As Uncle Beau was doing my hair, thoughts of Mommy’s sad face made me H-O-T angry. Like those bees that swirled around me when I threw a rock at their nest. How the heck did I know it was a hive? Looked like a dirt clod hanging in the tree to me. Uncle Beau was like that. He didn’t know he was playing with an angry bee.
He patted my shoulder and said, “All done, baby girl.”
“What, sweet thing?”
“What would have happened if Daddy wouldn’t have found you first and found Mommy? Would he be with her now instead of you?”
He didn’t say anything for a while but then said, “I-I don’t know…”
“Mommy is very sad about that. She cried about Daddy last night.”
I nodded then got up, crossing my arms. I didn’t want to make him sad, but he was hurting Mommy. “You and Daddy are like the mean girls at school. They always laugh in a together circle and they won’t let anyone in. That makes everyone else sad, looking at them.”
I heard him let out a bunch of air.
Next, all he did was shuffle out of my room. He didn’t talk to me like usual. He must have been so mad at me!
Worry darts shot me in the heart. Why did I have to say anything? I wanted to hammer nails over my mouth to keep it shut. But I was so upset. When that happened, even snotty Emery Straud couldn’t stop my mouth from flying open.
Now my uncle hated me. What if Daddy was going to hate me, too?
It was a frustrating day today. Sometimes my job got so monotonous. And I had to find creative ways to snoop. I didn’t have the huge data bases I used to when I was with the FBI. A lot of it was just neverending poking around on the internet with nothing to show.
My muscles were so tense by the time I got home, I just wanted to be with Beau. I spotted him in the living room and pulled him to me, whispering, “I’ve got you now. Want to meet me in the bedroom? I need some Beau-time.”
He leaned into me and chuckled. “I’d love to, but…”
“But what?” I cooed, swaying with him and rubbing his ass. He liked that normally.
“Baby, we need to talk.”
I didn’t like the sound of that. But I didn’t say anything to him until we got to our bedroom. He pulled into himself like he did when he was agitated. Damn. What the hell happened?
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“It’s Briar. Lexie said she cried about you last night. She said she’s very upset the way things have turned out.”
I blinked. “That’s coming from Lexie who is our number one anti-fan. Come on, Beau. Are you going to listen to a kid? She fantacizes that Briar and me are going to get married.”
“It’s not just that. I’ve seen it, too. Briar acts like she’s depressed. Her face is so melancholy. I can’t take it anymore, August. I hate this.”
His words boiled my blood. “So, what the hell are you suggesting? That we break up because Briar is depressed? That’s bullshit.”
He flung his hands up in the air. “Whoa, August. You don’t have to get so mad. We’re just talking here.”
“But answer me this,” he went on, “what would have happened if you’d found Briar first? Would you two be married right now? Lexie has a point.”
I pulled at my hair. “I can’t believe what I’m hearing from you. It’s like high school all over again. Are you really going to get jealous about your sister even though you’re my fiance? Even though we’ve been living together for over a year? That’s so fucking out of line, Beau, it pisses me off.”
“Then answer the damn question, August.”
“What fucking question?”
“What would have happened if you’d found Briar first?”
God, I was so mad I couldn’t see straight. Sitting back, I chewed on my nails, fuming. He didn’t get it. I loved him. I’d always loved him. The reason I got with Briar back then was because I was running away from the gay relationship. It was so new and strange to me. And unfortunately, I didn’t go with what I’d wanted to do in the first place.
And now I had Lexie. I was happy about that. But it didn’t mean I loved Briar in the same way I loved Beau. No way. But how could I ever convince him?
We both just sat there not saying anything to each other. It felt like the room was blazing with hot air–the tension was so thick between us.
Finally, I rubbed the growing headache that started to pound my forehead and answered, “You just want to think I’d jump at the chance at being with Briar if you weren’t around, but it isn’t true. And it’s not fair to me.”
“What if I told you I don’t believe you? What if I know deep down you would have married her because of Lexie, if nothing else. It’s the kind of person you are, August.”
“And so where does that answer leave us? Huh, Beau?”
Daddy and Uncle Beau were fighting. And all because of my dumb mouth. I could hear them yelling angry things at each other even though I couldn’t understand what they were saying. Both of them had very deep voices and it was so scary sounding.
I just wanted to go back to the way things were before I said that mean thing to Uncle Beau. Do a do over.
What if Uncle Beau and Daddy don’t love each other anymore like Carlie Hamlin’s parents who got a divorce and it was all my fault? What if Daddy didn’t like me because of it?
I’d have to go back to the catlady’s house forever.
And I’d miss my daddy and Uncle Beau so much, I definitely would have a heart attack and die before my ten year old birthday.