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Forgive me callaway book.., p.17

Forgive Me (Callaway Book 2), page 17

 

Forgive Me (Callaway Book 2)
 


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  When they pulled into the driveway, Amanda looked at her newly renovated house like everything suddenly made sense. Her dad always used to say that when something needed fixing in your life, it was because something better was on its way. As she looked between the house and the little girl in the backseat, she knew her dad was smiling down on them from Heaven.

  "Wow, is this your house?" Amanda turned around in her seat to face Lucy, who was wide-eyed at the sight of her home, and she couldn't help but wonder where she had lived before.

  "Yes, and you can even have your own room. You can decorate it, too. Right now, it's white, so you can pick a color, and whatever else you want." She looked down when she felt Drew's hand close on top of hers. He stared at her with so much love in his eyes, and she couldn't wrap her head around why he would ever think that he wouldn't be a good father. He had all the best qualities a dad could have. He might not know it yet, but he was going to be an amazing father.

  "Can it be pink? With bunnies?" Lucy asked them, clapping her hands like she had just been given the best gift in the world.

  Amanda looked at Drew and let him answer. "That sounds perfect to me. I love bunnies."

  Tango had gone completely crazy when they walked inside the house, and the instant Lucy had started petting him, she had that dog wrapped around her little finger. As Amanda walked around, she couldn't quite pinpoint what was different until they were went upstairs and saw the bed and dresser in the spare bedroom. Drew had seemed just as confused as she had been until they saw the note pinned on the dresser: Picked this up early this morning for your little princess! Hope she likes it! John and Abby

  As much as she wanted to stay home and get to know Lucy, she knew Drew needed some alone time with his daughter. After Kathy and Becca dropped off some of Becca's old stuff, she headed for the diner, but not before Drew tried to talk her out of it.

  "Baby, you don't have to leave. She's a part of your life, too. You need to get to know her just as much as I do." Her heart melted a little when Drew told her that.

  "I know, but I think it would be good if you two spend some time together. Take Tango and go for a walk. She might open up a little bit in a neutral environment. I'll be gone for two hours, at most. When I get back, we'll all have dinner and Lucy can help me bake some cookies." As soon as she was done, he pressed his mouth on hers and whispered, "I love you." She found it so funny that three little words could diffuse any emotional situation.

  When she arrived at the diner, she started to second-guess her decision to come into work. Rumors about Lucy had already begun to spread, and as much as she respected everyone's concern, the last thing she wanted to do was deal with questions she didn't have any answers to. She headed straight for the kitchen, generating a few whispers on her way.

  Abby was standing over a cake when she walked into the kitchen, one she assumed was for Lucy, and she started to cry. As soon as the first tear ran down her face and the first sob left her mouth, Abby was right there beside her, rubbing circles on her back. She cried every single ounce of emotion she'd had over the last twenty-four hours. She cried for the little girl with no mother, she cried for the father who had missed so much of his daughter's life; she cried for everything.

  By the time her tears had run dry, her face was red, her eyes were puffy, and she was exhausted. "You should sit down. You've had a whirlwind couple of days," Abby told her as she walked toward one of the empty chairs.

  She smiled at her friend and slowly sat down on the chair before speaking. "Thank you for the furniture, Abby."

  "It was nothing. I was with John last night when Kathy called a family meeting. After the shock, we both agreed we would go and pick something out first thing this morning. The store even opened early for us. John insisted on getting the ones on display since we wouldn't have the time to put them together before you guys got there. I hope it was okay."

  "I don't know what to say. Thank you so much for doing that. Lucy loved them, and it helped us out a lot. We're both going into this thing blind, so any help is more than welcomed." She laughed at the image of Lucy jumping up and down when she saw her new bed with the pink bedding.

  "How are you holding up?" Abby asked as she pulled up a chair beside her.

