Tangled Vows

By: Stella Hunter

The woman—girl, Bay told herself—turned toward her and her brown eyes lit up. “You brought a woman!”

Everett laughed again, rich and deep, and Bay felt a shiver travel up her spine in spite of the late autumn Tennessee heat. Everett slipped an arm around her waist and pulled her against his hard body. She stifled a gasp and instead forced a smile to her tight lips. “Sarah, this is Bailey. Bailey, my sister, Sarah.”

Bay held out a hand. “It’s so nice to finally meet you, Sarah.”

Sarah ignored her hand and enveloped her in a hard hug. “Oh my God! I can’t believe Everett brought a girlfriend.” She released Bailey and turned back to her brother. “She is your girlfriend, right?”

Everett smiled that soft smile again that Bay had come to associate with the real man. “Yes, Bug, she’s my girlfriend.” He caught both women with an arm around the waist and began to lead them toward the still open front door, but Sarah pulled away and sped ahead. “I gotta tell Mom,” she yelled over her shoulder.

Everett and Bailey continued at a slower pace. Bay was glad for the reprieve, however temporary. “Bug?” she questioned him.

“Yeah. She’s always been little for her age, so when I was young, I said she was as small as a bug, and the name stuck.”

“Speaking of nicknames,” Bailey said quietly, “You should probably call me Bay. That’s what most people call me.” Everett nodded but there wasn’t time to say more as they met an older woman at the door.

“Everett, honey.” The woman embraced him gently and kissed him on the cheek. “It’s been too long. You need to come visit more often.”

“I know, Mom. I’ve been trying. My schedule’s just been crazy. I miss you guys.”

She patted him on the shoulder. “I’m sure you do your best.” Turning to Bailey, she ran her gaze up and down appraisingly. “Who’s this?”

“Told you, Mom!” Sarah shouted over her mother’s shoulder.

“Mom, I’d like you to meet Bailey Lennox…my girlfriend. Bailey, my mother, Kendra.”

Once again, Bay held out a hand and offered a smile, a little stiffer this time. “Very nice to meet you, Mrs. Parker. I’ve heard a lot about you.”

Kendra shook her hand. “Likewise, although I haven’t heard a thing about you,” she said pointedly.

Bay blushed and glanced quickly at Everett. “Ah, yes ma’am. That’s probably because we haven’t actually been together that long.”

Kendra gestured them into the house. “Please, call me Kendra. I’m glad Everett found a woman he wanted to bring home, no matter what the reason.”

Bailey glanced at Everett behind her. His large hand rested lightly on her back. “I didn’t realize it was that big of a deal,” Bailey answered.

“It’s a huge deal!” Sarah interjected excitedly. “The last girl he brought to meet Mom and Dad was his prom date.”

“Sarah,” Everett growled. She laughed again and ignored his threatening look.

“C’mon, and I’ll show you all my plans for the wedding.” Grabbing Bailey’s hand, Sarah pulled her up the stairs. As she glanced back, all Bailey could see was Everett’s head bent down in deep discussion with his mother.


“Are you sure your parents are okay with this?” she asked again as Everett closed the door to his childhood room.

He shrugged. “They’re just happy you’re here. They’ll do just about anything to improve my chances at marriage.”

Her eyes widened in surprise. “Marriage?”

“Don’t worry. Not in the cards.”

“Oh thank God.” She put a hand over her chest in feigned relief, causing him to flash his grin. She eyed the contents of the room. “So…how do you want to do this?” A double-size bed sat to the left of the door. Across the room was a window looking out into the back yard and the wooded area behind it. A closet door and a small dresser were to her right. The remaining furnishings were sparse and reflected the last time he’d lived in the room, which hadn’t been since high school judging from the trophies on the dresser and the pictures on the wall.

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