9:00 a.m. – continued
“Callie,” Evan said as he cautiously approached his wife. He placed his hands on her wrists and gently tried to pry them from around their son’s body where they were pinning his arms painfully to his sides. “Callie, he’s suffocating. Loosen up.”
Sniffling, Callie did so, but moved her hands to rest on her son’s cheeks, her fingers trembling and, from the look on Cooper’s face, ice cold. Tears were in her eyes and cascading down her cheeks. It was a good thing she hadn’t gotten around to putting her make up on yet.
Cooper offered a weak smile. “Thanks for letting me come back home.”
Callie shook her head. “The past is the past. Besides, there won’t be a tomorrow. We already forgave you. We just wanted you to come home.”
“Dad?” Cooper asked uncertainly.
“We’ve missed you, son. Now, get yourself upstairs and go shower. Daniel’s wedding is in an hour. We leave in thirty. Callie, let him go.”
Cooper gave his father a small, relieved smile as his mother finally let go of his cheeks. He quickly stooped down and grabbed his duffel bag before hurrying up the stairs, his backpack bouncing against his back. Almost immediately after he was out of sight, Callie collapsed into Evan’s arms and cried into his shoulder.
“He’s home, Evan. He’s home, where he belongs.”
“Yes, he is, honey. Now, let’s get upstairs and finish getting ready, okay? We’re leaving soon.”
She nodded against his chest and they made their way over to the staircase and up the stairs, only to hear the sounds of their children’s voices.
“You’re filthy,” was all they heard from Abigail’s mouth as Evan shut their bedroom door and let his children welcome each other home in their own unique way.
Cooper crossed his arms, now standing in the middle of his old room. “You saw me earlier.”
“Yeah,” Abigail said, moving into his room to perch on his bed, just as she used to when they were kids, her bathrobe tightly cinched around her slender waist. “Who was that girl, by the way? She was pretty. I caught only part of her name. It sounded like it started with a V.”
Cooper eyed her for a moment, tempted to tell her to get out of his room. “Well, who was that guy with you? That Grant guy?”
“Ah, ah, ah,” Abigail said, wagging her finger, just as she used to do when they had been in high school. Ever the older sister. “I asked you first.”
“You’re in my room, sitting on my bed,” he shot back, hands on his hips.
“I won’t tell until you do.”
Cooper shrugged and turned to his bags to dig out something clean that he might be able to wear to his cousin’s wedding. “So? Like I care?”
Abigail crossed her arms and pouted. Down the hall, the shower shut off. A smile crossed Abigail’s face. If anyone could get him to talk, it would probably be their little sister. Cooper didn’t have a soft spot for her, but he sure did love their baby sister. So, she stood and flipped her blow dried hair behind her shoulder.
“Fine. I’m going to go get dressed. We can continue this later.”
Cooper rolled his eyes as Abigail flounced out of his room. He saw her wriggle her fingers at their sister as Jenna emerged from the bathroom, blow dryer in hand and a towel wrapped tightly around her body, letting the water from her long hair drip on the beige carpet. Jenna quickly disappeared into her bedroom, so quickly that he wasn’t sure if she had responded to their older sister. Thinking of his sisters, he shook his head and gathered up a few pieces of clothes. A minute later, he was stalking into the bathroom, slamming the door closed after him, and the shower turned on one last time.
He enjoyed a nice long, hot shower, but knew he couldn’t take too long. His father had meant it when he said they were leaving in a half hour. He always meant it. Besides, Abigail and Jenna liked to take long showers, so there was no telling how long the hot water was going to last, anyways.
When he finally returned to his room, dressed in a plain white T-shirt and his nicest jeans, he found both of his sisters making themselves at home on his bed. Abigail held up a sea green button down shirt and Jenna held out black pants to him.
“Dad has some clothes for you,” Abigail said. “Here, take ‘em before I put ‘em through the shredder.”
Cooper eyed his sisters as he slowly took the clothes. Apparently, green was the color of the wedding. Abigail was dressed in a dark green, knee-length dress held up with delicate white straps. Jenna was in a lighter colored green dress, hers strapless and practically form fitting until it flared somewhere around her knees.
“I take it we’re all supposed to wear green?” he asked drily.
“That’s what Daniel asked for,” Jenna said, crossing her legs and folding her hands over her knee. “Abigail said she saw you at Magic Beans with a girl.”