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“This is . . . uncomfortable,” I said.

Sam’s eyebrows pulled in. “It’s okay. This is such a rare circumstance, Erin. There’s just no room for judgment. We’re just happy that you’re happy. That’s all that matters to us.”

By the time we finished the chocolate cheesecake, Julianne seemed nervous. During a lull in conversation, Sam took Julianne’s hand, and her eyes glossed over.

“Erin,” Sam said. “Julianne and I have been talking quite a bit this week, and although we know everything has happened very fast for all of us, we want to ask you if you would come and live in our home . . . until you go to college, or until you want to live on your own. We just feel we have a lot of catching up to do, and we’d love it if we could do it as a family.”

My eyes danced between the both of them. They watched me with desperate hope in their eyes.

“You’ll have your own room,” Julianne said. “We’ve already gotten you a new bed, dresser, and linens. But we thought you might want to make it yours by choosing your own comforter and things, so I left a few catalogs on the bed,” Julianne said. She held up her hand. “Not that I’m assuming you’ll come to live with us. I just . . . didn’t want you to think we’d offer you Alder’s room. You’ll have your own room, your own clothes, and your own things.”

Sam leaned forward a bit and pushed up his glasses. “You don’t have to make a decision tonight. We just want you to know the offer is there. And we’re not doing anything at all this weekend, just in case you want to, you know, move in. But again, no pressure.”

“It’s okay. I think it’d be good,” I said.

“You do?” Julianne said, in shock.

I nodded.

Julianne clapped excitedly and they both stood, rushing around the table to hug me. Veronica and Peter congratulated us, and happy embraces were given all around, except for Weston.

I sat down, next to him. “Everything okay?” I asked.

“I’m just going to miss seeing you every day,” he said.

“Weston, honey, she’s right down the street!” Veronica said, laughing.

“I know,” he said, still unhappy.

“I promise we’ll be considerate of your time with her,” Julianne assured him.

That seemed to cheer Weston up a bit, and he took my hand in his.

Sam and Julianne returned to their seats.

“When?” I asked. “I don’t really have a lot to bring over.”

“Tomorrow?” Julianne asked.

“Tomorrow?” I echoed.

“Or not,” Sam sat, patting Julianne’s knee. “When you’re ready.”

“I guess tomorrow is as good a time as any. If you’re sure . . .”

Julianne didn’t hesitate. “We’re sure.”

“Okay, then,” I said with a small smile.

“Perfect!” Julianne said. “We’ll take care of everything. If there is something you need that we don’t have, you just let us know.”

“So … to tomorrow?” Sam said, holding up his nearly empty wineglass. The other adults in the room held up their glasses, and Weston and I held up our glasses of Cherry Coke.

“To tomorrow,” we all said in unison.

Chapter Twelve

Sam and Julianne returned home, anxious to finish up a few things before I moved in the next day. Peter and Veronica retreated to their bedroom, and Weston asked me to take a drive. We held hands while he drove out to his favorite spot, the overpass, and we lay in the bed of the truck, looking up at the stars.

“I’m a little nervous. I just got you, and I’ve had you all to myself until now,” he said, leaning over to kiss my hair.

I leaned into his kiss, my head resting on his arm. “I’m just around the corner, and I’ll still need a ride to school every morning. I don’t think things will be that different.”

“I don’t know. You have eighteen years of making up to do, and I would be a complete ass if I begrudged you getting to know your parents. I feel like I should step aside, but I don’t want to.”

“I don’t want you to step aside,” I said, thinking over his last words. “My parents. Wow. It’s just . . . crazy. I keep thinking I’m going to wake up, or someone’s going to tell me this was a cruel prank.”

“A cruel prank? You’ve just hit the lottery. Not only are your bullies gone, but you have two of the best people in town as your parents.”

“It feels wrong to celebrate it.”

“You didn’t steal them, Erin. They’re yours. Kind of like me.”

I looked over at him, and I could see his amazing smile in the dim light of the moon. “It’s just too much good luck all at once for someone who hasn’t had any. I feel like it’s all going to be ripped away from me at any moment.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “I promise.”

I turned onto my side, leaning over him, and touched my lips to his. It was a chilly night, but something deep inside of me felt warm, and the warmth spread throughout my body. Weston felt it, too, because his fingers pressed into my skin, and he made that little sound that I loved. I pulled away, and bit my lip, a little nervous about what I was about to do.

I sat up, and slipped my shirt over my head. Weston didn’t move until I reached back to unsnap my bra, and then he sat up, grabbing my arms. He kissed me once, whispering against my lips.

“What are you doing?” His eyes were closed, but the tension of restraint was evident in every muscle of his body.

“What does it look like I’m doing?”

“Not here.”


“You don’t want your first time to be in the back of my truck.”

“Why not? My favorite memories are here.”

He thought about it for a moment. When I kissed him, he kissed me back, hard. His fingers touched the top of my shoulders, and he pulled down the white straps of my bra. The second it was lying next to us, he ripped his shirt over his head and pulled me against him. His warm chest against my bare br**sts created a tingling between my thighs, and it was my turn to make that low humming sound.

Weston turned me onto my back, undid my jeans, and pulled them down, past my ankles, and set them in the pile with the rest of our clothes. It didn’t take long for both of us to be naked, and then Weston was above me, his mouth on mine, his bare skin against mine.