Room for More(88)

By: Beth Ehemann

I sat up and grinned at him. “Duh. How could they not?”

He tucked a piece of hair behind my ear and smiled at me, showcasing those adorable dimples.

“I love you, Murphy.”

“I love you, More.”

Brody quickly pulled his phone out and looked at the screen. “What time is what’s-his-name coming over?”

I rolled my eyes at him. “Trick-or-treating starts at four o’clock. He said he’d be here at quarter ‘til, so any minute?”

“Shit!” He jumped off the stool. “I gotta help the girls put their costumes on.” He walked over to the backpack he brought and took out two sets of black sweatpants and sweatshirts and handed them to me. “Can you take these in there and ask them to put them on? I’ll help with the rest.”

“Black sweats?” I cocked my head to the side. “You guys have me totally thrown off.”

“Good.” He handed me the sweats and smacked my ass as I headed down the hall.

The girls giggled and tortured me the whole time I got them dressed, laughing about how funny it was that I didn’t know what their costumes were. I tried asking questions and digging around for clues, but they just covered their mouths and grinned at each other.

They followed along behind me as I walked back out to the kitchen. “Okay, they have on their—” I stopped dead in my tracks with the girls bumping right into me. Zach stood on one end of the kitchen, leaning against the counter. Brody sat at the island with his hands folded in front of his mouth.

“Hi,” I said nervously.

“Hi.” Zach smiled and waved. “Brody let me in.”

“Well, the evening is starting off on the right foot already. At least he let you in the door.” I laughed, trying to ease the tension in the room.

Zach offered up a fake laugh and Brody cracked a smile.

I considered that a win.

Lucy called out, “Hi, Zach.”

“Uh, you should probably call him… What should they call you?” I stuttered.

Zach shrugged. “Whatever you guys are comfortable with. Really.”

“Brody’s our dad and we call him Brody.” Piper skipped around the island.

Holy crap, now I was worried Zach was going to be offended. Was it always going to be that way? Me freaking out and on edge that someone was going to have hurt feelings?

“So call me Zach. I’m cool with that,” he said.

“Brody, we’re ready for our costumes,” Lucy tugged on his shirt.

Brody’s face softened. “You are?” He looked down at Lucy. “Well, come on, then.” He stood up and started out of the kitchen.

“Where are you going?” I asked as they followed along behind him.

“I didn’t trust you not to snoop, so I left them in my truck.” He laughed on his way out the door.

Zach and I stood in the kitchen awkwardly, not making eye contact with each other.

“He really loves them,” he finally said.

“He does. A lot.”

“I can tell. They’re lucky to have him.”

I nodded in agreement. “Very lucky.”

“I’m lucky too.” He sighed.

“How so?”

“That you invited me here to be part of this tonight. I really appreciate it.”

“Don’t thank me; it was Brody’s idea.”

His eyebrows shot up. “It was?”

I nodded again. “He thinks that we need to try and move forward.”

“Wow.” He looked at the ground and shook his head slowly. “I’m impressed.”

I heard the front door swing open again and turned toward the hall, excited to see what Brody had cooked up.

“Mommy! Come here!” Lucy called from the foyer.

I looked at Zach and shrugged. “Guess it’s the moment of truth.” I walked up front with Zach following behind.

When I got to the foyer, I pulled my hands up to my mouth, trying to contain my laugh. Standing at the front door, side by side, were Lucy and Piper in the cutest Twinkie costumes I’d ever seen. “What in the world? Where did you find those?”

Brody looked down at the girls proudly. “I had them made. Aren’t they perfect?”

“We’re cute!” Lucy clapped.