Author’s Note: I wanted to wrap up a subplot, so this starts down that path.
“I need to borrow a shirt.”
The sight of Carson choking on his coffee made asking the question and drawing attention to her current attire, a shirt she believed belonged to him in the first place—though she was fairly sure she’d put it on herself after she got puke on her clothes despite her best efforts—so worth it. She gave him a grim smile as he mopped up the coffee with a napkin, muttering under his breath. She waited until he was done and then cleared her throat.
“A shirt. One of those stuffy business shirts if you’ve got one to spare.”
He frowned. “I get that you only packed one change of clothes and those are now covered in vomit, and I didn’t make it down to the laundry to wash them—I’m out of quarters, okay?—but why do you need one of my dress shirts?”
“So I don’t look completely out of place when we go see Myers. My overalls are the ones covered in puke, so I can almost pull it off with my other pants—I’m not sure why I chose not to wear jeans, but hey, they work—only the shirt doesn’t.”
“Right. What does that one say?”
“Girls do it better and look better doing it.”
“Remember to wear that one the next time you see my brothers.”
“I will. It’s a shame I wasn’t wearing it when I met them, not that they’d have seen it, not with my overalls on.”
“You’ll see them again, I’m sure.”
She nodded. She knew she would. She hoped neither of them had anything to do with their father’s murder, because she’d liked them both. Nick kept mentioning his wife, so hopelessly tied to her that it was sweet, and Larry did his best to flirt but was terrible at it. Carson just shook his head at all of them, but he was having fun, too, she could tell. He liked his brothers. He cared about them, and they cared about him. It was so nice to see.
“Let me grab that shirt for you,” Carson said as he rose. “There’s a cup on the counter for you. I found some frozen waffles in the freezer, but I can’t say how long they were in there, so eat ’em at your own risk.”
She smiled, thinking he needed someone like Mac to make him appreciate a real breakfast. She hadn’t liked it much at first, but she’d adjusted over the years, and somehow she’d managed to keep her figure despite the overabundance of food.
She crossed over to fill her cup, her mind going to what he might do when he was done with this job. He hadn’t mentioned any plans after the car run next week, and she didn’t know what his degree qualified him for, if he could keep his apartment, where he’d go if he didn’t have either a job or apartment. Could he count on his family? Did he dare live with any of them if he did find himself homeless?
“Something wrong with the coffee?”
“Nope. Just caught up in my role as the smart one. Trying to figure out what we’re going to do with you once you’re unemployed.”
“Turn me into a car nut?” He held out the shirt, and she took it with a smile.
“Find a local agricultural company, get a different job, start at the bottom, maybe work my way up a little. I was almost going to have a promotion, you know. Myers was make it or break it, and I broke it. I’m okay with that, though. I’m sick of being a part of an organization that only takes things, never gives back, never rebuilds anything.”
“Yeah. Huh. Maybe the grain elevator near the farm might need you. Maybe. You have to wear a different suit when you get hired, though.”
He laughed. “Trust me, if I start interviewing for a new job, I will not wear this one. Or these socks. I’ll have to see what happens, though.”
“I recommend drinking the coffee before putting on the shirt. I always spill on the white ones.”
“Like you did there?” She grinned, reaching over to point out the stain he’d already gotten today, and he cursed.