Second Chance Holiday, p.2Part #4.50 of Until series by Aurora Rose Reynolds
“I can’t believe that you were making out with someone while we’re on a date,” Steve says, catching me off guard and bringing me out of my thoughts.
Guilt turns my stomach at his words. My ex-husband cheated on me. He was having an affair for two years and I didn’t even find out until he was packing his stuff to move out. I begged him to work it out, but in the end, he chose his new girlfriend and her kids over my son and me. I hate cheaters, and even though I have no commitment to Steve, I still feel guilty for what happened with Mike.
“I wasn’t making out with him,” I say defensively.
“His mouth was on you.” Okay, so that was true. “I would appreciate it if you didn’t touch other men when we’re out together.”
That wouldn’t be too hard because I’m thinking this is going to be the last time I will ever see Steve.
“Don’t worry. It won’t happen again,” I tell him, really wanting to stab him.
I sit there for a few more minutes, not eating while feeling holes being drilled into me from across the room. It’s taking everything in me not to look at Mike. My body knows he’s near. I swear I can feel my blood cells pulling me in his direction.
“I’ll be back,” I tell Steve.
His eyes narrow, but he nods like I need his damn permission. I grab my bag and start toward the restrooms, but instead of walking all the way down the hall, I turn to the left and head towards the hostess.
“Is everything okay?” the hostess asks as soon as I make it to the front of the restaurant.
“Actually, I need to leave. I have an emergency.” I pull out a hundred-dollar bill and hand it to her. “Can you please give that to our waitress and give a message to my date that I left?”
“Sure,” she replies, giving me a knowing smile. She seated me with Steve thirty minutes ago, so I’m sure she understands why I want to get out of here.
I smile, lift my bag up over my shoulder, and head for the front of the restaurant. Once I reach the parking lot, I find my keys, quickly get in my car, and take off like the hounds of Hell are on my heels.
When I reach my house, my cell starts ringing from my purse. I pull it out and slide my finger across the screen when I see that Mike is calling.
“That didn’t last long,” he says, his tone almost playful.
But something about his words pisses me off. I know what I want out of life, and I know that I deserve to have a man who is supportive at my side. I have been single for a long time, but I miss having someone to wake up to or someone to call when I just need to vent.
“He was kind of lame, babe.”
“Seriously?” I hiss. My stomach tightens and the urge to throw my phone across the room consumes me. “You’re a jerk!” I say, hanging up.
When my phone lights up again, I hit the power button. Screw him.
I look at my coffee and rub the space between my eyes. I need to get dressed, but since everything went down with Kat, I haven’t felt like doing shit. I hear the front door open and slam then the sound of Beast’s dog tags jingling together before I ever see November come around the corner.
“Hey, Daddy!” my daughter says, walking into the house.
I watch as she tosses her bag across the room and onto the couch before coming to sit down at the island next to me with a huff. Her eyes search my face for a second before I turn away from her.
“Hey, baby girl,” I mumble, taking a drink of my coffee, setting my elbows down on the counter.
“Okay, spill it,” she says, raising an eyebrow.
“Oh lord. Don’t play dumb. You’ve been moping around for a while and I’m tired of it.”
“I’m not moping.”
“If you don’t tell me what’s going on, I’m going to call Grandma,” she says, standing and walking around the island into the kitchen. Then she grabs a coffee cup out of the cupboard before pouring herself a cup of coffee.
“Can you drink that right now?” I ask.
She frowns at me over the top of her coffee cup, making me smile. “Ha, ha. Very funny. Now seriously. Tell me what’s going on?”
I sigh then debate about what I’m going to tell her. I know she’s not a little girl, but the idea of explaining to her how I let the woman I love slip through my fingers because I’m a dumbass is not at all appealing.
“Dad, talk to me,” she says quietly.
I look at her across the counter and lower my head. “I fucked up. I mean really fucked up, and I don’t know if I can fix it.”
“Are you still breathing?” she asks softly, and I lift my head.
“Are you still breathing?” she repeats, searching my face.
“Yes,” I tell her and frown when I see her eyes flash.
“Do you love her?”
“Yes,” I whisper.
She nods. “You know, this man once told me that, as long as you were breathing, anything was possible.” She takes a drink of her coffee, searching my face again. She shakes her head and I see tears fill her eyes. “You could have given up on me,” she whispers, and my heart contracts. “You could have just said screw it and given up, but you didn’t—you never did. You are someone who fights for what you want. So if you love this woman, she’s probably pretty amazing and worth fighting for.”
“She is,” I say, my jaw locking.
“Then fight, Dad. I want you to be happy. You deserve to be happy.”
“When did you get so darn smart?”
“I don’t know.” She shrugs, taking another drink from her cup.
“Love you, baby girl.”
“Love you too, Dad.” She smiles then leans onto the counter with her elbows. “Now tell me about her.”
“Who is she?” she asks.
I take a breath and sit up on the stool. “Her name’s Kathleen. We knew each other back in school before she moved away,” I say.
