Even the Score(109)

By: Beth Ehemann

“Dani, my girl. If you’ve found the one that makes you feel that way, hold on tight and never let go.”

I walked in the door after breakfast, and everything was closed up and eerily quiet. I pulled out my phone and glanced at it to see if I’d had a missed call or text from Andy, but there was nothing. Maybe he took the kids and ran to the store? I shrugged and headed down the hall to my room. Gloria’s door was closed, which was also weird, but I figured maybe with everyone else gone, she’d decided to take a nap.

I opened my bedroom door and tossed my purse on the bed, freezing when it landed with a thud on a plain mattress. My room was empty. My perfume bottles, my full-length mirror, my scarf rack . . . all gone.

I opened the dresser drawers. Empty.

I opened the closet. Empty.

I opened the drawer in the bathroom where I kept all my personal stuff. Empty.

What the—

I left my room and sprinted up the stairs. As I got closer to Andy’s door, I heard the unmistakable sound of Becca and Logan giggling from the other side. Smiling to myself, I slowly turned the knob and peeked my head in.

“Hello? What are you guys doing?” I called out.

“We didn’t hear you come in, you little brat. We’re not done yet.” Andy walked toward me with a huge smile on his face and wrapped his arms around me.

“Not done what?” I said, trying to look around him.

“Congratulations!” He held his arms out wide, his palms facing toward the ceiling. “You just moved.”

“I did?” I raised onto my tippy toes and gave him a thank-you kiss, lingering for just a couple of seconds. I pulled his syrup-tasting bottom lip into my mouth and sucked gently.

“You better knock it off,” he growled into my ear as he wrapped his arms around my waist again, “or I’m going to have to take Logan into the other room and have the birds and the bees talk with him.”

“Can you have it with me, too?” I flicked the area right under his ear with the tip of my tongue, knowing it drove him absolutely insane.

“Uh, I’d rather just show you.”

“Dani! Dani! Look!” Becca ran over and grabbed my hand, dragging me to the dresser. She pulled a drawer open. “I put all your socks away!”

“All by yourself?”

She nodded proudly, her blonde curls bouncing out of control.

“I’m so proud of you. You really are a good putter-awayer.” I held my hand up for her to high-five.

“And look over here.” She grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the closet. “I put all your shoes in here, in rainbow order.”

I couldn’t help but grin as my eyes followed my rows of heels, lined up perfectly. At the end sat a tiny pink pair of Sleeping Beauty heels.

“Those last ones look a little small for me,” I said, tucking a curl behind her ear.

Her face lifted to mine. “I wanted to keep my princess heels in here with yours. Is that okay?”

“Absolutely.” I nodded. “And you can wear my heels whenever you want, okay?”

Her eyes lit up as she threw her arms around me. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Once she let go, I left her to finish up her shoe organizing as I stepped back into the bedroom. Andy was sitting on the edge of the bed, stretching his neck. I plopped down next to him. “What brought all this on?”

“I don’t know,” he said nonchalantly. “You don’t even sleep down there anymore, and the kids already know I’m crazy in love with you, so I figured . . . why not? Are you mad?”

“No!” I blurted out. “I’m thrilled to be up here permanently . . . with the rest of you.”

Andy put his hand on my knee and squeezed it gently. “Let’s get the rest of this picked up and put away, or we’re not gonna have anywhere to sleep tonight.”

We all spent the next few minutes fluttering around the bedroom, putting everything away and cleaning up the mess that inevitably follows a room switch.

After we were done, since we had no major plans and Gloria had left to spend the day with her boyfriend after all, we decided to spend the whole day snuggled up in bed watching movies. We ordered pizza for dinner and ate that in bed while I introduced Logan and Becca to my favorite childhood movie . . . The Goonies. As soon as the credits on the movie ran, the kids passed out cold. Becca’s head rested on my stomach, her eyes fluttering and her mouth hanging open as she slept peacefully. Logan was down toward the foot of the bed, his legs intertwined with Andy’s.

“Is this lame?” Andy asked, his face lit up by the glow of the TV screen.

I frowned at him. “Is what lame?”

“This.” He waved his hand over the bed. “It’s Saturday night, and instead of being out to dinner with friends or doing something cool, you’re here.”