Bearfoot and Pregnant(4)

By: Milly Taiden

“Hi, Julio. I am. It’s Friday night. That means dinner. Are Ivan and Ivy here yet?” Though her father and his wife lived in the same town as Cassie, up north, this week’s dinner was at their beach house, a short three hour flight south. With her dad’s money came a private jet. One he had sent to bring her and any other family members to whatever house he was currently staying at with Victoria.

“They have already arrived. They went down to the beach but should be back by dinnertime.” He frowned as if reading the strain on her face. “Do you need me to carry your bag inside?”

She glanced down at her Louis Vuitton overnight bag and scrunched her nose. “We go through this every week, Julio. I can carry an overnight bag and if it has wheels, I can drag anything.” She laughed. “I’m not Victoria. I don’t need everyone to carry a single sheet of paper for me.”

Julio nodded, a twinkle of humor in his gaze. “I understand.” He chuckled. “You will always be like your mother. So independent.”

She loved hearing others say she reminded them of her mom. Her mother had been such a strong woman. One Cassie would have loved to remember. “Thank you. How’s things been down here?”

Julio shifted his gaze away from her face to the house. “Things are interesting.”

Uh. Oh. She had a feeling something was going on. “Tell me now if I have to figure out some hotel accommodations for the night.” Not that her father would let her go. Hell, with Ivan and Ivy at the house, there was a snowball’s chance in hell she’d get a chance to go anywhere.

Julio shook his head, the silver in his hair catching in the sunlight. He was just as old as her dad in his early sixties and had been working for her family most of his life. Unlike her dad, Julio had been with his wife Estrella for over forty years.

Since Cassie’s mother, Lucy, had passed, her father had dated and been single for a long time until a few years ago when he met and married Victoria. A woman younger than Cassie’s thirty-seven years by nearly a decade.

Victoria was incredibly high maintenance and her father did something with his new wife he’d never done with Cassie, he indulged her in anything and everything. From never lifting a finger to carry her own handbag, to ensuring her shopping trips were funded no matter the cost.

It was weird to see him that way with Victoria when he’d been the opposite with Cassie. He’d taught Cassie to be independent. To never need or ask anyone for anything, which is why when her asshole of an ex took off with her money, she had to figure it out on her own.

She wasn’t going to tell her dad, and she wasn’t asking him for money. He’d always warned her against having anyone but a professional touch her money. She allowed the belief that there was shared trust between her and her ex lead her to make stupid mistakes.

“Come on,” Julio said and opened the front door for her. “I can have Estrella make you a drink if you’d like?”

She shook her head. She’d already had vodka and cranberry on the flight down. Inside what most would call a mansion, but Cassie considered one of her family homes, the holiday decorations had been taken down and replaced with fresh colorful flowers. The décor and multiple vases with family photos gave the big house a homey feel.

“Cassandra!” Victoria called from the top of the spiral stair landing.

Cassie glanced up and watched Victoria glide a few steps down the stairs in a perfectly pressed yellow linen dress and matching yellow gold jewelry. Though the bangles, earrings and necklace were not gaudy by any means, they were worth more than Cassie’s car. She shook her head at the fact she’d never figure out why people paid exorbitant amounts of money to wear someone else’s name or initials on their body. Shouldn’t they be the ones getting paid to promote the designer?

“Hi, Victoria.”

“Querida, how many times do I have to ask you to call me Vicki? I feel so old when you call me by my full name when no one else does.”

Old? Cassie gritted her teeth. Was she serious? Victoria’s perfect, long, highlighted hair and big gray eyes made her look exotic. Her darker skin, like Cassie’s showed of her Latin heritage. Unlike Cassie, who had big curves and a large body, Victoria had multiple trainers and personal chefs that kept her little body looking tighter than a straining rubber band.

Cassie had tried the trainers and restricted eating since childhood. Nothing worked. She guessed Victoria’s body wasn’t set into being too curvy to handle. Victoria’s combination of expensive and well maintained beauty made Cassie feel old, tired, and wrinkled.

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