“Remy is going to ruin your life,” he says. “It’s already started.”

There’s no sense in denying my feelings for Remy any longer. I’m obviously not hiding them very well.

“Remy is nothing like Karen. You don’t know her. You’ve never bothered to try,” I say.

He glares at me. “Neither have you until recently.”

His voice is heated, rising loud enough to call attention to our argument. The longer I stand out here, the later I will be for work and the more trouble I’ll be in with my boss. I’m on a probation period for the next couple of months. Though being late to be with Remy was well worth it, I can’t afford to lose this job. Even if it means being stuck most of the day with Sam.

“Keep your voice down,” I hiss. “Not everyone needs to know our business.”

“Well, it’s true,” he says, quieter this time.

Maybe it is true. I never really tried to get to know Remy when I lived next door to her. She was just a kid back then. It would’ve been inappropriate. But I do know she’s nothing like Karen. I’ve watched her grow up. She was the neighborhood sweetheart. All the neighbors used to say what a good kid she was. Like how she used to mow Mrs. Holister’s lawn without being asked and without expecting to be paid for it. She did it because she saw an old woman who was in need. Karen never would’ve done anything like that. She didn’t know what the word charity even meant.

I remember once Remy’s mom telling me how Remy used to find battered and broken animals and bring them back home, nursing them back to health. Birds, possums, and even a baby skunk. She’s motherly and nurturing. Two things what were never built into Karen’s DNA. I saw that from the very beginning of our marriage, but I didn’t want it to be true, so I ignored the signs. My eyes are wide open now, and I see Remy for who she really is, and she’s exactly what I want.

I should’ve never been with Karen. I’m glad I was because of Bailey, but if I could’ve had Bailey with Remy instead, I would’ve been better off. Karen was rude, hot tempered, and just not a good person in general.

“I know her better than you think I do,” I say.

Sam touches my shoulder, but I push him away. “I need to get inside before I get fired,” I say and walk past him.

It’s a grueling eight hours, but at least I didn’t get written up for being late. No one seemed to notice. All day, the only thing I can think about is getting back to Remy. Whatever this thing is between us feels more real than any other relationship I’ve ever been in before.

I pull into the driveway and see a car parked in front I’ve never seen before. I go inside and Sam is standing next to an older woman who I’ve also never seen before.

“Where’s Bailey,” I ask, assuming Remy must be upstairs with her.

“In her playpen,” Sam says. He has a look on his face I don’t quite trust. Like he’s hiding something.

I go upstairs, taking two steps at a time in a rush to see my daughter and Remy. But when I go into the office, Remy isn’t there. Just Bailey, standing up, crying. I pick her up and go back downstairs.

“What the hell is going on?” I ask, trying not to raise my voice so I don’t upset Bailey more than she already is. “Where’s Remy and why the hell was my daughter alone upstairs crying her eyes out?” I’m pissed, and not doing a very good job at holding in temper in front of this stranger. I know Remy wouldn’t just leave Bailey alone like this. Sam has done something. I feel it in my bones.

“I sent Remy home,” Sam says, raising his chin and setting his shoulders. If I weren’t with my child and this old woman, I would hit that smug look right off his face.

“What do you mean you sent her home?” I demand.

“I didn’t think it was appropriate to have her here anymore, and so I had a babysitting service send someone over. This is Deloris.”

I look at the stranger, my blood boiling over. She has a stern mouth, no trace of the patience or tenderness it takes to watch a busy infant. I’m sure she’s perfectly competent, and no doubt a babysitting service runs background checks, but this isn’t the face I want my child to see day in and day out while I’m working. I want Bailey to feel secure. Remy has a way with her warm smiles and gentle voice of putting people at ease. That’s the face I want my child seeing every day. That’s the face I want to see every day.

“You had no right,” I say, voice dipping dangerously low. I hope he hears the threat in it and isn’t as stupid as he looks.

“Actually, I do. I have every right. This is my house now, and I say who gets to be in it. And I don’t want Remy here,” he says defiantly.

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