Unexpected Fate(4)

By: Harper Sloan


I can hear him laughing at me through the door. The freaking sicko.

“Turn that crap down, Nate!” I yell before a big cough takes over and I have to pause while hacking up a lung . . . or two.

Does he turn it down? Nope, not that low-down, dirty dog. He turns it up and the sounds of female moans, manly grunts, and skin slapping echoes through his doorway and into the hall.

“You’re disgusting!” I scream, doubling my efforts to break down his door so I can kill his sick porn-watching ass by kicking my feet between beats of my fist. “When I get in there, I’m going to beat your head in with your porn collection. Go to town on your thick skull with one of those DVDs until it all just explodes! Nasty dirtbag!”

“Little princess, what in the hell are you doing?”

I spin around and march over to where my father is standing. His hair is standing on all ends, his eyes looking tired, and his expression is a mixture of confusion and exhaustion.

“That in there is exactly why I need my own place. Do you know how disgusting it is waking up to the sounds of your own brother beating his junk? I swear, Daddy, I’m going to kill him!” I end my rant and instantly deflate, coughing a few times. “I just want some sleep. I feel like crap and I literally just fell asleep, and now, the king of pocket play is at it again. Can we just buy him a hooker? Please, Daddy! Let’s get him a hooker.”

His lips twitch, and his arms unfold from his chest, opening wide for me to fall into them. Which, of course, I do. I’m not ashamed that I’m still very much a daddy’s girl.

“We aren’t getting your brother a hooker. They’re too classy for his ass.”

I laugh and hug him tighter when his gruff chuckles vibrate through his chest.

“What’s wrong with my girl?” he asks, pulling me back and looking into my eyes.

“Nothing. Just a little cold. I’ll be fine . . . with some sleep!” I yell towards Nate’s bedroom. And, of course, dissolve into a coughing fit that has my overprotective father narrowing his eyes.

“Go on back to bed, little princess. Let me deal with your brother. I’ll have Mom come up and check on you.” He gives me a strong hug and spins me toward my room. Then, almost like my words just hit him, he says, “And no more talk about moving out. Not happening.”

Ugh.

Seriously. He’s told me since I was a little girl that I would never leave his house because I was his little princess and, if he couldn’t watch out for me, then all the dirty, thieving, no-good men of the world would get their hands on me.

To say that growing up with Axel Reid as a father was a little . . . tough, would be an understatement. Don’t get me wrong. I love my daddy. But he is protective with a capitol P. Possessive of “his girls,” which is what he calls Mom and me—to the point where he would probably kill a man who looked at us cross.

I love him . . . but sometimes, I want to strangle him.

That being said, I know that, if I ever needed someone in my corner, no questions asked, that person would be my daddy.

I shuffle back down the hall. Now that I know that Nate will be handled and the rush of trying to kill him has started to fade, I realize just how bad I feel. I came home early yesterday from what was supposed to be a girls’ weekend at Lyn and Lila’s apartment with them and Maddi Locke. We had the best weekend planned of makeovers—and by that, I mean me dying and cutting their hair—junk food, and a Gossip Girl marathon. It wasn’t an hour into the night when I felt like I had been hit by a truck.

Maddi made sure I got home okay, and I crashed instantly.

I drop down into bed, pull the covers over my head, and try to ignore how bad my body hurts.

“What’s wrong, Dani?” Mom whispers a little while later after walking into my room and closing the door softly behind her.

I can still hear Daddy yelling at Nate from down the hall, but at least the damn porn sounds have finally stopped.

She sits down, and her cold hand presses against my forehead. “Sweetheart, you’re burning up. Tell me what’s bothering you.”

“I’m okay, Mom. I just need to sleep,” I mumble and burrow deeper into the pillows.