|10| Looking Forward Not Back||
Daisy took a deep breath and smoothed her hands on her dress as she eyed her reflection in the mirror. She adjusted the hat on her head and grabbed the handles of the luggage before looking around the space. She knew better than anyone when it was time to move one. Dyan and Irene were in a greet place. They’d made leaps and bounds from when she first got there months before. The little one was back on track to go back to school and all was right with the world.
She took a look around her accommodations then her mind settled on the previous night with Dyan. They’d barely got any sleep because, well, they were shamelessly copulating the entire time.
She closed her eyes recalling the previous evening. She was lost in it. It was magical the entire thing from the moment he took her to the rose garden happily in bloom, all the way until the sun shining in her face woke her from a deep sleep.
She made her way down the hall to the stairs where she heard Irene talking up a storm with her guardian who was responding to her childish chattering with the joy and enthusiasm that Daisy always knew was inside him.
When he saw her descending the stairs he stopped talking and stopped with a smile spreading across his face. His smile faded when his eyes landed on her luggage.
“Where are you going?”
“I would like to speak with you in your office.”
She followed him into his office and closed the door. She ignored Irene’s inquiries and tears and brought the attention to Dyan who was staring holes into her from his lean on the desk. “Daisy, why are you leaving? If-if I overstepped yesterday, I apologize. I won’t--”
“Please, don’t apologize for last night because I’m not sorry in the slightest.”
She took a deep breath. How to explain this? “I stay as long as I’m needed. Irene is doing well. You’re doing well. To see you two laughing together without being prompted, well, that’s why I came in the first place. Now it’s time for me to move on and do this for another family.”
His gaze fell to his shoes as he shook his head. “That’s how you convince yourself you’re not running away?”
She pressed the tips of her fingers to her chest. “I’m not running. I’m going away. This is that bittersweet part of my job.”
“I beg your pardon.” She stilled the heat in her stomach. The man had few words and few emotions, but she could feel him churning away.
“What are you talking about?”
“You were about ready to sprint out of the bedroom last night when I mentioned children. What happened?”
She held back the pain that never completely went away. “It doesn’t matter. It’s in the past.”
“No! It’s in the present.” A lengthy terse silence settled in the space between them. “Your resume said your longest assignment was five years. That’s right before you started consistently taking jobs in the States.”
She nodded. “Yes. Manchester.” She took in a shaky breath. She didn’t want her thoughts to ever go back to this place. Back to this pain, but there was no avoiding it now.
“What happened in Manchester?”
She inhaled a sniffle and covered her mouth with her fist. “I--I,” another sniffle escaped and the tears built up behind her eyes. “I was in love. He wanted children. Lots of them. He loved that I worked with children so well.” She exhaled and closed her eyes conjuring up the man’s likeness without effort. “I got pregnant and had a miscarriage. That’s when we went to the doctor.” She released a shaky breath. “It just wasn’t in my stars. He left. He’s married now three children set of twin girls, and a boy.”
Dyan pulled her into his arms and hugged her.
She choked back tears but they kept falling down her cheeks. After a while she pulled away from him. “I fix people. They don’t break me.”
He pulled her at arms length her face cupped in his hand. “I know you’re scared, but you can’t live life afraid to live life. We all need help.” He kissed her deep and purposefully.
She pulled away. “Please. I can’t. I-- I don’t know I got too far with you.”
He frowned. “I’m not going to leave you.”
“One day you will. When you want something I can’t give you.”
His dark eyebrows pulled tight together and he cupped her face in his palms. “Yet, all I want is you. We have Irene. We can adopt if we want to. It’s not the end. Daisy don’t. Please,” He rested his forehead on hers his plea pulling at her heart. “Don’t run away from us.” He let out a long sigh. “From me.” He whispered.
The beep from her taxi startled her out of his arms. “I’m sorry. I-I have another assignment.” She didn’t look back on her way out the door. She could feel them looking at her as the taxi driver put her baggage in the trunk of the car. She got in, kept her back straight, knees together, facing forward.
She would not look backwards. Life was about moving forward. Mr. Lane and Irene were heading in the right direction. She was doing the right thing. It was the right thing leaving. She wasn’t running away. She was simply moving on to the next family, the next little one that needed her help.
