I wasn’t excited about moving day at all. I was sure everyone around me knew that. I was going to put on a happy face and help my princess move out. In with a boy. Gracie decided to stay home during the move. I was sure she’d be over to Sookie’s sooner or later spending time with her sister.
She didn’t have a lot to move. The house was already furnished and Madi told me Sookie bought all the things they’d gone to Walmart to buy. I wished she would have let me help. I was quickly learning with Sookie that she was just as stubborn as I could be.
I wasn’t always going to sit back and let her have her way though. It was an argument I’d have another time, I was sure of it.
Currently I was standing in Josh and Madi’s room trying to help her figure out how she wanted the bed. There were two walls it could have gone against and Madi didn’t like where it was currently. Even with the A/C going it was hot in the house so I’d taken my shirt off a while ago, leaving me in a pair of black shorts hanging off my hips.
“Are you sure you don’t want it under the window? It’ll give you more space in the rest of the room,” I said to Madi. I could hear Josh and his buddy Colt talking in the other room. I wasn’t sure where Sookie was.
“If I put it under the window I’ll have the sun on me in the morning,” Madi replied.
“Not with the way the house is set. The sun will set on this side,” I told her. I heard playful growling outside the window. I’d brought Thor with me for moving day. He and Opie seemed to get along pretty well.
“Fine, let’s try it.” She looked like she was ready to cry.
I wrapped my arm around in a side hug. “If you really don’t want it there I won’t put it there.” I dipped to kiss the top of her head.
“Just leave it. I can have Josh move it later if I don’t like it.”
“Are you okay?” She didn’t seem okay. It was an emotional day for all of us, but I couldn’t tell if it was the hormones for Madi or not that was upsetting her.
“I’m tired, and fat, and Gracie’s not here,” she answered before bursting into tears.
I turned to wrap her in a tight hug. She wasn’t fat but that was my only argument. I couldn’t do much about her being tired, or the fact that her sister chose to stay home. I rubbed my hand up and down her back. I knew things would be very different if her sister was around.
“You want me to call her?” I offered. I saw Josh peek in the door. His eyes went wide when he noticed she was crying. He was going to have to get used to it.
“No, I want her to stop being a butthead.”
“I’ll see what I can do about that,” I promised. Gracie had her reasons for being upset about Madi leaving. I was upset too, but I hid it a lot better.
“You can’t do anything, Dad. She hates me now.”
“She doesn’t hate you,” I replied. “Do you want to see if Sookie will let you nap in the big house while Josh and I finish up in here?” I was still rubbing her back.
“No, I want to put away my own stuff.”
“It’s just an option.” I kissed the top of her head before I let her go. “I’m going to make the bed for you and then see if I can figure out where to put that big ass TV.” Josh was a moron for buying that but I guess he had his reasons.
“That TV is obnoxious,” Madi said. She was pissed when she saw it.
“I know, princess, but boys can be dumb,” I told her. She was learning that quickly. I should have talked Josh into taking it back. He knew he fucked up with it the second he saw Madison’s face when she saw it. That was on them. If they wanted to make grown up choices and live on their own, they had to have grown up arguments.
“He better get undumb really fast,” she sniffled.
I held back my chuckle. I was going to have to have a man to man talk with the boy. Otherwise Madi would be moving home within a week. Not that I had an issue with that. I learned that Josh had a grandpa and an uncle in his life, but it wasn’t the same as having a full-time dad. I did commend Sookie for what she was able to accomplish while raising him. There were just some things dads were better for. How to deal with pregnant, hormonal women was one of them.
“You want me to go give him a thump in the head?” I asked. I was only somewhat serious.
Sookie came walking toward the guest house carrying a hanging basket of pansies. She waved at us and smiled, beckoning us outside.
“Mama bear might thump me if I do,” I whispered as Madi and I turned to go out front to see her.
“She might thank you,” Madi countered.
“Joshua Mitchell get your little behind out here!” Sookie hollered as we walked out of the house.
“Good point,” I chuckled. I didn’t want to take the chance just in case.
Josh trailed us outside.
“I know we’re not done yet, but…” Sookie hung the flowers on a hook hanging from the awning over the porch. “Josh told me you like flowers, Madison. I hope you don’t mind. I just wanted to make this officially your home too.” Sookie presented my daughter with a baby footprint shaped keychain with three keys on it. “The pink one is for the guest house.”
“I love flowers,” my daughter said, and burst into tears all over again.
My poor girl. I hugged her again because it was really the only thing I could do for her.
“That’s very sweet, thank you, Sookie,” I smiled as I rubbed Madison’s back.
She nodded and patted Madi’s shoulder.
“So, what can I do to help? I have the towels in the dryer so y’all can take a shower when we’re all done here. Oh! You can eat Mexican food, can’t you, Madi? I have a whole bunch of it being delivered in about two hours.”
