May I have this Dance Chapter 13

Chapter Thirteen

Chase

.After Chase left Brooke’s house, he stopped at the gas station and filled up the truck. When he went inside to get a soda, he ran into Nate.

            “Haven’t seen you in a while,” Nate said. “Not since the reunion. What have you been up to?”

            “What have you heard?”

            “Ah, so it’s true. I heard you are dating Brooke.”

            “I guess it’s no secret.”

            “You are really into her, aren’t you? I could tell the night of the reunion.” If Nate had any hard feelings over Chase stepping in and asking her to dance after she’d turned him down, he didn’t show it.

            “She’s pretty amazing.”

            Nate’s eyes narrowed. “Is it turning serious?”

            Chase shrugged. How should he answer? He was serious about dating Brooke, but they were not that deep into a relationship. He figured that’s what Nate meant.

            “You not answering gives it away, man.” Nate clapped him on the shoulder. “I’m happy for you. I hope she treats you right.”

            On the drive home, he thought about Nate’s words. He did not know Brooke very well yet, but he knew that she was a good person. He knew without asking that she had been faithful to her husband. She had been a good daughter-in-law as well. When her husband and his father died, she had stayed in Detroit to be close to her mother-in-law.

            She seemed to have a calm disposition. Being with her relaxed him. Their conversation was easy enough. She had a little temper; he could see the fire spark in her eyes once in a while if he said something that pushed a button. And there was passion below the surface, he had felt it when they kissed. She had thought he was asking her out to become his lover. He wasn’t looking for a lover.

He was looking for love. And he hadn’t even known it until Brooke walked into his life.

Chase called Brooke on Sunday night like he had said he would.

“How is everything going?” Chase asked.

“Good.”

“I had a good time Friday night,” he said.

“So did I. There won’t another chance for a date like that in the foreseeable future, you know.”

“I know. We’ll have to go to Lookout Point and make out.”

“I always heard rumors that there was one. I never had a chance to see for myself.”

“I can’t believe you didn’t date in high school. You were so cute, even with your round glasses. And smart. I’m surprised the guys didn’t ask you out.”

“I’m not. I was a geek.”

“I was a jock, and a jerk.”

“No comment.”

“Hey, was I that bad?”

“Never to me. But I don’t think you ever talked to me except for the times we were lab partners.”

“Wasn’t that in eleventh grade?”

“I think so.”

“I feel like I am back in high school. I know I told you I wasn’t sixteen and desperate. But I’ve had a hard time putting Friday night out of my mind.”

“Do you want to put it out of your mind?”

He laughed. “No, and I wish we were face-to-face right now.”

“I might see you at the office this week.”

“Not until Friday. You’ll be coming in later and leaving before I get back. We have a pretty busy week lined up. Besides, what I am thinking about wouldn’t go over well at the office.”
            “No, I don’t imagine Darrick would like that.”

“He already doesn’t like our dating.”

“Do you think I should quit?”

“No,” he said quickly, firmly. “Don’t quit. You are just what our business needs right now. He will get over it.”

“Why does he have such a problem with us dating? It’s not like we are going to be making out in the office.”

“Not when he’s there,” he joked. Then he got serious. “Darrick doesn’t have anything against you. His marriage is a mess. He wants everyone to be as miserable as he is.”

“I wondered why he seemed so angry.”

“Yeah, well, now you know. It’s not about you, or even you and me. It’s something he’s got to get over on his own.”

“I’m glad I don’t have to quit. I like the job, and everything I am learning about the company. Your family has built up quite a business.”

“We have a football scrimmage on Saturday. You can come and watch us if you want to. It’s right down the street from you.”

“No, I don’t think so. I’m not really into football.”

“That’s too bad.”

“Is that a deal-breaker?”

“It would take more than that to keep me away from you.”

Brooke

Brooke worked with Baylee on Monday while Devon and Brinley stayed with the babysitter. Daelyn couldn’t make it, so her sister came over. She was only three years older than Devon, so he’d been embarrassed and stayed in his room all day.

“Are you really going to have her come over on Wednesday again?” Devon asked.

“I have to have someone stay with you.”

“We’re used to you being gone now. Can’t you try to leave us alone? I can call Grandma if something happens, so you don’t get a call at work.”

If Brooke was going to keep working, her kids would have to be able to call her if there was an emergency. And she was only working four-hour days right now. She decided to try to leave the kids alone on Wednesday.

She left them home, and they managed to get by without fighting.

