Ephraim treated her like a daughter. Jill and Madison treated her like a sister and good friend. Marc was like the little brother she never had and of course Chris was the estranged husband that wanted to get rid of her.
As she popped a hunk of ham from Joshua’s plate into her mouth she wondered how he was going to feel when he found out that he was going to be moving into a house, mansion really, half owned by her. He probably wouldn’t take it well, she decided, trying not to smile.
His eyes narrowed on her before he stormed off towards the food. Nope, he definitely wouldn’t take it well and he’d have his family to thank for that.
It hadn’t taken long to realize that compound life was not for her, except for the lovely Helga of course. After they staged her death and filtered her money through what seemed like a hundred banks Isabella Williams was born and she decided to start her new life. She looked at houses online for a good week before decided to treat herself after years of a crappy existence to a really nice home.
The one she settled on was a beautiful English style cottage mansion, whatever the hell that meant. All she cared about was that it had virtually no neighbors and a hundred acres of land that guaranteed privacy. It had taken several long arguments to convince Eric that it was the best thing for her and in the end he gave in because she promised to keep working for them and agreed to the three Sentinel homes he decided to put in the area to help protect her.
When she asked Joshua to go see the property on her behalf and finalize the sale she hadn’t expected Ephraim to go along with him and definitely hadn’t expected Ephraim to put down half the money and buy it with her. So now she was co-owner of a very large home and part of a very close knit family. Everything would be perfect if her mate wanted more than just sex and to make her feel awful.
“I am starving,” Madison said, placing her tray on the table and sat down and Isabella envied the woman.
They were both nearing their fourth month and Madison only had a slight baby bump compared to the huge medicine ball she was carrying around.
“Morning, mom,” Joshua said, leaning over to press a kiss to Madison’s cheek.
“Morning, sweetheart,” she said, smiling brightly and it didn’t take a genius to figure out that she’d either just devoured a box of chocolate or had her way with Ephraim. She’d put her money on Ephraim since she was devouring everything on her tray like she was starving.
“Move over,” came Chris’ grumble and with an sigh, Joshua picked up his tray and moved to the other side of the table to sit right next to her instead of just moving one chair down. She was guessing it was to piss Chris off since he seemed to enjoy doing that a lot.
She was actually starting to think it had more to do with the way Chris was treating her than just getting a kick out of annoying his brother. When Joshua laid his arm across the back of her chair and reached over to rub her stomach while glaring at Chris she knew she was right.
Over the past couple of months the two brothers had come close to killing each other several times and probably would have if Ephraim and about a dozen Sentinels hadn’t stepped in they probably would have.
As much as she appreciated Joshua’s concerns she didn’t like this. The last thing she wanted to do was come between two brothers who obviously loved each other.
“Stop it,” she whispered, placing her hand over his to move it, but he simply ignored her and continued to rub her stomach.
“I’m just saying good morning to my sweet little niece,”
he said innocently, but the look he was sending Chris’
way was anything but innocent.
Madison sighed wistfully. “I can’t wait to hold her. I hope we make the move before she’s born. I want to have the nursery ready for-“
“Whoa,” Chris said, holding up his hand. “Back it up there, what the hell are you talking about moving?”
Madison bit her lip nervously as she shot her an apologetic look. “Sorry,” she mouthed with a rueful shrug.
It was fine. More than fine actually. She was actually surprised that they’d managed to keep him in the dark this long. She had no problem telling him actually, but everyone else seemed to think they should break it to him at the last minute.
“We bought a house in upstate New York. As soon as the house is ready, which shouldn’t be more than a week, we’re moving,” she said, shrugging like it was no big deal.
“Who’s we?” he asked, his voice hollow.
“Your father decided it would be better to keep the family together, but we didn’t want the kids growing up in a compound. He purchased a house with Izzy, a very large home with plenty of land. It’s being set up now.
Eric’s overlooking the security,” Madison explained.
“He’s making sure it’s safe, Chris. He’s even placing Sentinel homes around the property.”
“Looks like you can stop being a prick and man the f**k up and take care of your family now,” Joshua bit out angrily and just when she expected Chris to lounge for Joshua like he’d done so many times before he stood up, but he didn’t make a move on Joshua.
“Joshua, stay out of it,” Madison hissed.
“No,” Joshua said firmly as he stared Chris down.
“It’s fine, Joshua. He made his choice and I made mine.
Jessica and I will be fine,” she said in what she hoped was a soothing tone since the last thing she needed was these two boneheads trying to kill each other again.
“Who’s Jessica?” Chris asked, sounding a little dazed.
Joshua let out a snort of disgust. “She’s your daughter, ass**le. Izzy picked out the name two months ago.
Where the hell have you been?”
“Please stop it,” she said, placing her hand over Joshua’s when Jessica decided that kicking her in the ribs sounded like fun.
She looked back up at Chris to find him staring intently at her hand over Joshua’s. That tick in his jaw was going double time.
“I was able to get a sonogram in here so if you want to see your daughter, be at the clinic in a half hour,”
Joshua said evenly.
Instead of telling Joshua off and acting like he didn’t care, Chris nodded once before he turned around and walked away. She didn’t know what to think, but she knew he wouldn’t come. He never did for any of her appointments.
“A sonogram?” Madison asked excitedly. “Oh my god!”
she squealed, jumping to her feet. “Don’t start until we get there! You know how much your father would love to see that!” And with that she was running out of the cafeteria, leaving them to stare after her.