Food Truck Hero ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes Part 39

“We’re ordering out tonight,” Randy said.

There was a knock on the door. Hopping up, I saw my neighbor Lou. He had a massive metal tray in his hands. Carrying it carefully, with oven mitts, he grinned and walked in. Behind him were Bolton, Cleotho, their wives and girlfriends.

“We aren’t staying,” Lou said, setting the tray on top of the stove. “I said we’d take care of meals. I couldn’t get over at lunch, but here’s dinner. I called your brother-in-law, Randy. He said lasagna was a family favorite.”

“He’s right about that. Thank you.”

“I made fresh garlic bread,” Lou’s wife said, setting it on the table.

“We brought salad,” Cleotho and his girlfriend announced, handing me a vat sized bowl.

“And I made dessert,” Bolton said, setting down another huge bowl. “If you need us, holler.”

“Thank you all so much.” I made a mental list of people I needed to send notes to after the funeral. These folks were at the top, along with Jake. “You’re the best neighbors ever.”

The women each gave me a hug and kiss. The men pummeled my shoulder. I closed the door after them, damn near in tears again. Rowena saved the day, getting out plates and flatware, distracting me from my meltdown. She was number one on the thank you list, but I didn’t need Hallmark, to show her my appreciation.

We ate until we were stuffed like ticks. I have an extra fridge in the garage. The leftovers went in there. The one in the kitchen was near to bursting. Someone had gone shopping, because I knew I didn’t have that much food.

“We stocked up,” Maria said. “With this many people here….”

“Just how long are you staying?” I tried not to sound rude, but I was curious. Like I said, some of them live here in town.

“Tonight for sure,” Mom replied, slightly hurt. “I thought it was nice, being here as family.”

“Yeah, but some of you have homes,” I replied, not masking the rudeness at all. “Those who aren’t local, are welcome to stay.”

“Are you throwing us out?” Antoinette laughed, kicking up her feet. “Is Little Keir wanting his space?”

“I haven’t been little since the sixth grade, and yes. I love you all very much, but there’s a reason I live on my own. And in case you haven’t noticed, I have a new girlfriend, and you’re cramping my style.”

Mom rolled her eyes. Dad laughed. The girls made various noises of disgust. Randy and Jake chuckled, understanding exactly what I meant.

“You’ve got plenty of privacy,” Mom said, her tone rather terse.

“Respectfully, no we don’t. I happen to like noisy sex in every room of the house—especially the kitchen. Can’t exactly do that, if my mom is here, can I? I don’t think you’d like to see me naked and having fun.”

“Keir Conan Doyle, I can’t believe you said that to me! Can you believe he was that crass?” she appealed to my father.

“As I recall, we were fond of that too, Deirdre. Cut the boy some slack. We have rather taken over.”

Any ill feelings I’d had concerning my father, lessened at that point. My mother and sisters would never understand, but every man in that room, did.

“We had planned to go home this evening,” Chica said. “Frankly, you’re cramping my style, too.” She tossed her head.

“My style’s not in question,” Suzette said. “Since my activities are curtailed until after the wee ones make their appearance. Anyone who wants to stay with me, can.”

Once the living arrangements were decided upon, I could relax. In a matter of a few hours, Rowena and I would have the place to ourselves. I’d give her the choice of going to her place, or staying here, but I hoped we’d stay. I like the butcher’s block in my kitchen, and it’s a favorite spot for recreation. What can I say? I get off on polished wood.

The family gathered their things, deciding who was riding with whom. I offered Jake a ride, but he declined.

“Hannah said she’d take me home. And she’ll take me to my appointment tomorrow, so you don’t have to.”

“Great! Thanks, Sis.”

“Happy to. It gives me time to get to know Jake better.”

I walked Hannah to the car. Jake was saying goodbye to the family.

“You know he’s delicate, right?”

“Yes. But that’s okay. He’s a good man, a tender spirit in need of nurturing.”

“There’s no one better at that than you.” I gave her a kiss on the cheek. “He’s a great guy, and a good friend. You’ll be good for one another.”

“I think so, too. Are you happy?”

“I’m so beyond just happy, I can’t even describe it. She’s the greatest thing that ever happened to me.”

“I’m so glad. Sleep well, baby brother.”

“Doubt it.” I winked, opening her door for her.

©2021 Dellani Oakes

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