Tensions continue to rise at the dreaded family dinner, and it’s only a matter of time before Dakota’s fury gets the better of her…
BOOK: Born Again
WORD COUNT: 5685
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It was always a source of amusement watching my children try, and fail, to fight off the sleep that was creeping up on them. They must have sensed something in the air, must have known they were going to miss out on some “fun”. Little did they know that I would’ve happily traded places with them, slept right through the dinner from hell, a rendezvous that had had me feeling queasy all the days leading up to it.
Putting them to bed an hour early was my idea, one that I’d been completely adamant about, and that Naomi had tried to talk me out of. But that wasn’t up for negotiation. I didn’t want my children anywhere near that man. After this evening, none of us would see him again anyway.
The twins were curled up in Gabriel’s bed with me, their eyelids growing heavy as they listened to me read their favorite book, and do the voices. They liked sleeping together, which reminded me so much of me and Dove when we were younger. His room and bed were where I’d felt most safe.
“I love you so much,” I whispered as I tucked them in, once sleep had finally claimed them. I kissed them both, and snuck out of the room.
The scent that hit my nostrils made my mouth water and my stomach growl. I followed it to the kitchen, where I found Naomi hard at work on the evening’s meal. I stood in the doorway watching her, feeling so many emotions, but mostly just love and gratitude. Her dark hair was in a loose, messy bun that she’d hastily tied up. She must have sensed my presence, because she turned around. I noticed the specks of flour in her hair and on her cheek.
She rubbed her hands on her apron, came to me, took my face in her hands and stole a kiss that I desperately needed.
“Hey, beautiful,” she whispered against my lips.
I wanted to smile, but I couldn’t. Not even for her. Not in that moment.
“We should have just ordered pizzas,” I said, casting a disgruntled look past her and to the mountain of delicious food she’d already prepared. She’d even made a caramel-pecan cheesecake from scratch, a family recipe. I hated that she’d expended so much effort on this man and his family. “From that really cheap, horrible place that got temporarily shut down for being overrun with rats!”
She laughed. “I don’t think that would have been very nice.”
“That’s kinda the point.”
She kissed me again; whenever I was being mean, this was her way of getting me in line. Sometimes I did it just to get this reaction from her, because one kiss was never enough.
“Honey, you said you’d be civil tonight,” she said in her wife tone — we both had one and knew when to use it.
“I said I’d try.”
She returned to the food prep, and I took a bottle of wine out of the refrigerator, poured myself half a glass, and sat down at the kitchen table. She’d even managed to borrow a spare from our neighbor, so we could seat seven, as ours could only seat four. All this fuss over him… it sickened me.