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The Doherty Mafia #4

Kasey Krane Savannah Rylan

Copyright © 2021 by Kasey Krane & Savannah Rylan

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

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About Kasey Krane

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About Savannah Rylan

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Davey wanted me to look at the picture he had drawn of us at kindergarten that day. He held it up with a bright smile on his face, pointing at the stick figures in crayon. One was him—the smaller one with big green eyes, and the taller one with long yellow hair was me. His mommy. The two figures held hands, walking by a tall tree with apples hanging from its branches.

“It’s beautiful, honey. I love it,” I said, enveloping him in my arms. Then I took the picture and stuck it to our small fridge with a magnet.

“This way, I’ll get to look at it everyday,” I added, lifting him up. He wrapped his small arms around my neck.

“I love you, Mommy,” he said, pouting his lips. I knew what was coming. “I don’t want you to leave tonight.”

I brushed his silky brown hair with my fingers. It had gotten so long, I reminded myself to trim his bangs over the weekend. If I had the time.

I tried to distract myself with other thoughts so my eyes wouldn’t fill with tears. Why was it so hard to leave him? Every night was the same story. I reexamined my life all over again.

Davey was a sweet little boy, caring and loving and unafraid to show his emotions. Of all the stupid shit I’d pulled in my life—I knew I must have done something right to deserve a boy like him.

I wanted to do everything I could to give him a good life. A decent life. I told myself we were just having a rough start, in a few years, things would improve for us. I looked around the apartment as I swayed him in my arms, trying to comfort him so he wouldn’t cry.

The place was small. Tiny. The rooms were cramped with stuff, even though we didn’t own a lot of things. Davey didn’t have many toys. I couldn’t spare a lot of money to pay for things that weren’t essential. I tried to save so we could move to a better neighborhood some day, maybe even get our own place.

I knew my life could have looked a lot different if I didn’t have Davey. If I didn’t get pregnant at the ridiculously young age of eighteen. I had my whole life planned out back then. I was going to go to college. I was going to have a career. But when I found out I was pregnant, I had to give it all up. I had to find a job. Any job.

My mother tried to help us, but she didn’t have the means either. I would never have been able to pay for college, make the time to go to classes and look after a newborn and also somehow earn a living.

So I chose to do the practical thing.

Davey leaned his head on my shoulder as I pressed him to my chest and breathed in the clean soft scent of his hair.

“I’m sorry, honey. I wish I didn’t have to go, but I’ll see you in the morning, okay? I’ll be right here when you wake up,” I said, smiling through my tears.

The babysitter, Nina, arrived fifteen minutes late. Which meant that I was going to be late for my shift.

It wasn’t like I was irreplaceable at the bar. This was New York City, and I was just a waitress. It wouldn’t take them ten minutes to hire someone new if I kept this up.

It was the second time this week I was late and pretty soon, it wasn’t going to look so good for me.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry!” Nina exclaimed, running in through the door.

Davey was sitting on the rug in front of our small TV. His grandmother had gifted him a coloring book recently, so I knew it was going to keep him busy for the rest of the evening.

“I’m going to be late, so I’m going to go,” I said, rushing over to give Davey one last kiss. He looked up at me encouragingly with a smile. Almost like, at the tiny age of three, he already knew how important it was for me to go to this job. As much as I didn’t want to go.

I waved at Nina and ran out of the apartment—taking two steps at a time down the stairs.

“Shit, shit, shit,” I cursed under my breath as I ran to the subway. I couldn’t lose this job. I needed to keep this one. I’d lost too many in the last year and I needed to bring some stability into Davey’s life. I needed to pay the bills. Put food on the table.

Standing squashed up between a crowd of people in the subway, my mind drifted to fantasizing about life as a college student. Dorm rooms. Classes. Coffee dates and parties at night. I never got to experience any of that.

I was a twenty-two year old mom, trying to keep two jobs that paid shit. I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the door of the subway. I had to look away. I didn’t like what I saw.

I didn’t recognize myself. This was not the girl with dreams in her eyes.

But what about Davey? If I had all that—I wouldn’t have him.

And I wouldn’t

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