Dakota decided to go on her own through the mall. She had her little flip phone and her wallet in her little bag strapped over her shoulder. She could very well maneuver on her own. She didn't mind being alone. Besides, she wanted to do her own Christmas shopping. She had over fifty dollars. She could buy something for everyone at the Dollar store.
And then she saw him sitting there by the cookie place with a hot coffee he didn't quite know what to do with. He was like a lanky giraffe, awkward and hopelessly lonely.
"I know, you don't know me, but I know who you are." Her words were blunt, but she didn't care as she looked into Bo's dark eyes.
"Oh..are..are you a fan of mine, or something?" He looked at her as if he'd take a selfie with her, if she wanted.
"No, not really." Her smile was sour and she looked as if she could see right through him. "I know where Rosie is."
"Rosie?" He looked a bit startled then, but he remained even lipped.
"She's seeing my brother, you know." She remained calm as if she was very good at being the barrier of bad news.
"Who?" His brow furrowed. Bo almost spilled his coffee.
"Sunny." She sucked in a breath wondering if Bo would hurt him or just have a fight with Rosie.
"I guess..I'm not suppose to know." He offered to get her a hot chocolate. There were Santa cookies by the coffee. Bo offered her one and went to get the creamy hot chocolate for her. She sat across from him and took a cookie. "She's..she hasn't really text..all that much since Halloween." He told her he suspected it. "I mean..she's.. you know, a lot younger than me and I think she's been trying to distance herself. She'd told once, she was seeing somebody younger than her, before..and well, that didn't turn out like she wanted, either. I guess, that's how it is."
"How what is?" Now Dakota winced.
"Falling in love," he said. "She has a lot of good qualities. I always wanted to meet someone like her. She..she has an old soul."
Dakota shrugged and dipped the cookie in the hot chocolate.
"Rosie's been through so much. Maybe she grew up too fast." He spoke of her mother dying when she was young and how she'd had to live with different relatives from time to time. Her dad was sick now, and in rehab.
It was as if Bo was talking about her own dad. Her eyes began to water for no apparent reason, and her throat was so parched.
Dakota flinched just to look up to see her father, Joey, standing there in the food court.
"What are you doing? I've looked everywhere for you!" He grabbed her little shoulders. "I thought you wanted me to go Christmas shopping with you." He hugged her tight as if he didn't want to lose her.
Dakota closed her eyes, thankful she had her dad. She cleared her throat and introduced her to Bo. She told him she liked his music. Maybe Joey could get her Bo's CD for Christmas.