Loving Colt(6)

By: C.A. Harms


“Okay, but I insist on paying her what I would pay the motel.” I lifted Maddison from the car, grabbed our bag as well, and walked toward Maria’s SUV.

“Yeah, good luck with that. I’ll leave that conversation to you and Momma.” I heard her giggle but chose to let it die. I wouldn’t take handouts. I had to leave this place knowing that I didn’t owe anyone anything. I wasn’t one of those people who took without giving in return.





Chapter Four





Alexis



“Are you sure this is no trouble?” I asked as Ann led me to the bedroom at the end of the hall. The moment I saw her standing in the kitchen, my heart raced. What were the chances that Maria was the sister of the man from the restaurant?

Ann smiled from ear to ear as she listened to Maria explain my horrendous morning. She was insisting I stay with her before Maria even got the chance to ask.

“Sweetie, this is no trouble at all. You stay as long as you need to. My home is yours and Maddi’s for as long as you need it to be.” Her kindness was overwhelming. “And this nonsense about you paying me stops here. I won’t have it. You’re a guest.” She smiled sweetly as she set my bag on the bed. Having company will be a nice change.”

Maddison looked around the room at the dolls that lined the shelf just above the dresser.

“Mommy, look,” she said, pointing in their direction. “Pretty.”

“Yes, they are pretty, but we can’t touch.” Maddison loves dolls. Most of our belongings are in a storage unit I rented. After talking to my landlord and neighbor, they agreed to move my things for me after I left. Once I get settled, I will find a way to get everything. For now, Maddi and I are living with only the necessities.

“Oh, she can play with those,” Ann said as she pulled a doll from the shelf. “I think this one has some extra clothes. You can dress her up and do her hair. Would you like that?” she asked Maddi.

I held back the emotions that filled me as Maddison’s face lit up. She nodded her head as she reached out and took the doll from Ann. She was in a state of awe at that moment, and it was heartwarming.

We settled in and I allowed myself to relax, something I rarely was able to do anymore. I always felt as if at any moment something bad would happen and our world would be flipped upside down.



***



Ann allowed Maddison to help her make dinner. I cringed at the sight before me. Maddison had gotten sauce everywhere, and all Ann could do was laugh.

Maddison’s giggles filled the house, and her happiness brought tears to my eyes. They were happy tears, of course, because my little girl was doing what she did best. She was making Ann fall in love with her. She seemed to have the ability to capture just about anyone in a matter of minutes. Her sweet smile and gentle eyes were the undoing of anyone within ten feet.

A deep chuckle from behind caused me to jump forward. Placing my hand on my chest in surprise, I spun around quickly. There before me stood Colt—dirty, sweaty, and rugged yet alluring Colt.

A sly grin spread out over his lips, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. Accompanied by the dimples, it was impossible to look away.

Clearing his throat, he chuckled softly. My gaze shifting to his, I could instantly feel the heat flood my cheeks.

“Hello again,” he said, and I just stared back at him, speechless. Like an adolescent girl, I was trembling at his closeness.

I stepped back and smiled in return, with a forced smile I was sure he could see right through.

“So, you’re the cute blonde with the sweet little girl, staying at my momma’s house,” he said, and my cheeks once again felt flushed. “My nephew’s words, to be exact. My sister was a little more on the nose with her description.”

For a moment, I felt disappointed. What was he saying? Did he not find me attractive?

“I think “gorgeous blonde” says it a little better. For some reason, Maria felt it was very important that I come over here tonight to fix my mother’s bathroom sink.” He leaned in just a little closer and lowered his voice. “I’m pretty sure she had an ulterior motive for sending me.” He winked before stepping around me and making his way over to his mom.

I took the time to take a few deep, calming breaths, internally smiling at the idea of him thinking of me as gorgeous.

Shaking my head clear of the hazy feelings he brought on, I wiped my palms on my jeans.

Colt kissed his mother on the cheek, but his eyes stayed on mine from across the room. “If I would’ve known about all the pretty ladies in this house, I think I would have come over sooner.”

I averted my eyes quickly to the floor, as his gaze was intense and distracting. How was a girl supposed to keep her head on straight with him around?