Cinere (Inferno 2) - Page 7

“Alright,” I reply indifferently, not looking up from the paper. “Mind if I color with you?”

Darby looks up at me and flashes a happy, toothy smile, handing me the yellow crayon and telling me to color in the flowers while she works on the sky.

I clear my throat and pull my chair closer to hers, then begin to do as she’s asked of me. I like doing little things like this with her—it helps me understand this whole parenting thing on a different level.

I’m so lost in making this precious memory with Darby that I never realize that Jocelyn is standing next to me. Not until I feel the cold blade of the knife she’s holding, under my chin. Not until she digs it in a little and uses it to lift my face.

I let the crayon drop from my fingers onto the paper and it quietly rolls over to Darby, who almost immediately starts crying.

She doesn’t understand.

She doesn’t know that her Momma wants revenge for shit that was done to her and she doesn’t realize that by the time this little family day is over, one of us will be in the ground permanently.

It all depends on who has the bigger set of balls, I think as I look Jocelyn square in the eyes and grin.

“Are you gonna use that or are you trying to see how far you can go before you piss me off?” I ask her evenly, the grin never leaving my face.

Her jaw clenches as she digs it in a little deeper and I find myself pushing against it. Jocelyn’s never had the fucking guts to do anything like this. When she knocked out Laura, she wasn’t even woman enough to finish the job—I had to toss that shit on one of her brothers to handle. I let him get some action before it was all said and done, and no matter how

much he fucking cried about it, I knew he wouldn’t be able to deny that his first pussy would be the one he would have always remembered had he still been alive.

With a sigh, I slap the knife out of her hand and get to my feet, pulling her body tightly against mine. I point at Darby who’s still crying and decide to give her a little lesson in parenting.

“You see this? That’s what you did. She was just fine with the two of us sitting here spending some time together, until you decided to try and grow a pair and knife me in front of her. That’s some shit I never did in front of any of you. Are you proud of yourself? Is this the kind of mother you want to be, because if it is, then you better make damn sure that the next time you pull any kind of weapon on me that you fucking use it.”

I shove her away and walk over to Darbs, putting an arm around her shoulders and tell her that it’s okay. I tell her that the lady was just playing a scary game and that there’s no reason to cry anymore.

“The dog,” Jocelyn says quietly.

“Oh fuck the dog,” I snap at her. Then a slow smile starts to spread across my face. “Not the way you did.”

The callousness of my tone, of what I just said to her, slaps her in the face hard and she turns away and runs toward the living room. I roll my eyes and sigh again when I hear her burst into tears, but if she’s trying to get away from the memory of that day, then maybe she should go into a different room.

“Come on,” I say to Darby, as I get to my feet and pick her up into my arms. “You gotta learn to toughen up. Have you ever seen your daddy crying?”

She shakes her head and takes a deep, shuddering breath as she buries her head into my neck. Her little fingers are grazing the back of my neck as she tries to find some comfort in my hug and I have to start walking before I put her down and give Jocelyn a reason to try and grow balls again.

The back of my neck has always been one of my sweet spots, but Darby doesn’t know that yet.

“How long do you plan on blubbering for?” I ask Jocelyn, entering the room. I shift Darby from one arm to the other, and she claws my neck trying to get away from the entire situation.

“Calm down, baby,” I say gently into her ear. “No one’s gonna hurt me, alright? She was just playing a game, like I said. Tell her you were just playing a game.”

A fresh round of sobs bursts from somewhere inside of Jocelyn and I’m staring to rethink even taking her out of the damn ground. If this is a sign of what I’m going to have to deal with until I’m bored with this entire fucking scenario, then I might as well just drag her back outside and shove her in. Maybe she’ll save me some grief and break her neck on the way down.

The only problem with Jocelyn actually dying is that it’ll make me feel bad in a way. Not because I don’t think she doesn’t deserve it, but because I think it would make me look like a bad father if another one bites the dust.

Not that the other two were my fault for the most part, but like I said, there’s just something special about Jocelyn. Ideally, I’d like to keep her here in the house with me and Darby. I would love to watch her be a parent to her own child, but she’s already baring her teeth and it hasn’t even been an entire day.

Suddenly, Joce drops her hands from her face and looks up at us. She’s still crying and heartbroken or whatever, and I can tell that she’s trying her damnedest to stop crying.

“I’m sorry,” she begins in a strangled voice. “I was just playing a game and I got a little carried away.”

Darby shakes her head against my neck and grips me tighter. She doesn’t trust Jocelyn now and that’s something that they’ll have to work on if I decide that she’s going to stay up here with us.

At least she didn’t run off already like her bitch of a mother. One sign of weakness from me in Jocelyn’s room the first night I had her, and Laura was off like a shot. She didn’t give a good goddamn about her own kids. She only cared about getting away from us, and that’s why that bitch went out the way she did.

“I didn’t mean to make you cry,” Joce says softly. “Please forgive me.”

Tags: Yolanda Olson Inferno Dark
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