I pick you, p.28

I Pick You, page 28


I Pick You

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  “Told ya,” I said, as I walked toward the kitchen, babying her for one reason only. I’d been in her boots more times than I cared to count. I felt sorry for her.

  Rydell slept on the sofa with Bay while I watched football and started supper. Neither one of them woke until I made them. I worked hard on a meatloaf recipe I’d gotten from Wendi. She brought it to Mrs. Day’s birthday party and I loved it. I just hoped Bay loved it, too. She didn’t love anything. Macaroni and cheese, Hershey Kisses, and Lucky Charms. Those were the only sure fire things she would eat. I was even guilty of letting her have it just to get food into her. I didn’t know how she survived half the time.

  My efforts were wasted. Neither Rydell, nor Bay, touched my food. Rydell complained about her stomach being too upset, and Bay played copycat.

  “My belly set, too, Daddy.”

  “Your belly is not upset. Eat your supper.”

  “I no wike it.”

  I held a fork with a piece of meatloaf to Bay’s tightly closed lips. “Taste it, Bay. It has cheese on it. Take one bite.”

  “No, my belly set.”

  I turned my frown to Rydell, hiding a laugh behind her hand. “I’m sorry. She’s just too smart.”

  “I bet your belly isn’t too upset for a Hershey’s Kiss, is it, Bay?”

  “Okay, I eat it.”

  “You’ll eat a Hershey’s Kiss?”


  “I thought your belly was upset.”

  “For dis,” she pointed, one finger poking a hole through her meatloaf.

  “Duh, Dad, her tummy is upset for meatloaf, not chocolate.”

  “Not cocklate,” Bay agreed.

  “Of course. Silly me.” I did give Bay one kiss, but only because I was the one to bring it up. She would never understand my sarcastic explanation.

  Rydell was pretty much worthless the whole day. She showered after supper and passed out in my bed again. Bay and I talked to Kit, but only for a few minutes. Kit was busy, shooting something spectacular she didn’t want to miss, promising to tell me about it over the weekend.

  I looked to Bay, comfortably seated in my lap. “Looks like it’s just me and you, kid.”

  “Mavis,” she said, while pointing to the pesky little kitten biting my toes.

  “Yes, and Mavis, smarty pants. Come on. Let’s go brush.”

  “I cake a viman.”

  “Yes, and a vitamin.”

  I read Bay a book in her bed from the little tablet her mom got her for Christmas, while she yawned and snuggled up with Mavis, poor little Phil forgotten on the floor.

  As soon as she was asleep, I emptied the litter box, showered and crawled in behind Rydell, sound asleep on her side. I stroked my growing cock up and down her ass cheeks while I kissed her neck.

  “Wake up, baby. I’ve got something for you.”

  Rydell pushed back with her hand, moaning for me to stop. “No, I can’t, Brantley.”

  Of course, I didn’t listen. I was too horny to take no for an answer. I slid her panties over her hips, and helped her out of them while she complained some more.

  “I’m serious, Brantley. I’m sleeping. No.”

  I wet my fingers with my tongue and slid them between her legs. “You can just lay there. I’ll take care of the rest.”

  Her body was limp like Bay’s was when she slept, but I didn’t care, I meant it. She could just lay there and take it. I shoved her knee up higher, placing her more on her stomach while I slid a finger inside her warm cavern, tight and dry. Deciding it was best to focus on her clit, I got on my knees and spread her ass cheeks, licking her clit, and then sucking. The boasting going on inside me when I slid two my middle fingers deep inside her now wet pussy was me on an ego trip. Just like that, she was wet, and her clit throbbed below my mouth, begging for more.

  I waited until she was on the brink of an orgasm and moved up, sliding myself inside her with ease. I gave it to her slow and hard for a few minutes and then pressed my luck. “Let me put it in your ass, Ry.”

  “No, stop asking me that.”

  “Come on. Have you ever tried it? You might like it.”

  “No, Brantley. I don’t want to try it. It doesn’t excite me one bit.”

  “Fine, then roll over here and ride it.”

  “You said I could just lay here.”

  “I lied. Get your ass up here.”

