Authors: Shantel Tessier
I lean over the counter, trying to catch my breath.
“Okay,” I whisper, not able to say more.
“I’ll be there shortly.” He hangs up before I can
I stand up straight and look around the kitchen,
thankful that I am alone. I need something to keep me busy. I need something to
keep my mind off my dead mother and my boyfriend who thinks I’m broken beyond
repair. Am I? I went kind of crazy when my dad died. I had never lost a family
member before. So, when we lost him, I went off the deep end. My stepdad had
mentioned the word ‘therapy’ once but I wanted nothing to do with that. I
didn’t want to tell someone how my mom and I had drifted apart, that I thought
God had taken the wrong parent from me. I also didn’t want to be put on
medication. So, I stayed away from home. It’s not like I went to parties, I
just went to my father’s house. I enjoyed the silence there while I cried. My
mom didn’t want me at home anyway, she just yelled at me. Or she was yelling at
Greg. I knew they were on the verge of a divorce. They fought like cats and
dogs. They hadn’t even been married long, maybe a little over a year. He and I
never saw eye-to-eye because he always tried to be a father figure in my life,
and I pretty much told him to go to hell. That caused fights between him and my
mother because she didn’t back him up. She might have hated my dad, but she
knew how close we were. Just because she was married to the man did not mean he
was my father.
I need to clear my head, to think about something
else. I start rifling through the cabinets for something to cook.
I find a container of noodles and see a glass jar
of spaghetti sauce. I open the freezer and find some frozen meat in there. I
frown; it’s the only thing in there. How was she eating?
I pull my earbuds out of my front pocket and plug
them into my phone. I download the Pandora app and sign into my account. I want
to, once again, drown everything else out.
I know it seems like I’m ignoring everyone and
maybe that’s what I am doing. I just need to keep my emotions in check.
Courtney had pissed me off when she mentioned Slade missing so much work
lately. I know it’s the truth. That doesn’t mean she has to point it out in
front of Mark and everyone else. I don’t know how much missing work affects
him, and I don’t want Mark to think that I don’t care about his son, that I
only think of myself. Because I don’t. I know Slade loves his job.
Courtney has always been the type of girl to tell
you how she sees it, even if you think she sees it wrong. Witnessing my
breakdown obviously told her that I am in need of help, but all I need is
Slade. I know that I can get through anything with him by my side.
I pull out a pan and start frying the meat. Does
everyone feel the same way as Slade? Should I not have been as happy about
moving in with him as I am? I will forever blame myself for the lack of time I
had with my mother, but will they always bring it up?
I had just put the meat in the strainer when I see
two hands flatten on the counter in front of me.
I look up to see Slade standing there with a blank face.
I pull the earbuds out. “Yes?” I smile, not wanting
to fight with him. I just want us to be happy, not bring each other down.
He frowns, and it makes my shoulders slump.
“There’s a Walter here to see you,” he says carefully.
I nod and pick up the towel next to me, wiping off
“Walter.” I gesture for him to sit at the table. I take
the chair across from him and Slade comes to sit next to me. I don’t hear any
other voices in the house. I wonder where everyone has gone.
Walter takes a deep breath as his brown eyes land
on mine. “I want to start out by saying I’m so sorry, Samantha. I can’t even
imagine what you’re going through.”
I reach out, grabbing Slade’s hand. “I’m okay.” I
give him a small smile. I will be okay. I will do what my mom wanted…live my
Walter scrunches his brow, then after a few seconds,
he opens up a manila envelope. “Your mom has arranged everything. She has left
you the house, her Tahoe, and also your dad’s car, the one he had left to her.”
“Yeah, she told me all of that in the note she left
me.” He nods. “How much does she owe on the house?” Would he know the answer to
“It’s paid for.”
“What?” I question. “I know Dad built it for her as
a wedding present, but she took out a loan against it when I was in eighth
grade.” The only reason I know that was because I overheard the fight they had
about it. Dad was mad that Mom hadn’t told him she needed money. Instead of
going to him, she had borrowed against the house. She explained that her
husband wouldn’t want her borrowing money from her ex-husband. It had been a
very heated discussion.
He shakes his head. “Your dad paid it off not two
months after she borrowed on it.”
How did I not know that? I guess parents don’t
discuss financial business with their children.
“I’m sure you could get three hundred thousand for
it. It’s a beautiful home in a secluded neighborhood. The school district—”
I cut him off. “What do you mean, ‘get three
hundred thousand for it’?”
“Selling it.” He looks from me to Slade. “You are
going to sell it, aren’t you?”
“No! Why would I sell it?”
“Because you live in St. Louis. You already have
your father’s home here in Tulsa,” he reminds me, like I could forget.
“My dad built this home for my mother. I would
never sell it,” I state in a bitchy tone. Slade squeezes my hand and I look
over at him. He’s giving me a small smile but I can tell it’s forced. He’s
starting to get aggravated with Walter as much as I am.
“My apologies.” He pulls out some papers. “Your
mother has left all of the information you will need. She will go to Malcom’s Funeral
Home. The process will take a couple of days but you will have to go sign a
I don’t have the slightest idea what he is talking
about, but that doesn’t matter. The way he said it knocked the wind out of me.
I try to gulp in some air, but I’m getting nothing.
“What do you mean?” Slade questions, he can tell
I’m having problems breathing.
“That’s the process for the crematory. Even though
Marie had a will stating she wanted to be cremated, Oklahoma law states that
Sam has to sign off for it.”
“What?” I ask, hyperventilating. “Cre—” I can’t
even finish the word.
“You didn’t know her wishes?” Walter looks from me
to Slade, wide-eyed.
