“Just promise me that you will tell me if you get to a point where you’re not cool with it anymore.”
“Where’s all this coming from?” I ask her, not understanding what’s bringing all these doubts to the surface when we have been doing so well.
“I don’t know. I’m just used to working, so me not working is messing with my head. I love being home with both the kids, but...” she trails off, shaking her head.
“But what?” I ask when her face pales slightly.
“Um…I…it’s nothing.” She shakes her head again and I know it’s not nothing.
“Lil, please talk to me.”
“Jules came by yesterday. The kids were down for a nap, and I answered the door not thinking, but I think she realized that I’m living there.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I didn’t want you to be worried, and when she saw that it was me who answered, she left without really saying anything.”
“Next time she comes by, you need to call me.”
“It’s fine, babe, but I will not allow her to f**k with you or my kids.” I take a breath, trying to calm down. And speaking of the devil, my phone starts ringing, with Jules’ name coming onto the screen. “Yeah?” I answer on the second ring. Standing, I walk away from the where Lilly is and the kids are playing.
“So you moved in that chick?” she asks with venom in her voice
“Lilly is not a chick; she’s my woman, the mother of my child, and soon, my wife. Second, you don’t ever get to question what I do, or when or how I do it. And third,” I growl when I hear her trying to cut me off, “you do not get to show up at my house unannounced ever.”
“I think I have the right to know if there is a criminal around my son.”
“I heard that she is a criminal.” I can tell she is smirking; I’ve seen her smug face enough to know what she sounds like when she’s doing it.
“Who the f**k told you that?” I ask, my gut twisting.
“Don’t worry about who told me, just know that I know all about her.”
“You don’t know shit. Why are you calling me?”
“I want to see Jax,” she says nonchalantly.
“Why not today?” she whines, and I clench my fist. She never wants to see Jax, and she never calls to check on him. Even when he had to stay in the hospital with strep, she wasn’t concerned enough to see him.
“It’s my birthday. We’re spending the day together.”
“So you could come too,” she says in what I'm sure she thinks is a sexy tone. All that shit does to me is make me want to punch something or cut off my dick.
“Have you lost your damn mind?”
“Please, I want to see our son.”
“I will call you tomorrow and set up a time to meet up with you,” I say, hanging up. I lean my head back, looking up at the sky through the trees. I hate that I’m going to have to deal with her ass for the rest of my life. I feel arms wrap around my waist, and my hands go to Lilly’s on my stomach. I look down when I feel arms around each of my legs, and I know that no matter what bullshit Jules pulls, if I have this, I will be happy.
“Don’t touch me,” Ashlyn says from the backseat.
“I'm not touching you,” Jax says.
“Don’t touch me!” Ashlyn yells this time.
“I'm not touching you,” Jax repeats, and I can hear it in his voice that he is smiling and really trying to piss off his sister.
“Mommy, Jax isn’t touching me! Stop not touching me!” Ashlyn cries and I laugh. Looking through the rearview mirror, I can see that Jax has a finger close to his sister, but far enough away that he is not actually touching her.
“Jax, leave your sister alone,” I say, trying to sound firm, but it’s really funny so it’s difficult. I never had siblings growing up, so I have no idea what it’s like, but I love how Jax is with Ashlyn. I love that she has someone there for her. And I know that, yes, he picks on her, but let someone else try to pick on his sister and he turns into a twenty-year-old and lays down the law. No one, but no one, picks on his sister except him. Things have been good—no, that’s wrong—things have been perfect…well, that is if you don’t count getting accused of check fraud and losing your job.
The good thing is that I had my meeting with the school board and my case was dismissed. They were not happy about what happened, but after the union heard my case and saw for themselves the evidence against me was all false, they said I could return to work. And I would, just not at that school. I don’t want to work somewhere where the principal didn’t even give me a chance to speak, due to her own feelings and her own situation. I want to be somewhere that people know me and my character enough to realize I would never do what I had been accused of.
So for now, I’m a stay at home mom. I love having the kids, but I miss teaching. I have put in an application at the local middle school, and I’m waiting to hear back from them. So, things are going awesome, and we have all settled in. I’d thought that it would be weird living with Cash, but it isn’t; I love it. I love that the kids have each other. I love that I get to wake up to Cash every day. I love him coming home to the kids and me, and having family dinners. I love that his family has started acting more comfortably around me. The only thing that I don’t love is his ex. I know in my head that she is Jax’s mother, but my heart doesn’t like that very much. I hate seeing the disappointment on his little face when she is supposed to show up and doesn’t. When he does see her, I hate the way he acts when he comes back to us. I hate that Cash is subjected to dealing with her when she wants to act like she cares about Jax, then how he has to put up with the aftermath of Jax, and trying to explain to him why his mom is such a bitch. So if not for his ex, things would be perfect, and that is one thing that worries me. When Cash and I were together before, things were like they are now, minus the kids. I’m concerned about getting too comfortable, but at the same time, he makes it so easy to fall back into a place where I feel safe and loved.
“Mommy, where are we going?” Ashlyn asks for the fiftieth time since we got into the car.
“I told you, love bug, we’re going to the hairdresser.”
“Oh, yeah,” she sighs, making me laugh. I pull up out front of the salon, park, and hop out of my giant SUV. When I open the back door, both of the kids are standing and waiting for me to help them down. They each grab a hand as we make it into the building. The woman behind the counter greets us right away with a huge smile.