Michelle looked from me to Gam in amazement, her eyes wide. “I had no idea!”

“Eh! Stupid insomnia.” Gam waved a quick hand. “I just figure instead of lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, why not wake up and cook?”

Michelle giggled. “I don’t even want to cook when I should be cooking, let alone when I should be sleeping.”

“I don’t know why you’re not tired at night,” I said in an accusatory tone as I picked up a piece of paper from her kitchen table. “What’s this about?”

Gam glanced at the paper and let out a tiny chuckle. “That’s nothing.”

“What is it?” Michelle craned her neck, trying to read over my shoulder.

“It’s a letter. ‘Dear Ms. Finkle . . . We are writing to alert you of an official complaint we’ve received from a neighbor about you and another individual driving human transporting vehicles through his or her flowers.’”

“Human transporting vehicle?” Michelle asked in a confused tone.

“I think it’s a Segway,” I answered dryly.

Michelle’s mouth dropped open, her blue eyes as wide as they could go as we both looked up at Gam in unison. She stood at the sink with her back to us, her shoulders shaking slightly.

“Are you laughing?” I asked in disbelief.

As she turned slowly, she reached up and wiped the corner of her eye with a tissue. “Sorry. It’s just so funny.”

“Wait. This is for real?” Michelle exclaimed. “When did you get a Segway? And who were you with? Whose flowers did you ruin?”

Gam walked across the kitchen and handed Matthew an oatmeal cookie, then broke another one into small pieces for Maura and set them on her stroller tray.

“It wasn’t that big of a deal. Marge ‘I-Haven’t-Had-A-Boyfriend-In-Forty-Years’ Cooper got her undies all in a bunch and called the office on me and Regina for having a little fun.”

“You skipped the part about getting a Segway,” I grumbled, feeling more like her overprotective father than her grandson.

“Phil’s grandson sells them. We got a great deal,” she answered nonchalantly.

I held my hand up. “Wait a second. Who’s Phil?”

Gam stared at me blankly before her eyes shifted over to Michelle. “You didn’t tell him?”

“Tell me what?”

“I didn’t have a chance yet,” Michelle answered Gam, ignoring me.

I let out a heavy sigh, my frustration growing. “Someone better tell me what’s going on right now before I—”

“Oh, calm down, you big baby,” Gam interrupted. “Phil is my friend. He comes over often and has dinner with me. Sometimes we watch movies. Sometimes we go for a walk.”

“Sometimes they hold hands,” Michelle added with a little giggle.

“You have a boyfriend?” I roared.

Gam put her hands on her hips and glared at me. “He’s not a boyfriend, he’s my friend.”

“You’re almost ninety years old. What do you need a boyfriend for?” I complained, completely ignoring what she’d just said.

She looked straight at me, raising her eyebrows slowly. “I don’t know, Lawrence. What do you need a girlfriend for?”

My stomach rolled as Michelle let out another giggle. I decided to stop asking questions about Phil right then and there.

 

 

After we visited with Gam for a while, went to the zoo, had ice cream, and went to Matthew’s favorite train restaurant for dinner, we all went back to Michelle’s house for the night.

Maura’s sweaty little head rested on my shoulder as I carried her into the house and up to her room. It was barely dark out but she was already having trouble keeping her eyes open.

“You tired, baby girl?” I asked as I changed her diaper and slipped pajamas over her head.

She yawned and rubbed her eyes, her cheeks pink from the sun. When she was dressed, I picked her up off the changing table and walked over to her crib. As I started to pull her away to lay her down, she whimpered and gripped me tighter. Closing my eyes, I wrapped my arms around her and laid my head on the top of hers and rocked back and forth.

After a couple minutes, I heard the door push open against the carpet and Michelle quietly walked up next to me. “Well aren’t you two the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.”

“She didn’t want to lie down yet, so I thought I’d rock her for another minute.”

She leaned her head against my biceps. “It must have worked. She’s sound asleep,” she whispered.

“Seriously?”

She nodded.

I cradled Maura’s head in my hand and gently laid her down in her crib. She sighed and immediately rolled onto her side as I covered her with her fuzzy pink blanket.

Michelle stepped up next to me and stared down at her. “Isn’t she just the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?”

“She really is.” I nodded before looking over at her. “Where’s Matthew?”

“He was out before I left the room.”

I arched an eyebrow. “Oh, really?”

“Yeah. Why?”

I wiggled my eyebrows up and down before picking her up and tossing her over my shoulder.

“Ahhhh!” she squealed. “What the hell are you doing?”

“Shhh! Don’t wake the kids,” I warned. “It’s been six days and at this point, even if they wake up they’re just gonna have to sit in the hallway and wait until we’re done.”

She chuckled the whole way down the hall to her room. Once inside, I kicked the door shut with my foot, set her down, cupped her face in my hands, and clamped my mouth over hers. She leaned into me and moaned in satisfaction as our tongues met. Without breaking our kiss, she walked backward toward the bed, pulling me with her by the waistband. My hands left her face and found the button of her jean shorts, undoing it as quickly as I could.

As we reached the foot of the bed, her shorts fell to the floor and her lips left mine so that she could pull her T-shirt over her head.

“I hate being away from you,” I said, wrapping my arm around her waist and lifting her onto the bed.

“I hate it, too,” she said, pulling me down on top of her.

I took a deep breath, trying to steady myself. “If you don’t slow down, I’m not gonna last very long.”