Love Thy Neighbor(5)

By: Belle Aurora



She smiles a gummy smile and jumps around in my arms. I can’t help but smile right back at her.

She is too damn cute.

Tatiana is three months old. All eight of us were present at her birth. You really can’t separate us…if one of us gets called, we start a phone tree to alert the others.

Tatiana looks just like Tina when she was a baby; chubby and cute as hell with dark hair. The only difference is my sweet little girlie has Nik’s amber eyes rather than Tina’s green ones. Tina was overjoyed at this. She loves Nik’s eye color.

I walk over to the storeroom and knock before I enter. Tina sits behind the desk going through paperwork. She smiles as we enter. She coos to her daughter. “Hi, my beautiful girl. Are you giving Teta Nat a hard time? You eating her hair again? My cheeky little thing.” She takes Tatiana out of my hands and pops her onto her hip. Tina’s smiling face falls when she looks over to me. She asks, “Everything okay?”

No.

My heart aches whenever I’m around Tatiana. I’ll never have children. Watching Tina with Tats brings me as much sorrow as it does happiness.

A random doctor’s appointment last year led me to being diagnosed with PCOS. I have cysts on my ovaries and uterus. I have around eighty cysts on each ovary.

That’s a lot.

The doctor advised me to be prepared for the fact that I’ll never have children. My ovaries and uterus are too scarred and damaged for me to conceive.

I force a large smile and reply, “Of course. Just a little edgy with the move, that’s all.”

Tina smiles. “Don’t you even worry about the move. I asked the girls to help out. The guys offered to help, but I told them this was girl-bonding time.”

Smiling back at her, I sigh. “What would I do without you?”

She scrunches her nose and tilts her head up. “You’d have to buy cupcakes.” She blinks and goes on “That’s about it.” We both laugh.

Tina’s cupcakes are the bomb. Actually, anything Tina bakes is out of this world.

Tina owns Safira Boutique. Safira’s is a clothing store, but we also sell accessories and lingerie. Mimi, Lola and I work with Tina. Right across the street is The White Rabbit, which is where all the guys work. We’re pretty close knit which makes avoiding Ghost not so easy.

For seven months, I’ve managed to stay away from him. We haven’t so much as said hello to each other in this time. What’s crazy is I miss his stupid little aggravating comments and how he called me pretty girl. What’s not crazy is that, of course, I want the bad boy.

But isn’t that always the way it goes?

Every girl wants a bad boy who is only good to her.

We all want to tame a wild beast. And Ghost is as wild as a man comes. He’s unpredictable, broody and emotionless. He may as well be a wild animal. I’ve never even heard him laugh before.

The Ghost of my fantasies is loving, dominant and funny. That Ghost doesn’t exist. He’s in my head.

My memories of the night Ghost and I had crazy monkey sex are as clear as daylight.

They haunt me.

Every. Freaking. Night.

My belly tightens and I flush whenever I think about it.

Tina pulls me back to reality with an amused, “Hellllloooooo? Anyone in there?” She flaps her hand in front of my face.

My face forms a scowl and I poke her lightly in the ribs. She giggles and I smile. My friend is a goofball, but she’s so adorable that it just makes her even cuter. We make each other laugh all the time. It’s the real basis of our friendship.

I sigh and say, “Please tell me you baked.”

Her face falls immediately and I know she didn’t. Tina wears her heart on her sleeve. I love that.

“Oh, honey, I promise I will soon. It’s just with Tatiana and the housework, and Ceecee, I’ve been all over the place!” She sounds panicked.

I quietly laugh and reassure her, “Sweetie, I was only kidding! It’s not a cupcake emergency day.”

She looks only slightly reassured and promises, “Tomorrow. Cupcakes.”

Toot toot! Yum!

I glance at the wall clock. 3:24pm. A few hours and I’ll be moved into my new place.

Wicked.

***

The moving truck has arrived, and we’re all working on getting the boxes inside my fabulous new apartment. The price was a little over my budget, but the security in this place is amazing! There’s a code to get through the front door and a different code to use the elevator. Each apartment has a security system, and the premises are monitored. I was happy to spend an extra fifty a month on rent to be secure in my little home.

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