I hoped like fuck she had condoms. I knew I needed to get some. I was planning on getting them when I went grocery shopping the next day. Her walls were still pulsing. Her chest was heaving with her heavy panting as her orgasm rocketed through her body.
“Please tell me you have a condom,” I said as I extracted my fingers. I pulled them out of her pants and brought them right to my mouth so I could suck her honey off of them.
“Upstairs,” she panted.
“You want to go get it or should we relocate?” She didn’t look like she could walk.
I stood up from the couch, pulling her up with me. “Lead the way,” I said, bending down to nibble on her left nipple.
Sookie giggled and playfully pushed my head away from her chest. She grabbed our clothes off the floor and led me to the stairs. George followed us up and Sookie opened the gate at the top of the steps. Her dog ran ahead and jumped over the top of the baby gate to curl up on the floor by her daughter’s bed.
“That’s my munchkin,” Sookie whispered when we reached her room.
“She’s a beautiful girl,” I replied. It was a little awkward seeing her daughter. I wasn’t sure if Maria had ever met the girl. I wasn’t sure I wanted to. It may have been too confusing for her since her father died so recently.
“She is. She looks just like her dad,” Sookie told me. She grabbed my hand and tugged me along. “She’s also a very heavy sleeper,” she said as she closed the door.
“Good.” I pushed Sookie’s pants to the floor before I spun her around to press her against the back of the door. I started kissing down her neck as my hands roamed over her body. I wanted to know every inch of her. I had a feeling we were going to start having a lot of sex. I didn’t tell Bobby about her earlier. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to tell him that much. “Take my jeans off, Sookie.”
She did as she was told. Her hands went to work confidently while her lips moved around my chest. Her teeth dragged over my right nipple while she pushed my jeans down over my ass. I groaned as she grabbed my ass. Her teeth felt amazing. I pressed my hand against the back of her head to keep her in place. Her soft tongue swirled around my nipple, making me groan again. Sookie’s eyes flicked up to mine as she slithered down to the floor. She sat on her knees as she wrapped her small hands around my thick length. Her soft lips wrapped around my tip, flicking her tongue through my little slit, gathering the pre-cum that was beading at my tip.
My hand was still on the back of her head. The other was pressed flat against the door. It took all of my willpower not to fuck her mouth. I allowed her to play. She released my cock and tilted her head to rub her tongue over my sac. I let out a quiet hiss when she started to suck my right nut. Fuck. She was good. Maria was good, but her husband was a goddamn idiot for cheating on Sookie.
I knew she felt the same way. She’d told me so earlier in the day. When she was done with my balls she licked up the length of my shaft. Her full, pink lips wrapped around my head again. This time I gently started to rock my hips. Sookie started taking my cock deeper and deeper. Her tongue dragged up and down my cock, making it pulse and twitch between her lips.
I didn’t want to cum in her mouth. I wanted the connection I felt when I was buried balls deep inside of her pussy. I was hard, and very fucking ready. I pulled my hips back, falling out of her mouth.
“If you don’t get the condom we’re forgoing it,” I told her seriously.
She smiled at me as I helped her to her feet. I watched her hips sway as she walked across the room to get the rubber. She had a great ass. Sure she wasn’t as hard and tight as she might have been before she had her baby. That didn’t mean it was bad. I loved women’s bodies. They were soft and smooth. The way Sookie gracefully glided across the room made my cock twitch even more. She had a perfect hourglass shape with round handlebar hips, and nice, juicy ass, and slender waist. She had one of those classic looks to her. She was what a real woman should look like. Her tits were a little lower than I was sure they once were, but still full. They had enough lift and perk to bounce just right as she made her way back to me. She had a small pouch that she would probably never get rid of after being pregnant, but it was sexy.
I was so caught up in watching her move I didn’t realize she had the condom in her hand until she had it open and started rolling it down my erection.
“Where are you?” she asked as she stroked my cock once the rubber was in place.
“Just admiring the gorgeous view,” I said, dipping my head to give her a deep kiss.
She kissed me back and when it broke after she had me fully sheathed in the latex she asked, “Were you always this sweet?” Implying was I like this with my wife, no doubt.
“Yes,” I answered. “I like to appreciate the woman I’m being intimate with.”
“Just checking.” I watched her ass as she made her way over to the bed and climbed up on it. Sookie stayed on her hands and knees right near the edge so I had a great view of her very wet pussy.