The car pulled off down the long driveway. How long had she done this? So many times before and she knew without a shadow of a doubt that leaving was always apart of the deal.
Sleeping with your clent wasn’t. She crossed that line, and the right thing to do was send in someone more professional than herself.
“Aren’t you going to wave goodbye? Once we turn this bend you’ll miss your chance.” She met the driver’s eyes in the rearview mirror.
“I already said goodbye, sir. No need to do it again.” She adjusted her sitting position making her back even straighter than it already was.
She saw the bend coming up and panic started to rise in her chest. She was doing the right thing. THis was the right thing. Despite herself, and against her training and better judgement, which on this assignment didn’t seem to exist anyway, she turned around in her seat and saw Dyan and Irene’s small silhouettes disappear behind the dense forest that she was now riding through.
She turned back around and wiped the tears that assaulted her cheeks.
This was the right thing.
“Ten more minutes Irene and we’ll head in to dinner.”
“What are we eating? Please tell me you’re not going to try and cook again.”
He laughed out loud. “I’ll order in whatever you want.”
He grumbled. Daisy-- Ms. McMann would never let her eat pizza. His chest fell yet again at the thought of losing her . It was different than the weight of losing Joe and Kate. He still missed them, but Daisy left an ache in his chest. One he had a feeling would be there for a while reminding him of how he couldn’t help but lose people he cared about.
Irene grabbing his hand brought him out of his distant mind. “Ready to go in already?”
“I’m starving and we still have to order the food.”
He smiled and pulled her into his side as they casually strolled to the oversized tudor style home. “Starving? You’re lucky enough to never know what that actually means.”
“Yeah yeah yeah.”
They both paused in the back area to shed their boots. It wasn’t raining, but the ground was moist from the evening before. Clanging pots and familiar singing brought smiles to both their faces.
“Daisy!” The little girl exclaimed before taking off toward the kitchen with one dirty boot still on her foot.
“Irene no boots in the h--”
Dyan forgot what he was saying all together when he laid eyes on the beautiful brown-skinned woman. Irene was in her arms and they were squeezing each other for a long while before Daisy set the girl on her feet.
“Oh my gosh you came back! You came back! I thought you were gone forever! Mmmmm what’s smells so good?”
“Irene please, go put your boots where they belong.”
The little girl crossed her arms and frowned at Dyan. “You’re not my dad!”
“Irene!” Daisy scolded placing a hand on her hip wooden spoon and all.
“You’re right, Irene, I’m not your dad. I’m worse, OR better if you’re a good girl and listen. Shoes in the back hall please and wash up for supper.”
Her small shoulders fell forward. “Okay, fine.”
When the little girl left the room the air filled with unspoken questions. He stayed where he was afraid of scaring daisy away again. Or maybe, he stayed away because he wasn’t sure if his ego could afford any more damages. Was she there to stay? Was she just extending her stay a little longer? “You miss your flight or something?”
She checked her watch after stirring her dish. “I suppose I have now.” She kept at her task of cooking seeming to be at one with the utilitarian chore. Or at least that’s what it was to him. She looked at peace there.
She rubbed her hands on the apron and presented a slight smile. She gazed at him for an extended period of time before returning her attention back to her task.
“How long are you staying?”
She shrugged. “I suppose that’s up to you. I quit my job at the agency. They re-assigned the woman that was going to take my place here to the family I was going to go to.” She turned off the stove top eyes and came around the counter drying her hands off on a towel. “I suppose I could leave now if you don’t want me here. I don’t blame you after I--” She gasped when he somehow cleared the space between them before he even knew what he was going to do and had her cheek cupped in one hand, her small waist held with the other.
He brought their faces together massaging her lips with his own. He didn’t want her to doubt his intentions. He wanted her, all of her. The consequences of that were of no consequence.
Silly laughter made Dyan pull his face away from Daisy’s, but he kept her close with his other hand around her waist. Irene’s bright smiling face made him laugh.
“Does that mean we’re a family?” The little girl wanted to know.
Dyan took a deep breath and looked to Daisy. He stroked her cheek then jaw with his thumb. She smiled at him then she looked over to Irene with her sincere heart warming, calm smile and said, “Well, I’m not sure about the two of you, but I’d certainly like that.”
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