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Mother Faker: Chapter 10

Beckett

You really aren’t coming to poker night?” Gavin whines into the phone.

“Tell him I’m only in town this weekend,” our best friend, Jay, hollers in the background.

Fuck, I’ve missed that guy. He moved to Paris a year ago, and he and his wife are filming a show about my sister’s fashion line. No one deserves happiness more than Jay. Even though he’s laying the guilt trip on thick, it’s all in good fun. The grin he’s no doubt sporting is obvious in the tone of his voice. The man got everything he wanted when he won back his first and only love and discovered he had a daughter. He’s a lucky bastard.

“Sorry, guys. I’m on babysitting duty.” I chuckle.

When we pull up to the house of horrors, I don’t get out right away. I’m gonna need a minute to mentally prepare myself first.

“We should head there,” my brother teases. “I’d pay to see you babysitting Liv’s kids.”

“Yeah, I’d pay if it was just me and them too,” I mutter under my breath.

I still can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that Liv moved in with her three friends and didn’t tell me this is what I signed up for. I wasn’t lying when I said I wouldn’t back out, but fuck, what I wouldn’t give to live with just her and her kids. Her youngest is fucking adorable, her oldest is quiet and well behaved, and then there’s Huckleberry. That kid is going to be my buddy. He’s four, yet he already owns who he is—rocking the tutu over his fatigues. Most adults could take lessons in self-confidence from him. Fuck, he’s awesome.

The Shining Twins and Demon Spawn, on the other hand? Let’s just say I know I have my work cut out for me.

“I’m an excellent babysitter.” With a deep breath in, I open the door and climb out of the car.

I gave Charlie the night off. I don’t need anyone else witnessing my humiliation. There’s no way I’ll make it through the night without winding up on my ass or holding it because one of the Shining Twins kicked it.

“You’re the adult; they can’t treat you like that,” I remind myself.

“Is he talking to himself?” Brooks asks with a laugh.

Dammit. I stare down at the phone I forgot I was still holding.

“Give him a break.” Jay’s words are followed by a scuffle, then his voice is louder on the other end of the line. “Hey, Beck, don’t let the guys get to you. I was the same way when I was trying to win over Chloe.”

Chloe is the daughter he didn’t know existed until she was twelve. It was a shock to say the least, but he handled it well, and now they’re closer than any father-daughter duo I know.

“Yeah, how’d you win her over, anyway?” I ask, heading for the door.

Jay chuckles. “My brother gave me the worst advice, but in the end, I took it and it worked.”

“What was the advice?”

“To be myself.”

I can’t help but bark out a laugh. “Yeah, cocky son of a bitch. How’d that work out for you?”

“I had to tone it down to her level, of course, but kids are far more perceptive than most people give them credit for. They’re like mini adults, so just treat them like you would any new business acquaintance. Find something you have in common with each of them and use that to bond. You’ve got this.”

I nod, even though he can’t see me. I constantly have to do that for business. I got this. “Thanks, Jay. We getting a skate in this weekend?”

“Saturday morning work for you?”

“I’ll be there.” After a quick round of goodbyes, I pocket my phone and jog up the steps.

I raise my hand, ready to knock, but the door swings open before I can.

Dylan pops out onto the doorstep and shuts the door behind her. The smile on her face is as bright as ever.

“Um, hi,” I say, unsure why she’s blocking me from going in.

Dylan’s smile only grows. It’s big and kind, but also kind of freaking me out. What is on the other side of that door? “Hi, Becks!”

“It’s Beckett,” I grump.

Tilting her head to one side, she eyes me and sighs. “We’ve been over this. I call you Becks, you call me Dippy Do. It’s our thing.”

“We don’t have a thing.”

She perks up, practically bouncing in place. “We most certainly do. And you’re going to be so happy about that because I’m about to help you out.”

Narrowing my eyes, I assess her, trying to get a read on her angle. “You are?”

“Yup.” She pops the p like she’s proud of herself.

Okay, I’ll bite. It’s hard not to be intrigued when she’s this excited about her scheme. “Okay, tell me, Dippy Do.”

The way she grins at my use of the shortened nickname makes me drop my head and huff. It’s meant to be an insult.

