Home > Sex, Not Love(9)

Sex, Not Love(9)
Author: Vi Keeland


“The timing wasn’t right.”

My eyes widened. “You get one hour a month. You don’t have the luxury of timing.”

His eyes dropped to my collarbone. “Remember when we were on our honeymoon and you—”

I interrupted him. “We’re not walking down memory lane. Come back to reality. You’re about to walk back to your eight-by-eight. You need to tell your daughter that you drained her tuition fund. I can’t afford twenty-five thousand dollars for her private school next year.”

“I’m working on something.”

I scowled. “From prison? Don’t make me tell her. She hates me enough as it is. You need to own up to this.”

He reached out for me. I put my hand up. “Don’t. You couldn’t do this one thing for me.”

“I miss you, Nat.” Did he even fucking hear me?

I threw my hands up in the air. “This is pointless.”

Then I turned around and walked my stepdaughter out of the state prison, vowing never to come back...like I did every damn time.

 

 

Chapter 6

 

Natalia

9 months later

 

 

“What time is my shower tomorrow?”

Anna didn’t even say hello before asking when I answered the phone at eight o’clock on a Saturday morning.

I shook my head and rolled over with my cell pressed to my ear. “Take a shower anytime you want. I’m sleeping.”

“Is it at Sugar Magnolia?”

“I think this pregnancy has affected your brain. What are you talking about?”

“Don’t play dumb. I saw the note in my mother’s day planner in her purse. And I know you wouldn’t deprive me of your presence at my baby shower. It’s been forever since I’ve seen you, and you love me too much.”

I sat up and rubbed sleep out of my eyes. “What were you doing in your mother’s purse looking at her day planner?”

“Looking for information about my shower. Duh!”

“You’re horrible. Can’t you let anything be a surprise?”

“Well, I don’t know the restaurant it’s in. She didn’t write that down. That’s why I’m calling you.”

I climbed out of bed and padded to the coffee pot. I feigned sincerity like the Academy was watching. “Anna…I’m so sorry. Sunday is Izzy’s visiting day, and I just couldn’t swing it.”

“Oh my God. How could my sister have not coordinated the date around your prison visits?”

She actually did.

“The world can’t revolve around Garrett. I’m sorry, sweetie. I hate to miss it, too. But I’m swamped at work, and I really want to take some days to come see you when the little butterball is born.”

When I heard her voice, I felt a tad bit bad about lying.

“But I miss you. And I can’t have a party without you. Remember when I attempted that in eighth grade, and I wore that awful outfit that had pants with a crotch that hung to my knees and a big bow in my hair? I wound up kissing Roger Banya. Kids started calling me Anna Bow Banya—which wasn’t bad…until a week later when I told Roger I didn’t want go out with him. He got mad and told everyone I gave him a blowjob at my party. Then I became Anna Blow Banya. God, you have to come. I can’t have a party without you!”

I had to stifle my laugh because her panic was real, even if her reasoning was ludicrous. She was on edge about anything and everything as her due date neared. Though I’d never been pregnant, I remember my own life-altering change making me the same way.

“Send me a pic of the outfit you choose, and I’ll approve it. I’m also pretty sure you won’t be kissing anyone except your husband at this party. You’ll be fine. We’ll have to video chat during so I can be there with you in some way.”

I heard the pout in her voice. “Fine. But you better stay at least a week when the baby is born. And you’re changing all the poop diapers.”

I laughed. “You have a deal. But I need to run. I have to be somewhere in an hour.” The airport.

“Will you at least tell me where the shower is since you’re going to ruin it by not being there?”

“Fine. But only because you sound stressed. It’s at your house.” I lied some more. Hey, why not? I was on a roll. “Derek is going to take you out to lunch to make you think it’s your shower. Everyone will be there when you get back, pissed off that it wasn’t actually your shower. So smile nice when you walk in.”

“Oh my God. Thanks. You’re right, I would have been coming home feeling let down. Alright. I’ll let you go. I’ll video call you tomorrow from my shower at home!”

After I hung up, I finished packing and attempted to wake Izzy on a positive note.

Flicking on the light in her room, I said, “Rise and shine, beautiful. It’s going to be a great day.”

She pulled the cover over her head. “What’s so great about it?”

“Well, the sun is shining, and you don’t have to go to school.”

“I hate the sun. It ruins your skin and gives you wrinkles when you get old,” she said from under the covers. “And I’d rather go to school than go to Nanna’s house. I don’t see why you keep having to go away.”

Keep having to go away. A little dramatic since it had been nine months since I’d left Izzy to go out to California for Anna’s wedding and had been home with her practically every night since.

“Awww…you’re upset because you’re going to miss me, aren’t you?”

“Grrr…”

“I’ll let you wake up a little while I make Nutella crepes.” I wasn’t above bribery to get her to sit down at the table and talk to me.

“Fine.” That was teenage speak for fuck you.

Fifteen minutes later, she couldn’t resist the smell of chocolaty hazelnut that wafted into her room. I plated a homemade crepe and slid it in front of her. “I bought some decaf Starbucks K-cups for you. Want me to make you a coffee?”

“I’d prefer caffeine.”

I opened the Keurig and popped in a decaf. “I’d prefer elves to come and do my laundry, but I settle for carrying it down to the laundry room in the basement.”

“We had someone who did the laundry when my father was around.”

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