“Did she tell him where to shove it?” I smile.

“Yeah.” He laughs, running his hand over the top of my head. “That did not go over well with my dad. He left the party and went back to his dorm. The next day, he took his shirt to the dry-cleaners then tracked down my mom’s address and sent her the bill.”


“Oh, Lord, I see where you get your personality from,” I murmur, feeling his chest shake under my cheek.

“The day she got the bill in the mail, she went to his dorm.”

“Go Mom.” I whisper, tucking my hand under my cheek. “They had a blowout fight in the middle of campus. My dad, hating the attention, gave in and told her just to leave, that he didn’t want her money. She did leave. She took off, only she didn’t go back to her school right away. Instead, she went to the dry-cleaners and picked up his shirt.”

“Your mom was awesome.”

“She was,” he agrees softly, running his fingers through my hair. “When my dad went to get his shirt, he found out it had already been picked up, and he knew it was her. He thought she was insane.”

“But he liked her, didn’t he?”

“He didn’t know how he felt about her until the fall, when my mom graduated from Wellesley and started at Harvard Law School, and they ran into each other again. My dad swore my mom did everything within her power to annoy him. She would always stop to talk to him, always do crazy things to get his attention or bug him.”

“And he fell in love with her.”

“He did, but my mom was having none of it. She gave him a run for his money. It took a year for him to catch her. She wasn’t exactly easy to hold onto, but my dad persevered and one thing led to another. They started dating then moved in together, got married, graduated college, and had Parker and me.”

“Parker’s your brother?”

“Yeah, you’ll meet him.” He squeezes me again and my stomach fills with butterflies. “He’s five years older than me and lives in Chicago with his wife and sons. He was a doctor, but after he and his wife had twins, he decided to stay home, and his wife, who is a plastic surgeon, works.”

“What about your dad? Your mom was in law. What was he?”

“My dad was a dentist.”

“Is that why you wanted to be a dentist?” I ask, tilting my head back catching his smile.

“No.” He chuckles. “I wanted to be a lawyer.”

“I could see you as a lawyer.” He smiles, and I question, “So why did you become a dentist then?”

“After he and my mom passed, I got into Harvard. I decided law wasn’t for me, so I followed in Dad’s footsteps instead.”

“I’m sure both of them would be proud of you.”

“I’m sure they would too,” he mutters, dropping a kiss to the top of my head.

“Can I ask what happened to them?” I question after a moment, and his hold on me tightens.

“They were coming home from a New Years Eve party. My father had been drinking and insisted he was sober enough to drive. He wasn’t, or maybe he was. Their car hit a patch of black ice, went off the side of the road, and rolled down a ravine. They both died instantly.” Hearing that, I wonder how much that changed who he was. I can’t imagine how a tragedy like that would affect someone.

“I’m so sorry.”

“Me too.” He rests his mouth at the top of my head, then whispers, “Your family reminds me a lot of how my family was before.”

That makes heart hurt for him. I don’t say anything else or ask any more questions. Instead, I lay there holding him for a long time, with my ear to his chest, listening to the sound of his heart so long that my pain pill wears off completely and my stomach growls, reminding me I haven’t eaten anything since the few crackers I had this afternoon.

“Do you want to order in?” He laughs, hearing another loud growl come from my stomach, and I nod against his chest.

“Chinese, if that’s okay with you.”

“That works. When did you take your last pill?” he asks when I wince as he gets off the bed.

“A little after you left this morning,” I admit, watching him strip off his dress shirt and slacks and put on a pair of loose workout pants.

“You shouldn’t wait so long between to take them.”

“It’s not that bad. Just a little pain, nothing I can’t handle.”

“It’s not something you need to handle,” he grumbles, putting on a form-fitting white tee.

“They make me tired. I don’t want my sleeping schedule to go all wonky, since tomorrow I plan on going back to work.”

“You’re not working tomorrow.”

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