  "Honestly, I don't know. It's all happening so fast, but when you look at Lucy, there's no denying she's Drew's daughter. They have the same eyes; it's crazy. She's so sweet, and she's handling this much better than I expected for a child who was just dropped off with people she's never met. I don't know her story, but I have a feeling it's not a pretty one." She took a deep breath as the last bit slipped out of her mouth. She hadn't had the chance to really let any of that out until that moment. She felt bad that Abby was on the receiving end of her meltdown, but it felt so good to get it out.

  "Kids can be surprising that way. They have a much better coping mechanism than we do. So, what happens now?"

  She ran her hand through her hair and reached for the elastic around her wrist, tying her hair back in a ponytail. "I don't know. I have to talk to Drew. I'm sure he'll want to try and find Lucy's mom but to be honest, I'm not sure how much luck he'll have with that. I think our main priority right now is going to be making sure Lucy is happy and feels loved." She wiped her eyes, praying she didn't look like a scary version of herself from crying.

  "I think that little girl is going to get more than she's ever thought possible. John is already talking about getting a pony for her. Nick is drawing plans to build a swing set at the ranch and at your house." Abby laughed at that. Yeah, the guys were probably going overboard, but it wasn't like there was a manual on how to handle a situation like this.

  Amanda just smiled, because she wasn't the least bit surprised. "They're a great family. They are going to spoil her rotten, as it should be. What are you working on?" she asked, pointing to the pink cake on the table.

  "Oh, I thought I would bake a cake for Lucy to welcome her into the family. If you think it's too much, you don't have to take it to her."

  "It's perfect, Abby. Thank you so much for everything. For handling the stuff here, for being such a big help for the wedding, and now this. I don't know what I would do without you."

  "It's my pleasure, really, Amanda. I like it here, and I'm really happy that we're friends," Abby told her with a longing that reminded Amanda of herself once.

  "I'm going to check a few things in the office and then I have to get back. I promised Drew I wouldn't be gone too long. We're going to eat together, and I want to bake with Lucy, get to know her a little." She hugged Abby before heading toward the office. She didn't know how she would get much done, but work was work and someone had to do it.

  An hour later, Amanda pulled up to the house, smiling ear to ear when she saw Lucy running after Tango and Drew sitting on the grass, his shirt all stained, his baseball cap on backwards. She felt like she was coming home to a family. Drew stood when he saw her, but Lucy ran toward her at full speed. Before she knew it, Lucy was in her arms, hugging her. "Amanda, Tango is so funny," she told her as she kissed her cheek. When she lowered Lucy to the ground, Drew was right there in front of her, welcoming her home with a kiss that promised much more for later, as did the little glint of lust in his eyes.

  "Welcome home," he said, as if he knew exactly what she was thinking, which he probably did. Their connection was stronger than ever; there was no denying that.

  "What did you guys do while I was gone?" she asked, grabbing her purse and the cake from the truck.

  "We unpacked the stuff my mom brought over. Then we went for a walk like you suggested. She definitely opened up to me. Some of the stuff she told me…fuck, it made my skin crawl. From what I could gather, they didn't have much money. There was rarely enough food for them to eat. It was crazy." He looked over his shoulder to see if Lucy was anywhere close. When he saw she was far enough away, he continued. "She shared something with me and let me tell you, if that woman ever comes back, she is never getting her hands on Lucy again.
"

  Before she could ask what he meant, Lucy tugged down on her dress. "Can we bake cookies now?"

  "Of course, we can. Let's go inside and after dinner, we can even have some cake my friend made just for you. She makes the most delicious cakes." Drew grabbed the cake from her and took her hand in his just as Lucy did the same on the other side. She felt like whatever she had been chasing after had finally been found.

  When he finally managed to put Lucy down for the night, Drew was beyond the point of exhaustion. He quietly walked out the room, still feeling overwhelmed at how supportive his family had been. When he opened the door to their bedroom, he saw Amanda sitting on the edge of their bed, wearing nothing but his T-shirt as she brushed her hair. She looked as exhausted as he was, and as much as he wanted to crawl into bed and fall asleep with her tangled over his body, he knew they had to talk about what Lucy had told him.

