"Yes, well, it never hurt to make friends, Samantha."
I flinched at the sound of my full name. It was only used when I had disappointed him, once in seventeen years.
"I'll see you at school, honey." He moved past, and then hesitated for a moment. His hand patted my shoulder before he left. When the door shut, I released a ragged breath and sagged in a chair.
My life was screwed.
When I returned to the mausoleum, my mom was in the back patio area. I had to pass by to get to the stairs that were right next to my room. She saw me and called out, "Hi, honey. What'd you do today?"
James sat with her, but when I stepped outside he stood. "You can have my seat, Samantha."
I knew my mouth twisted into a scowl, but he waved a hand to the chair and gave me a polite smile before he disappeared inside.
Analise beamed at me. "Sit, sit. Let's chat."
I sat and glared.
She pushed a cup to me. "James didn't touch his coffee. You can have it. I know you like those coffee drinks."
It went ignored. "I went home today."
"Honey, this is your new home." She frowned and glanced towards the ocean. A divider wall sectioned off their backyard, but a small trail led from behind a door in the divider to the beach. "Isn't it beautiful here?"
"I saw dad."
She picked up her cup. "I just love tea."
"Oh, Samantha. You're too funny sometimes. I've always liked tea."
"You've been a caffeine addict since I was little."
"Yes, well, I'm trying to wean myself from that. Tea is much better for you."
"And is James better for you too?"
She turned and set the cup down.
"Is he, mom?"
"So you saw your father?" Her voice hardened. "He wasn't supposed to be there."
"At his own house?"
"I asked him to stay away. I knew you'd go back today to make sure we had remembered everything."
"You didn't want me to see him?"
"It's for the best, Samantha."
"For who? You? He's my father."
She patted my arm once and leaned back, tea back in hand. "You'll see him at school. Your tuition is still going to be paid."
"Why wouldn't it?"
"We're getting a divorce, honey. You do know that certain things in life change during these times."
"Yeah," I bit out. "Like families."
The corner of her mouth curved down and she set the tea down. Her hands were gentle as she placed it back on the cup holder. "I am your family, Samantha. It'll always be you and me, but now I have James. You should get to know Mason and Logan. They're very nice boys."
"And you've gotten to know them?"
"I have." She watched me. "A few times."
"When?" My stomach churned inside. My hands clasped onto the back of my seat.
"Over the last year, I've had dinner with them."
"Over the last year?"
"I did tell you that I left your father. We've been struggling for a long time, Sam. I know you noticed, though you never say anything. You should talk more, honey. It's healthier for you."
"You cheated on dad for a year?"
She sighed. "I didn't cheat—"
"You said a year. You've been cheating on dad for a year?" I leaned forward in the chair. "Did dad know?"