Sorry this chapter is so short. But here you go. Another one. Again, please let me know how you guys would feel about me doing a sequel to this one. I've only gotten one response on that so far. If I did do a sequel, it really wouldn't have Merthur, which is why I'm hesitant to do it.


JULY 25

I followed Dad into my new house, each of us carrying a box. These were the last two boxes of stuff that needed to be moved in. Willow was already inside, starting to unpack the living room stuff. "We need music," she said to me. "Unpacking is less obnoxious when there's good music to unpack to."

"Like what?" I asked her. "That hippie crap you listen to?"

She glared at me. "It's not hippie crap, Stryker. It's Indie pop."

"Whatever. I don't care what you listen to. You know I'm just giving you a hard time." I wasn't a big fan of Indie pop, so I always teased her about it. But I didn't mind her music. Not really. It wasn't my favorite, but it didn't really bother me, either.

I looked over at Dad, who was watching our little exchange with a grin. "Are you staying for dinner, Dad?"

"Sure. Wait a minute." He narrowed his eyes at me. "You want me to cook, don't you?"

"Well…" I trailed off.

Dad rolled his eyes, but he was grinning. "You're going to have to learn how to cook at some point, Stryker." Which was not a fair thing of him to say at all. I knew how to cook. I might not be a master chef, but I could throw together some decent meals. He was just a better cook than me. "Now that you're on your own."

"I'm not on my own. I've got Willow." I bit the inside of my cheek, trying to keep myself from smiling. I knew I wasn't going to get away with that comment. I was going to get into trouble in about three...two...one...

Sure enough, my girlfriend folded her arms over her chest and narrowed her eyes even further at me. "You better not be implying what I think you're implying. Just because I'm a woman doesn't mean I'll be doing all the cooking."

I gave her a terrified look. "I would never do that. Your cooking would probably kill me." Okay, she wasn't a bad cook. I just loved to tease her.

I think I was starting to act like my mom. I was in an ornery mood today.

She bumped my shoulder. "Brat," she said. "You sound way too much like your mother today."

I sighed. "I know. I don't know what's going on. Sorry I'm being bratty."

"I'll think about forgiving you," she told me. She pulled out her Ipod and started looking for the music that she wanted to play.

Dad shook his head as he made his way toward the kitchen. "It might be better to order a pizza or something. Did you guys even pack any food stuff at all?"

I shrugged. "Not really. We'll stock up this week. Pizza sounds good for tonight. I'll buy."

"Nonsense. I'll buy. Consider it a house-warming gift."

My dad was totally amazing. He really was.

"Hey, Dad?"

He glanced back at me. "Yeah, buddy?"

"Thanks for helping us move. We really appreciate it."

Dad smiled. "Of course. Now, why don't you two keep unpacking, and I'll go order the pizza. Any special requests?"

Willow and I looked at each other, then said, "Supreme."

"Sounds good to me." Dad disappeared into the kitchen.

I looked back at my girlfriend. "Can you believe that we're here? In our own place?"

"It's crazy. Let's get this TV set up, because I want to be able to watch my shows tonight."

I smirked at her. "I thought you wanted to get the bedroom unpacked as soon as possible?"

She rolled her eyes. "Not with your dad here. That's weird."

I nodded, seeing her point. More than likely, we'd get distracted as soon as we set up the bed.

Way awkward with my dad around.