I growled as I walked up behind her. I rested my hands on her ass, rubbing slowly before I pulled my hand back to give her a light smack. “You have a gorgeous ass,” I told her. I used one hand to run my tip through her folds, paying special attention to her clit.
“Mmm… thank you,” she purred. Her head fell to the mattress and her hips rocked back and forth a little bit.
I slid my tip up so when she rocked back again I popped into her entrance, making her moan into the mattress. I watched as she continued to rock, taking me deeper each time she pushed back. I kept my hands on her ass, rubbing and squeezing. I gave her another smack when I was fully sheathed in her heated depths, just to feel her pussy pulse and clench.
“Fuuuuck,” she moaned. It was muffled by the mattress but I heard it. Sookie started to rock quicker, her hips swiveling a little bit when she pushed back against me.
It went on like that for a couple minutes before I couldn’t take it anymore. I spanked her a little harder before I grabbed onto her hips. I started pulling her back harder as I thrust my hips forward until I was hammering into her. The sound of her her ass slapping against my hips filled the room. Her muffled cries made my cock twitch.
“Mmm, you like that, huh?” I grunted, slapping her left cheek a little harder.
“Uh huh,” she moaned. Her hands grasped at the comforter under her. A pink handprint was starting to form on her left cheek.
Just to test the waters I stopped fucking her long enough to spit on her back hole. I moved my hand over to rub it in with my thumb, applying a slight amount of pressure. I started driving into her again. I’d figured out the day before that once Sookie came the first time pulling orgasms from her was like taking candy from a baby.
“Ohgodohgodohgodohgod,” she panted into the bed. Her pussy started to clench again around my cock and her hand covered her mouth while she came again for me.
I groaned as her pussy tried to pull my orgasm from me. I had to pull out to keep myself from cumming with her. I flipped her onto her back, pulling her ass right to the edge of the bed. I pushed her thighs back and watched as I slowly slid my cock into her again. Seeing myself stretching her so fucking wide around my length was a huge fucking turn on. I watched as I pulled back and pushed forward, filling her again and again, gradually speeding up.
Goddamnit, I was going to cum. Hard.
I tossed her feet over my shoulders so I could grab onto her hips. My eyes darted up to her swaying tits. They rocked up with each hard thrust. Her nipples tightened as my stomach muscles started to twitch.
“Fuckfuckfuck, Sookie,” I whispered. I dropped my head back as I slammed into her a handful of times. I ground my hips against her when I exploded, shooting my hot release into the thin rubber barrier.
A soft, whimpery moan left her as her walls fluttered around my cock. Her fingertips ghosted down my chest and I could hear her breathing hard under me. Sookie gently pulled my face down to hers and kissed me just as delicately.
The kiss stayed soft, contrasting the sex we’d just had. I didn’t want to pull out. I found that I really, really enjoyed kissing her. There was something I couldn’t quite put my finger on when we kissed. It was always… There was a connection I had no hope of explaining. I wasn’t sure if it was the mutual loss or that fact that we were both so fucking wronged in the long run. Emotionally we were almost in the same spot and we just clicked.
“Where can I throw this away at?” I whispered between kisses.
“Bathroom,” she replied.
I looked over and saw what I assumed was the door to the bathroom.
“Don’t move.” I gave her one more quick kiss before I pulled out and walked to the door. I was right. I reached to my left and found a light switch. I closed the door most of the way before I pulled the condom off. I wrapped it up in some tissues and tossed it. I washed my hands and quickly dried them before rejoining Sookie. She didn’t listen. She moved up the bed, but didn’t put any clothes on. I climbed back onto the bed. I lay down next to her, propping myself up on my elbow, resting my hand on her stomach.
“I’m going to have to get a sex towel or something if you’re going to be coming by,” she said with a little smile. “I do enough laundry already.”
“Are you saying we’re messy?” I reached down to rub her wet inner thigh.
“I’m saying you make a mess,” she clarified.
“I can stay home,” I shrugged. I leaned down to nibble on her collarbone. “I would start craving you though.”
“That’s your dick talking,” she snorted.
“Probably,” I chuckled. “My dick makes very valid points sometimes though.”
“Oh I’ve noticed. Hence the need for a sex towel,” she giggled.
