All That Matters

All That Matters by Loralee Lillibridge Read Free Book Online

Book: All That Matters by Loralee Lillibridge Read Free Book Online
Authors: Loralee Lillibridge
Tags: Romance
    “That’s right, Mr. Morgan, sir. Faith and I are married.   That’s what we came to tell you.” It was hard to talk with a mouth drier than chalk, but Buddy Lee figured he’d managed well enough for the man to understand what he’d said.
    “Beryl! Beryl, come down here!” The roar Lionel emitted when he called his wife’s name was loud enough to wake the residents of the local cemetery two miles outside of town.
    While they waited in the doorway, Buddy Lee stole a glance past the outraged man on the chance he might spot any shotguns close by. Better to know what odds he was facing, in case he and Faith had to make a quick exit off the porch. Never hurt to be prepared.
    Beryl Morgan glided down the staircase and took her place next to her husband. Clad in a diaphanous robe of pale yellow, the frail woman was nearly invisible in the shadow of her portly spouse. Pale skin, pale hair. To Buddy Lee’s way of thinking, she looked downright sickly.
    “What on earth is the matter, Lionel?” Beryl’s voice was as frail as her stature. Her hands fluttered at her throat. She stared blankly at her daughter. “Why, hello, dear. Why are you standing in the door?”
    Lionel ignored his wife and scowled at the couple. “You two get in here and do some explaining. And it had better be damn good.” He turned and stomped down the hall.
    Faith brushed her mother’s cheek with a kiss. “Let’s go in, Mama, and we’ll tell you all about it.”
    As Beryl followed her husband down the wide hall, Faith tugged on Buddy Lee’s hand. “C’mon,” she urged. “We have to tell them. Just remember, let me do the explaining. All you have to do is agree with whatever I say, okay?”
    That was the same directive she’d given him too many times before. He nodded, but a creepy feeling of déjà vu crawled up his spine. The way his mouth dried up and his tongue tied itself in a knot, he couldn’t have talked much anyhow.
    He did wonder, though, why Faith was suddenly so calm and determined, when last night she’d come to him in hysterics over Royce’s rough and secretive actions. Had getting married made that much of a change in her? He didn’t claim to be a math whiz, but something here wasn’t adding up. He wasn’t quite sure what to make of the whole thing.
    Lionel motioned to a quartet of white wicker chairs fitted with plump, yellow and blue print cushions. Buddy Lee waited until everyone else was seated before taking the chair next to Faith. He made a quick visual inspection of his surroundings.
    The room was nearly the size of his entire house. Light and airy, it afforded a spectacular view of the colorful gardens surrounding a sparkling swimming pool. A perfect spot for an intimate chat.   Or a loud confrontation. He had already figured out which one this was likely to be. Oh, yeah. He wiped his sweaty palms on his denim-clad legs.
    “Daddy. Mama. Like we explained, Buddy Lee and I got married this afternoon.”
    Buddy Lee noticed Faith visibly holding her breath, so maybe she wasn’t so confident, after all. He wasn’t sure if he felt better or worse, but when Lionel jumped up and grabbed him by the shirt front, worse pretty well covered it.
    Lionel pushed his face right up next to his. “Impossible! She’s marrying Royce tomorrow.”
    He stood close enough for him to get a real good whiff of the man’s strong whiskey breath, but Buddy Lee stood his ground. “No sir, she’s not.”
    Morgan made a move, ready to swing a fist, but Faith grabbed his arm. “Stop it, Daddy! You’re making Mama have a fainting spell.”
    She rushed to the built-in bar across the room and poured a glass of water for her mother. “Here, Mama, drink this. You’ll feel better in a minute.”
    Lionel waved aside his daughter’s protest. “Never mind her.   She faints at the drop of a hat.” He turned to his wife. “Beryl, pay attention. Didn’t you hear what our daughter just said?   She’s gone and married Boyd

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