That smirk I could tell was her signature trademark and I loved it already. God! She was feisty!
“I didn’t say anything,” I teased.
“You didn’t need to. Your eyes said it for you.”
“I’m just not accustomed to this. I eat differently is all,” I explained.
She snorted. “Okay, sushi boy, take a seat,” she jabbed, heading off toward what I assumed was the kitchen.
I watched her walk away and thoroughly enjoyed the view.
“Spence, over here!” I heard Bridge call over.
I joined her at the head of the table and sat to her left, on the edge of the bench.
“Oh my God, I’m so hungry,” she said, eyeing everything before her like she hadn’t just eaten a box of crackers in our trailer.
“Chill out, kemosabe,” I laughed.
She glared at me. “This thing in me is like a freaking bottomless pit. It’s always hungry.”
I smiled at her and she smiled back but rolled her eyes.
“Happy?” I asked.
“I have a feeling I will be,” she answered with a smile. She looked down at her hands in her lap then over at me. “Cricket seems nice.”
“Shut it,” I demanded, trying to hide my smile.
“And my God were you smooth,” she teased, furrowing her brows. “I mean, I’ve never seen someone so charming before.”
I laughed. “Was it that obvious?”
“No, coolio, you convinced everyone. The bug eyes were a nice touch.” She clicked her tongue and formed an okay with her hand.
I ran a hand down my face. “How humiliating.”
“I have to admit, I’ve never seen you trip over yourself like that, not even with Sophie Price did you lose your cool. This is a nice side of you or whatever.”
“Maybe I’m tired,” I offered by way of explanation. I don’t know who I was trying to convince—me or Bridge.
More people kept pouring in. It felt like a scene from Bonanza. Men and women of all ages came in from the cold, sporting their horse gear. I couldn’t believe people still lived like this. It felt so foreign to me, so fascinating.
Cricket followed her grandma into the dining hall, with another large bowl of potatoes. She looked at me and rolled her eyes but laughed. I watched her set the bowl down. She was so tiny she had to reach a little for the center of the table and it exposed her stomach slightly, sending me reeling. Oh, please God, let her sit across from me.
She moved slowly, painfully slowly, too slowly for me toward our end of the table but chose the part of the bench directly across from me. I tried with much difficulty to settle my rapidly beating heart. I smiled at her and she smiled back. Eugie, who was on her heels the entire time, curled up at her feet.
Emmett and Ellie sat to my left, Cricket’s right, at the end of the table. Everyone sat chatting. I didn’t know what we were waiting for. Every spot was filled at the table except the spot directly next to Cricket. My brows furrowed in curiosity until the door banged open with a cold breeze and the Native American guy I saw on the horse earlier came in. He removed all his gear and threw it on one of the hooks.
No, I realized as he made his way toward Cricket.
He braced a solid arm on the table and leaned into her, kissing her on the mouth before sliding in beside her. She smiled at him, turning toward him as he sat, and threaded her fingers through the top of his hair. They were talking, but I had no idea what they were saying. I was too distracted by the stabbing pain in my gut and chest. Damn. She laughed while he kissed her once more. I wanted to rip him off of her. I was so damn disappointed. I’d never felt more disappointed. I felt Bridge’s eyes on me, but I refused to return the look, too obsessed with watching them.
They turned toward us.
“Spencer, Bridget, this is Ethan Moonsong,” Cricket said, cheerfully introducing the bastard.
“Nice to meet you,” Bridge said, a shiny smile on her face.
I nodded. “Hello.” It was all I could muster.
He returned the nod. “Spencer, Bridget, a pleasure,” his deep lulling voice responded.
Bridget leaned forward a bit and asked Ethan a question. He answered with vigor and my eyes shot to Cricket. She was watching me, gauging me, trying to decipher if my flirting earlier meant anything. I secretly smiled at her and shook my head, letting her know I was crestfallen in that moment but that it didn’t mean shit. I was cocking my metaphorical gun. Her eyes widened for the briefest of moments before cooling. She turned and feigned interest in what Ethan was talking about but she wasn’t fooling me. Click. My eyes never left her face. She periodically glanced my direction, and I knew from experience there was only one reason anyone would do this. She was trying to hide her own interest in me. Click. She turned to face me again and this time I winked, making her visibly squirm.
“Right, Cricket?” Ethan asked her.
Her gaze was riveted to mine. “Hmm?” she asked, shaking her head to focus.
“You okay?” he asked her.
She turned to face him. “What? Yes, sorry, what was the question?”
“Everyone! Everyone!” Emmett said, standing and clanking the side of his spoon against his tea, a canning glass I’d only seen people in movies drink from. He raised his hands to settle the rowdy table. “’Fore I say grace, I’d like to take this moment to receive the Blackwells.” He turned toward us and the others stared our direction, making Bridge blush. Jonah smirked at her, attempting to ease her, simultaneously making me very nervous. “We are all happy to have you both here and wish that you’ll be very comfortable. We welcome you into the fold.”