Webnovel

1 O N E

Couldn't her day get any better? Anna groans in pain after slipping on the floor from chasing Aoife around in the apartment complex. It's just a damn bath.

"Aoife! Honey, your father will be here soon and you need to get ready!" Anna shouts with her coarse throat. She's been overworking herself for the past couple weeks after discovering that pile of dead meat (ex-husband) has found her and her belligerent daughter's, whereabouts.

Things have been a run-down mill and it's worse with the Parent-Teacher Conference. Anna is dreading it. Badly. With a reason being, it's always the same thing. "Your daughter needs to be controlled."

Anna does! ...To an extent. She doesn't believe in being one of the controlling mothers. Anna's beliefs that give her a sour taste on the palate. Some could say life gives her lemons; she had too much in her opinion.

Anna already knows where her daughter is. Nearing Aoife who currently hiding her small body under their couch, she softly mumbled. If Anna didn't have the greatest of hearing she could miss it.

"Don't want to see daddy... he makes you sad." A weak smile forms on Anna's heart-shaped face. Her daughter being blunt about her feelings can make Anna feel sorry or somewhat happy - it's random lingering thoughts most of the time. The feels, she does her best to suppress in the frontline of her daughter's grey eyes. They've always held a lot of light, a little less nowadays.

Anna crouches down to lay on her stomach, stretching out her arm under the piece of furniture, she indicates for Aoife to crawl out. Aoife does and tightly hugs Anna after they sit up properly. Both mother and daughter's curly hair messes up the hug a bit. The hair color is different, Aoife got her silky black from her father. Anna's hair can easily remind you of dark chocolate.

She has gotta compliments about people saying it looks good enough to eat. Which is weird. Anna thinks a lot of things are weird. Anna thinks her carefree daughter liking pickles with mayo is weird. Then again Anna had that when she was pregnant with Aoife so whose to judge.

Aoife gives a big wet kiss to her adoring mother and runs off giggling as before to keep Anna busy. Anna sighs, chuckling right after hoping somewhere down the line she will actually get her dressed for this conference.

***

"No, what I'm trying to say is her energy is beautiful, artistic. I think and believe that the best way for her to use it in this class is to be the focus of the subject on hand. For example, if we're to draw something unique about a person, Aoife in this matter - then all focus would be on her. However, at the same time, because it's about herself, she will be more entitled to creating a picture of herself and less distracted on those around her." The art teacher is rambling to Anna on how to use her daughter's energy in the class.

Anna is speechless.

"I also know this can help make things less disruptive in class. Aoife is a delightful one," she chirps. Anna nearly cringes. Anyone who radiates such thoughtfulness makes her feel awkward. Especially towards her daughter since lately, no one could care less.

What the fuck? First, her ex doesn't come and now this? Okay maybe her day is getting better.

Anna is sure about this woman and tries her best to go through the different folders in her brain to convey a response as a mother. Anything somewhat professional but unlike most others who could brag or seem snobbish - Anna is reserved. Although, she's not going to lie about having a sharp mouth.

At this point, Anna just thought what seems to be suitable and murmurs a simple, "Thank you," whilst looking into the familiar light brown, wide-eyed artistic teacher. Anna was wondering why her odd friendliness gave her a start. Anna put the thought aside believing she was just overthinking something ridiculous.

Anna never liked that prestigious school her ex put their daughter in. Although she understands he did it so Aoife can attain the best education, it portrayed to be too harsh on a personality such as Aoife's.

Currently, as the two adults talk, Aoife scribbles away on a piece of paper while sitting on one of the big wooden art tables. Aoife isn't aware of them staring except the greatest turbulence - her hair. The thick curly mass is irritating her from consistently getting in her way. Sometimes she wishes to get a haircut, but making it shorter could be worse. Regardless of so, she still loves her long banana curls.

Aoife goes back to concentrating on her doodles, more specifically her Crayola masterpiece. It's her giving her mother a small piece of the caramel apple and Aoife smiling ear to ear, having the rest for herself. Aoife puts down the orange and grabs the brown to color in around her mouth. It's quite messy to an artist's point of view but still somewhat thoughtful.

