“My mother was a single parent. My father dropped out of my life so early I can barely remember him. I can almost remember his voice. Not what he looked like. My mother worked twelve, sometimes sixteen-hour shifts as a nurse. It was hard on her feet. Eventually, she got arthritis. I wanted to go somewhere with friends when I was eleven. My mother wouldn’t let me. My reaction consisted of stomping around the house and sighing loudly.”
The image of younger, much shorter Will throwing a hissy fit crowded out the idea of Clint lurking in the bushes. “Did it help?”
“No. I even peeked in the living room to see if my behavior moved my mom. Instead of looking sad, weeping tears of remorse, she rubbed her feet. When I saw the pain on her face, I realized how hard she worked. Did I ever say thank you? No, I threw a tantrum like a spoiled brat.”
“Ah, ha, I know what you did.” She loosened the death grip she had on her knees, allowing them to relax, unfolding in the direction of Will’s legs. “I bet you decided to rub her feet to show your appreciation.”
“That’s what I like about you. You’re always giving me altruistic motives.” He winked at her. Holding up his hands, he pointed his thumbs back at himself. “I was a kid, I wanted what I wanted. I saw an opportunity to go with my friends. That was my first foot rub attempt. It may have been more painful than pleasurable. A funny thing happened. We started talking as people, not mother and child. My goal was to take off with my friends, but my mother was telling me stuff I never knew about myself, my dad, and even her teenage life. I wanted to hear it. I discovered as long as I rubbed her feet she talked.”
“Hmm. Doesn’t sound as creepy as I thought. You must love your mother a great deal. Can’t say my mother and I have great conversations. Most are about how I’m disappointing her somehow. Mainly, she’s irked with me because I wouldn’t let her dictate my life since my father is no longer around for her to order around. You’re a good son. “She patted his hand, moving closer to him on the cushion.
His lips twisted to one side, before answering. “I hope I was a good son. I would have made more of an effort if I knew she had cancer. Would have gone back to visit her more, instead of hanging out at the frat parties.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean. Felt the same way when my father died.” Awkward moment, she did what she did best in emotional moments. Move. She stood up and stretched. “I better go check on that laundry if I want clothes tomorrow.”
“You do that,” Will commented as he stood. “I’ll go finish the garage.”
Did he just say that? Tell her what he was going to do in her house. The kitchen door to the garage slammed indicating not only did he say that, but he did it too. Tonya placed her hands on her hips looking in the direction of the garage door. Her initial urge to tell him how it was propelled her a half step in the direction of the door. Wait; think about this, he’d organize her garage. A task she’d put off for months. It would leave her free to finish the laundry. Not a bad thing, but did he have to be so alpha about it?
Her hand went to the back of her neck, massaging out the stiffness. Alpha, huh, that might not be so bad. There were times Clint exhibited alpha traits, but it turned out to be selfish jerk moves. The results determined the trait. Her cell chimed as she moved to the washer. The phone vibrated across the counter as Tonya glared at it. Couldn’t be Will. Not too many people called her, outside her mother and Lynne. Could be news she won the lottery. Yeah, that would be nice.
She lifted the phone cautiously as if it might bite her. Lynne’s number flashed across the screen. “Yo,” she answered in a raspy voice.
“Give up, Tonya. I told you once you had a good Rocky imitation. I lied because we’re friends.”
She pressed a hand to her heart, even though her friend couldn’t see her. “You wound me!”
“Yeah, right. Your attitude took an upswing. I take it Will got your car going?”
“He did.” Her eyes cut to the garage door. His ears could be burning. Just in case, she walked into the living room but feeling visible from the outside, she moved down the hall to her bedroom.
“That’s not all he fixed, I assume. Did the good lawyer do some mood elevation too?”
Ah, yes, she understood her meaning. “Really, Lynne, we just met. No, but he’s helping me with a huge issue I have.”
“You told him, but not me. What gives?” An edge of irritation flavored her friend’s tone.
Great, she’d have to tell Lynne. Somehow, Will thought it was best to tell. It would keep Clint from using the photos as leverage. It would also have more people alerted to any funny goings-on. Inhaling deeply, she explained the entire sordid story. She wasn’t sure how her friend would react.
“Hmm, that’s it. I had some shots done for Marc. Posed topless on his motorcycle. I’m not sure there aren’t too many women who haven’t done a boudoir shoot or at least thought about doing it. The real question is why is he doing this crap now. You guys haven’t been together for over a year.”
“Yeah, you’re right. As you know, he dumped me to chase after another woman. Good chance that woman finally tired of him. Now, he’s doing his campaign of terror to chase me back to his arms. Will thinks he tampered with my car.”
Will stuck his head in the open doorway. “Garage is clean. I’m jumping in the shower, if you don’t mind.”
She shook her head, while covering the mouthpiece of the phone. Lynne’s voice rattled off questions before she even had the phone to her ear. “Yeah, he’s here. Yes, he did clean up the garage so I could get my car into it. I need to go now. See you at work.”
Lynne would probably harass Marc to call Will. Off-key singing mingled with running water. It was nice to have a man in the house. Her teeth sunk into her bottom lip. Correction: it was nice to have Will around.