She nods before taking another drink and then lowering her cup to the counter. “How long have you been seeing each other?”
Shit, I think, and she narrows her eyes.
“How long have you been seeing her, Dad?” she repeats.
“Nine months,” I mumble looking down at the counter.
“Nine months? You’ve been seeing her for nine months and I’m just now hearing about her?” She shakes her head and stands to her full height before turning away from me and walking around the kitchen twice. Then she stops in front of me, opening and closing her mouth again and doing another circle. “I can’t believe you haven’t told me about this,” she says, making me feel instantly worse.
“She has a son.”
“She has a son?” she repeats, coming around the counter to sit on the stool next to me again. “How old is he?”
“Just turned eighteen.”
“Wow,” she breathes.
“Yeah,” I say, running my fingers though my hair.
“How do you guys get along?”
“I don’t know him.”
“You’ve been seeing this lady for nine months, you’re in love with her, and you don’t know her son?”
“I told you I fucked up,” I tell her, lowering my head towards the counter again.
“You weren’t lying,” she mumbles under her breath, and I swing my head towards her and narrow my eyes. “It’s okay,” she says, holding up her hands. “It’s not too late.” She wraps her arm around my back, laying her head on my shoulder. “You’re pretty easy to love, Dad, and one thing I know for sure is that everything will work out.”
“You’re right, baby girl.” I wrap my arm around her, lean in, and kiss the top of her head. And pray that I find away to get my woman back.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” I ask Conner as we pull up in front of a large log house.
“Honey, I told you before. It’s all good. We’re not going to stay
Oh God. I wasn’t ready for that. Conner is a very nice man. He’s good-looking, attentive, and kind. He’s also successful, but the idea of doing anything more than kissing him on the cheek makes me feel nauseated.
I feel bad that there is no spark with him. He has done everything to make me feel comfortable, but something keeps holding me back. There are just no sparks. I keep asking myself, Who the hell needs sparks? But my brain is not listening.
I’ve gone out with Conner a few times. I met him when we were both in line at the bank. He seemed like a nice guy, and I’m still adamant about getting over Mike and finding someone to build something lasting with. Yeah, I know I’m breaking the rules about being an independent woman, but I know what I want. And since the man I want is an idiot, I need to look elsewhere.
“We can go to a movie,” I tell him right away and see disappointment flash through his eyes before he takes his eyes off me and looks at the house in front of us.
“Let’s go in,” he says, opening his door and climbing out of his truck.
I open my door and meet him in front of the house. He takes my hand in his and I fight the urge to make him release me as we walk up the steps to the front porch. When we reach the door, he doesn’t knock; he just walks in. The second we step over the threshold, I’m bombarded by the sounds of people laughing and having a good time.
Conner leads us through the crowd, stopping along the way to say hi to people he knows. When we reach the kitchen, a young, very good-looking guy with his hair shaved off comes up to us, pulling Conner in for a one-arm hug. When they pull away, the guy looks at me and then to Conner. Again, something flashes in his eyes, but I’m not fast enough to understand what it is.
“Asher, this is Kathleen. Kathleen, this is Asher.”
“Nice to meet you.” I smile and take his hand when he puts it out for a shake.
“You look familiar,” he says, and I shake my head no. “Do you know my wife November?” he asks.
My stomach drops. No way. Fate cannot be this cruel. But the chance of another woman named November living in this town is about as likely as being struck by lightning. I’ve never met November, but Mike talked about her often, along with his granddaughters—he even brought up his son-in-law a few times, but I never put two and two together.
I’m an idiot.
“Babe!” Asher yells across the room.
I turn my head in the direction his eyes are facing and see a beautiful woman smile and walk towards us holding a little girl in her arms.
“You called?” she asks, rolling her eyes.
“You know Conner, baby, and this is Kathleen,” he tells her.
When she reaches his side, his arm goes around her waist and her eyes come to me. “Kathleen,” she mumbles. The look in her eyes is making me wonder if Mike ever told her about me.
“Nice to meet you,” I tell her, wanting to break the awkward moment.
Conner’s hand goes to my back and my body stiffens at the contact. November’s eyes look between Conner and me and a smile starts to spread across her lips.
“Nice to meet you, too,” she says then looks down at the girl in her arms. “This is June,” she says, lifting the little girl higher up on her hip before stepping out of her husband’s grasp.
November pulls me in for a one-arm hug, forcing the little girl in her arms between us. When she starts to pull away, the little girl grabs on to the front of my shirt. I look down at her and smile.
“She’s adorable,” I say, looking up at November.
June doesn’t let up. Instead, she seems to hold on tighter to me as her mom starts to pull her away.
“Can I?” I ask.
November nods, and I take the girl completely from her, pulling in a lungful of her baby smell.
“Your dad around?” I hear Conner ask as I run my fingers down June’s chubby cheek.
“Yep. He’s manning the grill,” Asher tells him.
