Without You(4)

By: Kelly Elliott

The kiss started to become passionate…until I heard someone clear his throat. I snapped my eyes open right as Will pulled back and scrunched up his face.

“Shit,” he whispered so that only I could hear.

He took a few steps away from me as he ran his hand through his hair.

Lord, help me.

I wanted this boy, and even though I knew we had just been caught making out in my father’s barn, my desire for him was so intense that I wanted to cry. I never took my eyes off of him.

He winked at me before turning to the side. “Dad, Gunner, um…I mean, Mr. Mathews…um…I mean, sir…”

I closed my eyes and took in a deep breath. Oh…holy…hell. My father just caught me making out in his barn.

I tried to compose myself as I pushed off the wall and turned to face my father and Will’s father, Josh. I wanted to giggle over Will struggling on how to address my father, but when I looked into my dad’s eyes, I knew that wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do.

“So…” Josh started to say as he shook his head and smiled at Will. “Damn, boy…you picked the wrong girl to get caught making out with in her daddy’s barn.”

I quickly glanced over at Will, who looked at my father and then back at his dad. He smiled slightly, but then he looked back at my father and swallowed hard.

Dragging in a deep breath, my father looked at us. “Alex, Will…I think y’all need to head on up to the house and wait for us on the back porch.”

Will and I looked at each other, and at the same time, we said, “Yes, sir.”

As we walked out of the barn, Will grabbed my hand right in front of my father.

Will looked at me, winked, and whispered, “I think that went well.”

I just looked at him with my mouth hanging open. “You must have a death wish.”

I didn’t say another word to Lex as we walked back up to her house. Grams, Ellie—Alex’s mom—and my mother were all sitting on the back porch. Grams and Ellie both looked down at Lex’s hand joined with mine. Grams smiled.

My mother said, “Oh Lord, all hell is fixin’ to break loose.”

Ellie laughed as she shook her head. “By the look on your face, Alex, I’m going to guess your father knows?”

Alex stopped walking and stared at her mother. “What do you mean? Did you know?”

Ellie and my mother both started laughing.

“I have eyes, darling,” her mother said.

I glanced over at my mother, who smiled sweetly at me. Last year, I’d told my mother how I felt about Lex, so I knew what was about to happen wouldn’t surprise her.

Grams smiled as she looked at Lex. “Alexandra, I wish you had taken my advice and told your daddy.”

Lex’s face blushed.

Ellie snapped her head over to Grams. “Emma, you knew?”

Grams laughed. “Of course I knew. I walk with the girl every morning. I probably knew it before she did.”

Lex giggled. “Grams…”

“Go into the kitchen, Alex and Will.”

My skin crawled at the tone of Gunner’s voice. I peeked over to my father.

He mouthed, Good luck.

I grinned slightly and dropped Lex’s hand. I started to follow her and her father into the house.

Grams grabbed my hand. “William, you stand up for your feelings. Don’t let Drew bully you. Do you hear me?”

I nodded my head. Grams always called Gunner by his real name, Drew. Everyone else would call him by his nickname that he’d gotten in high school football.

“But you be respectful of his feelings as well. That’s his baby girl.”

I smiled. “Yes, ma’am.”

I opened the screen door as Lex sat down.

Gunner leaned against the counter. “How long have you been sneaking around behind my back?”

Lex stood up. “Daddy, we weren’t purposely hiding it from you. We just didn’t know how to tell you. I was scared.”

His eyes filled with sadness. “Alex, why in the world would you be scared to tell me?”

I walked up and stood next to her. She reached for my hand, and Gunner stood up straighter. He gave me a look that I’d never seen before, and I wanted to drop Lex’s hand, but I knew better.

“I’m going to ask again. How long have you two been dating?”

I swallowed hard and cleared my throat. “Over a year, sir. We, um…it started when I was helping Lex train Banjo.”

He closed his eyes and slowly shook his head. When he opened them again, Lex dropped my hand and sat down. All I wanted to do was run and hide behind my own daddy. I didn’t think I’d ever seen Gunner so mad in my life.

The screen door opened, and Ellie walked in. She walked up and smiled at Lex and me, and then she sat down on the other side of Lex.

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