Aoife beams, showing great pride in her artwork. She does know for a fact Mrs. Grundy, her art teacher, would love it. Her mother, on the other hand, would put it with the many others on their fridge. After staring at it for a good amount of minutes.

As fast as it came, her smile turns into a deep frown upon hearing the low and husky voice of a man. All the while hearing her mother's nose flare - her mother isn't fun when she's mad. Aoife is a smart kid and knows what it took to have her reserve mom go to piss off in mere seconds.

"You...," Anna seethe, mama bear lost her berries or in Anna's case - her fucking marbles. She still has no clue how she manages not to scream at the man. "What makes you think you have the right to be here?" Shrilling out her words seems a more obvious term.

Anna completely ignores the other whatchamacallit in the room. Mrs. Grundy's eyes could've popped out of her head even more by the sudden change demeanor in Anna, knowing well enough what it's like. Mrs. Grundy can say the same for herself.

It's quite depressing, actually, she thinks. Watching the women who sported an extra foot taller than her 5'1, try to control her temper by clenching her fists. Mrs, Grundy's eyes travel over to the man that seems overly familiar.

Other than having the height of a hulk, his muscles protruding out of his black Armani suit made her gulp. His brown eyes rake her body only for a quick moment before flickering over to Aoife and then Anna. The sleek wad of black hair pulled back - still, some bed hair sticking out - seems to have made his jawline so sharp. I can cut a crayon on that jaw.

Let's not forget that overbearing smirk, Mrs, Grundy won't lie about it making her almost wet. However, she can tell full well it makes Anna wish Anna was thrown off a cliff.

His husky voice sounds scratchy. "She's my daughter too," he remarks - almost too cockily, almost as if Aoife was just a prize he won.

This bothers Anna, if he even thought of that, he might as well show Aoife means more. Anna can easily make a big deal out of anything if she let it shows. Nevertheless, this man could at least have the goddamn decency to pick them up and actually attend the meetings with the other teachers; not show up on the last second. It's about their daughter, not just hers.

"Could've had a nice concept of coming earlier," Anna snarls.

He narrows his eyes, wondering why Anna is asking a question she should know the answer to. "I was in a meeting," he replied sardonically. His eyes flicker over to the little body with the great grey eyes he'd never get tired of.

Aoife's lips barely moved, neither limbs didn't either. Aoife is confused about either running up to him or her mother.

"A meeting? Or were you fucking a girl," Anna snaps venomously? The 26-year-old Mrs. Grundy tense upon hearing that accusation. Did Anna notice? Luckily Anna didn't pay attention to Mrs.Grundy.

A shadow of emotion flashes in his murky brown eyes, Anna can tell if her words hit the bullseye. Anna scoffs as her face crumbles in disgust.

At this point, Aoife feels the need to go up to her mother and try to draw her attention away. Maybe show her the drawing too, it could make her smile or happy! Although, Aoife has an inkling it might not be a success.

Biting on her lower lip which trembles, Aoife picks her fingernails by the anxious feeling darkening her chest. She takes a quick glance at the tall and broad man, only barely remembering happy times. Nibbling on her lip harder, Aoife carefully grabs her artwork and hides it behind her back. She takes a big deep breath.

Most kids could creep up or walk slow, Aoife is the complete opposite and rushes to her mother's side spouting, "Mitéra, mitéra, mitéra!" A gleaming smile showing off her pearly white baby teeth.

Anna's scowl easily diminishes at the prospect of her daughter. "I made this for you!" Aoife nearly shouts with her high-pitched voice, practically forcing the art piece in Anna's hands.

Despite the earlier scenario, Aoife jumps up and down in excitement as Anna is perplexed by what her daughter drew. Anna squints in confusion at the generosity of the apple's portion size. Eventually, Anna shrugs it away and still goes to praise her daughter. Ignoring the elephant in the room.

"It's beautiful baby, thank you so much," she grins and goes to pick up her daughter, sitting her on her hip. Aoife shouts the welcome to the mother hoping that behind her smile, it's really a smile.

***

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