  Rydell rolled to her back, her legs opening wide for me as she moved. “I don’t want to. Put it in me.”

  I moved in, pulling her hips into mine and hissing as I slid into her. “What the hell did you do last night?”

  “I drank everything under the roof.”

  “Did you dance on the bar?”

  “Oh, yeah. I think I might be barred.”

  “Was your friend there?”

  Rydell squinted her eyes and tilted her head. “What friend?”

  “You know. Ricky whatever his name was. The one in and out of a relationship.”

  “What the hell does that mean? So what if he was there? Are you insinuating something?”

  “Not unless there’s something to insinuate.”

  “Get off of me.”


  “I’m going home.”

  I knew with everything in me I was crossing lines, but I didn’t stop. For whatever stupid reason, I kept going, but I was smart enough to pay great attention to her while I did. My lips sucked her nipple and my teeth pulled while my fingers pinched hard on her swollen nub. “No, you’re not. You’re not going anywhere. If you have nothing to hide, why the need to run?”

  Her words were cut off by my mouth crushing hers. My hand grasped a fistful of hair from the back of her head and I jerked, pulling our lips apart, and mine to her throat. “You like that, baby? Does that feel good on your pussy?” I questioned, while my teeth sank into her skin and my lips sucked.

  Rydell only whimpered, doing exactly what I knew she would do. We didn’t need to discuss Ricky again. She knew exactly what I meant without deliberating any further. I fucked her to orgasm twice before we tired into each other’s arms for sleep, her welcoming it more than me, I was sure. Rydell slept in my arms with her hand flat on my ribs while I stared out the window to a full moon, wondering how I would feel if the tables were turned. There was no way in hell I would let her go spend two nights with a man. Then again, I did tell her I would be getting a room.

  Being in love was a lot of work, and leaving my irresponsible self who didn’t care about their feelings was even harder. Life was a lot simpler when it was just me, the streets, and pussy. No feelings, just sex, and this jealousy…What the hell was that? I wasn’t that guy.


  I decided to take the entire day off on Friday to keep from driving so long with Bay. I left Rydell asleep in my bed around three in the morning. I hadn’t planned on leaving that early, but anxiety kept me from sleep. I carried Bay out to my car in her pajamas, fastening her in without her moving a muscle.

  “I Mavis,” she said, eyes still closed.

  I ran back in to get Mavis, and Phil, just in case, kissing Rydell one last time before I hit the road. I spent six hours listening to songs I’d heard a million times, all having new meanings. I quietly sang with Kenny Rogers, telling me with great conviction that love would turn me around no matter where I tried to run or hide. Alabama reminded me of what feels so right, and Lori Morgan made me wonder whose picture without me I was in. Rydell’s, Kit’s, or Bay’s?

  “I pee, Daddy.”

  “Good morning, baby. You’re going to see Mommy today.”

  “I pee.”

  “Okay, Daddy’s getting off. Hang on. Are you hungry?”

  “I eat a kisses.”

  “How about a pancake?”

  “I eat a pancake.”

  “Good girl.”

  I took the lid off the kitty litter and let Mavis run around the back while Bay and I went to the bathroom and had breakfast. I didn’t even worry about dressing h
er. It was too damn cold, and her coat and blanket was fine without making her get naked in a cold dirty bathroom.

  Even though we still had three hours to go, Bay was the best little girl ever. Thanks to Mavis and a whole backpack full of things for her to do from Rydell. We arrived to a lifeless part of town, closed up stores, and empty buildings. I looked at the address Kit had sent me at least five times with a frown. We were right down town where no houses at all were.

  “My mommy, Daddy. My mommy?” Bay asked.

  I glanced back to her, feeling a pain I didn’t understand. Bay knew exactly where we were, and she knew her mommy was here. “Yeah, baby. Daddy’s trying to find it.”

  “My mommy dare,” she pointed when I pulled to the curb, not understanding the voice telling me I had arrived at my destination.

  “What the hell? Bay?” I asked, as I pulled away from the boarded up movie theater. I pulled down the next alley and it told me I was there again, only the robotic voice said it was on the left this time.

  “My mommy dare.”

