A humble heart, p.5
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       A Humble Heart, p.5

         Part #1 of Hollywood Hearts series by R. L. Mathewson

  she was the real deal.

  His brows shot up when he saw two of the cutest kids shyly walk into the trailer. The little girl with her slightly curly honey blonde hair and deep blue eyes was without a doubt the prettiest little girl he’d ever seen. She sent him a shy smile, blushed, and stared at the floor, but that wasn’t what shocked him.

  A little boy, a toddler perhaps and cute as hell, stepped into the trailer, taking his mother’s hand into his and smiled devilishly towards him. Edward blinked, once, twice and then again as he studied the boy. Holy hell

  ..this was eerie. The little boy looked just like him. Correction the little boy looked exactly the way he did when he was a toddler.

  Amy was going to go into hysterics when she caught a glimpse of this kid.

  Dana talked to Deana for another minute before the woman left, but not before she wiggled her fingers at him and grinned, then winced. He watched as Dana knelt down in front of her children and said hello. She gave them each a warm smile, hug, and a kiss before turning her attention back to him.

  “Edward, this is my daughter,” she gently pulled the shy little girl forward, “Elizabeth, and this little man is my son, Cole.”

  “Hi,” Elizabeth said shyly, not looking up from the floor.

  Cole released his mother’s hand and walked casually over to stand in front of him. Edward couldn’t help but grin at the little guy. Cole crossed his arms over his little chest and looked Edward over. Then with a slight nod as if what he saw met with his approval Cole thrust out his hand.

  “I’m Cole,” he announced.

  Edward reached out and took the small little tanned hand into his own. He was surprised how delicate and warm the hand felt. He’d never really been around kids.

  Hell, he couldn’t think of anyone he knew who had kids.

  “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Cole. I’m Edward.”

  Cole nodded firmly as he took his hand away and gestured to his bigger sister. “Dats Elizabeth.”

  Edward smiled at the little girl. “It’s nice to meet you, Elizabeth.”

  Elizabeth gave him another one of those shy smiles.

  “Hello,” she said softly.

  While he was saying hello to Elizabeth Cole took it upon himself to climb onto his lap.

  “Ah, Cole, what did we talk about?” Dana asked, looking embarrassed.

  Edward chuckled as he adjusted the boy so he could straddle the end of his leg. Cole leaned forward, planted both elbows on the table and rested his chin in his upturned hands, no doubt giving his mother an innocent look.

  “It’s okay,” Edward said.

  “He’s my new friend,” Cole announced.

  Dana worried her lip. “I’m really sorry.”

  “It’s really okay,” Edward chuckled. “Like he said we’re buddies.”

  “See,” Cole said smugly.

  Elizabeth gently tugged on Dana’s tee shirt. “What is it, baby girl?” Dana asked.

  “We didn’t get to do the food shopping today, because of Deana’s tooth. Are we going to do it now?”

  “I guess we’re gonna have to if you guys want to eat, huh?”

  Elizabeth nodded firmly.

  “I get to sit in the carriage!” Cole announced.

  “That’s not fair!” Elizabeth replied.

  Dana pinched the bridge of her nose between two fingers. “Guys, it’s just the three of us. I can’t push two carriages so only one of you can sit in the carriage and since Cole is the youngest I’m afraid it’s going to have to be him.”

  Instead of arguing or throwing a fit like he’d seen countless number of kids do out in public Elizabeth nodded dutifully.

  “Okay, Mommy.”

  Dana pushed a loose strand of hair back as she focused on him. “I’m really sorry about this.”

  Edward waved it off. “Don’t worry about it.” Then a thought occurred to him. “What grocery store are you going to?”

  She frowned as she answered. “McKinley’s over by Pizza Genius.”

  Perfect. That was five minutes away from his house, a house that currently held no food or beverages in it. “Any chance you wouldn’t mind me tagging along and teaching me how to shop?”


  Dana and Elizabeth laughed as they watched Edward struggle with the little cloth seat belt of the carriage. Cole tried to belt himself into the carriage, but it didn’t work and Edward was refusing their help. “It’s a man’s job,” he said with a smile and a wink.

  They watched with humor until the little plastic belt snapped off. Then Dana cringed. Something like this would have set her ex off. Actually, Jeff would have started bitching and yelling a few minutes ago when he couldn’t get the belt to cooperate.

  Unfortunately the kids remembered all too well how their father behaved even if they hadn’t seen him in almost a year. Elizabeth gasped and cringed away, expecting Edward to start yelling and blaming them and Dana for the carriage’s incompetence. Cole sat there silently crying.

  Before Dana could sweep in and take Cole into her arms Edward was there.

  He smiled warmly at Cole as he gently picked him up and out of the carriage. Cole cringed, expecting to be on the receiving end of Edward’s anger. His father had only hit Cole one time and that had been one time too many.

