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Mother Faker: Chapter 19

Liv

He drew me a freaking bath.”

“Hmm,” Shay hums, sipping her wine. “Wonder where he got that genius idea from.”

“Let’s not give the man a medal just yet,” Delia says, kicking back on the couch in Shay’s office. “All he did was pour water in a porcelain shell. Water that, mind you, we pay for.”

I roll my eyes. “I’m not giving him a medal. And Beckett has offered to pay rent, but I said no. He’s living in a closet and he’s giving us the money to put toward the house projects.”

“Money you’re earning because of this whole marriage farce. You’re basically an actress. You had to spend time with his family on Sunday, and now, when you travel for work, you’ll have to fake it,” Delia says, holding her glass of wine aloft. “He’s paying you for a service, Liv. Don’t confuse all of that with the absurd notion that the man cares.”

Her words leave me biting my lip in embarrassment. She’s not wrong. This isn’t a real marriage; he’s paying me to help clean up his image.

“Didn’t seem like he didn’t care when I ran into him downstairs,” Dylan sings. “Calling her ‘his girl,’ rushing around the house looking for her, drawing her a bath. Real relationships take effort, Delia, and he’s making it. For her. Because she’s worth it.”

My head swims and my stomach flips. I don’t know what to think of it all. Why is this so confusing?

Tears burn the back of my eyes as I swallow down my emotions, but Shay doesn’t miss it. She squeezes my leg and tilts closer. “What’s going on for real, Liv? You came into the house looking defeated. Is this all because Drake forgot about Winnie?”

I came home to find my daughter shut away in her bedroom with a drawing pad and pencils. She eyed me and quietly told me she didn’t want to talk about it, so I sat on the floor beside her and colored for a bit before Dylan and all her sunshiny brightness swooped in and asked if Winnie wanted to help her paint the studs in her room.

Half the sheetrock in Dylan’s room had to be removed because of water damage—we really do need Delia to agree to a contractor—and she swore the exposed studs were screwing with her auras. Okay, she didn’t say screwing, because she doesn’t have a thousand dollars to pay the twins for cursing, but you get my drift.

“That obviously upset me. And he didn’t forget her; he willfully chose to not show up.”

“Ass,” Delia grumbles.

“He is quite the disappointment,” Dylan agrees.

I sigh. “And then, to top it all off, I went to the doctor today. It’s just—” I press my lips together, suddenly rethinking my need to open up. I don’t want their sympathy over my size. “Never mind.”

“No, tell us. We don’t keep secrets.” Shay squeezes my leg again, ducking forward and locking eyes with me.

“Fine. It’s just that, every time I go to the doctor, I dread the moment I have to get on the scale…” I sigh.

Delia nods. “Tell me about it. I legit don’t eat for, like, the entire day before.”

“What?” I rear back. “You’re gorgeous.”

Delia frowns. “So are you.”

Stomach sinking, I drop my focus to my lap and pick at an invisible speck of dust on my leggings. “Right.”

Dylan scoots closer. “Liv, we all have insecurities.”

“Right. Mine’s just blatantly obvious because it’s in your face,” I grumble. A second later, I suck in a breath, wishing I could pull the words back in with it. That was mean.

Dylan shakes her head, the auburn curls piled on top of her head swaying. “No, because you’re the most honest about it. I hide my insecurities by acting like I don’t care about what people think of me. Like being quirky is charming, even though it hurts when people talk to me as if I’m stupid or naïve or ridiculous.”

“You always seem so unaffected. That really bothers you?” Honestly, I didn’t think Dylan gave two shits what people thought of her.

Her golden eyes are warm when she squeezes my hand. “Of course.”

“And I’m psychotic.” Shay giggles. “That’s what most people think. I’m thankful you understand my concerns after Ajay’s death and give me grace, but seriously, I’m unhinged. Sometimes the thoughts of what could go wrong keep me up all night. None of us are perfect, Liv.”

“He said I was obese,” I whisper, holding the tears back. I’m so freaking embarrassed.

“I will skin him alive,” Delia growls, leaping to her feet. “Where is that no-good fake husband of yours?”

Snagging her wrist, I tug until she looks at me. “Not Beckett.” I stagger a breath, still shocked by the way he acted earlier. “He said, and I quote, I was always looking, Livy. When you were married to someone else. When you were pregnant. When you were a different size after giving birth… I was never not looking, and I always liked what I saw.”

