Not Safe for Work

By: L. A. Witt


Karen hugged Rick. “Welcome to the family.”

“Thank you,” he said.

“Enough about us, though,” I said as they separated, and I turned to Kelsey. “Today’s about you, kiddo.”

“I know, but… Dad, that’s so great!” She looked at Rick. “So does this mean I get to call you Dad too?”

He shrugged. “Whatever you want to call me.”

I snickered. “Careful what you wish for, or you’ll be Grandpa too.”

Rick’s eyes widened.

Kelsey rolled hers. “Not until after Christmas, Dad. Geez.”

“Christ—” My heart stopped. “Uh, Kels? Is there something you’re not telling me?”

She eyed me sheepishly.

“Kelsey…”

Then she winked. “Just messing with you, Dad. I know the rules. No grandkids until you’re fifty.”

I exhaled. “Jesus…”

“I think she comes by the sense of humor honestly.” Rick clapped my shoulder. “Nobody to blame but yourself, Jon.”

“Uh-huh.” I shot him a look, and from the way he gulped, the message came through loud and clear—he was going to pay for that later. “Anyway.” To Kelsey, I said, “Yes, we’re getting married. No, we don’t know when.” I gestured at the table. “But tonight, we’re celebrating you.”

She grinned. “Whatever. It’s a good night for everyone. Just means Mom has to buy you guys drinks too.”

“Hey!” Karen shot her a look but then laughed. “All right, she’s got a point. What’ll it be, boys?”

Rick and I exchanged glances. I shrugged. So did he.

“We’re both drinking Budweiser,” I said.

“Oh, there’s a shock.” She patted my arm and headed up to the bar.

While she attended to drinks for us and Kelsey, the rest of the group took their seats at the table. Rick sat beside me, and I put my arm around his shoulders.

“I think Karen summed it up perfectly,” I said. “Welcome to the family.”

He turned to me, and my heart fluttered. I kissed him gently. Beneath the table, I patted his leg. We exchanged a long look—oh yes, this would be a good night, and a very, very long one.

But that could wait. We had all the time in the world now. For this evening, our focus was on celebrating my daughter’s graduation. All the while, as we toasted her success and talked about plans for her upcoming wedding, I thumbed the ring on my left hand, disbelieving how things had worked out. They’d come together in the most unlikely and, at times, chaotic ways, but they’d worked out. I couldn’t have asked for anything better than the group of people around me right then. My three kids. My ex-wife who’d raised them with me, even when our marriage hadn’t worked out. The kids’ partners, who were everything I’d hoped for. The man who I would spend the rest of my life with.

It just didn’t get any better than this.

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