Evie and I were settling into our new home nicely. She was finally settled in, and I had her going to weekly therapy sessions. It was a Sunday night and we were sitting on the couch, chatting about my old boyfriends in high school and how I used to hook up with everything that had legs.
Evie was in the middle of a confession when we heard a cry coming from outside. Concerned, I put a hand on my little sister’s shoulder, “stay. here.”
Tears welled up in her eyes and she nodded. She looked absolutely terrified.
I ran to the front porch, where a man was standing holding a baby girl. He had long, scruffy hair and a beard growing in. He looked like he would be a clean man, if not for harsh conditions. His hair was jet black and his eyes a golden, honey brown. His arms were strong and toned, a tattoo on his arm of an anchor implied to me that he was in the Navy. The little girl he was holding was shivering and whimpering. My heart broke for the stranger and his child.
“Hi,” he said in a sad tone. “I’m so sorry to bother you but yours was the only house with lights on and my daughter and I are so cold and hungry. We just need some warmth and hospitality. I hate asking for it but can I intrude for just an hour and I’ll be gone again.”
My eyes widened, sympathy taking over every other emotion.
“Oh my! Yes of course. Come inside, please. I’m Coady Collier.”
I led him into my warm home, putting some leftover spicy chilli into a pot and letting it simmer, heating it to the perfect temperature to eat it quick.
He downed the bowl of food, gratefully thanking me between bites.
“So, stranger what brings you to my doorstep at midnight on a Sunday night?” I asked, taking his bowl away from him when he assured me he was full. I filled up the kettle, boiling the water for a nice, hot cup of tea.
“I’m Bennett. I’m in the Navy. My ex-girlfriend just passed away, leaving me with my daughter. The problem is that I didn’t have… well, I’m just passing through.”
I gestured to my sofa, “Please sit. Is there anything I can do for you?”
“Yeah, actually,” he sat down, holding his daughter close, “Alexia keeps holding and tugging onto my hair. Could you maybe give me a haircut? I understand if you say no, but I just. I’m sorry. This is stupid. I shouldn’t have come here.”
“Oh my, Bennett! Don’t be silly. I would be happy to help you out.”
I went to the bathroom and found a large pair of shears, sizing up Bennett (and appreciating what I was seeing. I always knew that some army guys were hott, but damn) trying to find a nice style for him.
“So tell me more, why are you passing through here?” I asked, combing through the knots in his hair.
“I’m trying to get home. I just came from Roaring Heights.”
I frowned. “That’s strange. We just moved here from Roaring Heights. My 19 year old sister just passed away.”
“It’s a beautiful town.” He stated the obvious. I felt a pang of nostalgia and hurt in my heart, missing my mom, dad, and my sister Darci. I missed them all. I sniffed back tears and finished up Bennett’s hairstyle.
He laid Alexia on the floor and walked to the mirror in our entranceway.
“I love it!” he exclaimed happily. “I’ll be leaving now. Thank you for everything…”
“Don’t be stupid, we have a spare bed. Make yourself at home, have a good night’s sleep and tomorrow we’ll see how you and your child are feeling tomorrow. Goodnight, Bennett,” I smiled and walked into my bedroom, shutting my door and sinking into my bed. What was I doing?
I rolled onto my side, and let myself fall into an undisturbed sleep.
“Deeee,” I awoke to Evie’s voice and her hands shaking my shoulders.
“Go away Eve.” I grumbled into my pillow.
“Dee I need to talk to you. Get the fuck up.”
With a loud groan, I pulled myself out of bed. Evie was standing in her PJs, her brown hair in braids but her makeup done.
“Why aren’t you ready for school?” I asked in a motherly tone. She scoffed,
“I need to borrow something to wear.”
“You have thousands of outfits, why do you want mine?”
“Because it’s my first day of school and I want to look cool. Also, is there really a super hot guy sleeping in our guest room right now?”
Her eyes glistened with the excitement of juicy gossip. God, she reminded me of me when I was a teenager and that scared the ever-loving shit out of me.
“Yes. Get ready for school.”
“Ya gonna fuck him?”
“No, Evie. Get ready for school. He’s here because he had nowhere else to go. I felt bad, and his little girl was so cold and hungry and sad.”
“Why would he come here? Do you think it’s fate?”
She walked in front of my mirror, taking out her braids and combing her fingers through her hair. She walked through my dresser and rifled through my clothes. She found a nice lace dress and put on.
“I dunno, sis,” she continued, rubbing some lip gloss onto her lips and examining her flawless face. “I think you should just give him a ride. He’s hott, and you know for a fact that he creates gorgeous babies.”
“Evie Lynn Collier, go to school NOW.” I huffed in frustration.
Evie let out an evil chuckle and walked out of my room, down the stairs and to her schoolbus. With a sigh, I walked into Bennett’s room without thinking.
“Hey,” I was greeted with the sight of his strong back. Holy shit. I felt a stirring in my lower stomach that I knew wasn’t hunger. For whatever reason, I wanted to have my nails scratching down his strong back. I wanted to feel those muscles rippling in under my fingertips.
I cleared my throat and watched him stand and stretch. He looked over his shoulder and smiled. This man was sexy.
“Thanks for the hospitality, Coady,” he said gratefully as he walked towards the crib that was left in the house by the previous tenants.
“Waffles?” My voice cracked in response and I blushed feeling like an idiot.
Bennett laughed at me, “waffles sound great.”
I walked to the kitchen and put my hands in my head. I was such an idiot.