“Thank you so much. My car’s in the shop, and I didn’t want to call Daddy to come get me.”
I didn’t want her calling Daddy either. I had plans that I was sure Daddy wouldn’t approve of.
Preston shoved me as I walked by him, and I bit back a laugh. This was so pissing him off. And I’d have it to rub in his face for the rest of our lives. I got between Ellie’s legs first. Because that was the game plan. I wanted to see if that stuck-up, hot-as-fuck pu**y was worth all the attention it got her.
“Hey, Sienna, what’s up with you, girl? Come looking for me?”
Preston’s words stopped me, and I turned back around to see Sienna looking unsure as she smiled that sweet, shy smile at Preston. Then she looked at me. Damn. That smile. It made something in me clench up like a motherfucker every time. Did she realize that?
“I, uh, was going to see if I could get a ride. I missed the bus and Dustin has already left, I think. I didn’t see him much today, and I don’t know where he goes after school,” she said, her cheeks turning pink as she looked at me.
“Yes, beautiful, you sure as hell can. I was just thinking I hated riding home alone,” Preston replied in that sugary-sweet tone that was meant to goad me. He was getting his revenge. Or he thought he was.
“No,” I said, walking over to Sienna to take her arm. “I’ll get Sienna home. You take Ellie home,” I told him, making sure he understood I wasn’t f**king around.
Preston understood. His smirk was more than pleased. He’d be f**king Ellie first after all. And after this I was pretty damn sure I’d never get a taste of Ellie Nova. But she wasn’t important enough to ignore Sienna for. If Sienna needed me, I couldn’t find it in me to tell her no. And I sure as f**k wasn’t letting Preston around her. Alone. Hell no.
Present day . . .
By Friday we had found our rhythm. Micah got up and dressed himself while I made breakfast, which consisted of a Pop-Tart and a glass of milk. That wasn’t going to win me Mom of the Year, but he liked Cookies & Creme Pop-Tarts, and I liked getting him to school on time. We did eat breakfast together. I ate my breakfast bar and drank some coffee while Micah chatted away happily.
I was not a morning person. I couldn’t even form words until I’d had at least thirty minutes of wake-up time and two cups of coffee. Micah, on the other hand, woke up singing. This morning he had told me his predictions for the upcoming basketball season. I’d had no idea what he was saying, but I nodded and sipped my caffeine.
Getting myself dressed took more time, but it gave Micah a chance to play with his toys and pick out what he wanted me to pack him for lunch. He liked having choices. Most days we didn’t have many choices, but he still wanted to pick it out.
He hadn’t been late once all week, and neither had I. My new job was Tuesday through Saturday. Micah went to after-school care until five every day. The counselor at his school had told me about it. The cost was determined by my income, so it was much more affordable than a day care.
An added bonus was that several of the kids from his class went to after-school care too. So he enjoyed getting to play with his new friends. If it weren’t for the fact that I had to see the Falcos’ house every day, then this would all be perfect. But seeing Dustin’s house continually reminded me of the rejection that Micah didn’t deserve from people whose blood he shared.
“Sienna . . . Roy?” a familiar voice said, breaking me out of my thoughts while I was sweeping up the hair from my last appointment. Lifting my head, I reminded myself that I was prepared for this. People were going to recognize me. Just because I had gone a week without being recognized (aside from Dewayne) didn’t mean it wasn’t going to happen eventually.
Amanda Hardy smiled at me as she tucked her long, shiny blond hair behind her ear. Her eyes sparkled with actual pleasure to see me. But then, that was Amanda. She’d been a year behind me in school, but her older brother, Marcus, was a close friend of Dewayne’s and I had gotten to know her through him. She had always been pretty, but she was gorgeous now. I hadn’t seen her since she was fifteen. The diamond on her left hand caught the sunlight. Not surprising that she was engaged. I imagine the guys around here had beaten down her door—that is, if they’d been able to get past Marcus.
I leaned the broom against my work station and walked over to where she stood at the receptionist desk. “Hello, Amanda,” I said.
She pulled her designer purse up on her arm and kept beaming at me like I was the lost ark and she’d found me. In my head I ran through the wealthy guys around here who could have afforded to put a ring on her finger. She was sweet, but she was also a princess. Always had been.
“I didn’t know you were back in town. And you’re working here? I can’t believe it. You were just gone. . . .” She stopped, and the sadness in her eyes reminded me that she had been close enough to the Falcos through Marcus that she remembered how painful that had been.
“My mother retired and moved to Florida. She gave me the house. I thought it was time I came home,” I explained. I had no idea what my parents had told people. I knew they hadn’t told them the truth. At least, I assumed they hadn’t. I feared they may have told other people what I’d heard my mother tell Dewayne. I hoped not.
Her pretty frown deepened, and the pity in her eyes put out the earlier twinkle. “I heard about your dad. I’m sorry.”
I nodded. I wasn’t sure what else to say. My anger at him was still there. He’d taken my son’s family away from him. The love Micah deserved had been stolen from him because of my father.