She'd hugged Rio fiercely as Johnny quietly spoke to the officer.
Before he left, Shaye had rested his hand on Rio's shoulder. "The next time you want to run away, run upstairs to the attic," he told the teen sternly.
Just the thought of it made his stomach churn.
Of course, the first time he went all the way, something like that would happen. Nadine was never going to talk to him again. If her dad even let her talk to him.
His life was over.
He paused, waiting for Rio to acknowledge him. "Right?" he pressed.
Haley squeezed his hand, feeling more tears pressing. "Thank you."
"Yeah, I figured," he mumbled. And you know what, he didn't even care.
Haley gave a sputtered laugh. "It was awful!" she told him, smacking his chest.
Johnny reached up and stroked her cheek. "I know," he admitted. "It was a shitty, shitty day. But, Rio's a good kid. He's going to be okay."
Haley rested her cheek against Johnny's shoulder. "I hope so," she said quietly. She nuzzled his chest, snuggling closer. It was all too easy to get used to Johnny being around. What would she do without him?
It was strange how much things had changed since Johnny came back. Haley used to come to her to decide how to handle the boys, but now she'd begun relying on Johnny. She supposed it was good now that she would be moving out...
Haley turned to her friend with surprise. "What?!" she asked eagerly. She could use some good news!
Haley gasped. "Oh my plumbbob! Maritza! How did I not notice this?!" she asked, reaching for Maritza's hand to look at the ring. "Oh, it's beautiful!" she gushed. "Congratulations!"
Martiza smiled, so proud. "We've had a lot happening. I wanted to wait until things had calmed down before saying anything."
"Oh, you should have told me right away!" Haley said. "So?! Have you talked with Charles about any details?" she asked, already imaging the type of wedding Maritza might like. Darryl would make such a handsome ring-bearer!
Haley was surprised. "Is there a reason for a quick marriage?" she asked, wondering if maybe they would have another baby in the house. Where in the world would we put another crib?!
"Yes," Maritza swallowed, obviously emotion.
Haley's eyes lit up. "Congratulations!" she told her friend. "When are you due?!"
Maritza shook her head. "No, I'm not pregnant," she said. "Charles was accepted into the Doctors Across Borders program. Darryl and I are going to be leaving with him..."
"Nice throw!" Johnny called out, lifting his arms up and catching the ball effortlessly.
Jason glanced up with a grin on his face. "Holy crap, that was crazy! Teach me to throw like that!"
He couldn't wait to see her at school on Monday.
Johnny swung around the newel post and grinned at his nephew. "I'm posting bail and we're blowing this joint!" he said. "Come on!"
It was still strange getting used to all the changes!
Jason glanced at Johnny with a genuine smile. "That was awesome! Did you see that pass the quarterback tossed? It's like the one you were teaching me today!"
Johnny elbowed him playfully. "Yeah, you've got quite an arm on you! I bet you could play professionally when you grow up!"
Jason's eyes lit up. "Really? You think so?"
"Sure!" Johnny told him. "Come on, let's grab some treats!" he said, leading the kids over to the vendors.
"I'm glad you had fun!" she smiled. "Now, it's a school night. Did both of you get all your homework done?"
"Yes!" Darryl answered quickly while Jason and Rio groaned.