~ Chapter 23 ~

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~ Chapter 23 ~

                Grandma was standing at the door, her purse on her arm. She glanced between Leo and me, an eyebrow raised. I awkwardly smiled at her, saying, “Hey gran, you’re back early.”

                “Yes, class was canceled. I took my time coming back,” she explained, setting her purse down on the now clean counter. “You both did a wonderful job cleaning,” she complimented.

                “Does that mean I’m ungrounded?” I asked excitedly.

                She glanced at the kitchen once more before turning to me with a grin. “Yes, you’re ungrounded. I’ll make sure and tell your parents.”

                “Yes! Thank you!” I said, rushing over and giving her a big hug. She stumbled back a little before hugging me back, patting my back. When she let go, she turned to Leo.

                “Thank you so much for staying with Dewey while I was gone,” she said gratefully.

                He gave her a charming smile, saying, “It was no problem, she’s fun to hang out with.” He gave me a secretive wink that went unnoticed by gran, and caused my cheeks to start burning up a storm. “If it’s okay with you, I’d like to take Dewey out to look for a couple hours,” he said.

                I turned to grandma with a hopeful expression, mouthing the word, ‘Please’.

                “Go on,” she nodded towards the door, causing me to burst into a smile.

                “Thank you!” I said, giving her a quick hug before I rushed towards the back door, grabbing my flip-flops as I went through the doorway.

                “Make sure she doesn’t get into any trouble,” I heard gran say to Leo. He quickly followed me out of the back door.

                He came to my side, taking casual, long steps while I was practically jogging/skipping in excitement.

                “So, where are we going?” I asked, slowing my pace a little as we approached his truck parked in front of the house.

                He looked over at me, a sly smile on his lips as he said, “Somewhere I’m sure you’ll like.”

                I smiled to myself at his answer, getting into his truck. The stupid seatbelt stuck for a moment before I was able to get it on, and when it was on, Leo was already starting the car. Country music came over the radio, and I decided to ask about it.

                “Is country your favorite kind of music?” I asked randomly, leaning back in my chair.

                “Yeah,” he said, a faint smile on his lips – as if he were remembering something. “My dad used to play it all the time on his guitar for my mom,” he added quietly.

                Vaguely, I wondered why he never spoke about his dad, and why he wasn’t there when Leah had to go to the hospital, but I didn’t voice my thoughts.

                “What about you? What’s your favorite kind of music?” he asked, turning the subject to me.

                “Oh, I… I don’t really have one,” I shrugged. “I don’t listen to music very often, and when I do, I like listening to songs with lyrics that mean something to me,” I said, really thinking before I answered.

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