I pulled up to the apartment silently. I could still feel Reese’s lips on mine as I unlocked the door and made my way into the family room. “How’d it go?” Virginia asked looking up from her newspaper. I smiled at her.
“How was Peyton?” She shook her head wagging her finger at me.
“Don’t you change the subject on me.” She smiled putting her newspaper back into the telltale green bag. “She’s fine, went back to sleep a little while ago. Now, how was your dinner?” I smiled again my hand going up onto lips. Virginia stood up and clapped happily.
“Stop it.” I said walking into the kitchen putting away the food.
“Oh I knew you were going to have fun!” She hugged me. “Oh I’m so glad. The baby was fine. She’s sleeping and happy. Go to bed. Goodnight!” She said before walking out. I shook my head smiling. That woman makes me wonder sometimes. I turned out the lights and made my way into Peyton’s room. She was fast asleep on her stomach covered in blankets holding onto her ducky blanket, her Ducky lying next to her. I covered her with the blanket she kicked off and kissed the back of her head before walking out as the lull of the turtle star light. It put stars all over the room. It was perfect and Peyton loved it. I closed the door walking into my bedroom. I changed into my pajamas as my phone started to ring.
“Hello?” I asked crawling into bed.
“What the heck was that before?” I smiled to myself.
“Hi Mace. How’s it going?” He huffed at me.
“Fine. Are you going to tell me Halyn? Or am I going to have to call Virginia?” I giggled at him. He was a impatient man. Very impatient.
“I was on a date.” I shrugged.
“A date?” He sounded surprised.
“Yes, a date! I am not that ugly!” I huffed at him unhappy.
“I never said you were Hally. I’m just saying that I’m surprised you would. You and Peyton….” I sighed at him.
“Virginia pushed me to go.” Oh how happy I am she did.
“You sounded like you were having fun.”
“I was. It was amazing Mace! You wouldn’t believe me. He…he made me feel special.” I sighed dreamily.
“I’m glad you had fun. Did I interrupt anything?” He asked carefully.
“No it was getting late. I just lost track of time really.” I yawned my hand stinging in pain.
“Are you happy?” He asked quietly.
“More than I have ever been in a while.” I sighed. “I should get to sleep. It’s getting late here, and I have work tomorrow.”
“Alright. I love you Sis. Take care, and kiss my niece for me.”
“I will. Love you too Marine.” I hung up my phone curling up on my side. I was happy. But I felt guilty. I was guilty because my daughter wasn’t in my happiness. It is killing me to know this. She is my everything. She will always be my everything. I’m guilty I haven’t had much time for her. I sighed turning over in bed. I call myself a mother. I don’t feel like one. I feel like I’m letting my poor fatherless baby down. Maybe Reese will understand. But what if he doesn’t? He turns me into quivers at just a touch on my back, a look into his eyes. My heart was already in tatters. It didn’t need to be torn more. Maybe I should just end it with Reese. But I could feel something for him. As if I was already falling for him. My phone buzzed with a text message making me sigh and pick it up.
**New Message* *Mom& Dad ** Sometimes Baby, you have to put up with all the rocks to find that diamond in the ruff. I spoke to Virginia before. Think yourself for once. Love you Sweetheart, Mom. **
…….I was wrong. I was falling in love with Reese. He’s a sweetheart. Over the last couple weeks he came to the diner for lunch every day. He made me laugh and small more in two weeks than in 3 years. He got me flowers every Friday, all of them. I love flowers. Reese and Peyton where the only people keeping me sane at the moment. Harper, such a sweet girl, quit last week. I don’t blame her. This place is hell. The people here enjoy watching up suffer. Not everyone. One old couple left big tips, and are lovely to sever and help. The man was a writer and I helped him with some ideas and other thing revolving his books. His wife even sneaked cookies when she heard about little Peyton. How? She’s friends with Virginia. She is a wonderful woman, and her husband is amazing.