“What is this plan?”

“Well,” she says, taking a step closer like she’s ready to fill me in on her secrets, “it’s two-fold.”

“Two-fold?”

“Yeah, two-fold.”

“Just don’t tell me it involves my dead grandmother. My grandmother is very much alive, by the way.”

She snorts. “Whatever you say. I swear she was speaking to me.”

“She was speaking through you, Dippy.”

Her megawatt smile hits me like the midday sun. “Oh my God! Look at us and our shortened nicknames. We really do have a thing.”

“Talk,” I grunt.

“Okay, so here’s the plan…”


The women disappeared wearing smiles—well, all but Medusa. I’ve yet to see even a mildly friendly expression on her face. She glared in my direction, then whispered something to the Shining Twins. Then, in a louder voice, she added, “The topic is the pros and cons of capitalism. I’ll expect the three best ones to be briefed at breakfast tomorrow.”

My brows furrowed. The fuck?

As the women head downstairs to camp out in Shayla’s office, Liam smirks beside me, as if he can hear my thoughts. “Every night at dinner, Aunt Delia gives the girls a topic to debate between themselves.”

“How old are they?”

“Th-they just turned eight,” Kai says on my other side.

I hold out my hand to fist bump him and smile, surprised he spoke up at all. “Thanks, Iceman.”

His eyes light up. “Iceman?”

I smile. “Yeah, you help me navigate this crew, and I’ll take you in to meet some of the guys on the hockey team. Deal?”

Liam scoffs and rolls his eyes. “Aunt Shayla will never allow it.” Then he disappears without realizing the damage he’s done, pulling his headphones over his ears.

I wink at a deflated Kai. “You just leave that to me.”

“He’s right.” He shrugs. “But I’ll help anyway. Just don’t sit next to the twins. Aunt Delia told them to kick you if you get too close.”

I laugh loudly at the kid’s humor. I didn’t know he had it in him. But when he just blinks up at me, I snap my mouth shut. Damn, he’s serious.

Fucking Medusa. I’ve yet to figure out how I’m supposed to live with all these kids, let alone deal with her day in and day out.

Shaking off the worry, I take a deep breath and point to the kitchen. “Okay, Iceman, let’s eat.”

Going from rarely spending any time around children to having dinner with seven of them is the epitome of a culture shock. First, there’s the strange food on our plates, which was apparently made by Shayla. Kai told me what everything was, but I’m not quite sure I recognized what he said, and not because his voice is barely more than a whisper. I’m too scared to ask for more details. Bear, Huckleberry, and Demon Spawn all poke at their food, as if agreeing with my assessment.

Little One is lucky. According to Liv, she’s picky, so she’s got a plate of chicken nuggets in front of her.

The Shining Twins are too busy arguing with one another over capitalism to even notice what they’re eating. It’s impossible to look away, kind of like a train crash. One takes a bite of food and listens intently as the other one calmly lays out their argument. Then the first carefully takes apart everything the second one just said.

It’s equally freaky and impressive. In all honesty, they could probably teach the board of Langfield Corp a few things.

Though most of our plates are still full, one by one, the kids ask to be dismissed. Bear and Iceman—clearly my favorites at this moment—offer to do the dishes. With Little One in tow, I head to the living room, where Huckleberry has asked to have a tea party.

When the doorbell rings a half hour later and the man at the door holds up two large cheese pizzas, I act surprised but make sure all the kids who didn’t eat Shayla’s monstrosity don’t go hungry.

It costs me an extra hundred—Demon Spawn doesn’t buy my surprise—but it’s worth it when Huckleberry, Iceman, and Bear smile.

Also, I’m starving. Couple the hangry with the lack of order in this house, and I was starting to itch.

My brothers tease that I like things a certain way, but it’s not something I like—it’s what I need. I need order. When things are a mess, my brain gets fuzzy, my legs get restless, and my heart races. Medication could help, and it has in the past, but I spent several years of my childhood overmedicated and since have found I do best when I manage my surroundings myself.

