Home > Hold On (The 'Burg #6)(9)

Hold On (The 'Burg #6)(9)
Author: Kristen Ashley

The dishwasher had bit it and didn’t match, which sucked. But all the appliances, cabinets, countertops, and even the old-school linoleum floor were in excellent shape. I’d worked with it, and the kitchen was just as boho eclectic as the rest of the house, with vintage nostalgia thrown in.

I loved it.

I didn’t take it in right then, however.

I watched Trent reach behind him and pull something out of his back pocket.

It was an envelope, whatever was inside making it thick, and he set it beside his coffee mug on the counter before picking the mug up and taking another sip.

Only then did he look at me.

“Been savin’ awhile, me and Peg,” he said.

“Savin’ for what?” I asked.

“For that,” he answered, nodding his head down to the envelope. “Seein’ as I wasn’t around and didn’t do what I should’ve for my son, been savin’ to try to make that up just a little bit.”

Oh shit.

“There’s three thousand, five hundred dollars in there,” he went on.


It was safe to say I was not rolling in it. But Feb and Morrie paid a decent wage; their bar was established and popular so they could. I also made tips, good ones, so I always had cash on hand. And I didn’t have to pay for anyone looking out for Ethan. When I moved to the ’burg, Mom got a job and moved there about six months after me. If she didn’t look after Ethan while I was at work, Jackie did. Or Feb, if she wasn’t working. Or Mimi, since she had a slew of kids herself, one more was no skin off her nose. Vi was always happy to be on call too. Even Jessie took a turn every once in a while. She was a whackjob (a lovable one, but definitely a whackjob) and she didn’t like kids, but she liked Ethan.

That list went on and all I had to pay was markers for my friends helping out, something I did whenever they needed me to do it.

But I’d do that anyway.

Even so, three and a half thousand dollars was a lot of cake and I could use it simply because I was the bartending single mother of a growing boy. That was probably my Oreo budget for the year, Ethan’s favorite fuel.

It did not scratch the surface of what Trent owed me in a lot of ways.

But he had a job as a janitor, his wife was a part-time assistant for a financial advisor, and they had two young kids at home. I didn’t know for sure, but looking at his piece-of-shit car, even though Peggy drove a nice, newish minivan, I had to guess he had less than me.

Saving that money probably cut and did it deep.

“And I got a raise at work,” Trent continued. “So Peg and me talked, and we figure we can swing it to give you about a hundred every two weeks to help you out with Ethan.”

I stared at him, needing to down more pills and get my ass to McDonald’s so I could also down an Egg McMuffin. Being hungover and having a totally shit morning, what I didn’t need to deal with was the possibility I actually had to express gratitude to a man I once loved who left me high and dry with a kid growing in my belly and went on to a happy life with another woman.

“Cheryl?” he called when I said nothing.

I continued to say nothing because I had no fucking clue what to say.

Finally, I found it.

“Cool of you,” I muttered.

He nodded, looking funny, and I didn’t know this new and improved Trent very well, so I didn’t get that look. I thought it was disappointment, like he’d hoped I’d decline so he could buy his son a new crib or something.

As I was often in my life, I found out pretty quickly I was wrong.

“Also, Peg and me want you to think about something.”

I felt my teeth clench, which made my aching head start to throb.

Trent didn’t talk about Trent, not ever. He talked about Trent and Peg. It was like they were one person with one mind, and I got the feeling that mind was all hers. She had the leash on her man, frequently yanked the chain, and he was so devoted, he just panted happily and obeyed her every command.

The okay part about this was that what Peg wanted was good for Ethan.

The sad part about this was seeing a man, any man, much less one I’d once loved and thought I had a future with, brought to heel.

“What do you want me to think about?” I asked when he didn’t share any more.

He took another sip of coffee, then put the mug to the counter, his body straightening. Mine straightened with it, automatically bracing.

“We wanna see more of Ethan,” he announced.


He lifted a hand. “I know we live in Indy, but Peg and me think Ethan’s at a time in his life where he needs more time with his dad.”

“Trent—” I tried to get in, but he kept speaking.

“So we want you to consider shared custody. One week with you. One week with us. We won’t change his school or anything. We’ll get up early, get him to school, arrange for him to be picked up so he can get home. We don’t have it all worked out now, but we’re closin’ in on it.”

There were so many things wrong with this idea, my head clogged with them all.

Even in my state, I managed to focus on one.

“You gettin’ up early to get Ethan to school means Ethan’s gotta get up early,” I pointed out.

Trent nodded. “It might be hard in the beginning for him to adjust, but he likes bein’ at Peg’s and my place. Bein’ with his brother and sister. He’ll get used to it because he’ll dig what he gets out of it. And Peg and me are already lookin’ for places on the west side so we’ll be closer to the ’burg and can shave off ten, fifteen minutes of the school commute.”

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Sinclairs series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
» Fixed series
Most Popular
» A Thousand Letters
» Wasted Words
» My Not So Perfect Life
» Caraval (Caraval #1)
» The Sun Is Also a Star
» Everything, Everything
» Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3)
» Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)
» Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels #1)
» Norse Mythology