“Just wait until I tie you up,” I smirked against her neck. I placed soft kisses up to her ear. “We may need plastic sheets for easy cleanup after that,” I whispered into her ear.
“You think you’re that good, huh?”
“Mmm, imagine having your hands bound and your ankles tied to the posts on my bed,” I started. “I can drive my tongue into your dripping wet pussy over and over and over.” I was using my sex voice, giving her gentle kisses between each word. “I can go on for hours, fucking you when my tongue needs a break.”
“Sounds dangerous,” she panted.
“For you maybe,” I replied, licking her neck, up to suck her earlobe. “Feeling your pussy gush all over my tongue.” I scraped my teeth over her jaw. “My fingers… my long, hard dick… sounds fucking perfect to me.”
“Do you want it?”
I felt her head bob up and down while I kissed her neck.
“Yes,” she breathed.
“Say when.” I tilted my head to capture her lips. The kiss was slow and way more sensual than anything we’d experienced together yet. I had my hand on her hip, rubbing slowly. I rolled Sookie onto her back, hovering over her as we kissed. I wasn’t in danger of getting hard again just yet. I found I really enjoyed making out with her. We were extremely compatible.
It seemed like hours passed before I ended up rolling onto my back, taking her with me. Sookie’s legs settled on either side of me while she rested her head on my chest. I wrapped my arms around her, reveling in her slight weight on me. It made me miss my wife. As much as I hated her, I missed having someone to hold at night. After being in a relationship for so many years, suddenly being single was a very strange thing. I wasn’t sure getting too attached to Sookie was a good thing though. I didn’t want to think too far ahead. I wanted to just lie there and enjoy her.
“Let me know when you want me to leave,” I told her after a few minutes of silence. I didn’t want to overstay my welcome.
“Okay,” she whispered. A few seconds later I was pretty sure I felt tears on my chest.
I held her tighter. I wanted to cry too for so many reasons, but I held it in. I hated that I was still in love with a woman that hurt me so bad. I could never get explanations. I didn’t know if she was truly going to leave me and run away with Sookie’s husband or if that was all lip service. I hated everything about the whole fucking situation. What struck me was that their affair was the reason I met Sookie. As I held her I started to think about all the reasons I shouldn’t be in her bed when we honestly had no one to answer to for our mutual attraction. It was a stupid shitty thing that pissed me off. I wasn’t going to go though. Not until she told me to. She clearly needed the cuddles as much as I did.
“Does your daughter wake up early?” I asked after several minutes of soft sniffles. I wasn’t ready to leave.
“With the sun,” she replied softly.
“Maybe I should go right before the sun comes up then,” I suggested, kissing the top of her head. That’s what alarms were made for.
“That’s what I was thinking.”
Staying with her would make it two nights in a row. I passed out the night before from an intense amount of orgasms and booze. Lying there with Sookie on my chest felt like the right place to be. We were going to have to get up and get dressed. Heaven forbid her daughter decided to get up before the sun and find me in her dad’s spot. That would be traumatizing. It would be even more traumatizing if I was naked.
“Is it wrong that I don’t want to let you go?” I asked quietly, rubbing her back in slow circles.
“No,” she replied in a sleepy voice.
“Good.” I gave her a little squeeze.
We went silent after that. I continued to rub her back until I eventually felt her breathing even out. I waited until I knew she was in a deep enough sleep she wouldn’t wake up if I moved her and gently rolled her onto the bed so I could get up to get my jeans. I grabbed my phone from my pocket to set my alarm for four in the morning. I didn’t want to take any chances. I locked Sookie’s door just to be safe. When I lay down next to her again, Sookie immediately turned to nuzzle into my chest. I wrapped my arms around her to give her that safe warm feeling that I had been missing too. It wasn’t a conventional start, but it was what we were working with. I wasn’t sure if it was going to ever move past amazing sex and secret midnight cuddles, but for the time being it was what we both needed.
Crying all over Eric wasn’t my intent. Lying there with him I got to thinking about the way things had been in the weeks before Alcide died. I used to think we had a pretty good marriage. I was happy, at least, but the more time that passed since his death the more I started to see there were cracks that had nothing to do with his mistress. We weren’t as affectionate with each other as we used to be. I shrugged it off as part of being parents. Of course things changed after we had Willa.