  She glanced up when she heard him come in and smiled at him like he was her whole world. He took off his shirt, loving how her eyes never left his body, even when he stripped off his jeans. He didn't say a word, just pulled back the covers and sat with his back on the headboard. He pulled her body so she sat between his legs, her back to his chest, and he held her in silence, letting everything else just fade for a little while. She dropped her head back on his shoulder and gave him the closeness he had been craving all day.

  "They lived in a one-bedroom apartment in Missoula. Lucy told me her mom drank, and they didn't always have money for food or clothes. She used to yell at her when Lucy asked if she could have breakfast. She was telling me all of this and, baby, I swear I felt sick to my stomach. If she didn't want Lucy then why didn't she come find me sooner? Why put a child through that when you have options?"

  "The important thing is that she's here with us now, and we will do whatever it takes to make sure she's happy and loved and well provided for. She will never run out of anything again." She shook her head. "How could a mother neglect her own child like that?"

  He flipped her on her stomach and when he heard her sigh as he lifted his shirt off her body, he knew they both needed this. He threw the fabric on the floor and with one hand, slid his underwear down his legs. When he was naked, he covered her body with his, every inch of their skin touching. He put his mouth near her ear. "I'm never letting you go, Amanda. Whatever happens next, we're doing this hand in hand, together." He smiled when she shivered.

  He sat back on his legs, running his hands up and down her back, loving how she responded to him, her moans buried in the pillow. He let his hands travel down her ass; she had the most perfect ass he'd ever seen. She parted her legs as wide as she could, considering the way his body was caging hers in. He slipped one hand down and when he felt how wet she was, he groaned, needing to feel her.

  She threw her hair to the side and looked at him over her shoulder as he ran his fingers over her pussy, teasing her clit with just the right amount of pressure. "I'm ready, Drew. Please."

  That was all the invitation he needed. He spread her ass cheeks with his hands and with one thrust, he was inside her. She was so tight around him in this position and he knew he wouldn't last, not after craving it all day. "You're so tight. God, I'm so deep like this," he said, not recognizing his own voice as he thrust in and out of her with a force he'd never used on her before.

  "It's too good…I've never…I'm so close." He barely registered her pleas over the ringing in his head. Lowering his chest over her back, he fucked her with every ounce of passion and emotion he had in him. He used one hand to push her hair back from her neck. When he nipped the skin at the base of her shoulders, he felt her orgasm squeeze him like a vise, the sound of her pleasure buried as she screamed in the pillow. With two more thrusts, he found his release. His body covered in sweat, he dropped his weight on top of her as his orgasms rendered him immobile.

  When he pulled out and shifted to his side, he smiled at the satisfied look on Amanda's face. "That was…no words," she said as she draped her arms over him and pressed her body against his.

  "I love you. Whatever happens, we'll handle it one day at a time." Then he closed his eyes in the same house as the woman he loved and his daughter.

  Chapter Twelve

  To say the past month had flown by was an understatement in Drew's mind. The first week after he found out about Lucy had been an adjustment not just for him, but for Amanda and his family. Shuffling work on the ranch, moving permanently into Amanda's house, getting to know Lucy and trying hard not to put his relationship with Amanda on the back burner had been a lot harder than he had anticipated. To his surprise, Lucy had been nothing but amazing during the first week. She'd been understanding and caring, something that just made him love her a little more every day.

  "Do you think Amanda likes me?" Lucy asked him, sounding surer of herself with every passing day.

  "I know she loves you with every fiber in her body. Why are you asking me that?" Drew looked down at his daughter who sat on a stack of hay, and he was hit with the fact that they never discussed his relationship with Amanda.

  "I like her a lot, and I want her to like me, too. I wish my mom was more like her." Talk about aiming straight for the heart. Lucy was much smarter than he imagined a little girl her age would be.