“No,” Slade barks. “She doesn’t know anything. So
watch how you fucking word things,” he growls.
“I’m…I’m so sorry, Samantha. I thought you said she
had left you a letter with what she had requested.”
“That wasn’t in there,” I whisper. “Why does she
want to be cremated?” That thought never even crossed my mind.
“Well, your father was cremated. Your mother was an
only child. Her parents are buried in Texas.” He shrugs, looking down at the
I release Slade’s hand and place my elbows on the
table. I let my head fall in my hands as tears well up in my eyes. It’s not
that the thought of burying her was any better, it’s just I never thought that
she would want to be cremated. It’s like this nightmare is never-ending.
“Can you give us a minute?” I hear Slade ask
I feel Slade’s hand on my back as the sobs rack my
body and the tears come pouring out, landing on the table. I don’t know if I
can do this. Any of this.
Slade wraps an arm around my side and pulls my
upper body into his muscular chest. I cry into his shirt. Once again clinging
to him, needing him, showing him how weak I am. Why do I feel like every time I
have myself under control something new comes along and knocks me back to the
“It’s going to be okay, Angel.” Slade runs his hand
down my back over my hair. “I’m right here,” he whispers.
I pull away from him, trying to rein in my emotions
once again. He takes my face in his hands, wiping the tears with his thumbs.
I’m glad I didn’t bother with makeup today. “I love you,” he says, looking into
“I love you too,” I reply in between hiccups.
He gives a little chuckle. “Do you want me to throw
him out?” He grins, finding amusement in that thought.
I laugh as I wipe the remainder of the tears from
my eyes. “No. I need to finish this.” I look down at my hands sitting in my lap,
and then back up to Slade. “I just want to get this part over with.”
He nods and gets up from the table to retrieve
Walter. For the next hour, the three of us sit at the table discussing
everything that my mother had wanted. From her belongings to her ashes. There
were times I couldn’t hold back the tears, and I just let them fall. Slade held
my hand the entire time and spoke for me when I couldn’t. It was like he was
reading my mind, and I was thankful for that.
“Thank you for coming over,
I was going to come to you.” I reach out to shake Walter’s hand as we stand by
the front door.
He looks down at my hand before pulling me into a
hug. “I’m so sorry, Sam.” He releases me and backs away. “Your dad and I were
close friends. I always told him I would look out for you, and then you go and
move away. Please keep in touch. If you need anything, call me. I will do
whatever I can to help you with what you need. And Slade.” He reaches his right
hand out to him. “Take care of her.”
Slade shakes his hand and then wraps an arm around my
shoulders “I will.”
Walter turns and walks out the front door and Slade
closes it behind him.
“Where is everybody?” I ask, on my way back into
“They went out for lunch. When Walter showed up,
they wanted to give you some privacy.”
I get back to work on preparing the pasta. Slade
places his hand over mine, stopping me from pulling the strainer out of the
sink. “What are you doing, Angel?”
I look up to see him frowning. “Making spaghetti.”
“You don’t have to cook anything.”
“I guess I should be doing other things right now.”
My mom had said that she wanted me to get rid of all of her belongings. She
wanted me to give everything to charity, to people less fortunate.
Slade grabs my hand and turns me to face him. “I’m
sorry, Angel. You have plenty of time to do the other stuff. If you want to
make spaghetti then make spaghetti. I’ll help you with the rest of the things
that need to get done.”
“Thanks, baby.” I lean forward and wrap my arms
around him. His chest moves as he breathes, and I’m suddenly very aware of how
close we are. I feel as if he hasn’t touched me since we were in bed this
morning. We are here alone and I want to take advantage of that.
I pull back and push my hands up into his hair. He
closes his eyes and lets out a low moan. I bring his face down to mine and his
hands seek my hair. I close my eyes as my lips brush his. He kisses me sweetly,
our lips working together. I slide my tongue into his mouth. I want him, badly.
I need him inside of me. Sometimes you need more than words, this is one of
those times. I need him to show me that he’s here for me, that he still wants
My breath hitches as he tugs on my hair. “Slade,” I
rasp into his mouth, releasing his head and placing my hands under his shirt. I
want to feel the warmth of his skin. I run my hands over his stomach and push
his shirt up, trailing over his muscles and onto his chest.
He lets go of my hair and grasps my hips, lifting me
up and placing me on top of the counter. My legs instantly wrap around his
waist, locking him in. I am so worked up I am ready to fuck him right here on
my mom’s kitchen island.
I pull away from his mouth and place my lips on his
neck, licking my way up to his ear.
“Angel,” he pants, “we shouldn’t….”
“Yes, we should,” I whisper in his ear. His body
shivers and I reach down to feel his hard dick pressing against his jeans.
He grabs my face and kisses me hard, taking my
breath away. I feel a throbbing sensation between my legs and my heart begins
to race. I need him, need him to take away the pain that I can’t seem to shake
myself. I know an hour with him will feel like heaven, a dream. I want him to
take me away and give me some sense of security in this horrible life.
He pulls away all of a sudden, holding my hips, and
jerks me off the counter. I stumble on my shaky legs. I think he is going to
carry me off to the bedroom, but instead he starts fixing his shirt and my
“What are you doing?” I question as I try to catch
my breath. He looks unfazed, put together, and is breathing normal, a complete
one eighty from how he was acting five seconds ago. He looks nothing like how I
feel. I feel shaken up and out of control.
I peer into his blue eyes as they search my shirt.
“We have stuff to do,” is all he says as he turns and walks out of the kitchen.
I stand there, stunned, chest heaving. That’s the
second time he has turned me down today. Not counting the first time this
morning, when Micah interrupted us.