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I flipped her off.

“Go fuck yourself,” I grumbled. “Is it really that bad?”

She winced. “It’s not…good.”

With my pale complexion, paired with my inky black hair…I didn’t doubt that it was more than obvious that I not only had one shiner, but two.

From a box of condoms.

How does that even happen?

But I shouldn’t be surprised. Bad things happened to Raleigh Jolie Crusie. Always had. Always would.

Chapter 2

I’m a ray of fucking sunshine.

-Coffee Cup

Ezra

Four hours earlier

“I’m going to be late,” I said into my phone. “I have to run by the store and get somebody something.”

That somebody was my sister’s teenage son, Johnson. Johnson was a sixteen-year-old boy, who was on the verge of doing things that his mother would rather not think about. That being in the form of sex with his girlfriend.

How did I know this?

Because I saw them in the park last night, making out in his truck when he should’ve been at home asleep.

Now, I felt obligated to run by the store and buy him a box of condoms just to make sure he had them in case he needed them.

I wasn’t sure if he did or not, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.

Or a great uncle.

That would suck.

“Okay,” Cady, my sister, said. “But would you mind picking me up some wrapping paper? It’s seventy-five percent off, and I haven’t had a chance to go up there yet. There’s no doubt that it’ll be sold out by the time I get off at five.”

I rolled my eyes.

That was the last damn thing I wanted to do, get fucking wrapping paper, but I’d do it for her.

I loved my sister, after all.

And she did make sure that I had food every single night.

We lived together—kind of.

She lived in the main house, and I was in what was now known as the ‘brother suite’ and not the mother-in-law suite.

I had my own kitchen and my own entrance, but I could also enter their living space, as they could access mine. Not that either one of us did that unless it was dinner time—or it was an emergency.

But there hadn’t been one of those since my niece, Moira, had decided to make her entrance into this world a whole four weeks early while Cady’s husband had been out of town working on the pipeline.

Now Grady was home more, well, if you called two weeks on, two weeks off home more, and they didn’t have much need for me.

Me? I needed them, though. At least if I didn’t want to eat out every single night of the week.

“Will do,” I verbalized. “Let me know if you need anything else.”

She gave an affirmative sound, and then hung up, losing track of what she was doing when her youngest son, Colton, asked her a question.

Colton was autistic, and after struggling in school for three years, they decided that he needed a different school that would work better for him. That school was out two more days, meaning her other two had already started while Colton was at home with my mom.

My mind was on Colton, so I wasn’t paying as much attention when I opened the door, but I didn’t miss the white streak of blond hair run past me as I tried to walk through it.

Frowning, I turned to see a little boy, about three or four years old, sprint toward the parking lot, and every single protective instinct inside of me started to take flight.

I ran after the boy and caught him before he could get past the stupid big red balls that lined the front walk.

I turned and hefted him up on my hip just as the mother came running out.

She took him from me, gave him a stern glare, and walked back inside without a word.

I stood there, stunned.

A thank you would’ve at least been nice!

Glaring at the woman’s back as I followed her inside, I made my way to the men’s section. While I was here, I might as well get the underwear and undershirts I’d been avoiding getting seeing as I fuckin’ hated Target.

I couldn’t walk into the damn store without running into someone I knew, and honestly, I was tired.

The football season had been a long one, and I hadn’t gotten a chance to take a deep breath before I was forced to dive into baseball season. I had exactly two weeks before it was time to switch gears, and I wanted to take that time to recoup.

Going into Target would mean I’d have to talk to someone, I knew it.

Yet, my nephew’s health was more important than my privacy, so I trudged into the store and headed straight for the underwear.

After finding the cheapest pack—I was a coach, not a millionaire—I snatched up a value-sized pack of white undershirts, and then made my way to the condom aisle. Once there, I snatched up the generic brand of condoms that was also the cheapest and made my way to the front of the store.


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