It has been a rough week here. I got word last Monday that my dad’s cancer was back and all the doctors could do was pain management at this stage. He’d known for some time that he was sick again, but he had made up his mind he wasn’t going to have more surgery or go through chemo again, and he kept his secret as long as he could, stubborn man.
The only good part of this week was getting to visit with family and other loved ones. The loss is too awful, though, and it will be a long time before we are even a little bit better. We’ll get together again in a few months, when the weather is nicer. My dad adamantly did not want a service, just cremated so his ashes could be sprinkled. So he won’t have a service, and his ashes are going to be sprinkled in a couple places that were meaningful to him, but we’ll also get together at the cemetery where much of my dad’s family is buried, and we’ll say goodbye to him there.
My brain is not in the right mindset to write at the moment. I’ve opened several story files and scrolled through them, but I don’t have words to add to them right now.
So instead, I’m going to share a snippet from my third shifter story with you and think about some supper.
“Hey, what’s up with Mom and Dad?”
He squeezed his eyes shut. “I don’t know. Not sure I want to know.”
Harley laughed. “I’m pretty sure she spent the night last night.”
Boris groaned. “Why did you go there?” He turned around and glared at his brother.
Harley grinned and shrugged. “I’m not any more excited to be speculating about that end of things myself, but it’s fun to make you uncomfortable.”
“Because we’re still ten and sixteen?”
“Occasionally.” His brother sobered a little. “A baby, huh?”
Boris thought he hid his wince. “Yes.” He didn’t really want to have this conversation any more than the one about their parents.
His brother studied him for a few seconds. “Well, thanks for hanging with Callie,” he said finally.
Relief flooded his system. “No problem.” He pivoted and strode from the room.
The treehouse. He imagined it filled with his children and the three women, and he smiled reluctantly. That was going to be a sight.
Only he saw a small blond head bent over the arm of a chair just inside the library. Berdine.
He turned in there instead of continuing toward the French doors. “Hey,” he said softly.
Her head shot up, and she swiped the back of her hand across one cheek before she glared at him.
He scooped her off the chair, then sat on the seat with her on his lap. “Are you okay, baby?”
He hid a grin. He’d heard that enough from women in his lifetime to know it was a big fat lie when uttered in that tone. “How come you’re in here all by yourself?”
“You were busy with Callie, and I didn’t want to hear baby stories.”
“I hear everyone else is out in the treehouses.” He rubbed her stiff little spine.
“I didn’t want to.”
He studied her profile, her mouth all pinched up in annoyance, the remaining moisture on her lashes. “I didn’t realize you would be so upset about a new baby,” he said after a few seconds.
“I don’t care about a baby.” She slanted him another glare.
“So it’s just Vivi you don’t like.”
Her mouth pursed a little more. “I don’t need a new mom. I have a mom.”
“Yes, you do.” He didn’t point out that Marigold hadn’t seen any of them, or even bothered to speak to them in well over a year, since way before the divorce had been finalized. “Vivi isn’t here to take your mom’s place, Berdine.”
His daughter sucked in an unsteady breath. “But she’s your mate.” She looked up, her blue eyes full of fresh tears. “Mom was never your mate. Why not?” She sobbed once. “If she was your mate, she would have stayed, right?” Tears rolled down her face.
“Oh, baby, I don’t think so,” he murmured, gathering her close.
She cried into the front of his shirt, and he was a little surprised she didn’t try to move away.
He hugged her close, stroking her back, brushing her hair away from her face. He’d never considered for a minute that any of his kids would be this upset about Vivi.
Finally, she sniffed, wiping her face with both hands, trying to ease away.
Boris held on, smoothing his other hand down her wet cheek.
“Why is she your mate?” she asked again without looking at him.
He didn’t want to tell her about the danger, which they all sheltered the kids from, or that he hadn’t even asked Vivi first. “It was just the right time,” he said at last. “You liked her at school, right?”
Her lower lip stuck out when she looked up at him. “That was different. A teacher isn’t a mom.”
“Well, a lot of teachers are moms, you know,” he pointed out. “But Vivi doesn’t want to take your mom’s place. And she’s not used to this craziness. You might try being nice to her–this bunch is pretty scary.”
Berdine huffed out a breath, giving him a doubtful glance. “Yeah, right.”
“No, really. She’s been on her own a long time, and there are a lot of us. That’s a big change.” He winked at her.
She still didn’t appear convinced, but at least she’d stopped crying.
“Give her a chance, okay?”
She heaved a sigh. “Fine. I’ll try.”
“That’s all I ask.” He bent and kissed her head, then her cheek. “You know I love you, right?”
“I know.” She started to slide off his lap, then turned back to look up at him again. “Mommy’s okay, isn’t she?”
He swallowed. “She was last time I heard from her.” Which was a long time ago.
“So she’s busy.”
“Probably.” Telling his eight-year-old daughter that her mother was a selfish bitch wouldn’t be helpful, so he kept that to himself.
She nodded. “I love you, too, Daddy.” She smiled as she slid to her feet and headed for the door.
While I spend my week looking for something positive, why don’t you tell me what is making you happy this week? I might not be the only one who needs a little cheer.
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