“Mexican is fine,” Madi answered. She moved over to Sookie to hug her.
I stood back to let them have their moment. Even if Madison wanted to junk punch Josh, his mom was okay in her eyes. I looked over at Josh and Colt. All I saw was two snot nosed little shitheads. Colt rubbed me the wrong way.
When Madi and Sookie broke up I said, “I was going to help Josh hang that obnoxious TV if he’s interested in doing some manual labor.” He was going to be lifting it. I noticed when Sookie looked at me her eyes scanned down my bare chest for a few seconds before she quickly schooled her face.
“That would be great. I have plenty of tools out in the garage. Josh can show you where everything is,” Sookie replied.
“Thanks. And thank you for getting food. I’m sure we’re all going to be starving by the time it gets here.”
“My thoughts exactly. Come on, Madi, let’s go put your kitchen together,” Sookie said.
“Josh, you ready to do the real work?” I grinned.
“Yeah,” Josh answered.
“I’m gonna sit this one out,” Colt said. He followed my daughter instead of his friend.
I didn’t like that. I didn’t like the way he looked at Madi, like she was a piece of meat. At least when Josh looked at her it was with love. He looked at Madison the same way I used to look at their mother.
“I don’t like him,” I told Josh, not caring what he thought. “Show me where the garage is.”
“This way.” He pointed to the big house ahead. Josh led me through one of the three sets of french doors in the sitting area of the great room. The kitchen was off to the left when we walked inside. It was completely different from the design of my own house. Josh led down the main hallway and took a left into the dining room. We walked through there to get to a three car garage. Sookie’s Zephyr was inside, along with her F-350 and the new used car Josh had bought.
I walked over to the wall that had all the tools, motioning for Josh to follow me. I started to look for what I needed. I was excited when I found a drill, and a stud finder.
“Do you know what you’re getting into with a pregnant woman?” I asked Josh as I looked for the right screwdriver.
“Uhhh… Not really. My cousin Hadley had a baby a few years ago, but I didn’t have to live with her or anything. I changed one of Hunter’s diapers once.”
“I’m going to warn you now, you’re going to see things and find things out about Madi that you never knew. I was already living with her mom when she got pregnant. In the beginning it was okay. The morning sickness was horrible for Aude. She got up at all hours of the night to throw up. She went on to bedrest at six months because she was getting so big with the girls. You’re past all the morning sickness stuff though.” Madison’s morning sickness wasn’t that bad. “What you’re going to have to deal with now are hormones and some bodily functions that are going to shock the shit out of you.
“She’s going to have mood swings, a lot of them. When she says she’s fat, remind her how beautiful she is and she’s growing a baby. If you want this relationship to make it through the pregnancy you need to stay involved and on her side. If she’s having a bad day, try to do something that will make her smile. As you know she loves flowers; but did you know she likes wildflowers the most? Fresh picked out of a field. She likes little things like cards, and cooking her dinner even if you’re a shit cook.” Poor Josh’s eyes were wide as I talked. It was stuff I wished my dad had told me. My dad decided to let me figure it all out on my own.
“So… lie to her a lot?”
“No, she’ll know you’re lying. You gotta mean it,” I chuckled. I found a level.
“But what if she is fat?”
“Do you think she’s fat?” Madi’s belly was getting big but she was far from fat.
“No, I mean not right now, but that could change,” he said.
“Her belly is going to get a lot bigger, but if Madi isn’t fat now, she isn’t going to get fat. Even if she does you better learn to love fat real quick,” I said.
“What if I can’t? I mean, I’ll love her anyway. It’s not about what she looks like to me, but I bet if I say that to her when she wants me to say she’s skinny isn’t going to matter a whole lot.”
“You tell her it doesn’t matter what she looks like. She’s beautiful to you,” I said. “If she gets upset and kicks you out for the night your mom’s is just across the yard. The girls’ mom got huge with them. I’ll have to show you a picture sometime. I just reminded Aude that no matter what she looked like on the outside, or how much room the babies took up, she was still the most stunning woman in the world to me. I was pushed into a wall for it once, I got sent to the couch, but she always came back for cuddles before the next day. It’s a rough time dealing with a pregnant woman. There is no wrong or right way to go about things. You did a good job at our place when she complained about getting fat that first night. Just keep that up and don’t get scared away.”
Josh nodded and said, “I’ll try. Do you… I should probably take that TV back, shouldn’t I?”
“Truth?” He nodded. “Yes. If you want we can kick Colt out and I can take you to replace it with something more reasonable. I know how much you like it and how cool you think it is. For a while that baby is going to take up all of your time and money. That TV is barely going to get watched. Plus, it’s going to take up a lot of space you don’t really have right now.”
