“We can’t see each other again.”
My head thuds against the trunk and a frown tugs my lips down.
“I live here now, so places like this? It’s unavoidable. But you said it right a few weeks ago. We’d be better off avoiding each other.”
“Then why the hell did you kiss me?”
He sniffs and gazes out at the horizon. “Because I wanted you to feel it.”
“Get home. Take care of your daughter.”
I push away from the car, back into his space. “Feel what?” I bite out.
“Nothing,” he growls back. “I wanted you to feel nothing, because I don’t like you like that. And if you felt nothing, and I felt nothing, we can stop with this game between us.”
Anger overrides my common sense and decency. I shove him in the chest with both my hands. When that doesn’t feel good enough, I shove him again, this time stinging my palms and forcing him back a step. His face morphs into shock and then turns hard when I get up on my tiptoes right into his space.
“You may have forgotten, since it’s been so long, but I like the people kissing me to like me like that.”
I don’t wait for his reaction. I can’t. Physically, mentally, I need to get out of here. By the time I get in my car, start it, and put it in reverse, Law is gone.
“Evelyn, I’m home.”
The house is dark except for the TV flickering from the living room. I pad lightly down the unlit hallway until I hit the kitchen entrance. If she’s asleep on the couch, I don’t want to upset her by flooding the room with light. The two bags from the store rustle together and swing in my grip while I search blindly for the light switch.
I work quickly, putting everything away so I can get to her. A couple hours have passed since we spoke about the popsicles, and I feel guilty for wasting any time with Law.
Never mind that my lips still tingle with the feel of his and my heart hasn’t returned to normal.
After dishing and warming two bowls of butternut squash soup in the microwave, I tear off some bread and set a tray. There’s nothing I’d rather do than
relax with my baby girl on the couch.
Some Lifetime movie plays on mute. I leave it on, not in the mood for any particular show, and gently shake her.
“Hey, honey. I’m home and I have food.” I slide my hand from her shoulder to the back of her neck. Heat envelops my fingertips. Her fever is raging. “Have you had any Tylenol today?”
“Mom?” she croaks, and the sound breaks my heart.
“Sit up, sweetie. Let’s get some medicine to bring down that fever, and you can try to eat. I have popsicles, if you want one of those instead.”
“Okay.” The word barely leaves her lips before she drops her head back down to the pillow.
I take her bowl back to the kitchen and trade it for a popsicle and some Tylenol.
“All right, time to wake up for a minute.” After coaxing her to sit, she accepts the medicine and the popsicle. I wedge myself onto the couch with her, and she rests her head against my thigh. I balance the tray of soup on the arm of the couch, and between bites, I stroke her hair.
“You sure you don’t want some soup? It’s really good.”
“No, I’m okay.”
“Have you had anything to eat today?”
She shakes her head against my thigh. “No. I made some tea, but I mostly slept.”
I sift the silky strands of her auburn hair through my fingers. “Fine, but tomorrow you’re eating soup. I have enough to last us two weeks.”