“I don’t blame Sam for reacting the way that she did, but it’s not healthy. Vulnerability, love, connection… these are the things that humans need to be happy, to be whole, really. She’s hurting herself now, and she’s hurting innocent people with this behavior as well, such as yourself Tilly. I hate to admit it, but I don’t really know what to do with her. Nothing I try seems to be of any help.”

I shake my head, the tea and cookies forgotten.

“I don’t know either, Mr. Nelson. Therapy? More love and attention from you? I’m just as lost as you.”

He looks down at his hands and sighs again.

“Thanks, Tilly. I definitely appreciate your suggestions, and I’m happy to put Sam in therapy. But I’m rambling on and on now. The point of all of this is that you didn’t deserve to be treated the way you were, and I’m sorry. As far as I can see, you’re a kind, beautiful, and smart young lady. I sincerely hope this event doesn’t alter the way you see yourself, Tilly.”

I’m so moved by his willingness to open up to me that I don’t know what to say. I take a sip of my tea and mull over all this new information. What does this handsome man really want from me? He’s got something up his sleeve, and I’m not sure what it is.

7

Mike

“Mr. Nelson,” Tilly says to me, pausing to carefully choose her next words.

“Call me Michael, please.”

“Michael, from what I have heard and seen so far, I think that you’re a great father.”

I sit back, startled.

“That’s very kind of you, but I know that Sam has become a bitch. You don’t have the hide the truth from me. I know just how terrible she is.”

But the beautiful girl smiles at me and takes my hand.

“No, don’t even think like that! Divorce is hard on everyone, especially when one parent disappears altogether. This isn’t an easy situation, and the fact that Sam isn’t lashing out even more says a lot about how she was raised. Many people her age would rebel and turn to alcohol, drugs, and god knows what else. Sure, her behavior hasn’t been ideal, but as you said, you are trying. There’s no guidebook to being a single dad after all, and I think you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself.”

I’m blown away. Tilly has just offered me a clear-eyed perspective on the situation, one that I myself have completely overlooked until now. Of course, things weren’t going to go smoothly because Eva disappeared, for crying out loud.

But who would have thought that the young lady my daughter bullied at school would be the one to help ease my mind about my daughter’s behavioral problems? It’s astonishing, and I’m grateful for Tilly’s maturity and insight.

“Samantha is obviously struggling, but just give her some time,” she promises me. “Things will work out, I promise.”

It amazes me how genuinely good Tilly is. To not only understand, but to then stand up for her bully. To be generous enough to sit down and listen to me rant about my personal life when I am supposed to be here offering her condolences. I’m a little blown away, to put it lightly.

Tilly starts to talk again, but I can’t help myself anymore. I’ve been denying my physical attraction to the curvy girl, telling myself that it’s wrong and she’s way too young. But hearing her talk shows me that she’s far more mature than I’d anticipated, with the personal strength and wisdom to handle a real man. I turn my logical brain off and just give into my desires.

I want to make love to Tilly Mortensen.

She’s mid-sentence, but I can’t wait any longer. She’s just too gorgeous and curvy, and I can’t resist. I slide across the couch and take her chin in my hand.

“I know this is crazy, and I’m sorry if I am making you uncomfortable,” I begin. “But I’ve been impressed with you, Tilly. You’ve blown away all of my pre-conceptions about teenage girls, and well …”

I stop talking and merely seize her mouth in a desperate kiss. She’s sweet and tastes like sugar. At first, Tilly presses against my shoulders with her hands, but then her arms slide around my neck.

“Mr. Nelson,” she gasps, pulling back for a moment. “We shouldn’t.”

I lean my forehead against hers. We’re both breathing hard.

“I know we shouldn’t, but I had to,” is my raspy reply. “You’re so beautiful, Tilly, and I’ve wanted you since this morning.”

Her cheeks flush and her bottom lip trembles a bit.

“Really?” she asks.

“Really,” I affirm. The curvy girl thinks for a bit, and I watch while holding my breath. What will this beautiful woman decide? Will she throw me out, or will I be given the chance to continue my pleasurable assault? Evidently, it’s the latter because she smiles at me then, her cheeks coloring.


Tags: Winter Renshaw Romance
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