“How dare you?” she hisses, lifting her hand again. I can hear Tubs going crazy.
“I have never hit a woman in my life, but I will tell you right now. You touch her again and I will put you down,” Kenton growls while stepping between my mom and me.
My hand hasn’t moved from my cheek. I can still feel the sting of her slap, and my body heats up. My vision blurs—not with tears, but with rage. I have been through hell and she shows up here not out of concern, but out of self-preservation. I know exactly why she’s here.
Kenton found my father not long after we got home from our honeymoon. At first, I wasn’t going to contact him, but after a long talk with Kenton and Nancy, I decided I had nothing to lose. If he didn’t want to talk to me or have a relationship with me, it wouldn’t hurt any more or any less than if I didn’t reach out to him. So I called him, and to say he was adamant that I was a scammer is an understatement.
It wasn’t until Justin sent him a copy of my medical records that he called me back. He told me that my mom told him that I’d died when I was three and that I had been cremated. He said that he still had the urn that he believed my ashes were held in. He explained that my mom moved out of the area they lived in a few days after she dropped off what was supposed to be my remains to him, and he never heard from her again.
“Do not come between me and my child,” my mom hisses, trying to get around Kenton.
I don’t even know what comes over me, but the rage I have felt since I was young gives me the strength to get around Kenton’s body, which I swear is expanding before my eyes.
“How dare I? How dare I?” I shriek at the top of my lungs. “I’m sure you’re here because my father contacted you. How dare you keep him from me?! How dare you tell him I was dead and let him believe his only child was killed?”
“Do not talk to me like that. I did what was best for you. He was nothing.”
“Why? Because he didn’t fit into your perfect little world?”
“He was a garbageman,” she says snottily.
“And you slept with him for over two years!” I yell, my hand balling into a fist at my side. I feel heat from Kenton at my back, his presence offering me strength. I know that, with him, I will be able to face any demons I have.
“He wasn’t good enough for me or you.”
“He loved me!” I scream, and without thinking, I smack her. My hand stings from the impact, but seeing the red tinge to her cheek somehow makes me feel better.
Her hand goes to her face and her eyes get big. “You little bitch.”
“I’m not that scared little girl anymore, Mom,” I tell her when I see her hand start to rise again. “You hit me and I will hit you back.”
Her hand reluctantly drops to her side and her eyes start to narrow. “He’s suing me. After all these years, he showed back up in my life and threatened me. My fiancé left me and it’s all your fault.”
“I hope he wins, and your ex is obviously a smart man,” I hiss, and then I take a step back and slam the door in her face. My heart is beating out of control and I can feel the adrenaline pumping through my system, begging me to open the door and kick her ass.
She starts to yell, and Kenton picks me up, growling, “Stay,” before setting me away from the door and opening it. “You’re trespassing. I have a gun and will shoot your sorry ass if you don’t get the f**k off my property, and don’t even think about coming back. There will be a restraining order in place before the night’s up.” He slams the door closed then puts both his hands to the frame, his head lowering between his open arms.
I can tell by his breathing alone that he’s trying to control the urge to go back out there and make good on his threat, whether she’s leaving or not.
“I want to kill her,” he whispers.
I duck under his arm, put my face near his, and wrap my arms around his waist. “I know,” I whisper back. I can feel the anger rolling off him in waves so strongly that it’s almost hard to stand. “Do you think she’ll come back?” I ask.
“She will never get near you again.” He stands, his hands come up to hold my face, and his thumb moves over my cheek, which still feels hot from the slap. “I may not be able to kill her, but I swear she will not have the life she has now by the time I’m done with her.”
I can tell that there’s nothing I can do or say that will change his mind. I don’t even want to try to get him to let it go and let her move on with her life like nothing happened. She knowingly ruined my life—and my father’s—and it’s going to take a long time to build a relationship with him.
“I need to call Justin. Are you gonna be okay?” he asks after a few minutes.
“I’ll be fine,” I tell him softly.
He bends down, pressing his lips to mine in a quick kiss. I watch him walk away before heading upstairs to finish what I was doing. I somehow feel like a weight has been lifted and I was given my power back after what happened with my mom.
“It’s done,” Kenton tells me, coming into the kitchen, where I’m making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
I look at the clock, seeing that he has been in his office for about five hours now. When my eyes go to him, I can tell that the stress and anger that were on his face before are now gone. I know that, with him as my man, I never have to worry about anything. He will always work to make the world a safe place for me.
“I love you,” I tell him, watching his face go soft.
“I know, babe.”
I smile bigger and go to him, wrapping my arms around his waist. “Now what do we do?”
“What do you mean?”
“There are no bad guys after me, and I’m sure you got rid of my mom for good, so now what do we do for entertainment?” I ask, and he starts walking me backwards until my back hits the counter.
“Now, we see how long it takes for me to plant my kid in you.”
“Really?” I whisper.
“Hell yeah,” he growls back, his mouth crashing down onto mine.
I have to say that I like the way he looks at keeping us entertained.
One Year, Three Months, Six Days, Twelve Hours, Fifteen Minutes, And Thirty-Six Seconds Later. Approximately.
I look in the mirror, my hands going to my waist, where my stomach has started to expand. I love this. I love knowing that our baby is growing inside me. We were worried for a while after we started trying to have a baby because I didn’t get pregnant right away, but the doctors all assured me that sometimes it just takes time. It was worth the wait. When I took that pregnancy test and saw the positive sign for the first time, I thought I was going to pass out from excitement. Kenton just looked stunned, like he couldn’t believe it had finally happened.