Patting the chair my ma called to me, “Come sit with me, Michael.”
I moved to the seat next to her and winked at Izzy.
My ma squeezed my leg before turning to me. “Did she say anything about your brother?”
I told her everything Mia had shared with me about Joe.
I could see my ma’s entire body relax with each word. “Is she your girl, son?” she asked with a small smile on her face when I finished.
Laughing, I shook my head. “I don’t know what we are, Ma. We just met a bit ago.”
“It was nice of her to give you information about Joseph. She a good girl, baby?”
I didn’t want to get into a debate on her meaning of good. To me, she was that and more. “Yes, Ma. I think she actually is.” I grinned, thinking about her tiny snores as she slept.
“Don’t let that one go, you hear me.” She arched her eyebrow as she stared at me.
“We just met, Ma.”
“A mother knows, son.” She winked.
“You just want grandbabies. Let me get to know her first, but I’ll hold on tight if she’s the one for me, Ma.”
“Good, Michael. Now go grab me a cup of coffee, please?”
“Light and sweet?” I asked as I stood.
I’d do anything she asked me to do. I loved my ma.
She was my first love.
“No other way,” she said, laughing.
“Anyone want anything? I’m headed to the cafeteria.” I asked happy to be leaving the room for a bit. I needed to stretch my legs and get some fresh air.
Standing up, Anthony replied, “I’m coming with you. I need to get out of this room for a while.”
“We’re good,” my pop said, placing a hand on Izzy as she tried to stand and forced her back in her seat.
My sister’s face turned red and I expected to see fire come out of her nose, but she remained quiet, for once.
I stirred the sixth packet of sugar in my Ma’s coffee as Anthony paid for his drink.
Someone poked me in the shoulder. “Mikey,” a female voice purred in my ear.
Fucking shit. I knew that voice.
Closing my eyes, I felt the need to slap my ear like a gnat buzzed around it, annoying me.
“Where ya been, baby?” she said grabbing my ass.
I jumped and the coffee spilled, scalding my hand. “Fuck,” I said, gritting my teeth.
I crumpled the packets in my hand and turned around. I didn’t really need her fucking bullshit right now.
“Sorry.” She smiled as I glared at her. Her smile fell. “I’ve missed you.” She reached out, trying to touch me.
“Tammy.” I backed away, my ass bumping into the counter.
“Mikey, I’ve been thinking about you for days.” She wrapped her arms around me. “Why haven’t you texted me back?” She stared in my eyes, pouting.
Anthony made faces at me as I looked to him for help. He knew all about her kind of crazy and loved to see me miserable whenever possible.
Grabbing her arms, I peeled her off me. “Tammy, we’re nothing. You need to get some help.”
Her mouth gaped open as she gasped for air.
Holding her firmly I quietly said, “I don’t want to see you or get another text from you. Forget I ever existed.” I pushed her body away from mine.
She glared at me. “How could you say that, Michael? We’re engaged.” Holding her hand in front of my face, she wiggled her finger. A very large diamond ring sparkled on her finger.
She’s fucking crazier than I thought.
Shaking my head, I tried to remain calm. “I don’t know who gave that to you, but it wasn’t me. We. Are. Not. Engaged.”
Anthony doubled over in a fit of silent laughter, his body shaking as he grabbed his chest.
Her eyes grew wide, covering her mouth with her hand, as she shook her head.
“Seriously, Tammy, get some fucking help. I didn’t give that ring to you. Don’t ever say those words to anyone. We. Are. Nothing. You hear me? Nothing.” Gritting my teeth, my jaw ached as I tried to keep myself from screaming.
She shook her head vigorously. “Don’t say such hurtful, mean things, Michael.”
Reaching out to touch me, I grabbed her wrist and stopped her. “I got too much shit going on right now to deal with your crazy bullshit.” Releasing her wrist, I stepped back and glared at her. “Stay the hell away from me.”
I smacked my brother on the back of the head as I walked by him and away from Tammy. I needed to get the fuck out of here.
“But I’m having your baby!” she yelled, her voice echoing through the cafeteria.
I stopped dead, my body stiffening as my blood turned cold.
What the fuck did she just say?
Bitch just played her last damn hand and I sure as fuck wasn’t going all in.
I turned around pointing at her. “I have to go, Tammy. I’ll deal with your ass later. Don’t call me, I’ll call you when I’m ready.” I dropped my hand to my side. I squeezed my hands into hard fists before leaving her in the dust.
Walking into the bathroom I saw the nosey nurse who pointed out my hickey in tears. It was too late to turn around without looking like a total asshole.
Just my fuckin’ luck.
She leaned on her hands, bending over the sink, her tears plopping into the bowl.
I sighed, wanting to walk away.
I really didn’t give a shit what made her sad, but my humanity won.
“Are you okay?” I asked, as I approached.
“No,” she said, sliding the back of her hand across her face, wiping the tears.
“Sorry, I’ll leave you be.” I stepped back and reached for the door handle.
“No, don’t go,” she said, turning toward me. “Everyone leaves me,” she wailed, her body almost collapsing against the counter.
“Fuck,” I muttered under my breath as I rushed to her side.
How in the hell do I get involved in these situations?
“I’m here. What can I do?” I asked, sounding thoughtful, surprising myself.
“There’s nothing anyone can do.” She hiccupped as she cried.
“Everything is fixable.” I patted her back and stared at the ceiling. “I only have another moment between patients. I’m sorry.”
“My fiancé left me and I’m pregnant.” She choked on her words, starting to fall forward again.
I held her, pulling her upright. “That’s horrible,” I said, trying to be horrified.
“How could he be so mean? He acted like we never meant anything to each other.”
I had the words on the tip of my tongue but I bit my tongue. “Maybe he’ll change his mind.”
If the man had any sense, he’d run for the hills or go into witness protection.
“I have to win him back.” Standing up, she looked into my eyes. “He needs to understand all he’s giving up by walking out on us.”
“Oh, I’m sure he has no idea.” I know I sounded snarky, but whatever.
“I can do it, you’re right.” She blotted her cheeks with her fingers and smiled. “Thank you so much.” Her tears vanished.
Wrapping her arms around me, she squeezed so hard I thought my ribs were going to crack.
“I have to go,” I said, pulling away.
“Oh sorry,” she said with a half-smile. Mascara had smeared down her cheeks