If I ever wanted to have Tyler back in my life again—and I prayed that it would happen one day—I had to steer clear of her.

Which I tried to do…well, at least as much as I could considering that I did have a baby with her.

But every time I tried to breach the gap with Tyler, he’d just pull farther away.

It wasn’t until I’d managed to run him out of the city in my desperate attempt to get him to understand that I saw the light. He’d have to be the one who’d come back to me, and it had to be on his terms. Meanwhile, I’d felt like my heart had been ripped out of my body for a couple of reasons.

First, I no longer had my best friend, the man who had been with me through everything in my life at a time when I needed him more than I ever had.

Second, my son, Matias Tyler Pierce, wouldn’t know his uncle—my brother, although not by blood.

Another ping, this time with a message from Tyler’s woman, lit up my phone.

Reagan: If you’re laughing at that meme he just sent, you’re going to hell.

Snickering even though I was on the verge of a complete meltdown, I replied back.

Reagan had been the woman who got through to Tyler. She healed him, she helped him work through what happened, and she orchestrated the rekindling of a friendship I had given up hope on.

Which couldn’t have come at a better time.

When they came back into my life a month ago, I’d been on the brink of losing it because my baby boy, my everything, was dying.

The leukemia was winning, and I was losing my mind every day that he lost ground in his fight.

Taking a seat on the recliner that Tara also hated me sitting in since I had taken it from her house, I stared at my son who was sleeping on the couch.

Then I looked down at my hands and felt the first drop of wetness hit my thumb.

I didn’t know what to do.

I couldn’t fight something that I couldn’t see.

***

“Daddy?”

I sat up and rubbed my eyes, looking over at my son who was picking his little head up from the bathroom floor.

“Hey, buddy. How you doing, buddy?” I asked, running my hand over his little bald head as he breathed softly. Easily.

“I want to watch the Dragon Riders.” He looked at me. “Can we do that?”

I felt a lump in my throat. “It’s two o’clock in the morning. Are you sure you don’t want to try to go to bed?”

About two hours ago, Matias, lately known as Ty-Ty, thanks to Tyler coming back into my life, had started throwing up. Throwing up so violently that we couldn’t even leave the bathroom because he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to let me know that he wasn’t feeling good in time.

Matias had done a lot of growing up over the last six months or so. No longer was he my little buddy—my toddler. No, he was my little man who said and did things that were beyond what you’d expect from a four-year-old.

“No,” Matias shook his head. “I want to stay here. Can I watch it on the phone?”

I handed him my phone, as I’d done many times before, and I watched as he expertly navigated the electronic device.

Moments later, my phone was playing his favorite show, and my eyes again started to droop closed.

I idly wondered what Tara did when things like this happened. She didn’t seem the type who would care whether he was sick or not, and that thought was making me a little sick.

But now wasn’t the time to bring that up. He was doing well, not asking why I was with him instead of Tara, and I had a feeling that I didn’t want to know why he wasn’t asking.

As a sense of dread filled my chest, I wasn’t sure that I’d ever be ready to hear the answer.

Tomorrow—or later today—I’d have to contact my lawyer and get some papers drawn up to make sure that this was all done legally. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Tara tried to come back and shake me down for more cash by making it out like I was the one in the wrong and not her.

“Daddy?”

I looked down at my son.

“Yeah?” I asked, trying to drag my thoughts off of Tara and the awful person that she was.

“Mommy usually calls the cleaning lady to come clean up after me when we are at her house. Can we call her? I like her.” Matias said suddenly.

I blinked. “You like her?”

“Yes. Her name is Isadora.” He paused. “She brings me cookies. And she makes sure that they’re the kind that’ll still taste good in two or three days because that’s how long it usually takes for me to get hungry again.”


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