Our roles shifted from husband and wife, flight attendant and contractor or Sookie and Alcide to Mom and Dad. That last set of roles took up the most time. In fact, it was never ending. Sometimes it was fun, trying to find a few stolen minutes to be together, but after a while it got old. I lost count of the number of times we would just be getting to the good stuff in bed when Willa would start to cry. Nothing killed a boner quicker than a screaming baby.
When we did have sex, it was more about making Willa a sibling than it was about reestablishing the connection we had. I missed the intimacy, mostly. We weren’t cuddling as much when we slept. Hell, we rarely went to bed at the same time anymore. I’d have housework to catch up on that I couldn’t do when Willa was up and underfoot or he’d have paperwork to go over for the business. We weren’t making the kind of time for each other that we should have been.
I didn’t notice that we were slipping away from each other until it was way too late.
Not that it mattered anymore since he was gone.
I slept like a rock in Eric’s arms, which both scared me and made me happy at the same time. It was scary because I wasn’t ready to move on to someone else yet. Of course I was still furious with Alcide for what he’d done for so long behind my back but I still loved him. I was always going to love him because of Willa. At the same time it was comforting to know that when I was ready to move on, I actually could.
Marrying Alcide meant I had no plans to move on. Turned out the universe cared fuck all about my plans.
Eric’s alarm went off at four o’clock and it made me jump. I wasn’t prepared for the sound of a nuclear reactor going off so close to my head.
It only went off for a couple seconds before he tapped the screen to turn it off.
“Sorry,” he whispered, giving me a light squeeze.
“It’s okay,” I whispered back. I didn’t want him to get up yet but I also didn’t think Willa was prepared to deal with Eric. Of course her goldfish brain probably wouldn’t really put Eric automatically into the daddy slot but still…
“Mmm, I think we still have some time before the sun comes up,” he said, kissing my forehead.
“It’s pretty dark outside,” I agreed. Then again, I didn’t get much light in my north facing bedroom. Alcide and I had designed it that way on purpose because we both liked sleeping in as close to total darkness as possible.
“By my calculations we have just over two hours to cuddle before she wakes up.”
“Then why’d you set the alarm for so early?” I shifted off of him to press myself against his side instead. My head seemed to find that perfect spot on his chest. Cuddling with him probably shouldn’t have felt as good as it did.
“I have no fucking clue,” he chuckled softly. He tapped a few more buttons on his phone before he settled his hand on my hip.
I heard the jingle of George’s collar as he jumped over the gate to get out of Willa’s room. Alcide had installed a doggie door downstairs after I got pregnant so we wouldn’t have to go up and down all night to let the dog out if he needed to go. Usually he didn’t, but every now and then he did and I definitely wasn’t going to try to navigate the stairs in the middle of the night when I was ten months pregnant. No thank you.
My arm draped over Eric’s stomach and I could hear his heart beating in his chest. We went quiet again and I dozed off. I didn’t really go back to sleep, but I felt more relaxed than I had in a long time. The last time was probably at this massage thing that my mom had gotten for me before Willa was born. It was no surprise to me when I heard Willa call for me.
“Mama! Mama!” she yelled from her room. My eyes opened and I noted it was a little after five.
I yawned and sat up in bed.
“Stay here,” I told Eric when he looked a little panicked.
“I put pants on so I feel somewhat safe,” he told me.
“It’ll be fine,” I assured him. I gave Eric a kiss before I scooted out of bed. I went to my dresser and grabbed a nightgown — one of Al’s old t-shirts.
When I got to Willa’s room, she was sitting up in bed with her curls going every which way and clutching her sippy cup.
“What’s wrong, baby?” I asked her as I opened the gate.
“Need juice,” she answered, holding up her cup.
“How about some water instead?” I countered. It was a little early for juice.
“Where doggie?” she asked me as I took the cup.
“I think he had to go potty.” I went across the hall to the bathroom to fill her cup. I yawned again and swayed a little on my feet. I was hoping she’d go back to sleep for another hour or so.
Stupidly, I forgot to close the gate so when I walked out of the bathroom I discovered Willa had vacated her room.
I hustled down the hallway only to find my daughter standing on my bed with her head cocked to the side. She looked so much like Alcide right then that I couldn’t decide if I should burst into tears or laughter.
“Who dis?” She pointed to Eric with total judgment on her face. Yep, she was her father’s daughter.
