Dylan - Karla Sorensen Page 0,2

I could see all the pictures of my nephews this way. I laughed when I watched a video that my sister-in-law Rachel had posted of her and Tate’s son, Asher. Tate was in their backyard, tossing Asher so high into the air that Rachel hissed at him to be careful. But Asher was belly-laughing every time my brother tossed him higher and higher, always catching him.

Most of my guy friends would probably call me a twinky for saying it, but sometimes all the pictures and the videos just made me sad. I loved those kids. They always made me smile and I never failed to spoil them rotten just so I could be the favorite uncle, but everyone else had that. Everyone. And it didn’t bother me because I wanted it, believe it or not, but because it just set me apart so much.

The friends from high school that still lived in west Michigan were all married with at least one kid. My sister Casey was the sibling I was closest to, but she was married to Jake and I expected her to be knocked up any day. Even without a munchkin slobbering over her, I didn’t talk to her nearly as much anymore. My family kicked ass, there was no doubt about it, but they all had busy lives that just kept getting busier.

And it wasn’t that I was terribly unhappy here, because that wasn’t it. With the exception of douchebag Jim, I really enjoyed my job, and I was good at it. My house was okay, but it was a rental, nothing that I felt tied to. Just stuck in it. Actually, that’s kind of how everything felt for me, when I narrowed it down. I felt stuck. Going to the same places every week, never branching out enough, never seeing or experiencing the things that I always thought I would have by the age of thirty-four.

Unless the perfect woman literally dropped into my lap, the way I was living now certainly wasn’t going to bring her to me. This week alone I’d worked seventy-four hours; not exactly an open schedule for experiencing new things. And there was no sign of that changing. The only way my life would change was if I made it happen.

I watched the video of Asher one more time, grinning when Rachel told my brother he had a death wish by pretending like he was going to drop their son.

Then I pulled Bill’s card out of my wallet and sent him a text.

Me: It’s Dylan. I think I’d like to hear more.

Chapter Two

Dylan

“Isaiah! Do not throw that back at him!” I leaned to the left, my dad leaned the right; both of us trying to see the Tigers game around my sister-in-law Jen who was mid-disciplinary action. Something with glue paste and an ear, but I couldn’t be sure. Jen pinned both of the boys with a rock-hard stare.

“Jen, do you think you could move this a foot to the left?” I asked, pushing my bottom lip out in pout, batting my eyelids.

“Only because you asked so nicely. Now put that lip back in before you hook it on something.” She smacked me on the side of the head and stalked after her kids. I wish I could say all of the insanity fazed me, but it really didn’t. I was one of five kids and I had six nephews under the age of ten. Nothing short of someone rubbing shit into my hair made me blink.

My dad slapped me on the leg. “Well done. You don’t have to work today? Your mom was so happy you could make it.”

We both groaned when something happened on the field, nothing out of the ordinary for the Tigers, and I nodded. “Yeah, I need to go in after dinner, but I switched some hours with Maggie. She wanted to be able to see her kid sing in church tonight.”

He started to ask me something else and peals of laughter came from the kitchen, drawing my dad’s attention. It was a relief to not be his sole focus, because I was only one week from giving my notice at work. I’d already told my landlord I was moving, but my family? Knew nothing. They had no idea that I’d dropped one truck-full of household items off at Goodwill, and had spent hours researching what would be entailed in a cross country move.

Even while we all moved from the various spots around my parents’ house to sit