Man of the Family

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This scene takes place at a cookout: 

After dinner Griffin wandered to the corner of the back lawn for a rare moment alone. Feeling his spirit mellow, he gazed at the setting sun. Streaks of red and purple and pink spread out across the sky.

“Nothing like a Florida sunset,” he said to himself.

“Better than Boston?” Sunny’s voice brought his head around. She was bent over a nearby hibiscus bush with a pair of garden shears in her hand.

When she’d spoken Griffin’s pulse had taken off like a runner from the starting gate. It was one thing to help her carry stuff for the cookout, quite another to be alone with her.

“Caught me,” he said, “talking to myself. Boston can be good—but the show here is a lot more, well, showy.” Like the afternoon rains.

As if to end the brief conversation, she dropped the scissors then picked up a bunch of blossoms from the grass at her feet. She was still wearing the red polish that peeked out from her sandals. “I’ll leave you then to commune with nature.”

“Wait.” Before he could tell himself not to, Griffin stopped her. And fumbled for an excuse. “Thanks,” he said at last. “I’m glad Amanda apologized. You were right. She did take your watch.”

Sunny half smiled. “And you didn’t let her get away with it.”

He shouldn’t care that she sounded proud of him. He shouldn’t be staring at that little uptilt at the corners of her mouth. “So what am I missing?” he said because his daughter wasn’t ever that simple these days. “Did she even sound sincere?”

“She…tried.” Sunny hesitated. “But you didn’t welcome my interference before and I doubt you’ve changed your mind. I’m out of the advice-giving business.”

Ouch. Forcing his gaze away from her mouth, he looked at her in the growing darkness. The sun had slipped lower in the sky and the colors had leached then bled into a deeper shade of almost burgundy that made her lighter t-shirt seem to glow.

“I’m impressed, Counselor. Didn’t imagine you’d give up that easily.”

“I have my moments.”