“Holy shit,” Shay whispers, bringing the tips of her fingers to her mouth.

“Told you.” Dylan smiles, flopping back against the cushions. “She’s his person. The one who softens him.”

“Oh, I don’t think she softens him.” Shayla winks, and we all laugh, even me, through my dumb tears.

I truly don’t know what I’d do without these women.

Delia straightens up first, smoothing the fabric of her dress pants. In a heartbeat, she goes from laughing alongside us to red with rage. The glower she’s wearing can only mean one thing—she’s going on a rampage against the evil in this world.

“And fuck that doctor. You’re beautiful, and he’s an ass. Also, the BMI scale was created by men using men’s bodies. It doesn’t account for the fact that we birth children and then have the lives sucked out of us by our spawn. Who the hell has time to monitor their food intake, work out, and be a perfect parent?” She sips from her glass, but the fire in her eyes is still raging, so we wait silently for her to continue. “Fuck the patriarchy and the way it’s made us all question our self-worth. If we’re being honest here, then I’ll admit that the two-parent household image we’re inundated with leaves me constantly wondering if I’m enough.”

Both Shay and Dylan nod in agreement.

“Even with a man in the picture, I’m failing. Winnie’s father chose not to show up today. Who does that to their kid?”

With a humph, Delia says, “It looks like your fake husband will live to see another day. I’ll save my stabby hands for Drake.”

“I don’t love how my eye droops when I smile.” Dylan holds up one arm and waves. “And don’t get me started on the skin under my arm.”

“I don’t like our weekly books,” Shay says quickly, her voice barely audible, like it’s confession time and she can’t not say it.

Delia sucks in a breath and presses a hand to her chest.

I bite my lip and go for it. “I don’t either. I never read them.”

Laughing, Dylan swipes her Kindle from the table and waves it. “I read smut and then google the books you force us to talk about so I can have insightful commentary.”

“Wait. None of you read this week’s book?” Delia asks, clasping her hands in her lap. “Dylan picked it out.”

Shay smiles. “Oh, I did. It was great, but Delia, the ones you pick? I’m sorry. Not a chance.”

Dylan shrugs. “Listen, I need smut. I don’t have a man.”

“What the heck is smut?” I didn’t get to reading the book Dylan gave us, though maybe I should have.

She shoots me a Cheshire grin, her golden eyes dancing. “Welcome to the dark side, girls.” She pushes her Kindle into my hand. “Some call it one-handed reading.”

“Oh, something to aid my toys. I’m game.” Shayla grabs the device out of my hand and skims the words on the screen.

“Toys?” I snort. “The only toys I play with are made for children.” Resigned to never having another orgasm, I sigh.

“When was the last time you got off?” Delia’s brows sit low over her eyes as she studies me.

My face flames. “I’m not telling you that.”

“I had one at lunchtime,” Dylan says matter-of-factly. “While Adeline went down for a nap and before I picked up Winnie, obviously.”

I laugh. “Thanks for that qualifier.”

“I plan to use one of my new toys tonight.” Shay waves at a row of packages lined up by the door.

“Wait, so you all…” I cover my mouth and lower my voice to a whisper. “You all take care of yourselves?”

“Masturbate?” Delia cocks a brow. “Yes, it’s completely natural. Men probably do it three times a day, and no one bats an eye.”

Shh,” I hiss, my whole body heating.

Shay shrugs. “There’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”

Dylan’s devious smile has me nervous. “Shay, you just bought a new stash. Think you have anything Liv might like?”

To my horror, Shay bounces from her spot and moves lithely to the row of boxes.

“That one will be perfect.” She drops an Amazon box into my lap. God, that company really has everything.

“I just emailed a link to you. Download that book. Adeline can sleep in the Pack ’n Play in my room tonight,” Dylan insists. “Take the rest of the wine upstairs and have fun with your new toy.”

The other two bob their heads in agreement. They’re insane.

“Guys, are you forgetting that Beckett will be sleeping in the closet next to my room?”

“Oh, you’re a loud one?” Dylan teases. “I could see it. Makes sense with your aura.”

“I am not loud,” I hiss.

“Then what’s the harm?” Shay prods. “Go on now.”


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