I scan the room and note all of the men in the room – Lyric, Rowan, Cole, and Dad – have their hands raised while my sisters and Mom refuse to meet my gaze. I add up the clues – they were talking about me, the men think they should leave me alone, and the women don’t agree. The conclusion is obvious.
“Why are you trying to matchmake me?”
“I, for one, am bored out of my mind. Having a boyfriend who’s away shooting a film for three months straight is no fun,” Juniper grumbles.
“I offered to let you babysit,” Ellery says.
“Mom won’t let me.”
“Willow is my grandchild. If anyone’s babysitting her, it’s me.”
Ashlyn rubs her hands together. “This is awesome. When our baby’s born, she’ll babysit him or her, too.”
Juniper stomps her foot. “I’m your baby’s godmother, I declare I will have equal babysitting rights as the baby’s grandmother.”
While my sisters and Mom discuss the grandchildren, Dad comes over and wraps his arm around my shoulder.
“You okay, baby girl?”
“Of course, I’m okay. Why wouldn’t I be?”
He chuckles. “No reason, darling. No reason.”
I study him. When Dad says no reason, he really means there is a reason. Maybe I didn’t add up the clues correctly after all. My family wants to matchmake me and yesterday I was with—
“No,” I say when I realize what’s happening.
“Told you,” Ellery sings as she rocks Willow in her arms.
“You’re such a fuddy-duddy,” Aspen accuses.
“No, I’m not. I understand Lilac’s hesitation to get involved with her boss. If things don’t work out, it would be awkward for her at work.”
“Have you met our sister?” Aspen asks. “She doesn’t do awkward.”
Ellery passes the baby to Cole before confronting Aspen. “Are you kidding? Lilac is the definition of awkward.”
I clear my throat. This is my chance to derail their conversation. “Awkward means—"
Ellery shoves a hand in my face. “I know what awkward means. You know what awkward means. We all know what awkward means.” She lowers her hand and meets my gaze. “I also know you knew what I meant and interrupted me because you’re uncomfortable with where the conversation is going.”
My brow furrows. Does my sister understand me? Have I underestimated her?
Silence falls until Ellery says, “Dating your boss is a bad idea.”
“None of you read enough romance books. In romance books, dating your boss always works out,” Ashlyn says.
“Must I state the obvious?” I ask. When no one responds, I continue, “This is not a romance book. My life is real.”
Mom claps her hands. “Good. The matter’s settled then.”
When Mom says the matter is settled, what she really means is she’s going to ignore your side of the story and do whatever she wants.
“I believe it’s time to eat.”
“I’m starving,” Ashlyn announces as she bounces toward the dining table. “Oh no!” she screams and everyone rushes after her. She flails her hands toward the table.
Ellery’s puppy, Honey, is standing in the middle of the table eating the meatloaf. Cole rushes forward and grabs for her, but the pup slips out of his hold and jumps off the table before running away with a mouthful of meatloaf.