Stealing Conleigh Sneak peek!
(C) 2017 Glenna Maynard
All Rights Reserved
I was seven years old the last time I hugged my father. I can still remember the way his goatee tickled my nose when he kissed my forehead as he promised he’d walk me to school the next morning. “I’ll see you in the morning, caterpillar. I love you.” He called me caterpillar, because he said one day I would blossom into a beautiful butterfly. When he’d take me on his weekends we’d always go to the butterfly garden. I always thought it was so magical.
His large fingers tugged on my dark hair as he smiled down at me. I looked up into his hazel eyes, getting lost in the flecks of green and gold. The My Little Pony night gown I was wearing dragged on the floor, brushing against my purple carpet. It was a size too big, but I loved that spaghetti strapped gown because he gave it to me.
I clung to his belt loop with my small pointer finger curled around the worn denim. He pried my finger loose with a lopsided grin. I scowled, but then I smiled as he tickled my rib. “Daddy has to go.”
“I don’t want you to go. Please, daddy, please stay, just a bit longer.” I pouted my bottom lip and held my breath.
My mom sighed from the doorway to my bedroom. I didn’t spare her a glance, I knew the exhausted expression she’d be wearing, it was the only one she wore when he came around. Her patience with my father had ran out when I was a baby. They were practically babies themselves when they had me. They were barely juniors in high school when I was born. They didn’t know what love was, even though they attempted to pretend at first, or so my mom has told me, the few times I have gotten any conversation out of her where my real dad is concerned. In her eyes, he’s been dead since the moment he received his sentence.
“Five more minutes,” he conceded, picking me up and putting me to bed. Kneeling on the floor next to my twin bed, he stroked his fingers across my forehead, forcing my eyes shut. “Go to bed, my sweet girl.”
My eyes fluttered as he continued to wave his hand over my eyes, whispering promises that were dead even before they left his lips. I can recall the low, heated whispers as my mom walked him to the door, then the slamming of that door jarring me from my near sleep.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Bailey questions as I shrug my red sweater over my head, exchanging it for my black cable knit one instead.
“Yeah, I promised, and, why wouldn’t I?”
She shrugs, her blonde hair falling behind her shoulder with the motion. Her baby blues soften as she semi-smiles. “I just worry about how this will affect you.”
“Okay, mom.” I shake my head. I have been hounded to death by mother about this very topic for three months now. “I’m fine. It will be fine. It’s only one day.”
She snorts. “One day at a prison.”
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