Lies, Sacrifices, and Alibis

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Chapter 51

51

After closing the door, I slowly made my way back to the table. If I was self-conscious about the weight I gained before, I was double that now.

Corey looked at Logan and then back at me, smiling. “Is this Logan?”

I nodded, smiling brightly. “Yes, that’s our little man.”

I almost blinked in horror as I told him that he was his son! That wasn’t exactly what I wanted to say, it just blurted out. So, now I had to be silent. I would only answer questions and not volunteer anything and if I could get away with a nod of my head, that’s all I was giving. I recaptured my seat at the table.

He did a double take, looking him over as if inspecting him. “Isn’t he a cutie? He must take after you Elyse, because I don’t see much of my brother’s ugly mug in him. Thank God.”

Before he came in, I had finished eating. I was pretty full at this point. However, the only way to keep me from just volunteering a lot of information was to eat. After all, it was rude to speak with your mouth full.

Grabbing another helping of salad, I picked up my fork and started shoveling the food in my mouth like I hadn’t eaten in weeks.

Mike rolled his eyes. “Oh. Ha-ha.” He glanced at me, arching a brow. “Honey, are you okay?”

I nodded, talking with my mouth full. “Starvin’.”

“That’s it. You need to get off that damn diet.”

Maureen smiled. “Cordero, what are you talking about? He’s Michael all the way.”

Corey chuckled. “Oh shit. She’s breaking out the full names.”

Cordero? Well, looks like I wasn’t the only one keeping secrets during our fantasy vacation. Granted, mine was a little worse but I didn’t lie to him. I told him it was my fantasy vacation and he asked to be a part of it.

Cordero, it held a nice ring to it.

Maureen just beamed as she smiled at Logan. “Yes, this is the apple of my eye, Logan Michael Tanner.”

Corey took a seat opposite me, beside his mother, but continued staring at me. “I’m surprised you didn’t name him after his father.”

I had just filled my mouthful and looked over at him shrugging, smiling as I chewed. I wasn’t answering that. I couldn’t. I didn’t want your son being named after another man.

Mike glanced between us before answering. “Elyse thinks that everyone deserves their own name, not a hand-me-down one.”

I nodded as if that was exactly why. God, I was so full at this point. I tried chewing the food extra times before swallowing. It was like mush in my mouth but it saved me from seriously overeating. Before another question could happen, I shoved more into my mouth.

Perhaps it was at how I was shoveling forkful after forkful of salad into my mouth, chewing with this stupid looking grin on my face, that caused him to stare at me. It was like facing a hungry lion and my only means of escape was the water where piranhas and a crocodile waited.

He picked up his napkin, setting it in his lap. Reaching forward, he took a helping of the meatloaf and potatoes, all while glancing at me. “Have we met before?”

I looked at him carefully. Furrowing my brows, I did a great impression of someone trying to place his face. Slowly, I shook my head, swallowing before speaking. “No, I don’t think so. I’d remember meetin’ Mike’s brother.” I went back to eating.

“Hmm, you just look oddly familiar to me. It’s just something in your eyes, I guess.”

I spoke with my mouth full. “People always say that I look like someone else. It’s either a Hollywood starlet or someone’s sister, or niece, or even aunt. I guess I just have one of those faces where they confuse me with others all the time. Odd the way that happens.”

Shut up, Elyse! What is the matter with you? Eat!

Mike turned to me, curiously. “What are you talking about? When does that happen?”

I glared at him, my mouth full of salad. “All the time. I must have one of those faces that reminds people of others.”

“Not when I’m with you.”

“You’re not with me twenty-four seven either.” I went back to eating. When I finished the one bowl, I quickly grabbed another one, keeping my mouth so full I couldn’t answer any more questions.

He shrugged. “True.”

Corey took a forkful of meatloaf, dabbing it into his potatoes and then gravy before putting it in his mouth. I found it odd that he and Mike both ate it like that. He continued staring at me, which made me eat faster. “So, how long have you guys been married? I didn’t really get to hear much about Mike’s life from mom. She kept saying she wasn’t getting involved.”

“I’m still not getting involved,” Maureen told him as she spoon-fed Logan some mashed potatoes. “That’s good, isn’t it?” She cooed to the baby who answered by beating his fists on the tray.

Even though I wanted to start questioning him about what there was to get involved with, I decided it could wait. Chewing and then swallowing before speaking, I looked at Mike inquisitively. “What? It’s been about ten years now. Right, Honey?”

Mike looked at me. In all the years that we were married, it was always me who had to tell people how long we were married. He never knew when the date was, the year, or how long we were together. The only reason he wasn’t used in an anniversary sacrifice was because I kept important dates on the calendar. He looked at that every day before leaving for work and then again when he got home in case I added something and he missed it.

Leaning over, he kissed my cheek. “Yes. Elyse and I have been married for ten wonderful years.”

“That’s nice.” Corey looked at me, and I could tell he was still trying to figure out why I looked so damn familiar. No, I’m not a mind reader, but it doesn’t take special powers to read his expression. “How do you keep your marriage alive?”

“What do ya mean?” I looked up at him. I wasn’t sure where he was going with this, but I started to breathe a little faster. Once more I shoveled more food in my mouth. I was getting so full at this point, but I didn’t trust myself to speak.

“I mean after ten years with the same guy, it’s gotta be growing stale by now.” He chuckled. “I do remember what a bore he was when we were growing up.”

Maureen cleared her throat. “Cordero…”

Mike looked up at him, gathering his brows in anger. “Corey, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear you were hitting on my wife.”

He chuckled at him. “Not at all, Mike. Just curious how you managed to stay married so long to such a beautiful woman.”

I blushed slightly. I really wanted the topic off me. The longer he stared at me, I knew he was going to recognize me. This wasn’t how I wanted to tell Corey that he was a father. I had a whole routine in my mind of how this special moment was going to happen.

This wasn’t even close.

I swallowed after chewing as much as I could. I spent all those months, barely eating, shrinking my stomach to where I didn’t have an appetite to throw it all away with one dinner. However, I couldn’t chance this truth serum I seemed to have in my system where he was concerned. “Daw, thanks. We just take one day at a time.”

Mike winked at his brother. “That and lots of sex.” He grinned. “Then again, you probably wouldn’t know what that’s like.”

Maureen gave Logan some mashed potatoes mixed with meatloaf and gravy. “Michael…”

Surprised, I shot a look over at Mike. He was a firm believer in what happens in the bedroom stays in the bedroom. The other thing was that he and I weren’t sleeping together hardly at all. He was lucky if I let him have it once a week. I just couldn’t stand for him to touch me for his quickie any longer. Every time he kissed me, I was reminded of a slug. What I really wanted was the man who sat across from me and how he set my body on fire. He had ruined any chances of a normal life with Mike.

I shoveled another mouthful of food in my mouth, giving that goofy look of mine. I couldn’t keep this up. I was going to barf all over the table if I kept eating like this. Arching a brow, Corey looked from me to Logan and back again.

I swallowed the mouthful, barely chewing it as I noticed the look on his face. It was right there when he looked at me that I realized something that made my blood run cold. He finally recognized who I was. He looked at me with such anger that I thought for sure he was going to rat me out at the very moment.

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