Isn’t it obvious? My already twisted stomach sinks further with dread. I try to hold in any pain I feel, not wantin’ to embarrass myself. I clear my tight throat. “Well
I’m not real sure. I wanted to meet you; I thought maybe we could get to know each other. Mama told me some about you, but not a whole lot.”
I decide maybe now’s a good time to tell him about Mama, but before I can say anything he interrupts me by letting out a weary sigh. “Listen, Grace, I’m going to be up front with you. I’m not sure what your mother all shared with you. I cared about her a lot but we came from two different families, and I had expectations I had to follow due to my family’s political position. I now have a family of my own, and I still have a reputation I need to stand by. If this…” he gestures with his hand between the two of us, “ever got out it would hurt the family I have now, a lot. Do you understand?”
No, I’m not sure I do. I’m not sure I understand anythin’ that is comin’ out of his mouth, because as soon as he started spouting the painful words, agony was rippin’ through my already damaged heart, making it impossible for me to follow him. He becomes blurry in front of me as tears cloud my eyes.
His eyes seem to darken a little with regret. Or maybe it’s my imagination.
Letting out another breath he reaches in his pocket and hands a folded piece of paper to me, “Here, I know your Mama never accepted anything from me, at the beginning when I offered, and that did make me feel bad. Hopefully this will make up for some of it, if not all of it.”
When I don’t take the folded check, he opens it up and lays it down in front of me. I gasp when I see the amount: $50,000.
Before I can get my mouth to work, he adds: “I’m truly sorry about what happened to your Mama, she was a good lady and didn’t deserve that.”
My gaze snaps to his in shock. “You know?”
He nods with regret and I completely snap. “You knew this whole time and you never came for me?” He shifts nervously as I start to shout. I can tell he’s about to open his ugly mouth again, but I don’t let him. “Do you have any idea who I was sent to live with? What I had to endure because I had no one or nowhere to go? How could you just leave me with him? How could you not have come for me?” Every agonized word falls with desperation from my lips.
Before he can give a shitty answer I stand up, grab his check and rip the damn thing up into a million pieces then throw it at him. “Money will never, ever make up for it. The best thing that ever happened to my Mother was you walkin’ out on her, because she was way too good for your pretentious ass.” Stalking to the door, I turn back to face him when my hand grasps the handle, “Enjoy your family. I hope you teach your kids more morals and values than what you were raised with.” With that last parting comment I open the door and get the hell out of there.
I thought my heart was already completely broken, but I must have had some still intact. Whatever I did have left was definitely shattered now.
As the driver takes me home I let silent tears fall as I think about every crack of the belt, burn from the pot and cruel touch that came from his hands all because I had no one. I still don’t.
“Anything?” I ask Julia and Kayla as I pace angrily in Julia’s kitchen. All of us have been waiting for Grace to text, and fucking nothing. It’s been hours; she should be home by now.
“You know what? Fuck it! I’m just going to go there. If she’s not home yet then I’ll wait for her.”
“I don’t know if that’s a good idea, Sawyer. Maybe she needs to be alone right now, and we should respect that,” Julia replies nervously.
“That’s the last fucking thing she should be-is by herself.” It comes out harsher than I intend for it to, and when I see her wince it makes me feel like an asshole.
“Watch your fucking tone, Evans,” Jaxson says, getting pissed.
Yeah well, join the fucking club. I shake my head and know I’m going to get into a fight if I don’t get the fuck out of here.
“Look, I’m going over there. I’ll text you girls later and let you know.” Walking out the door without another word, I get into my truck and haul ass.
Less then ten minutes later I’m parking in Grace’s driveway. Getting out of the truck I walk around the corner and stop dead in my tracks.
Agony rips through me at the sad fucking sight before me: a beautiful, broken-looking girl, sitting on her front steps, wearing an evening dress. She’s bent over at the waist; her face buried in her lap as her shoulders shake with grief. I briefly register the empty bottle of wine that sits next to her.
“Cupcake?” my words are gruff even to my own ears.