  "Well, we can always ask her, but I can tell you she loves you like a mother loves her daughter." The rest of the day went by in a flash. When Amanda pulled up to the main house later, he watched Lucy run to her, and he knew in that moment that this was exactly where he should be.

  It was during the second week that things had started to be a little more complicated. Amanda had secured two more catering contracts, which meant she spent more time at the diner than at home, and that had resulted in their first fight. Normally, he would have locked her in the house until they could work it out, but with Lucy there, that hadn't been possible. His mom got the flu, which meant she couldn't watch Lucy, so he'd gotten behind his workload at the ranch. That had resulted in another fight between him and Amanda, once again going unresolved.

  "Drew, I know this is a big change for you. But you have to understand it's a big change for everybody, and we are all doing the best we can," she had told him.

  Just like a first-class jerk, he'd gone and made things worse. "Really? You're spending more time at the diner than at home, and that's what you consider making the best of the situation? Excuse me for not believing you. I thought we were in this together, but I guess I was wrong." That night was the first of many he'd slept on the couch, and in the morning, Amanda hadn't talked to him once.

  She'd focused all of her attention on Lucy that week, proving him wrong, and that hit him like a knife straight to the heart. Things were not going the way he wanted; everything was so much harder than he had hoped.

  By the third week, things had gone from bad to worse, with Jamie going into labor. It meant double-duty for everyone on the ranch, and at the cabin, to make sure everything was ready for the baby. Thankfully, he'd brought Lucy along with him on his chores, and she seemed to enjoy being out in the open. They were finally building a solid relationship, all while his relationship with Amanda was sliding backward. They hadn't had sex in almost three weeks, and their lack of time together was starting to take a toll. That wasn't who they were.

  The day they went up to the cabin to meet the new baby, he'd overheard Amanda's conversation with Jamie and he knew he was losing her.

  "You look worse than me, and I'm the one who just had a child. What's going on with you?" He hadn't planned on listening to their conversation, but when Amanda answered, he couldn't move.

  "Me and Drew, we're not doing so great. I knew it was going to be a hard adjustment with Lucy, but I thought if we stuck together, we would be stronger for it. We're not, though. We're barely talking and when we do, we end up fighting. We haven't had sex in almost three weeks and I know it's silly, but I miss that connection. I miss him. I don't know what to do."

  "Having a child is a hard adjustment for
couples. That's what all the baby books say anyways. Have you talked to him about how you're feeling?"

  "We haven't been doing much talking. Between work and Lucy, we haven't had much 'us' time. It'll be okay." He could hear the uncertainty in her voice, though, even as she tried to remain strong.

  Listening to her cry that day had broken his heart. He knew he had to find a way to fix them before he lost her forever. He had a feeling if she left, no matter how far he chased her, she wouldn't come back.

  On the fourth week, Drew, Amanda and Lucy were outside playing on the new swing set his brothers had built when a car pulled up the driveway, throwing his plans for a romantic night with Amanda out the window. The guy in the car had handed him papers, and the words he'd spoken were ones he would never forget.

  "The child's mother is giving up her parental rights. The papers are all here, all you have to do is sign." Drew had hired a private investigator right after Lucy had been dropped off, hoping to find her mother and find answers to many of the questions that were still unresolved. Two days before the strange car had pulled into the driveway, the private investigator had called Drew to tell him he had found her in Virginia. From the pictures, she didn't seem all that torn up about leaving her daughter.

  That night, after Lucy had gone to bed, he and Amanda sat down at the kitchen table. He would never forget the defeated look in her eyes. It was like some part of her had shut down, and he hated that he was responsible for it.

  They remained silent until Drew lost track of time. It was almost like both of them were too scared of what the other one might say to speak, so they opted for silence, which he was growing tired of. "You should sign the papers. Lucy should never have to see that woman again. I know you share a child with her, but she was a one-night stand, Drew, and she was as far from being mother material as you can get." That was all Amanda said before standing and walking up the stairs. That was when he'd had enough. He threw an empty vase across the room and watched it shatter, just like his relationship with Amanda was.

 
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