“That’s Eric. Can you say hi?” I moved over to the bed and gave her the cup before scooping her up and setting her on my hip.
“No,” she replied and plugged her mouth with her sippy cup. Well, that settled that.
“Hello, Willa,” he said, even though she didn’t want to talk to him. Eric was sitting up in the bed, still shirtless.
“She’s chattier when she’s awake,” I assured him. There were times when I wanted to cover her mouth but I didn’t. It was good that she was learning to talk. Mostly. “We’re lucky she didn’t pull off her diaper. She’s recently started doing that.”
“Uh oh, sounds like she’s almost ready for big girl panties,” Eric chuckled. “Should I get going?”
“She’s getting there,” I agreed and brushed her curls back. Willa rested her head on my shoulder and I asked her, “Do you want Eric to leave?”
She gave me this look that’s hard to describe but it was pretty clear that she wasn’t interested in making a new friend at the moment. It was early. She could be a bear first thing in the morning.
“Well, I guess that’s a yes from the munchkin,” I sighed. “Sorry. I promise she’s usually much more adorable.”
“I believe it. She’s a beautiful little girl.” He stood up and stretched so I got a perfect view of his abs. “My shirt and shoes are downstairs…”
“No, your shirt’s over there. I grabbed it before we came upstairs.” I nodded to the little pile of clothes by the door. “And yes, my baby’s a gorgeous little nugget, aren’t you?” I tickled her side and in spite of herself, Willa giggled and squirmed.
Eric smiled before he went to grab his shirt. He slipped it over his head and picked up his phone to put it in his pocket.
“I guess I’ll be seeing you?”
“Yeah, I’ll definitely be in touch about that idea of yours,” I promised him. I still needed to work out a schedule with Jackson so he could have some uninterrupted Papa/Willa time.
“Good. I’m looking forward to it,” he replied. He grabbed his shoes but didn’t put them on. “Bye, Willa. I hope to see meet again one day.”
The little booger grunted and buried her face in my neck. I shook my head.
“She’s not usually like this,” I laughed and followed Eric to the front door. I unlocked it for him and let him outside. “I’ll call or text you later.”
“Okay. You ladies have a good day,” he smiled. He gave me a little wave before he turned to walk out to his truck.
I closed the door once he’d climbed up into his truck and threw the bolt just to make sure Little Miss Curious didn’t get any crazy ideas about letting herself out the front door anytime she wanted. I turned the TV on in the living room and put on one of the kids channels for her. At Alcide’s insistence, we had bought a large, brown leather wrap around sofa. I grabbed one of the plush blankets off the back of it and wrapped it around myself before I lay down on the cool leather.
Willa got down and toddled over to her toy box to get one of her blankets before she climbed up next to me. She lay down in front of me, my little spoon, and rested her head on my arm. Of course she was asleep again in less than five minutes.
Willa was sitting at the kitchen table playing with her Play-Doh later that afternoon while I was on the phone with the insurance company to set up payment for the policies Alcide had taken out that I didn’t know about. I hated to think about the money I was collecting on his death but at least Willa and I were going to be very well taken care of. Because of his line of work it just made sense to have a decent amount of coverage. Alcide had gone above and beyond that.
If I didn’t know any better, I might have thought he had some sort of precognitive notion that he was going to die young. He never mentioned anything like that to me if that was the case.
George started to bark and so I went to the front window to look outside. Sure enough a car had pulled up. Jackson was back. I hadn’t looked in the spare room he was using but I presumed there was something he left behind or he was just checking in on us to make sure we were okay. I unlocked the door and opened it for him.
“Yes, I’ll make sure I get that faxed over to you,” I told the insurance rep when he told me I needed to fax a copy of the death certificate over to their office. “Thank you for all of your help.” I hung up just as Jackson was coming into the house.
“I just came to get the last of my things,” Jackson said without looking at me.
“Papa!” Willa couldn’t get down fast enough to go get him.
“Hey there, Poptart,” he smiled, picking up Willa when she reached him.
“No you Poptart!” Willa giggled. They were cute together.
“Do you want some lunch?” I offered Jackson.
“No, I’m not hungry.”
“Are you sure? I’m making pulled chicken sandwiches…”
“I’m sure.” He pushed Willa’s hair back to kiss her forehead.
He never turned down food. Even if he just ate Thanksgiving dinner, there was room for more.
