major in his education.
Oh, and he’d miss the cheesesteak sandwiches from Pat’s King of Steaks in South Philly.
“You didn’t tell us anything about Zarah Mitchell’s dinner Friday night.” Perty must have gotten tired of the silence again. “How was it?”
He had to give her an A+ for her effort at car banter, so how could he not reciprocate? “It was fine. I met one of the drama professors from JRU, who wants my help designing sets for their spring play. And I met an editor from Lindsley House Publishing who might want me to do some freelance design work for them.”
“That would be lovely—the freelance work—if it would come through. You’ll want to be sure to follow up on that this week.”
Pat me on the head and give me a lollipop while you’re at it, Perty
. Sure, maybe he hadn’t shown the highest level of maturity when he’d chosen to move in with Rhonda six months ago—knowing that having any kind of romantic relationship with her, as the chair of his department, was against institute policy, even though everyone knew about it and turned a blind eye at the time—but he was twenty-eight years old for crying out loud. Why couldn’t anyone in his family treat him like an adult?
Gramps turned onto a tree-lined street and then drove about half a block and pulled into a long driveway leading to a quaint white house. A white Ford Escape hybrid sat in the carport beside a much smaller vehicle covered with a gray car cover.
Sassy Evans. Caylor Evans’s grandmother.
No sooner did her name cross his mind than Caylor herself walked out onto the covered porch that connected the house to the carport.
Dylan averted his eyes, but not before the image of the statuesque redhead dressed in a vibrant purple sweater, gray skirt, and high-heeled, tall black boots was seared onto his retinas. He might have to break down and draw her just to stop having such a strong visceral reaction to her every time he saw her.
A slender, white-haired lady—who looked petite compared to Caylor’s over-six-foot stature, especially with the extra height from the heels—came out behind her and locked the door.
Dylan climbed out and opened the front passenger door for her—and realized Gramps was halfway around the car to do the same thing. Gramps smiled at him and then met Sassy just under the overhang of the carport roof.
Though he tried not to, Dylan met Caylor’s turquoise gaze. He inclined his head. With one arm wrapped around what looked like a notebook and a Bible—not nearly as large as the one Perty had given him—she raised her free hand and wiggled her fingers in greeting, making her keys jangle. Instead of heading toward Gramps’s car, Caylor went around to her SUV and climbed in. So, she wasn’t riding with them, too?
“Sassy Evans, you remember our oldest grandson, Dylan.” Gramps, who’d held Sassy by the elbow the few steps from the carport to the car, handed her over to Dylan to offer her assistance getting in.
Sassy’s blue eyes twinkled, and she smiled a huge, Polident-commercial-worthy smile at him. “Of course I do. It’s very nice to see you again.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Evans. It’s nice to see you again, too.” He waited until she was settled in the seat, fastening her seat belt, before closing the door and getting back into the warmth the car offered.
After Dylan fastened himself back in, Perty reached over and patted his knee. When he looked over at her, she winked at him—and in that expression, all of the memories of Perty encouraging him to draw and paint, the kits of pastels and oils she’d given him, the professors she found to teach him technique, came rushing back in. He needed to give her the benefit of the doubt. Allow for the fact that this situation was probably as awkward for them as it was for him.
Mrs. Evans turned halfway around so she could look over the seat at Perty. They started discussing their senior adult group’s upcoming Christmas party.