Pete brought Tweety home just as Avery was coming out the house with two cakes and a large bag full of toys. The chocolate cakes were her contribution to the family dinner. The toys were for the children to play with once they got there.
As custom, Avery attended as many family dinners as she could. She always made sure to bring along food items to add to the meal. The rest of the Waldenhall siblings did the same thing. Congregating like this kept their expanding family close and their bonds tight.
Unfortunately, when Avery was with Pete, she missed a lot of family dinners. He’d wanted her all to himself. He still did…with Tweety, of course. Skeet could keep Skyler Jr. since Pete wasn’t interested in playing stepfather to another man’s child.
Parking in front of Avery’s house, Pete got and went to escort Tweety out of the backseat. He made a habit of doing courteous things like that for his daughter. This way, when Tweety got older, she would expect and demand more of the same from other men.
“Hey, Mommy!” Tweety said, stepping out the car door Pete held open for her. She ran to hug her mother about the legs since Avery’s arms were currently occupied.
“Hey, baby.” Avery beamed down at her firstborn.
Pete felt a sliver of jealousy shoot through him. He remembered when Avery used to call him that. If only he could rewind time. Then he would’ve divorced Erin the moment he discovered he was in love with Avery.
But no, greedy Petey tried to have both women. When they both eventually washed their hands of him, he’d grown bitter and even more territorial over what he deemed rightfully his.
Pete knew he couldn’t get Erin back. They’d had no children together during their entire four-year marriage, so there was nothing to keep her tied to him. With Avery, he had higher hopes. Tweety would always tie them together. Pete hoped their daughter would also bring them back together.
“Need any help, Avery?” Pete asked, seeking her attention by trying to make himself useful.
“Sure, Pete. Why not?” Avery said, giving him a grateful smile and the cakes in her hands. She kept the large denim bag with the kids’ toys.
Meanwhile, Tweety went into the house to seek her brother out and show him the new toy her father bought her. Too bad Skyler Jr. was dozing on the plush living room rug. He’d played himself to sleep a few minutes earlier.
Back outside, Pete lingered a bit longer on the front porch, allowing Avery to walk on ahead of him. He wanted to see her sexy bottom sway in those hip-hugging jeans she wore today. Similar jeans had not only captured his attention several years ago, but also made him forget he was a married man.
After two kids, she’s still fine as ever, Pete thought, paying special attention to Avery’s figure. It was nearly back to its normal size. Any extra pounds she kept from the last pregnancy had only enhanced her figure.
“I see you got yourself a new ride,” Pete said, making polite conversation as Avery unlocked the car doors and put the bag of toys inside.
“Yes.” Avery’s smile warmed considerably at the mention of her new, top-of-the-line blue minivan. “My thoughtful husband bought it for me on Friday. He wanted me and the kids to have plenty of leg room as we traveled.” Her face was peaceful and content as she spoke of Skeet.
“He obviously wanted you to have plenty of entertainment choices, too,” Pete added, noting the TV monitors in the headrests of the front seats. There was even a game console hooked up to one of the monitors.
“That, too.” Avery chuckled, making room for the cakes now. “Skeet’s pretty good at covering all the bases.”
“I see,” Pete replied, suppressing his jealousy. “Where is your thoughtful husband now?” he asked, noting that Skeet’s car was gone from the driveway.
“Oh, Skyler was one of five men recently selected to become deacons,” Avery said, calling Skeet by his given name instead of the nickname that everyone else used. “So he had to stay late at church today and attend Daddy Mitch’s training class.”
Now he’s gonna be a deacon in the church? What’s next? Sainthood? Pete thought with hunter-green envy coursing through his veins.
“Congratulations,” Pete said pleasantly, right before he threw in a few seeds of discord. “I just hope he doesn’t turn out to be one of those cheating deacons I grew up around. Those guys would praise the Lord one minute, whisper soft porn in a female usher’s ear the next.”
Avery frowned. “That kind of stuff doesn’t go on at my church,” she said confidently, reaching for the cake containers.
“You never know, Avery,” Pete persisted. “People can lead double lives. Your brother-in-law Lance did it for years, remember?”
Avery dismissed his words with a quick wave of her now empty hands. “Well, even if that kind of thing was going on at my church, Skyler wouldn’t be a part of it,” she said, revealing how much she trusted her husband.
“Ex-playboys sometimes get the itch to play again, Avery,” Pete said, doing his best to knock a hole in that wall of trust. “Besides, with all the extra weight you’ve gained lately, Skeet might not be as attracted to you as before. Personally, I like a little extra meat on my women,” he added, throwing in his zinger.
Avery blinked rapidly from that unexpected comment. It stung like a swarm of bumble bees to think that the seven extra pounds she retained from her pregnancy would actually turn her husband off. Although Avery wasn’t a vain person, she did pride herself on keeping her appearance up, maintaining a healthy weight, and a fit body. In fact, those seven extra pounds weren’t even around her waist. They were evenly distributed among her breasts, hips, and bottom.
No, my weight can’t be an issue with him, Avery told herself, recalling how passionately Skeet had made love to her just the night before. But what if it is…
Pete knew that his words had hit the bull’s-eye the second he saw doubt cross Avery’s mahogany face. The impact of his words was confirmed when she turned around and walked away from him without saying another word.
Soon her self-esteem is gonna be low enough for me to step all the way back in her life, Pete mused, smirking as he went to his car. So engrossed with his evil plan, he forgot to go inside and say goodbye to his daughter.
© 2006 by Suprina Frazier
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