Carson looked around his mother's dining room. He really needed Charlie here as a buffer.
"Why didn't Charlie come?" Carson's mother asked as she got out the taco shells. Everyone could help themselves to the meat in the crockpot. She had all the fix'ns on the table.
"Birthday Party." Carson nixed holding Alec right away.
Of course, Gage got Alec in the highchair and Halie was practically glued to Gage's hip. It was nauseating. Carson wanted to be the one with the significant other. As it was, he was the odd man out.
Naturally, Clare, his mom was kissy kissy with that dude named Easy.
Easy's son took his time getting to the table. He was texting someone, but he had all this ink on his fingers.
Carson winced, wondering what he was up too.
Of course, Gage and Halie were so annoying with their hushed voices and little smiles and touches.
Carson felt he'd lost a whole season of some kind of TV watching. Weren't these two suppose to hate each other?
"Why didn't you go?" His mother asked, "You, didn't have to be here."
"Yes..yes..I did." Carson confessed. "I was not going to my ex's birthday party."
"Charlie is friends with your ex-girlfriend?" His mother smiled.
"Yeah, Essie works or worked with her." Gage told them. He shrugged like it was no big deal.
"And she brought Lily with her?" Now his mother was giving Carson the look.
"What?" Carson winced as if she had no reason to question him nor Charlie.
"I dunno, Honey. Are you sure you're really, ready to be a father?" His mother pressed.
Carson didn't want to talk about it. Kids were not on his radar at the moment. They might never be. But in his eyes, Lily would never be his. She would always be Charlie's kid.
Sara wasn't sure what to expect. She didn't want to think of anyone else but Hansen, but he'd called and told her he was with Mattie now. Of course, she hadn't questioned what that meant. She'd wanted to call Holden and tell him about his old girlfriend, but Charlie told her to let it go. It was best to be happy for Hansen and find her own happiness.
She reminded Sara of all the good things in her life. She was more than just a salesgirl at the mall. She'd moved up to assistant manager. She was on her own now.
And Sara was beginning to like being by herself. Of course, her mom called at least once a day. She did spend Sunday afternoon with her parents. And Sara was even doing some gardening on her little balcony.
The basil flourished. The tomatoes were starting to ripen. And she'd even grown a couple of eggplants. Yes, it was the the little things that mattered.
But this..was she being set up?
She took the iced lemonade as she looked around at all the couples. Evidently, this guy was not here.
"Did, you, want a burger?" Essie asked.
"Sure." Sara shrugged. Charlie and Lily took the last two burgers. Charlie was busy with Lily.
"Tay, has some on the grill." Essie was ever so serious. She pointed to the patio.
Sara took her time going through the party of people.
Really, Essie and Scott's place was quite cozy. A part of her wished she could call her apartment a home like this, but the apartment was all hers, even if the walls were white, not these cozy colors, like at Essie and Scott's.
And then she saw him. His back was turned from her.
Sara stopped in her tracks. A shiver ran through her. She was at a loss for words. She was certain, she should quickly go back on rewind and stay sitting in the car.
But he looked back at her. His smile was simple and ever so pleasant.
"Oh." He gave her a quick look. "Did..did you need a burger?"
"That's good, because, I only have two." He grinned. Taylor put one on a bun and put it on her paper plate. He put the other on a plate and followed her in.
Sara was certain she was smiling so much. She didn't want too. But he helped himself to all the sides after she did. Of course, there was only a place for the two of them together to sit.