I was lying in Reese’s arms listening to his racing heart as it started to slow down. “You always have a surprise for me, don’t you?” He smiled at me tucking the hair that was in my face behind my ear.
“I guess.” I smiled snuggling close to him.
“What’s wrong?” He asked me running his hand down my arm.
“I just, I don’t like not being in contact with my family. I feel alone, like I don’t have them anymore.” I sighed. “I don’t like it.” Reese gave me a thoughtful look.
“Can’t we just go buy you a new one?” I looked down sadly closing my eyes.
“I don’t have the money. I can barely afford my bill. Now I have no income. I don’t even know what to do.” Reese put his fingers under my chin lifting it to look at him.
“Do you remember what I told you?” I blinked at him not answering him. “I told you I’d take care of you. I’m not lying baby. I meant it.” I shook my head.
“I can’t let you do that Reese. I just need to get another job. I was looking but no one was hiring. I’ll just have to look harder. Maybe try to get a night job.”
“No. You are not getting a night job. I’m taking care of you. You are fine for now. Just spend some time with Peyton. Look for a job you like. There is no rush. You don’t need to worry. That’s my job.” He stroked my face.
“I just, I don’t know if I can do that to you.” He ran his thumb down my cheek.
“Halyn, I love you. Please, I don’t like to see you struggle. Please let me help you. I can’t watch you struggle; I can’t watch you get hurt again.” I looked away from him. “You’re barely getting by. You’re too skinny. You’re bruised up from work. You need to eat more.”
“I can’t. Peyton needs to eat and her formula isn’t cheap.” He pressed his forehead to mine.
“I’m begging you. Let me help you. Let me pay your bills. Let me make you happy.” I felt the tear hit my cheek. For once, it wasn’t mine. It was Reese’s. I didn’t know it meant this much to him. “I love you. Please let me help you.” My resistance broke. If it made him cry that I wouldn’t let him help, that it’d make him happy, I had to.
“Alright.” I whispered. Reese looked at me. “Alright.” Reese held me close to him.
“Thank you.” He kissed me. “I’m going to spoil you. Because I love you.” I watched his face. I still didn’t know if I loved him. I felt terrible that I didn’t say it back, but I couldn’t lie to him. I just couldn’t. Reese must have seen my dilemma, because he smiled. “I don’t expect you to say it back, Halyn.” He ran his thumb over my cheek again. “I just want you to know that I love you. And that you mean so much to me.” I kissed him.
“Thank you.” I whispered as I heard movement in the baby monitor. I stood up quickly pulling on Reese’s shirt before walking into the nursery as Peyton slowly opened her eyes and was moving around stiffly. She looked at me sadly moving her arms and legs before giving a cry. “I know baby.” I sighed picking her up holding her close. I rocked her back to sleep quickly. I walked into the living room picking up the house phone. I never really used it, but I had minutes on it. They were for emergencies, like how I no longer have a cell phone. I dialed the number I could never forget.
“Hello?” My mom said into the phone.
“Hey Ma.” I sighed moving to get a glass of water from the kitchen.
“Afternoon Baby, how’s it going? How’s my granddaughter?” I sigh.
“She’s not doing too well.” I took a long sip before putting it down.. “She took a mighty tumble at the zoo today. Now she’s in pain.”
“My poor baby.” I walked back into the living room.
“Do you think it’s safe to give her some baby Advil or something?” I heard Peyton whimper from the nursery.
“Yeah, a little pain killer should do. Try some PediaCare instead though. She’s a little two young for Baby Advil. She should be fine, but it’s safer.” I heard movement in the background. “Your brother was telling me your car broke down again. Are you going to be coming up soon? I rather you had your brother fix it then someone down there. They might rip you off, your brother won’t.” I nodded walking into the hallway to get the box of the PediaCare Pain Reliever.
“I was going to come home soon. I’m just trying to figure out how to get the car there.” I turned when I saw Reese watching me.
“If all else fails, I’m sure your Dad can steal the tow truck and drive it down to you.” I pulled the box out and closed the door.
“I’ll figure something out Mom. Tell Holden I’ll get in touch with him soon.” I sat down on a chair. She sighed.
“I heard about the phone as well Halyn.” I rubbed my forehead.
“I know Mom. It was just a freak accident. I’ll figure out how to get the money for a new one. It’s going to be okay.”
“Halyn, you’re struggling with everything. I know this is what you need but Baby, you’re barley afloat. You have to think of Peyton.” My jaw snapped shut.
“I’m trying my best Mom.”
“I’m not saying you aren’t, but Halyn, she can’t live on nothing. You’re not there anymore. Lucas -” I closed my eyes.
“Just drop it. Don’t even say anything more. Tell Holden I’ll call him soon.”
“Hal-” I pressed end and put the phone down. She should have known better. I never want to hear that name again. I don’t want Peyton to hear it again. She shouldn’t have deal with it.
“Halyn?” I felt hands on my shoulder. I looked up at Reese as he leaned down to look at me. I could feel the tears forming as he gently wiped them away. “Come here.” He whispered pulling me to him. I felt bad. My boyfriend was comforting me over my daughter’s father, my ex-boyfriend. He kissed my head. “Go get dressed. The three of us are going out.” I sniffled looking up at him.
