RamsayBy: Mia Sheridan
A Sign of Love Novel
This book is dedicated to Angie, Addie, Lucie, and Callie. I'm glad to call you sisters, but even happier to call you friends.
The myth of Aries tells of two children, a brother and sister, who are sacrificed to the Gods. At the last minute, they are saved by a mighty, winged ram. For his strength and heroism, Zeus places the ram among the stars and his golden fleece, sought by many, becomes a symbol for that which is most precious.
She was waiting for me.
My feet moved softly but swiftly over the grass I'd mowed that afternoon, driving the mower so the result was a wide expanse of grass striped in alternating light and dark green. Sometimes I did a checkerboard pattern, and other times I chose diamonds. My dad always shook his head in disbelief when I told him I created the patterns without mapping them out on paper first, or without using string, even on the first line of my design. When he was sober enough to notice anyway. It was true, though. I just saw it in my head and computed where the turns needed to be, instinctively knew where I needed to move to ensure each line was straight. I couldn't say how, I just did.
The spice of the cut grass mingled with the tanginess of the potted key lime trees lining the garden and the sweet headiness of the honeysuckle growing nearby. My mind blanked to everything else as it attempted to separate the myriad of scents. My skin prickled, and I walked more quickly. The smells weren't unpleasant to me, but I couldn't think clearly when I was around something overly fragrant, and I wanted to think. I wanted to think about her.
"Lydia," I whispered, loving the way her name rolled off my tongue, the way the hard d smoothed into the soft sound of the a at the end, leaving off like a sigh. I wanted to picture the delicate lines of her face, I wanted to imagine her hair—a cascade of summer sunshine falling down her back—and her eyes, a shade of blue and green so perfectly mixed I never could quite figure out their actual color. And I wanted my mind's eye to see the sweet curves of her body, the way the fullness of her breasts pressed against her tank tops and spilled out of her swimsuits, the way her waist flared in slightly and then curved out again to the feminine roundness of her hips and arse. I felt myself swell in my jeans and frowned. Just the image of her made me hard. But even so, I made myself imagine my eyes moving down Lydia's slim legs all the way to her perfectly formed feet. Even her toes were sweet.
I wanted to take a few minutes to picture all of her so when I saw her in person, it wouldn't be obvious how arrested I was by her beauty. Picturing her always helped soften the impact—ever so slightly—of the reality of her right in front of me. Still, she knew how she affected me. I could see it in the way she held her shoulders when I was around, as if she knew very well she was being watched and liked it. I could see in the self-conscious tilt of her head and the way she glanced at me to make sure my eyes hadn't left her, the way she gave her hips an extra sway for my benefit.
Lydia was a princess, the only daughter of Edward De Havilland and his new wife—Lydia's stepmother—Ginny, multi-millionaires and owners of one of the largest privately held construction and real estate firms in the industry. Plus, she had a protective older brother. She was spoiled, pampered, self-indulgent, an incorrigible flirt, and I very well knew it. And yet I couldn't manage to stay away from her.
"Bloody eejit," I muttered to myself.
I was the son of Lydia's family's gardener. The gardener, who had taken my sister and me from a small county in the mid-east region of Ireland to America three years ago for a supposed "better life" after our mam died. The gardener, who had promised things would look up for us here, and instead was grappling with the bottle as much or more so than he'd been doing back home. My dad. Sean Ramsay, a piss artist and useless prick. And so I picked up the slack for him so he wouldn't get fired, because we were desperate for the salary, desperate for the healthcare the job provided. The doctors' visits my little sister, Eileen, needed were endless. Endless and expensive.
He kept promising he would quit, and I kept hoping. Some days he did better than others, but today wasn't one of them.
I was seventeen, but some days I felt seventy.
When my dad still managed a good handle on his drinking, he had Mr. De Havilland hire me to work part-time after school as one of his assistants. So now, if anyone saw me, they believed I worked in that capacity. Or at least that's what I hoped. What they didn't know was I often worked late into the night on the De Havilland grounds, ensuring no one realized my dad had already abandoned most of his duties.
Lydia's father had also noticed the patterns I mowed into the grass, and when he asked me what my math grades were like, I'd told him I had been taking advanced college level courses since ninth grade. He'd looked impressed and asked me if I might be interested in working for his company during the summer. Excitement and pride had filled me, and I'd readily agreed. It might mean we could finally afford some of the treatments the doctors recommended for Eileen. And maybe, just maybe, someday I'd earn enough to date Lydia.
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