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Perfect Love Story (Love 1) Natasha Madison 2022/8/3 13:48:50

I shake my head. “If you think I was a dick then, you should have seen me yesterday when I accused her of trying to be her mother.”

He stops drinking and looks at me. “You didn’t.”

I take a drink of hot coffee again, burning my throat. “Oh, it gets better,” I tell him. “I went for a walk later that night, and she is sitting on the beach by herself blitzed.” I think of her face, the tears that stained her cheeks as she poured her heart out to me.

“Please tell me you didn’t try to sleep with her while she was blitzed?” He sets his cup down hard.

“Are you insane?” My eyebrows pinch together, and he holds his hands up. “I’m not that stupid. Besides, I could never … there is just too much baggage there.”

“For you or for her?” he asks, and I don’t answer because the doorbell rings. I get up, going to the door, but Mila comes running in. “Poppa,” she says as she jumps into my arms, and I watch Norma walk in behind her.

“Hey there, Princess,” I tell her as I bring her close to me, kissing her neck. “You’re home early.”

“Yes,” Norma says from behind her. “I’m sorry, I got an emergency call from …” And she just trails off. “I hope you don’t mind.”

I shake my head. “Nope.” I look at my daughter. “Say goodbye to Grandma Norma.”

“Bye.” She waves from my arms as Norma nods her head and smiles as she walks out.

“Who just walks into a house?” Gabe asks from beside me. “Hey there, wonder woman, how is the cast?” he asks as he kisses Mila on the head.

“It’s itchy,” she says, “but Poppa took a stick so I can stick it in and scratch.” She whispers, “It’s a secret.” And we all laugh.

“I won’t tell anyone,” Gabe says as he walks to the door. “I have to get ready for this Sunday dinner. You coming?” he asks as he walks backward, and I nod. “Good. See you there.” He turns and slams the door.

“So what did you do at Grandma Norma’s house?” I ask her as I put her down and pick up her backpack that she dropped when she ran to me.

“We did a mani-pedi, but she didn’t want to paint my nails pink,” she says as she goes to the cabinet, grabbing her stool to get something to eat. “Can I watch The Boss Baby?” she asks as she bounces to the couch and turns on the television.

“Sure,” I say as I grab my coffee and go sit with her. “You need to take a bath before we go to GG Delores’s,” I tell her. She hums okay as she eats a rice crispy treat and we watch The Boss Baby. My head finally stops throbbing, and we change before leaving.

“I look like a princess,” she says as she puts on her pink dress. Spinning on one foot, she watches the dress float around her legs.

“Yes, you do,” I say, grabbing my wallet from the counter and putting it in the back pocket of my jeans. “Let’s go,” I say as she puts on her silver glitter shoes that my mother bought her last year for Thanksgiving. I slide on my aviator glasses as we walk out.

We pull up to Delores’s house, and I have to park at the end of the driveway. “I guess she invited everyone in town,” I say as I open the door and wait for Mila to unbuckle herself. I grab a sweater for her along with her backpack that holds her pjs.

As we walk up to the house, we hear voices from inside. I open the door and see people from the senior center. I walk through the house, stopping to say hi when I know someone, and head outside to see tables set up everywhere. I look around for my mother or my grandmother, but my eyes stop the minute I see soft blond hair. She’s standing next to Crystal dressed in black jeans, torn at the knee and tight, showing off her lean legs. A white cotton shirt tucked in on one side while the other side hangs down. She’s wearing a light green button-down shirt on top, rolled up at the wrists. She smiles at something Crystal says, and I realize the pain from last night is gone. Or she is really good at hiding it. She turns her head as if she senses me staring at her, her eyes finding mine. She smiles shyly, looking back down at the glass of wine in her hand.

“Finally.” I feel a hand slap my back and turn to see Brody with Darla right next to him, holding his hand. “Oh, I think I see a princess,” he says to Mila as she smiles and spins in her dress for him.