By the time I arrived home, I’d put Bella out of my mind and instead, focused on being a father to my sweet Lily.
“Papa, papa,” Lily cried out as she ran to me when I walked into our apartment.
“Lilybug!” I scooped her up and carried her to the kitchen where my mother-in-law was cooking dinner.
“Patsy. Thank you for covering today,” I said as I looked over her shoulder to see what she was making for dinner.
“You know it’s never a problem to take care of my granddaughter.” She served up three plates of spaghetti.
“Jim isn’t coming?” I asked after my father-in-law.
“It’s bridge night.” She handed me a plate and then took hers and Lily’s to the dining table.
“What is spaghetti in French?” Lily asked once she was in her booster seat.
“I don’t know. Do you know Patsy?”
“No clue. Lily is sure taken with French and your assistant. She seems pretty special, don’t you think Blake?”
My stomach knotted and all of a sudden I wasn’t sure I could eat. “She’s a great assistant and was very nice to Lily today.”
“She got me my favorite cookies and then we made a sped-sheet of cookies,” Lily told us again. “I like her. Can I come to your office again, daddy?”
“Bel— Ms. Hanson’s job is to help the company, honey.” My stomach was too tied up in knots to eat, but I twirled the spaghetti around my fork to eat as a distraction.
“I can help her. She can teach me French and then I can talk on the phone like her. Did you know they use different words?”
“I did,” I said washing my food down with some water.
“Why?” Lily’s little face pinched as she questioned me.
“Why do they use different words?” I asked.
I looked to Patsy for help, but she shrugged. “That’s just what they use.”
“I want to speak it when I get big. And to be pretty like her.” Lily took a bite of her garlic bread.
Patsy’s breath hitched, and my heart went out to her. It couldn’t be easy to hear your grandchild wish she looked like someone other than her mother.
“You’re already pretty like your mother,” I told Lily.
“Bella looks like Snow White. I want to be a princess like that.”
“How about Cinderella?” Patsy said. “I know a place that does princess makeovers. Would you like to do that sometime, Lily?”
“Yay.” She bounced in her chair with excitement.
“Hard to believe she’s shy,” I quipped.
Lily finished her dinner and then we excused her to find her princess costume. That left Patsy and me to have coffee and a chat.
I put a hand on Pasty to get her attention. “That thing she said about wanting to look like Bella, I’m sure it was just—”
Patsy waved my comment away. “It’s okay Blake. I understand. And she’s not wrong. Bella is a striking young woman.” She studied me, and I felt my skin get hot. I was sure she’d see some sign of what I’d done with Bella. “And good with Lily.”
“That’s not why I hired her, although she came through in a pinch.”
“She seems very competent.” Patsy stood. “I should get the dishes clean and head home.”
I rose from my chair. “I’ll take care of it. You get home to Jim.”
“It’s no bother.”
“I know, but Jim will want you home before it’s too late.”
I called to Lily. She ran out wearing a pink tutu and a tiara. “I’m a ballerina.”
“Well, miss ballerina, your grandma is leaving.”
Lily hugged Patsy. “Bye Grandma.”
“Bye, my princess ballerina.”
An hour later, Lily was asleep in bed, and I took a moment for myself and had a stiff drink. The only problem was, being alone allowed room for thoughts and feelings I shouldn’t have. Thoughts about firing Dylan if he touched Bella. And the feeling that I was going to fucking combust if I couldn’t have her again. Those feelings led to self-loathing and guilt. I responded by pouring another drink.
There was a saying about best-laid plans going awry or maybe I was thinking of one about the road to hell being paved with good intentions. Maybe it was just Murphy’s Law about everything going wrong. Whatever the quote, it was true because all my attempts to accept that Blake wasn’t the man for me weren’t working. Every time I saw him, my skin heated and my heart tumbled in my chest.
I liked Dylan. He was nice, funny, handsome, and unlike Blake was showing interest in me. Knowing I wouldn’t ever get over Blake if I continued to mooning over him, I remained open to Dylan’s interest in me. We chatted in my office, and later that evening, I got a few texts from him, about nothing important, but it felt good that he’d wanted to connect with me.
When I went to bed, I turned my mind to Dylan, but when sleep came, my brain didn’t cooperate with my plans. I dreamed that I was in my office, and Dylan was sitting on my desk, showing me his hand with his “libido” line. Except when I looked up it wasn’t Dylan, it was Blake. And instead of his hand, I was looking at his dick. This time I followed through with my urge to suck it. I didn’t know how to do it, but in dreams, I supposed it didn’t matter. I put his large dick in my mouth and Blake made those growls and grunts that he made when he’d fucked me.