I tried hard not to smile. Micah considered himself a man already. He had been the man of the house for a while now.
He glanced over at the kitchen. “Think I could have some mac ’n’ cheese?”
I pulled him into my arms and kissed him on the cheek. “I love you. You’re my world,” I told him. I’d been telling him that since I held him in my arms for the first time. It was the truth, and I never wanted him to forget it.
“Love you, too, Momma,” he grunted in my tight embrace. “But you’re squishing me.”
Laughing, I let go of him, and he pointed to the kitchen. “I’d love some mac ’n’ cheese,” he reminded me.
I stood up and saluted him, making him giggle.
“Mac ’ n’ cheese, coming right up,” I replied.
* * *
Micah was singing “Eye of the Tiger” loudly and off-key while he stood on a chair and fixed his Pop-Tart. I poured my coffee into a travel mug and tried to ignore the nervous knot in my stomach. I hadn’t lied to Micah—I did trust Dewayne. I just wasn’t sure that leaving him with an uncle he didn’t know he had was such a good idea. Not until I was ready to talk to Micah about Dewayne and who the Falcos were to him. Upsetting Micah’s world wasn’t something I wanted to do.
He had been rolling with the punches since he was old enough to realize our life was always changing. We never knew where we would be next. Now that we had a house, I wanted him to have some security. Admitting to him that he had a family he didn’t know about was something I was going to want to handle delicately.
“Think I should make Dewayne a Pop-Tart?” he asked, glancing over his shoulder at me.
“Hmm . . . Maybe you should wait and make sure he eats Pop-Tarts,” I replied as I sipped my coffee and watched the cat clock on the wall. My mother loved cats. I wasn’t a fan, really, but taking that clock down wasn’t something I was ready to do. It reminded me of happier times.
A knock on the door threw those thoughts aside, and my nervous knot was back. I started for the door, but Micah jumped down from the chair and took off running. I let him go. Soon he’d be calling Dewayne “uncle” . . . maybe. If that was something Dewayne wanted. I knew I wanted it for Micah. Learning to share him, however, wasn’t exactly going to be easy.
Micah threw open the door, and Dewayne was there filling the space in all his tattooed and pierced glory. Even at seven forty-five a.m. the man was breathtaking. His navy blue T-shirt that said FALCO CONSTRUCTION on the front hugged his body tightly. The size of his arms made a woman fantasize about wrapping her hands around them and jumping up into them. No! Dang it, what was I doing? I tore my gaze off Dewayne’s body and didn’t even let myself check out his legs in those jeans. And why were those leather bracelets on his arm sexy? The man could make anything sexy.
“I made a Pop-Tart,” Micah announced. “You want one?”
Dewayne smiled brightly, and if I had been expected to speak, I wouldn’t have been able to. I hadn’t seen that smile in years. The devastating effect it had on me was still just as powerful.
“Never turn down a Pop-Tart,” Dewayne replied, and Micah grabbed his hand.
“Then come on into the kitchen. I’ll fix you one,” he said, tugging Dewayne behind him.
Dewayne’s expression of amazement as he looked at Micah made my heart squeeze. His dark brown eyes lifted to meet my gaze, and I managed to smile at him. But I didn’t get emotional and weepy at the sight of him with Micah. I controlled myself. “You’re better than on time. You’re early,” I said, trying to lighten the mood.
This was a big moment for Dewayne. Micah, too—he just didn’t know it yet. After today I had no doubt that Dewayne would adore Micah.
“Didn’t want to run you late. I’m trying to win the Saturday sitter gig,” he said with a crooked grin.
The idea that Dewayne wanted to watch Micah every Saturday made me almost choke on my coffee. I hadn’t expected that.
“Don’t you work for your dad?” I asked, looking down at his shirt, then back up at him. Maybe I was assuming too much from the shirt. For all I knew he could be a lawyer. I highly doubted it with his dreadlocks, tattoos, and piercings, but I didn’t know much about Dewayne. Not anymore.
“No, I run the company now. It’s mine. Dad had to step down,” he replied. “I don’t work Saturdays.”
Nodding, I held the coffee mug to my lips to give me a barrier. Not that it was much of one, but I didn’t know what to think of Dewayne.
“You can have this Pop-Tart that I just made. I’ll make another for me,” Micah told him as he stood on the chair, holding out a paper plate with one Pop-Tart on it. “Milk’s in the fridge. The good kind. Momma don’t buy that watered-down stuff.”
Grinning, I reached for my purse, then walked over to kiss Micah good-bye. “I’ll see you after lunch. Be good for Dewayne, okay? I love you,” I told him.
“Wait!” he called out, turning around on the chair and holding up his fist for me to bump. His big grin warmed everything inside me. I set my mug on the counter and tapped his fist with mine. “Dynamic Duo,” we said in unison.
“Love you, Momma,” he said, then turned back to the toaster.
“Love you more,” I replied.
I picked up my mug, then glanced back at Dewayne. He was watching me intently. I wasn’t sure what he was thinking, but he was thinking about it hard.