Until November (Page 18)
“I never thought I would have a front row seat to my eldest son falling in love,” Susan said and I looked over at her dumbfounded.
“What? I don’t think so,” I said, looking out the window and trying to fight my smile.
“Oh, yes, honey. I know so. You know, James grew up in this town. I moved here after college to work in the hospital. When I got to town, I was warned by dozens of women about James. They all said he was so good looking that he had a different woman in his bed every night. Well, I made it my mission to stay away from him. Why would I want a man who obviously wasn’t faithful and never wanted to settle down? Then one night, I got a flat tire on my way home. A very handsome man pulled up and helped me get the spare on my car. I had no idea who he was until after he finished and introduced himself. When he said his name, I got out of there as fast as possible. The next day, I ran into him in town and he asked me out. I said no and he walked away. I thought that was it. But then everyday he would be somewhere that I was. He would ask me out I would say no. This went on for about two months. Then one day, I finally said yes but made him promise to never ask me out again. He agreed so we went out on one date. Next thing I knew, I was staying at his house, he put a ring on my finger, and I was planning a wedding. All of that happened in just a few months. And if you talk to his mom, she will tell you a similar story about her and James Sr. I think the Mayson men don’t bother getting serious until they see someone that they can’t live without.”
“Um, Asher was already married,” I reminded her. I liked Asher a lot but I was not going to get my hopes built on false dreams.
“He was for about three months. I never met the girl and didn’t even know she existed until a couple weeks after they were married when she answered the phone at Asher’s apartment. I’m not a man but I would think that if I found a woman I was going to spend the rest of my life with, I would want my family to know about her.”
“Can we talk about something else?” I asked, trying not to sound rude but wanting to change the topic. The thought of Asher in love with someone enough to marry her made my stomach turn.
“Sure, beautiful,” she said, grabbing my hand and giving it a squeeze.
“Thanks,” I whispered, squeezing her hand back.
We stopped for coffee on our way out of town then headed to Nashville for a day of shopping and manicures.
Watching November pull away with my ma, I get that feeling in my chest, the same one I get every time November smiles at me. It’s like taking a shot of whiskey. After the burn, you’re left with the warmth. I wait till I can’t see the truck anymore and drag my hands down my face. Beast barks, getting my attention.
“Come on. We got shit to do,” I tell him, walking into the house. Fuck me if I’m not starting to sound like her. She’s always carrying on one sided conversations with the dog like she expects him to talk back.
I walk into the bedroom and see that she made the bed while she was in here getting ready. She left the bathroom light on so I go to turn it off. There is girly shit all over the counter. I wait to see if I feel panic, and none comes. Not that I actually expected it to. Shit, when she told me that she couldn’t do casual, I had to laugh.
If I could put a ring on her finger right now, I would, but I don’t think she would consider that to be slow. Grabbing my boots and socks, I head out to the living room and call Mike.
After what November told me last night about her childhood, I was done. I didn’t care if her mom died, didn’t care what I had to do but she was mine and I would never let her feel second best again.
Remembering the tone in her voice when she opened up about her childhood—the neglect and the verbal abuse—had me in such a rage that I had to reminded myself that she was there with me and it would do neither of us any good if I got sent to prison so murder. We were in bed and November was lying on top of me as I played with her hair when I final asked the question I that had been nagging me.
"Tell me about your mom." I said feeling her whole body go tight making my stomach clench knowing that whatever it was that she was about to say was bad so bad that she was not breathing and her nails where now digging into the skin on my arms
"My mom was an illusion," She whispered her body getting closer like she was trying to press her way inside of him. "She was one person to the world and then with me, she was someone completely different." I squeezed her to let her know to keep going.
"When I was around seven, I had a school show coming up and was so excited because I had gotten the main part. I ran home to tell my mom, hoping this was something that we could share. She lived to be on stage and was always away following her dream so I couldn’t stop thinking that she would finally be proud. She would finally see that I exist as more than just some kind of obligation. When I got home, she had already gone out so I went to Miss. B like I always did. I was so excited about the part I that I spent all night making sure I knew every line, word for word, so that when my mom got home she could see how hard I’d worked. Later that night, my mom called Miss. B and told her she was going out after her performance and to just put me to bed. So, like always, she took me across the hall and put me to bed in my own room. It was the middle of the night when I was woken up being beaten with a broom. At first, I thought that someone had broken in and was trying to kill me until my mom started yelling about me not doing my chores. She kept hitting me over and over again. I remember begging her to stop. Finally, after what seemed like hours, she made me get out of bed and clean the house from top to bottom."
