“I love you!”
“Mom,” Chaz protested halfheartedly.
She kissed his cheek, despite masculine teenage views on minimizing displays of sentiment.
“Have a good day at school!” She tucked the younger children’s hands in his and sent them on their way.
Chaz sighed but walked his siblings to the elementary and double-checked their lunches before they went inside.
He never said it, but there was something more than obligation that had him watching them protectively, and he never ducked his mother’s kisses. His best friend didn’t have as much.
He pulled out his phone and texted, “I love you too.”0