This Heart of Mine(3)

By: Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Molly winced. "I'll bet your dad didn't like that."

"He really yelled then," Julie said. "Uncle Ron tried to calm them down, but Coach came in, and then he started yelling, too."

Molly knew that her sister Phoebe had an aversion to yelling. "What did your mom do?"

"She went to her office and turned up Alanis Morissette."

Probably a good thing.

They were interrupted by the pounding of sneakers as her five-year-old nephew, Andrew, came flying around the corner, much like Kevin's Ferrari. "Aunt Molly! Guess what?" He hurled himself against her knees. "Everybody yelled, and my ears hurt."

Since Andrew was blessed with not only his father's good looks but also Dan Calebow's booming voice, Molly sincerely doubted that. Still, she stroked his head. "I'm sorry."

He looked up at her with stricken eyes. "And Kevin was soooo mad at Daddy and Uncle Ron and Coach that he said the F word."

"He shouldn't have done that."


"Oh, dear." Molly resisted a smile. Spending so much time inside the headquarters of a National Football League team office made it inevitable that the Calebow children heard more than their share of obscenities, but the family rules were clear. Inappropriate language in the Calebow household meant heavy fines, although not as heavy as Kevin's ten thousand dollars.

She couldn't understand it. One of the things she most hated about her crush—her ex-crush—on Kevin was the fact that her crush was on Kevin, the shallowest man on earth. Football was all that mattered to him. Football and an endless parade of blank-faced international models. Where did he find them?

"Hi, Aunt Molly."

Unlike her siblings, eight-year-old Hannah walked toward Molly instead of running. Although Molly loved all four children equally, her heart held a special place for this vulnerable middle child who didn't share either her siblings' athletic prowess or their bottomless self-confidence. Instead, she was a dreamy romantic, a too-sensitive, overly imaginative bookworm with a talent for drawing, just like her aunt.

"I like your hair."

"Thank you."

Her perceptive gray eyes spotted what her sisters had missed, the grime on Molly's pants.

"What happened?"

"I slipped in the parking lot. Nothing serious."

Hannah took a nibble from her bottom lip. "Did they tell you about the fight Kevin and Dad had?"

She looked upset, and Molly had a pretty good idea why. Kevin showed up at the Calebow house from time to time, and like her foolish aunt, the eight-year-old had a crush on him. But unlike Molly, Hannah's love was pure.

Since Andrew was still wrapped around her knees, Molly held her arm out toward Hannah, who cuddled against her. "People have to take the consequences of their actions, sweetheart, and that includes Kevin."

"What do you think he'll do?" Hannah whispered.

Molly was fairly certain he'd console himself with another model who had a minimal mastery of the English language but maximum mastery of the erotic arts. "I'm sure he'll be fine once he gets over being angry."

"I'm afraid he'll do something foolish."

Molly brushed back a lock of Hannah's light brown hair. "Like skydiving the day before the Broncos game?"

"He prob'ly wasn't thinking."

She doubted that Kevin's small brain had the capacity to think about anything except football, but she didn't share that observation with Hannah. "I need to talk to your mom for a few minutes, and then you and I can leave."

"It's my turn after Hannah," Andrew reminded her as he finally released her legs.

"I haven't forgotten." The children took turns having overnights at her tiny North Shore condo. Usually they stayed with her on weekends instead of a Tuesday night, but the teachers had an in-service education day tomorrow, and Molly thought Hannah needed a little extra attention.

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