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Mother Faker: Chapter 37


Gavin: Are you doing okay?

Beckett: Just miss my wife and kids.

Gavin: Never thought I’d see the day.

Aiden: Can I keep the penthouse? My place isn’t nearly as big, and you have better sunsets.

Gavin: Too soon, bro. Too soon.

Beckett: When will we hear back?

Gavin: Might be a few days, why?

Brooks: Thinking what I think you’re thinking?

Aiden: No clue what you’re thinking, but if it’s about selling the penthouse as some grand gesture, sell it to me!

Gavin: Aiden, shut the duck up.

Gavin: Duck.

Gavin: Duck.

Aiden: Goose!

Brooks: Oh my god, you’re an idiot.

Aiden: Uncool, man. Uncool.


You’ve got an interview with ESPN at eleven and Sports Illustrated at eleven thirty. ESPN Kids has also requested an interview slot, but we’ll wait and see how quickly you finish with Sports Illustrated.” Hannah refers to her notes, barely looking at me, then types something into her phone.

From the owner’s suite, I appraise the baseball field, the place that’s owned my life for the last forty years, and sigh. I miss Liv. Hannah’s good at what she does, but she’s not my wife, so by default, I dislike her.

“What’s Sports Illustrated want?”

Phone still in hand, I watch as Aiden adds me to the chat again, then I immediately remove myself. My lips quirk into a smile. As much as I pretend the guys drive me nuts, I’d be lost without my brothers.

“You’re their pick for Baseball’s Most Popular Bachelor. I’d like to say it was a toss-up between your brothers for hockey, but Brooks won in a landslide.” She giggles. “Maybe it’s the underwear campaign. The man can wear the shit out of a pair of tighty-whities.”

I don the scowl my staff has come to expect from me in response. No one jokes around with me at work. Well, no one except Liv. Hannah is not Liv. Have I gone soft? Do my employees think I want them to laugh with me? I grip my neck and bite back a curse. “I’m not a bachelor.”

Hannah’s face falls. “Not technically, no… but now that the press knows the marriage was a mistake… Well, what happens in Vegas⁠—”

“I’d suggest you don’t finish that sentence. Nothing about my wedding was a mistake. Nothing about my marriage was a mistake. I knew exactly what I was doing. I’ll leave it up to my wife to set the record straight. If she wants a divorce, then I’ll grant her that and take the blame. But I’m not a ducking piece of cattle that can be put up for auction next week. Put ESPN kids at eleven. I’ll meet with ESPN after. Have Damiano fill in for Sports Illustrated.”

She blanches. “He’s got the worst personality in baseball.”

Pressing my forefinger and thumb into the bridge of my nose, I shake my head. “He’s no worse than me.”

“But you’re”—she waves a hand up and down—“a Langfield. Baseball royalty. Everyone puts up with your personality because, well, respectfully, you’re you.”

I laugh. Hard. She’s not trying to suck up, and despite the turmoil I’m up to my eyeballs in, it’s refreshing. Liv trained her well.

There was no sugarcoating. No stroking my ego by telling me I’m a catch or that I’m really a nice person once people get to know me. She basically said I’m rich, and that’s why people want me. Well played. And the truth is, she’s right. For everyone except for the one woman who actually matters. She doesn’t care about my bank account, or my penthouse, or what kind of luxury gifts I could shower her with. The woman chooses to stay in a brownstone that’s crumbling around her because it’s where her family is happiest.

Granted, it’s not falling down as much as it used to be—I made sure of that. Ducking Medusa and her insane need to control everything. If I hadn’t made things worse in that house, it’d still be a freaking disaster. It’s not perfect, but at least she let me do what was necessary to make the place safe.

Dylan still doesn’t have walls, though, and that really bothers me. I rub at the ache in my chest. Dammit. I think I miss all of them. Even ducking Dippy Do and Medusa.

Okay, I don’t miss Medusa, but I do miss my nightly conversations with the twins about the stock market. I planned to introduce them to my financial planner next week. They keep telling me I’m missing out on high-yield investments, so I figured I’d let the man I pay hundreds of thousands of dollars answer to them.

Hannah drops her chin and scrolls on her phone. Lighting up, she gasps. “What about Cortney Miller? Billionaire hot-shot, New York royalty, best catcher in the MLB, and our newest trade.”

I glare at her. “No. I’ve got plans for him.”

She sighs, shoulders slumping. “Damiano it is.” She trudges out of the owner’s suite, on a mission to locate my surly pitcher. I have no doubt he’s going to drive her and Sports Illustrated nuts.

It makes me smile.

A moment later, my father appears in the doorway. Without greeting him, I head to the bar. We’ll need a whiskey for this conversation.

“So it’s true?” he mutters. “It was all fake?”

Gritting my teeth, I focus on the ceiling to rein in my ire. My father’s the one who got me into this damn mess. “It was real, Dad. She knows it just like I do.”

“But it wasn’t always,” he deadpans. The man is annoyingly astute.

I rub at my chest again. Saying it wasn’t real would be a lie. It was always real to me. There’s nothing fake about the feelings I have for Liv and there never has been. “Maybe for her it wasn’t.”

Stepping a little closer and sliding his hands into his pockets, my father prods. “But it was real for you?”

Pouring a finger of whiskey into my glass, I sigh. “Yes. It was always real. She was always the one I wanted. Happy?”

The old man beams and takes another step toward where I’m hovering at the bar. “Well, I’ll be.” Then he furrows his brow and tips his chin at me. “If it’s real, then why are we drinking whiskey at ten thirty in the morning?”

With a sigh, I swirl the amber liquid in my lowball glass. “Because I don’t know if I’m enough.”

