Author’s Note: I like puzzles. Puzzles can be fun. Can’t say the same about assumptions.
“Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. We made a lot of progress last night, and not just on that puzzle,” Mackenna said, looking down at their near finished masterpiece with a smile. Carson was still asleep against the couch, adorable despite his awkward position. She’d used him as a pillow again, and she knew she had to break that habit quick or she’d never be able to sleep again. She needed to be able to sleep on her own. Carson wouldn’t always be there—he’d said as much already.
She shook that off, refusing to dwell on it. She wouldn’t let that bother her. Either she’d find a way to sleep on her own again—or she’d find a way to keep Carson around. It wasn’t like he didn’t need a place to live now that he didn’t have a job and couldn’t afford an apartment.
Not that Mac would be thrilled with the idea, but she wanted Carson around, and he wouldn’t stay forever anyway.
Nate frowned. “You okay over there?”
She nodded. “Yeah, just thinking about what I have to do today and trying to make plans. I don’t know if I can get what I need to do to Shadow’s engine done before the tour at eleven-thirty, and I don’t know if I can dress up with so much to be done to the car. I’ve been hoping to get Carson into costume, but I don’t think I can talk him into it unless I do it, but between being late yesterday and all that needs to be done before this one… I doubt I can.”
“You know a lot of people only dress up for the parade and maybe the run, most don’t do all the pretours.”
“I know, but I’m stubborn that way. If I wasn’t going to be a mess by the time I was done with Shadow’s engine, I’d go in costume.”
“It would be interesting to see you work on the car in a dress.”
“You’re welcome. I was trying to help,” he said, getting up and rubbing the back of his neck. “I’ll even wear the lightning bolts to cheer you on, give you a speed boost.”
She laughed. “Nice. I appreciate it.”
“I knew you would.”
Nate looked at each of them in turn, and Carson smiled as he lifted up his pant leg to show off yesterday’s handle bar mustaches. “I collect socks. I’m weird that way. I’ve got a special pair for the parade—bow ties. Today, though, I’m going with the lightning bolts.”
Mackenna grinned. “We’re going to start getting me weird ones. After a couple weeks with Carson, I’ve come to see that plain white socks just don’t cut it anymore.”
“Ha. You have come to the dark side after all.”
“Well, I’d blame it on the cookies, but you never offered me any of those. Just some really old frozen waffles.”
He shrugged. “I will never be a cook, Ms. Finnan haddie.”
She stuck her tongue out at him. “Go shower before I get in there and take all the hot water.”
He laughed, disappearing into the bedroom they’d given him, and Nate shook his head. Mackenna shrugged. “What? We have a lot of fun together. It isn’t all flashbacks and car stuff and theories about his dad’s death. We just… get along. It’s nice.”
“I didn’t say it wasn’t, but maybe we should see about arranging a different kind of ceremony for you this Saturday—Ow.”
“You deserved that and more,” she said, tempted to hit him again. “We agreed that we’re adopting each other as brother and sister. So I get him and his two overprotective brothers—speaking of which, I am so calling them—and he gets me and Mac. It’s not an even trade, but I like the boys. They’re fun. I suppose I need to meet Nick’s wife. He certainly told me enough about her. That is one devoted husband there.”
She hit Nate again, rolling her eyes as she went back to her own room to change.