Tee and I spend the rest of the afternoon watching television in silence. She seems happier now that we talked things out. And I’m happy that she’s happy. Tee laughs at something funny that happens on the show we’re watching.
But I tune out the sound of the voices coming from my fifty inch flat screen television, thinking about what I can possibly get Tee and her new husband as a wedding gift.
~ ~ ~
Emerson Davis is a jittery little prick.
As I slide into the booth at The Happy Days diner, and the 1950’s style décor blurs in my vision, the guy won’t even look at me. His blonde hair is once again spiked to perfection and his light blue eyes flit over every nook and cranny of this place.
He won’t even make eye contact with me.
I was right about him.
The dude is a wet, dripping pussy.
My sister loves him and if Tee loves him, I make a mental note that I’ll just have to learn to love him too. “Emerson,” I say and he jumps at the sound of his name leaving my lips. I tap the table in front of me and his eyes center on my knuckles. “Dude, you need to chill. I’m not going to kill you,” I say.
Yet, I think.
“Forgive me.” Emerson’s voice comes out smooth, but shaky. “I’m still a little on edge from the other day.”
“Yeah, man. Sorry about that. I’m not sure if Tee mentioned that I don’t like surprises.” Especially ones like that.
“She didn’t,” he says relaxing a little. “But I imagine if I had siblings I’d be upset if they went and got married without telling me.”
I want to tell him that upset is an understatement, but I decide not to push it. Instead I reach into my pocket and pull out the envelope of cash I picked up from the bank this morning. I set it on the table and slide it toward him. Emerson stares at the envelope, puzzled, then looks at me. “Take it,” I urge him. “Congrats, man.”
He reluctantly picks up the envelope and looks inside it. Then he slides it back toward me. “I can’t take this! There’s ten thousand dollars in there!”
“You’re gonna take that money,” I tell him with a hard voice. “Teagan is my only sister and the only family I have left. I didn’t get to give her a wedding so you’re gonna take that ten grand. You can put some away and use the rest of it on your honeymoon.”
“Honeymoon?” He scrunches his eyebrows together. “We’re not taking a honeymoon. We can’t afford it right now—er—I can’t afford it right now.” Red seeps into his tanned cheeks and I can tell him admitting that to me embarrasses him.
Honestly, maybe he’s not the kind of guy I pegged him for in the first place, and I feel kind of guilty judging him before I’ve gotten the opportunity to know him. It drove me crazy when people used to do it to me.
“Tee told me you didn’t take one. So I went ahead and booked you guys one. They’ll be sending all the info in the mail soon.” I remember a few things about Ireland, but I know Tee doesn’t remember anything at all. So I thought it would be nice if I booked the newlyweds a trip so Tee could see where we came from. “You leave for Ireland during your spring break.”
Emerson’s eyes widen and I think the dude might seriously start crying. I pat his shoulder lightly. He stiffens first, then suddenly relaxes. “Thanks, man,” he tells me, his voice thick. “I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to repay you.”
His words remind of the same words I’d spoken to Connor Doyle at my Ma’s funeral. Except, I don’t want anything in return for helping out Tee and her new husband. “You don’t have to repay me, “I tell him. “And I don’t want to hear another word about repayment. You hear me?” He nods. “All I want is for you to take care of my sister.” I do believe that Emerson will do just that, when he’s done with college that is. “And protect her too.”
He clears his throat. “I’ll take care of her. And I will do my best to protect her.”
In my eyes doing his best isn’t good enough. Not when it comes to my sister’s life. “You got a gat?” I ask him, lowering my voice. I glare at him with a darkened gaze.
“A gat?” His voice goes up an octave and he purses his lips.
“A gun,” I say with force.
He shakes his head. “Oh , no. I don’t believe in violence.”
Jesus Christ, Teagan.
Did you have to marry the king of all pussies? “Look Emerson, I don’t know what Teagan has told you but—”
“I know a few things,” he interrupts me and narrows his eyes. “And forgive me for being brash, but I think it’s awfully hypocritical of you to tell me I need to protect her from the danger you put her in, in the first place.”