“Let’s just…we can talk about it later. Okay? Who wants cheesecake?”
“I could go for a slice. What about you?” I nudge Wylla Mae’s knee as she pouts, folding her arms across her chest.
“We can eat in the living room and watch a movie or something. Wylla, baby. Why don’t you go pick us out something to watch?”
“Sounds good to me. Go on now. Listen to your momma.”
Her chair scoots back with a creaking sound and she skitters out of the room.
“Sorry about her. She’s not used to anyone calling her out on her actions. It’s my own fault. I’ve spoiled her.”
“She’s a good kid.”
“You think so? I’m always terrified that I have screwed her life up. I’m not the most together person. I’m sure you know that already. It’s just me. Sometimes it all gets a bit heavy, and I’m not the best at reaching out or asking for help. I felt like I was drowning with no way to break free the other day. So, it means a lot to me that you were there for Wylla Mae when you didn’t know me or her. You could’ve put her off on anyone, but you didn’t.” She pauses. “My life is complicated.”
“Hey. It’s cool. You don’t owe me any explanations.”
“But I do. I mean, yeah Murder knows you, but he put my kid off on you because he trusted that you’d take care of her, and I want you to know that I don’t go around just letting whoever watch her.”
“She kept me company and kept me from doing stupid shit.”
“Any other weekend I’d been chasing club pussy and falling into the same mistakes. She gave me responsibility outside of myself.”
“I know all about repeating mistakes. Just once I’d like to meet a nice guy. One who doesn’t want anything but my company and likes me for me. Not because I’m pretty or give good head.” Her lips turn down and my heart squeezes in my chest for this beautiful broken woman and her daughter.
I never thought much about putting roots down here when I got word that my old man passed away. We never had a good relationship. I came here to tie up his affairs and got sucked into the life he lived. The club he rode with. When Murder asked me if I wanted to prospect, I was sure I’d never make it, but it’s been a year and a few months since I earned my cut. I like it here in Charleston, West Virginia. I like the people. Love the club. The gorgeous mountains.
Could I be the man that Alexa needs? Fuck if I know but maybe I could try testing the waters with her. She’s hot and I know she finds me attractive. The kid drives me nuts but in a good way. All weekend I couldn’t wait to be rid of her but once Alexa drove off with her, I felt something I didn’t expect. Loneliness. It crept up on me, and I can’t help but wonder if a family of my own isn’t what I’m missing.
I know Alexa is doing her best. Hell, I was raised by a single mother. I know it is damn hard.
“You want to take this to Wylla Mae. I’ll be right behind you with the rest.”
“Sure.” I take the slice of cheesecake she plated and carry it into the living room suspecting she needs a moment to herself. “What’d you pick?” I hand Wylla Mae her dessert and sink onto the couch. It’s tan leather and I smile to myself seeing the floral printed throw pillows. I remember what the kid said about her mom making things look nice and smell good when she’s happy.
“What’s it about?”
Her eyes get bigger than normal and she pauses before taking her bite of cheesecake. “You’ve never seen Corpse Bride?”
“Can’t say that I have.”
“It’s like the single greatest movie ever.”
“I’ll take your word for it.”
Alexa enters the room, and I can tell that maybe she was crying. Over what? Hell if I know. What I do know is I hate the sadness I see behind her eyes and wonder what I can do to take it away. I watched my own mother cry one too many times over spilt milk.
The three of us settle in with our cheesecake. Wylla Mae is seated on the floor and Alexa is next to me, knees touching mine. I have to admit I’m enjoying myself. I can’t help but watch the brat. The way her face lights up at her favorite parts and her lips move, repeating nearly every damn line word for word.