“I’m so proud of you guys.” Brooke hugged them both, embarrassing Devon. “Why don’t we go see a movie tonight?”

They were happy to get out of the house. Devon didn’t want to see the only movie that Brinley could watch, so he had a sullen attitude during it. Afterwards she went to his favorite fast food place, to make up for having to watch a show that he thought was too young for him.

She was surprised to hear from Chase on Wednesday night, after Brinley was in bed.

“I hear things are going pretty good at work.”

“They seem to be. I can’t believe this is Baylee’s last week. I’ll be on my own next week.”

“I’m sure you’ll do fine. Baylee says you’ve been teaching her things.”

“Darrick seems happy to have everything on the computer now.”

“He’ll never say that, though.”

At the humor in Chase’s voice, Brooke laughed. Her boss was very stern and had not smiled at her yet.

“At least things are running smoothly. If not, I am sure I will hear about it.”

“Hopefully he won’t come down on you too hard, if that ever happens.”

“I used to work in a lawyer’s office. We had some hard personalities to work with. We learned to brush off their attitudes and concentrate on fixing the problems.”

“Sounds like a good plan. Did Baylee tell you that we’re having a cookout on Friday for her going away party?”

“She invited me. I wanted to ask you what you thought about that.”

“I’d like you to come. With the kids.”

“It would be nice to get them more acquainted before school starts. Are you going to be at the girls’ open house tomorrow?”

“My mom plans to take Maddie.”

She was disappointed that he wasn’t going. Not for herself, it didn’t matter one way or the other. But Maddie should have a parent there, not a grandparent.

“You don’t approve, do you? Of me sending my mom?”

“Not really. You’re the parent.”
“Try telling my mom that.”

“Oh, it’s like that, is it?”

“She’s taken over everything at Maddie’s school since we moved in. I think it’s because she never had a little girl, or maybe it was an outlet for her when Dad was sick. I’ve just let it go.”

“Maybe it’s time—”

“It’s not up to you.” Chase’s words sounded harsh.

She couldn’t help feeling hurt.

“You’re right, it’s not.”

“I said that badly. I’m sorry. It’s just a sore subject with me, and I haven’t had the heart to talk to my mom about it.”

“So it’s not because it’s easier for you?”

She almost could see him wince.

“I’d hate to admit it if it were. I have a feeling that’s a sticky point with you.” When she didn’t say anything, he said, “Was Carl an active parent in the kids’ school?”

He’d called her out on her attitude. “He tried to take off for special days, like Donuts with Dad, but he couldn’t always make it. And I should understand more than anyone about a mother taking over the kids’ upbringing. My mother-in-law went against everything I tried to do with the kids. I moved away when I couldn’t make her see reason.”

“You already know I’m going to move out in a few months. I’ll have to take ownership of my kids then.” His words were heavy, as if she had convicted him.

“I’m sorry for being a jerk.”

“Stating your opinion isn’t being a jerk, is it? I hope not, because that means I’m a jerk a lot of times.”

“No, it shouldn’t be. I’ve always been a doormat, but since Carl died, I’ve become pretty independent. Especially since moving home. I’ve gotten used to doing things my way.”

“Is this confession time?” He teased to lighten the mood.

“I guess this is pretty deep conversation to have over the phone. You were mentioning the going away party for Baylee when I got off.topic.”

“About that, I hope you will come and bring the kids. We’re going to start running the quads at four o’clock. The bonfire will get lit about five o’clock and we’ll eat at six.”

She confirmed that she would be there. After they hung up, she thought about the judgments she’d made regarding Chase and Maddie’s school. It had made him mad, she’d heard it in his voice. It felt odd to have someone call her out for voicing an opinion. She hadn’t been like that with Carl. They had done everything Carl’s way. Then his mom tried to force her into doing things the way she wanted them too after Carl was gone. Only recently had Brooke gotten out from under the control of her mother-in-law. Why did she expect Chase to be the perfect parent, when Carl hadn’t been?

It was a wakeup call. She didn’t want to go back to doing things the way someone else wanted her to, especially when it came to the kids. She and Chase parented differently. If they were to continue in a relationship, there would be times, like tonight on the phone, when their opinions would clash. Was she willing to put the effort into a relationship and work out their differences in compromise?

Come back next week for Chapter 14 of May I have this Dance.

Published by Carol Underhill

Author of Christian romance. Mom to 3 adult children and a spoiled Lab. Household includes several rescued cats. Loves flavored coffees and quiet mornings. Likes finding new authors on Kindle and binge reading all their books.

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