If you haven’t read the Prologue, you can catch up here
Two years later
“Hey, Ruby,” Evan said when he walked into Butler Construction’s office. “Got the house sold across the street from me, I see.”
Ruby Turner was the realtor that Butlers used exclusively for new builds. Not everyone that was selling a house in the development went through her, but if anyone wanted to build, they did. It was easier for them to contract with her to do all the work, to set it up with his cousin Whitney when the time was ready to start building and ordering, and then Evan, his brother Christian, and cousin Ryan would get to work along with the over one hundred other employees they had.
Evan’s father, Michael, and his uncle, Matt, now ran the company that their father had started many, many years ago. But his father and uncle were in the offices buying land and making deals both residential and commercial.
“I did. Should be closing in two weeks. Want some information?”
“Nope,” Evan said. “Don’t care. I want neighbors that keep to themselves. I built at the end of the road hoping for that. I’ve been lucky with the neighbors on the one side and the few others on my street, but those directly across the street had been a pain in my butt from the day they moved in.”
He didn’t like it known who he was, but it was hard to hide it with his truck saying Butler Construction on it. Even then, he pulled it in the garage every night.
It drove him insane when the last people that lived across the street would knock on his door every time they heard a creak in the house.
“Since when are you the grouch of the family?” his cousin Whitney asked. “That was Ryan’s job.”
“Ryan isn’t a grouch much anymore and you know it,” he said of his youngest cousin, Whitney’s brother. “He struck gold with Shannon and a ready-made family. I can’t believe he is getting married in a month.”
“Which means there is hope for you yet,” Whitney said. “If Ryan can land someone, then you can.”
Evan laughed. “I’ve got no desire to land anyone. As I told my parents and Kaelyn at Easter when Sarah was talking about the new guy she was dating, when someone is older and single, they are set in their ways.”
Ruby laughed when Whitney snorted.
Evan’s sister, Kaelyn, was married to Harris Walker, ex-pro baseball pitcher. Harris’s younger sister started dating a guy that relocated to the area a few months ago. Mid to late thirties and never been married. Yep. Set in his ways and wouldn’t change, and Evan made a point of saying that and for Sarah to keep her eyes open with Caden Finley.
When Evan’s mother laughed and said he’d be single forever, he pretty much agreed.
“That’s not true,” Ruby said. “Josh had never been married or in a serious relationship. I hadn’t been either until we met each other. Sometimes you have to wait for that perfect person.”
“You guys are still younger than me,” Evan said. “Doesn’t count. And Josh is a nice guy.”
“And we know Evan isn’t,” Whitney said.
Evan just wanted to mind his own business and do his job. Nice wasn’t a word many said about him.
Yep, he could put on a smile for a buyer and normally did, but then when he turned his back the smile dropped faster than a cookie in the jar after being caught red-handed as a kid sneaking one before dinner.
“I can be nice,” Evan said, smiling. “When I want to. I don’t always like to play nice. Or as my mother likes to say, someone had to be Oscar in the family.
He was often referred to as Oscar the Grouch when he woke up as a kid. It took him a few hours to get going and warmed up to talk to people and then by the end of the day he was back to being grouchy.
Why talk to people when they didn’t have much to say that he was interested in?
As an adult he knew it was caffeine that he needed. Get a couple of cups of coffee in him and he was good to go and willing to suck it up for the day.
“Kaelyn was always the happy one,” Whitney told Ruby. “Christian, the quiet calm one.”
“Again, someone has to be,” Evan said. “And how are you feeling?” he asked Ruby. He’d heard last week she was several months pregnant.
“See?” Ruby said. “That was nice of you to ask and I’m feeling great. We’ll find out the sex of the baby in a few weeks. Never thought I’d be a mother. Heck, I never thought I’d even get married.”
“Can you imagine Evan as a father?” Whitney asked, laughing. “If he had a daughter, he’d probably follow behind her until she was thirty before anyone of the opposite sex could get close.”
“Damn straight,” he said. “Just like I tried to do with Kaelyn.”
“Didn’t work, did it?” Ruby said. “Though your sister seems happy enough.”
“It’s a good thing or Harris would have to answer to me.”
Whitney rolled her eyes. “Not only is Kaelyn not fazed by you but Harris isn’t intimidated and you know it.”
It was true. His brother-in-law was bigger than anyone else in the family and treated his wife and daughter like gold. The daughter that was conceived before they were married!
“Well, she’s as independent as you,” Evan said. “And you too, Ruby.” He knew enough when to kiss ass.
“Now you’re sucking up,” Whitney said. “Was there something you wanted from me or can I go back to work with Ruby?”
“Since I’m in your office, there is,” he said. “Sorry to interrupt.”
“It’s fine,” Ruby said. “I always enjoy visiting and making money. Just going over two potential new builds for you guys.”
“That’s what we like,” Evan said. “When it’s set to go, let Christian know.”
His brother was one of the engineers for Butler Construction. They had three employed now because they were so busy, but Christian dealt with all the new builds, another engineer with renovation projects and repairs that might need to be done, and a third with commercial properties. In the past few years it’d gotten to be too much for Christian to do it all.
“We know the routine,” Whitney said. “Stop being so bossy all the time.”
“I’m not bossy,” he said. “I’m just right. I’m only doing my job.”
“Whatever,” Whitney said. “Get out of here and let me do my job after you tell me what it is you need.”
“I’m looking to find out when the shipment of cabinets is coming in for the house on Glendale.”
Whitney dealt with everything in the office from ordering supplies to dealing with vendors and clients once the paperwork had been signed on a new build.
Ryan oversaw a good portion of the construction crews on site for multiple projects but liked to get his hands dirty in the mix and work along with them. He was more a day-to-day manager.
Evan oversaw everything from a bigger picture. He scheduled the workload, he made sure everything was on track to get done, and when to shift crews around on other projects, along with what timelines to give when projects came in.
“Just give me a second. I know they were on backorder, but I thought they were due tomorrow.” He stood there while Whitney started to type into her computer and then pulled it up. “Yep. Tomorrow it is.” She clicked a few more buttons. “They are en route too. So at least we know they were shipped.”
“Better than still being in the warehouse. Okay, that’s one less headache I’ve got to deal with and can go tell Ryan to continue as planned.”
He walked out of Whitney’s office and headed back to his truck to get on with his day, not sure why he was in such a hurry. It’s not like he had anything planned after work tonight or any other night.
He talked about not changing his ways and didn’t plan on it, but damn, there were times when it sure was lonely.