394,845
07.03.2019

Ha, ha, what a funny story. My dad and Gavin had a secret. Isn't that cute? Isn't that f**king cute? I like how my son isn't at all fazed to see two men kissing. It shows great promise for the future of this country. However, I don't like that he isn't at all fazed that he saw his grandpa sucking face with a dude!

"Oh, ha, ha, a secret!" I laughed hysterically. "I guess the cat is out of the bag huh, Dad? Or should I say, out of the closet? Whew, is it hot in here?" I rambled, fanning my face with my hand.

Carter walked over then, leaving his station at the front door greeting customers. He must have seen my crazy eyes from across the store and knew I was seriously freaking out. Worse than that one time I ate a pot cookie in high school and then watched The Wizard of Oz while listening to Pink Floyd's "The Wall", when everyone knows you’re supposed to listen to “The Dark Side of the Moon” and started crying because Toto was looking at me funny and when he barked it came out as, "Hey you, standing in the aisles with itchy feet and fading smiles, can you hear me?" and I could totally hear him and my feet started to itch. I cried for three hours telling everyone the cookie was evil and would kill me in my sleep.

Don't do drugs.

"Claire, you okay?" Carter asked, picking Gavin up into his arms to stand next to me.

"I'm super! I've never been better! This is the best day of my whole life!" I said with a big smile. "We should all go out back and smoke some pot."

What the hell was I spewing out of my mouth?

"George, you forgot your receipt," Liz said as she walked over from her side with a slip of paper in her hand.

"Sue is going to love that nightgown, I'm telling you. The silk is so soft and that peach color is going to look awesome with her skin tone," Liz said, coming up next to my dad and handing him the receipt.

Wait, what? Sue? There was a guy named Sue in Butler? Shouldn't I know this?

My dad actually blushed and quickly glanced at me.

"Uh, yeah. Thanks, Liz. I'm sure she'll love it."

She! Sue's a she. She's a Sue-she.

"She's a she!" I proclaimed.

Carter's arm that wasn't supporting Gavin wrapped around my waist to hold me up. I was sure he figured any minute now I was going to crack up permanently, probably even fall face-first onto the floor without putting my hands out to stop me like some of those idiots on Tosh.0.

I could hear Tosh's voice in my head, "Okay, let's watch that one again in slow motion. Now watch as she just falls forward, never putting her arms out and then BAM! Face plant! Wow, that's gotta hurt!"

"I probably should have told you this sooner, Claire. I'm kinda seeing Sue Zammond. You know, that woman who runs the travel agency over on Short Avenue? So, yeah. I'm seeing her," George said, shuffling his feet.

"Good for you, George," Carter told him as I gave him a quick hug in congratulations. My dad hadn’t dated anyone seriously since my mom left. By the look on his face, I’d say things with Sue just might be heading in that direction and I was happy for him.

Carter, George and Drew walked over to the front counter to help out a few customers while the girls and I stood back and watched.

"I am so in love with Drew," Jenny said with a sigh. "I just can't look at him without thinking about his orgasm face."

"Jesus, Jenny! Over share," Liz complained.

"So you guys are really serious, huh?" I asked her, trying not to dry heave thinking about the words Drew and orgasm face all in one sentence.

She nodded her head and smiled.

"We are! He's taking me to Chicago next week to meet his parents. I'm so excited! I've never been to the Windy Cindy," she said happily.

Liz opened her mouth and I quickly covered it with my hand.

"Don't. Just…don't," I told her.

Drew came up behind Jenny then and wrapped his arms around her waist, leaning down to kiss her cheek.

"Excuse me, I was wondering if you had someplace I could put my boner?"

Jenny giggled and Liz gagged.

"So Liz, have you and Jim set a wedding date yet?" Drew asked, keeping his arms firmly around Jenny.

"As a matter of fact we did. So you guys all better keep your calendars wide open for the next couple of months. There will be meetings and discussions and appointments and fittings," she said as she ticked the items off on her fingers. "Oh and Claire, we want Gavin to be our ring bearer."

I looked at her like she was insane.

"Have you met my son?" I asked her.

She just laughed at me.

Poor, confused Liz. She'll find out soon enough. Like when she's standing at the back of the church on the most important day of her life and my son runs down the aisle at full speed in front of her, chucking the pillow at her grandma's head and calling Jim's uncle a dirty nut sack.

"Liz, how do you feel about facial hair for the wedding?" Drew asked seriously as he ran his fingers down his chin.

"Don't even think about having a soul patch at my wedding, Drew. No douche-tags allowed," she replied.

Liz turned her attention in my direction. "Speaking of the future, what's next for Claire and Carter?"

What's next? What isn't next is the better question. So much was changing. Jesus, so much already HAD changed.

I watched Carter walk towards me with Gavin in his arms, tickling him and making him giggle. I took a few deep breaths and calmed down. Everyone I loved was standing here in this room, in my store, happy and healthy. Carter walked to my side and draped his arm around my waist, reminding me that no matter what came my way, I wouldn't have to face it alone. I had my friends, I had my family and I had Carter.

❮❯