“You did, didn’t you?” she asks before I can answer. “You got married and didn’t even think to call me and your papa?”
Staring into Dillon’s eyes, I whisper, “I did get married.” I watch as his face softens and his eyes darken. Leaning over, he pushes my hair back over my shoulder and kisses my neck, causing my eyes to slide half-mast. Scooting closer to him, I tuck myself into his side, resting my cheek against his chest and listen to Memaw shout.
“I can’t believe this! Frank, can you believe this?”
“I ain’t got no choice but to believe it,” Papa mutters, and I fight back the laughter I feel bubbling up inside of me.
“What the hell happened to the good old days, when a man would ask a woman’s family for consent to date her?” she grumbles, and this time I can’t fight the laughter I feel, so I press my face into Dillon’s chest and let it go. “Are you laughing?” she asks in disbelief.
I laugh harder, asking, “Would you like him to pay you in cattle for my hand in marriage, Memaw?”
“That would be a start, though, I do think you’re worth more than a few head of cattle,” she mutters dryly, making me giggle.
“What the hell are you talking about cattle for, woman?” Papa shouts from a distance, and I tilt my head back to look at Dillon, wondering if I should put the phone on speaker so he can hear for himself what real crazy people sound like.
“Nothing,” she snaps. Then whispers, “When did you get old enough to get married, baby girl?”
My laughter dies in my throat and my eyes fill with tears. “I don’t know,” I whisper back, listening to her pull in a ragged breath.
“Please tell me that he makes you happy,” she pleas quietly, and my eyes close tight.
“I promise you he makes me happy,” I say, feeling Dillon’s fingers still on my side, where he was drawing lazy patterns, and then his lips at the top of my head press there.
“Well… I guess I got no choice but to be happy for you then, do I?”
“I would like you and Papa to be happy for me. I’m really sorry I didn’t tell you, but things have been a little crazy around here.”
“I bet.” She sighs, then mutters, “Hold on, your granddad is biting at the bit wanting to say something. Darn it, Frank, let me let the darn phone go before you strangle me with the stupid cord!” she shouts, and I laugh once more.
“Angel, is your young man there with you?”
“Put your phone on speaker so I can say something to him.”
“Papa,” I sigh, knowing what’s coming and not really wanting to subject Dillon to it.
“Now, angel girl,” he demands, and I reluctantly put my cell on speaker and hold it out between Dillon and me.
“Okay, he can hear you.”
“You there, young man?” he asks, and Dillon smiles, kissing my forehead.
“Good, now you listen to me, ’cause I’m only going to say this once. If you hurt my girl, I will fly my old ass to Tennessee, kidnap you, bring you back to Alaska, and let the bears have your cold, dead body. Do you understand what I’m saying to you?”
“I understand,” he says with a smile on his handsome face.
“You better take care of her.”
“I will,” he agrees adamantly while looking straight at me. The soft look in his eyes making my stomach fill with butterflies.
“Good, now I expect to hear that you two are planning a trip out to see us soon.”
“I’ll make it happen,” Dillon agrees, and I lean farther into his side.
“I’m here, Papa.”
“Love you, girl.”
“Love you too,” I say, then hear the phone go quiet for a brief second.
“Love you, baby.”
“Love you, Memaw,” I whisper, closing my eyes.
“Call me when your guy isn’t around so you can tell me about him, and send me pictures to my e-mail. I hope he’s good-looking,” she mutters, and I open my eyes, tipping my head back to look at Dillon.
“He’s very handsome. You would definitely approve,” I confirm, and he rolls his eyes.
“Well, at least there’s that,” she grumbles, but I can hear in her tone that she’s smiling. “We’ll talk soon.”
“We will,” I agree, and the phone goes dead in my hand.
Taking the phone from my grasp, he tosses it to his bedside then rolls me to my back and looks down at me. “Your grandparents are crazy. Now I know where you get it from.”
“Whatever, I’m not crazy.”
“You are, but I’ve become addicted to your brand of crazy,” he confesses, roaming his hand from my neck down over my breast.
“That’s good,” I breathe as he dips his head and kisses me in a way that proves he certainly does love my kind of crazy.
“I still cannot believe you are married to Dillon.” July, my cousin, sighs dreamily across the table from me, and I watch her husband, Wes, turn his eyes to her and narrow them.