  Thankfully by then they were already separated. She took a picture of Cole’s back and had the police have a word with the oversized bully.

  “Guess we’ll have to get another carriage, buddy,”

  Edward said casually as he wiped the tears off of Cole’s cheeks. Cole nodded as Edward placed him into another carriage and finally managed to belt him in. Then the men high fived each other and Cole was back to smiling.

  “So, what now?” Edward asked.

  When he asked to join them, no, correction, for her to teach him how to shop, she thought he was kidding. Now she wasn’t so sure.

  “You really don’t know how to shop?” she whispered, trying not to embarrass him.

  He gave her a sheepish smile and a shrug. “No.”

  “Really?” She couldn’t hide her shock. He was in his mid twenties. By twelve she’d been doing all the household shopping for a year.

  “When I was a kid Amy used to go with our mom. I never wanted to. I lived at home up until a few years ago.” Another shrug. “I was never around long enough to need an apartment or house of my own. I was always filming. Since I bought my house,” another shrug, “well, I’m still not there much, but when I am I usually have a service that does it for me or my mother or sister does it for me.”

  “Oh.” She thought that over. Then frowned. “If they do it for you then why do you want to learn? I don’t mind showing you, but I am curious.”

  He sighed heavily. “The service isn’t reliable and sometimes they charge me and never bring the food so I’m stuck with nothing to eat or drink. Worse if they do remember to actually do it they forget half the stuff. When my family does it they completely ignore what I want and buy what they like.” He grimaced. “I’m getting sick of fat free yogurt and diet corn flakes and tomato juice. I swear Amy always forgets that she’s not buying for herself.”

  “Ah, gotcha,” Dana said, smiling. She’d hate to have a houseful of food that she didn’t want.

  “I can help!” Cole cried out.

  “Me too!” Elizabeth piped in, acting less shy.

  Edward smiled at the children. “Alright guys, let’s get this done.”


  “Mommy, he’s silly!” Cole giggled.

  Dana had to agree as she watched Edward lovingly pick up a box of cookies and place them in his carriage. He paused and then grabbed two more packages.

  He sent her a lopsided grin. “Don’t laugh, woman. You’d be drooling too if it had been years since you had your favorite cookies.”

  “I can’t argue that,” Dana agreed as she placed a different package of cookies in her carriage for the kids.

  Then she grabbed a package of hi
s favorite cookies and added them. He raised a quizzical brow in her direction.

  “For the trailer,” she said, earning a grin from him.

  “What now?” he asked, looking both lost and eager.

  Cole turned in his seat and studied the options. He pointed ahead. “Milk.”

  “Milk it is then, buddy.” Edward pushed the carriage over to the milk section while Dana followed behind with her own carriage.

  She tried her best not to smile, but the man was absolutely adorable as he tried to figure out the difference between whole milk and one percent. Cole wasn’t very helpful. His suggestion was to add chocolate to it. In the end Edward threw her a pleading look and with a playful eye roll she helped him out.

  They took shopping slowly as Edward acquainted himself with the aisles and selections. Normally she’d be done in under an hour, but tonight she was in no rush. She hated to see a grown man struggle. It reminded her of her own situation after she left Jeff.

  She had to make every cent count because Jeff refused to pay child support. Thanks to him she wasn’t able to afford a car and had to rely on her own two feet or bus lines to get her and the kids everywhere. When her book sales took off she was able to move to California with the kids into a one bedroom apartment. They stayed there for three months before they bought the house. It was hard, but thankfully she was able to afford Deana. As Dana’s own bank account built up she was able to pay Deana what she was worth with a large bonus to make up for the months of poor pay.

  “Mommy, why are woman acting funny about Edward?”

  Elizabeth asked.

  Dana looked up and was surprised to see women were actually following them. How she missed that earlier she didn’t know. Their shopping was completely forgotten as they gawked at Edward. Several of the men threw their hands up in the air, clearly disgusted with the women’s attention for Edward and stalked off. None of the women seemed to notice the loss of their men.

  Edward, to his credit looked embarrassed and uncomfortable with the attention. He averted his eyes and focused on shopping while talking to Cole. Cole being Cole of course smiled and waved at the women. He was such a little ladies man. Deana and she were constantly having problems with little girls chasing him down in the playground to steal a kiss. Cole would scream and cry, but Dana knew he secretly loved the attention.

  “Edward, I love you!” a teenage girl cried out. Her poor mother blushed fiercely as she hushed the girl.

  Edward smiled nervously at Dana. “I’m really sorry about this. I guess I wasn’t thinking when I suggested this.”

  Dana waved it off. “It’s not a problem. You’re doing fine.”

  She wanted to tell him that he had the right to do whatever he wanted and shouldn’t have to worry about this, but he was already embarrassed.

