“I can’t even,” I tell him.
“Well, one day Eric found a picture of him with his other two kids, and he knew they were his because the resemblance couldn’t be denied. So the next time he went out of town, he followed him, and that’s when he ran into Hailey, and well, you know the rest.”
“It doesn’t matter anymore,” I tell him. “It’s time for us to all move on. Your parents own this house, according to the papers my lawyer has, so you can inform them that I’ll be moving out in the next two weeks.”
“What about the kids? Will you stop us from seeing them?”
“Never,” I answer him, “but it is their decision if they want to see you or not. You hurt them. Daisy not so much, but Lizzie …” I shake my head. “You were her uncle, and she thought you were on her side, no matter what.”
“No”—I put my lips together—“you weren’t. When she needed someone to stick up for her, you didn’t. Instead of fighting to keep her with me, you didn’t even try to stop the shit that was happening,”
“They’re my parents,” he tells me.
“She is your niece, and you just disappeared. You stopped coming, you stopped calling, it just fucking stopped. She lost her father and you.”
He shakes his head. “I’m sorry.”
“I forgive you, but the damage is done.” I get up. “I won’t stop you from seeing her or calling, but I will not force her to do anything she doesn’t want to do.”
He gets up and nods. “I’ll make an effort,” he promises, and I just nod and then go up and start packing my boxes.
“Let’s go, girls,” Blake says, walking out of our bedroom down the hallway while putting on his shirt. I stand in the kitchen with my hip against the counter, watching him. “Morning.” He comes to me, kissing my lips. “Stop looking at me like that,” he whispers into my ear and kisses my neck.
“Like what?” I ask him, hiding my smile.
“Like you’re Sylvester the cat, and I’m the bird.” He smiles, turning when he hears the girls coming into the room. “You guys have your lunch boxes?” He grabs his keys. “Lizzie, you have your assignment?”
“Yup,” she says, coming to me and giving me a kiss. “You think I can go to Kiera’s house after school for a sleepover?”
We’ve been here for two weeks, and it feels like we’ve been here forever. Our stuff is mixed with his, so it’s our home. The girls made their rooms theirs, with little knickknacks, and of course, Nanny took them to Target where they went overboard. I smile because everyone around them showers my kids with unconditional love. They aren’t used as pawns on a chess board; they are just loved for them.
And Blake, to say he is over the moon excited is an understatement. He drives the kids to school every morning when he is home even though they have buses. “It’s our time,” he says, and the girls love it. I walk to the front door to wave my hand at them as the car pulls out of the driveway, then go back inside to clean up from our breakfast. I look in the living room, the picture of Frankie and Blake sits next to the picture of Eric, me, and the kids. Both of them sitting next to a picture that Nanny took when we moved in. Blake has his arm around my shoulder while he holds Daisy in his arms, and Lizzie stands in the middle of us. The smile on everyone’s face making our eyes crinkle.
I turn the music on while I walk to the table, picking up the plates; another thing when Blake is home—breakfast is a free-for-all. He would make the kids homemade waffles if they wanted, and he does it with a smile. When he works, the girls and I go by the station and have dinner with him every single night unless he’s on a call.
I mean, it’s not all smooth sailing. We fight now or, better yet, we argue. One of the arguments is me paying rent or paying for groceries. Well, that was a big one, ending with me slamming his bedroom door. It also was right before he came into the room and made love to me, telling me how he wanted to take care of me.[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
So I did what any independent woman did, I gave him the idea that I would let him take care of me, without letting him know it wasn’t going to be like that. I think he notices when I buy something for the house, or when he comes back from work and the refrigerator is stocked. He looks over at me but never says anything.