“I’ll be back,” Conner says, squeezing my side before walking away.
I feel a singe across my skin and turn my head, looking around the room full of people before locking on Mike. Even from the distance between us, I can see his jaw grinding.
“So you’re the one who has my dad all messed up?” November asks.
I pull my eyes from Mike and look at her. “Sorry?”
“My dad,” she says, looking behind me. “He’s been moping around for a while. He spoke about you to me about a week ago when I threatened to sic Grandma on him if he didn’t tell me what was going on.”
“I’m sorry,” I whisper. This is not what I wanted.
“Don’t be,” she whispers back, her smile catching me off guard.
I feel a hand at my back and don’t even have to turn my head to know that it’s Mike.
“You’re here with Conner?” is growled near my ear as Asher reaches over, plucking June from my arms, giving me a soft smile before wrapping an arm around November’s waist and leading her away.
“Nice to meet you, Kathleen,” November calls over her shoulder before looking at her dad and shaking her head.
“Mike, I—” I start to tell him that I’m sorry when he cuts me off.
“No. Actually…” He shakes his head. “Fuck no. You didn’t even give me a second to work shit out in my head,” he says, his voice low, and my hands begin to shake.
“Don’t do this here,” I whisper.
“I wouldn’t have to do this shit here, but seeing’s how you ain’t returning my calls, I got no choice.”
“Don’t Mike me, baby. I’m pissed the fuck off right now.”
“You have no right to be mad.” I frown.
“No?” He looks at me, top to toe, shaking his head. “I’ve had my mouth and hands on every inch of you. And you show up at a party at my kid’s house with a date.” He shakes his head again.
“Don’t be a vulgar. And I had no idea this was your daughter’s house,” I tell him, feeling my face heat in embarrassment.
“You may not have known, but Conner knew this is my daughter’s house. As for being vulgar,” he says, his face dipping even closer to mine, his voice dropping, “your body knows me, craves me.”
“Not anymore,” I bite out, becoming pissed off.
“You’ve been mine since you walked back into my life.”
He cuts me off, ducking his head so he’s face to face with me. “I know what I said, baby. I thought that you were cool with how we were. You told me you wanted to keep things simple ‘cause your boy. I had no clue that you were feeling like you weren’t important to me.” His hand comes up, his fingers wrapping around the back of my neck.
“You didn’t stop me from leaving,” I say quietly, still hurt by that.
“I was caught off guard. I thought I had time. Then I saw you out on a date and was pissed but happy the guy was a loser.” He smiles and I narrow my eyes. “Then I called you. I wanted to laugh about it with you, but that’s not what happened.”
“No,” I agree. “I was really mad at you. I am really mad at you.”
“You think weeks of silent treatment hasn’t shown me that?”
My heart starts to feel lighter, and then guilt starts to kick in. “I’m here with Conner.”
“You were here with Conner. Now, you’re here with me.”
“Mike,” I whisper-hiss his name.
“Babe, I’ll talk to Conner.”
I shake my head. “You’re not talking to Conner.”
“Did you know Conner knew I was seeing you?”
“Every man in town knew I was seeing you. They all knew you were off-limits.”
“What?” I repeat, stunned.
“You never wondered why the fuck no one ever hit on you?” he asks, his thumb sliding down my throat.
“They knew you were off-limits. Just ‘cause our relationship wasn’t out in the open doesn’t mean I hid that shit.”
“Oh my God,” I breathe.
“That’s why me and Conner are gonna talk,” he states, and anxiety fills my chest.
“I’m still mad at you.”
“Don’t matter. I’m still talking to him.”
“Don’t be a jerk,” I hiss and try to break out of his grasp.
His hand wraps around my waist and his hand at my neck slides farther back into my hair, holding me captive as his mouth comes down on mine, pulling the air from my lungs. I gasp in surprise, and he takes the opportunity to slip his tongue between my lips. His familiar taste fills my mouth, and my body, which is completely owned by him, leans in until my chest is pressed firmly to his. When he groans and I feel his arousal at my stomach, a whimper escapes into his mouth.
“Seriously?” I hear barked.
My eyes squeeze shut. Then Mike’s forehead touches mine for a brief second before he pulls away.
“You, me, outside,” he tells Conner, jerking his head towards the front door.
My hand covers my mouth and I look around the room at all the people who have stopped to watch what’s going on. I can’t believe I just kissed Mike in front of all of these people; I really can’t believe I did it when I am out with Conner.
“Oh shit. This should be good.”
I look to my left at a young guy. His head’s shaved. He looks similar to Asher, and I wonder if they’re brothers.
His eyes come to me and a smile spreads across his lips. “I’m Trevor.”
“Kathleen,” I say then hear yelling and start to head towards the front of the house.
“Don’t think Mike would want you out there, doll,” a guy covered in tattoos says, stepping in front of me.
“I need to stop them.”
Second Chance Holiday by Aurora Rose Reynolds / Romance & Love / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes