Dirty Daddies

Page 60

“You really wanted that fucking fiver,” he laughs when he’s finally had enough. I wipe my mouth on the back of my hand then snatch the note from his fingers.
And then I’m outta there, as fast as I can before he causes me any more shit.
“You owe me, remember,” he calls down the stairs after me.
“How can I fucking forget,” I yell back and flip him the finger at the bottom.Jack“She’ll be here,” I say, “she said she wouldn’t let us down.”
Mike is pacing. Nervous as fuck.
I’d like to say I’m not, but I’m more tightly wound than I’d like, even if I’m hiding it pretty well.
“You gave her a hundred quid, Jack. She could be fucking anywhere right now.”
“She won’t be,” I tell him, even though I’m not entirely sure. “We’re having movie night, she’ll be here.”
“Or be drunk in an alleyway somewhere.”
I sigh. “You’ve got to have some faith in her.”
He flashes me a horrible stare. “I’ve got faith in her, Jack, it’s us I’ve got the issue with. Last night we slap her ass, today she’s taken off.”
“She’s gone shopping, Mike.”
“You don’t know that,” he insists, and he’s right. I don’t.
I hope my gut is making the right call on this one. Not just on Carrie being back in time to spend the evening with us, but on this whole crazy situation we’re involved with. I thought teaching her some discipline was the right call, just as holding her tight in my bed felt the right call.
Paying her for a job well done also seemed the right call.
But there’s a chance I’ve been off the mark with the whole lot of it.
The clock is ticking and she’s not back. Six p.m. and there’s no sign of her, and there isn’t another bus until gone eight.
I’m about to call defeat at six thirty and suggest we go take a drive to look for her, but the sound of the front door has both Mike and me jumping to our feet.
Carrie tries to catch her breath in the hallway, cheeks flushed pink as she doubles over.
“I… I’m sorry…” she wheezes. “I lost my fucking bus ticket and I had no money for another… my phone was out of credit… and I didn’t have money to make a call…”
I hear Mike sigh and I slap him on the back in unspoken victory.
“How did you get home?” I ask and she holds up a finger for a moment while she catches the rest of her breath.
“Hitchhiked,” she says, “and walked the rest.”
I feel Michael leap up the fucking pole. “You hitchhiked?!”
She shrugs. “Yeah, was alright.”
“Could’ve at least put your new boots on for the walk,” I comment, gesturing to the same old pair on her feet.
She looks so uncertain as she stares down at them. “I didn’t get any,” she admits and Mike flashes a glance at me.
Carrie heads on through to the kitchen and we follow her, staring on in interest as she pulls a box and a little bag from her backpack.
She hands the little bag to Mike. “For you,” she says and her smile is nervous enough to break my fucking heart.
He opens it slowly. “For me?”
She nods. “Yeah, for you. A present.”
He looks so touched I can’t stop grinning. A tie. A decent one too. He runs it through his fingers.
“Do you like it?” she asks and he nods.
“I love it.”
Her smile makes my heart stop.
“That was a really nice gesture,” I say to her, but she won’t look at me. She picks up the box and hands it over to me but she won’t meet my eyes.
“And one for you. A present, and a sorry. That’s why it’s bigger. It’s two in one.”
“Two in one?” I repeat and she nods.
I open the box with clammy fingers, surprised at how fucking excited I am. And I should be. I really should be.
The glassware inside the box is no auction piece, but it doesn’t matter.
It’s beautiful and stylish with perfectly coloured flecks of aqua and green.
I stare at Mike and he’s staring at me, and I knew it. I was fucking right about everything.
I was right about trusting her with money and timekeeping, I was right about how a little discipline would help her feel loved.
It feels so fucking good to be right. Mike nods and he knows it too.
“It’s beautiful,” I say. “I’m really touched, Carrie.”
She breathes out a sign of relief. “Phew,” she says. “I was crapping myself that you’d hate it.”
I hold the sculpture in my hands, admiring every facet and curve of it. It may not be a one-off designer piece, but there’s no doubt about it. I love it more than I ever loved the original.
“What did you get for you?” Michael asks and I take a step forward to see what else she bought, but she’s already dropping her backpack to the floor. Empty.