“I want cockporn,” Lena wailed.
“Don’t we all,” I muttered under my breath, then looked around the crowded supermarket, hoping nobody had heard her. “Not today, Sötnos. We still have some at home.”
“But I want—”
I clamped my hand over her mouth and speed-walked my way to the checkout, hoping Luca wouldn’t join her out of sympathy. He was two years older, but hadn’t outgrown the tantrums yet.
She didn’t like having her shriek interrupted and her little face went red with anger. But I’d rather deal with my daughter’s wrath than once again be the talk of the town. We made it outside in record time, Lena wailing the whole way, Luca holding his hands over his ears.
I was running late, my shift starting in less than twenty minutes, and I still had to drop my kids home and drive to work. After wrestling them into their seats and dumping my bags in the trunk I hightailed it back to the house.
Lena made sure we knew her displeasure at not getting any popcorn for the duration of the drive. My friend Stella was sitting on the front steps waiting when we pulled up.
“Sorry we’re late,” I greeted her, unbuckling the little hellions. She watched my kids for me on the nights I had to work.
I couldn’t really afford a babysitter, so when she offered, I had to put my pride aside and let her help. She was my friend—one of the few I had—and I just couldn’t do it on my own anymore. I worked two jobs, barely keeping my head above water, and needed any break I could get.
My day job was a virtual assistant, something I could do from home while watching the kids. Luca had recently started preschool, so I only had Lena most of the time. My second job was waitressing at Pepper’s, a strip club. It paid well, but the hours sucked. I never thought I’d end up where I was.
“Don’t worry, I only just got here. Mason dropped me off,” Stella said, cuddling Lena to her and holding Luca’s hand. “But aren’t you going to be late for work?”