veggies, fruit, Hershey’s chocolate and gallons upon gallons of Coke. The only time she made an exception to this rule was when she went to Dixon’s Bakery and that wasn’t often since she usually found herself spending too much money there.
“It’s ready,” Lucifer announced, right around the time that she decided that pretending to be asleep was the best for everyone concerned.
“I think I’m going to be sick,” Zoe said hollowly as she sat in the middle of their bed staring blindly at all the paperwork and pamphlets laid out in front of her.
“It’s going to be okay,” Trevor found himself saying even as he wondered what they were going to do, because there was no way in hell that they were ever going to be able to afford the sixty thousand dollars a year that Radcliffe Academy was asking for to send the boys there next year.
“We’ll apply for scholarships,” Zoe said as though that was going to somehow make a difference.
It wouldn’t, not with the boys’ school records. Jonny and Sebastian were smart, too smart, were gifted athletes and unbelievably kind, but they were also a handful. They caused havoc everywhere they went, had already been kicked out of two schools and had a file two inches thick at the police department. Getting them into this school was going to be hard enough, but paying for it was going to be impossible.
Even if they got partial scholarships for the boys they were still going to have to find a way to come up with forty thousand dollars every year for the next six years. With a mortgage and seven mouths to feed that wasn’t going to happen, but he didn’t say anything.
They’d been homeschooling the boys since September, but that wasn’t really working. Every night they worked together to find something challenging for the boys to do and every morning the boys tore through their lessons over a bowl of cereal, leaving them with absolutely nothing to do for the rest of the day. They tried to fill the time with self-study, learning about the things that interested them, but it wasn’t enough anymore.
The boys needed to be around other children and finding something else to do instead of burying their noses in books and coming up with new and terrifying ways to get in trouble. They needed structure and with him working and Zoe returning to work, they weren’t able to give the boys what they needed. For several months now they’d been trying to get the boys back in school, appealing to nearby towns for admission, but they weren’t accepting students from outside their districts.
They were running out of options. Let the boys continue homeschooling, put themselves in debt that would probably destroy them, or move with the hopes that things would be different were the only options they had right now. He didn’t want to move and leave their family, especially knowing how much they meant to Zoe. His family was the only family that she’d ever had and he couldn’t stomach the idea of taking that away from her, but he might have to do it for the boys.
“We’ll think of something,” he said, telling himself that everything would be fine, but for the first time in a long time he wasn’t sure if he believed that.
He just wished…
Christ, there were too many things that he wished were different and that made him feel like an asshole.
“The boys can write their essays while I’m running errands in the morning,” she said with a reassuring smile as she picked the papers off the bed and returned them to the large envelope that Radcliffe Academy had sent them.
“It will be fine, sweetheart,” he said as he reached for Zoe and pulled her off the bed and into his arms.
“I know,” she said, sighing heavily as she wrapped her arms around him and laid her head against his chest. “I just wish that it didn’t feel so damn hopeless.”
“It’s not hopeless,” he said, because he knew that they would figure this out.
They always did.
“I should go do the dishes,” she mumbled, but didn’t make any move to leave his arms.
“Do you want me to draw you a bath instead?” he asked as he kissed the top of her head, savoring the scent of lavender.
“No,” she said, sighing heavily as she absently traced the Bradford Construction logo on his shirt with her fingertips.
“Then what can I do to get your mind off of things for a little while?” he asked, closing his eyes as he held her and savored the feel of her in his-
“I was actually in the mood to give you a blowjob tonight,” she admitted with a careless shrug as he stood there frozen as all the blood in his head suddenly changed direction and headed south.
“But, if you want to take a bath or-” she started to say only to end on a squeal and a laugh as she found herself thrown on the bed and him wrestling with the fly of his jeans.
He’d just managed to get his zipper down when the doorbell echoed throughout the house. He stared at his wife who was lying back on the bed, smiling that sexy little smile of hers and then back at the locked bedroom door, trying to decide whether he should kill the asshole ringing his doorbell at ten o’clock at night or pretend they weren’t there and proceed to shove his pants down the rest of the way and let his wife have her way with him.
Definitely allow her to have her dirty way with him, he decided when she started unbuttoning her blouse and revealed what looked like a new black bra with lace trimming. He licked his lips hungrily when she undid the front clasp and pushed the two cups aside, revealing the large, pale breasts that he loved to-
“Fuck!” he snarled, angrily fastening his jeans as he headed towards his bedroom door, deciding that killing the asshole ringing his doorbell was going to have to be dealt with first.
“Touch that fucking bell again and I’ll-” he started to yell as he headed down the stairs only to get cut off as the asshole hit the bell again.
He was seriously going to fucking kill someone if they woke up his kids. Quickening his pace, he made it downstairs in record time, crossed the small space to the front door, shut the alarm off and unlocked the door. As soon as he threw the door open he found himself holding a bag giving off heat and the most incredible scent that he’d ever encountered.
“Where’s your wife?” Lucifer asked as Trevor stood there, struggling to ignore the mouthwatering aroma that was permeating his senses and making it difficult to the do the right thing and kill his cousin.
“Ummm,” he managed to get out, but it was quickly becoming difficult to focus…was that steak? Yes, that was definitely steak that he smelled. He couldn’t wait to-
“Hey, is that steak?” he heard Johnny ask from upstairs, reminding him that he was in a houseful of vicious, backstabbing Bradford children that would be more than willing to hobble him to get their hands on his precious bag of delicious morsels.
“And macaroni and cheese,” Sebastian said as he heard the first bedroom door click open.
“Might want to run,” Lucifer said absently as he stood next to him, sorting through a handful of files.
Beat the shit out of his cousin or save his precious food?
No one should ever have to make this choice!
“Seriously, I would run if I were you,” Lucifer said as he finished sorting through the files and glanced up at him.
“Why are you here?” he snapped, already knowing that it was too late to make a run for it. They would be on him before he made it off the front porch.
“I missed you,” Lucifer said dryly, throwing the bullshit excuse that they normally used on him when they went to the Fire & Brimstone to fuck with his head, back in his face.
“You son of a-”
“Thanks,” Sebastian said with a wink and a smile as he swooped in and stole the bag out of his hands.
“You’re the best,” Jonny said, throwing him a wink to match his brother’s as they walked away, carrying the bag that he needed more than his next breath.
“Here,” Lucifer said, pressing something into his hands. “This is for Zoe. That’s all my account information, passwords,
employee rosters and everything that she’ll need to take over doing the books for the Fire & Brimstone. She can start in the morning.”
“Books?” was all he managed to get out as his eyes narrowed on the twins setting the food on the living room table.
“Uh huh,” Lucifer said, heading for the door, “I don’t have enough time to do it anymore.”
“Okay,” he found himself saying as he headed for the living room where his sons were standing over the large selection of food that would make any Bradford cry.