Authors: Frankie Love
“I need her in a way that won’t take no for answer.”
When Catalina walks in the door, my heart stops.
She’s my best friend’s little sister, Etta’s babysitter,
and hot as hell.
The timing is all wrong.
She’s too young, lost, and doesn’t know what she wants.
I have a baby and don’t need another person to take care of.
But then I take her against the wall and she finds her way into my motherf*cking heart.
The truth is, I’m the lost cause, and Catalina might be the one person who can save me.
I came to LA needing to escape an a-hole who was using me.
Six months later I end up at Jude’s house.
I’m a hot mess … but Jude? He’s hotter.
And walking into his home, seeing that Etta’s mother skipped town,
I realize I’m not the only mess around.
It starts as a one-afternoon stand— two people craving connection.
But quickly becomes more.
Trouble is, my past is catching up with me.
We might not have forever — but we have today.
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Copyright © 2016 by Frankie Love
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alling in love fucking sucks
No one tells you that. Or at least, no one I listen to told me that.
But damn, it’s the truth.
And standing in my driveway, watching Rachel throw her tote bags into the car with a man I don’t know—not even stopping to think about her daughter—I realize that I never loved this woman.
It was Etta who taught me about love.
When Etta was born, I knew I was a goner. She was small and precious, and would sleep in my arms. It was a love that I could contain, that I could manage. That I could literally hold in my hands.
But there’s a lot of pressure with that amount of responsibility. Etta needs me. I can’t fuck it up. Her life is on the line.
And that terrifies me.
is what sucks.
Now, I’m all this six-month old girl has got—because her mother is determined to go, and God knows Rachel is not a force that can be stopped.
“I’m done with this life, Jude,” Rachel shouts, apparently having determined that I’m the root of her problems. Me, the guy who’s fucking taken care of her for the past eighteen months without asking for a single thing in return.
Me, the guy who would take care of her forever because I don’t quit on people, even when I should.
Especially not when that person is my daughter’s mother.
“Why today, of all days, do you choose to go?” I ask, wanting to understand how she could just up and leave on a random Tuesday morning while Etta is asleep in her crib.
“Because Conrad here promised to take me on a road trip.” Rachel is high, her glassy eyes and stringy hair the epitome of a mess, her mind already made up. She hasn’t wanted to be here for weeks. She never came home last night, and now, at six a.m., she shows up, strung out and packing her clothes.
“Etta needs her mother,” I try. “You need help, Rachel. Let me help you.” I’m already thinking about the rehab centers I’ve called, the ones who are willing to take her any time she will admit herself.
I’m guessing that now, with Conrad behind his wheel, smoking his damn cigarette, smirking at our domestic exchange, she must think she has better prospects.
Fuck this shit. I know Etta and I are the best things that have ever happened to Rachel, but she’s so hell bent on fucking up every good thing she has going.
“Etta doesn’t need me,” Rachel says, frowning, not having any of it. “She has you.
. You fucking think you can save every lost cause in the world. But I’m done, I’m out. I don’t need your saving.”
I want to scream, punch something. Fucking show her that she’s being unreasonable. Crazy.
I don’t want her to stay for
… I want her to stay for Etta. I want her to get cleaned up and learn what truly matters.
Instead, Rachel opens the passenger door, slides inside. She offers me a small noncommittal wave, before letting Conrad drive her away.
“Fuck!” I scream to the sky.
How the hell did I get here, to today? My life is a joke, a fucking dick tease where I’m the one left with blue balls.
I’m here, in a fancy-ass house in Los Angeles, with more on my plate than I can fucking handle.
Watching her leave down the road in another man’s car, I swear it: I’m over women. Over the drama and the fucking bullshit and the games and the disappearing and the falling in and out. And the falling apart.
I am over women.
And I swear: besides Etta, I’ll never have one for longer than a single night ever again.
Going back into the house, I hear Etta stirring. It’s a solid hour before she usually wakes, but maybe somehow she knows that her mom just left her. Left us.
Still, I can’t help wondering how my life got to this point. How did I start off
this town, and end up here?
Eight months ago I made a film with Hollywood Holden and Oscar-nominated actress Bexley Madden. And now? Now I’m looking at a six-month-old baby girl, who looks nothing like me: different eyes, different nose, different hair.
And her mom is gone.
Getting tied up with Rachel changed everything. My friends thought I should have walked away in the first place, and never let a woman like Rachel into my life. Before Etta, Rachel was a model with a handful of high-end contracts, but every time she was close to making a real name for herself she sabotaged her opportunities. She was a messed up, beautiful wreck of a girl with more problems than I could handle.
But I wanted to help her, plain and simple. I don’t know if that makes me a fool or a saint.
Maybe I do have some complex about wanting to save people, take care of people. But is that such a fucking bad thing? To want to fix things? Make things right? Better?
No one did that for me as a kid and growing up, always fending for myself, fucking sucked.
I can’t go back and change things for myself, but I can do my best to change things for the people around me. To step in. Step up.
But nothing’s better now than it was when Rachel and I met. All that effort, all that work to take care of her. For what?
Etta’s crying, ready for a diaper change and a bottle. I can give her that. I want to give her that. I swear I’ll give her that for now, forever. For as long as she needs me.
A few years back, I was such a different person. I spent my whole life being a so-called bad boy. I had it all: women, booze, and a cock that always got me what I wanted.
But now? As long as I have Etta, I’ll never be that man again.
Etta sees me through the rungs of the crib. She knows I’m watching her. She sees me.
I just hope I’m enough.
Because, hell—right now, I’m all she’s got.