Her head snaps up in shock, and the saddest fucking eyes crash into mine. She quickly wipes at her tears, as if she can clear them before I see them. “Sawyer? What are ya doin’ here?”
I shrug, “You never texted. I was worried.”
I stay where I am, not knowing how she feels about me just showing up. We stare at each other in silence for at least a good minute while she decides if she wants to talk to me or not, and it’s the longest fucking minute of my life. Something passes over her face when she makes her decision.
She shrugs her bare, slender shoulders and sucks in the most painful breath I’ve ever heard as she tries to get words out. “He didn’t want me.” Her head drops back down, as if the agony is too much for her to hold it up anymore.
“Fuck!” Not being able to stay away a second longer I walk over, pick her up and bring her down on my lap. She wraps her arms around me and buries her face in my neck, soaking it with her tears. Her small, vulnerable body curls into mine, and my arms vibrate from her anguish.
Jesus, I didn’t even know it was possible for someone to cry this fucking hard. I decide not to say anything and just hold her.
“He knew, Sawyer.” I have to strain really hard to understand the words that she tries getting past her sobs. “He knew about my Mama and he never came. He left me with him; this whole time I thought he never knew because there was no way he wouldn’t come for me. No way he would leave me with that monster, but he knew… he knew the whole damn time.”
My blood begins to pump with fury. I’m not sure if I’m more mad about her piece of shit dad or hearing about this fucking monster. Leaning my head back, I grab her face between my hands so I can look into her eyes, our foreheads almost touching. “Fuck him, Grace. You hear me? Fuck. Him. You don’t fucking need him, you have made it this far without him and you will continue to. It’s his goddamn loss, Cupcake, not yours,” I seethe every word through clenched teeth.
She rests her forehead against mine and her hot tears fall onto my face. I thread my fingers through her soft, wavy blonde hair that feels like fucking silk. “He tried to give me a check for $50,000, as if that would make up for it, but I ripped it up and threw it in his face. I could have really used that money, Sawyer, but I couldn’t take it. I couldn’t accept it. All I want is to belong to someone. It’s not right, everyone should belong to somebody.”
The last of her words break out into a sob and cracks my fucking heart right in half. “You do belong to people, baby, you belong to me, and to Julia, and to Kayla… you belong to us all, Grace.”
She shakes her head, “It’s not the same thing, Sawyer. I love you guys but it’s not the same thing. Everyone should have some sort of family.”
“Sometimes, Grace, people are better without their families. Look at Jaxson…”
“But he belongs to Julia, he still belongs to someone. The only person who ever loved me unconditionally was ripped away from me…” she trails off and cries harder. “I miss her so much, Sawyer; some days the pain is so bad I wish my heart would stop beating.”
As soon as the words leave her mouth it’s a like a blow to my fucking chest, a thousand pounds of bricks just fell on it and sucked the air from my lungs.
I shake my head frantically against hers, grinding my teeth against the pain. “Don’t fucking say that, Grace, don’t ever fucking say that again. Your friends need you. I need you. You will get through this, baby, we’ll help you.”
Her sad eyes stare directly into mine just before her gaze drops to my mouth, and that was the only sign I got before her mouth crashed on mine.
And I was fucking right; she tastes sweeter than anything I have ever tasted. Her fingers wind in my hair, holding me captive to her. She kisses me with desperation while I kiss her with all the fucking pent-up longing I’ve had since laying eyes on her. I run my hands up the softest legs I’ve ever felt then shove them up her dress. A low, primal growl erupts from my throat as I grab her lace-covered ass.
“Sawyer,” she whimpers my name against my lips, spiking my dick harder than I thought possible. I feel the heat of her lace-covered pussy through my jeans, as she grinds herself against my rock-hard cock.
Amongst the sweet taste of her tongue, I also taste her tears, her agony and wine. Fuck! My brain rages a war against my dick, yelling at me to stop, but my cock tells me to keep going. Eventually my brain wins, and somehow I manage to pry my mouth away from the best thing I’ve ever tasted.