With Blaire beside me during dinner I wasn’t going to be able to focus on Nan. I was going to be protecting Blaire. When Nan had woken up from her coma and she’d found out about the baby she had almost seemed to thaw a little toward Blaire. Then she’d found out Abe wasn’t her father. Kiro was.
Nan had been spiraling out of control since then. I understood her desire to have a parent who loved her. I had hated Abe Wynn for years because of the fact my little sister was so broken. But it hadn’t been Abe’s fault. My mother should have been honest and f**king Kiro should have stepped in like my father had and done something.
Blaire squeezed my hand tightly as we stepped into the dining room. I scanned the room and was relieved that Nan wasn’t here yet. I wanted to get Blaire seated and relaxed before my sister showed up.
“You require this family gathering up and you show up late,” Kiro drawled as he leaned back in his chair and took in the sight of Blaire. I was beginning to hate the man. For several reasons.
“Nan isn’t here yet. We’re not late,” I replied and walked Blaire to the other end of the table and sat her down beside Dean and I took the chair on the other side of her.
“He’s in rare form. Started hitting the rum early,” Dean explained to Blaire. The apologetic look on my dad’s face reminded me that he wasn’t as heartless as his friend. I knew that already. He hadn’t ignored me. But then Kiro hadn’t ignored Harlow either. However, I wondered if she would’ve been if her mother’s mother hadn’t taken her in. Kiro only supplied the money. Her grandmother had raised her. He’d just shown up with ponies and promises he never kept.
“I’m just being me,” Kiro called out from his end of the long table. “You keeping that pretty girl of yours far away from me, aren’t you?” Kiro said with a laugh. “I’m just looking, boy. It isn’t like I’m gonna touch her. She’s carrying your kid. I stay away from the pregnant ones. I don’t want anymore kids blamed on me.”
Blaire tensed beside me and I rested my hand on her leg. This wasn’t something that should upset her. It was a good thing. Even if I wanted him to stop looking at her.
“Daddy, leave Rush and Blaire alone. Your teasing them just makes everyone uncomfortable,” Harlow said. She’d been sitting quietly to the left of Kiro. She rarely talked so I wasn’t used to her soft-spoken voice. It still amazed me that the man had produced her. She was nothing like Kiro. She was also the only person who could make Kiro calm down. Her voice seemed to ease him.
“Alright, darlin’. I don’t wanna ruin your dinner. I was just funning around.”
“No funning,” she replied in a gentle command.
Blaire ducked her head beside me. “I like her,” she whispered so softly I almost hadn’t heard her. I smiled. I hadn’t been wrong about Harlow if Blaire liked her. She was genuinely a nice girl. Nan was going to give her hell.
The loud clack of heels hit the marble floor leading into the dining room. I tensed and prepared myself for Nan. She swooped into the room wearing a short, ice blue, fluffy looking dress and stilettos on and her long red hair was pulled up on her head with curls falling loosely around her face. She had made sure she looked good for this. That was Nan. I watched as her eyes took in everyone at the table with a haughty glance.
The irritated gleam in her eyes as she noticed Blaire was nothing compared to the hateful glare she shot at Harlow. I waited to see if she was going to say something I needed to shut down. Harlow kept her gaze down and she played with the napkin in her lap. The tension in the room was thick and I hated that Nan thought she had to do this to get attention.
“Sit down girl and stop standing there snarling. We want to eat,” Kiro said flippantly and Nan’s eyes flashed angrily. She looked at the other seat beside Kiro and then walked past it to sit down on the other side of Dean. The little girl in her was still afraid of rejection. She knew my dad wasn’t going to reject her.
“I didn’t know you’d brought her,” Nan snapped.
Blaire was so tense beside me I wanted to pull her up against me until she relaxed. “Of course I did. She goes where I go.”
Nan rolled her eyes. “I miss the old Rush.”
“I don’t,” I replied.
“This is a family matter. You think you could handle just a few moments away from him or are you planning on smothering him the rest of his life?” Nan’s hurt was turning into bitterness fast. She wasn’t going to take it out on Blaire, though.
I leaned forward on the table and leveled her with my steady gaze. “Do not ever speak to her that way again. If she hadn’t agreed to come with me I wouldn’t have come. Don’t underestimate her importance. She’s mine. Respect that.”
Nan bristled and sat back in her chair. I hated talking to her this way when I knew she was hurting. But Blaire came first. Always.
“I’m starving. Where’s the damn food?” Kiro called out loudly. Two women in their early twenties came hurrying out with trays. Normally there weren’t waiters for meals around here. Dean and Kiro weren’t big on formal meals. But Dean had called in a catering company to handle tonight’s meal. The women had a star-struck look in their eyes as they set about putting the appetizers on the table and taking drink orders.
“Look at you,” Kiro said as he slid a hand up one of the women’s leg.
“Daddy, don’t,” Harlow whispered.
Kiro let out a hard laugh and winked at the server. “Later.”
“God. I can’t believe my mother slept with that man,” Nan said a little too loudly.
“Don’t go there, Nannette,” Dean warned her. It was too late. I could see the annoyed amusement in Kiro’s eyes.
“Why ever not? I’m a f**king rock god, little girl. A f**king. Rock. God.” He took a sip of his drink then smiled. “All women want a taste. Your momma was no different.”
“Daddy, please,” Harlow said, reaching over and touching his arm lightly.
“My mother was too young to know better,” Nan shot back.
“She wasn’t that young. She was just trying her damnedest to sleep with every one of us. I think she can officially claim the record of ‘has f**ked all of Slacker Demon’ and that’s not an easy feat. Dean is pickier than most.”
Nan’s face paled and I knew I needed to step in before this got out of hand. “Thanks Kiro for making sure we were aware of our mother’s sexual habits when she was younger. Now, could we move on from that and try to all get along?”
Kiro nodded. “Of course. Let’s eat some of this shit.”
The servers quickly started walking around the table with the trays of food and asking us what we wanted. Blaire turned down most all of the appetizers. She only took a slice of bread.
“Why aren’t you eating more than that?” I asked, concerned.
She leaned into me so no one would hear her. “Because I can’t eat raw meats or cheeses with unpasteurized milk while I’m pregnant.”
Shit. Something else I didn’t know. I pushed my chair back and headed for the kitchen. They were going to make her something she could eat.