I grip the cup in my hand, bringing it to my lips and mentally sigh as the non-alcoholic champagne fizzles in my mouth.
What I would give for some alcohol right now... but I won’t. Diana doesn’t need to see me like that and I don’t need a repeat of what happened at the cabin.
A cool breeze blows against me and I welcome it, it cools the hot night and makes me aware that no matter how numb I am, my body can still feel. I gulp down the liquid in a blink of an eye, throwing another serving from the already halved bottle that two empty bottles lie beside on the tiled patio.
Yeah, I’m despicable.
...What do I gotta do... Should I get water from the moon, is that what I gotta do to make you love me. Make you love me...
When I had dashed out here, grabbing my portable radio from the room. I had decided that music will be my company for tonight.
Ironically, the station was listening to is having a segment dedicated to all the people going through heartbreak and relationship struggles...and here I was singing my heart out...
“When I was young... I never needed anyone...” I sing lowly as All by Myself, the Celine Dion cover plays. “And making love was just for fun... Those days are gone...”
“All by myself!” I croak out, emotions clogging my throat. “Don’t wanna be all by myself anymore!”
Placing the drink on the unglazed mosaic tile, I lie on my back my feet still soaking the cool pool water. I sing out for lord knows how long trying to drown out the shouting that’s coming from the house.
I pick up the sound of my mother’s voice and I sigh. She must’ve overheard our argument and now like the protective momma bear, she is she’s up there chewing out Dylan for his behaviour.
How fantastic... I can’t even deal with my problems, my parents have to be stepping in like I’m a child.
“Hello from the other side...” I belt out as I serenade the starry sky.
With my back against the tiles, I reach out towards the sky, tears streaming down my cheeks and the off-key lyrics leaving my mouth. “I must have called a thousand times, to tell you I’m sorry for everything I’ve done... but when I call you never, seem to be home...”
The champagne may not be alcoholic but it gives me a buzz... One that eggs on my atrocious singing.
“Momma?” Diana calls and I fly into an upright position, whipping my head around to stare at her.
She walks towards me in a white tank top and Sofia the first pyjama pants. The dye in her hair is fading and it has this fuzzy look as it tumbles over her shoulders. She rubs her sleepy blue-green eyes with a pout on her lips and her blue glasses hang on a string around her neck. Whenever Diana doesn’t have her contacts on she ensures she has her glasses on her.
Her near-sightedness leaves her almost half-blind and she has been in a few incidents because of it. Nothing extreme though.
“Hey baby,” I say as I quickly wiping away the tears on my cheek. “Why are you up so late?”
She stalks towards me not wasting any time as she props herself in my lap and hugs my midriff. I wrap my arms around her in comfort and to ensure she doesn’t slide into the pool in front of her.
“I heard shouting...” she mumbles with a yawn snuggling against me. “I woke up and when I got in the hall Mama was cursing and saying bad words. So, I went to your room but you were gone... then I saw you from the window.”
My poor baby. Waking up to a quarrel isn’t something a child should be exposed to; given my parents have disagreements now and again but nothing too serious and they always make up afterward. I’m happy that Diana didn’t hear the discussion between me and Dylan was having... Well, it was more of him cursing and me standing there. Pitiful, I know...
No wonder mom decided to butt in...
“It’s okay, baby. I’m here now and see the noise has stopped. You can close your eyes and sleep now...” I coo petting her hair.
I didn’t want my baby to hear Dylan’s words and as much as I’m upset she awoke to a quarrel, I’m happy it wasn’t the one between me and her daddy. It’s something that she would remember for years to come.
Diana pulls back to look up at me with sleepy eyes before frowning. She reaches up to touch my cheek, where wet marks are present. “You’re crying. Who made you cry, momma?”
I gently hold her hand, smiling at her. “Don’t worry about it, baby... Momma’s going to be fine.”
“But Momma I don’t want you to cry...” she says with a pout and I smile at my little angel before kissing her forehead.
“That’s why you’re such the sweetest and most kind-hearted little girl ever and I love you so much...”
“I wuv wu woo Momma,” she says in a baby voice and I can’t help but litter her face with kisses at the cuteness.
“Momma! Stop it!” she giggles, trying to move away from my kisses and I hug her closer, suffocating her with my affection.
She giggles heartily before giving up and I place a final kiss on her nose before rubbing mine against hers.
“You may not be here every day but you’re the best mommy ever,” she states cupping my cheeks and my heart flutters in happiness. “…and do love you very, very much.”
