Rebecca wiggled her feet.
“What do you want now?” Andrew asked, looking at his lap.
She’d propped her feet on his leg, stretching out on the sofa. “Nothing. Just saying hi.”
“What are you doing?”
He glared at her. “You know what I’m doing. What are you doing?”
Rebecca waved her sketchbook at him. “Drawing you. You’re kind of cute, you know. Are you writing about me because I’m so adorable?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, I suppose my main character is you. She’s strong and doesn’t put up with much.”
“We’re weird,” Rebecca said.
“Your mom would say that isn’t new information.” Andrew shrugged. “Sorry. I meant Polly.”
“You know I don’t care. She’s my mom. I just don’t call her that. It would feel funny to change now.”
“Like me calling Mom by her first name.” He laughed. “Hi, Sylvie. Welcome to my room. Yes, Sylvie, I’m getting out of bed now. Stop yelling at me, Sylvie.”
Rebecca giggled. “Too weird. So, what do you think everyone else is doing now?”
“Drinking and carousing.”
“I told you we were weird.”
“I like this, though,” he said. “Tonight was fun, but I like coming back here and hanging out with you.
They’d been to a concert at the ball fields tonight. It was loads of fun. Dancing in front of the stage with their friends was something they’d never had a chance to do before and that made it one of those nights Rebecca never wanted to forget. She couldn’t believe it when Polly let her come over to Andrew’s after the concert was over. She didn’t ask any questions, didn’t argue. She just said yes.
“Can I read what you’re writing?”
Andrew glanced her way. “Maybe later. I’m trying to work this out in my head.
“Do you want to see what I’m working on?”
He nodded absentmindedly. Rebecca knew better than to bother him when he was in the middle of writing. He’d stop to pay attention to her, but it always cost him focus. But tonight had been so much fun. She didn’t expect to come back and spend the last hours of the day with him hovering over a laptop.
She flipped backward through her sketchpad and bit her lip. It was her own fault. This was why he’d dropped into writing mode. As soon as they walked in the door, she kicked off her shoes, grabbed up the pad and sat down, only looking up to nod when he asked her if she wanted a pop. She had desperately wanted to capture memories of the concert, so while he set everything up and made sure she had pillows to lean back on, a blanket over her lap and arranged her stuff on the coffee table, Rebecca sketched.
They were only quick drawings, but it was enough to give her something to work on later. There was Cilla and her new boyfriend. He was preening, she was dancing. That wasn’t going to last. Then Deirdre and Kayla were in the next sketch. It wasn’t often that Rebecca caught Kayla completely relaxed and free. Her arms were up in the air, clapping and enjoying herself. Rebecca added more smokey details around her two friends. She wished Deirdre would see herself as everyone else saw her. The girl was gorgeous. She never talked about her last school. Never. She was happier now than when she first got to Bellingwood, but somebody had hurt her and Rebecca was running out of time to get her to talk about it. Maybe she never would.
She sketched the big crowd in the bleachers. Polly and Henry and the kids were up there somewhere, but with the big lights on the field and the number of people, she never did find them.
Once Andrew settled in with his laptop, Rebecca finished up the quick sketches and settled back to watch him work. He was so intense when he wrote stories. And he was really good. He wrote short stories sometimes let everybody read them, but these days he said he had a bigger story to tell. Any spare time he could find went into writing. That was one reason they were so good together. He got her. He was just like her.
They were weird. The concert was awesome, but coming back here to sit beside each other while they worked on their favorite things was amazing. No one would ever understand that. It was nice to have Sylvie and Eliseo out of the house, too.
Rebecca shook her head. Polly and Henry would probably think that she liked having the adults gone so she and Andrew could mess around. That wasn’t it at all, though if she could distract Andrew with a little messing around, that would be just fine. They had fun at her house, but there were so many people everywhere. It was great, but whenever Rebecca wanted to work, she had to shut the door to her bedroom. Even then, those littles were always knocking, wanting her to do something or other.
She flipped to a blank page and started drawing. The other night, when Andrew was at the house, Caleb and JaRon dragged him to their bedroom where they’d built a fort with blankets and pillows. When she went up, he was lying on the floor between their beds holding a big stuffed dinosaur, and growling as he protected the castle from the two little boys who darted toward him, hoping to get past him.
Her pencil flew across the page and she smiled at the faces of her brothers as they came alive. They had so much fun with Andrew.
Rebecca wiggled her foot on his leg again. She couldn’t help it.
“Just a few more minutes,” he said.
“Sorry. Just thinking about how awesome you are. Keep working.”
“I’m almost done with the scene.”
She closed her eyes and listened to his fingers tap on the keyboard. He paused, and she opened her eyes. But he was only thinking. She could tell because he closed his eyes. That was how he shut out the world to think about the next few lines. Then, he was back at it. His eyes closed again and she flipped to a fresh page. She was going to have a lot of things to finish up the next few days.
