Mom sighs. “Like I said, slow. I married Leighton the same day I met him.” She’s real proud of this.
“The same day?” MJ’s jaw drops to her chest.
“Yes. We bumped into each other at the courthouse. Daddy had sent me down to the recorder’s office to look at a title and Leighton was there trying to steal that piece of property right out from under our nose. After a small discussion we agreed that Leighton would withdraw his claim to the property so long as I went over to the clerk’s office with him and filed for our marriage papers.”
“No waiting period or anything?” MJ can’t take her eyes off Mom. The story is riveting, I guess. Sav and I have heard it so many times, though, we could recite it by heart.
“Time has no defense against love,” we chime in unison.
“Really, children. This is my love story,” Mom chides. “If you want to speak up, get your own story. When did the two of you meet?”
“Ahhh…” MJ throws a nervous glance in my direction as if she’s worried I’m going to take Mom’s question the wrong way.
I arch my eyebrow, telling her to spill the details of our three-day-long relationship.
“Erm, a few days ago,” she mumbles.
“Tsk. Tsk.” Mom turns to Sav. “You’re my only hope, darling. The boys disappointed me but you can pull through.”
“Sure, Mom, as soon as I find a guy more interested in what’s in my panties than what’s in my bank account. Know any, MJ?”
“She better not,” I growl.
“Really, Cullen,” Mom interjects.
“Neanderthal much?” Sav says at the same time.
MJ’s mouth twitches again. She, apparently, loves seeing my mom and sister dogpile me. But if that’s what it takes for her to let her defenses down and see all the love I have for her, then I’ll lie on the floor and let the two women take turns stomping on my ball sack. That’s how much I fucking want her. Not that I can say that because it would send MJ screaming for the door.
I paste on a mock scowl and fold my arms across my chest. “What? I’m supposed to be glad that my woman knows single men? Hell, no. I’d like the whole damn kitchen to be either women or have no dicks.”
“Lesbians exist, Cullen.”
“I know. I work with one, but that doesn’t mean shit. Tony wouldn’t hit on a woman unless the woman was a lesbian.” And MJ is definitely not a lesbian.
“Can we stop talking about my sexual preferences?” MJ says. She’s moved on from cutting and is now mixing things together and it’s smelling fucking awesome.
“Yes, of course. I raised the two of these with better manners, I promise. Tell me what I can do to help, dear,” Mom says, jumping up from her chair.
Sav and I watch in amazement as our mother, who hasn’t stepped foot in a kitchen for as long as we have memories, rounds the end of the island to peer over MJ’s shoulder.
“Mom really likes her,” Sav whispers in my ear.
“Of course I really like her,” Mom declares. Sav momentarily forgot the supersonic hearing Mom possesses. It’s a skill she developed so she could tell when Madd and I started fighting on the other end of our Park Avenue brownstone. “What’s not to like? She’s independent, skilled, and caring. Maddox shared that you raised Luna since you were eighteen. What a selfless and wonderful thing you did.”
MJ brushes the praise off. “It’s what anyone else would’ve done.”
“No. Everyone else would want to do what you did but only a few would put in the actual work. It’s hard raising children. I raised three, had a nanny, a chef, a driver, and all the money in the world to help me and it was still a task. I mean, look at them.” Mom points a jewel-laden finger in our direction. Sav and I do our best to look innocent but by MJ’s narrowed gaze, I don’t think it’s working. “As I said, raising children is difficult and I had every resource available. I can’t imagine what a challenge it was for you—young and alone. It’s very impressive. Luna is wonderful and so much of that can be attributed to how well you loved her.”
“Th-thank you,” MJ says. She blinks rapidly. “Luna’s easy to love,” she says after clearing her throat a couple of times.
“As are you,” Mom murmurs, rubbing a hand across MJ’s shoulders. MJ leans into that touch, like a cat getting a good rub around the ears.
For a long time, MJ’s been on her own. Maybe having seen my family, she’ll realize that she doesn’t have to be. Not anymore.
“They don’t call it a push-up bra for nothing!” Luna says, her eyes locked on my boobs. “They look bigger than mine.” She looks down at her own boobs, which have a sash across them. It’s blinking a million different colors but those lights don’t distract from the penis pins Savannah put on the thing.