I peer over her shoulder and look at a smiling Sway. He gives me a wink before spinning on his heels and returning to his conversation with Don. God, he’s such a meddler.
“Well, I guess, since the boss man has spoken, I have a free day to spend with you.”
She laughs softly. “Go ahead and do what you need to get ready, baby. I’m going to go bother Sway for a little while.”
“Stay away from the cameras, Mom. You know Daddy would shit himself if you ended up some weird, fake twist in the story line. Knowing how these idiots work, you would end up being Sway’s new lover and the reason that he is leaving his husband and daughter. Scandalous stuff. Just downright indecent!” I throw my hand over my chest and mock outrage.
I make quick work of cleaning up my station and making sure I have everything together for tomorrow’s clients. Mom is still busy laughing and chatting with Sway when I walk up to the front desk. Don is nowhere to be seen, but Mark is standing next to one of their camera crew members with his arms crossed and a scowl firmly in place. I’m sure he’s pissed that I’m leaving in the middle of a film day. Well, what the hell ever. I know it’s childish, but I can’t stop myself before I stick my tongue out.
I win this round.
“God, I’m stuffed,” I laugh, pushing my plate of wings away from me before I can grab another one. This happens every single time Mom talks me into coming to Heavy’s, her favorite barbeque place in town. From the way Dad talks, she’s been hooked on this stuff like crack since before Nate was born.
“Well, give it here. No sense in letting those wings go to waste.”
I laugh when she pulls the plate I just discarded in front of her and finishes it off in record time.
“I have no idea how you stay so tiny. You should really be at least five hundred pounds.”
She looks up, her eyes shining. “That’s because I work out every night.”
“Yeah, right! I’ve never seen you step one foot in the gym . . . Oh. My. God. Don’t say anything else. Some things can’t be unheard, Mom!” Ugh! I do not want to think about how she works off all this damn food. Nope. Not thinking about it.
“What?” she says in shock, but she still has that devilish smirk. “Your father bought me one of those stair thingies.”
“You don’t even know what it’s called! I bet it’s not even out of the box,” I laugh.
She wipes her fingers off on the wet napkin and laughs at me. “Moving on, sweetheart. Why don’t you tell me what is going on with you? I called the house the other day and Lyn said you were out. I thought . . . Well, I thought that you and Cohen . . . I guess I’m just wondering what’s going on.”
“Why does everyone keep asking me what’s going on? I’m fine. I was a little upset—okay, a lot upset—when Cohen left, but I’m fine. Really.”
“Dani, you aren’t fine.”
I look at her—really look at her—and notice how concerned she looks. All the humor she held on her beautiful face is long gone and she’s looking at me like she can see right through me.
I sigh. “I miss him, Mom. It really just is that simple.”
“I know we haven’t talked about it since Daddy freaked out, but are you really okay with this? Cohen and me?”
She reaches out and takes the hand I was resting against the table. “Honey, I couldn’t be more thrilled. I only ask because you haven’t seemed like you’re handling this separation well, and trust me—I understand.”
I give her a sad smile because I know all about how well she did not handle the separation from my dad all those years ago.
“It’s just . . . The girls mentioned that you haven’t been sleeping at the house, and even though I know it isn’t my business, I guess I’m just concerned and being nosy.”
One thing I love about my mom is that she is super easy to talk to. I know that, when I tell her that I’ve been sleeping over at Cohen’s apartment, she might not like the idea, knowing that Cohen doesn’t live alone, but if anyone will understand where my head is in all of this, it’s going to be her.
“You promise not to tell Daddy? You will understand, but him? No, he most definitely will not.”
Her brow furrows, but she nods her head. I know she doesn’t like keeping things from him, but I hope she can keep this to herself.
“I’ve been sleeping at Cohen’s place.”