Trust Me:Rivers Edge - Book 1(6)By: Lacey Black
The conversations around the table are light and happy like most Sunday night dinners at my parent’s house. We’ve been getting together every Sunday since my brothers all graduated from school and started living on their own. When mom started this, we were off to a rocky start to the tradition. They would constantly groan about Sunday night family dinners, but I know they secretly loved it because nothing beats mom’s home cooked food. Not to mention they always leave with leftovers, and for a bachelor, that’s a heck of a lot better than take out or microwave meals every night. This is one of the rare times when all four of my brothers are here together. Being a deputy means Jake works every other weekend, though even when he’s on duty, he sometimes manages to swing by and grab a plate of food to go.
As dinner winds down, everyone begins to head into the family room for more Sunday Night Football. After I scrub the remains of her dinner off her face, Brooklyn heads into the family room on Nate’s back. Her absence gives me the chance to stay behind to help mom with the clean-up and dishes. Lord knows my brothers aren’t going to do it.
“How are things going, honey?” she asks as she hands me another bowl to place in the dishwasher.
“Good,” I respond.
“Have you seen any of your old classmates or school friends lately?”
“Not really. Most of them are still off finishing college or starting their lives somewhere else.” I can already tell where she’s going with this entire line of questioning. She’s beating around the bush about discussing the latest in what I like to call ‘The Drake Saga’. A few weeks back during our Sunday dinner she informed me that she ran into Drake’s mother at the bakery. His mom was ordering cookies for a dinner party she was hosting later in the week to meet Drake’s latest girlfriend, Kelsey. Kelsey is a college junior and a fashion major to boot. It doesn’t surprise me that Drake is dating a college girl. In fact, each time he cheated it was with a younger girl. Drake is three years older than me which makes him twenty-five now. I hope for Kelsey’s sake, she wises up before she finds herself pregnant and alone like I did.
My mom watches me as I finish stacking the plates in the dishwasher. “You know, Mom, I’m over him. It took a while, but I got there. It’s his loss that he’ll never know how wonderful his daughter is, but that was his choice, not mine. And I’ve made peace with that. I don’t need him or his money in our lives. He made his choice to leave me and our unborn child four years ago and it looks like he hasn’t lost any sleep over it.”
I finish loading the dishwasher and turn to look at my mom. She watches me with that motherly look that leaves no question in my mind that she supports me in the difficult decisions I have had to make. “I’m okay with being alone right now, Mom. As bad as it hurt, at least I found out before we got married. That’s the important part. Plus, I got the best out of that relationship the day I had Brooklyn. I don’t need anything else.”
A throat clears and we both look over at Jake and Maddox standing in the doorway.
“Sorry to interrupt but I think Bean is getting sleepy,” Jake says sheepishly after walking into what he would define as an “uncomfortable conversation”. Any time there’s “girl talk”, Jake takes off faster than a race horse heading towards the finish line.
I look over at my daughter curled up on Maddox’s chest doing everything she can to fight closing her eyes. Seeing my daughter curled up against his big, broad chest causes my stomach to flutter and my insides give a little quiver. My heart stops and then speeds up again like I just finished running a half marathon.
“It’s getting close to bedtime. We better head out,” I say glancing down at my wristwatch, hoping no one notices my words were slightly breathless.
“I’ll help you gather her stuff,” Jake says and turns to go collect Bean’s belongings most likely strewn from one end of the house to the other.
“I’ve got your leftovers bagged up for you too, honey.” Mom reaches into the fridge and pulls out a bag of delicious goodies.
Maddox strolls through the front door still holding my baby girl in his arms. Jake already walked through the door a few moments before and has started piling the travel bag and leftovers in the seat of the Wrangler. As I lean forward with my hands extended to take Brooklyn from Maddox, I breathe in an intoxicating whiff of his cologne. It’s a combination of the outdoors and a wild musk that makes me want to wrap myself around his body and run my nose down his neck inhaling his deliciousness. I feel an uncontrollable shiver rake through my body at the intense reaction I have to him, to his scent. “I’ll put her in her car seat,” Maddox’s voice breaks into my naughty little daydream.