Home > Dirty Red (Love Me with Lies #2)(11)

Dirty Red (Love Me with Lies #2)(11)
Tarryn Fisher

I make the mistake of looking in the direction of the stairs. It makes him really angry. He bounces off the wall and walks toward me.

“She’s fine,” he says between his teeth. “I came back early because I was worried about you. Obviously, you were not the one I needed to be worried about.”

“It was only for a few hours,” I rush to say. “I needed some time alone, and my mother just up and left me…”

He studies me for a few beats, but not because he is gauging the truth of my words. He is asking himself how he could marry someone like me. I can see the utter disappointment. It scratches into the self-righteousness I am cradling to my chest. It makes me feel like a failure. Well, what did he expect — that I was going to be a good mother? That I would fall right into a role that I don’t understand?

I don’t know what to do. The alcohol is still babysitting my brain, and all I can think about is the fact that he’s going to leave me.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper, looking at the floor. Acting contrite is a cheap shot, especially since I’m sorrier for being caught than the actual deed.

“You’re sorry for getting caught,” he responds.

My head snaps up. Fucking mind reader!

How dare he think the worst of me? I am his wife! For better or worse, right? Or did the worse refer to the situation and not the person?

“You left your newborn daughter with complete strangers. She hadn’t eaten in hours!”

“There was breast milk in the diaper bag!” I argue.

“Not enough for seven hours!”

I frown down at the tiles. “I didn’t realize,” I say, defeated. Had I really been away for that long?

I feel a surge of self-righteous anger. Was it my fault that I wasn’t adhering to parental bliss like he was? I open my mouth to tell him so, but he cuts me off.

“Don’t, Leah,” he warns. “There are no excuses for this. If I had any sense, I’d take her and leave.” He turns and walks toward the stairs.

My thoughts blur as my anger rushes in. “She’s mine!”

He stops. It’s an abrupt stop, like my words have just freeze-sprayed his legs.

When he turns back around, his face is red. “You pull a stunt like this again, and you’ll be screaming that in court.”

I feel my chest heave as his threat wraps around me like a cold wind. He means it. Caleb has never spoken to me with this much coldness. He’s never threatened me. It’s the baby. She’s changing him, turning him against me. He stops right before he reaches the stairs.

“I’m getting a nanny.”

Words I wanted, but now they don’t feel like a victory. Caleb is conceding to a nanny because he no longer trusts me — his wife. Suddenly, I don’t want one.

“No,” I say. “I can take care of her. I don’t need help.”

He ignores me, taking the stairs two at a time. I trail behind, deciding if I want to be pleading or aggressive.

“I made one mistake, it won’t happen again,” I say, taking the pleading route. “And, you can’t make that decision alone — she’s my daughter, too.” A speckle of aggression for good measure.

He’s in our bedroom, rifling around in his bedside table. He pulls out his “little black book” which I have snooped in often. I follow him to his office, where he retrieves his cell phone from the charger.

“Who are you calling?” I demand.

He points to the door, telling me to get out. I stand firm; hugging myself, worry coiling in my stomach.

“Hey,” he says into the receiver. His voice is intimate, insinuating. Obviously, he is on cozy terms with the person on the other end. I feel an icy chill hit my spine. There is only one person who makes his voice that soft, but why would he be calling her? He laughs at something the person has said and leans back in his chair.

Oh — God — oh — God. I feel sick.

“Yes, I do,” he says all chummy. “Can you make it happen?” He pauses as he listens. “I trust whoever you send. No — no — I don’t have a problem with that. Okay then, tomorrow? Yes, I’ll forward you the address — oh you remember?” He smiles wryly. “Talk to you then.”

I jump to action as soon as he hangs up.

“Who was that? Was that her?”

He pauses in his paper sorting to look at me quizzically. “Her?”

“You know who I’m talking about.”

We don’t ever talk about that — her. The muscles in his jaw clench. I have the urge to crawl under his desk and hide my head between my knees.






“No,” he says, resuming his shuffling. “It was an old friend who owns a nanny agency out of Boca. Someone will be coming over to meet me tomorrow.”

My jaw drops. Another secret part of his life that I know nothing about. How the hell is he connected to someone who owns a nanny agency?

“This is bullshit,” I say, stomping my foot. “Are you at least going to let me meet her?”

Caleb shrugs. “Perhaps, though I assume you are going to have a hangover tomorrow…”

I inwardly shrivel. He always knows. He sees everything. I wonder if my breath gave it away, or if somehow he had seen my banged up car bumper and guessed. I don’t care to ask. I make a quick exit from the room without explaining myself and run upstairs. I stand in the door to our bedroom and glance down the hall. I feel a pang of something. Should I go check on her? I did practically desert her today. I should at least make sure she is okay. I am glad she is not old enough to realize what I did. Kids hold things against you.

Walking quietly down the hall, I push the door to the nursery open with my toe and peer in. I don’t know why I feel so guilty looking at my own baby, but I do. I cross the space to her crib, holding my breath. She is asleep. Caleb has bathed and swaddled her, though she has managed to wiggle one of her hands free and is sucking on it. I can smell her from where I stand — the lavender soap Caleb bought for her mixed with the oatmeal smell of a new baby. I reach a finger down and touch her fist, and then I bolt from the room.

Chapter Six


“Why do you have this?” I held up a pint of ice cream that had been sitting in his freezer since we met. It was Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. I pried open the lid and saw that it was half eaten with a serious case of freezer burn. “You don’t like cherries. Can I throw it out?”

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