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Giving My All to You Sheryl Lister 2022/8/3 13:47:33

His father blessed the food and Brandon filled his plate with fried chicken, slices of prime rib, macaroni and cheese, roasted asparagus, sautéed corn and homemade rolls. He groaned with the first bite of his chicken. “Mom, nobody makes chicken like yours.”

A chorus of agreements met his statement.

His father picked up his glass of iced of tea. “I’d like to propose a toast to Malcolm and Omar. May you both be blessed this football season and may the Cobras bring home the championship trophy again.”

They all raised their glasses. This would most likely be their last family dinner until the end of the season, unless his mother tried to schedule one before the end of July or during their bye week.

Conversation flowed around the table as they ate.

“Brandon, are you still seeing that woman you helped from the accident?” Justin asked casually, not looking up from his plate.

“Is this the friend you took off early for a couple of weeks back?” his father asked.

His mother’s eyes lit up. “Does this mean she’s a potential daughter-in-law?”

Brandon froze. Every eye around the table turned his way. He glared at Justin. “It’s not like that, Mom. And yes, Dad, she’s the one. She had just arrived in town for business the day before the accident. She doesn’t know anyone here, so I was just being the gentleman you raised me to be.” Okay, so that wasn’t entirely the truth. The whole “just being friendly” thing had gone by the wayside the first time he tasted her lips.

“I don’t know about this taking off work early. Wouldn’t want anything to distract you from the job.”

He focused his gaze on Morgan.

“Exactly,” Siobhan chimed in. “You really need to make sure you’re available in case something comes up.”

Both of his sisters were throwing his words back in his face. He guessed he deserved it, but at the time, he thought he had been right.

Brandon eyes him across the table, sorely tempted to knock that smug look off Justin’s face. “Look—”

Siobhan muttered something that sounded like, “Oh, God,” slapped a hand over her mouth and bolted from the room. Justin tossed down his napkin and rushed out behind her.

The family looked on with concern. A few tense minutes later, they returned.

His father stood. “What’s going on?”

Siobhan and Justin shared a smile and Siobhan said, “Well, this isn’t exactly how I planned to tell it, but we’re having a baby.”

His mother jumped up and ran around the table. “Thank You, Lord! A grandbaby!” She engulfed the expectant parents in a warm hug. “I’m so happy for you both.”

Brandon rose to his feet. “This calls for another toast.” Everyone stood and raised their glasses. “To Justin and Vonnie. Wishing you an abundance of God’s blessing as you begin this new journey. Congratulations.”

A round of congrats, hear, hears, and amens sounded in the room.

“What a wonderful addition to our family,” his mother said. “Hopefully, I’ll have a new daughter soon, too.”

Brandon groaned inwardly. He heard snickers from his brothers and turned a blazing look their way. He managed to get through the rest of dinner without any more comments.

After everyone had recuperated from the lavish meal, dessert was served. Today’s offering was another of Brandon’s favorites—brownies loaded with chocolate chips, topped with his father’s homemade ice cream. He would definitely have to add an additional visit to the gym this week to offset all the calories he’d consumed.

Malcolm entered and sat in the chair next to Brandon. “So, big brother’s got a new woman, huh?”

“No, I do not. I told you she’s just here for business and I helped her out.” He didn’t share what type of business because he didn’t feel it was necessary.