“Are you sure there wasn’t something else we were supposed to do before we left? Didn’t we promise Mom we’d run an errand for her?” Wandering around the kitchen, pretending to look for the car keys, I glanced over at Maddox. He was leaning against the table, watching me. “I’m sure there was something. Can you remember what it was?”
“We’re supposed to run down tomorrow and place an order at the bakery. She wanted us to have treats for the ride back and the first day or two at school.” Maddox stood up and walked over to me. His hands came up and started rubbing my arms tenderly. “What are you doing, B?”
“Looking for my keys and making sure we didn’t forget anything.” I tried to play innocent.
“Your keys are in your pocket and have been for almost ten minutes now. They’re not in the fridge or the cabinet or mixed in with the mail. You also haven’t forgotten anything because we’ve been over the to-do list three times in the past week.” He leaned in close and gave me a kiss on my forehead. Pulling back, he smiled at me and pressed again. “What are you avoiding? Or maybe I should ask what you’re worried about?”
I looked at him helplessly, not sure I could explain it.
“Do we need to cancel dinner? You’ve emailed both of them several times and when we were over at the store last week, you didn’t say no. You stood right there at the checkout while I said yes. Is all this about going over to Sarah and Richard’s house, or something else?” Maddox wasn’t upset. But it was easy to see that he was starting to get worried.
“I don’t know?” I didn’t mean for it to come out as a question, so I tried again. “I don’t know. Maybe it’s everything. Dinner…the summer being almost over…school starting again…just everything.”
Maddox pulled me close and wrapped his arms around me, letting me rest my face against his neck. I’d been doing better about the whole playing ostrich thing, but sometimes I still needed it. His voice deepened into the tone he occasionally used on me. “I’m very proud of you for being able to talk to me about what you’re feeling.”
He let me relax and cuddle with him for a little bit longer before he spoke again. “Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to go back upstairs for a minute. Then we’re going to head over to dinner. On the way over, if there’s something specific you want to talk about, we will. Otherwise, we’re going to hang out and have fun while we drive. You’re going to do your best to put your worries out of your head for a while because thinking about them isn’t making you feel better. When you’re ready, we’ll start addressing them.”
“Yes, Daddy.” I took another deep breath, smelling the unique scent that was all Maddox and pulled away. “I’m ready to go upstairs.”
I didn’t ask what he was going to do or what the plan was as we walked out of the kitchen, heading for the bedroom. Yeah, there was a little part of me that might have been too embarrassed to ask. But mostly, it was trust. He would do what he thought would help. I had complete confidence in him.
Even I could see I was much more functional now than I had been at the beginning of the summer when everything first happened. Some of that was work on my part, but I think most of it had to do with him.
He kept me grounded and accepted me. It was amazing how much simpler things were when you knew you had someone standing right there with you. I was still easily embarrassed and prone to hiding during stressful moments, but much better overall.
He was probably going to do something that would make me a little nuts, but that was okay. He was Daddy and that was what mattered. He would help me keep the worries at bay and handle things that came up. I had to keep reminding myself of that when the panic started to stir.
Which wasn’t that often lately.
Hell, we’d gone to the toy store and bought that cock cage last week and I hadn’t hidden at all. I’d been functional. I might not have been able to say the word out loud yet, but I could think it without wanting to climb under the bed. Big improvement, really. I’d also touched it and read the instructions.
At Maddox’s insistence.
But still, I’d done it.
Keep on reading!