The boy had to be what had made her clam up. She didn’t want us to know she’d turned around and gotten knocked up, probably no more than a year after Dustin was killed. Can’t say I blame her, because it didn’t look real good. Maybe she really had snapped, and because she was mentally unstable, she’d made a mistake and ended up with Micah.
She sure didn’t look mentally unstable now. Fuck. Who was I kidding? The woman could be crazy as a loon and I wouldn’t have noticed. Her body and that gorgeous face of hers had hindered my seeing the real her. She was the kind of good-looking that made guys not give a shit if she was insane.
But the boy had been normal. Happy, even. Didn’t look scared or neglected. A crazy momma couldn’t raise such a normal-acting kid. Could she? Was he even hers? Could that be her secret, that she was raising someone else’s kid?
“That brain of yours sure is a-workin’. The tiny tike drug lord worrying you?”
I shook my head and rolled my eyes at my dad.
“Is that Dewayne I hear? Did my boy finally come see me?” Momma’s voice called out from the kitchen. The guilt swamped me as she came around the corner, smiling like I had just lit up her world, and opened her arms to me. I was the only kid she had now. Not the one who was going to be a star and make them proud. I was the tatted-up rebel who had planned on raising hell and traveling the world with nothing but a backpack. No reason to stay anywhere long.
But then the good son, the one who had been meant for greatness, got drunk and ran his car into a f**king tree going over a hundred miles an hour. Now she had me. I was it. And I was still a f**kup even though I tried like hell to do the right thing. Make her proud.
“Sorry, Momma. I should’ve slowed down long enough to get over here. Won’t happen again,” I told her as I returned her hug. The top of her head didn’t even touch my chin.
“Good. I missed you,” she said, stepping back and then swatting me with the dish towel in her hand. “I’m about to pull the apple pie out of the oven and run it over to the new neighbors. Then we can sit down and eat.”
Fuck. I hadn’t thought about Momma and her apple pies. Of course she’d want to take one to Sienna. I needed to prevent that. Bad idea. Momma was still too raw from the anniversary of Dustin’s death. She didn’t need to see her new neighbors just yet.
“Yeah, not gonna happen tonight. I just went over there and met them. They were headed out to dinner and to get some groceries. Didn’t seem much to want company. Really odd woman.”
Momma frowned and then shrugged. “Then y’all can eat my pie and I’ll make another tomorrow and see if I can’t get it over there to them. Shouldn’t be calling the poor woman odd, though.”
She turned and walked back toward the kitchen, and I followed behind her. I knew there would be beer in the fridge, and I needed one.
“All I saw was legs, but from the look of them, wasn’t nothing about them legs odd,” Dad said behind me.
The old man loved to cause problems. He found that shit funny. “Legs were okay, I guess, but the rest of her was average. Nothing special,” I lied.
I so f**king lied.
Eight years ago . . .
“Dude. Seriously. Fuck.” Preston’s tone of voice caught my attention, and I looked up from unlacing my football cleats to see what he was so excited about.
Ellie Nova was headed our way. And she was smoking hot. But then, Ellie was always smoking hot. When she’d moved here our freshman year, we’d all walked around with hard-ons, hoping to get a glimpse up those short skirts of hers or a go at her tits. Which were f**king huge.
“I want some of that. Before we graduate, I want that pu**y,” Preston said in a low voice.
The problem with Ellie was that she had a whole shit ton of money and she was a princess. No, she was a f**king queen. She looked down her nose at everyone. Didn’t matter—guys still fantasized about her. She was Sea Breeze High’s own centerfold.
“Good luck. I think she may be the only ass in our senior class you haven’t tapped—and the only one you never will,” I said. I loved rubbing it in to pretty boy that Ellie hadn’t given him the time of day.
“Okay, first of all, I’ve not tapped ugly ass. I have standards. And second of all, I’ll get between those thighs before we leave this place. I’m Preston Drake,” he reminded me, with a cocky shrug and a smirk.
Truthfully, if any of us was going to lay Ellie, it would be Preston. I had no doubt.
“Dewayne,” Ellie’s voice said, startling me, and I turned to look at her. I was pretty sure she’d never actually said my name in four years.
“Yeah?” I replied, refusing to let her know I wanted a taste.
She twirled a lock of golden hair around her finger and nibbled on her bottom lip as she looked up at me through thick lashes. I didn’t even care if those lashes were fake. This was a hot look. A very f**king hot look.
“I was wondering if maybe you could give me a ride home,” she said with a pouty mouth.
I could give her a ride, all right. One she wouldn’t soon forget.
“Fuck that,” Preston cursed behind me. This was going to drive him nuts.
I couldn’t help but grin. “Sure. Just let me get my bag out of the locker room,” I said, trying not to act like I was happy about this. Playing it cool with Ellie was the only way I’d get what I wanted out of her.