Even if he is somehow half as gorgeous now as then, I think I’d still be more grateful for having space away from my step-mom. “Jean was on my case already. I can’t wait until I have a job and can get out of there.” I rush through what it has been like, having an evil step-mom straight out of a Disney story.

“We could make room here; it’ll be like a sleepover. With it being just Dad and me, it’s not like you’d be in the way. Plus, there are like six unused bedrooms. He’s never home anyway, what with work and traveling for work.” Tasha is playing with her phone as she talks, texting as if I can’t see her fingers sliding across the screen. Swype is nowhere near as stealthy as she thinks it is.

“Who is he?” I ask. A boyfriend is the only person she would be texting like that. We have not had secrets between us in years, except for the one about me crushing on her dad when we were little. Even that was not so much of a secret but more of an omission. We were only sixteen years old when Tasha caught me staring at her dad while he played racquetball; I had promised over a bottle of stolen rum in our hideout that I would never sleep with her dad. Fast forward six years, I’m equally proud and dismayed to say I have not gone back on my promise.

“His name is Chris.” I practically can hear her rolling her eyes at me. “And it’s been four months,” Tasha says before I can ask how long they have been dating. “He’s not exactly someone my dad would approve of. I mean, he has a job and stuff, and he’s really good to me, but he’s just not our families’ sort of person. You know what I mean?”

The cement is cold beneath my fingers as I pull myself out from under the workspace to look at Tasha. “Wrong side of the tracks?” I question.

She nods, giving me a small smile. “He’s a mechanic.” She brings over her phone and shows me a picture. He’s tall and good looking, long hair pulled back in a ponytail. There’s a carefree smirk that isn’t quite a smile which reminds me of the artists at my school who spent a bit too much time with hallucinogens as inspiration.

“Chris is cute,” I tell her. He isn’t my type, but I can definitely see the appeal. His blue eyes are piercing, and they shine with amusement at whatever Tasha was saying before taking his photograph. It’s clear to see that he loves her.

“Maybe we can go out sometime so you can meet him.” Oh, joy, being a third wheel sounds like so much fun… “You know, Lia, there are still some of the guys from high school around town who are worthy of your attention.” Unsure that any of the boys could measure up to the standards set by my long-term crush, I make a non-committal sound while she rambles. It was an adequate response, and Tasha resumes gushing about Chris. “I know that four months is still too early to talk about forever and all, but he was hinting at getting me a promise ring for my birthday. Just something small, but he wants to show my dad that we’re committed when they meet. He’ll have Sundays off starting next month, so I’m going to plan to have him over for a family dinner then. You should come too; you can be the moderator if Dad yells.”

I am about to open my mouth and tell her I need to meet this Chris-who-wants-to-buy-her-a-promise-ring like yesterday and make sure he’s the right guy for her when we hear the crunch of tires on gravel at the far end of their driveway. As a car door closes and the sound of footfalls brings the driver nearer, my heart stops beating. It kicks to a start a moment later as my mouth goes dry.

Beck Huntsworth has gone from being a hot dad I’d like to fuck to full-blown silver fox. His formal business attire completes the image. His hair was always light blond, but now it is thick and blonde like silvery moonlight. Memories flood me of the sculpture I once made of him for a college project on building a clay figure without a model to reference. From the cut of his jaw to his long, muscular legs, he oozes sex appeal like a modern David. My fingers itch to run along the hint of stubble, and I clench my thighs together to avoid arching my back and offering myself up to him.

“You’re home early, Dad.” Tasha sounds dismayed at having to share me.

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