It was really last minute. In fact, Carson didn't even tell his Dad, they were coming for Thanksgiving.
It got to be too much at Britney's. Actually, her mother's house. Britney's older sister (come to find out was only her step-sister) got in a spat with their Mom.
Carson thought it was best if they left. After all, baby Theo hated loud voices and kept crying. He could hardly catch his breath. After while, Carson held the biracial baby out in the yard before the weather started freezing rain, while Britney went to get the stuff they came with. This meant a backpack, coats, his favorite toys and a diaper bag.
So they showed up, as everyone was about to sit down at his Dad's house.
"Sorry." Britney was very apologetic. "I'm Britney." She forced everyone to practically shake her hand and there stood Carson holding the baby.
Carson didn't have much to say. No one imposed on them about showing up without a call.
There was pleasant conversation, plenty to eat and it was a whole lot calmer than where they came from.
Carson wanted to run, first thing while at Briteny's family Thanksgiving. They all questioned him about being a police officer. Wasn't he afraid to be a police officer? Well, he was afraid of her people. And if he could get Britney away from them, he would.
"Don't YOU always do that, though?" His father mentioned later about Carson's maverick romancing. "Come in, sweep the girl off her feet. Save her from her family, then drop her like a hot potato."
Carson winced. At least Britney didn't hear his dad speech while they were having a shot of whiskey in his Dad's study.
Gage was off babysitting and the women were cleaning up, making coffee and making room for pie.
"I'm not like that." Carson didn't believe his father for a minute. "You, don't know me."
"Well, this thing..you know..you first had with Essie. I thought you would have been with her in the thick of it. She gets pregnant and you suddenly pick up where you left off with some girl, you knew in high school. Honestly, I really think you need to be alone, for awhile." His Dad poured another shot of whiskey.
Carson barely got down the first one.
"You're... not alone." Carson glared at him.
"I was alone...for many..many..years. Don't go thinking I had a woman in every city I've been too. I don't." His Dad glared back. "Look, don't you think, this Britney looks an awful lot like Charlie?"
"I don't know what you're talking about." Now Carson felt like he was having a conversation with Gage, who always connected the dots when there were no dots to connect. Carson just sighed. "We're just friends." Which was a terrible lie. He'd stayed at Britney's last night because he didn't want to sleep alone. Among other things.
"She looks like a sweet girl, but is that all you need, right now? What if it gets serious? You're gonna have to step up." His Dad reminded him. He hadn't stepped up with Charlie and her daughter.
Of course, Gage called his mother about the news of Carson's new girlfriend.
"I don't think they're living together yet." But he knew it was only a matter of time. As alone as Carson said he wanted to be, Gage knew that was a lie.
Gage wished they could be friends, but Gage understood now, Carson would always be his big brother, thinking he was the smart one. Gage guessed he'd have to go along with that.
"So, how is everything there?" Gage wanted to know how the holiday went in Texas at Easy's parents.
"Interesting." His mother told him.
"How interesting?" Gage wanted to know.
"Well, Easy sure doesn't have it easy with that mother of his. She drags him down, every chance she gets. No wonder, he never comes home." Clare only chuckled.
"Don't get in a fight with her, " Gage couldn't help but laugh, too.
"But she misses her baby." Clare sighed.
"Will is her only grandchild."
"Huh." Gage didn't know what to say.
"I think she wants to come for Christmas." Clare guessed.
"Come here? For Christmas?" Gage didn't understand. It would be so cold then. It was warm in Texas.
"She seems to think she can get back with Easy's father." Clare hoped that didn't happen.
"She hasn't driven you to drink, has she?" Gage asked.
His mother only laughed. "Its Easy I'm worried about. I hope we won't be back here, for a good long while."