Dirty Daddies

Page 11

She holds up a hand and waves goodbye, and I realise how small she looks up there. She’s not short, it’s not that. It’s her frame, willowy and wasted and… fragile.
Carrie Wells looks fragile, and she’s looked many ways over the months but fragile isn’t one of them.
Our eyes meet and hold. My breath feels tight in my throat.
The pain of failing her hits hard, right in my gut, and I sigh as I realise all over again that she’s just a kid who’s had a rough start. A girl who doesn’t yet know how to make better choices. Who doesn’t trust. Who doesn’t even know how.
A girl who needs some stability.
A girl who needs love.
But I can’t be the one to give it to her.
I’ll try again with the agencies in the morning. I’ll set up some new referrals and hope upon hope Carrie lets someone help her.
I wave goodbye, and I really have to mean it.
For my own sanity.CarrieBill doesn’t even care that I hear him. In the early days they would whisper or talk about me behind closed doors where they didn’t know I was listening. But not now.
Now Bill and Rosie don’t give a shit that I know what they think of me.
Bill’s words carry loud and clear. The little window in the room I sleep in is open, and his voice reaches me perfectly. So does Michael’s.
The girl is a vicious little bitch. She’s a fucking nightmare. A disgusting, vindictive little shit.
Bill, please…
Of course the answer was no. I knew it would be. They hate me, both of them, and I don’t blame them.
I didn’t spit in Rosie’s stew though, I just pretended to. She wouldn’t believe me when I said I hadn’t really. She threw the whole lot in the sink and told me I was a horrible girl. And then she cried.
She flapped her arms about and called for Bill and told him she was done with me, that they were all done with me.
And I shrugged and said I didn’t care, that I didn’t give a fuck about her shitty stew, either. I said it tasted like shit and she’d done us all a fucking favour by throwing it out.
I don’t know when to stop when I start, that’s the problem.
I don’t know how to stop the way I feel about Michael, either.
I watch him watching me. He looks as defeated as I feel deep inside. He looks like he doesn’t want to leave, even though I know he really didn’t want to bring me here.
It’s probably just because he’s one of those good guys. There aren’t many of those about, but if they really exist, he’s definitely one of them.
I hold up a hand and wave, hoping he’ll wave back. Maybe he’ll smile.
Michael’s got a great smile. He’s got a great scowl, too. He looks so fiery and hardcore when he gets angry, and it comes more natural to him than he seems to think it should.
He doesn’t have any idea how hot he is. Most hot guys know it. Even most of the not-so-hot guys think they’re God’s gift around here, but Michael is the real deal and he doesn’t have a clue.
His hair is messy even though I’m sure he tries to keep it looking smart. It’s probably not even a style, not on purpose, but it looks just right on him. Dark and messy and cute. Cool, even though I’m sure he doesn’t mean it to be.
I think most guys look like dicks in suits, but he looks just right. He only has three ties, and one of those is a shitty garish purple one that makes me smile when he’s not looking. Once I saw him walking through his office, and he had stripy socks on, that made me smile too but he thought I was laughing at him.
On the surface he seems so professional and in control, strong and supportive and awesome at what he does. But I can’t help but notice this other side of him, the side maybe I shouldn’t see.
The gawky, kind of cute side. The side that doesn’t match even though he tries. The side that breaks the rules and brings me home when I’ve been drinking, and swears at me. The side that looks at me the way he’s looking at me now.
He does wave and my heart aches for him. It’s a sad goodbye.
He hovers for a minute before he gets into his car, and I wonder what he’s thinking.
I wonder if he believes everything Bill said about me. I wonder if he knows now that I wasn’t lying when I said they don’t give a shit about me anymore, and there was no way an apology would make any difference to them now.
Like it or not, I’ll be on my own in a few days. Welcome to adulthood, Carrie. I can hardly wait.