Khloe did her best to keep me from getting too depressed, but there was only so much she could do. I wasn’t just going through one heartbreak, I was going through six; even more considering the fact that I was pained over disappointing the kids too. I was a wreck. When the nighttime came, I opted to turn in early, hopeful that sleep would bring me at least a little bit of peace, but I was wrong. When I could manage to drift off, I was plagued, not with nightmares, but with blissful dreams of me and the guys, all gathered around a Christmas tree, opening gifts with the kids. I imagined their smiling faces as they realized they’d gotten everything they asked for, and watching the guys be floored by the presents I’d helped the kids picked out for them. It was tooth-rottingly sweet, and when I woke up in the morning to find it wasn’t real, all I could do was cry. I wanted my happy life back and I had to come to terms with the fact that I was never going to have that again.

I entered day two separated from the guys and the kids with the worst realization of the entire horrible process settling over me: I was still madly in love with them all, Harrison the murderer included.

22

Ethan

A Week Later

“No, daddy! That’s not the way Jordan does it!”

David’s shrill voice piercing my thoughts caused me to drop the bowl in my hand, sending it sailing to the ground and shattering upon impact. I’d been his father for six years, Jordan had been his nanny for two months, yet somehow I was making his cereal wrong.

“Well Jordan’s not here, is she?” I barked. David recoiled, and I immediately felt terrible. Tears started to gather in the corners of his eyes and I crouched down and pulled him into a hug. “I’m sorry, buddy. I got frustrated. That wasn’t fair to yell at you.”

What David didn’t know was that I missed Jordan just as much as him, if not more. I hadn’t fully explained her prolonged absence to the twins, or any of the children for that matter. Whenever they asked about her, I just told them that she was taking some time for herself and would be back soon. I hated telling them that, not just because they didn’t really want to accept it as an answer, but because I had no idea if that was true or not. We had no idea where she had gone, and even once we found her, there was no guarantee that she was going to come back to us. Harrison had kept some pretty huge secrets, and even if we could convince her that he didn’t kill his ex-wife, he had kept his real name from her; that kind of thing wasn’t easy to forgive.

I allowed Davin to hand-hold me through doing some things the way Jordan would do it to help the boys adjust, but the truth was that they felt what all of us dads had felt; Jordan was the one. She was the link that was missing in our family, and with her being gone, all of us could feel it. The kids were less happy, the dads were less happy, and we were taking it out on one another. Once the kids were off to school, I decided to call an emergency meeting of the dads. We had to figure something out; we needed our cornerstone back.

Oliver was walking through my kitchen slamming my cabinets when he arrived that afternoon. “What the fuck, Ethan?”

“What?” I replied.

“Where’s all the booze?” he barked.

“It’s 10 o’clock in the morning,” Lowe responded.

Oliver whipped around on his heel. “Hey Lowe, look at me.” He was pointing a pair of fingers towards his eyes. “Look into my eyes.”

“I’m looking at you, you fucking weirdo,” Lowe replied.

“I don’t give a shit what time of day it is. I want a drink,” Oliver hissed, then turned his gaze to me. “Well?”

“Jordan has been gone for a week. You think I have booze left?” I responded. “I’ve been drinking it like water.”

It was true. I tried to be careful with my alcohol intake, as both my father and my grandfather had developed alcoholism later in life, but I was missing my woman, I needed something to stifle the pain.

“I’ve been having it delivered daily,” Rogan said. “I can’t get over it. I’ve been with dozens of women. Why does this one hurt so bad?”

“Because she was everything,” Harrison added, with a thick sadness to his voice. “She was perfect, and I ruined it.” His head drooped low. “I’m so sorr–”

“Nope!” Oliver yelled. “Nope, nope. We’re not doing this.” He walked over at smacked Harrison gently on the back of the head. “No more self-pity.”

Nicole Casey Books | Erotic Books | Love by Numbers Series Books
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