Page 40 of Claiming Cinderella

“She acts much older and isn’t an immature brat like some women her age. She’s perfect like I said.”

Zep laughed at that again and then suddenly we heard the door open in the other room and my mother’s voice ringing out a warning.

“I’m coming in and there better not be a matching pair of girls in my son’s bedroom.” Patricia walked in and glared at Zep, then she turned to me and met my stare. “Where have you been all night?”

“I was at the beach house, Patricia, and I’m hardly a child. You can keep the third degree to yourself.”

“You were with that maid?” She crossed her arms in front of her and looked down her nose at me.

I shook my head and sat on the end of my bed to put on a pair of socks. “No, I was with Ella. She’s not the twin’s maid. They might treat her like one, but she’s not.”

“She’s their employee, so it really doesn’t matter. I’m not going to have you going around with this nobody, whose probably only after you because of your bank account!” Her voice was ringing off the walls and my last nerve.

I hated that she was so worried about common people and our reputation and even though I hated to let her get to me, I wasn’t going to let her sit around and make assumptions about Ella. My anger got the best of me, and I lashed out. “She’s not their fucking employee. She’s their sister!”

“What?” Zep’s eyes widened.

“That’s ridiculous, Scott Blue doesn’t have but two daughters, and it’s those spoiled brats that Zep was in bed with last night.” Mother glared in his direction and looked as if she wanted to spit on him. “Don’t be fooled, dear.”

“It’s true, but I’m not supposed to say anything.” Shit, I wished I’d kept my big mouth shut. “She’s Layla Ford’s daughter, and Nola Blue doesn’t know, so what I said can’t leave this room!” I was certain the two of them could keep an urgent secret like that, and my mother put me at further ease.

“Layla’s child? How interesting. Your secret is safe with me. I never did like that uppity Nola Blue or those awful girls of hers. Zep, I do hope you wore protection. Those sluts are probably full of diseases or are liable to trap you for your money.”

“What do you know about Nola Blue, anyway, mother?”

“Oh, now you call me mother?” She sat on the end of my bed next to me and leaned back on one elbow. “Well, for one, she’s been known to skim from the musicians that worked for her husband and even slept with a few. She’s a hard-nosed business woman and a real pain in my ass back in the day. She’s the sole reason that Scott didn’t want to work with my team on his last album, but she’d never admit it.”

“So, the two of you hate each other?” I wondered what my mother would think about Layla Ford’s fortune being dwindled to nothing, but I didn’t want her to hate Ella or think her unworthy.

“Not that we act like it. This is a small town, you keep your friends close and your enemies closer. We pretend, like everyone else.”

“Well, then you won’t mind pretending a little longer for my sake. She can’t find out about Ella. Ella only found out, and I’m pissed I even shared the news. She’s heartbroken.”

“I’d be heartbroken too if I had those people as my family. Layla Ford’s daughter, huh? You know, her mother was my friend. We weren’t too close, but we always got along.” She reached up and stroked my hair, and I let her. “Do you like this girl?”

“I really do. So far, anyway. It’s still new, and I don’t want to jinx it.” I gave her a wink, and she shook her head.

“I want to meet her.” Patricia met my eyes and gave me a look that told me that wasn’t negotiable.

“Fine, I’ll ask her to lunch. I’m sure she’d love to meet you. She has her own jewelry line she’s trying to start up. She's very talented like her mother.”

“Then I can’t wait to meet her.” She turned and looked at Zep who looked away. “And you, do you think we’ll ever be able to look each other in the eye again?”

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