Finally Finn (Los Rancheros #4)

Finally Finn

Finding Sadie Serial

Of the Los Rancheros Series

Book 3.3

Copyright

Finally Finn © Copyright
2015 by Brandace Morrow

 

All rights reserved. No part
of this book may be reproduced, scanned, printed, transmitted,
downloaded, distributed, stored in or introduced into any
information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any
means, whether electronic or mechanical, without the express
permission of the author. Please do not participate or encourage
piracy in any capacity of copyrighted material in violation of the
author’s rights.

 

This book is a work of
fiction and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, or any
events, occurrences, places, or business establishments is purely
coincidental. The characters and story line are created from the
author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

Smashwords
Edition

 

Cover design by Najla Qamber
Design

http://najlaqamberdesigns.com

Formatting by Inkstain
Interior Book Design

http://www.inkstainformatting.com

Editing by Mad Sparks
Editing

https://www.madsparkediting.wordpress.com

 

 

Chapter 1

“I hate you.

“I want to take tweezers and pull all of the
hair from your balls.

“Don’t think I’m doing this for you, you
lying bastard.

“A pox upon your taint, Finnigan
Brennick!

“You are the biggest douche nugget I have
ever met, and I’ve met a fuck ton, asshole.”

I’m yelling my rage in the overlarge cab of
the monster truck I’m driving when my phone rings. I answer, but
don’t say anything.

“Sadie?” Speaking of assholes.

I sniff in disdain and say as neutrally as
possible, “Finnigan.”

“So it’s going to be like that, huh? Okay,
did you have any trouble with the car?” Batty asks. I think about
the Mercedes that I left in the ditch by his driveway. Stick shifts
are harder to drive than I ever thought possible.

“Nope,” I lie. He’s quiet, like he doesn’t
believe me.

“Well, that’s good, then,” he says
skeptically. He definitely doesn’t believe me.

“Your destination is on the right,” the GPS’s
automated voice says loudly.

“Listen, babe, I’m—”

“I have to go,” I cut him off. I am in no
mood to hear terms of endearment. I disconnect the call with one
hand and turn the wheel with the other to enter the school.

“Fuck!” I yell as I hit the curb. Almost
immediately after, I’m in the longest line possible and my nerves
catch up to me. I cover my mouth with a shaking hand and close my
eyes as kids start exiting the building.

I’m not the nurturing mother type. I’m not
even responsible enough to take care of myself most days. What was
Batty thinking? The answer is obvious: I was the only choice, the
last choice.

I try not to let that add to my growing mass
of hurt he’s inflicted in the last hour. But, fuck. Would he have
ever told me about his life? Did he keep us separated to protect
them against my flakiness? Brashness? Is he worried I’ll be a bad
influence now? Is he regretting his decision?

A car honking blasts me out of my thoughts. I
roll my shoulders and take a deep breath. I don’t have time for
doubts; it’s done. I wave at the impatient car behind me and move
forward. I scan kids nervously. They seem to know whose car they
belong to. My eyes hungrily look from face to face, searching for a
resemblance to Batty. I don’t know how old these kids are, what
they look like, or what I will do if they take one look at me and
run.

A teacher makes eye contact with me and I try
to smile maternally. I have no idea what that looks like, but she
doesn’t call the cops so I continue to take shuddered breaths.

She does, however, gesture behind her to a
line of kids. I’m frozen as I watch two little people branch off.
Then the back door of the truck is opening.

One body then two clambers into the backseat,
heading to the car seat thing behind me. The first one is almost in
the seat when she lifts her eyes to mine. It’s her turn to
freeze.

“You’re not my grandpa.” I shake my head.

“No,” I say faintly. The other turns to me
after sitting in her seat and reaching for the seatbelt.

“Who are you?” I lick my lips and clear my
throat.

“I’m Sadie. Your dad had an emergency and
asked me to pick you up.” The first one squints her eyes.

“But Daddy doesn’t pick us up. Grandpa does.”
Shit.

“Right,” I agree quickly. “I think they’re
together.” The car behind me honks again.

“Shit.”

“Ooo,” the second one says. The first one
quickly hushes her. I watch number one put her finger up to her
lips to silently tell her to be quiet, like I just kidnapped them
and they don’t know if I’ll lash out. I take a deep breath. Am I
hyperventilating? Possibly.

“What’re your names?” I ask in a voice sweet
enough to make the Popper in me want to puke.

The second one answers immediately.
“Bridgette.”

“Bridgette!” the second one yells. Bridgette
isn’t fazed, though. She points at number one.

“She’s Hannah.” Hannah gasps.

“How old are you?” I ask them.

“Six.” Bridgette again. Hannah looks like
she’s about to faint.

“What’s wrong, Hannah?” I ask.

“We aren’t supposed to talk to strangers,”
she says with crossed arms.

“That’s really smart. Do you want me to call
your dad so he can tell you it’s okay to be with me? I wouldn’t
want you to go with a stranger, either.”

Hannah nods her head and Bridgette calls her
a baby.

I hit the curb again leaving the school as I
try to get the phone from the cup holder that’s a million miles
away in the huge truck. The girls gasp. I hit redial for Batty and
pass the phone behind me.

“Where are you? Where’s Grandpa? He is? Why?
For how long? You promise? No. No. You pinky promise? She’s driving
and we don’t even have our seatbelts on.”

I gasp. “What the hell?!”

“And she says bad words.” She sniffs as I
pull into a shopping center and slam the car into park. I turn in
the seat.

“Why didn’t you tell me you weren’t
buckled?”

“She’s yelling at me,” Hannah reports oh so
helpfully.