“Are you mad at me?” I wanted to clear the air. I didn’t like passive-aggressive nonsense.
Jackson sighed, closing his eyes for a moment. He finally looked at me when he opened them again.
“I don’t know, Sookie. I don’t know where you were the other night, but I could hear a male voice. It bothered me. My son has been gone just over a month. Ten years of marriage and you’re moving on so quickly. I’m not comfortable with it.”
“I didn’t ask for the hand I’ve been dealt, Jackson. No one asked me if it was okay for him to leave me. It’s not easy sleeping alone.” He should understand that after the way he lost Cordelia.
“Believe me, I know how that feels. It took me by surprise. I started to think about you bringing another man around my granddaughter and how that would make Alcide feel. It would crush him if he knew you started moving on so quickly.”
He started moving on before we were separated…
“I’m not dating anyone, Jackson,” I assured him.
He nodded. “It’s going to take time for me to wrap my head around the fact that you’re going to start dating probably sooner rather than later. It’s one thing to talk about it; it’s completely different when I hear another man’s voice on the other end of the phone.”
“I have male friends, you know. It doesn’t mean I’m involved with call them now that Al’s gone,” I reminded him.
“It’s not my business,” he admitted. “That’s why I’m staying quiet.”
“Your silence speaks for you.”
“We need to work out visitation,” he sighed.
“We do,” I agreed. “Do you have something in mind?”
“Since I’m going back to work I can take her on Tuesday nights for a few hours and Fridays overnight if you’re willing,” he said.
“What do you think, munchkin? Do you want to go to Papa’s house on Tuesday and Friday?” I asked Willa.
“And today too,” she answered, making us laugh.
“I can take her today,” he agreed, tickling her rib.
“That’s okay with me. We need to clean up the Play-Doh first, though.” Willa was good at scamming her way out of cleaning. She was a good flirt.
“I help Papa,” she told me and then the little shit batted her dark lashes at her grandpa.
“But your mom needs the help, Poptart, not me,” he told her.
She gave him a look like he was a big traitor and then squirmed to get down. Her expressions said what she didn’t yet have words for.
“Do you want me to take her overnight or just for a few hours?” he asked.
“Uh, it’s up to you. Either way works for me. She hasn’t had a nap yet,” I warned.
“Okay,” he nodded. “I can take her for the night. Maybe I’ll swing by your mom’s so she can visit after her nap.”
“You’re brave. Grammy let’s her eat cookie dough,” I laughed.
“Not when she knows she’s going to be with me,” he winked.
“My mother is the devil,” I said seriously.
“She’s just giving you the same torture she got when you were a toddler,” he chuckled.
“We were never in one place long enough for Gran to load me up on cookie dough,” I snickered. “Besides, I was never trouble.”
“I find that hard to believe,” he snorted.
“Ask Daddy. I was his little angel until I started dating Al and then his hair turned gray,” I laughed.
“Al was enough to cause anyone premature graying and baldness.”
“Oh you mean like the first Christmas after we started dating and Al decided to give you guys positive pregnancy tests?” They shit kittens.
“I was ready to ship him off to seminary school,” he said seriously.
“It would have been the best place for him after Dad finished castrating him with a grapefruit spoon,” I snorted.
“I woulda held him down for Corbett. I love Willa but we were not ready to be grandparents then,” he chuckled.
“Someday she’s going to laugh her ass off at the video from that Christmas,” I smiled.
“I hope so.”
“Hopefully she won’t have his twisted sense of humor,” I replied.
“She will,” he said. “I can already see it in some of the things she does.”
“Lord help us,” I laughed. “At least she has better taste in music. She was singing along to Styx the other day.” Like my dad and Jackson, I was a big fan of classic rock.
“Good. Make sure to throw out all of his shit music so she doesn’t accidentally get her hands on it one day.”
“That’s the plan. Are you sure you don’t want to stay for lunch? I made potato salad…”
“I might take some to go, but I’m sure. I have the crock pot going at home,” he said.
“Okay. Well I’ll get a bag together for the munchkin,” I said. “And if I do start seeing someone seriously, I promise to let you have a run at him.”
I didn’t have to do that but Jackson was going to be in my life no matter what. Even without Willa, he was still one of my dad’s best friends. No matter what, he was family. I didn’t need his approval to move on, but someday his blessing would be nice.