Chapter Twenty

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After bringing all the bowls to the table I set Jackson in his highchair, pulling it up next to my chair. Kellin gives me a questioning glance and I pat the seat next to me, shooting him a small smile.

His cheeks go pink and he sits down, his hands in his lap. "This is a nice place." Alysha comments, looking around before sending me a smile. I smile too, gladly accepting her compliment.

Copeland sits next to Kellin, staring at Alysha. She's not usually this shy. After getting situated and everything we begin to eat.

Conversation is small as everyone enjoys the small meal I made. Jackson smacks his hand on his tray, whining loudly. "Yes, give me a second." I laugh softly, picking a couple plain noodles out of the bowl I made separate. Kellin smiles and waves at Jackson as he stares, Jackson giggling and smacking the tray a couple more times.

I smile at the two, ripping apart the noodles and putting them on Jackson's tray. His eyes widen and his pudgy little hands smack onto the noodles, picking them up and shoving them into his mouth. Everyone laughs, including Copeland.

"I guess he's kinda cute." She says softly, smiling and watching as he messily eats his sauceless noodles.

"So are they your guys kids?" Alysha asks, taking a sip of her drink. Kellin's face goes red and he drinks to hide his tinted cheeks.

"Oh, no. Jackson and Copeland are my foster placements. Kellin's Copeland's dad." I explain. "Oh, I apologize." She smiles sweetly, Mike watching her as she talks. "It's fine. They say I'm only supposed to have Jackson till they find someone who'll be able to take him, but I have a feeling he's gonna be staying longer than they expect."

Alysha smiles, Jackson throwing a noodle in my direction. I dodge it quickly, sighing. "Don't throw food babe." I coo, picking up the noodle off of the table and putting it back on his tray. He whines at me, pushing the noodle away.

I add more noodles to his tray, assuming that he wanted more food. He continues to whine, pushing all the noodles onto the floor. Brutus hurtles over, lapping up the fallen noodles.

"Jackson." I sigh, giving him a disapproving look. Alysha starts a conversation with Kellin, Copeland happily eating her spaghetti. She makes a mess of her face as I clean the other mess on the floor, picking up the leftover noodles that Brutus didn't eat with a napkin.

He continues to whine, smacking his hands flat on his tray. "What?" I sigh, resting my chin in my hand. "He may be thirsty." Kellin suggests, Copeland reaching for her cup.

Kellin pushes the cup towards her, looking at me. "I can get him a cup if you want." He offers, smiling at me. "Sure." I smile back, continuing to eat.

"Wait, do you even know where the cups are?" I ask him, his head peaking out of the kitchen. His cheeks go red.

"Here, I'll show you."

I excuse myself from the table, Alysha scooting towards Copeland to talk to her.

"You didn't have to get up." Kellin says softly, clasping his hands together. I smile. "It's fine."

I open a cabinet, motioning to the cups before going to the fridge for the juice. "Which one?" He asks, looking at my large collection of bottles. "Top shelf." I instruct, struggling to open the new jug of juice.

Kellin struggles to reach the top shelf, standing on his tiptoes. I watch as his fingers brush against one of the bottles. He huffs, standing normally. He looks over at me, cheeks going bright red when he notices me staring.

A smile comes to my face and I go to the cabinet, reaching up and grabbing the cup his fingers brushed against.

He pouts, watching as I unscrew it. "Who's short now?" I laugh softly, references the time we were in my bathroom. He crosses his arms and gives me a fake glare, watching as I pour juice into the cup.

We stand in silence, sippy cup in hand. "So uhm..." Kellin starts, a small blush creeping up his neck.

He blushes a lot.

"You take the cup and I'll put the juice away."

I hand him the cup and he looks at it before looking up at me. "Oh okay..."

The juice is still capless, so I go to put it back on but Kellin stops me. His face flushes, hand on my arm, stopping me from turning to the counter. "Yeah?" I ask softly, giving him a curious look.

He raises a shaky hand to my cheek, smiling softly. I smile too, his hand cold as it runs along my warm skin.

My stomach twists as he leans forward, pressing a light kiss to my lips.

"I'm gonna go give this to Jackson."

His hand drops.

"You go do that."

-

"Thank you so much for inviting us for dinner." Alysha smiles, giving me a tight hug. "No problem, you can come over anytime."

Mike enters the room with a small bag filled with his clothes. "I'm staying with her for a couple days." He states, going over to her. "When are you gonna go and get your house back?" I ask, Mike shrugging.

"Soon, Melissa texted me earlier about paying the bills. Of course the bitch only talks to me about money."

"Language." I scold, Copeland playing with Brutus on the floor and Jackson sitting down next to them.

"Sorry." Mike apologizes, going over to press a small kiss to Copeland's head. He pats Jackson, the baby looking up at him and swiping at his hand.

"Just text me if you do go back. You can come pick your stuff up or I can drop it off or whatever." I offer, Michael nodding.

"Okay, we'll be off."

"See ya later guys, it was nice meeting you Alysha."

"My pleasure!"

Kellin watches as they leave, pulling his legs up onto the couch. The door closes, Brutus rolling over as Copeland rubs his tummy.

I let out a sigh as Mike's car pulls out of the driveway. "Thanks for dinner." Kellin says from the couch, hands tucked between his thighs.

A smile comes to my face and I join him, sitting beside him. I position myself so my body is positioned towards him, my eyes trained on the kids and the dog.

He scoots towards my hesitantly, softly resting his head on my shoulder.

We watch over our kids, his fingers brushing against mine. I lightly thread mine through his, his cold fingers warming up against mine.

"Court is in a couple days." I say softly. He takes a shaky breath at this, pulling his legs up a bit more. I squeeze his hand, turning and pressing a kiss to his forehead.

"I'm scared..." He whispers, Jackson grabbing Brutus's tail. The poor dog looks at Jackson, swishing his butt so the babies grip loosens. "Don't worry... It'll be okay, no matter what."

He turns to look at me, a frown on his face.

"Promise?"

I smile softly, leaning forward and pressing our lips together. He melts against me, bringing a hand up to my cheek. Copeland doesn't notice, too occupied with her battling barbies.

I pull away slightly, foreheads pressed together.

"I promise."

-
tysm for 11k im completely blown away by the support for this book, I love you all so much

only a couple chapters left, maybe five or six if I planned right (:

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