Unbound (Forbidden Bond Book 1)(8)

By: Cat Miller

She pulled her cell out of the pocket of her jeans. Good thing it hadn’t fallen out in her struggle to wrestle them on while running. She had ten new voice mails. She had turned off the ringer so it wouldn’t ruin their magical evening under the stars. What a joke. After a while, he got back in the truck and left. That was for the best, since Dani was too scared to deal with him that night.

In the morning, over breakfast in their little kitchen, her mom eyed her suspiciously over her coffee cup. She was having her standard whole wheat English muffin and coffee, while Dani indulged in her second bowl of cereal with an extra scoop of sugar for good measure.

Her mom still looked mostly the same to her as she had since Dani was little. Her dark blond hair was shorter, hanging to just below her shoulders, but there wasn’t a gray hair or a laugh line in sight. Dani wished she had inherited her mother’s hair. She looked like her mom, with the same eyes and figure. It was the hair and facial features that stood them apart.

Her mom was her hero. She worked, took care of the house, and did all the things most women would call a man to take care of, and, most of all, she took care of Dani and never once complained or asked for help. Tessa was a photographer, so they had beautiful pictures hanging all around the house.

“You have to be self-sufficient, Danielle. No one is going to provide for you when you become an adult,” she would remind Dani over the years if her grades had the nerve to drop below a solid B. “Your education is the greatest weapon in the battle for independence.”

Dani never really understood why her mom felt the need to drive that point home. Her mom hadn’t gone to college, and she was doing fine. They had everything they needed and most of the things they wanted.

Then Dani remembered the night two years before, when she finally got up the nerve to demand answers. “Mom, why won’t you tell me about my father?”

Tessa was making dinner while Dani did homework at their small kitchen table. She’d turned her head slightly in Dani’s direction, so Dani knew she’d been heard, though she didn’t get an answer right away. Her mother finished plating the meal and brought it to the table as Dani put her books away.

Tessa walked over to stare out the window above the sink in the small kitchen. They didn’t need much room. It had always been just the two of them. They had no other family to speak of, and her mom never even dated.

Dani began again. “What am I supposed to tell people who ask about my parents? The immaculate conception thing isn’t really working for me anymore. Please don’t say I’m too young and it’s complicated. I’m old enough for college, so I think I can handle it now.”

Her mom still stood there motionless and without turning to look at Dani, she finally started to speak.

“Your father and I were very much in love. I really don’t know what to tell you, because, honestly, I don’t know much.” She choked on the words. “It’s difficult for me to talk about.” She turned around, still not looking directly at Dani.

The sight of the silent tear running down her mother’s ivory cheek was shocking. Dani had never seen her mother cry.

Tessa struggled unsuccessfully to hold it together, while Dani watched in silence. She took a cleansing breath and wiped away her tears. She looked at the wall just above Dani’s head, refusing eye contact.

 “We came from different,” she paused, “worlds. His family was unwilling to accept an outsider.”

Her mother’s confession floored her. She didn’t know what she had expected to hear. Maybe he was dead, or some James-Bond-type undercover agent who couldn’t be with them for their safety, never knowing when one of his archenemies might appear to take vengeance by hurting his family. She realized that they were childish imaginings, but it was better than the truth of it.

“So…you’re telling me that he’s out there alive and happy? We just aren’t good enough for him and his high-class family?” She wasn’t able to keep the shock out of her tone.

“I have no idea how or what he is doing. I haven’t seen him since the day you were born, and I’m sure it wasn’t you they objected to, baby. I was the problem. At least that’s what I was told. I never actually met any of them myself.” With that statement, her mother went to her room, her untouched plate forgotten.

Dani immediately wished she could take it back. She had caused her mother pain in order to get an answer she no longer wanted.

 They just weren’t good enough. Dani had a father and a family out there, somewhere, that didn’t want her. She finally understood her mother’s need to see her strive for the best. She couldn’t stand the thought of Dani being below some perceived standard. They never spoke of her father again.

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