Home > The Storm (The Storm #3.5)(16)

The Storm (The Storm #3.5)(16)
Author: Samantha Towle

“What?” I smile.

“At school today, in recess, we were playing soccer—the boys from my class against the boys from the grade above us. We totally won! And the best thing? I scored the winning goal!”

“That’s amazing, JJ!” I exclaim. “I wish I could have been there to see it.”

“Yeah, me, too! It was so awesome, Dad. You would’ve loved it.”

The next thing I hear is, “JJ! Where are you?”

The sound of Belle’s squeaky voice makes me chuckle.

“I’m in Mom and Dad’s room, talking to Dad,” he tells her.

“Dada’s home?”

“No, he’s on the phone. You wanna talk to him?”

“Gimme phone.”

The phone starts to move, and I’m guessing that Belle is grabbing at it.

JJ laughs. “Love you, Dad,” he gets in before Belle wrestles the phone from him.

“Love you, too,” I call out.

Then, I see Belle as she holds the phone up close to her face.

“Dada, guess what?”

“What?” I smile at her.

“I got mawwied today.”

I freeze. “I’m sorry, what?”

“Mawwied. I got mawwied, Dada.”

“Um…who to?”

“Cweed Cawter.”

“Uncle Tom’s Creed?”

“Uh-huh. Aunt Wywa, Cweed, and baby Woni came to pway. Aunt Mimone and her huge tummy and Fwankie came, too.”

Tom and Lyla have two kids. Creed is the same age as Belle, and Joni is six months old. Simone and Denny just have Frankie at the moment—who’s six, the same age as Billy—but Simone is pregnant with twins, and she’s due in a few months.

And I’m going to be having some serious words with Tom, telling him to keep his kid in line. No way is my girl marrying a Carter—well, any male—ever. Belle’s going to be a nun when she’s older. I’m not even kidding.

“How exactly did you get married, Beauty?” I ask her.

She gives me a look that clearly says she thinks I’m stupid for not already knowing. “Dada, I held his hand, of cwouse.”

I bite back the laughter wanting to burst from me. “And does Creed know that you’re married, baby?”

She rolls her eyes at me. “’Cwouse he does. I told him so.”

Yep, she’s definitely entering the nunnery when she’s older.

I press my lips together, the tears in my eyes now from humor.

“I love you, Beauty.”

“Wuv you, too, Dada. Bye.” She kisses the screen, leaving wet lip marks on it.

Belle drops the phone, and the next thing I see through those lip marks is my bedroom ceiling.

“Um, Belle?” I call. “Tru? Anyone?”

“Hey.” Tru’s smiling face appears as she picks the up phone.

“Belle just dumped me and ran off,” I tell her. “And she just told me about her marriage to Creed.” I give Tru a look, raising my brow.

“Oh, yeah.” Tru laughs. “No need to worry there. Poor Creed. He went white when she told him that they were married. He definitely doesn’t have Tom’s scent for women.”

“Oh, give him time.” I chuckle. “Where’s Billy?”

“He’s in his room, sulking.” She looks like she’s holding back a smile.

“Why’s he sulking?”

“He got in trouble at school today.”

My boys aren’t bad boys, but it’s not totally unusual for them to get into trouble from time to time. They have my naughty streak.

“What happened?”

“I’ll let him tell you. Hang on.”

She starts to move with the phone, heading for Billy’s room. “Billy, your dad’s on the phone.”

I hear him grunt.

“I don’t want to talk to him.”

Um, thanks, Billy.

“Billy, your dad misses you, and he wants to talk to you.”

“Fine. Whatever.”

Billy’s face appears on the screen, and a real scowl is etched there.

“Hey, bud. What’s up?” I say softly.


“Mom said there was a problem at school today. You okay?”

His eyes flash up from the phone—at Tru, I’m guessing—his frown deepening. “Mom, you promised you wouldn’t say anything.”

“I didn’t say anything, I swear,” she says.

“B, your mom just told me that there was a problem at school, not what happened,” I tell him, bringing his eyes to me. “You wanna talk to me about it?”


Um, okay.

“Anything else you wanna tell me about what happened today?”

He pauses for a minute, biting his lip. “Well…I did sign up for…guitar lessons at school.”

“You did? That’s awesome news!”

Finally, one of my kids is showing an interest in music. JJ is all about sports, and Belle is obsessed with princesses and apparently getting married.

A shy smile creeps across Billy’s face.

“I can help show you some of the basics before your lessons start, if you want. Put you ahead of the class,” I offer, wanting that smile to stay.

His eyes brighten, his smile getting wider. “Sure. That’d be cool, Dad.”

“Okay, we’ll do that tomorrow night when I get home. You and me, guitar lesson in my studio.”

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