The Murdicks showing up was like someone popping a balloon. Everyone got uncomfortable, made excuses, and vanished.
That left me staring at my ex. I was so angry, I couldn’t say anything to her. What the fuck? Why was Mala here, ruining my party? It was a cool thing for Mom to do for me and I was having a blast. I wanted to scream for her to get out of my life for good but nothing came out.
So, she broke the silence. “I-I’m…um…sorry, Lee Lee. For everything.” Were there actual tears in her eyes? And what did that mean? Did she want us to go back being friends?
“Yeah, okay, you’re sorry.” That sounded dickish, but hell, I wasn’t in the forgiving mood. Especially since she ran off Ginny and the others.
“I mean it,” she continued, “I shouldn’t have gotten so mad at you. I know you have to help your mom out and I was being selfish. I truly am sorry. I hope you’ll forgive me?”
She rested her hand on my arm and I flinched. “So I’m just supposed to forgive you like you weren’t fucking inhaling Oliver Treadstone’s face yesterday?”
Her eyes shut. “I was just so mad. I went to the beach with some of my friends and a little part of me wanted to get back at you. I just…I don’t know…”
I was like a box of gunpowder thrown into a fire. I exploded. “So whenever you’re mad at me you’re just going to go fuck someone? That’s not how it works, Mala. Not ever!”
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she drew back. “No…I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry.”
“You’re sorry? How do you think that made me feel, Mala? Because you were in your bedroom with him and who knows what you were going to do? I just…” God, I had to get control of myself.
She shook her head. “I wouldn’t sleep with him, Liam. Honest. I wasn’t even planning on it. I knew once I kissed him it was wrong and I was going to stop, but you…”
I drew away, looking at her hands. Those were my girl’s hands that loved to stroke my hair, my face, hold my hands at the movies….but…
How could I ever trust her again?
Slowly shaking my head, I said, “I can’t deal with this shit. It’s over. I can’t just worry that if we get into a fight you’re going to cheat on me. It’s not going to happen again because I won’t let it. I’m done.”
At that, she whimpered, putting her hands to her face. Watching her cry crushed me, but my mind willed me to be strong.
Turning away, I told my legs to keep going. Walk to your room, Liam, and never look back. She wasn’t worth it. She’d cheat again.
But her sobs pierced me. I knew I couldn’t leave her like that.
Did I really want to chuck everything away because she made one mistake? Wouldn’t I want her to give me another chance if it happened in reverse?
We’d made so many plans together. I wanted to marry her. Spend the rest of my life with her. My parents said I was too young to think like that but sometimes you know when a person is right for you. I didn’t want to be with anyone else.
So, I turned back, wrapped my arms around her and whispered, “Shh…it’s okay, baby. Don’t cry. I forgive you.”
She bawled even harder, shaking in my arms. “You do, Lee Lee? Oh, God, I’m so happy.”
I spent the next fifteen minutes calming her down and wiping her tears.
After a delayed flight and a messed up uber call, I finally made it to Brindleton Bay.
There was nothing better. I’d missed my family so much. I hated being away from them.
Immediately, I was greeted by my sweet baby daughter and my son, Zack.
“Daddy?” Brandy looked up at me with those big green eyes. Got me right in the heart.
“Yes, baby girl. I’m home!”
She charged at me making me feel one hundred stories tall.
I whisked her up and kissed her cheek. “Have you been a good girl for Mommy?”
She nodded like her head was going to pop off. Then she said in her cute voice, “I missed you!”
“Aw…I missed you, too!”
Zack hopped over to me and said, “I thought you weren’t coming home for a week. Glad you’re here though.”
He jumped into my arms and squeezed.
I answered, “I wanted to come home a little early as a surprise.”
Next, my stomach gave a little jolt. Liam’s face accused me of doing something wrong. I knew I’d been away a little longer this time because of the movie offer and there was some negotiations going on with my agent. I couldn’t give them a definite yes until I talked it over with Lex. But deep down in my gut, I knew her answer, although I thought she’d love it since I’d be playing her very favorite Vindicator character, Robotron. According to Liam, I’d messed up. Badly.
I gave a slight smile. “Hey, son. How are you? Got a hug for your old man?”
He grabbed me and patted my back. He was such a good kid. I couldn’t be prouder of him. “Thanks for taking care of your mom while I was away.”
He said, “Yeah, sure. Anytime.”
When I caught Lexie’s eyes, she looked down. She was upset with me. I knew it. But I didn’t know how to fix it. It seemed as if we were two ships driving hard but toward two totally different shorelines. It’d been that way for a very long time. I always swept it under the rug, not wanting to deal with our issues, and she did the same thing, but it looked as if we couldn’t do that anymore.
Liam’s face fell. “I-I’ll…uh…get Brandy to bed. Okay?”
He snapped at Zack to follow him. Zack whined until he looked at both of us then he raced up ahead of Liam. I waited until the kids were safely upstairs. I didn’t want them to hear us fighting.
Locking my eyes onto hers, I said, “Hello, babydoll.”
I braced myself for what she was going to say.