She picked Chloe up to put her back in the stroller. But both Chloe’s arms reached over her shoulder and she began to yell and strain away from Summer.
“Honey, Ashton isn’t here. It’s time for us to go home. Maybe we’ll see him later.”
“Ah-ta! Ah-ta!” Chloe was all but climbing over Summer’s torso.
“Chloe Marie, Ashton is not here.” Summer spun around, knowing reasoning with an almost-two-year-old was pointless, but willing to try. “He—”
But Chloe was right. Ashton was here. He was walking toward the law enforcement van that had been parked outside the grocery story to help with the crisis.
He was dressed in black from neck to toe, holsters of some kind on both hips and wrapped around both thighs. His vest had multiple pockets holding gun clips and other items Summer didn’t recognize. Full tactical gear. He held some scary-looking rifle in his hands.
And blazing across the middle of his chest was the word SWAT.
He was talking to someone else dressed almost exactly the same, but about a foot shorter than him. A woman, Summer realized, although her hair was pulled back in such a tight braid it was hard to identify her as such at first glance.
Summer stood holding her daughter, staring at the man she thought she’d known so much about but obviously hadn’t.
She saw the exact moment Ashton heard Chloe. A smile brightened his face as he looked over at them.
Then faded as he obviously remembered where he was and realized what just happened.
The woman next to him clapped him on the shoulder and took his rifle, walking away. Obviously she knew who Summer was and that Ashton had been keeping his profession a secret from her. That maybe hurt even worse.
They stared at each other from the yards that separated them. Chloe kept yelling for him and trying to get down.
At least now Summer knew what Ashton had wanted to tell her that she wouldn’t like.
Her handyman was SWAT.