Shockingly, Demon Spawn offers to put Little One to bed. She’s snuggled against him, wearing a sleepy smile, so I agree. To my utter delight, Iceman asks if we can put on the hockey game. Once it’s cued up, I sit on the floor with Huckleberry and sip from a teacup with nothing in it while Bear draws on a pad in the corner. The twins ditch us pretty quickly to work on math problems in their bedroom.

When my phone buzzes repeatedly in my pocket, I know it’s the group chat before I fish the thing out.

Gavin: How’s babysitting going?

Aiden: Hey, that’s not nice. We aren’t even hanging out.

Brooks: LOL. Only you would assume he’s talking about you.

Gavin: He’s watching Liv’s kids, you dumbass.

Aiden: Oh.

Aiden: Can I come over? I like kids.

Gavin: That’s because you are a kid.

Brooks: Don’t get him started.

Aiden has removed Gavin from the chat.

Brooks has added Gavin to the chat.

Gavin: You realize I’m your boss, right?

I groan and type a quick response.

Fed kids. No one choked. Now we’re watching hockey. I basically rock this babysitting thing.

Gavin: It’s only been a few hours. You’ll be begging for mercy soon. Don’t worry, I won’t say I told you so.

Gavin: Too often.

Brooks: LOL. Good job, Beckett. I believe in you.

Aiden: Happy to help next time.

I press the button on the side of my phone to dim the screen and take in the room filled with content kids. Nah, I got this covered.

Eventually, Bear and Iceman turn in, leaving me and Huckleberry. At some point, I must fall asleep, because I’m woken by an amused Liv nudging my foot and looming over me.

“How were they?”

The little guy next to me shifts, nuzzling his face against me. Damn, he looks so sweet like this.

“It was exhausting,” I admit around a yawn.

She smiles at her son. “They’re a lot, I know.”

I shift the little boy gently so I don’t wake him and stretch to a stand. “It was fun, to be honest. A bit different from my normal Thursday nights.”

Her eyes dance, and a whisper of a laugh escapes her. “Different woman every week?”

Groaning, I run my hand over my face. “Is that really what you think of me?”

She shrugs and lifts her brows. “I don’t think of you much, to be honest.”

“Ouch.” I press a hand to my heart in mock hurt.

“You know what I mean.” She laughs. “You’re my boss, so it’s none of my business.”

With a low growl, I take a step in her direction. “I’m your husband. Of course it’s your business.”

Though it’s subtle, I don’t miss the way she sucks in a little breath. Or how she bites her lip as if she’s holding back a sound. Fuck, would I like to learn all her sounds.

“On paper only,” she whispers.

“Have dinner with me tomorrow night.” It’s not a question. I’m not giving her room to say no.

Liv bites that plump lip of hers harder. “Um.” She scans the room, looking everywhere but at me, like she’s searching for an excuse to decline.

When she opens her mouth to speak, I press my finger against her lips, quieting her protest. “We have dinner with my family on Sunday. If we have any shot at selling this, we need to get our stories straight. We need to make this look real.”

She sighs against my finger, her warm breath giving my dick ideas I don’t think she’d appreciate. “Right. Make it look real.”

I lick my lips and pull away, sliding my hands into my pockets to keep from reaching for her. “So dinner. I’ll pick you up at seven.”

“Why don’t we just go straight from work? It’ll be easier.”

Rocking on my heels, I shake my head. “My wife deserves a good first date. You’ll get dolled up. I’ll pick you up.” From my pocket, I pull out a credit card and hold it up between two fingers. I had my assistant order it when Liv agreed to stay married.

She takes it and examines it, her brows furrowing. “Olivia Langfield.”

I can’t help the smile that takes over my face or the way my chest gets tight. It’s the fucking hottest name I’ve ever heard. “Use it for anything you need. Please,” I add, sure she’ll object.

She surprises me when she looks back up, expression serious, and nods. “Okay, thank you, Beckett.”

As I leave her house, jogging down the steps and toward my car with a lightness I didn’t enter with, I can’t help but think how tonight was one of the greatest nights I’ve had in a long time. Every minute of it. Even the kids. Especially the kids. That’s the thing that’s throwing me for a loop, though. Every day since I accidentally married Liv has been better than the last.


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