“Maybe they’ll grow to love me, too,” I suggest. “I’m sticking around, Sheila, no matter what.”
“We’ll see.” She runs a cool gaze over my frame. “I don’t know if you’re good enough for my Rory. You’ll have to prove it to me. For now, I think it’s best if you go home.”
“Okay.” No point in arguing.
“Tell your mom I said hey.”
Why does that feel like a threat? “I will.”
I tap my brush against the porcelain and drop it into the cup next to Logan and Dean’s. When they wake up, they’ll see my brush here and know that I’m coming back.
Rory’s coming in from the back door as I’m gathering my keys.
“You’re leaving?” she says as the door slams against her ass.
“Not far and not for long. I’m going to run home, shower, and get some things. I’ll be out in my truck tonight.” I lean down and press a kiss against her cheek. “You can’t get rid of me that easily,” I tease.
Rory’s expression is grim. “You should probably go back to your side of town, Carter. You don’t belong here.”
“I belong next to you. Wherever you are, I’ll be there.”
I listenoutside the boy's room as Sheila reads them a bedtime story. I might actually think it’s sweet if I didn’t think she had an ulterior motive. As much as she doesn’t love being a mother, she does get off on the somewhat god-like complex the boys have when it comes to her. Sadly, they are only a tool in her games. She needs their devotion in order for her to be able to keep using them. Especially as they grow older and can be a bit more vocal.
My mother never does anything that doesn’t benefit her in some way. She is the most selfish person I know. I try to shield my brothers from her crap as much as possible, but some things are out of my hands.
I hear Logan beg her to read another book. I’m sure Dean is out cold, but she’s done her part. She’s not going to do more than she needs to. I venture back toward the kitchen, not willing to have this fight with her outside the boys’ bedroom. She appears a few minutes later, going straight to the freezer to pull out a bottle of vodka to make herself a drink.
“What did you say to him?” I ask. I know she must have said something to Tyson earlier. He tried to hide that he was pissed off, but I’ve become good at reading him. Sometimes I think I watch him as much as he watches me. The only difference is that I hide that I’m doing it.
“I told him the truth.”
“He’s not a meal ticket or someone you can use. He’s a friend, and the boys really like him.” I want to say so much more, but I don’t. I know I need to tread carefully with her. Especially now that she’s started drinking.
“Because he makes stupid Christmas decorations with them?” She rolls her eyes. I want to scream at her, but I hold it back, knowing it’s pointless. That saying anything would only cause her to yell back and wake the boys.
“He helps me keep an eye on them too. He’s good with them.” I push that point at least.
It shouldn’t be worrying me that she might be scaring Tyson off, but it is for some reason. Isn’t that what I want?
“He wants to get laid.”
“Tyson Carter can get laid whenever the hell he wants,” I say dryly. I might not like that truth, but it’s reality. He doesn’t, though. He spends his free time making videos, watching me, or doing something for his family.
“Men enjoy the chase.” Again, I bite back a retort.
I have no clue how she would know that. She never makes any of the men she dates chase her. She’s all in from the first moment, whether they’re good or bad for her. She’s the last person I would take dating advice from. To be honest, I wouldn’t take any sort of advice from her.
“I’m going to get ready for bed. I have work in the morning.”
“No more girl talk? I think you could use a bit if you’re only scoring some groceries from your new boyfriend.” I ignore her as I head toward my bedroom, not giving her what she wants. “You’re not better than me, Rory,” she calls after me. I lock my door behind me.
I lean up against it, closing my eyes. I’m wearing down. I don’t mean physically, either, but from the emotional toll she has on me. Now, she’s trying to push the one thing away that to a degree is mine. If I let myself have it.
Why can’t I? Even if only for a few nights. I’m quickly realizing I already have a fear of Tyson moving on with his life. Why can’t I enjoy this for as long as it lasts or before my mother somehow has it taken from me?