Andrew sat back. “There. Done.”
“A whole chapter?”
“No,” he said, shaking his head. “Just that scene. I’ll finish the rest later.”
“Because I’m bothering you, right?”
Rebecca burst out a laugh. “Not gonna sugarcoat it, are you?”
“No, Rebecca, you are never a bother. When you are by my side, I can move mountains and write ten thousand words an hour.” Andrew rolled his eyes.
She swung her legs to the floor and leaned in to kiss him. “I knew you were the best guy in the world.”
He kissed her back and pulled his arm out from between them so he could hold her close. She ended up draped across his lap.
Then he laughed.
“What?” Rebecca asked.
“Is that your pencil or are you just happy to see me?”
She pulled away and looked down between their bodies. She was still holding her sketchpad, and her pencil was poking him in the stomach. Laughing, she moved back to sit on the couch beside him. “Sorry about that.”
“It just made the kiss more exciting.”
Rebecca looked at him. “Weirdo.”
“I didn’t know if I was going to live or die. Maybe you’d have to take me to the hospital because you poked the pencil through my belly and my guts poured out all over your drawings. Of course, maybe there was the whole drawing with blood thing and that’s what you wanted to do. Open me up, soak the pencil in blood and draw death.”
“You’ve been writing way too long tonight.”
“Or not long enough. All these ideas are floating around up there.”
“Maybe I should just go home so no one is here to bother you.” Polly would kill her for being passive aggressive. She hated that. Rebecca shot him a smile.
“No,” he said. “I’m sorry.”
“Can I see your sketches now?”
“May I,” Rebecca said with a laugh.
Andrew tried to take her sketchpad from her lap. “I can never win with you people. May I see your sketches?”
She opened to the first page.
“Kayla was having fun tonight,” he said. “Did you see that one guy trying to dance with her?”
“I don’t know. It wasn’t anyone we know from school. Probably one of the people in town for the game release. Kayla didn’t see him either. It was like she was all up in the music.”
“What are we going to do with her?” Rebecca asked.
“With Kayla? Why do we have to do something?”
“Andrew, she is innocent. Everyone takes care of her.”
“Well, yes. She isn’t going to college with us next year and I’m afraid that she’ll get herself in some stupid kind of trouble. I won’t be there to bail her out.”
“She’ll be fine. Maybe she’ll do even better without you. That girl has to figure it out.”
“I’m just scared that she’ll get hurt.”
“Like how you hurt when your Mom died? You have to let her do this some day.”
“It’s different than Mom dying. At least I had Polly and Henry.”
“And Kayla had Stephanie.”
“I told her that she wasn’t allowed to date any boy until you and I met him and approved.”
“We’re going to drive back to Bellingwood so we can approve of her dates.”
“Do you have a problem with that?”
Andrew laughed. “I guess not, but I don’t see me as a bouncer-type. You’d be lots better at that than me.”
“I need you around for backup.”
“Because I’m such a tough guy.”
“You’re scrappy.” Rebecca flipped the sketchpad to the first one she’d done of him hunched over his laptop. “In a scholarly way.”
“I’ll write you into my story and bonk you on the head.”
She scooted closer to him.
Andrew wrapped his arm around her and kissed her forehead. “We are weird, aren’t we?”
“You know there’s no one else I want to spend time with, don’t you? Even if all we do is sit on your couch while you write and I draw.”
“Maybe we should go to exotic places and sit beside each other.”
Rebecca leaned into his shoulder. “Like Paris and Rome?”
“I was thinking about your gazebo or the lobby at the hotel.”
“You don’t want to see the world with me?”
“Of course I do, but you’ll see it first with Beryl.”
“Maybe you and I will move to London and she can come visit us.”
Andrew laughed out loud. “You leave Polly and Henry? That will never happen.” When Rebecca opened her mouth to protest, he put a finger on her lips. “Don’t even. We’ll go wherever you want, but this will always be home.”
Padme barked from where she lay on the other side of Andrew.
“What?” he asked the dog. He looked down at his laptop. “Oh no. She’s going to kill me.”
“Polly. It’s midnight. You’re supposed to be home.”
Rebecca scrambled off the sofa. “I have to go.” She jammed her pen and sketchbook into her backpack. “I still can’t believe she didn’t even argue or ask any questions.”
“I know, but if I screw this up … no, I can’t screw this up.” She slammed her feet into her shoes. “Gotta go, gotta go.”
Andrew followed her to the back door, then took her hand. “Good night, Rebecca. Text me when you walk in the back door.”
“Text you. Text Polly. I will. I promise.” She went up on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek, then took in a breath. “Sorry. I love you.” Rebecca kissed him on the lips and wrapped her free arm around his waist. “Thanks for this. It was nice. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
Then she ran out to her car. Hopefully Polly was already in bed.