Epilogue iAm Happy

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"I think you should bring some flowers."

Keeley poked her head out of kitchen. "Mom, I'm not bringing flowers."

"What about a pie? I can make your favorite." She walked into the pantry and began rummaging through the shelves. "We have peaches and pecans. Or what about a cobbler? I can make a nice streusel to go over some blueberries and apple."

"Mom," she repeated, exchanging a look with Nicky who was polishing off the last spoonful of ice cream. "I have to be at Talon's house in fifteen minutes. I don't have time for a pie."

"Well, you should bring something. When he came over for family game night he brought that nice hostess gift."

"I'm sure it's fine," she protested, but her mother was already pulling out the scissors she used for cutting flowers. She quickly added, "Besides, I've met his parents before." Talon officially introduced her to them a month ago at a football game. To say it was awkward would be an understatement.

She'd been hanging out by the field, watching as the team went through their pre-game drills when Talon spotted her. Waving, she assumed he would wave back and resume his warm up, but that wasn't the case. He left his position on the field and jogged over, smiling as he picked her up and gave her a huge bear hug. Then he threw an arm over her shoulder and ushered her toward his parents who were hovering nearby.

His dad was clearly unhappy about the situation, barely acknowledging her except for a sharp nod. He even frowned a little at the word "girlfriend." His mother, however, was the complete opposite. She gushed over Keeley, linking their arms together and chatting as if they were old friends. When Talon finally left to finish his warm ups-much to his father's relief-his mother insisted she sit with them.

The game was extremely uncomfortable. She didn't know what to say or how to act around them. His father ignored her, his attention solely on the game. There was a fierce intensity about him, especially when Talon was playing. His muscles would tighten as he sat at the edge of his seat, cataloguing every movement. He would occasionally mutter things under his breathe like, "Go, go, go," or "Throw it now," or "To the left-he's open on the left."

His mother, on the other hand, was loud and boisterous. Waving her hands in the air like an excited fan, she yelled out encouragements to her son like, "Come on, sugar pie," or "You can do it, pumpkin." Personally, she thought it was adorable, but then again she wasn't being called my precious honey bunches of oats in front of the entire school.

"We met Talon before and he still brought something," her mother argued, placing the scissors on the counter and propping a hand on a hip.

"He did that so you would like him."

"And it worked. Don't you want his parents to like you?"

"Darlene already likes me." She told her that multiple times during the game. "And his dad doesn't think Talon should date during football season and I don't see that changing anytime soon." She was afraid if she brought something it would appear as if she was desperate for his approval. And okay, yes, it bothered her that he didn't like her, but what could she do? From what Talon told her, his dad wouldn't approve of any girl.

"Well, it doesn't matter. You're bringing something," she ordered. "I don't want his mother thinking I raised a bad mannered, ungrateful child."

"So this is really about you."

"Of course," her mother sniffed.

"Now we know where Zach gets it from," Nicky muttered.

Her mother turned towards her and cupped her ear. "What was that? Because I thought I heard you say you don't want any of my homemade chili and cornbread tonight."

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