Josh sighed and said, “Yeah… I guess let’s go exchange it. Well, I can go with Colt and get him out of here. He won’t mess with Madi. She’s tougher than she looks. Luke MacDonald grabbed her butt once in the hallway and she hip threw him into some lockers. He was too embarrassed to tell on her. I asked her out the next day.”
I smiled and said, “I’m glad I raised her right. I’ll also make you a deal – and don’t tell the girls – when you two finally get your own place away from here I’ll buy you the lastest and greatest model of TV for your housewarming gift.”
“Deal.” Josh extended a hand to shake on it.
I shook his hand. “You sure you don’t want me to go with you?”
“I’m sure. I think Madi needs you here– Actually, I think if you could talk Gracie into coming…”
“I was already thinking about that. Are you prepared to be kicked out during sister bonding?” I pulled my phone out of my pocket, ready to text my daughter.
“I’ll have a pool and Mexican food. I’ll be fine.”
“I’ll see what I can do.”
I sent a message to Grace.
Me: Hey, your sister is having a rough time here without you. What will it take to get you here? There’s Mexican food…
“I’ll go get Colt before Mom punts him into the pool,” he snickered. “Thanks, by the way. You know, for letting Madi live here and for helping us. And for not being a dick to my mom. She’s not as tough as she acts sometimes. She just doesn’t like anyone thinkin’ she’s weak, you know? My sperm donor took advantage of her a lot. It changed her in a bad way, not that she’ll ever admit that.”
“So you know, I’ve always respected your mom. And you’re welcome. You’re a good kid. If it was anywhere else I wouldn’t have agreed. I feel like she’ll be safe here and I know you and your mom will treat her like she’s part of the family. Also if Colt comes back and Gracie is here, she’s tougher than Madi.” I was going to file that information about Sookie away.
“I know she is. Gracie’s a cool girl.”
“She is.” Speaking of the devil, my phone chimed with a response.
Gracie: Madi told me not to come if I was still mad at her.
Me: I think she regrets that now. You can drive the Buick over.
The girls never got to drive the Buick. Ever.
Gracie: I’ll think about it.
“Gracie is being stubborn, but I think she’ll cave,” I told Josh as we walked out of the garage back into the house. I still had the tools since he was going to get a different TV that I was going to have to mount.
“I hope so. I know it would make Madi happy,” he said. The doorbell rang so he turned to go see who was at the door.
I followed him to the door like I lived there. I was a nosy asshole and I knew it. When Josh opened the door there was a woman on the other side that looked eerily similar to Sookie.
“Hey, kid, where’s your mom?” she asked as she stepped inside, pausing to look me up and down. I was still shirtless.
“Guest house with her new favorite kid,” he replied. “This is Eric, her dad. Eric, this hellraiser is my cousin Hadley.”
“Nice to meet you, Hadley,” I smiled. “I would offer you my hand but…” I had tools in both hands.
“No need. It’s nice to meet you too. Sookie didn’t tell me you look like a Greek statue under your shirt.”
I actually blushed at that. I needed to go check on Madi to make sure that Colt shit didn’t do anything that caused her to castrate him.
“Hadley’s married and she had a double chin when she was pregnant,” Josh informed me.
“I did not you little toad,” she hissed. “But I am married. Taking a look at you makes me wish I would have said no to that.” I sure hoped she was joking.
“That’s… nice?” I didn’t know what to do with that.
“Just spray her with the hose,” Josh snorted.
“Oh, he doesn’t need to a hose to get me we–”
“Gross!” Josh cringed. “Go be old and weird with Mom.”
“You’re going to be old and weird one day too, kid,” Hadley snorted as she made her way out back.
Josh and I followed her and I wasn’t surprised to find Colt sitting out by the pool. I suspected either Sookie or Madi kicked him out for being a perv.
“Want help loading the TV up?” I asked Josh.
“Nah, Colt can help me. Keep those tools close by to keep Hadley from molesting you.”
“Good call,” I chuckled.
I walked into the house so I could set most of the tools on the coffee table. I kept the screwdriver in my pocket to be safe. Madi was in the kitchen with Sookie getting introduced to Hadley. I hoped like hell she didn’t get too much exposure to that one. She was clearly missing something at home if she was coming onto me so strong, so fast. I wasn’t interested in screwing around with a married woman.
As Josh and Colt packed the TV into the truck I tried to make myself useful doing Dad things. I helped hang a few pictures and mainly made sure everything was in working order, not that Sookie would allow the plumbing to go to shit before she let the kids move in. My main focus was staying out of the way of the girls. Madi didn’t need to hear Hadley hitting on me, just like I didn’t want to fend off a horny housewife.
While I was in the guestroom, I decided I want to do something for the kids. I wanted to pay to decorate the nursery. That was something I could do to help out. I wasn’t sure how Sookie was going to take it, but that was one argument I wasn’t going to let her win. I’d revert back to asshole Eric if I had to. I just hoped she didn’t put up a fight so it was easier.