“Now who is acting like they’re a child,” I tease.
His face softens for a second before he remembers why he’s upset.
“Okay. So it’s probably best if I just rip it off like a Band-Aid, right?” No one speaks. “So . . . Cohen and I talked before he left and we decided that, when he comes home, we’re going to see where we stand.”
Daddy looks at me, his eyes blinking a few times as my words float around in his mind. I can see him trying to figure out what I just said, and then I watch when it finally sinks in. His tan face turns beet red and his nostrils start to flare. His eyes go even harder before he explodes.
“THE FUCK YOU SAY?”
“Axel, baby, calm down.”
“I won’t calm down.”
“She’s an adult. You know Cohen, and I know that he would never do anything to hurt her. Ever. So your normal excuses of them being up to no good aren’t going to work. Not with him. You’ve known that boy since he was three years old. If there is anyone you shouldn’t have to worry about, it would be Cohen Cage.”
“I also remember all that boy would talk about was his dick, too!”
“I think you’re twisting those memories slightly. Plus, it was his father’s dick.” Mom burst out laughing when Lee and Nate start choking on their popcorn.
Serves those little shits right for trying to enjoy this clusterfuck.
“Izzy,” my fathers warns.
“Good lord, Ax. You were never this over the top when we were their age.” She laughs and then walks over to where I’m standing. Her arms come around me and her mouth goes to my ear. “He’ll get over it, but don’t back down.”
I get a big squeeze before she walks over to Nate and slaps him over the head.
“Don’t laugh at your sister.”
“Where are the girls?” Daddy asks when no one makes a move to further the conversation.
“Maddi is spending time with her sister. She said she’s been missing her lately. The twins are out. And before you even think about it, yes, they know and they’re completely okay with it.”
“I don’t like this,” he grumbles.
“And you don’t have to. But it won’t change anything, Daddy. I think it’s time to let me live my own life and stop acting like I’m a little girl.”
“That’s not going to happen. I’ll work on it, but I won’t make any promises that I won’t be having words with him when he gets his ass home. Long words, Dani. Words that may or may not involve me showing him my gun collection. Now sit down and tell me the rest.”
“Actually . . . I think YOU might want to sit down for this part.”
TWO NIGHTS AGO, I HAD to vaguely tell my father that I would be dating when Cohen came home. I think that, if had it been any other person, he wouldn’t have accepted it as well as he did. Well, I say, “accepted it,” but I heard him when he stepped in the kitchen to “get a beer” and boom into his phone at who I can only imagine was Cohen’s dad that his son was “going to violate my daughter and that shit better not happen.”
That conversation went a lot better than the flowers and cameras one went. To say that my father lost his shit would be a vast understatement. It took my mom offering him God knows what for him to finally leave. I try to tune them out when she starts whispering in his ear to get her way.
Not something I want to think about.
So here I am, two days later, and I feel like I’m about to climb out of my skin.
Daddy has decided to appoint himself as my personal bodyguard. And if that isn’t enough, the lingering exhaustion I’ve been feeling for weeks has hit an all-time high. Or I guess it would be low. I’ve been falling asleep at work. In the shower. You name it. I was eating dinner, which was cooked by Maddi and delicious, the other night with the girls and fell asleep in my bowl! In. My. Bowl! Who does that?
I’m over it.
At least he agreed to let Chance accompany the girls and me to the Loaded Replay concert tonight in Atlanta. God, I would have killed him if he had shown up. He pulled whatever strings he has and our shit tickets have been swapped out with V.I.P., front-row tickets. Of course, his stipulation was that our group of five—me, Lyn, Lila, Maddi, and Stella—turn into a party of six. Chance was going or we weren’t.
For tonight, Chance will be an honorary chick because I am not missing this show.
Loaded Replay hit the scene huge a few years ago. They’re a mix of old-school classic rock and new-school flare. There isn’t a single band out there currently that has what they have. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that their lead singer is a chick who is smoking hot and she’s backed up by three damn fine men.