I made a few alterations to the lobster bisque recipe on my screen and frowned at it ponderously. I wasn’t loving the layout I’d changed my recipes to. I’d thought it would make it easier to compile them into a cookbook, but something about it just seemed off to me.
I was about to start tweaking it some more when the doorbell rang. Immediately, my face twisted into a grimace, expecting Logan to wake up from his nap, but the baby monitor remained pleasantly, if surprisingly, silent. Quickly, I jumped to my feet and left the bedroom, hoping whoever it was wouldn’t press my luck.
As soon as I saw who was on the other side, though, I knew my luck was already sour.
I opened the door and stepped outside. “Huy, what are you doing here?”
“I’m your father, or have you forgotten?” He seemed almost cheerful, but there was a bite to his voice, telling me he wasn’t as happy as he was presenting himself to be. “It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other, Loralee.”
“I thought the separation was mutually agreed upon,” I said dryly. I hadn’t laid eyes on my father in years – I don’t think since that night when I was a teenager. “So what are you doing here?”
“I want to meet my grandson! You introduced Anna and the kids to him, but you forgot about his grandpa.”
“Introduced may be a strong word. He was only a couple of weeks old.” He was almost three months now. “If you’re so concerned with meeting him, what took you so long?”
His expression darkened. “I was hoping you’d bring him around.”
I didn’t understand at all why he played these games. He didn’t have any interest in me; I knew he could give less than a shit about my son. “You’re not going to see him. Please, leave.”
“Now, Loralee – “
“No!” I cut in, glaring at him. “You are not part of our lives. I tried to let you in, remember? I put in the effort with you, and you gave me nothing but hate. So I am done with you. Just because I’m friends with Anna and I care about my siblings does not mean I have one ounce of feeling left in me for you. You are not Logan’s grandfather – you are his nothing.”
Huy glared murderously at me before shoving me aside and storming into the house. Fear for my son threatening to choke me, I regained my balance and charged past him to block his way into the nursery.
“Tommy is a detective, Huy – a sergeant! And you’re on Oasis Springs property, not Willow Creek. If you don’t leave right now, I’m filing charges for trespassing and anything else I can possibly stick on you.”
“You ungrateful little shit,” he uttered contemptuously. “After all the times I was there for you when you were little.”
“You must have me confused with Brianna,” I said with cold steel in my voice. “Because you were never there for me. I remember the missed visitations. I remember the five-minute phone calls. I remember how you ignored me and started a new family, as if I’d never existed.” That old wound threatened to open, but I shoved the prickle of sadness aside – I’d crossed that bridge and burnt it behind me. “My son will never feel the way you made me feel, Huy. He will never, for one moment of his life, feel unloved. Now get the fuck out of my house.”
His upper lip curled in disgust. “You really are your mother’s daughter.” He turned and walked towards the door, but stopped with his hand on the knob and turned back to look at me. “Stop buying Blake those fucking video games. They’re nothing but trash. He needs to get himself together and be a real man.”
Exasperated, pissed off, and one thousand percent done with his shit, I took my phone out of my pocket. “I’ll buy my little brother whatever I want. I’m calling Tommy.” As I put the phone to my ear, he finally stepped out the door.
My legs threatening to give out, I sank down onto a dining chair and let out a shaky breath.
“I still can’t believe he came here.” Tommy shook his head. He sat next to me on the couch, still in his work clothes. Though he’d tried to insist on coming home right after I’d called him, I’d convinced him that there was no need. He’d still shown up about forty minutes before he normally did. “Are you sure you don’t want to press charges? Did he hurt you?”
I shook my head and reached over to take his hand. “I’m fine. He just shook me up is all.” I didn’t want Tommy to know that, for a short while, I’d been legitimately terrified of what Huy was going to do if he got into the nursery. “But I think we should get a restraining order. I don’t know if he’d really try to come back after today…”
“But it’ll show him we mean business,” Tommy finished my thought for me. He pulled me under his arm, squeezing me tightly. “Hell, Loralee.”
“I know,” I said softly. I turned my face into his neck and kissed his pulse. “But I’m okay. So is Logan. Everyone is alright.”
“You need to tell Anna what happened.”
I sighed quietly. “I know.”
“What does she even see in him?”
“If you want my opinion, probably nothing anymore.” She never defended him or tried to convince me of his positive qualities the way she used to. It could just mean she’d given up on my opinion of him changing, but I respected her enough to believe she’d grown disillusioned with her husband. “As for why they’re still married…” I shrugged. “I can’t imagine getting a divorce when you’ve had three kids with a man would be an easy thing to swallow.”
“I guess not,” Tommy replied quietly. He kissed my hair and got to his feet. “I’m going to go say hi to the crib midget. Do you need anything?”
I smiled and got to my feet as well. “Actually, I was going to go work on my recipes.” Together, we left the living room, parting ways when he detoured into the nursery while I continued into the bedroom.
I resumed my seat behind my computer. “Alright, lets see about this layout…”