Before I could continue constructing a rationale for my behavior, the back door opened. A gust of wind blew in and with it a little boy who looked an awful lot like Chance.
“Hey!” He dove into the car. “You came! Where are your crutches?”
Leave it to kids to pick up on the obvious.
“Your dad put them in the trunk. How was school?”
“Cool,” he said quickly before changing the subject. “Why are you with my dad?”
Like I said…
The driver’s side door opened, and Chance entered, saving me from a lengthy interrogation. “Hey, buddy, let’s not play twenty questions today. Okay?”
“Okay.” The joy in CJ’s voice vanished. Seconds later, he asked, “Can we get ice cream?”
I giggled as Chance cranked the engine. The boy was incorrigible.
Just like his father.
“Buddy, it’s cold outside. I’m sure the ice cream parlor has closed for the season.”
“Uh-uh. Mom took me—” The kid cut himself off. “Where is Mom?”
I glanced over at Chance. He rubbed the back of his neck and clenched his jaw. Beads of sweat shone on his forehead. “Well…um…”
Clearly, he struggled with what to tell his son. Was it my presence or the subject matter?
Explaining why the kid’s mom went to rehab had to be difficult.
For some unknown reason, I offered respite. “CJ, do you like chocolate cake?”
My seat shifted as his little hands tugged on it. “I love chocolate cake!”
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