“And I love you Ki-Ki... You’re the best thing in my life baby.” I reply hugging her close with tears streaming down my cheeks.
She snuggles into me sighing in content and my heart warms at the love I feel for her. She’s so precious and she deserves the world. I’ve been lacking in my duties for a while now and I’m going to put my best foot forward. For her... For us.
During our short moment of silence, I noticed static sounding from the radio behind me. It’s a bit old so it’s not the first time it has lost the signal...
I stiffen as that deep, husky voice calls my name, his name for me. Diana pulls back to look behind me and her eyes brighten with a smile before she turns to me and notices my tense form.
“It’s Daddy!” Diana whisper-yells in excitement but she notices I don’t share her excitement.
She pouts looking at my face and I try to smile at her but I bet it looks more like a grimace. Come on Indie be the bigger person...
I hum in answer to Dylan after taking a deep breath.
“I was wondering if we could talk.” he continues from behind me and I hear his feet tap on the tile, indicating he’s coming closer.
His tone is calm and there’s a hint of pleading in there. It looks like he’s finally calmed down and noticed how aggressive and hurtful his behaviour was.
I’ve known Dylan long enough to know he has anger problems. This wasn’t my first argument with him. Normally, I’d allow him to rant and curse until he has calmed down before I cement my points... It makes no sense talking to an angry Dylan, he hears your words but fails to listen to them until after his anger subsides.
“Can I sit?” he asks as he stops beside us and I nod.
He takes a seat near us at the poolside and I keep my eyes forward, looking at the bright blue water, staring at the stars, anything but looking at him. Regardless of how much I understand him, I’m still hurt by the words he said. Thus, he’s going to get the silent treatment until I feel like dropping it.
At first, there’s a pregnant silence... Wow, great choice of words Indie... I don’t reply to him, Diana sits there looking between the two of us, sensing the tension in the air and I feel his eyes burning into the side of my head.
Suddenly there’s static and I jump a little surprised, before remembering my radio is here. It chips again before playing and the awkwardness gets real.
... I started crying in the instant that you left and I can’t remember when or where or how...
... And I banished every memory you and I had ever made...
... Like when you hold me like this or when you kissed me like that...
Of all the songs to play, it had to be this Celine Dion song... The universe doesn’t like me very much today.
He clears his throat while Diana hums to it and I reach back to turn off the radio still avoiding his stare. Let’s kill this awkwardness.
“Hey...” Diana pouts glaring up at me. “I was listening to that!”
I look down at her as she juts out her lip, looking so adorable. I go to reply to her when Dylan beats me to it.
“Hello there...” he says drawing her attention to him. “I’m Dylan... What’s your name princepesa?”
At those words, I look over at him only to notice his eyes are on Diana with a hint of vulnerability and awe. She looks at him with squinted blue-green eyes before sitting up in my lap so she can see him clearly since my shoulder was obstructing her view.
“I’m Diana Kiara Blake,” she smiles politely holding out her hand and Dylan freezes for a second before taking her small hand in his. “And you’re my daddy.”
He chuckles before caressing her hand and nodding. “I’m your daddy...”
He looks up at me after saying that and I look away from him as Diana starts to gush about how happy she is to have a daddy and how many things they have to do together. She smiles looking at me and I smile at her nodding, agreeing with her even though I haven’t heard a word she has said.
“Princepesa...” Dylan interrupts Diana and she looks up at him with bright eyes.
My heart skips a beat and I hear Dylan suck in a sharp breath of air before clearing his throat and replying.
“Can I have a minute with your mommy?” he asks and I feel his gaze on me once more. “I had made her very sad earlier and I want to apologize...”
Diana looks at me with wide eyes before turning to glare at Dylan. “You made momma cry!”
She jumps from my embrace and I watch in amusement as Diana stares down the big Capo, scolding him about making me cry.
I take that time to observe him. He’s in a white T-shirt and grey shorts, probably my dad’s. His tattoos are hidden under the sleeves of his shirt, his hair looks wet yet messy, sticking in all directions and the stubble on his face is still present.
I look up at his face, watching how he gazes at Diana with a twinkle in his beautiful eyes and a smile threatens to pull on his lips as she places her hands on her hips. He’s trying to keep a straight face as she scolds him but he finds it all as adorable as I do.
“Now make sure you apologize properly, Mister Daddy!” she finishes with a huff and he bites his lip before nodding.
…and there go my ovaries...
