Where We Meet Again (Arrow Creek 1)

Page 82

I don’t want a life of love if I can’t have Law. That’s clear to me. What we’ve been through the last few months changed me.
The feelings I had for him before he showed up all stemmed from a lost childhood love. They were fantasy. We’d shared sweet kisses, happy memories, and hopes for the future. I was forced to give up the dream of him at sixteen, and I spent the next fourteen years surrounded by the what–if’s.
This is different.
These moments now are nights spent in the other’s bed. Kisses turned to passionate sex. The hopes of the future seemed more attainable than ever. Losing him now… there’s no going back from that. I’ve tasted the sweetness of having him as an adult, and that addiction will follow me for the rest of my life.
I wipe beneath my eyes with my thumb and index finger, careful not to smear my eyeliner, and walk back to Evelyn on the couch.
Her face holds a concern she shouldn’t be feeling for me. I’m her mother. She’s my concern, not the other way around.
I swallow my guilt and curl up in the recliner beside the sofa. It’s out of its usual place, because neither Law nor I couldn’t stand being more than two feet away from her.
“Why are you guys fighting with each other?” Straight to the point. I’d be proud if I wasn’t already annoyed.
“Adults have disagreements, honey. Nothing for you to worry about right now.” Reaching out, I comb her hair with my fingers.
“You’ve been disagreeing for weeks. I don’t like it. I don’t like it because it makes you sad, and I don’t like it because I don’t want him to leave and never come back.”
My hand freezes.
When did she become so perceptive? And how do I answer that?
“Do you know where he’s going right now?”
I hold my breath as I await her response. I’m apparently not above using my fourteen-year-old for information. Besides, I’m going somewhere with this.
She nods. Her mouth falls open, and then she snaps it closed and moves her gaze out the window.
“What is it?”
She shrugs. “He said he had to go back home for a while. And that he didn’t know when he’d be back.”
Does home mean his house or does home mean Logansville?
She looks at me, and what I see in her eyes nearly stops my heart. “He likes you, Mom. He didn’t tell me that, but I know he does. I see how he looks at you when you aren’t paying attention. And I like having him here. I’ve never had a dad before, and I know he’s not my dad. He said he doesn’t have any kids, but he should. I don’t know what it’s like, having a real dad, but I think he’s doing things a dad would do, and I like that.”
“And…” she bites her lip, suddenly nervous. “Well, if you don’t like him, I think you should because he likes you and I like him. We could be like an actual family or something. I don’t know.” Her voice trails off, and she pulls her blanket over her head.
I’m speechless.
Scratch that on her being perceptive. This isn’t perception. This is her living in a fourteen-year-old’s imaginary world. I know the damn feeling all too well.
“Evelyn,” I call gently. I want to see her face as we talk about this. Letting her down is going to hurt us both.
My fingertips graze the blanket over her head, but her choked voice makes me pause. “Don’t. Leave it,” she cries hysterically.
Why is she crying?
I peel the blanket over her head anyway, and she doesn’t fight me. The sight of her tear–streaked face tears my heart into pieces. “Oh, Evelyn,” I sigh. “What’s going on, honey? This is more than me fighting with Law.”
Her lower lip quivers in a way that tells me she’s on the verge of breaking down. I slide out of the recliner onto my knees beside the couch and pull her into my arms. “Talk to me.”
“It’s just that I don
’t have a dad, and he’d make a really good dad.”
My arms tighten and give her a shake. “But, you have an awesome mom.”