Thirty-One and a Half Regrets Page 70

“It wasn’t enough.”

I wrapped my arms around his neck, burying my face in his chest. “It was the best you could do at the time.”

“Maybe losing my condo was penance for not letting Savannah stay. That’s what a voice in my head told me as soon as Jeff gave me the news.”

Tilting my head back, I said, “No. Losing your condo was the result of a psychopath.”

He handed me the broom and headed for the living room. “I need to get back to work.”

“Mason.”

He stopped in the doorway, waiting.

I didn’t know what to say. Nothing would make him feel better. So I just did what came naturally. I went to him and kissed him for all I was worth, twining my fingers in his hair. “You are a good man, Mason Deveraux, and don’t you dare let yourself believe differently.”

His expression was pained, but I thought I saw hope in his eyes. “You make me feel like I can be one again.” He broke free of my hold and went into the office.

An overwhelming sadness washed over me. Unsure how to handle it, I looked through the cooking supplies and found a biscuit mix. I was still starving, so I made biscuits, taking my frustration out on the dough. When they came out of the oven, I put some in a basket and took them outside to the deputies, setting them on the table between them. Deputy Miller might have inappropriate feelings for me, but he still needed to eat. And maybe I could get the other deputy to warm up to me.

“I just made some biscuits if y’all want some. I can bring you coffee too.”

“Thanks,” Deputy Gyer said. He pointed to a couple of thermal mugs on the floor and offered me a forced smile. “Got it covered.”

I headed back inside and took Mason a biscuit and a cup of coffee. He glanced up at me. “Have you seen my cell phone? I could have sworn I left it on the desk and now I can’t find it anywhere.”

I tugged my phone out of my pocket and pulled up his number. After I pressed enter, I looked up at him in surprise. “It went straight to voice mail.”

He grimaced. “It must be dead. I forgot to charge it last night.”

“I’ll look around for it if you want.”

He closed his eyes then opened them, looking exhausted. “You don’t have do that, Rose. It’s not why I asked.”

“I know, but you’re working and I’m looking for something to do.” I shrugged. “Perfect match.”

The corners of his mouth lifted and his face softened. “Perfect match.”

I grabbed a biscuit and coffee from the kitchen, looking for his phone there before heading upstairs. I checked the front room first, feeling like I was snooping, particularly when I opened his bag to see if he’d tossed the phone there. All of his clothes were neatly pressed and organized. I shook my head and smiled. Mason loved order and my life was anything but orderly.

Mason’s phone wasn’t on the nightstand or under the bed. I stooped and peeked under the dresser, which is when I remembered what I’d found there the day before. The journal. Suddenly I couldn’t wait any longer to look at it. I knew I should keep looking for Mason’s phone, but surely it wouldn’t hurt to take a break.

I pulled the journal out and sat on the middle of the unmade bed. Muffy jumped up with me, still quiet and unusually lethargic. I patted her head. “Did all that pasta last night make your tummy upset?”

As if on cue, a stench filled the room.

I waved my hand. “Muffy! Was that really necessary?”

The smell was so bad that I got up and moved into the nursery, sitting in the rocking chair. I opened the journal and started with the first page. Dora had been in high school when she started writing in it and her entries were sporadic. She tended to write when she was upset and stressed, which made sense. When people were happy, they were too tied up in their happiness to bother writing about it. I skimmed through bad relationships in college and stopped when she first mentioned meeting Daddy.

I know he’s twelve years older and he has a wife—a wife, for heaven’s sake!—but my connection to him is unlike anything I’ve ever felt. I know he feels it too, although he’s trying to do the honorable thing and remain faithful to his wife and baby. Still, I can see that he feels the pull. How long can he resist it?

It was weird thinking about Daddy that way. I only remembered him as the beaten, broken man he’d become after losing Dora. I never would have guessed him to be capable of great passion and love. I flipped more pages, passing the entry I’d read the previous day.

I can feel the baby moving now, the little flutter of feet and hands feel like angel wings. That’s what this baby is, an angel sent to me. I’m sure of that. This baby was sent to save me.

That gave me pause and filled me with guilt. If Aunt Bessie was right, my birth probably got her killed. I scanned through more pages, stopping when I saw a list titled regrets.

A list filled the page ranging from ending my friendship with Angela over a fight with Steve to not helping grandma more after she broke her hip. The last—getting pregnant with Rose—had a line marked through it.

Many would consider having an affair with a married man and getting pregnant with his child a mistake, but I will never regret it. I’ve known more love and happiness in these last seven months than I’ve ever had in my entire life. Still, my life has been full of regrets, mistakes I hope my sweet Rose never makes. I want to make sure the path she takes is different than my own, that she’s always reassured that she is deeply loved and cherished.

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