Remember Me(104)

By: Ashlee Mallory

When Peg spotted Sam standing next to her, her expression went first to anger, her mouth pursed tight. But within seconds, the lines around her mouth relaxed. Good. Allie wouldn’t have to remind her that she wouldn’t be standing there now if it weren’t for Sam.

An expression that looked remarkably like acceptance crossed Peg’s face, and she said, “Hello, Sam. We’re so glad you could make it.”

Laney’s reaction was less hesitant. “Hi, Sam,” she said, her tone bright. “Good to see you again.”

For a brief moment, Sam looked at them doubtfully. Then just as easily, his lips curled up into a smile, and he nodded. “Thanks. I’m honored to be included.”

Heavy wheezing caught their attention. Ethel stood in the doorway, winded from her trip up the steps. She glared at everyone, then waddled to the table. “Who does that grandmother of yours think she is, anyway? Debbie Reynolds?” She dolloped a large helping of Laney’s salad on her plate. “I heard she decided to go on some kind of crazy cruise. What an old lady like her thinks she’s—”

“Mother,” Peg interrupted. “Why don’t you take a seat, and I’ll bring a piece of cake out to you in a little bit?”

Edith’s mouth dropped open, and after a moment’s hesitation, she spun around and stalked off. Peg sighed and stared after her mother for a long moment, then followed her out.

Laney smiled. “Guess I’ll go see what the twins are up to. Wouldn’t want a repeat of last year.” Allie recalled the chaos that had ensued at Vi’s last party when the twins had figured out how to set off the automatic sprinkler system. “Catch you later, Sam.”

Could Laney be any more obvious?

Allie glanced up at Sam. She swallowed as he set his plate down and took a step toward her. Her breath stalled. He took her plate and set it down. “Come on.” He took her hand. “Before we’re besieged by any more of your relatives.”

He led her down the hall, past the bathroom that she still hadn’t been able to bring herself to go into, and into her bedroom. He shut the door and guided her back to lean against it. He settled his hands around her waist. Her heart took off at a gallop as she inhaled his warm, spicy scent. Felt surrounded by his solid strength.

“There’s something else I wanted to tell you,” he said. “About the video. I presented what you put together to the committee Thursday night. And it was unanimous. You have their approval.”

She raised her brows. “Unanimous?”

He chuckled. “Okay, just about. But even Meredith couldn’t really object, in light of recent events. Since the story broke, we’ve sold out for the gala, and the donations have already shattered all records. You’re a celebrity.”

Allie grinned. Mr. Williams was going to be honored. That was the only thing she’d cared about when she first undertook this project.

But she’d ended up with a whole lot more.

Sam’s fingers trailed around her jaw and under her chin. She shivered, anticipating his next touch.

“You know,” he said softly, “I’ve been here for a good ten minutes, delivered you the news you’ve been waiting weeks to hear, and I still haven’t been given a proper hello. Or thank you. I guess I’ll have to show you what kind of welcome I was hoping for.”

Sam pressed his mouth to hers, soft but demanding. Her eyelashes fluttered closed, and she sank into the amazing sensation of his lips on hers.

She hoped it always going to be like this between them. Smilingly, toe-curlingly wonderful.

He paused, and she opened her eyes to meet his warm gaze.

“That’s how you wanted to greet me?” she asked, more than a little breathless. “Because I was thinking of something more like this.”