“I need to go. You two have fun. I’ve left my work and cell number on the fridge if you need me,” I told him, then headed for the door.
It wasn’t easy to walk away, but I knew Micah needed this. And so did Dewayne.
Last night I stayed up most of the night letting one fear after another keep me awake. My biggest fear was for Micah’s happiness. After watching Sienna with him this morning, I realized that what I’d thought was her being mental had actually been her being an overprotective mother. She loved that kid. And he loved her. That much was obvious.
But it still didn’t explain why she hadn’t told me about Micah. Why she hadn’t contacted my parents. That was another thing—I hadn’t told my parents yet. They were gonna see my truck over here today, and either my momma was gonna come knocking at the door, or I was gonna need to take Micah over there. Problem was, I was afraid my momma was gonna see what I’d missed the first time I looked at him.
Dustin had been her baby, so it would be easier for to make the connection when she saw his eyes and smile on Micah. She’d know. Immediately, she’d know. If I told her this was Sienna’s boy, she would know. But I also knew she wouldn’t say anything to Micah. She’d rail my ass later for not telling her as soon as I figured it out. But she wouldn’t upset the kid.
It was probably best that I go ahead and deal with my mother before she came over here.
“Momma normally makes cinnamon rolls on Saturdays, but she gots to work on Saturdays now. She used to not have to work on Saturdays when we lived in Fort Worth. But our apartment there was so small. I like it better here. Just wish she didn’t have to work,” Micah said as he jumped down from the chair and pulled it behind him back to the table. I had a feeling I was going to find out a lot about his life today without even prying or asking questions. The kid just shared whatever was on his mind. No filter at all.
“She just has to work half the day. That’s not too bad,” I said, taking the seat across the table from him after pouring two glasses of whole milk. That must have been what the kid meant by “the good stuff.” Dustin had always called whole milk “the good stuff.” He complained that everything else was watered down. I liked that Sienna had passed that down to his son.
Unable to stop myself, I turned the conversation to his dad. I was curious as to what he knew about Dustin. “So, your dad was a good basketball player, huh?”
Micah swallowed his bite of Pop-Tart, and his eyes got big as he sat up on his knees in the chair. “He was the world’s best,” he said in all seriousness. “No one could beat him. I bet even LeBron James couldn’t have beat my dad. Momma said he was a star.” He stopped and took a drink of his milk, and then his eyes looked back up at me. “I think that’s why God wanted him. Momma said God took him because he was such a good guy and he wanted him close to him. I think he wanted to make him a real star. You know, the ones in the sky. There’s this really big one that I used to could see from my aunt Cathy’s house in Fort Worth. I think that’s my dad.”
Damn. I couldn’t take a deep breath. My chest constricted so hard it was painful. I didn’t talk about Dustin. I had put his memory in a box and only touched it when I was too drunk to keep it hidden. Then I always let the anger take over.
But this kid . . . he kept Dustin’s memory alive. I hadn’t known I needed to hear someone talk about my brother like this, but listening to Micah eased the pain that never went away. The pain Dustin’s death had left behind.
“You’ll have to show me that star one night,” I told him. If there was a God, then I was pretty damn sure that after hearing this little boy’s words he’d make sure my brother was a star.
Micah nodded and dusted off his hands. He’d managed to finish his Pop-Tart in just a few bites. “I will. Come over at night and we’ll go in my backyard and look for it. Momma said she’d help me find him, but we haven’t had a chance this week. Been busy getting settled in,” he explained. The kid talked like he was forty. It was pretty damn cute.
“Want to go over and meet my parents?” I asked him.
He jumped up and nodded enthusiastically.
It was better to go into this prepared than for my mother to walk over here and realize who Micah was on her own.
I stood up and held my hand out for Micah to take. “Let’s go,” I told him.
He slipped his little hand in mine. I was one hundred percent sure Sienna would not be okay with this, but I had been so damn anxious to spend time with Micah that I hadn’t thought through the fact that my folks would see my truck over here. When I’d pulled in this morning, I knew I had a problem. Pointing it out to Sienna would have meant her canceling our plans, and she would have taken Micah to day care. So I’d kept my mouth shut.
I knocked and decided to let Dad open it instead of just walking inside with Micah. Dad would help me handle Momma if she didn’t react as calmly as I thought she would.
Dad opened the door and started to say something snide to me, but his gaze dropped to Micah. Recognition didn’t dawn on his face. At least it wasn’t just me who missed how much the kid looked like Dustin.
“This the drug lord?” Dad asked with a smirk.
Shit. The man had no boundaries. That wasn’t funny.
“What’s a drug lord?” Micah asked, looking up at me.
“Nothing you need to be concerned with. Ignore the old man. He thinks he’s funny. He’s not.”