Never Been Loved(8)

By: C.M. Kars

My gag reflex acts up. My mother is talking to me about my sex life. Where’s the bleach so I can swallow it? “I’m not talking about this with you.”

Jesus Christ, there have only been two women other than Aly in the past ten years. Shit.

She laughs, the kind of laugh that clearly puts you in your place. “When are you going to learn? Aly is the only one who will have you and my grandson. The main reason being she knows all about your past and what happened with Julia. You could do worse, Hunter. Much worse. She’s presentable, and I’m sure she could be a good wife.”

“I’m not going to marry her, Mom. Whatever scheme you and Dad cooked up before he left nothing to do with me.”

Her eyebrows make an appearance over the rims of her sunglasses as she adjusts them. She smiles without any warmth behind it, the kind of smile that puts me on edge ’cause I can’t see her endgame. It’s the kind of smile that she puts on her face when she knows she’s three steps ahead of me. How in hell did this woman give birth to me?

“Alysha will make a fine wife. Especially with all the resources she will bring you.”

She says nothing about being a mom. My chest cavity heats up, the burn crawling up my throat until I know I’m about to hurl words that’ll change my life forever. I swallow them down, ignoring the taste of failed rebellion, and wait quietly for Eddie to bring my nephew along.

Mom doesn’t say anything – she knows she’s won, and she’s never been one to gloat.

Fuck, I hate this place.

The kid is sleepy when Eddie finally brings him into the kitchen, rubbing his eyes at me and I’m sucker-punched all over again when I see him, like I forget who he really looks like. My sister had dark hair and light eyes, beautiful, and her little boy is beautiful, too. Jules’d be rolling over in her grave if she found out Aly was going to be Matty’s mom.

I’m worried his sugar’s spiked and I didn’t have the forethought to bring his pouch with me, but I guess I can use my own stuff that’s in the car. I want to vomit as the thud in my chest gets harder, and adrenaline starts coursing through my body.

Is this it? Is this the day when I have to take him to the hospital and social services will take him away from me to place him in foster care? Is this the day I lose the last piece of Jules forever because I’m such a spineless piece of shit who should know better?

Self-loathing is just another name I call myself.

I knew this was coming, this big change needs to be done. Not for me, for Matty. Because I can’t lose the last piece of Jules I have, I can’t. Not yet. Not when I can see her smile on his little boy face, or hear the exact cadence of her laugh when he giggles.

Holding out my arms, Eddie places him on my chest, and the little guy wraps his arms around my neck, holding on tight. I feel his heart beat next to mine, and whatever tension my body had as I came through the door, slowly bleeds out of me. No matter how much I hate everything that’s happened to me, no matter what happens in the future... I need to make it better for Matty.

Whatever happens now, is all for him.

First things first, I need to tell Aly.

Yeah, that’s gonna go over well.

Chapter 3

Aly’s gone, and left the door unlocked, too. Her perfume still lingers in my room, in the hall and by the front door. I’ve been dismissed like the lowlife I am, and that’s good. I don’t have to face her and endure whatever shit she’s going to throw my way when I tell her I won’t be the recipient of her blow jobs anymore.

The place is a mess. At least the kid’s room is a contained disaster, sheets on the floor from the day before, toys and kiddie books covering every inch of floor space. If I walk in there, I’m bound to slip and kill myself.

Aly’s left the kitchen, right across Matty’s room, full of shit. She ate something on a plate, stuffed in the sink with half her breakfast. The coffee pot is shoved into its place in the coffeemaker, sputtering because the fucking thing is still dripping. I bet the babe next door wouldn’t leave shit lying around like this.

“Matty,” I say, rubbing his back so he wakes up. Only when I get eye contact do I continue, gently placing him on the couch. “I want you to clean your room, all right?”

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