Reese is my rock, even if he didn’t know it. I said this place is hell, and I meant it. People would trip me, drop glasses on me. Wait till someone tripped me before slamming a chair into me. Every time this happened the memories would come back. People would drop food on me, laugh at me. They made me feel little, like I was nothing. I should quiet. I would if it was just me. But I need to pay rent. I need to have money to get groceries. I need to care for Peyton. I’m scared they are going to take my baby away. I was in agony. The bruises went around my sides, my chest. Some purple, some yellow, others healing and green, and one black. I didn’t know what to do. I needed the money, I don’t even know if I could get another job.
Reese could come at lunch, scaring everyone away giving me to peace and quiet I needed. He had me laughing and smiling even through the hell that had me in its grasps. He just held me close even I was close to tears, comforting me. He didn’t even know what was happening yet he cared so much. I was sitting on at a booth on my lunch break. Reese and me where splitting a turkey sandwich and a salami sandwich so we each got half of each. “I think you should quit Halyn.” I blinked. The chip I was about to pop into my mouth froze in midair.
“What do you mean?” I asked looking at him. He shrugged putting a chip in his mouth.
“Maybe it’s time you quit. You hate it. I hate seeing you hate it. I want you to be happy.” I looked up at him as his eyes stared into mine.
“I don’t think I can do it Reese.” I sighed plopping the chip into my mouth. Concern clouded his eyes.
“Please Halyn. You’re not happy. I just want you to be happy. You hold me in comfort every time I get here.” I looked down messing with the straw in my soda. “Please.” I shook my head.
“I can’t. I’m sorry.” He sighed and nodded putting his hand over mine. My boss came walking over.
“Haley back to work!” She huffed at me crossing her arms.
“But I’m not even half way through.” She glared at me.
“Do I look like I care? Back to work dumbass.” I sighed and nodded. Reese looked at me his cheek twitching.
“I have to get back to work. I’ll call you tonight.” He nodded but didn’t get up. I kissed him lightly before walking off feeling as breathless as always when I kissed him. I was scared. I’ve been working for an hour and a half now and Reese still hasn’t left. He’s just sitting there on his phone looking up every so often. I tried the best I could to just do my job and get past the feet and hands. I didn’t trip. I was doing good. That was until I was about to leave. I tripped over boots and landed straight on my hands making the people around me laugh. I dropped the sodas I was holding as I fell so they landed on me. I sighed shaking my head. I moved so I was sitting in the puddle. Everyone was laughing at me. My boss came over smoking a cigarette.
“Nice job Dumbass.” She shook her head flicking her half done cigarette at me. It landed on my skin making me flinch and move so it fell into the puddle of soda. I put my hand over the burning skin closing my eyes.
“What the hell?” Reese said pulling me off the ground gently.
“Just drop it please.” I whimpered at him as he held me close to him. He looked down at me in disbelief.
“But they just-” I shook my head.
“Please.” The boss glared at me.
“Get out. I expect you tomorrow sharp.” I gave a nod squeezing Reese before scrambling to get my purse. I pulled on my hoodie to hide the soda stains. I was walking out to the diner and towards my car.
“Hey.” I looked up at Reese.
“Hi.” I put my bag into the car before looking at him.
“We need to talk Halyn.” The concern and pain clouded his eyes. “Please. Please just talk to me.” I looked at the car. I’m falling in love with him and I think he was falling for me. Not for long.
“Alright. Meet me here at 6.” I have him the apartment. I was shaking. Not from pain or how it was unusually cold. I was shaking because I was scared I was going to lose him because I have a daughter. I wasn’t ready to lose him right now. But I needed this. I needed to give my baby a normal life. If he doesn’t want her now, I don’t want to break my heart any more than it already is if he leaves later when I really am in love with him.
“I’ll be there 6 sharp.” He leaned in to kiss me. I held him tightly before letting go. Please don’t break my baby’s heart.
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