“Why don’t we take a seat, son?” My father motions to the chairs outside. Like me, his love for this game is all-encompassing. The smell of the grass, watching the staff prepare the field and ready the concession stands, fucking everything about this place… it’s always been our heaven. But recently, a broken-down house in Boston knocked the stadium out of the top slot of my favorite places to be. I won’t relax in these seats until I know that the woman who lives in that house has chosen me. That her family wants me around. That I’m her family.

“I may have pushed you to settle down with a woman with kids.”

I snort. “You blackmailed me, Dad. My choices were giving up the team or jumping into a fake marriage.”

A heavy sigh leaves his lips as he scrutinizes the field. “You were always so good with your siblings. Attentive. Patient. Protective. You made sure they always knew they came first.”

“Someone had to,” I mutter. Though the second the words leave my mouth, I dart a wary glance at my father. I don’t begrudge him. I am my father, or at least, I thought I was. For my whole adult life, I’ve believed that the game mattered more than anything. When I was a kid, my father had loads of responsibilities. I’ve always respected that. At the time, I believed my responsibility was to my siblings. I always knew that would change, evolve, and eventually, I’d be the one who had to put baseball first.

At least, that’s what I thought. Until I married Liv.

“Sorry,” I grumble.

My father shakes his head. “You have nothing to apologize for. You’re right. Someone had to, and I didn’t. Your mother and I—” He scrubs at his face. “We were terrible at maintaining balance. You’re much better at that than we were.”

The ache in my chest flares. This topic is always just a little painful, but add it to the misery I’m currently wallowing in, and it leaves me wishing I had antacids handy. “What?”

My father chuckles. “Beckett, you’re running the baseball team smoothly, plus you make it to hockey games pretty regularly. You cheer on your sister from afar, you put Liv and her kids first⁠—”

Dropping my chin to my chest, I squeeze my eyes shut and shake my head. “Not this week. I missed Finn’s first T-ball game.”

“Who’s Finn?”

That brings a smile to my face for the first time in far too long. “Huck. You know, Huckleberry Finn. I thought if I didn’t call them by their names, I wouldn’t get attached. Turns out that was just another lie I told myself.”

My father pats my leg. “You feel too much. You could never not get attached.”

“I was never attached to Sabrina.”

My father shifts in his seat and considers me for a long moment. “You dated Sabrina for years because you couldn’t have who you really wanted. Subconsciously, you didn’t think you could have what you really wanted—a family and this job. That’s my fault. I made you think you had to choose. So you chose baseball. That way you’d never let anyone down. You could put up walls, call Liv’s kids by different names, groan about the mess they made, but in the end, you will always be the man who takes care of the people in his life. I knew you’d figure it out eventually. When you told us you’d married Liv? Let’s just say I was mighty pleased with myself. Figured I’d forced you to really go after what you want.”

I laugh. “You made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. But if Liv hadn’t been the one to sit next to me at that bar, I never would have gone through with it. She made the decision easy. The opportunity to taste what that life was like.” I sigh. “She’s the only one I’ve ever wanted to experience those things with.”

“I always knew you could balance it all. You’ve always been good at prioritizing. And your priority will always be family. Everything else”—he sweeps his arm across the baseball field—“is just a game.”

“I know that,” I reply stupidly, bumping my knee against his when he laughs. “But I’m glad you do too now. And Dad?” He focuses his attention on me, his eyes warm. “Thank you.”

“No need to thank me, son. Just be happy. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

The smile that breaks across my face is a genuine one. I am happy, or at least, I will be. Once my wife and I are finally honest with one another. Because nothing about this was ever fake, for her or for me.

The game hasn’t even started, yet I’m itching for it to end so I can go home and tell Liv how I feel. It’s been a week since I last held her, and if I have my way, I’ll never go that long again.

“How’d the interview go?” I ask as Brooks settles into a chair outside the owner’s suite.

Beside him, Gavin tips his head back and laughs.

“Not sure what you’re laughing at.” Brooks elbows Gavin. “And as for you,” he says to me, “wipe off that smirk. The interview was fine.”

Aiden groans. “If I was single, I’d totally be the pick for most eligible bachelor.”

Sara smirks. “Sorry, Aiden. Saint Brooks and his tighty-whities will always win.”

Brooks blushes, peeking over at Sara. I want to smack him on the back of the head. This is painful to watch. Does she not see how he looks at her? Or is she just not interested?

I consider him for a second longer. Nah, he’s a Langfield. Of course she’s interested. We’re magnificent.

“I hate that nickname,” Brooks grumbles, crossing his arms over his chest.

Sara bumps his shoulder and tips her chin up, scanning the field. “Too bad. It’s who you are. Own it.” She sucks in a breath, prompting us all to follow her line of sight. “Holy crap, that’s like a baseball team, Beckett!”

“You’ve made some questionable trade choices as of late,” Gavin mutters, “but maybe recruiting players who are over five foot would help this team win.”

I laugh, admiring the way my wife, her three best friends, and all of our kids look standing out on the field.

Yeah, our kids.

Every single one of them is wearing a Revs jersey, and when Liv bends down to scold Finn, who squatted, snatched something from the dirt, and put it in his pocket, the name on her back comes into view.

Mrs. Langfield.

My wife is wearing my team’s jersey with my name on the back.

When I thought there was nothing hotter than hearing people calling her Mrs. Langfield, I never even considered this possibility.

Sara’s phone buzzes in her hand, and she lets out a laugh. “Beckett,” she says, holding up her device, “you’re being summoned to the field.”

I’m already running through the door, though. It’s time to get my family back.


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