"I honestly have no idea, sorry Kane. I know someone who could help," Iris said before handing the phone over to Dylan, her dad's partner.
Dylan happily walked him through good developmental products and good patterns. The man had two grandkids from a marriage and was a professor of child development psychology.
She took the phone back and smiled. "You just made his day."
Kane nodded and sighed, "I didn't mean to watch her... I don't even know what she likes... do you mind if I send you pictures and ask questions? When you get back come here as soon as you can... I already miss you darlin'." He muttered into the phone.
He made sure Ava was strapped into his truck and started the drive to Nashville. " Daddy has a dog princess... your going to love him."
Smiling at the word darling, she looked to her dads as they ate something incredibly green. Her dad being honored made the mess in her head easier.
"I still have a few days here in Portland. I got roped into a trip to the lake house to make up for those two days. And..I may be the least qualified babysitter out there," she said into her phone. A few days away from the shitstorm that was brewing.
"A vacation and there's been two days if sun. I love my home."
Two days later Kane was ready to take Ava home to Nashville with him, he gathered what things she had and would have to take her shopping when they got back to Tennessee, the press was having a field day with his ex and the mother of his child dying from overdose.
Kane called Iris, "Darlin', are you on your trip yet? I need a favor... can you come with Ava and I shopping for her stuff... I don't know how to shop for a girl."
"It's okay, I took care of it on the way here. Um .. good luck..." She said rubbing her arm. That was a stupid thing to say. "Maybe your mom might have ideas. Call if you need anything just call me okay."
She looked to the little girl. She kissed his cheek before she started out the door. First thing, something not fried. Second, she could use some good drinks. Maybe even some company for the frustration.
Kane nodded, "I'll pay for your hotel, I'm the reason your here and Fort Oglethorpe doesn't have much to offer, I'm sorry about that." Ava clung to her father crying. She didn't have anyone but him. Even her own grandparents from her mother's side had disowned her because she was half Kane and they hated him. He sighed, "Its okay princess daddy's got you." He anonymously paid for Shelby's funeral as well.
Iris stood there, serving no greater purpose than interfering with the door. She held back tears before playing with the phone. She had to reassure her dad and stepdad she'd be there in two days. She wasn't being the best friend.
"Maybe I should let you have the night together. I'll find a hotel with real coffee and bed," she said after a while. This just was uncomfortable. The child she had carried would be six.
"I don't know what I'm going to do... I am not a good dad... but I'm all she has." Kane said shaking his head. He knew he wasn't cut out for this but he couldn't abandon her, he was a better man than that. "A nanny maybe? I just.. I'm not a good parent. I'm not someone she should look up to."
It was a few hours later and Kane knelt down and his daughter ran into his arms crying.
The idea of being there for a dramatic moment twisted her empty stomach. She looked to the coffee and put it down.She'd need something a lot stronger than this. What was she supposed to do with this situation? First, she was a friend and worked with him alongside that.
"I can for a while, just cut the Portland trip short by two days," she said with a nod placing a hand on his shoulder.
"I need to go to Georgia." he said scrambling after he hung up the phone. He was nervous and worried and scared all at once. "Iris... I need your help and I know your not into kids and truth me told I'm not the best dad but Shelby... she overdosed last night and Ava found her this morning... Ava is at the police station on my home town scared to death and wanting her daddy... come to Georgia with me?"
As soon as she picked up and they asked if this was Kane Brown she handed the phone to him. She answered the massive amounts of texts from Kenny, the manager and boss, and from her cousin. She really shouldn't have done that.
She worked on the Uber car since renting one seemed useless. They'd be going to Richmond and the bus ride home. Having done her job, she went to play a game on her phone.
Kane sighed, "You might not need me to protect you but darlin', I was raised a southern gentleman and I will protect you either way." He said kissing the top of her head. "No offense darlin but that coffee smells like a dirty diaper... I'm not even sure its coffee." Kane's phone buzzed then and he went to grab his jacket off the chair, "Can you get that?" He asked her since his phone was on the table beside her by the pizza box. It was a Georgia number, not in his phone. Child Services? Shelby had overdosed and Ava needed her only parent... Kane.
"Body temperature warm. It's been a while..." Iris said putting the packet in. She didn't even like the smell of the coffee. This would be her punishment, she was sure of it. "Well, it's, uh, close pictures. I don't need you defending me, though, I dated a detective for a year. He made sure I had my self defense lessons and shooting."
She knew this would take time to recover from. She just didn't think it'd be here in the spotlight.
"Don't worry about her, Country Music's bad boy was seen with a girl, big deal, we're friends and nothing happened... you were drunk and I was not about to take advantage of you or let someone else take advantage of you, and trust me there were plenty of men there last night that were looking." He said protectively. He wouldn't let anything happen to her. He stopped for a second, 'Wait... did you just call me hot?"
"A discussion for after coffee that doesn't taste like ass. God, you're warm.. didn't need the blanket once," Iris dug through her purse finding her small brush. She could at least look like she hadn't had sex, even if she hadn't. That almost disappointed her.
"There, uh, might've been pictures of us dancing and your P.R woman chewed me out. And it's... everywhere...yeah, bad idea in retrospect, I guess," Iris said picking up the package of coffee and looked to the tiny pot. It would do.
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