For fuck’s sake that kid has a set of lungs on him.
Sitting up at the side of my bed, I pull on a pair of sweats, yawning as I go. I stagger out to the hallway and let the noise steer me. As I stroll closer to Liam’s room, I realize it’s not only his cries I’m hearing.
Camilla is huddled up in a ball on the floor outside his door, and she’s crying right along with him. Fuck. My chest constricts, and a foreign feeling grabs hold of me. Squatting down next to her, I pat her shoulder.
“Camilla, sit up.” Like it takes all the effort in the world, she drags herself up and leans back against the wall. Her heart is breaking over his cries, and what I can’t handle, or even understand, is the fact mine is breaking, too, over the sounds from both of them.
Moving her wet auburn hair from her face, I then use my hands to wipe away some of her tears. “I’ll handle this,” I say. Her arms wrap around my leg as I go to stand.
“No, you’ll scare him.”
“I promise I’ll be nice.” I remove her hands from my leg. “You have to trust me. If you come in, he’s never going to stop this.”
“If he cries louder, I’m getting him.”
Squatting down again, I cup her face. “The U.S. government trusts me with their most classified documents. I think you can trust me with my own nephew.” I shouldn’t have shared that, but I’m also half asleep and annoyed that she finds me incapable of caring for him.
I crack his door open, and he stops wailing. Thinking it’s best not to turn on the overhead light, I walk over to the dresser to my right and click on a table lamp.
“Momma,” he whines from his bed in the middle of the room. As he adjusts his eyes to the light, he sniffles and coughs. The second those blue irises meet mine, they grow to the size of saucers. “I want my momma.”
“It’s all right, little guy. Your mom is sleeping. You don’t want to wake her, do you?” He stares oddly at me, probably thinking hell, yeah, I do and debating on whether to yell stranger danger. I guess he doesn’t know what that means, but I should teach him.
“I thought we’d read a story. Would you like that?” Not waiting for him to tell me no, I walk over to the short bookshelf next to the head of his bed. Pulling out two books, I hold them up in front of him.
“You get to pick.” Smiling faintly, he points to … what the hell? The Poky Little Puppy? “Damn, kid, you do need a male role model. Moby Dick was probably being read to me by your age. OK, then. I guess we’re reading about a poky puppy,” I murmur.
🌹✶THE TERMS: PART ONE✶🌹
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🌹✶THE TERMS: PART TWO✶🌹
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