“Lean on Me, when you’re not strong…” I love stories with characters you know you can count on, heroes who’ll never let you down and heroines you’d want to be friends with in real life. Today we’re sharing snippets that show sometimes the romance isn’t in the sex, it’s in the emotional support. Today’s snippet is from Sweet Thursday.
Justin’s entire demeanor screamed of a cocky nature, but she knew there was more to the man than the smartass he loved to portray. She’d seen his true colors the day they’d buried Killian’s mom. Sunday Collins had passed away after suffering from a long bout of cancer during their sophomore year.
Killian had been strong throughout the funeral service, standing stoically next to Tristan and his pop as her coffin was lowered into the ground. It was the first funeral Lily had ever attended and she still remembered how much she’d physically hurt, watching Killian’s face as he said goodbye to his mother.
Justin stood beside her and she hadn’t realized until the service was over that he’d been holding her hand the entire time. As the crowd dispersed and the family began to walk to their cars, they hung back with Killian…
Lily looked around the cemetery, searching for some words of comfort to offer. She didn’t know what to say. Wasn’t sure she could speak through the painful lump in her throat.
“My mom took off when I was three.” Lily looked up, surprised by Justin’s words. “I don’t really remember her…and you know my dad. Conversation isn’t exactly his thing. The first time I met your mom was after Little League practice. Sixth grade. She’d made us all chocolate chip cookies. Best fucking cookies I ever had.”
Killian nodded and Lily watched him covertly wipe away a tear.
“A bunch of the parents were standing around. My dad was late coming to pick me up—as usual. Somebody asked where my mother was.”
Killian grinned sadly. “You said aliens abducted her.”
Justin laughed, though it certainly wasn’t a happy sound. “Always was a little bastard. After that, your mom sort of claimed me. It was her voice I heard yelling my name from the stands. She baked me a cake on my thirteenth birthday—first cake that had my name on it and wasn’t made by the grocery store. Whenever I smart-mouthed somebody, she set me straight in that calm, sweet voice that made me wanna fall on my knees and promise never to be bad again as long as I lived.”
Killian laughed. “Discipline by guilt, my sisters call it.”
“Yeah. Well, it worked on me and whenever I did something good in school, she made me some of those cookies. I didn’t know my mom, Killian, but I’m sure as hell glad I knew yours.”
Justin had known exactly the right words, and it was in that precise moment Lily had given a piece of her heart to him as well. She took a deep breath to calm herself. She hadn’t expected the memories of her friends to be so potent, so strong after all these years.
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