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Chapter 33

We got to Mama’s a half hour later to find her with Stephen in the kitchen sipping coffee. I could tell she’d been crying but by the thunderous look on her face they were tears of anger. I was a little surprised to see Stephen there but this was not the time to question my mother about her love life. I’m sure he’d spent the night and I was glad he had. He’d been there for my mama when that jackass called so I was glad he was here. Mama really needed big strong arms and Stephen had them. I couldn’t believe he was hiding all those muscles under his suit jacket at school!

I pulled Mama into my arms and stroked her hair, much like she does me when I’m upset. We held each other for several minutes. Stephen brewed another pot of coffee and started on breakfast. Brock got everything ready to set the table. Finally, Mama sighed and moved out of my embrace. A soft string of French curses fell from her lips as she ran her fingers through her dark hair.

“Oh Maman he’s not worth all that, even if you are right,” I giggled. She rolled her eyes and giggled back, her smile making my heart happy. “So let’s eat breakfast then we can talk about Emil.” I have to admit, Stephen is an excellent cook. Breakfast was delicious and an easy camaraderie settled over the table. I couldn’t stop staring at his biceps though or the hint of a tattoo peaking out from under the short sleeve of his polo.

“Babe, you’re making the man uncomfortable. Stop staring,” Brock chuckled as he stole a strip of bacon from my plate. I elbowed his ribs for that, more upset about the bacon than his comment.

“Well I’m sorry! I had no idea Dr. Carraway had muscles and tattoos. You can’t blame a girl for staring! And don’t steal my bacon!” Mama laughed. Stephen spit out his coffee, choking a bit. She leaned over, stroked his back and kissed his cheek. Brock about fell out of his seat laughing.

“Babe! You are priceless!” Brock laughed, kissing me noisily on my cheek. It was pretty funny and the giggles leaked out.

“I’m sorry Dr. Ca….Stephen…boy that’s gonna take some getting used to,” I stuttered. “Thank you for taking care of my mama. It’s just been us two for so long it’s really nice to see someone caring for her like she deserves.” Stephen slid a sly smile and an arm around Mama, kissing her tenderly on her forehead.

“I’ll take care of her as long as she’ll let me, Amber. I’m kind of smitten if you can’t tell.” He chuckled and Mama blushed. “She deserves the world.”

“So Doc,” Brock said, wiping his mouth and sitting back with his coffee. “Where’d you get the tattoo? The guys are gonna flip when I tell them straight laced Dr. Carraway has a tattoo!” Stephen laughed and shook his head.

“I wasn’t always straight laced, Brock,” he said with a wink. “And as for where I got this particular tattoo, that’s not a story meant for feminine ears.” Brock threw back his head and bellowed.

“Well we will have to have a guy’s night and you can tell me all about it.” We cleaned everything up and once all traces of breakfast were taken care of, we moved into the living room.

“As much as I hate to even think his name, I guess we should talk about your father,” Mama huffed and snuggled into Stephen’s side. “I got a call from an unknown number during the concert last night but I ignored it. I couldn’t have heard the caller anyway and I didn’t really want to talk to anyone. I was having too good a time.” She patted Stephen’s knee. “Whoever it was didn’t leave a message so I didn’t think anything else of it.” Her expression turned thunderous. “Then it called again before decent folks are up. I made the mistake of answering it in case it was you.”

“It was my father,” I said quietly. “What did he say?”

“Oh he started off with his usual snake charm, spouting pleasantries I was not in the mood for so I told him to cut the bullshit and get to the point. That’s when he said he was coming to town and wanted to see you.”

“Well I don’t know why. It’s not like he’s made an effort all these years. I’ve been just fine without him and sure as hell don’t need him now.” I could feel myself getting aggravated but Brock’s steady hand on mine reminded me I wasn’t alone. “When does he want to meet?”

“He said he would call again when he arrived and make arrangements.” Mama leaned forward and grabbed my hand. “You do not owe that man a thing, mon ange. Do not feel obligated to meet him if you don’t want to. I have no problem telling that bastard to go to hell in a handbasket.” I smiled at my feisty little mama. She always had my back.

“It’s all right, Maman. I have a few choice things I’d like to say.” Like, go jump off a cliff and break your leg…or something like that. I was too mad to come up with anything. I’d have everything ready though by the time Emil showed up. He didn’t know what he was in for.

“Well I’m going with you. Ain’t no way I’ma let you be alone with him. He’s a skilled manipulator and I’m not about to watch him try to manipulate you. I’ll slit his throat with my stiletto first.” Now, y’all should know by now my mama don’t play. She continued her tirade in French, much to my entertainment. I cringed at a couple of things she said only because they mentioned doing unthinkable things with a certain male body part.

“Wow,” Brock whispered. “She’s pissed.” Mama finally calmed down, breathing heavily and laid her head against Stephen’s broad shoulder. He simply held her and soothed her without a word. I really liked this man for my mama. He was going to be so good for her.

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