  “Mommy says I can date in ten years!” Cole announced to the women earning several “awe, isn’t he cute” and laughs. Dana sighed inwardly. She really was going to have her hands full with this one.

  They moved down the aisle and Dana noted that whatever Edward put in his carriage two or three women in their late teens and early twenties would grab as well. She couldn’t help but think how uncomfortable that would make her if that happened to her one day. Talk about pressure.


  Edward stole another glance at Dana as she bent over to pick up some marshmallow cereal that the kids begged politely for. They really were good kids, he thought. Never once had they thrown a fit or raised their voices and they always said please. Not like some kids he’d seen over the years who threw gigantic screaming fits over not getting their way.

  He couldn’t help watching as her bottom swayed gently as she reached for a box in the back. Damn. Did she have any idea what that did to a man? Probably not. Thankfully he was wearing lose jeans. No need to further embarrass himself, especially since the women behind him were taking pictures with their camera phones every thirty seconds or so. He really didn’t think he was doing anything interesting. But then again maybe they were taking pictures of Cole. The kid was a natural flirt.

  “Edward, can I peease have a cup of juice?” Cole asked as he gestured to a courtesy table for customers.

  Damn, for a three and a half year old the boy was really intelligent. The same could definitely be said for Elizabeth.

  “Sure, buddy,” he said as he rolled their carriage over to the table.

  Cole sat patiently in the carriage as he waited for a woman to finish pouring juice for a little boy who looked to be around eight years old. The little boy snatched the cup from the woman, took a sip and then promptly threw the cup to the ground.

  “I don’t want fruit punch! I want soda! You promised me soda!” the little boy screamed. When the mother tried to calm the boy down by promising to buy him soda the little boy pushed the juice dispenser to the ground.

  Cole sat quietly with his brows arched up. Clearly the three year old was just as shocked as he was by the behavior. The boy continued to scream and kick the broken dispenser as the mother apologized to the little boy, promising him a new video game, soda and anything else the boy wanted.

  A stock boy came over and without a word cleaned up the mess. Edward guessed this happened often. Edward and Cole waited patiently to see if new juice was going to be put out.

  The stock boy looked at the woman and screaming child and then at Edward. The kid shrugged. “Sorry, sir. The manager won’t let us put any more out after

  .” He nodded towards the tantrum and spilled juice. “Sorry, it’s store policy.”

  Edward nodded and looked at Cole, ready to see the kid finally melt down and cry over the juice he was being unfairly denied. Cole simply shrugged.

  “Do you want me to get you a soda?” Edward asked, not really sure what to do.

  Cole’s face squished up. “Mommy will get mad.

  Elizabeth and me don’t drink soda.”

  “Oh,” Edward mumbled. Kids didn’t drink soda? He couldn’t remember when his mother first let him drink soda.

  “Can I have sum of the water, peease?” Cole asked in such a cute way that Edward couldn’t deny him. Not that he would. Water was good for kids, right? It couldn’t be bad, he decided as he poured a cup for the boy. “Elizabeth, too?” Cole asked.

  “Sure.” He poured a second cup and handed it to Cole who hugged it fiercely to his little chest while he sipped from his own cup. Edward grabbed a large cup and filled it with ice cold water before rejoining the women.

  He sipped the water as they searched the next aisle.

  When he spotted Dana he bee lined for her and offered her a drink. She accepted the offer with a “thank you.” Clearly the kids learned their manors from her. As she sipped from the cup several women offered her money for the rest of the water.

  Dana looked genuinely surprised with the offers. Then she looked at Edward with an amused smile. “Wow, I never drank five hundred dollars worth of water before.” She took another small sip. “I gotta tell you it’s a little disappointing.

  Tastes just like tap water,” she said teasingly as she handed the cup back to him.

  He chuckled deeply as he accepted the water. She was definitely different from all the women he’d met before.

  Several of the women he’d spent time with in the past would have ripped the cup from his hand and run it to the highest bidder. There were others who would have thrown a fit worse than that eight year old at not having his full attention and of course there the women who would bask in the glory of being seen with him. Dana was none of those women.

  “Excuse me, Mr. Pierce?” a man said.

  Edward looked over his shoulder to see a man wearing a starched white shirt and black tie waiting to speak with him. The man shifted nervously. Edward’s eyes dropped to the gold name tag that declared this man the store manager.

  “I wanted to apologize for the juice, Mr. Pierce.” He cleared his throat. “I wasn’t aware that your little boy was waiting for some juice until Jonathan to
ld me.” Edward looked past the manager to see the stock boy who cleaned up the juice shifting nervously as he glanced at the women who looked ready to pounce.

  “It’s fine,” Edward said, gesturing to the kids. “There was ice water available and the kids seem to be happy with it.”

  “It was nummies,” Cole agreed with a firm nod.

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