"Give him a bit to get used to having a little brother?" she suggested in amusement. "Then we can talk about adding another insane animal to this place."
"Sounds reasonable," Evan agreed. "'Sides, Maggie's got a horse. Reckon it's time Cal got a dog, don't you?" he asked, as he folded the towel and hung it to dry.
Marin rolled her eyes, shaking her head. She was beaten on this conversation and they both knew it. "Fine, I give in," she conceded, prodding his side. "But you are responsible for making him responsible for it."
"Yes, ma'am," Evan agreed with a grin. "Ain't no rush though. We can wait to see how he and Jack get along," he added, which was exactly what Marin had already said. It always amused him to claim her ideas as his own.
"Ooh, you ... incorrigible cowboy!" She swatted at him, laughing even in her indignance. "Why do I put up with you, hmm?"
He laughed, as if calling him a cowboy was an insult. As a matter of fact, he really wasn't a cowboy or had ever been one, if one understood the true meaning of the word. He swung around to face her, sliding his arms around her waist and pulling her close. "Cause you love me," he said, with a smug smile on his face.
"You get away with way too much because of that," she agreed, giggling as she looped her arms about his shoulders. "Not that it's ever going to change, mind. You're stuck with being adored by your wife and children."
"Poor me, I guess," Evan said, with a feigned sigh of resignation. "Such a horrible fate." There had, in fact, been a time when his life had been little more than a living hell, but that was before he'd found himself in Rhy'Din and had met Marin.
"However will you survive?" she teased, rising up onto her toes and pulling him down so she could kiss him without either of them getting too much neck or back strain.
He was more than happy to return that kiss, unafraid to let her see his passion or know how much he cared for her, even if they were risking being interrupted by their children. "Best thing ever happened to me was you, darlin'," he told her, touching his nose to hers.
"Best thing I ever did was drag you inside to bleed on my kitchen table," she countered, smiling happily up at him. They weren't a pair that made logical sense, to look at them, but together, they had rebuilt the Brambles and made it both successful and a home. It was no small feat.
Evan grunted at that. "Reckon I can't argue with that," he replied. After all, if she hadn't taken him in, it was likely he wouldn't have survived. Then again, who knows what might have happened to her if he hadn't been there to protect her?
They each owed the other an awful lot, and if the life they have carved out for themselves here was anything to go by, it was debt neither one of them could ever repay. Not that either of them would have accepted any kind of reparation, that is. Marin grinned at her husband's grunt, bouncing up to kiss the tip of his nose.
"Shall we go and see if they've lost him into the pig pen yet?"
"Let's hope they're not all covered in slop," he grumbled, though he couldn't help but smile a little at her kiss. Somehow, he doubted his statement was true. After all, Maggie was a good girl, and he was sure she'd do her best to keep her two brothers out of trouble, but thoughts of Maggie brought another worry to mind, and that put a small frown on his face.
Settling back onto her heels, Marin raised an amused brow at the frown on his face. "Now what's rolling around in there?" she asked, in a tone that warned him she wasn't going to accept a deflection.
He shrugged as if it was nothing, though he was not the kind of man to worry over nothing. He glanced toward the door, as if to make sure there was no one around to overhear their conversation - especially not Maggie. "Just a li'l worried about her and Rob."
"But nothing's really changed," Marin reassured him. "I know Maggie went all in on declaring that they're more than friends now, but all I've seen of that is the occasional kiss and a lot of giggling. I don't think you need to worry, darling."
"It ain't that I don't like Rob," he pointed out. "It's just that they're so young." He didn't think he needed to say much more than that. He didn't have a problem with Maggie ending up with Rob someday, if that's what she wanted. It was their age that bothered him.
"Says the man who first got married at, what, sixteen?" Marin pointed out with a faint smile. "She's not going to suddenly fall pregnant and force you to give them a shotgun wedding, Evan."
"She ain't sixteen yet," he reminded his wife, though that birthday wasn't too far off. "And that was different," he pointed out further, regarding his own past. At least, it hadn't been a shotgun wedding.
"If the love is there, how is it different?" she asked, tilting her head curiously. "At some point, you're going to have this conversation with her, and if you can't answer that question without falling back on because you aren't me, you are going to have one hell of a shouting match."
"This ain't Texas, and it ain't the 1800s no more," Evan pointed out, though he wasn't sure that argument would work either. He sometimes felt like a relic, from another time and another place.
"That won't be good enough," Marin predicted. "Darling, I think you're fighting a rearguard action here. So don't tell her she can't; tell her to wait a while. And explain why."
Evan exhaled a sigh, a sign that he was surrendering to his wife's better judgment. "I just want her to be happy. That's all," he said, but Maggie was happy, wasn't she? And she wasn't asking to be married tomorrow.
"Have a little faith in her," she suggested fondly. "She's got plans of her own for her life, and they don't revolve around becoming a wife and mother."
"What kinda plans?" he asked, brows arching upwards. This was the first he was hearing of this. He knew his daughter was interested in the theater, but he didn't know to what extent.
Marin looked confused for a moment. "Now, I know you were there for that conversation," she pointed out. "Sound engineer, or make up special effects artist, remember?"