We’ve spent the last hour talking and I’ve learned a lot about Erin as a child. Mostly I’ve gotten to sit back and listen to Betty tell me all the things she loves about her granddaughter, and seeing her light up has been wonderful. Erin cringed a time or two, but I could see how much she loves her grandmother and how special their bond is.
“What plans do you ladies have for the rest of the day?” I place my napkin on the table and take Erin’s hand in mine.
“I’m in charge of bringing the liquor to our Bunko game tonight.” She winks at Erin. “I hear there’s going to be a stripper.”
“Grams!” Erin calls, and I have to smother my laugh.
“I keep trying to get you to come, but if that won’t do it, nothing will.”
Erin hangs her head and shakes it, and I lean over and kiss her cheek. “Good, that means I get dinner with you tonight all to myself.”
She looks up and there’s worry in her eyes as she bites her lip. “About that.”
There’s a sinking feeling in my stomach while I wait for what feels like bad news.
“I’ve got to fly back to my apartment tonight.” She looks to Betty, who is as surprised as I am. “If you don’t mind watching Moose for me. I can’t take him on the plane and it’s just going to be a quick trip.”
“Why do you have to go so fast?” I think about my cases and travel I have coming up and I know there’s not much time in my calendar, but I can make it. “If you give me until the weekend I can go with you.”
“That’s so sweet, I really appreciate that, Devin, but I called my landlord this morning and he said he could only do tomorrow.”
“I can watch Moose, sugar, but are you sure you don’t want one of us to go with you?”
The thought of her going back to the place that was broken into makes me uneasy.
“Yeah, I think it will be fine. I’m going to stay the night with my friend Jenna and come back the next day. I called a moving company too and they’re going to meet me there tomorrow so I can get out of there quickly.”
“It seems like you’ve got this handled by yourself.” I don’t mean for my words to come out harsh, but I can’t help it.
“I tried to make it so that no one would be inconvenienced.”
“Sugar, I would have been more than happy to go with you.”
“Why don’t I go?” I offer quickly, trying to insert myself in a situation that she didn’t ask me to be in. If this makes me pathetic, I don’t care.
“You just got finished telling us about your big case tomorrow.” Erin smiles softly at me like I don’t understand what’s going on.
“I can get Renee to cover for me.”
She shakes her head and squeezes my hand. “You guys, I will be fine. I’ve got this under control. I’m going with my friend to the apartment and I’m meeting my landlord and the movers there in the daylight. I’ll be back before you know I’m gone.”
“That’s not likely,” Betty says, and I grunt in agreement.
“The sooner I can get this finished, the sooner I can come back.” This time she’s looking at me with pleading eyes that are begging me to understand her.
“Fine,” I say, and she sits up hopefully. “But under one condition.”
“Anything,” she blurts out.
“Come with me to Milan when you get back.”
Her blank expression almost makes me laugh. I probably would if it wasn’t for being irritated about her going back to her old place.
“Are you serious?”
“If she doesn’t, I will,” Betty whispers, and I smile.
“Yes, I’ve got to go there for a couple of days for work. Come with me and keep me company. We can leave whenever you get back.”
“Yes!” She leans over to hug me, and I end up pulling her into my lap.
“Good. Now hurry up and get your place cleared out so we can make this real.”
“It feels like a dream,” she whispers, and I agree.
“I’ve got to go before those ladies start calling and asking where I am,” Betty says as she grabs her purse. “What time is your flight, sugar?”
“At ten tonight. Jenna is meeting me at the airport.”
“I’ll make sure Erin gets there safe. Are you sure you have to run off so soon?”
“You’ve obviously never met a group of old ladies low on alcohol.” She winks as she leans down and kisses Erin on the cheek. “Call me when you land. I love you.”
“I love you too.” She stands up and hugs her grandmother.
Just as Betty leaves, Renee comes into my office. She talks to Betty for a quick second before she comes in and says hello to Erin.