“Aly! Come ride four wheelers with us! We are gonna go to the river and go swimming!” Weston yells from outside. I open the screen door and look outside at the boys as they come riding up. “Alright, give me a minute to go change!” I hurried back to my room and threw my hair up in a ponytail and changed into my bikini. A bikini that I picked out just so Graham would notice my new curves. It’s a dark blue to bring out my eyes and has just enough padding to make my breast look bigger. Throwing a tank top and shorts on over it, I run back to the front of the house, stopping long enough to grab the keys to the four wheeler. “Wes, you want to drive mine?” Hoping he’d take me up on it so perhaps Graham would offer for me to ride with him. “Sure!” Weston hopes off of Graham’s and takes the key from me. James comes out the house behind me. “Where are we going this time?” I roll my eyes, but know that Mama won’t let me go if James doesn’t tag along. “To the river… you can ride with Weston!” Snickering to myself because I know I’ll get to ride with Graham now. We all get on the four wheelers and head down the road to the river. Weston leads while Graham drops back a little. “Aly? Was there a particular reason you wanted to ride with me?” Graham says teasingly. My cheeks redden a little and I just shake my head. He revs the four wheeler up and lets go of the brake making it launch forward, causing me to tighten my grip. Unexpectedly, he turns down a different path and takes us to a small alcove of trees that offers some privacy, not far from where people can get together on the river. “Umm, Graham?” I say nervously as he cuts the four wheeler off and climbs off of it. “Aly, I’ve been thinking, and I think we should date.” My jaw falls open. He walks back to me, taking his hand and closing my mouth. “Look I think you are cute and..” I push myself up to his lips and kiss him. His hands coming around to my waist, pulling my shirt up.
I wake with a start as Pepper, my brothers 50 pound bulldog, climbs on top of me and starts barking. Well crap. Not sure where that dream came from. I haven’t had dreams about Graham in years. I tried to keep in touch with Weston and Graham for a couple of years after moving before life got so busy. I joined the dance team and the cheerleading squad in high school and between that and studying, and whatever the guys were doing, we never really had time to talk. Plus, when they had girlfriends, that definitely was out of the question.
I push Pepper off of me and climb out of bed. We rented a 3 bedroom house in the next town over for a week because of the funeral and to spend some time with the family. I think it helps Mama with having her family all under one roof since we are so scattered now. James’ wife, Emma, and their daughter, Chloe, are in the kitchen cooking breakfast as I stumble in. “Good morning Aunt Aly!” Chloe says, climbing down from her chair and bouncing over to me to give me a hug. “Good morning sunshine!” I pick her up and spend her around before putting her back in the chair. “Good morning Em. Coffee?” Emma smiles and points me in the direction of the coffee pot. I pour a cup after opening and closing a few cabinets to find a mug, then walk over to refill Emma’s as well. She says thanks as she pours the rest of the pancake batter on the griddle. I take Chloe and we set the table for 6, then head to go wake James up. “Ok Sunshine, on the count of 3, we are gonna jump on Daddy.” I whisper to her as I open the door. I hold my finger up, then another one before she jumps on James. “Wake up Daddy! Wake up!” He laughs and grabs her, rolling her over to tickle her. I watch the scene, smiling at them then quietly heading back to my room to change clothes. We have visitation this evening so for now, I slip on a navy blue sundress and some white tennis shoes and pull my hair back into a loose pony tail. Deciding that it will work for now, I head back out to eat breakfast with my family.
As we sit down to breakfast, Chloe says the blessing and we all dig in to our pancakes and sausage links. “Emma, these are fantastic!” I say around my pancake. Chloe starts laughing. “Aunt Aly, you aren’t supposed to talk with your mouth full.” Everyone laughs. I look over at James. “Still busting my chops with that one, huh?” James just grins. We finish breakfast before we decide to head to town to pick up a few things for the house. We each decide on who will do meals, we each will take turn doing breakfast but lunch and dinner will be decided later. We do need snacks and stuff for this house while we are here though. Once we have decided who will get what, we all head to Walmart. This town has grown, thank goodness. It’s added more shopping and restaurants, although, with it being a college town, that was bound to happen. I guess it helps the surrounding counties stay afloat. We make it to Walmart and head inside. I take Chloe and head over to the toy section so Emma and Mama can do some grocery shopping. I don’t mind it one bit because Aunt Aly is long overdue for spoiling her niece. We make it about half way to the toy section and I’m looking down at Chloe when I bump into someone. “Oh, I’m sor…ry..” I look up into blue eyes and a smile that used to make my heart beat skip a beat. Graham looks down at me, one hand on my arm to steady me. I can feel the heat rushing through me at the contact. “Well, it must be my lucky day. My favorite sidekick and her little sidekick.” Graham looks down at Chloe, confused. Chloe sticks her hand out to shake his. “My name is Chloe. What’s yours?” Graham looks between us. “My name is Graham. It’s a pleasure running into such two pretty women this morning.” He says with a wink at me. My cheeks redden. “Chloe, what are you and your Mommy doing today?” Chloe just shrugs. “I know we are shopping now, I’ll have to ask her when Aunt Aly takes me back to her.” Graham releases a quiet breath. “Aunt Aly must be taking you to find a toy then?” Chloe grins and nods. “Yep, see you later, Mr. Graham.” Chloe starts pulling my hand to go. I wave and turn to leave but Graham grabs my wrist. I turn back to him. “Aly, would be free to grab lunch and catch up later in a little while? Say 12 at CJ’s?” I nod and wave. “Sure, see you there!’ With that, Chloe and I head to the toys. Right before we turn at the toy aisle, I glance back and find Graham still standing there, checking me out. He locks eyes with me and winks, causing me to blush again. Ugh. How does he keep doing this to me? Why am I acting like a teenage girl?