34: castles of love

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T H I R T Y - F O U R

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Callan's POV

"Your home is beautiful Jakob," my mama commented warmly.

Esmé nodded in agreement, "So beautiful and cozy, sorry for my little tornado that's running through it," she laughed.

I laughed quietly, watching as Amelie paraded around with Prince on her heels.

Sebastien followed them around, Amelie's little hand tightly gripping his.

She hadn't let go of it since she met him, seeming very excited to have made a new friend.

I was so glad that everyone was getting along.

Elijah on the other hand, was definitely a little jealous at how Uncle Sebastien seemed to be the one that was getting all her attention.

It was endearing, especially because she walked up to him every two seconds asking him questions and telling him things about his house as though he wasn't the owner.

"The landscaping and driveway are done amazingly," my dad, "Did you get that done yourself or was that part of the build?"

Elijah looked completely abashed at the compliments, the tips of his ears red.

He cleared his throat; "I bought the house when it was being built. I made the changes afterwards."

"It's so impressive how you have your life together, I was a mess when I was your age," Malakai stated, shoving a handful of green olives into his mouth like the monster he was.

My dad raised a weary brow, "As opposed to now...when you're not a mess?"

Essie snickered and Kai frowned.

I cleared my own throat, turning the attention onto me, "Well, h-he's not really that young you know."

Elijah's eyes landed on me, and my dad raised his brow.

I put my hand on Elijah's arm consolingly, widening my eyes innocently, "He's..." I paused for dramatic effect, "He's fifty-two."

My dad's eyes narrowed, Esmé choked on her drink and Kai stood up straighter.

Elijah's mouth twitched, but there was a hint of worry in his eyes; I knew he would play along but he didn't want my family to get upset.

"He's...what?" Kai asked astounded.

"Callan?" my dad sounded apprehensive, but behind him, my mother shook her head smiling, seeming to be the only one who had caught on.

I pretended to be offended, "Daddy, I love him! You can't say anything that would change my mind about him. Even if he is almost a senior citizen."

Esmé covered her mouth, trying not to laugh now that she had realized I was joking.

My dad pinned me with a stern look before turning his eyes onto Elijah.

Any hint of a smile was wiped clean from his face and he cleared his throat, "She's joking sir, I'm not fifty-two."

My dad's shoulders relaxed immediately, and he gave Elijah a contrite look, "Sorry Jake, it wasn't your character I was doubting, Cal is a grown woman who can make her own decisions but," he gave me a very dad look, "I would be concerned if my daughter was with a man who was closer to my age than hers."

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