Hayden buried his face in her long blond hair and slid his hands to her waist. “Maybe we should study in case my mom comes downstairs.” Unless he could get his parents to leave for a while.
“Okay, but I think you should sit over there to reduce the temptation for me.” She pointed to an armchair.
Hayden laughed and picked up his stats book. “Fine, but that only makes it easier for me to stare at you.”
He hopped into the chair and threw his legs over the arm. Molly laughed and opened her history book.
After a few minutes, loud footsteps echoed on the stairs. Hayden’s parents arrived carrying bowls of ice cream. They stopped at the bottom of the steps and eyed them with wide eyes.
“See, I told you they would be studying.” His dad elbowed his mom in the side. “And you thought they would be watching TV.”
She laughed and handed a bowl of ice cream to Molly.
“Chocolate is my favorite. Thanks.” Molly dipped her spoon and took a bite.
Hayden accepted the bowl from his dad. “Thanks, Dad.”
Instead of leaving, his parents joined Molly on the couch with their bowls. Nancy sat nearest to her. Hayden caught his mom’s eye and raised an eyebrow.
His mom smiled. “Is the team ready for the big game tomorrow, Hayden?”
“It’ll be a tough game without our best forward.” Hayden stabbed his spoon into his ice cream, imagining it was Trevor’s face instead of chocolate chunk.
His dad frowned. “I spoke with Stan today. Tim’s hearing is set for tomorrow.”
Hayden squinted at the mention of Trevor’s dad. That jerk probably paid off the judge to give Tim the worst possible sentence.
Molly frowned, stirring the ice cream in her bowl. “What will happen to him?”
“The judge overseeing his case is a decent man. He believes in second chances, so he should be lenient. Tim will, more than likely, get credit for the time he served and have to take anger management classes.” He smiled at her. “That’s maybe not a bad thing for him. He’s a hothead on the field.”
Hayden laughed. “Yes, but he’s also our leading goal scorer. It’s a trade-off.” He finished his ice cream and sat the bowl on the table.
His mom sighed. “Well, I hope you learn from his mistake, Hayden. Fighting is never the answer to a problem.”
Molly stiffened, and Hayden frowned. He narrowed his eyes at his mom. “Sometimes you can’t avoid it, Mom, when you have something worth fighting for.” He looked at Molly.
She met his eyes and shook her head. “Hayden, your mom is right. I don’t want you fighting either.”
He grinned at his mom’s glare and Molly’s worried gaze. “There’re no future bouts scheduled so you can both relax.”
His dad laughed and patted his mom’s knee. “Don’t worry, Hayden’s boxing days are over. He got what he wanted, right Hayden?”
Sometimes his parents could be such a pain. For crying out loud, his dad acted like Molly wasn’t sitting right there.
“Dad, you make it sound like I got a new bike or something.” He looked at Molly, his pulse spiked at the memory of their kiss. “She’s letting me be with her, but I don’t own her.” He smiled when she rolled her eyes.
Molly giggled. “Hayden’s rehearsing for the part of Romeo in the next play. He’s been working on the romantic lines.”
His mom’s laughter joined hers. “When he was little, his action figures used the lines on the damsel in distress. Superman had the best ones.”
Molly’s laugh tinkled through the room. Hayden groaned and covered his eyes with his fingers. “Mom, please.” He looked at his dad and raised his hands.
“I know better than to get in the middle of this.” His dad stood and grabbed the empty ice cream bowls. “I think I’ll escape upstairs. Good luck.” He smiled at Hayden’s helpless smirk.
“Thanks, Dad.” Hayden’s embarrassment eased when he looked at Molly’s smiling face. If it made her look at him that way, he’d take any abuse his mom could dish out.
“Do you have any other stories, Nancy?” Molly winked at Hayden.
His mom stood and walked to the bookshelf. She grabbed a thick book Hayden knew well. He groaned. “Oh, God, Mom, please no. She doesn’t want to see those.”
She rejoined an eager Molly on the couch and placed the opened book on her lap.
Molly’s eyes grew wide and she flushed. “Pictures?” She scooted closer to his mom.
When Molly turned her excited gaze on him, Hayden sighed. He squeezed himself next to her on the cushion. He put an arm around her shoulders and kissed her cheek. “All right, but you have to promise not to laugh.”
She giggled. “No promises.”
He used his free hand to hold hers.
His mom smiled, gazing at them cuddled together. Hayden met her eyes and she nodded. “Let’s get started, shall we?” She and Molly exchanged a smile.
While his mom flipped through the pages of his childhood, Molly awed and giggled. His mom laughed along with her, and Hayden relaxed. Molly had won her over. If there was one thing his mom respected, it was anyone who loved her son like she did.
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