Chapter 4

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Pic of Heather up top!

Babysitting Maya was just like hanging out with Charlotte.

Fun. Simple. Care free.

We played with some sparklers that we found tucked away in their garage from the Fourth of July that just passed, ordered a pizza and watched the best animated movie of all time; Anastasia. Then we played Hide and Seek for the next couple hours until it was her bedtime around 9pm.

"But I don't wanna go to sleep now. We can play one more game of Hide and Seek! I'll let you win this time too!" Maya debated with me as she reluctantly crawled under the Anastasia themed covers of her bed.

"First off, I don't need you to let me win. This house is just ginormous and I thought I legitimately lost you at least three times. Second, if I don't get you to bed by the time your dad comes home, then I very well might not be asked to come back and play with you."

Maya's bottom lip popped out as she pouted up at me, knowing her room for argument had just been squelched.

"Okay," she mumbled under her breath as she laid her head back into her pillow, her mocha colored curls splaying out against the white contrast of her pillow.

I fought back the sudden surge in my legs to sit down on the bed next to her and run my fingers through her curls soothingly as I would do with Charlotte each time I put her to bed at night.

I couldn't allow Maya to wriggle her way into my heart more than she already had; not without knowing first if I would ever be seeing her again after tonight.

Letting my gaze settle on her large, deep blue eyes that were staring up at me with such an innocent gleam, I felt a pang of hope in my heart that there would be a next time for Maya and I.

"Alrighty, kiddo. Sleep well. Maybe I'll see you later," I said with a sigh as I stood above Maya's bed, a melancholy smile lifting onto my lips.

My bare feet turned on the carpeted floor as I made my way to Maya's bedroom door.

A tiny voice stopped me just before I walked out.

"Ms. Kat?"

"Hmm?" I hummed out as I turned back to Maya.

Her eyes seemed to glow with promise and hope, even in the darkness that consumed her room.

"I really hope you come back..."

An ache burst through my chest as her sweet voice invaded my ears with her pleading words. I leaned my weight against the frame of her door, resting my head against the wood as that longing ache intertwined its way through my hardened heart the way only Charlotte had managed to do up until now.

A soft smile lifted onto my lips as I spoke. "Me too, kiddo. Me too."

With that, I exited her room and closed the door without another word.

Fuck, I was gonna miss her.

I had only spent one day with her and already she had bypassed most of my layers of defense and snuggled her way into my heart without even trying.

Maybe it's because she reminds me so much of Charlotte...

Both, shitty moms. Both, blindly happy most of the times despite their mom's behaviors.

At least Maya seemed to have a decent enough dad. I wasn't even sure if my sperm source was living on this continent anymore.

I made my way back downstairs and padded into the kitchen, gearing up for another slice of now, lukewarm pizza.

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