Pie? Did he just say pie? Of course he did. He was male after all, and if they weren’t thinking with one part of their anatomy, they were thinking with their stomachs.
Grace didn’t want pie. She wanted to know what the hell happened at that party just as badly as Truman and Owen did, and it irked her that Lucky could think pie would take her mind off of that. But she wasn’t really part of the family-she was only Harper’s best friend- so why should they feel compelled to take her with them?
Shaking her head, she turned for the booth where she and Harper had been sitting and repeated, “Let me get my purse.”
Doris, their waitress, beat her to it. She retrieved Grace’s bag and carried it over. Smiling, she hung the strap on Grace’s shoulder and said, “Don’t worry about getting the check, on the house tonight.”
With a small, sad smile, Grace said, “Thanks.”
“I guess that means no pie?” Lucky piped in, his attempt at humor falling flat.
“Sorry kid, not tonight,” said a masculine voice from the doorway. Grace and Lucky turned in tandem to face Truman, who had stopped on the threshold.
“I thought you were on your way to get some answers?” Lucky demanded even as his face rearranged itself into a grimace.
“We are.” Truman only had eyes for Grace. “But I realized before I even turned the corner, you should be there, too. And Harper agreed. So we came back.”
“You came back? For me?” Grace’s voice dipped a little as she tried to control the emotion clogging her throat.
Walking toward Grace with a purposefulness that telegraphed it to every patron in the diner-all four of them-Truman smiled and made a cross over his heart. “I will always come back for you. Cross my heart.”
Doris let out a heartfelt sigh and a soft, “Oh, wasn’t that sweet.”
Lucky made a gagging sound even as he wheezed, “Oh please!”
Tru wasn’t screwing this up again. Yes, Harper was his sister. She had to come first. But Grace was important to him too, and she was important to Harper. It didn’t seem right for her to be excluded.
Holding out a hand for Grace, Truman looked over at Lucky, “Owen and Harper are going to give you a ride home. “ Turning back to Grace, he smiled and said, “I was hoping we could drive over to the house together. I really need to talk to you. Explain. I don’t want any secrets between us.”
“Okay.” Feeling suddenly shy, Grace hooked her purse strap over her head so it hung across her body before rooting through it for her keys.
Lucky was at the door to the diner when Grace looked up and called, “Lucky?”
With one hand on the push bar, he glanced over his shoulder, “Yeah?”
Not wanting to hurt his feelings, she asked, “Maybe we can do that pie some other time?”
Looking from Grace to Truman and back again, Lucky replied, “Count on it.” Before pushing the door open and going out into the night.
Truman leaned in close to Grace as he snagged her hand. Intertwining their fingers he asked, “You want me to drive?”
“Now, let’s just hope I can fit into your car,” Truman added.
Lucky made his way towards Truman’s ride with a bite in his stride. Truman-to-the-rescue. Again. It was starting to get old. On a weary sigh, Lucky remembered the look on her face when Truman came back. It didn’t really matter what he wanted, it was clear that Grace wanted Truman. She had it pretty bad for the college freshman. Lucky wasn’t giving up the fight, at least not yet anyway. But he knew he wouldn’t get anywhere as long as old Tru was in town. He just had to bide his time until the older boy went back to school.
But first, he wasn’t going home. They could make all the plans they wanted. Opening the back door to the car, he decided he was getting an invitation to the party, too. Grace wasn’t the only one who deserved to learn the truth of what happened that night. After all, wasn’t he the one facing police charges?
Truman’s word turned out to be self-prophetic. He took a hit to the head as he tried to fold his 6’3” frame into her toy car. Frenchy, one. Truman, zero. His knees didn’t fit properly under the dash, no matter how far back he pushed the seat, and he was forced to sit with his head at an angle. Good news, Grace finally relaxed. All of his grunting, groaning and bitching about his predicament had her howling in the passenger seat.
Once they were both settled, he turned and met her gaze. “I didn’t know this was going to happen when I came home for Christmas. Me and you, I mean.”
“My plan when I left school was to avoid you at all costs. I spent the entire first semester trying to get you out of my head after you dropped that bomb at the lake.”
Grace winced at the memory.
“It freaked me out a little. I had started to have feelings for you and suddenly you were telling me you felt the same way.” Stopping, Truman scrubbed his hands up and down his face, cracked his knuckles and scratched the back of his neck before continuing. “But I was getting ready to go to college and… I just didn’t think it was a good idea.” Earnestly, he faced Grace again, “And let’s face it. I don’t have a great track record with girls.”
She knew that to be true but had never thought about it too much.
“So I didn’t say anything back. I went to school and dived right into the dating scene.” Truman was embarrassed to be putting it out there like that, but knew he had to be honest. “When I came back and saw you that night on your porch something changed. I don’t know where this is going to lead, or even how long it will last. I just want a chance to see where it will go. Starting now.”
Grace’s gaze locked onto his, and her heart took one giant leap. But instead of jumping at the chance, she took hold of his hand , and with the vision of her Oxford acceptance letter dancing in her head said, “Let’s go get Harps taken care of, then we can go back to my house. I have something that I want to show you.”