onto Faith’s legs and tried not to wince as she grabbed two fistfuls of his hair to help her balance. “Ready?”
“I’m so big!” Her little feet bounced with each step Wade took, and from the excited shrieks she would let out from time to time, she was enjoying the view. Wade would’ve carried her up a mountain to keep the radiant smile on Sydney’s face. The way she was looking at him made him wonder why he had waited so long to spend time with her. He was enjoying her company, and Faith’s, far more than he expected.
“Well, there you are. I was just about to send a search party out for the three of you.” Agnes waved them over to a nearby picnic table. The dance floor was set up on a large grassy area behind the supermarket. Wade was always amazed at how many people could be crammed into such a tiny space. With a great flourish, he swung Faith onto the picnic table beside Agnes, taking care to protect her bare foot.
“That was fun!” Faith hugged his leg. “Thanks for the ride, Sheriff Wade.”
“Anytime.” Wade’s hand tenderly brushed over the girl’s curls. He wondered if Sydney knew how lucky she was to have this child in her life. What he wouldn’t give for someone to unconditionally love him the way Faith loved Sydney.
“You gonna stay and dance, Wade?” Agnes asked with a knowing grin on her face. “Why don’t you take Sydney out for a spin on the dance floor?”
As much as Wade had enjoyed himself, he didn’t want to push too far, too fast. She was finally more comfortable with him but it didn’t take much to make her look like she wanted to cut and run. As a lesson in patience, and to avoid the sinful temptation of her lips, he decided to leave.
“Another time,” he said to Sydney, hoping she heard the sincerity in his voice. More than anything, he wanted to get his hands on her, but not with half the town watching. He preferred for it to be much more private. And intense. When he caught Sydney’s shy smile, he knew she felt it, too. “You ladies have fun.”
Agnes watched him like a hawk, trying to dissect each of his words. He did his best to keep his expression neutral. For now, he was happy to see that Sydney recognized his interest and could feel something starting to happen between them. Let the rest of the town wonder.
“Now, don’t go running off like a jackrabbit, Wade. Join us for some music if you don’t want to dance.”
With mention of a rabbit, Faith’s eyes lit up and she launched into the details of her time in the petting area. Agnes’ attention was captured by the tiny girl’s enthusiasm, so Wade decided to take his leave, but not before catching Sydney’s eye.
“Have fun,” Wade said.
“Thanks for the rescue earlier.”
The funny thing was, walking away from them was harder than he imagined it would be. He hadn’t realized how much he wanted to stay, until he left. He’d gone a few steps when someone grabbed his arm and stopped him in his tracks.
“You know, it’s not wise to sneak up on a police officer, Melissa.” He tried to be stern, but the peeved look on her face made him grin.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
He could tell his exit had derailed some elaborate plan Melissa had concocted, but he wasn’t going to make it easy on her. Part of the fun of being friends with Melissa was watching her get herself all riled up.
“I’m going to check out the festival. Want to join me?” He offered his elbow but she just continued to glare at him.
“No. I don’t want to join you. Why didn’t you ask Sydney to come with you?”
“You two are leaving soon and besides, I left her in Agnes’ very capable hands,” he said, nodding toward the picnic tables.
Livid, Melissa punched him in the arm. “The only hands she wants to be in are yours, you big idiot.”
That comment piqued his attention. Wade highly doubted that Sydney would have voiced her feelings for Wade, or lack thereof, to Melissa knowing how