“What do you mean?” I asked him looking up into his blue eyes glimmering, a twinkle in them. I couldn’t figure out why though.
“Go get Dressed. Me, you, and Peyton are going to go out.” He stood up pulling me with him. “Come on baby, please?” I nodded picking up the box of pain killers.
“Alright.” He beamed at me kissing me. I walked into the nursery as Peyton looked out the bars lazily just waking up again.
“Mama.” She whimpered moving her stiff arms and legs. My poor baby all scratched up.
“Come here baby.” I lifted her up before sitting down into the rocking chair. She pouted at me as I put the medication into the syringe. “Open up for some nom noms.” I put the syringe into her mouth and pushed the red liquid out. She swallowed it making a sound like when a dog eats peanut butter. I watched as she lay back in my arms. I got up slowly putting her on the changing table. I pulled out a little dress and pulled in onto her. I got her a pair of white sandals, even though I doubt she even wants to walk right now. I got her a new pacifier slipping it into her mouth. I lifted her up into my arms grabbing a blanket to put in my purse. I handed her to Reese, who took her with open arms, and walked into my room to change. I settled on an old pair of jeans and a pink and white striped shirt. I pulled on my sneakers walking into the kitchen grabbing a to go bottle. It had the formula on the bottom ready to go. I put the blanket and bottle into my purse before walking in to Reese who had a bag of closes on the couch.
“You brought a bag?” He looked up nodding. The bag, that little thing, made my heart beat increase. To think that he loves me enough to spend so much time with me.
“Yeah, you ready to go baby?” Peyton had her hands in the bag pulling at his stuff giggling. She was pulling out his pants, shirts, and boxers and moving them around on the couch. It was like she was saying ‘No. No you aren’t leaving any time soon.’ She looked up at me smiling. The pain killer must have kicked in. She still had her pacifier in her mouth but I could hear the giggle.
“Yeah, I’m ready.” I picked Peyton taking the briefs out if her hands putting them back into the bag.
“Come on, I want to take you somewhere.” He smiled pulling the two of us gently. Peyton watched as he pulled us out of the apartment and towards his car. I put Peyton in her car seat in the back and got into the front.
“Where are we going?” I asked him as he pulled out of the parking lot making his way into town.
“It’s a surprise.” He smiled taking my hand into his. Peyton pulled the pacifier out of her mouth giggling at the sound it made.
“Come on. Tell me. I’ll make it worth your wild.” I wiggled my eye brow at him. I don’t even know where that came from. I was never out there like my brothers where. I was quiet and didn’t really do anything. But now? This was different. I…I kind of like it.
“As awesome as that sounds…it’s a surprise.” I looked up at him watching as the hassling and bustling of the city goes by.
“Where are we going?” I asked him pouting. He pulled into a spot quickly shutting off the car.
“We’re here.” I looked out the window to see a Verizon store. I looked at him confused.
“What….” He got out and opened my door.
“I’m buying you a new phone.” I frowned.
“Reese…” He shook his head getting Peyton out of the car.
“No. You promised, remember? You said I could help you.” I sighed. He was right. I had said that. I just couldn’t even believe he wanted to help me. Why would someone? I’m just a young girl with a young daughter who is broke. Why would he want to help me? “Please Halyn. Let me help you two. You need a phone. I’d feel better if you had one.” I sighed. He got me there.
“Alright. Not too much.” He kissed me happily. He locked the door pulling me with him as Peyton laid on his shoulder. It was getting dark, but it wasn’t too late. He walked into the place making the Sales person smile.
“Mr. Armstrong, I have what you want. If you would come with me.” He looked me up and down. I shied away from his wondering eyes.
“Sure, Halyn take her. I’ll be right back.” He kissed me handing over Peyton who just laid on my shoulder. I put her blanket over her as she closed her eyes. “Go look at those phone.” He smiled at before walking away with the Sale’s man. I walked over to the cheap phones looking at them. These would do. I didn’t really need to text all that much and I still could with some of these. They were cheap enough that I could still get it and not have Reese pay for it.
“Alright Mr. Armstrong, you are ready to go.” I looked up from the phones to see Reese walking back over. I was about to buy one of the cheapest phones here.
“You ready to go, baby?” He asked smiling at Peyton as she lifted her head lazily at him.
“But I haven’t gotten a phone yet.” I said frowning at him. He smiled.
“I already bought you one.” My face scrunched up. He pulled it out of his phone.
“Reese no.” He gave me a look.
“No complaining Halyn. Enjoy it.” He put the sleek iPhone into my hand.
“Reese, I thought you were going to get a cheap one.” He sighed.
“I told you, you deserved to be spoiled. You are going to get spoiled by me.” He kissed me. “Please accept it. I want you to be happy.” I sighed.
“I am happy.” I gave one last try to change his mind. “And I can’t afford it.”
“You don’t have to. It’s already on my plan. You won’t be paying for it what-so-ever. It’s a gift from me.” He kissed me. “Now come on. It’s time for dinner. I’m taking you out.” I sighed putting the phone into my pocket shaking my head.