“Pretty damn weird,” Marcus replied, shoving food into his mouth. “But it’s a good weird.”

“Based on the number in our bank accounts, it’s a really good weird,” Eric sang, grinning ear to ear.

“And speaking of numbers in bank accounts,” Ian said, reaching into his suit pocket. He pulled out an envelope and handed it over to me. “This is for you from us.”

I raised an eyebrow. “What is that?”

“Open it and you’ll see,” James said.

Slowly I opened the envelope, and the moment I saw what was inside, I shut it and tossed it onto the table. “What the hell is that?” I breathed out.

“It’s a check. You have seen a check before, right?” Ian joked.

“Not a check with that many zeroes, and was that a comma after two numbers? Commas don’t come after two numbers on checks!” I exclaimed. My heart was pounding against my chest from simply touching that in my hand.

Ten thousand dollars.

The guys had handed me a check for $10,000 as if it were the easiest thing in the world. I remembered a few months back Marcus and Eric had fought over who was paying for their twenty-dollar Chinese-food bill. Now, they were handing out $10,000 checks.

Funny how fast someone’s world could change.

“I can’t take that,” I told them.

Ian picked up the check and placed it back in my hand. “You can and you will. If it wasn’t for your help with the lyrics, we would’ve never been discovered, and the more we take off, the more we’ll thank you. This is just the beginning.”


“No,” he cut in. “Don’t fight this, Haze. You deserve this. You do so much for others without getting anything in return. It’s about time you get rewarded for what you do.”

“And there’s more where that comes from!” Eric bellowed, swiping Ian’s dinner roll from his plate.

As realization settled in, a wave of comfort began to wash over me. That money was going to help me more than they knew. I could do more for Rosie and me. I could start saving for a future I’d never thought I could have. I could breathe a bit easier.

“Thank you, guys. You have no clue how massive this is for me.”

“Well, seeing as how you’ve been kicking it with our boy Ian, I’m sure you’re used to seeing massive things,” Marcus joked, nudging me in the side.

My face turned redder than the gelatin mold Mary Sue had made for the dinner.

“Stop embarrassing her, you ass!” Eric said, shoving his brother.

“What? I’m not! It’s not like this whole town doesn’t know about Ian’s massive cock,” Marcus argued. “Plus, I’d be happy as a dog eating a turkey bone if my girl was proud as day about my massive cock.”

“Stop saying ‘massive cock,’” Eric groaned, slapping his hand to his forehead.

“Maaassive cooock,” Marcus dragged out, looking to drive his younger brother up the wall.

“Massive what?” a voice said from behind us.

We all looked over our shoulders to see Holly standing there, sweet as ever, with a raised eyebrow.

Now it was Marcus’s turn to match the gelatin mold. “Uh, nothing, Grams,” he said, shaking his head. I loved how all of the guys called Holly “Grams,” as if they were her grandchildren too. Based on how she was with everyone in town, it was as if she were all of Eres’s grandmother.

“No, go ahead and tell her what you were saying,” Eric egged on. Marcus must’ve slammed his foot hard on Eric’s beneath the table, because Eric screamed like a person doing the polar plunge on New Year’s Day.

Holly kept smiling and waved a hand. “Oh, you boys and your humor. The dessert table is open. Go ahead and get you some pie.”

James’s eyes lit up from the mention of pie. “Did you make your homemade apple?”

Holly nodded. “Made an extra so you can get your own. Plus, there’s custard in the freezer to go with it.”

That made him and the brothers shoot up from their seats and hurry away. Ian kept staring at his grandmother with a somber look in his eyes. “What about you, Grams? Did you eat yet?”

She waved him off. “Oh no. Not yet. I’ll get to it, though. I just want to make sure that everyone else’s bellies are full before diving in.”

“Everyone’s pretty self-sufficient now, I think. Go ahead, Grams. Eat.”

She shushed him before walking over to him and placing her hands against his cheeks. Holly leaned in and kissed Ian’s forehead. “I’m so happy you’re back in town. I couldn’t imagine not spending the holiday with you. I miss you.”

Ian gave her a lopsided smile. “I miss you too, Grams. And I’m sorry I haven’t called enough. I’ll make sure to remedy that.”

“Whenever I get a call from you, I’m grateful. But don’t feel like you have to go out of your way to ring me and Big Paw. We know you’re busy becoming the next Elvis.”

I smiled at their interaction and somewhat envied it. I’d never known my grandparents, and watching the love that lived between Holly and Ian was beautiful.

“Now, go on, go on. Get yourself some pie. I’m going to notify the other tables that it’s ready,” Holly said.