I walked back from the bathroom to see the two of them laughing. “Did you solve your lovers spat?” I asked sitting down next to Finn.
“Yeah, we’re good now.” He smiled at me kissing my head.
“Good. I’m happy. Two of my three favorite guys like each other.” I took a sip of my water.
“Who’s the other guy?” Finn asked pouting.
“Matty of course.” I smiled as the waiter put my food down.
“I ordered for you before. You were taking too long.” Z said picking up his phone to look at the time.
“That’s not my fault. I had to pee.” I stuck my tongue out at him.
“Sure, sure.” I took a bite of my eggs as Finn stole some of my French toast. Z cleared his throat as he cut up his pancakes.
“Did you tell him about him?” I looked up at him as he looked at Finn. I nodded.
“I told him after I told him how we met.” He smiled remembering it himself.
“You punched me in the face.” I shrugged smiling.
“You deserved it.” He shook his head at me. “I showed him the box.” I said moving the eggs around on my plate. Finn put his hand on mine. “It was good just to get it out there. To know that I really do love him.”
“No one ever doubted you. We all loved him. No one can ever forget Ryder. It’s impossible. He is unforgettable.” I put my fork down and put my hand to my mouth. “I’m sorry.” He sighed rubbing his hand over his head.
“It’s still hard.” Zander put his hand into his pocket and handed a picture to me.
“I found this when I was home. I thought you’d want it.” I smiled at the picture. “It’s my favorite. I had to get a new one.” The picture was of Ryder and me with our heads together as I sung him his nightly lullaby. “The other one was too worn out to even see the two of you.” I smiled at him as I held the picture tightly to my chest.
“Thank you.” Finn rubbed my thigh with his hand. “Thank you so much.” I got out of my booth and hugged Z tightly. He never let anyone touch this picture. Not even me.
“I have to get going. I want to food shop before picking up Matty.” I shoved a piece of French toast in my mouth. “You good to go?” I asked Finn. He nodded as Z called over a waiter to box up my food.
“I’ll call you over when I’m coming for dinner.” Z said hugging me.
“I love you, Alexander.” He laughed at me.
“I love you too, Anastasia.” He kissed my head as Finn got up. “Remember what I told you. I mean it.” Finn shook Z’s hand as I hugged Finn.
“I know. I will. It was a pleasure to meet you.” Z smiled.
“The pleasure was mine.” I took my food and smiled at Z before walking out.
“I can see why you care for him.” Finn said as we got into the truck.
“He’s my best friend.” I pulled the picture out of my pocket. “He always was there for me.” I put the picture down in the cup holder. “We should get going.” I said clearing my throat. Finn pulled out of the parking lot.
“You alright?” Finn asked taking my hand in his. I smiled at him.
“Yeah, I’m okay. It’s just been an emotional couple days.” He smiled at me.
“I’m glad I can be here to help.” I smiled as we pulled into a spot at the local grocery store. I pulled out my list as Finn got a chart.
“I don’t get how you want to spend time with me while I get food.” Finn looked at me. “You’re crazy.” Finn wrapped his arm around my waist.
“I just want to spend time with you. I know this isn’t fun but I just want to be around you.” He kissed my bare shoulder. “I love spending time with you. It makes my day just seeing you smile.” I looked at him as I put a bunch of apples into the cart.
“Do you always sound this cheesy?” I smiled trying to hide my blush.
“Only when it’s true.” He smiled kissing me gently. He pulled back so I could work freely. “Here,” He put his dog tags around my neck. I ran my fingers over the letters.
“Don’t you need them?” I whispered feeling the cool melt against my skin.
“I have my spare. These are my lifeline when I work. They know everything about me. Now, you have them. So you can know everything about me.” I kissed him.
“You’re just a romantic at heart aren’t you?” I smiled moving to get more food for the cart.
“It’s my mom’s fault. She made me this way.” He winked at me putting some things into the cart.
“Are you going to be over for dinner?” I asked pushing the cart to another aisle.
“I will be for the beginning but then I have to be on duty. You okay with me coming back to yours when I’m done?” I smiled at him.
“Your bed is much more comfortable. Trust me.” He shook his head.
“I’d give up my bed to spend the night with you.”
“You’re so cheesy.” I giggled as we walked towards the cashier.
“Only for you.” He sighed dramatically. I rolled my eyes as I put the food onto the belt. He laughed and started to help as I paid with Danny’s credit card, just like he told me to do. Damn Danny being stubborn. We got everything in the car just in time to go pick up Matty.
“Hey Buddy.” I smiled as he got into the car.
“Hi Annie.” He smiled at me putting his backpack down.
“We’re going to go home tonight. Are you okay with that?” Matty nodded as he pulled out a picture to show me.
