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Home > Moonlight on Nightingale Way (On Dublin Street #6)(17)

Moonlight on Nightingale Way (On Dublin Street #6)(17)
Author: Samantha Young

Logan turned to us, drawing my distraught gaze to his haggard face. “We’ll never get a straight answer out of her when she’s like this.” He looked over my shoulder to Maia. “I don’t know what to do. I can’t leave you here, but I can’t let you stay with me until we work out this paternity stuff. The only option is Social Services.”

“No.” Maia pushed away from me, backing up from us. “I’ve heard stories about it. Worse than this. Please. At least I know what to expect here.”

“Maia, it’s not all bad in foster care. It would just be temporary,” Logan tried to rationalize with her.

“No!” She covered her face, her shoulders shaking as she started to sob.

I don’t know what possessed me to speak up. Perhaps it was seeing Maia’s mother treat her as badly as my mother had treated me, but in a much worse environment. Or perhaps it was the carefully controlled mask Logan was wearing that slipped every now and then to show his fear. Or maybe it was just I was a decent person who couldn’t bear the thought of leaving a child to this. Or maybe I hadn’t slept in seventy-two hours and wasn’t thinking straight.

Maybe it was all of the above.

“I have a suggestion. Why —”

“My, where’s your phone?” Maryanne suddenly stumbled into the middle of us, reaching for Maia. She tugged at Maia’s wrists and then slapped her head before Logan could pull her off. He shoved her none-too-gently onto the sofa.

“And stay down,” he warned.

“Where’s your phone?” Maryanne screeched.

Maia wiped at her tearstained face. “I told you,” she whispered. “You smashed it a few weeks ago.”

It was time to move this along. “As I was saying, Maia, although it would seem Logan is your dad, we’re not one hundred percent sure about that. Surely you can see how inappropriate it would be for a grown man to live with a fifteen-year-old girl who isn’t family? However, I’d be happy to let you stay in my guest room until Logan can confirm the paternity.” I was shaking badly as I looked up at Logan, not sure I even really comprehended how much responsibility I was offering to take on here. “That way she’s close by but not living with you until you have the paternity results.”

He nodded slowly. “Aye, that might be… But what about school?”

“You’ll have to get Maryanne’s permission to enroll her at school in Edinburgh until you have legal claim.”

“She won’t even know I’m gone,” Maia murmured.

We heard a groan from the nearby bedroom, and at the widening of Maia’s eyes, I said, “Look, let’s iron this all out in the car. We should get out of here.”

Seeing sense in that, a subdued Logan led us out of the flat, and we all did our best to ignore the sound of retching coming from the sitting room as we left.

CHAPTER 6

If the silence had been awkward in the car, it was painful as we stood outside on our landing with Maia. Both she and Logan had been pensive the entire drive, internalizing whatever was going on in their heads. Me? I was trying not to have a panic attack.

“Maia, why don’t you go on inside.” I handed her my key. “Logan and I are just going to have a quick word, and then we’ll be right in.”

She glanced at Logan and then back to me, clearly worried.

“Go on. It’ll be fine,” I reassured her.

Nodding reluctantly, she turned and put the key in my door.

I looked at Logan, who was staring at me like I was a car coming toward him at a hundred miles per hour with my full-beam headlights on. I gestured to his door. “Let’s go in.”

Without a word he did as I asked, and I followed his heavy footsteps into his sitting room. He turned and faced me, hands on his narrow hips. “What the fuck am I going to do?”

“Logan —”

“I can’t take care of a teenager.”

“Logan —”

“No, Grace, you don’t understand.” He swallowed hard, and I found myself struck dumb by the fear in him. All this time I thought Logan MacLeod feared nothing, was intimidated by no one, was somehow untouchable. It was unnerving to see him vulnerable. I didn’t like it. For some absurd reason, it made me want to fix his situation. Which was probably why I was in this position. He glanced away, running a hand over his short hair. “A few years ago, aye, maybe I could have done this. But I’m not that man anymore.”

That’s when I think I understood.

Logan MacLeod had been in prison. So who was he before that? And how much had it really changed him?

“It must have been difficult,” I said. “Being punished, treated like a criminal for merely protecting your family.”

His eyes hardened. “Don’t. Don’t you do that. Don’t you do what she’s doing.” He pointed to the wall that adjoined my flat. “Don’t glorify the situation.”

He wanted my bad opinion? Well, that didn’t make sense. I remembered how he jumped down my throat when we first met, and I knew now that he thought I was aware of his time in prison. Back then he misunderstood and he was pissed off at me for judging him and thinking badly of him. Now he wanted me to think badly of him?

Confused, I shrugged. “I guess I really don’t know what the situation was. But I do know what Maia’s situation is, and I’m fairly certain she’s your daughter, Logan. She deserves better than what she’s got. Right now better is you.”

He squeezed his eyes closed and kind of collapsed on his armchair. After taking a minute, he looked up at me. “I could call my parents and ask them to take her in.”

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