Cherish & Blessed

By: Tere Michaels

“And that’s great. I’m glad you’re happy and he treats you right,” Evan said diplomatically. More stabbing of chicken chunks. “But what really concerns me, honey, is you talking about marriage so soon.”

The smile fled, and Miranda went back to a frown. “Aunt Elena had no right—”

“Elizabeth overheard and was upset,” he cut in, firm in staving off any annoyance at her baby sister. “I went to your aunt out of concern.”

“You should have called me directly.” Miranda sat up straight, dropping her dinner on the table. “Okay? That’s part of the problem.”

“Or part of the problem is you hiding—”

“I’m not hiding him. I just don’t want to deal with your overprotective… crap.”

Evan put his fork down, keeping his cool. “It’s not overprotective to want to know what’s going on with your life.”

“Then ask.” Miranda’s voice got a hint louder. “Or are you too busy with your job and your boyfriend to care about your children?”

“Please.” Evan sat back hard in his chair, even as his stomach tightened. “That’s a cheap shot.”

“At least when Mom was alive I had her to talk to. I could ignore your workaholic tendencies.” Miranda sniffed as she lifted her chin defiantly. “But now you’re the only parent I have, and you’re doing a crappy job.”

Chapter 3

MATT RELAXED against the headboard, flipping through the channels with the remote. One of the things he’d insisted on when they moved into the new house was an adequate number of televisions—that meant expanding past the normal living room/family room dynamics.

It was a big house with lots of rooms, and sports needed to be accessible in all of them.

Except the bathroom. He lost that argument.

He checked the time on the clock radio, noting it was nearly eleven, and went back to his aimless scrolling. They paid almost two hundred dollars a month for satellite—why the hell wasn’t there live sports on right now? He’d already watched all the recap shows, and Jesus, was he really going to settle for rugby?

The top step creaked, so Matt knew when Evan got home. He muted the television and waited expectantly, considering the two possibilities of his boyfriend’s mood at this moment.

The doorknob rattled, and Matt prepared himself mentally.

There was either going to be a door slam or a weak—

It was a slam.

“Hey,” Matt said, mild as he could manage. Evan had shed his overcoat and suit jacket downstairs. His tie hung askew and his handsome face was carved into a block of “what the fuck.”

“I swear to God,” Evan started.

Matt got out of bed to meet him halfway around the foot of the bed. He stopped, eyeing Evan’s red cheeks and perspiring forehead. “How’d dinner go?” It was so very rhetorical.

Evan slumped, even as he growled in response. “She was impossible.”

“See? So everything is fine.” Matt put his hands on Evan before he could say another word, smoothing his palms over Evan’s damp shirt.

“She was just… accusatory and defensive, and I literally could not hold my temper.” Evan’s anger simmered and then faded as the tension became resignation.

“You yelled, she yelled, and now that that’s over with, you can schedule an actual conversation.”

Evan dropped his head against Matt’s shoulder. “We yelled all right. She’s using this guy like a shield—like….”

“Like she’s trying to get back at you?”

Evan sighed. “Yeah.”

Matt pulled him closer, until their bodies were aligned. They slotted together with ease, and Matt felt a bit more tension bleed out as Evan relaxed. “She needs to get it out of her system. You know her.”


Miranda was full of anger, and she didn’t always know how to express it—which was Evan’s MO and reason number one the two of them clashed like titans. As far as Matt was concerned, they could schedule this shit in ink on the calendar once every six months.

“I was hoping to get a bit more time to rant and rave.”

“It’s late. I’m tired.” Matt shrugged, rubbing at the back of Evan’s neck. “I’m sure you raged enough in the car ride home.”

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