She squeezed me once more before letting David hug me. Mason hugged Malinda behind me, but when it was time to let me go, David didn’t let me go. He whispered, his words choked up, “I love you so much, Samantha. You have no idea how much, and I am so blessed to have you in my life. I want you to know that.”
More emotions were swimming in me, and tears were sliding down my cheeks. My god. I pulled back and saw the same wetness on his cheeks. We’d been through so much. I wanted to say that to him, but all I could say was, “Thank you for coming back for me.”
I looked at Malinda, who was watching our exchange. She smiled at me, tears in her eyes, too. Her hand rested on her throat. “Oh!” Malinda threw her arms around us and hugged both of us. A second later, she motioned behind me. “Marcus, Logan, Mason—all of you, get in here. Family hug, everyone.”
Mason hugged me from behind. Logan was beside him, and Mark brought up the rear, right behind his mother. All of them held us in one strong hug before we heard clapping from around us.
I stiffened. This was always the time when a taunt was thrown our way, but for once, none came.
Malinda pulled back and pressed her hand over her hair, making sure it was in place, before she waved her hand to the group that formed. “Come on,” she said. “I’ve got a hug for each of you guys. Let’s get it going, one big hug train here.”
I asked David, “Do you need us to stay and greet people?”
He patted my shoulder. “Go ahead and have fun. Pictures are done. You guys are free to relax and enjoy. Just come to the reception in two hours.”
“Wait, wait.” Logan jostled, pressing up against my elbow so he could hear better, “We got two hours, you say?”
The easy grin slipped from my dad’s face, and he tugged at his tuxedo collar. “Uh, you be there, and you be sober, Logan.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Logan slid his arm over my shoulder and bobbed his head up and down. Excitement seemed to be radiating from him, and he was barely containing it. “I don’t want to piss off Mama Malinda. We’ll be back, and we’ll be sober…or we will appear to be sober.”
He put his fingers to his forehead and saluted my father. “See ya later, Señor Strattan.”
“Mason,” my father spoke over Logan. “I want my daughter back, and she has to be sober. The chief of police will be at our reception.”
Mason stepped up to my side. He removed Logan’s arm from my shoulders and patted it as he guided it back to Logan’s side, making a show of the gesture. He nodded to my father. “She will be. Logan’s got a bee up his ass today, but don’t worry.”
Mason interlaced our fingers, tugging me to his side. He spoke over my head, “She’ll be fine. Won’t she, Logan?”
Logan rolled his eyes and jerked a hand over his shoulder. “Let’s head out before the crowd gets here.” As soon as we were outside, he made a beeline for Mason’s Escalade.
He started to head for the driver’s seat, but Mason called out, “Hell no. Back, buddy.”
There was no argument.
Logan slid into the backseat but waved for us to hurry. “Come on. Hashtag Logan’s thirsty, get a move on it.”
“Oh god.” Mason’s hand released my elbow.
I went around to the front passenger seat.
As we got inside, Mason added, “Not the damn hashtags. I can’t take them today.”
Logan ignored him and began tapping on the ceiling. “Whatever. Let’s go. I’m in the mood, the mood for booze.”