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|Moonlight on Nightingale Way(On Dublin Street #6)(28) by Samantha Young|
Logan gave me a militant nod. “Let’s do this.”
By the time we reached the door, I had butterflies in my stomach and not the good kind. It didn’t help that Logan banged on the door like he meant business. I stared up at his stern expression and reminded myself that I didn’t actually know him that well, and I had no idea what his reaction to this situation was going to be without Maia around as a buffer.
I guess that made me the buffer this time.
Not even a few seconds passed before the lock turned and the door swung inward to reveal a tall, skinny fellow, wearing nothing but a pair of ratty gray jogging bottoms.
His thinning dark hair was unwashed, his face unshaved, and there was a strong odor of stale sweat reeking from him.
“Aye?” he grunted, scratching his bare belly. Not that he had much of one.
“Is Maryanne home?” Logan said, politely enough.
The skinny man’s answer was to leave the door open, turn around, and walk away.
Logan took that to mean we could enter, and I followed him inside the flat. I was instantly hit with that stench we’d smelled last time we were there. I instinctively huddled closer to Logan as we walked down the narrow hall and into the living room. The skinny man flopped down on an armchair across from us. Maryanne was lying on the couch watching television.
She looked up, her expression giving nothing away.
“Remember us?” Logan scowled at her.
Her eyes narrowed. “What the fuck do you want now?”
I eyed her carefully. She seemed less jittery than last time. I didn’t know enough about substance abuse to understand what that meant. Was she high? Was she not high? Who knew?
Logan forged ahead. “I got a paternity test. Maia is mine.”
“Good detective work.” She snorted, and the skinny man laughed.
Logan ignored them both. “I also got a copy of her birth certificate. You named me as the father on it. You gave her my name.”
“I have legal rights, Maryanne. I’m enforcing them. Maia is living with me from now on. Permanently. Do you have anything to say about that?”
Maryanne just stared at him.
Skinny Man frowned at her. “You gonnae take that?”
“What’s it to you?” Logan said, his tone quietly menacing.
I shifted a little closer to him, sensing the fight in him.
“Nothing.” Skinny Man shrugged and then grinned idiotically. “Wee My was nice to look it, that’s aw.”
Logan lunged, but I was faster. I put myself in front of him, my hands pressed to his chest. “Don’t.”
He grabbed my wrists, glowering over at Skinny Man. “If you fucking touched her, I’ll kill you.”
“Naw, man.” Skinny Man got up out of his chair, backing off. “Mare, tell him I didnae touch her.”
Maryanne grunted. “What would he want a wee bairn for when he’s got me?”
Logan was still tense.
I pressed harder against him, forcing him to look at me. Our eyes locked, and I felt all his pain and frustration and impotence over Maia’s history wash over me. I curled my fingers into his shirt and leaned closer. “They’re not worth it,” I whispered. “Let’s just go.”
He blinked at my words, and I felt him relax, his hands uncurling around my wrists. He looked over at Maryanne. “Does this mean you’re not fighting this?”
“Does it look like it?” She gestured around the room. “What the hell can I do for that wee lassie, eh? She’s better off with you. Why do you think I told her about you? She doesnae need me.”
I shook my head. “You have no idea how wrong you are.”
“Get oot ma house, fancy pants.”
Logan tensed again. “This is it, Maryanne. If you ever coming looking for Maia, you’ll have to go through me first.”
Her answer was to turn up the volume on the television.
Logan could only stare at her in disgust.
I dropped my hands from his chest in order to take his hand in mine, and I led him out of the flat.
And I didn’t let go until we got to the car.
There was more tense silence between us as Logan drove back toward Edinburgh. We were perhaps twenty minutes in the car, however, when he suddenly pulled off the motorway and into a service station car park.
He turned off the engine and just sat there.
I waited, giving him time.
And then, “Who does that?” He slammed his hand on the steering wheel, his chest moving up and down rapidly as he took haggard, quick breaths.
I’d seen him tense, concerned, anxious.
But not like this.
I didn’t know if it was purely about Maryanne, but I suspected it was everything. It was a buildup of everything from the moment he’d opened that paternity letter. Maybe even from the moment Maia had turned up on our landing.
“Logan.” I touched his arm, forcing him to look at me. “Anything you do is going to be better than what Maryanne has done for Maia.”
His eyes blazed. “I could have done this no problem a few years ago, but I’m not that guy anymore. The laid-back guy who could take on anything.”
“You keep saying that. Was prison really that bad?”
He clenched his jaw and looked out of the windshield.
“Logan?” I pressed.
“It… I had to become a different man in order to get through it.”
He sighed heavily. “I don’t want to talk about it. It’s done.”