie sound asleep on the sofa. The ugly orange and brown afghan he kept draped across the back of the sofa was tucked up around her shoulders, and a lock of her dark hair had slid forward, over her cheek.
He hesitated, hating to disturb her sleep. He glanced at the clock. Almost two. Fuck, it was later than he’d realized. No wonder he was so tired. He rubbed one hand down over his face and took a slow breath. He’d just let her know he was home, and she should stay where she was. He bent over and touched her shoulder.
Lucie jerked awake, sitting up so fast she almost knocked her head against his chin before he straightened.
“Whoa,” he said softly, holding both hands out. “Easy, Lucie. Just me.”
Her wide eyes squeezed shut for a moment, and she let out a quick breath. “Sorry. You startled me.”
“It’s okay. I just wanted you to know I was home. Lie down, go back to sleep, it’s late.”
She met his gaze, her sleepy green eyes searching. “How is your dad?”
Tension squeezed his chest again. “He was in recovery when I left. The doctor pinned the bones in his leg back together.” He sat down on the coffee table.
Lucie surprised him by reaching over to pat his knee. “You must be very worried. I’m sorry.”
He caught her hand. “Lie down, Lucie. Or I can make up the bed in the guest room.”
“I can go back over to Harry and Mindi’s,” she said, covering a yawn with her free hand. “You should get some sleep. I imagine you’re exhausted.”
“You, too. Thanks for staying with Hayden. Did he give you any trouble?”
“Of course not. We played some picture dominoes, then read a couple stories, and he was out.”
“You didn’t have to wash the dishes.”
A faint smile touched her mouth. “I needed something to do. And I love your kitchen. You did that?”
Nate nodded and gave her fingers a gentle squeeze. “Go back to sleep, Lucie. Really.”
She shook her head, yawning again. “I don’t want to be in your way, and I have a bed just a few yards away.” She smiled once more.
He realized he was still holding her hand and released it, standing. “You aren’t in the way. I really appreciate your help.”
She eased to her feet, too. “If you need a hand again, let me know.”
Her smile faded. “No, no kids.”
“But you’re good with him.”
Her mouth turned down a little. “I dated someone for a few years who had a son a bit older than Hayden.”
“I’m sorry, it’s none of my business.”
She shook her head. “Old news. But I do miss Teddy sometimes.” Her smile this time was forced. “Let me get my shoes and sweater on, and I’ll get out of your way so you can sleep, too.”
Nate closed his mouth on a curse. He hadn’t meant to make her feel bad. “Lucie.”
She glanced back over her shoulder.
He didn’t even know what he’d meant to say, and it didn’t matter when a loud rumble of thunder shook the house.
Her eyes widened, and she looked toward the back door as a bolt of lightning flashed over the sky. Right before the rain started, pouring down in a deluge. “Shit,” she whispered, her shoulders slumping.
What are you up to this weekend? Instead of chores, I’ve been wishing for a beach break, but I’ll have to just imagine I’m getting to read on the beach for now. And maybe I’ll spike my lemonade today, too.
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