  “Here? You’re mommy’s here, Bay?”

  “S,” she nodded, while pulling on the straps of her seat, wanting out.

  I got out with her because I didn’t know what else to do. She evidently knew something I didn’t, and then I saw the concrete owl. The one Kit said I would find a key in, in case I beat her there. I placed Bay on the ground, telling her to hold Mavis, and lifted the heavy statue, finding the key. My eyes glanced around at the empty parking lot, an elementary school in the distance to my left, a function bank to my right, and a library right across from…from what? I looked back to the steel door, wondering once again where we were.

  Bay slapped her hand flat against the red door, pulling me from my confusion. “Open, Daddy.”

  I unlocked the door, flipping a light on into a small store room, and followed Bay. I used the same key when she smacked the next door, ordering me to open it, too. I had no idea what I had just walked into. A big room with a king sized bed and a crib on one side, a small bistro set with two chairs and a booster seat in the middle, and a living area with a sofa and television on the far right. The same Steel Magnolias poster, and rock climber photo I remembered from when Kit introduced me to Skype and Bay, hung above the bed.

  “Bay, you lived here?”

  “My mommy go?”

  “She’s coming, baby.”

  “I pee, Daddy.”

  I glanced around the makeshift living quarters for a bathroom to nothing. “Put Mavis down, you’re hurting her neck. Show Daddy where the bathroom is.”

  Bay opened her arms and poor Mavis fell to the floor without warning. “I show you, k?”

  “Okay.” I followed Bay, opening a side door to the entrance of a theater frozen in time. The posters inside matched the letters over the entrance I had seen outside, only the S was missing and I didn’t realize that’s what it was until I saw Daryl Hannah and Tom Hanks, standing in a water fountain. Splash, I pondered internally.

  Bay took me to the girls bathroom and she flipped on the light. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. They lived here? I was suddenly pissed. I paid her money to live on, a lot of money. None of this made sense. My eyes searched the bathroom while Bay did her business, but my mind had one hell of a time keeping up. One of those blow up pools lay upside down and I knew as soon as I saw the spray nozzle attached to one of the sinks, that she bathed there. That sent even more anger through my blood.

  “I poop.”

  Again, Bay pulled my attention away from the situation I knew I had just found myself in. I helped Bay and then watched her in her own elements. She didn’t forget a thing. She walked to the sink without the hose attached to it and stepped up on a wooden crate turned footstool. White with pieces of pink carpet glued to the top, Bay’s name painted around the sides in purple. I helped her wash her hands and moseyed out to the front of the theater. It was like a time capsule, one before my time.

  “Bay Berry Jandt!” Kit yelled from the counter, where popcorn and something called Fizz-wiz had once been served.

  Bay ran to her mommy as fast as her little legs would carry her, up the ramp, and straight into her arms. Kit dropped to the floor, landing flat on her butt and wrapped her in her arms, tears streaming down her face.

  I watched, feeling bad for Bay once again, but I still didn’t shake the anger I had spent the last twenty minutes building on.

  “I missed you so much, Bay,” Kit said, while she planted kisses all over her face.

  “My mommy, Daddy. My mommy.”

  I couldn’t help but smile at that. “I see, baby, but Daddy’s still going to kill her later, okay?”

  “Okay, my mommy come.”

  “It’s not as bad as it looks, Brantley. We have everything we need,” Kit said, as she came to her feet and walked toward the lobby where I stood.

  “You live in an abandoned theater?”

  “It’s not abandoned. My grandfather left it to me in his will. Why do you think it says Berry right out front?”

  “I didn’t notice that. You can’t live here with Bay.”

  “I’ve lived here since before I had Bay. I’ve lived here since three days before my eighteenth birthday. I assure you we can live here just fine. I have a tub, and there’s a hotplate, a cooler, an ice machine, and convection oven right back there,” she pointed defensively, behind the counter. “You know what? No. I’m not doing this with you. This is my dream, not yours, and I’m too happy to see Bay to fight with you. I assure you, we’re fine here.”

  “Bay’s not living here.”

  Kit ignored me, paying attention to Bay and not me. “Do you want to see Grandma Leigh? Huh? She wants to see you.”


