A small smile pulled at her lips as she looked down at the ground. . “Yeah, I do. A lot.”
“Wow, that’s cool, Claire. Have you always danced?”
He could see the smart remark in her eyes but, to his surprise, she didn’t say it. Instead, she said, “Yeah, since I was like seven. Mom had me in it for a while. Then she couldn’t afford it anymore and stopped paying. I used to do things around the studio to pay for my classes.”
Phillip looked down, feeling completely guilty. She had to work to dance? She was a child. What the f**k was his sister’s problem?
“You must really enjoy it.”
“Yeah,” she said offhandedly.
Phillip could tell that this meant a lot to her, and it killed him for not knowing this. He used to know everything, and now it was like he was with a stranger. It scared him how much he wanted her to love him and to know that he loved her. Never in his life had he cared about someone as much as he cared about Claire. He never told anyone he loved them. With Claire, he was basically screaming it at her. He usually wasn’t so emotional, but he felt like he had to hold onto her like a vice grip because he was so scared she would turn out like her mother and grandmother. He wanted her healthy, and he wanted her to succeed in her life.
Looking down, he took in the beauty of her. She was filling out since she came to him, and actually looked like a normal teenager. Things were still a little rocky, but he felt good about them. He felt like things were going to work—she just needed time.
“Do you need to get anything for it?”
She looked up at him shyly as she asked, “Can we go by a dance store? I’d like to pick up some stuff.”
With a grin, he nodded as he said, “Sure, let’s go.”
After spending an hour in Spell Dance and Theater shop, they walked out with bags of things, and Phillip could see the smile that Claire was trying to hide. Getting into the roadster, Phillip started the car before pulling out and heading home. He was dog-tired, and he was ready to get home.
“I’m going to take a nap when we get home. You can pack and get ready to go to Harpers,” he said, turning onto West End.
Claire nodded as she looked down at her phone.
“You like it there, right? Everything is good?”
She shrugged her shoulders. “It’s okay. Harper is really nice, and Ally is cute. She likes to dance with me.”
“Good, let me know if things change.”
“I don’t doubt that. I don’t even know why I said it,” he said with a chuckle. He flashed her a quick smile and saw that she was smiling, too.
Feeling good about himself, he looked out at the road as she said, “Thanks for today, Phillip.”
His heart went into his throat, and he took in a deep breath before saying, “Anytime.”
“Only you have sex with some guy at the gym.”
Reese laughed as she bent over, stretching her thighs. Her phone lay in front of her on speakerphone so she could hear Piper.
“Not a big deal,” she said, reaching for her left foot.
“It is too! You didn’t even know him!”
“Sure I do, he comes in every other day and has delicious arms. I’ve wanted him for weeks. I got lucky today when he asked me how much I could handle. He was talking about the weights, but I answered that I could handle all of him. Let me just say, there was a lot to handle. The man was mouthwatering.”
Piper’s giggles ran over the line.
“You’re so bad.”
“Maybe, but it was fun.”
“Eh, I wouldn’t doubt it, but come on, Reese; you are sleeping around too much.”
“With complete strangers that no one knows.”
“Oh goodness.” She laughed. “And you’re okay with that?”
“Ah, for now I am.”
Piper let out a long breath.
“I just worry.”
“I know, but it’s all good. I use protection.”
Reese knew that in her sister’s eyes, it was far from okay, but she let it go. Her way of life for the last couple of years worked for her. She had no one to answer to, no one to worry about, no one to hurt her. It was her and her only. A few orgasms here and there, and then work. It was the life she was starting to love. Moving to her belly, she pushed up, reaching up with her legs, touching her head to her toes to stretch her back.
Claire was going to be there soon, and Reese was itching to get her hands on her. She knew it was going to take some time for Claire to trust her but, once she did, the attitude would dissolve and Reese would be left with a potential star dancer. That had her giddy with excitement.
“We found a house, we think,” Piper said. Reese was more than thankful for the conversation change. The awkward silence was driving her insane.
“In the neighborhood behind Harper.”
“Yeah, Harper and I were joking that we need you to get a husband, so you can move over there, too.”
Reese laughed before saying, “No way, I love my condo. Husband or not, I’m not leaving.”
“We know, we were just teasing,” she said with a laugh. Reese smiled as she reached for her foot, moving it in a circle to work it out as Piper said, “So, what are you doing?”
“Stretching as I wait for my dancer.”
“It’s Claire, right? Phillip’s niece.”