“Good...” she smiles before turning towards me and hugging me, hands around my neck. “Good night Momma... I love you.”
My eyes move almost instinctively to Dylan’s and I notice he watches us with affection in his eyes. He looks at us as if we are the most precious things in his life, the same way I look at Ki-Ki.
Diana then pulls away before telling him goodnight and walking towards the sliding doors, entering the house.
“She’s precious,” he states as she disappears and I look over at him, his eyes locking with mine.
“She is,” I agree before facing the pool, kicking my feet around in the water.
Splash, splash, splash...
“Ana, I’m so sorry for those cruel words I said to you,” he says seconds later and I look over at him. “I was angry and I said a lot of things I didn’t mean. I wasn’t really angry at you. I was angry at myself, firstly for being careless enough to get you pregnant at such a young age. Secondly for leaving you and avoiding your calls. Finally, for not being there for my daughter for eight years...”
He clenched his fist, gazing at me but I remain quiet.
“I never grew with my real parents and knowing that my decision had caused my daughter to grow without her dad... It angered me...” he sighs. “I didn’t want my child to be subjected to that. Then remembering how you played her off as your sister... Not taking ownership of our child, it made me feel like she was subjected to the same thing as me. Neither parents being there for her.”
“I am guilty of pushing her off onto my parents Dylan,” I interrupt, staring directly into his eyes. “... but not because I didn’t want her. I was young and scared of being a mother. I didn’t think I could handle the responsibility but even when mom was caring for her I was there. I was there breastfeeding, changing her diapers and waking up to her needs at late nights...”
“I had gotten so used to my parents taking care of Diana while I just helped out here and there that when the time came to step up, I kept on doubting myself and making excuses... After all, I was the alcoholic mother that abused drugs while my baby was in my stomach... I was so scared...” I say, my lips trembling and tears threatening to fall. “I’ve always hated myself for being so weak... Then you started to call me out for them and it hurt. I know it was the truth but you made it look like I was the worst mom, like I didn’t even try.”
“Ana... Baby girl,” he whispers soothingly as I break down in sobs and he pulls me to his chest, my body gripping tightly to his. “I had no right attacking you like that. Especially when I had no idea of all you’ve been through. I judged you without evidence and I said hurtful things, things that I wish I could take back...”
I pull back to look up at him sniffling and I saw the raw regret and sincerity in those blue-green eyes. “I had no reason to go off about you not telling me at the cabin... You didn’t trust me and that’s understandable. I’m in the mafia, I’m the Capo and that makes me dangerous. I had no right.”
He cups my face, gazing down at me and my chest flutters at the look he gives me. “I saw you earlier with Diana. I saw the love and affection between you two and that’s the final sign I needed to confirm that I was overreacting and I was a fucking asshole earlier. You’re a good mother, my sweet Ana and Diana, she loves you...”
He trails off as if he wants to add something else but he shakes his head. “I know I’m undeserving of your forgiveness but I ask you to please consider giving it to me. I am sorry for what I’ve said and I want to be in Diana’s life. I want to be her dad and the first step to that is to earn your forgiveness. You don’t have to forgive me right away... but give me the chance to earn it... to earn your trust.”
He looks genuine and he has that determined look in his eyes. He’s serious and I can see it. As much as my heart has already forgiven him... yes, my pathetic submissive heart has already forgiven my big, Capo dominant... but I’m not going to let him know that.
“I’ll allow you to earn it,” I whisper gazing at him causing him to smile and my lips itch wanting to reacquaint with his.
Don’t judge me... My heart yearns for him; I’m completely and utterly in love with him...
“Firstly, I need something from you,” I say pushing myself closer to him and his brows furrow in confusion. So fucking sexy. “Kiss me.”
His eyes widen, not expecting those words to leave my lips. I trail my hand up his torso, his stomach, his chest and over those thick shoulders to touch his neck, drawing a groan from him. Playing in his hair, I move my lips closer to his, leaning forward to kiss the side of his mouth, his stubble tickling my lips.
Pulling back, I see the affection, the love swirling around in those eyes, making my heart jump like a bunny on crack. He doesn’t have to tell me he loves me, I can see it and I’ll be here waiting patiently when he does.
I kiss the other side of his mouth, teasingly before licking it. “Come on Master... Kiss me.”
In one quick motion, his hand flies to my neck squeezing it and I moan my eyes lock on his darkened ones. It’s like his control snapped and before I can even finish my moan his lips are on mine.
Sentencing my heart to an eternity of loving him... being his Ana...