Chapter 18 - Sam
Sam watched as the woman weaved through the crowd. It parted for her, and Sam did not blame them for moving out of the woman's way. With the woman's red hair, Sam knew this must be Scott's mom.
The woman stopped in front of her, her hand thrusting out for Sam to shake. "Hello, dear," the woman said in a kind voice. "It is nice to meet you."
"It's nice to meet you too," Sam said with a smile. "I have heard much about your parties."
"Good things I hope," the woman replied with a wink. "Since my son seems to have lost his manners, I'll introduce myself. You can call may call me Piper."
Sam gripped the woman's hand, shook it slightly, and let it go. "Samantha De Luca."
The hand in Sam's grip froze as the woman looked at her with mild shock in her eyes. "De Luca? An Italian surname if I am not mistaken."
"My father is Italian," Sam answered while freeing the woman's hand.
Piper stared at her own hand for a moment before looking towards Scott. "Why didn't you tell me who she was?"
"Ma'am," Sam interrupted, standing to her full height. "If my presence here is going to be a problem, I'll leave. You seem like a person who cares about their public image."
"Mom," Scott snapped while wrapping an arm around her shoulder. Just as he did, someone else grabbed her left hand.
Looking over, she smiled at Graham as he stared at Piper. "Mrs. Miller, it's nice to see you."
Piper frowned at their intertwined hands before glancing behind Sam with the same frown. "It is nice to see you too," the woman mumbled absentmindedly.
Sam knew who was standing behind her. No one could mistake the unique scent that Max wore. A smile crossed her face. Even at the worse times, Max would be there. When Graham and Scott learned exactly who her family was, Max would still be there for her.
"I am confused," Piper said, her eyes now on Sam. "I thought you were my son's date."
Glancing at Scott then at Graham, she smiled. "They're both my friends. If Graham would have asked me first, I would have gone with him." Turning her attention back to Piper, she kept the smile on her face. "I have no designs to steal your son from you. I'm a librarian, nothing more."
"A librarian?" Piper asked with a small laugh. "Do you expect me to believe that you are a librarian?"
"Do you expect me to believe you're not a bitch?" Max asked from behind her.
Piper gasped, while Scott's grip on Sam's shoulders tightened. "Max," Scott said in a low voice. "She is my mother."
"She may be your mother, but that does not change her personality." An arm wrapped around her waist, pulling her away from both men. "Sam came here because you asked her to, not because she wanted to. If this is how your mother treats her guests, I think we should leave."
Sam looked at the two men, waiting for one of them to say something, but when Piper made a huffing sound, Scott turned away from Sam. He ran a hand through his hair while regarding his mother. Graham stood there frozen, looking as if he were making one of the hardest decisions of his life.
"With all due respect, Mrs. Miller, I think I should be leaving also. I never thought you would judge another by who their family was. It makes me wonder if you really liked me all these years, or just tolerated me."
Graham turned away from Scott and his mother. The sadness in his eyes made Sam want to reach towards him and pull him in a hug, but when he shook his head slightly, Sam knew that the man wanted his emotions to be unknown. He did not want Piper to know how he truly felt. Instead, she reached out and grabbed his hand. With a smile, she shrugged. "I know a great place to have a party."
He laughed at her. "As long as you are driving and I can leave my wallet in a safe location, I'm up for it."
Sam glanced towards Scott, only to find him still staring at his mother.
"He's not worth it," Max whispered in her ear. "If he lets his mother control who his friends are, he is not worth your time." Hugging her from behind, he pressed a kiss to the side of her head. "Come on, we'll start that party you were talking about."
"I'll call Bethany in the car," Sam said with a nod. It was time that she accepted that Scott was going to stay here, that he wasn't going to stand up to his own mother for her. To be honest, it hurt. It hurt that he would not even glance in her direction, that he completely ignored her. With a sigh, she let Max pull her away with Graham at her back.
Scott watched her go before turning towards his mother. "Apologize."
"What?" his mom scoffed. "You want me to apologize? I did nothing wrong."
"Mother," he said slowly, "apologize now." When his mother started to shake her head, he continued talking. "I like her, more than a friend should like another friend. I do not know what you have against her family. Whatever your differences are, they need to be resolved. Do you understand me? Because I plan for her to be in my life for a long time. If that means not visiting you because you chose to be hateful, then I will stay as far away from you as can be."
Piper stood there for a moment before closing her eyes. "Good God, you're in love with the woman. Scott, out of all the women in the world, you had to pick a De Luca."
"Why do you hate her family so much?"
His mom shook her head while opening her eyes. "That is for her to tell you when she feels the need. You're right though. I should not judge her for who her family is." She reached up, brushing a hand through her hair. "I also owe Graham an apology. He must think I'm a horrible person."
Reaching out, he pulled his mom into a hug. "You're not a bad person, Mom. You are just overprotective. There's just something different this time."
"You're not going to let me run her away." His mother sighed while pulling away. "If it helps, I do not believe Sam would have run no matter how hard I tried to rid you of her."
"Will you apologize?"
She pursed her lips before nodding. "Hurry and call their driver." Scott pulled his phone out of his pocket. "Son," she whispered, "by her facial expression, I have a feeling I will not be the only one apologizing."
Scott nodded at his mother. He did owe Sam an apology. The first day he saw her, he shouldn't have taken her coffee. If he would not have been so rude, Sam would not be in this situation. She would not have gotten hurt because of him and his mom. He just hoped that Sam would listen, would believe him when he said it did not matter what his mother said. He would be with Sam as long as she allowed him to be, and not even his mother could stop that.