Completed: a Devoured novella
Nobody at our table utters a single word—or blinks an eye—as Lucas gives my mother a glare that could freeze over hell. I’m one hundred percent sure my face is the same flaming red color of my hair right now.
I’d hate for whatever happened to your first wife to happen to Sienna once you get tired of my girl.
I don’t know what’s worse—the fact Mom is comparing me to Lucas’ ex-wife or that she’s implying that either I don’t have the ability to hold on to my man or that Lucas doesn’t have the self-control to keep his junk in his pants.
Regardless, I’m furious, and I can tell Lucas is too. I can feel how stiff his tall, muscular body is next to mine, but he stays perfectly calm when Gram speaks up, sounding appropriately outraged.
“Jesus, Rebecca,” she admonishes my mother. She angles her head, staring at Mom in disbelief. The sad part is, she shouldn’t be surprised. Not one. Little. Bit. “Your father and I didn’t raise you that way!”
Yeah, well you also didn’t bring her up to sell drugs to whoever knocked on her door with a handful of cash or to treat her own kids like shit, I want to add, but I don’t as our waitress brings our drinks over to us.
She doesn’t seem to notice the tension at the table, or the dangerous silence emanating from Lucas when she lowers her long lashes and coyly tells him how much she adored his solo album but that she’s glad he and the group will have new music coming out soon.
He inclines his head slightly and gives her one of those smiles that makes just about every woman swoon—I mean, hell, it still makes me weak in the knees—but the potent cloud of anger still swirls around us. The moment our waitress leaves to grab our first course, Lucas turns cold hazel eyes on my mother. Mom responds by twisting her lips into a smirk.
“I’m not sure if you’re aware,” Lucas starts in a low voice, “but I don’t need, or want, your blessing to marry your daughter—I only give a damn what your mother thinks.” He takes a drink of his beer, returns it to the cardboard coaster, and runs his thumb around the rim of the glass.
As he glowers at her in stony silence, Mom shifts in her seat and impatiently releases a noisy grunt of exasperation. “And what about me? I am her mother. That still counts for something.”
“Oh please,” I snap. Clenching my teeth, I suck in a deep breath and shoot a pleading look between her and Gram. “Can you just stop this before you ruin dinner?”
But she shakes her head fiercely before challenging Lucas, “What about my approval? Or her father’s approval? What about—”
“Shut the hell up, Rebecca,” Lucas growls, cutting Mom off mid-sentence. Her mouth drops open. “And don’t pretend to be offended. We all know you wanted to get a rise out of me—out of Sienna—and right about now I couldn’t care less if what I’m about to say hurts you. I’ll also go ahead and tell you this—the only Wolfe you’ll get any sympathy from is my mom, and even that’s limited. I’ve dealt with enough crazy to last me a lifetime, and obviously—” He runs his gaze dismissively over my mother, starting at her messy strawberry blond updo to the bodice of the blue dress. “Obviously, Sienna has too. I love this woman. I don’t want or care about the approval of the two people who’ve shit on her her whole life, so, no. Don’t ask me about you or her dad. You weren’t her parents.”
“You’re a fucking asshole.” Mom jumps to her feet, throwing her napkin down an inch or two away from the fondue burner. “You deserve each other.”
Gram is pale and silent as my mother stalks off, but after a several seconds where I hold my breath, she squeezes her eyes shut. “I’m so sorry, Sienna,” she whispers shakily.
“I apologize,” Lucas’ voice breaks my gaze away from my grandmother, and I lift my eyebrow. “You probably already think I’m the devil after the house fiasco in February, and—. I’m sorry about that.”
He’s begging forgiveness for snapping at my mother in front of Gram. Even though I’m livid with Mom right now, the fact that he’s trying to put his best foot forward for my grandmother makes my chest tighten for all the good reasons.
“It’s fine,” Gram and I say at just about the same time, and I place my hand on his. “It’s fine,” I reassure him.
“I’m not going after her,” my grandmother says, even as she casts a worried glance in the direction Mom skulked off in. “I’m going to enjoy my dinner, and I’ll deal with her later.” She lifts her glass of wine and gives me a smile that doesn’t reach her blue eyes, and my heart shatters. My heart shatters because Gram had been so optimistic about tonight and now she’ll spend the rest of the night worrying over where Mom is—whether she’ll come back or if she’s waiting in the car or if she’s slunk off to some hole to lick her wounds. “Here’s to you, sweetheart, and Lucas. Congratulations.”
I lift my glass too and smile brightly between my fiancé and grandmother—the two most important people in my life—but more of the feelings I’ve managed to overcome since I’d come to terms with who my mother is shove to the surface.
And I hate it.
Because even though Mom doesn’t return to dinner, it’s like she’s sitting across from me the entire night and reminding me that if she’s not happy, I won’t be either.