"Sorina, I could never be angry with you for your art. This is your therapy, the way music is for me," I say, tilting my head to the side.
"I heard Mr. Dresden say Blake is your therapy," she blurts outs.
Oh, Jesus fucking Christ, Dresden!
"In a way, yes, he is," I say, heat rushing to my cheeks.
"Why do you always blush when someone mentions him?"
"Because I'm not used to having feelings for people, Sorina. I care for Blake very much, and for me . . . it causes a very wide range of emotions I'm still struggling with."
"Oh," she glances at me with a shy smile.
"Now, may I see your painting?"
Slowly, she steps to the side. My eyes move across the canvas, my hand flying to cover my mouth. In the top corner is my neck, down to a little past my collarbone with the Taurus brand prominent. On the other half of the canvas is a mural of my back . . . each scar in grave detail. I swallow the lump in my throat, tears stinging my eyes.
My breath moves unsteadily in and out of my lungs, as I stand, involuntarily moving closer to the painting. I blink, spilling the moisture down my cheeks.
"Can I call you Mom?" Sorina says, startling me.
I whip my head around to face her. She's so young and frightened. It's like staring in a mirror, my chest tightening, remembering the pain and anguish that consumed me at that age. "Is that what you want to call me?"
"Yes. Blake says I can call him Dad too, but I want to be able to do that with both of you, not just one or the other."
I open my arms, and she darts into them, nuzzling her head against my chest. "Of course you can kiddo. Whatever works best for you."
"Okay . . . Mom."
My heart constricts. It's a title I never envisioned belonging to me. The word from Sorina's lips is music to my ears, and happiness overwhelms me. I press my lips to her hair as the faint echo of footsteps stops outside her door.
"There's my girls," Blake says in a deep voice.
"Dad," Sorina exclaims, darting from my arms to his.
I wipe the tears from my face as he hugs her to his chest.
He pulls a small, black box from his pocket, holding it out to her. "I got you something to wear to the event."
She smiles up at him, taking the box from his hands. Skipping to her bed, she plops down and opens it, squealing with delight. She pulls out a shiny necklace and clasps it around her neck.
"Look, Mom," she says, leaping off the bed.
Fuck that sounds strange. Mom . . . what the hell was I thinking?
She stands in front of me, tilting her head back. A sterl
ing silver necklace with cursive lettering spells out her name— diamonds adorning the "S" glitter up at me.
"And this is for you," he says holding another box out to me.
"Just a little something," he says, smirking.
I take the box from his hands, raising my eyebrow. Opening the lid, my heart stutters. A silver bracelet with the words ‘pentru totdeauna’ engraved on the surface lies inside. On the clasp are three, diamond encrusted letters— L,B, and S.