“I think we’re all set,” he said, eager to have Kasey all to himself again.
“Yell if you need anything,” she said with one last lingering look before finally walking away.
“She wants you,” Kasey said, reaching for the bottle of syrup.
“But, I don’t want her,” he said with a pointed look at Kasey, which earned him a chuckle and an eye roll.
?Because you’re desperately in love with me?” she teased with an easy smile as she grabbed the bottle of maple syrup.
“Desperately,” he agreed with a wink and a chuckle that seemed to please her as he plucked the bottle of syrup from her hands and poured it on his pancakes and French toast.
“That’s what I was afraid of,” she said, nodding solemnly.
“Is this where you let me down easily?”
“Yes, I’m afraid that I don’t have a choice,” she said with a sniffle.
“What about the children?” he asked, matching her solemn expression as she stole his orange juice and took a sip.
“I think that with time, a new puppy, and of course a rich step-daddy that buys their love that they’ll be able to move on someday,” she said with a wistful sigh as she finished off his orange juice and signaled for the waitress, who promptly turned her back to her and walked away.
“I don’t think she likes you,” he murmured as he signaled for another waitress.
“Well, we can’t all be Yummy, now can we?” she said with a sad shake of her head that ended with a chuckle and a wink as a new waitress walked over and took their order for more orange juice.
“I’m sensing a story behind that,” he said, gesturing with a forkful of pancakes in the direction their waitress had scurried off to.
Pursing her lips, she shook her head. “Not one worth sharing.”
“It’s not good to keep secrets in a relationship,” he said with a forlorn sigh as he took a bite.
“Then, I’m afraid that we’re doomed from the start, Yummy,” she said, helping herself to a bite of his food, which he took as an invitation to steal her bacon.
“It’s a damn shame,” he said with a sad shake of his head as he popped the last piece of bacon in his mouth.
“It really is.”
“Now what will we do?” he asked, glancing over his shoulder to make sure the boys were okay only to look back and find Kasey, once again, finishing off his orange juice.
“Somehow find the willpower to move on,” she said with a wink as she pushed the rest of her breakfast towards him.
“I guess we don’t have a choice,” he said, finishing off her toast.
“We really don’t.”
“Our love was doomed from the beginning.”
“It really was,” she said, nodding in agreement.
“I guess the only thing to do is to move on and finish this renovation that you started,” he said, pulling out his wallet.
“It’s for the best,” she said, reaching for her purse, but one glare from him had her rolling her eyes even as she said, “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” he murmured absently as he looked over his shoulder to signal for the bill and check up on the boys, who were laughing at whatever Mikey said while Eric continued to sit there glaring in their direction, which reminded him…
“What does Eric do?” he asked, returning his attention back to Kasey, who was staring wistfully at the empty glass of orange juice. Chuckling, he picked up the empty glass and signaled for a refill, absently noting that she had a bit of a juice addiction.
“Besides annoy me?”
“Yes, besides that,” he said, chuckling as he sat there, enjoying the most relaxing conversation that he’d ever had with a woman.
“He’s an accountant,” she said, squishing her face up adorably at the admission.
“Sounds fun,” he murmured absently, searching her features for any resemblance to the man in question and coming up short.
“Well, he seems to really hate it,” she said, chuckling as she stacked their plates and pushed them out of the way.
“And he’s your brother?” he asked, still wondering about that.
“No, he’s Michael’s little brother and my best friend,” she said with a fond smile that had him nodding absently as he considered his next words.
“And Michael is Mikey’s father?”
“I see,” he murmured, not really sure how he should take the news that she was living with a man, but before he could ask any more questions their waitress was there, placing a large glass of orange juice in front of him and shooting him a wink as she said, “It’s on the house, Officer Bradford.”
“What was that about?” Kasey asked with a pointed look at the trio of waitresses who were hovering around an iPad, laughing.
“Nothing to worry your pretty little head about,” Reese said with a smile that didn’t quite meet his eyes as he held the door open for her and the kids.
“Is this the point when I should drop the subject and move on?” she asked, feeling uncharacteristically generous this morning as they headed towards the parking lot with Mikey and Eric in the lead and the boys already heading towards a large black pickup truck that she assumed was Reese’s.
“Yes, yes it is,” he said with a heavy sigh as he pressed his hand against the small of her back and gestured towards the truck in question.
“I guess I can do that,” she said magnanimously as she smoothly stepped away from his touch only to find herself once again heading towards his truck when he placed his hand back and steered her towards the boys, who were suddenly racing back towards them and yelling, “Dad!” as a large SUV pulled into the parking lot.
“It’s for the best,” he murmured, suddenly dropping his hand away and grabbing the boys before a minivan trying to back out of a spot could hit them.
“Be careful,” he said with a pointed look at the driver as he released the boys safely on the sidewalk so that they could race the rest of the way and slam into Trevor as soon as the misguided man made the mistake of climbing out of his truck. With a nod in Reese’s direction, he had one of the boys thrown over his shoulder and was heading inside the diner with the rest of his brood in tow. Zoe barely managed to say, “Hello,” before the smallest boy dragged her inside. Once they were out of sight, Reese was back to his manhandling ways.
“Umm, I have a ride,” she pointed out when Reese once again started leading her towards his truck only to end up frowning as she watched Eric and Mikey drive by only slowing down long enough to send her a well-timed glare before completely abandoning her, which really shouldn’t surprise her.
“And they seem really excited about spending some quality time with you, but on the off chance that they’re not coming back, why don’t I give you a ride?” he suggested, opening the door and gesturing for her to climb in.
“They’re so damn fickle,” she said with a heavy sigh and a shrug as she moved to climb in only to find herself swept off her feet and set down on the bench seat before she had a chance to blink.
“Umm, thanks?” she said, not really sure what the proper etiquette was for being manhandled.
“You’re welcome,” he said, shooting her a smile as he closed the door and quickly made his way around the truck as she sat there, reminding herself to relax.
“Do you need to go anywhere?” Reese asked, as he climbed into the truck.
“Not until tonight,” she said with a shrug, silently congratulating herself on surviving this encounter with him as she turned her attention to the radio, needing a distraction from the incredibly handsome man sitting next to her that was seriously screwing with her sanity.
“What’s going on tonight?” he asked, pulling out of the parking lot and headed back home.
“Taking Mikey to the carnival,” she said with a shrug, although she really wasn’t sure that she wanted to share her cotton candy with the little traitor, not after this recent betrayal.