- A Serialized Novel -

Sorting out Carson's legacy only leads to more questions.

Author’s Note: Another cameo by my grandpa, and the rest of the boys get caught up to speed. 🙂

Catching up with the Boys

“So… What else have you come up with?”

“I already told you everything,” Carson said, and Mackenna had to nod. He’d given them more detail on some of the stuff he’d gotten back than he’d given her, and she didn’t think that there was any more to tell—she was sure he’d have told her if there was. “I have. It’s not a lot.”

“It’s still a whole lot more than you had when you were in high school. Back then, all you had was some image of Dad in the barn, dead.”

Carson nodded, reaching for his beer. “I know. Now I know that he was around before then, a couple of times at least. I don’t know what he was after. Part of it sounded like he was trying to find a way to come back to us, and I don’t know if he picked me because I was the youngest and he thought I’d be easier to convince or if he was afraid to face any of the ones that actually knew him or what.”

Larry shrugged. “It’s hard to say. I probably remember Dad best of any of us, but I was only five when he took off, so that’s not much. If you listened to Mom’s stories—and I stopped after a while because they were all the same and I couldn’t understand why a man that supposedly loved us so much could walk away like he did—”

“You know someone told me once he was disappointed that he didn’t get a girl?”

“That’s a stupid thing to say.” Mackenna shook her head. “Not only does it not matter if the kid’s a boy or a girl, if you want them, you get one and they’re healthy, that’s all that should matter. Besides, all of you seem to like women, so he’d have gotten three daughters eventually.”

“Or he’d just adopt random strangers like we did,” Carson said, smiling at her, and she nodded. Someone kicked him under the table, and she winced as she got caught in the crossfire.

“Who did that?”

“Did what?”

She rolled her eyes. “I’ll find out, and I’ll make them pay for it, I swear.”

Carson shook his head, laughing, and both of his brothers tried to look innocent and failed. Carrie gave a long-suffering sigh. She didn’t seem to enjoy the boys’ antics much, which made Mackenna wonder why she’d wanted to marry Nick. From what she’d seen, it was always like this around the boys, and when a person married someone, they took on their family, too, no matter how estranged they might be.

“Your grandfather was looking for you.”

Mackenna forced a smile as she looked back at Bob. “I’m sure. I might even be in a lot of trouble. I took off on a joyride, and I think I missed the meet-n-greet. We kind of had… other things to deal with. Are you all matched up and settled? Everything good with your tow drivers?”

Bob nodded. “We’re good.”

“This is Carson’s family. His brothers Larry and Nick and his sister-in-law Carrie. This is Bob. He’s a part of the car club Mac and I belong to, and he’s been on this run ever since it started. His father owned a Maxwell dealership, so we asked him about the car that Carson found.”

“Quite a find,” Bob said, shaking hands with Larry and Nick. “Good car.”

“Really? Seemed like a wreck.”

Mackenna reached over and hit Nick, who grimaced, rubbing his arm. Carrie shook her head. “You don’t have to act like one of the guys, you know.”

“This is how I always am. You could ask Bob if you don’t believe me.”

Bob shook his head, not wanting to get involved. He excused himself and went over to join his group—current and former tow drivers that he and Mary spent their time with when they were in town—and Mackenna thought maybe his daughter and one or more of the granddaughters might be with them, too. If she got a chance, she’d say hello.

“Do you need to go find Mac, then? I suppose you’d better put Shadow in for the night.”

Mackenna nodded. “I do need to do that, though if Mac’s not here, he’s probably taking care of that right now. Don’t want to do it too late or no one would be able to see her. I don’t think those kerosene lamps of hers have been used since she was new.”

“Is that why Nate said his parents were trying to win the battle to get him to go on the candlelight run the other night?”

She nodded. “Yeah. I’ve always been a bit curious, but Mac and Grandma thought it was too dangerous. The lights are hard to see—other cars might miss them and they don’t give enough illumination for the antique drivers—so it can be somewhat risky if people aren’t being careful. I still think it would be fun to try sometime, just once in my life.”

“Well, if you get Phantom going, you can take her.”

“You mean we’ll take her.”


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