She took a breath and pushed closer to me. "When I told her why I had forgotten about doing my chores, she told me that I wasn’t allowed to do the play because I was too irresponsible. Then, she made me kneel on dry rice for an hour while apologizing for being so stupid and unappreciative. The night of the school play, my mom, who had never gone to a school function, made me go with her and watch another girl play the role that I had been chosen for. When the play was over, my mom dragged me backstage and gave flowers to the girl, hugging her and telling her how amazing she was." I could feel her tears wetting my skin. “My whole life she did things like that.” She whispered her last word’s so softly that I almost didn’t hear.
"Why didn’t you live with your dad?" I ask, pulling her closer.
"She told me he didn’t want me either." I couldn’t handle any more about her mom so I pulled her closer, rubbing her back until her breathing evened out.
“Asher? Where’s my daughter?” I hear Mike ask on the third ring. When I met November at the strip club, I was only there to make sure the new guy we hired was doing a good job. I saw her with Mike at the bar and wanted to walk over and take her from him. Then Justin, a new bouncer, caught sight of her walking out to her car alone and was going to tell her about the rules, but I told him I would take care of it. I was pissed at myself for wanting her and disgusted with her for dating someone old enough to be her father.
Obviously, the joke was on me. When I walked up to her and she turned her keys over in her hand to use them as a weapon, I was instantly proud. She was so small that it wouldn’t take much to hurt her, but she didn’t back down. Then she argued with me and I saw her cheeks flush. It took everything in me not to wrap her hair around my fist, press her against the car, and kiss her.
When Mike called from the other side of the parking lot, she said, “Over here, Daddy,” in a way that had me biting the inside of my cheek to avoid asking her what the f**k she was doing with someone as old as Mike.
Then Mike came over and patted me on the back and introduced November as his daughter. You could have pushed me over with a feather. One, I’d known Mike my whole life and he never said he had a daughter. Two, she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. When she laughed at me, I swear I felt that shit in my soul. Then she shook my hand and electricity went through me, and I knew I had to get out of there. I said her name, turned around, and walked off. Then, a week later, I go to visit Gran and I see her there. I was in shock, and a dick, as usual. So what do I do? Force her to walk out with me then crowd her until she agrees to go out with me.
I knew she was as attracted me as I was to her. When I was standing in front of her and her eyes glazed over and her lips parted, I knew she was mine.
“Asher?” Shit, I spaced out.
“She’s out with Ma. They went to spend a girls’ day in Nashville. You get any word on the break-in or have any idea who may have done it?” I asked, putting on my boots.
“No. I made an appointment to have a security system put in on Monday. I have no idea who she could have made an enemy out of, and who would hate her enough to follow her to Tennessee from New York. That shit doesn’t make sense. She hasn’t dated much. Her mom kept her under her thumb. She got free when she went to college. That’s when she got engaged. I think that situation f**ked with her head so she stopped dating all together.” I know it’s irrational, but every time it’s mentioned that she’s been engaged, I want to find the f**ker and slaughter him.
“Yeah, she mentioned him. Do you think he may be trying to find a way to get her back?”
“Not sure. All I know is they were engaged and she called it off not long after he proposed. She never told me why it didn’t work out, just that he agreed with her.” He was f**king her mom and got caught. I’m sure he didn’t have much choice but to agree. Not that I could tell Mike that shit.
“Well, I called a buddy of mine who was part of F.A.S.T. with me in the corps. He works in New Jersey now and is in the DEA. He has a few friends on the force in New York he’s going to check with about her case and see if there were any other crimes that happened in the same area that match what happened to her.”
“Good. I don’t know what’s going on, but I feel like I’m missing something.” Yeah, I knew the feeling. Being beaten in New York, then the strange car at the rest area, and now the break-in here. Something was going on.
“I’m going to bring out some motion lights and set them up around your place and do the same at mine. I don’t like her staying at your house alone at night while you’re at the club, so I’m going to keep her here with me. I would appreciate your agreement. She the most stubborn woman I have ever met, so the only way she’s going to agree is if you tell her that she can’t stay there unless you’re home.”
“Really? The only reason you want her staying with you is because you don’t want her here at night by herself?” I hear Mike chuckle through the phone. It’s not the only reason I want her here. I like her in my bed, wrapped around me. She has the sweetest p**sy that I’ve ever tasted. She gets wild the minute I touch her, and I like knowing she’s in my space, but once again, I’m not going to tell him that shit.
“Never thought I would choose you for my baby girl, but f**k me if I’m not glad about this shit now.”
I know that everyone judged my lifestyle before, but Jesus, I was single, and every woman I f**ked knew that I was going to stay that way. Now, November is different. She isn’t trying to impress me or get my money. She laughs at herself and has a good time no matter what we’re doing. That’s why I know she’s it for me.