“Jesus Christ,” I mumble as I fight with the
truck to find the door handle. Why are they practically down at the
bottom of the door? I jump down and walk around to Bridgette’s
side. She smiles as I take the buckle from her and latch it with a
click. Her wild brown curls smell like bubblegum and it calms me
enough to brave the other door.

I almost flinch at the scowl this one is
giving me. Observations one and two are that they’re absolutely
gorgeous, and complete opposites in personality. Even though
they’re identical, I can’t imagine one being mistaken for the
other. Observation number three? Hannah is going to make every
second of my time in her presence a living hell. She kind of
reminds me of me.

I’m so fucked.

Chapter 2

The fact that she doesn’t bite me gives me
enough balls to climb back into a closed space with her. “Here,”
she says.

I reach back a hand blindly and swallow,
telling myself I’m being completely irrational to fear a
six-year-old child. My phone hits my hand hard. When I look down, I
can see the call is still connected. I drive silently and put the
phone to my ear. Batty must hear me breathing because he starts
talking.

“Listen, please. Don’t hang up.” He sighs.
“The girls have us wrapped around their finger and they know it. I
know, and appreciate that this isn’t going to be easy for you. Just
please don’t stuff them in a closet, okay?” Now I sigh. He sounds
so stressed out, I almost feel bad.

“Where are you going?” Hannah demands. I look
around, but no, I’m still on the main street about to turn into Los
Rancheros.

“Going to your house,” I tell her, my level
of nice almost on fumes. I’m hoping to coast for the rest of the
day.

“We have ballet after school on Mondays. You
have to take us to ballet!”

“Shit,” Batty says in my ear. “I forgot about
the extracurricular stuff. Listen, I’ll call the instructors to let
them know the girls won’t be coming. Don’t worry about that stuff.”
I watch the girls in the rearview mirror and notice Bridgette’s
shoulders slump.

“Oh no. They can’t miss ballet. I’ve got
this.” I hang up then realize I have no idea where I’m supposed to
go. “Do you know where the dance studio is?”

“No,” comes the chorus from the back.

“Do you know what it’s called? I can Google
it.”

“No.” Again.

Bridgette offers, “Our teacher’s name is
Madam Phoebe.”

“Thanks, honey,” I say, rubbing the headache
at my temples. At the gate, I turn toward the Farmer’s Market
instead of going into the neighborhood. When I find a parking
space, I text Batty.

Sadie: Text me the address.

Seconds later, my phone vibrates.

Batty: LOL 2154 Ledonna Drive. Thank you,
Sadie.

The phone goes back into the cup holder and
we’re once again on our way.

~

Ballet is the most boring thing I have ever
been witness to in my life. I’ll never get that hour back. The
seconds on the clock could not go any slower. I should be happy to
get them out of my hair for a while, but they’re still right there.
I sit in a chair with other moms talking about soccer and
gymnastics, and all I can do is cross my fingers, toes, legs and
arms hoping they aren’t enrolled in them too.

When we finally exit the studio and head to
the truck that’s parked horizontally taking up three parking
spaces, because no way was I getting it in between the normal lines
like a normal car, the kids are hungry.

“Okay, we’ll go back to the house. I’ll make
you something.”

“No. We have to go to the Farmer’s Market to
get dinner. That’s what we’re supposed to do.” When is bedtime
again? Is 4:30 too early? Off to the market we go. At least I know
where that is. You can’t miss the six-foot letters spelling it out
if you tried. Believe me, I’ve tried. I doubt they would have an
artery clogging anything inside of the whole non-GMO, organic
warehouse.

I park in the back.

When we get in the doors, the kids take off.
It’s crowded with people getting off of work, and I struggle to
make my eyes go in two different directions as they split.

“Hey!” I yell too loudly, causing several
people to turn and give me judgmental eyes. I grab one tutu and
march to the other one. “You can’t leave me. We stay together,” I
tell them. Even Bridgette is giving me angry eyes and both of them
have their arms crossed and lips out. Maybe that worked on their
daddy but all I need is to lose them a few hours into this gig.
“We’ll go down the aisles and figure out what to have, okay? Just
hold hands or something.”

They don’t. They do stay close, though, so I
don’t push it. God is giving me a break because the wine is on the
first aisle. I may snub my nose at rabbit food and whatever else
they sell here, but this is an answer to my prayers. My phone
rings.

“Sadie.”

“Finnigan.”

“How did it go? Where are you at?”

“Farmer’s Market.”

“Are you getting hives from being there yet?”
I can hear the smile in his voice.

“No, I just found the goat cheese. Everything
is fine.”

“You mean the wine? Don’t get the moonshine,
whatever you do.”

“There’s moonshine here?” Batty laughs and I
wish I could appreciate it, but I think if he was in front of me, I
might strangle him. “Listen, I think electronics are banned in
Pleasantville. I’ll have to call you back.” I hang up to him
chuckling in my ear. I don’t need to be softening in the middle of
battle.

I grab three bottles as fast as possible,
then follow the girls to places where the vendors seem to know
them. They won’t stop long enough for me to pull up a recipe on my
phone so we end up with a mishmash of green and red things I have
no idea how to prepare.

Finally, at the end of hell, there is a
light. It’s shining on the most beautiful chocolate cake I’ve ever
seen. I don’t even care that it’s gluten whatever. It comes home
with us, along with Italian sodas for everyone.

Once we’re through the gate and to Batty’s
personal gate, it’s another round.

“What’s the code?”

“You don’t know it? How did you get my
grandpa’s truck?” Guess who asks that. I turn around.

“If you think I memorized all of those
numbers on the first try, you’re crazy. Please tell me the code.”
I’m satisfied that only the last part is said between clenched
teeth.

“I’ll tell you, Aunt Sadie,” Bridgette
offers. I startle at the familial tie, unsure if I will ever be
ready for that.

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