“I drew this, Annie.” He smiled handing it to me. I smiled at him looking at the stick figure family lying on top of the paper. “It’s Daddy, you, Finny, and me.” I laughed as we pulled up to a stop light and showed Finn.
“I look like a clown.” He chuckled smiling at his big torso stick figure.
“That’s because you are one.” I smiled at him. Matty smiled from where he was sitting kicking his legs.
“This defiantly is going on the fridge.” I smiled at him. We pulled up to the house as one of the neighbor’s was working on the garden across the street. She’s this sweet, middle-aged brunette. What I hear she’s one hell of a Marine. “Afternoon Ms. Marks.” I smiled at her waving.
“Hi Sweetheart.” She waved back smiling. “Welcome home!” I nodded getting some bags out of the back. I walked Matty into the house putting the groceries on the table.
“Want to watch TV?” I asked Matty as he nodded violently running into the living room and jumping on the couch. I turned it on for him and put on his favorite channel before walking back into the kitchen. “Did I get anything?” I asked Finn walking over to the fridge opening the door.
“It’s mostly junk.” He said splitting the mail into piles.
“Danny always gets his junk mail.” I smiled over my shoulder at him.
“You got a letter.” Finn said looking at me. I took a pot out of the cabinet and put it in the sink to fill up.
“Who’s it from?” I asked walking over to him. He showed me it.
“Sanders Incorporated Inc.” Finn handed me a letter. I took the letter staring down at the return address.
“Put the water onto the stove.” I opened the letter leaning against the counter. I pulled out the folded piece of paper, opening it gently. I shoved the money that was in the letter into the envelope. I scanned the letter before shoving it into the envelope as well.
“You alright?” I nodded getting the broccoli out of the fridge and pulling out a cutting board.
“Annie, I’m hungry.” I looked over at Matty as he stood in the doorway with half of his hair sticking up. I smiled at him.
“What do you want? Dinner will be ready soon.” He frowned putting his hands to his stomach. “Do you want a cut up apple?” I asked as I got a knife out of the draw to cut up the broccoli.
“Yeah with peanut butter.” He gave me a smile.
“Of course. Grab one off the table.” I pulled out a plate as the phone rang.
“I got it.” Finn said picking it up as I started to cut the apple. “Hey Danny, how are you?” I looked up as Finn walked over to me from the phone cradle. “Yup, she’s right here.” He puts the phone to my ear.
“Hey Kid. How are you?” I smiled at hearing my Step-father’s voice.
“I’m good. How are you? When are you coming home?” He laughed at me.
“I’m fine. I could do with a coffee though, this stuff is pure garage. You’d hate it.” I put the cut up pieces of apple on the plate for Matty. “It shouldn’t be much longer. A week maybe. Taylor told me you moved the two of you back home.”
“Yeah, I did. I just think it’s better for Matty if he’s home.”
“You found out Conrad was coming home didn’t you?” He gave a snort. I put some peanut butter on the plate for Matty and handed it to him.
“He deserves his bed. I can deal with my mother. I have for 17 years now. She’s not even here. I doubt she will be any time soon.” Danny sighed. “We’ll be fine.”
“I’m more worried about you then Matty, Kid.”
“Speaking of him, he wants to talk to you.” I said rubbing down Matty’s sticking up as he jumped up and down at knowing his Dad was on the phone.
“Put the buggy on. I’m not done with you though.” I handed the phone to Matty as he sat at the table chatting away to his father quickly. Finn rubbed my shoulders.
“You okay?” He whispered before kissing the spots he was rubbing.
“Yeah. I just miss him.” I shrugged leaning back into his embrace. “Can you do me a favor?” Finn raised his eyebrow.
“What?” He said in mock suspicion.
“Can you take Matty to go get our stuff from your house?” I pouted at him. “I want to finish dinner.” He kissed my pouting lip.
“Sure.” He smiled as Matty handed me back the phone.
“Daddy wants to talk to you.” I took the phone from him as Finn took Matty out to the car.
“How can I help you?” I asked as I went back to cooking.
“I want you to be careful, Ana. I don’t want to lose you.” I sighed as I turned around to see Zander walking into the kitchen.
“I’m as careful as can be, Danny.” He sighed.
“I have to go. I’ll talk to you soon. I love you, Ana.” I smiled.
“I love you too, Danny. Stay safe.”
“I will.” I hung up the phone and ran a hand through my hair.
“Why the long face?” He asked mock pouting at me. I nodded over to the letter that was lying on the counter. “What?” He picked it up.
“I just got it.”
“Sanders?” I nodded.
“A letter and over a 1,000 in cash.” Zander looked up from the letter raising his eyebrows.
“What does that man want?” I shrugged.
“He’s Benjamin, Zander. Read the letter.” I sighed getting back to my broccoli.
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