My Father's Best Friend(7)

By: Fiona Davenport



Lilah nodded and took a sip of her water with her free hand. “Yes, but nothing that is worth anything is easy. I’ve kept in touch with my best friend, Maggie, and I’m thinking about moving back there to be near her.”

It was on the tip of my tongue to tell her that would be happening over my dead body, but I didn’t want to scare her. She was so young and naïve that I knew I needed to tread carefully.

Our food arrived and as we ate, she told me more about her friend and childhood. Genuinely interested in anything my girl had to say, I sat back and simply enjoyed listening. However, near the end of our meal, there was a lull and I took the opportunity to steer the conversation. “And”—I hesitated, trying to find the right words—“what about your father?”

Her expression had begun to lighten again as she talked, but at the mention of her father, I was shocked to see anger rush over her face.

“I don’t want to talk about my father,” she uttered darkly. “As far as I’m concerned, I don’t have one.”

I was taken aback by her fierce declaration. Clearly, Bonnie had been bitter about Samuel and apparently, passed it along to her daughter. It wasn’t the time to get into it all, though, so I changed the subject.

“What about college?”

Lilah sighed. “I’ve been accepted to Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, and Yale.”

Again, this wasn’t news to me, however, her complete lack of emotional response to her answer was. “You don’t sound particularly pleased over that impressive list,” I teased.

She giggled. “It’s not that. It’s just...” she trailed off, looking uncertain.

“You can be honest with me, baby girl,” I urged, taking her hand once again and giving it a gentle squeeze.

“My mom was so proud. It was everything she wanted for me. She even had an inheritance that she set aside specifically for my college, never once touching it.” Her eyes misted, and I wanted to pull her into my lap and cuddle her close to make her distress go away. “I feel so guilty.”

I raised an eyebrow at that. “Why?”

She leaned forward, almost conspiratorially, and whispered, “I don’t want to go to college.” She said it like she’d just confessed to murder, and I had to compress my lips to keep from chuckling. She was fucking adorable. Every minute, I was more and more convinced I needed to keep her.

Lifting her hand, I brushed my lips across the back and smiled at her pleased blush. “I’m confident your mother wanted what was best for you, Lilah. I didn’t know her, but I can’t imagine the woman you’ve described wanting you to be anything less than completely happy.”

She shrugged, but I saw a spark of hope light her crystal blue eyes.

“What do you want to do, Lilah?” I queried.

Her cheeks tinged pink and she glanced down shyly. “I’ve always loved to draw, and I think it would be amazing to be an illustrator for children’s books.” She became animated as she continued. “Not only would it be fun, but I could do it from home and be with my kids—” she broke off abruptly and red engulfed her face. “Um, not that I have kids, or am planning them anytime soon. I mean, it’s not like I want to get married and have babies right now”—she blushed even harder as she prattled on—“I shouldn’t have mentioned marriage. It’s too soon to be talking about—not that you would want to marry me—oh, sweet heaven, please let a hole in the earth open up and swallow me now.”

I lost it. Threw my head back and belly laughed so hard that my stomach hurt and my face ached. Lilah sat silently, looking completely miserable, and it was only her sadness that curtailed my amusement so I could stop laughing. I stood abruptly and picked up her hands, lifting her to her feet as well. “C’mon, baby girl. We need to go.” I tossed some money on the table and led her from the restaurant, ignoring her crestfallen expression.

Outside, I stepped off of the curb and raised a hand, hailing a cab. It zoomed up next to us and screeched to a halt. “Midtown Hilton,” I barked after we were both securely inside.

Twisting my upper body, I grabbed her around the waist and dragged her over until she was straddling me. She gasped as she settled on my lap, clearly feeling my physical reaction to her as it pressed against the heat of her pussy. There was nothing left for me to hold onto, I’d thrown caution and logic out the window. I was going to get inside her that night or I was pretty sure I would fucking die.

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