Mr. Wolfe didn talk to me this morning. I was half sure he was going to fire me last night, so I was at least happy to make it through another day. I had woken up, showered, gotten dressed, made breakfast, and seen Mr. Wolfe out the door without even a glance from him. He was certainly cold when he was mad. The rug was also missing from downstairs, but I had no idea what he had done with it.

After getting Lark up and around, we started playing together. It really made me miss my younger siblings, who I practically raised while my mom was busy working and my dad was busy being a drunk. I was really stressed while playing, though, as my head was elsewhere, thinking about what homework I had due and what assignments I had or hadn finished.

Eventually, I set Lark up at the dining room table again, but this time with some playdough that was less likely to leave a mess while I worked on my homework across from him. I glanced up at him ever so often to make sure he was doing okay, forcing my attention away from my art project I had to do.

I honestly wasn sure why I was even in art school at this point. I had lost all passion for it after Alder, and I had broken up. I used to enjoy every part of it, all the projects we were assigned, especially when Alder and I got high and did them, but now I just felt empty.

I glanced over at my phone as it went off. It was a text from Rose, Mr. Wolfes assistant, reminding me that trash was supposed to go out today. I quickly stood up, getting Lark to follow, while I took the trash out to the street. Once done, we returned to the table and to our given duties, Larks being the much more fun one of the bunch.

—-

I walked over to the door, as there was a knock. Again, it was just Kendall. She greeted Lark and me and came into the apartment.

”I just wanted to chat for a little. ” She explained without my questioning. ”Ask you how you
e doing. ”

”Im alright. ” I smiled faintly. ”I got in trouble yesterday night. ”

”Oh? ”

”Lark got some slime on the rug. ” I looked over at him. He was on the couch playing on his iPad like usual.

”And Marco was pissed, huh? ” Kendall laughed quietly.

”Yeah. ” I nodded. ”He practically told me wished he hadn hired me. ” I shrugged weakly.

”Don worry, girl. He can be hot-headed, but hes a good guy. ”

”Im not feeling great about it right now. ” I hung my head in regret. ”He ignored me all morning. ”

”Oof. The cold shoulder. ” Kendall pouted, tilting her head to the side slightly. ”Too bad. ”

”Hopefully he won be so mad coming home. ” I rubbed my arm. I hated getting the cold shoulder. I was especially sensitive towards it as my dad use to do it when he got mad at us kids, ignoring us for days on end.

”Don let it get you down so much. ” She put her hand on my arm. ”Im sure he didn actually mean it. ”

I took a deep breath before nodding. ”I sure hope not. ”

”Hey, so I looked up your ex… ” She smiled guiltily. ”Seems he used to paint a lot of a naked woman who seems your size, but now he paints other people. ”

”You
e right. ” I shrugged, not seeing a point in lying to her.

”You
e hot, Lili. ” She smiled fully.

”Interested? ” I laughed.

”A bit. ” She shrugged, biting her lip. ”Whyd you break up? ”

”He cheated on me. Then kicked me out when I called him out for it. ” I shrugged.

”A man whod cheat on you is an idiot. ”

—-

I looked over as the front door opened, and Mr. Wolfe walked in. I looked away, so as to not stare. ”Lili. ” He called out to me. I left the kitchen and walked over to him, taking his jacket and hanging it up on the coat rack. I turned back to face him and smiled slightly, doing my best to act civil towards him.

”How was work? ”

”Fine. ” He said, not even looking up at me. ”You managed to keep the house in one piece this time, I see. ”

”Ye–yeah. ” I rubbed my arm nervously. ”Im really sorry about yesterday. I shouldve been watching him more closely. ”

He looked up at me before looking me up and down and turning away. ”Have you started dinner? ”

”Its almost done. ” I walked past him and back to the kitchen to stir the sauce. ”I make alfredo pasta with chicken. I hope thats alright. Lark said he wanted it. ”

”That boy loves Italian food. ” He said, smiling to himself.

I smiled slightly. ”He does. He begs me to make pasta nearly every day. Im still not confident enough in my fresh-made pasta abilities, but Im working on it. ” I added the last part more quietly, hoping he wouldn be mad.

”Go get Lark ready for dinner. I need to make a call and will be down in thirty minutes. ” He motioned toward the kitchen.

—-

”So… ” I nervously poked at my food, watching Mr. Wolfe as he ate. ”What exactly do you do besides usiness. ”

”I manage investments. ” He responded simply, still not looking at me. It was killing me to know he was that mad.

”Must be a lot of money that goes through you then. Especially in D.C. ”

”Quite. ” He said, twirling the pasta on his fork.

”How is it? Good enough? ” I had made the alfredo from scratch for the first time in my life and hoped it was adequate. He seemed to be hit or miss with my meals.

”Couldve used more salt. ”

”Oh. I apologize. ” I looked down at my food.

”I like it! ” Lark spoke up, causing me to smile. At least one of them liked my cooking.

He smiled at his son before turning to me. ”Thank you. ”

I smiled slightly, bowing my head. ”Its my job, after all. ”

”Daddy, I like Lili. She plays with me. ” Lark continued to involve himself in the conversation.

”Thats good, Lark. What kind of games do you guys play? ”

”She played dolls with me! ” Honestly, I was surprised that Mr. Wolfe allowed his son female dolls. He seemed like the type to have his son play with heteronormative toys. ”Then we played with Playdough. Its squishy, daddy! ”

”Why don you finish your dinner, and we can go play some more? ”

”Yeah! ” Lark began scarfing down his food.

”Slow down, Larky. ” I laughed, causing him to look up at me with a full mouth. I could hear Mr. Wolfe chuckle.

—-

I kissed Larks forehead before slowly backing out of the room and turning the lights off. I stepped out of the room, running into Mr. Wolfes chest.

”Sorry. ” I whispered. ”Hes already asleep if you wanted to say goodnight. ”

”Lili… ” He trailed off, looking down at me.

”Yeah? ”

”Im sorry for what I said yesterday. I shouldn have gone that far. ”

”Its…alright. ” I looked away, knowing he made me cry the night before, but not wanting to make him uncomfortable. ”

”I appreciate what you do for Lark. ” He sighed. ”I enjoy having you around. ” He said the last part under his breath.

”I…like you too. ” I looked back up at him, smiling slightly. ”I–I should get to my room. I still have homework. ” I looked down the hall, not ready to leave his presence yet.

”You need some late-night company? ” He asked with a grin on his face.

I rolled my eyes, having finally caught onto his flirting, knowing he wouldn take it anywhere else. ”Good night, Mr. Wolfe. Sleep well. ” I started down the hall, feeling his eyes on me until I slipped into the doorway.

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