  “She’s around here somewhere. Daddy’s going to go get you some clothes and the litter box. Let’s go find Mavis.”

  Bay slid down Kit’s leg, but she didn’t let go of her hand, not about to let her out of her sight. I followed, still trying to wrap my mind around my daughter living in an old theater.

  “I see a movie.”

  Kit scooped Bay up and kissed her cheeks again. “We have to go see Grandma Leigh first, and then Papaw Greg. We’ll watch a movie tonight. I promise.”

  “Garba movie.”

  “Garbage Pail Kids?”


  “I hoped you forgot about that one. Bay, I can’t believe how big you are, and how much you’re talking. You’re such a big girl.”

  “Uh-huh, me four,” Bay proudly boasted, with three fingers in the air.

  Kit put one of them down and corrected her. “You’re two.”

  “I two.”

  I spent the day in the little town outside of Charlotte with Kit and her family; her snooty ass mom and her, too busy to even acknowledge we were there, husband.

  “Mom, this is Bay’s dad, Brantley.”

  I held out my hand and she gave me a once over, barely shaking my hand before letting go like I had something contagious. “Nice to meet you.”

  “So tell me, Kit. Are you done being an imbecile? Ready for me to call your cousin Mike and sell that place, done trying to save the world?”

  Kit shook her head and took a deep breath. Her face showed anger while her eyes showed pain and rejection.

  We all looked to her husband when he interrupted, one hand over the mouthpiece of his phone. “Excuse me. Can we be in Boston by four tomorrow evening for a charity event?”

  “I’m sure I can arrange it. Tell them yes,” her haughty mother said, more interested in her social life than her daughter’s, or Bay’s. “Now, what was I saying? Oh yes. The theater. I heard through a very reliable source that big time restaurant owner from New York has already inquired about it. I guess the guy has already refurbished a few other ones, turned them into fancy restaurants while keeping the character. You should give Mike a call.”

  “I’m not selling the theater, Mom.”

  Leigh paid no attention to Kit. Instead, she looked pa
st her to Bay. “Does she have to bring that thing in here?”

  Kit turned to see Bay, placing Mavis on a leather footstool and back to her mom. “It’s a kitten, Mom. She’s not hurting anything.”

  I picked Bay and Mavis up, deciding they were safer with me. Being around her mother forced me to remember my own mother, and how righteous she thought her ass was when she had any and everything money could buy. A spitting image of Leigh Diamond. The bitch even gave Bay a card with a hundred dollar bill in it for her birthday. She hadn’t seen her in over five months, and she couldn’t even take the time to buy her a little gift. At least my mom wanted to be around her. She loved Bay. Kit’s mom was a dumb cunt, and I wanted to bash her teeth out.

  “Will you be staying for dinner? I can have Maryanne set a couple more places,” she asked, after less than twenty minutes of our arrival.

  I was the one who stopped that one. “No, thank you. We already made plans. Ready to go, Bay?”

  “S. I watch a movie.”

  “Yeah, we have to go to Dad’s yet. I guess you’ll be traveling tomorrow. We’re leaving for Florida early Sunday morning.”

  Leigh stood, running both hands down her black slacks to straighten the wrinkles while smiling a fake ass smile to Kit. “Please stop this nonsense, Kit. Come home where you belong, sell that time waster, and get a career. You can move back in here. Matt and I are hardly ever here anyway. Maryanne can take care of Kit while you get back in school.”

  Kit shook her head and breathed a deep, frustrating breath. “I’ll call you in the morning. Maybe we can meet up for coffee before you go or something.”

  Leigh shook her head, giving Kit a dissatisfied glare. “Goodbye, Bay. Happy birthday.”

  “I four.”

  Kit laughed and took her from my arms. “You’re two. Stop growing up on me so fast.”

  I followed Kit out, holding on to Mavis, letting it flow as soon as the door was closed behind me. “Wow. I take back everything I said about my mom. Yours is way more of a bitch than mine.”

  “Your mom is awesome. I don’t know why you can’t see that.”

  Nope. Wasn’t touching that one. “She’s a saint compared to yours. That’s a fact.”


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