Excerpt – The Devil Don’t Sleep © Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved by Janine Infante Bosco.
Nothing will scare the shit out of a man more than waking up and feeling a pair of eyes drilling a hole in the side of his head. Especially, when you’ve been trying your hardest to sleep with one eye open because there’s a mark out for your girl and her kid.
Bolting up, I rub the sleep from my eyes and stare back at Ryder.
“Buddy, what are you doing?”
Crossing his little arms against his chest, he glances next to me at his sleeping mother. Thank fucking Christ she’s covered. The last thing I need to explain is why his mother is naked in the bed with me, his uncle.
How’s that for a family tree?
“Why are you in my mom’s bed?”
Dragging the sheet up to my waist with one hand, I reach behind me and cup the back of my neck with the other.
“Well, that’s actually a funny story…”
It’s not funny at all.
Not even a little bit.
But telling Ryder his mother and I fucked like rabbits after she rubbed her pussy all over me and woke me up, really isn’t an option.
“How about I tell you over breakfast?” I suggest.
I have no fucking idea how to make pancakes.
“How’s about a bowl of cereal?”
“Okay,” he says, uncrossing his arms. He doesn’t move and suddenly, I’m intimidated by the little boy wearing SpongeBob pajamas and a scowl on his face. When did that happen?
The day you decided you wanted to be enough of a man to make him a better one.
“All right then,” I say offering him a smile as I look towards the door. “Why don’t you get a head start?”
I’ll buy you a puppy…hell, I’ll buy you the whole damn litter if you just let me grab my shorts, kid.
Debating, he glances at his mom again.
“Should we wake mommy?”
“Fuck, no…eh, I mean….” my words trail as I swipe a hand over my face. “Let’s let her sleep.”
“Okay, we can surprise her with breakfast in bed.”
Yeah, sure, if you want to get a peep show.
“Sounds like a plan.”
He takes another minute before he finally exits the room. I wait until I hear his footsteps on the stairs before, I lose the sheet and dig a pair of sweats out of one of my six bags of clothes. As luck would have it the day I decide to move my shit in here, Ryder catches me in bed with his mom the next morning. I’m not sure how I’m going to explain this one. Mac and I haven’t talked about telling Ryder about us and we’ve been cautious around him. I’m not sure why. I’m not going anywhere, and neither are they.
Making my way to the door, I pause and look back at Mac.
A man can get used to that.
He can die happy.
Pulling the door closed behind me, I head downstairs and enter the kitchen to find Ryder trying to clean spilled milk off the floor.
Lifting his head, he meets my eyes and I can tell he’s struggling to hold back tears. That fucking does something to me. It breaks my heart is what it does.
“It was an accident,” he cries. He tears his eyes away from me and I watch his hands fumble as he pulls the paper towels off the roll.
“Ryder,” I rasp, crouching down beside him. Gently, I take the towels from his hand and place a finger under his chin, forcing his eyes back to mine. “It’s okay.”
“You’re not mad?”
“No,” I say hoarsely. “It’s just spilled milk, Ryder,” I add as I wipe his tears with my thumbs.
“My dad would’ve been mad.”
Biting the inside of my cheek, I control the anger simmering in my veins.
“I’m not him, Ryder,” I say with conviction. “You never have to be afraid of me.” His blue eyes search mine and I pray he’s inherited his mother’s knack for reading me because they’re saying all the things I don’t know how to.
I love you.
I’ll jump off a cliff for you.
Run through fire for you.
I’ll kill for you.
Bleed and die for you.
Swallowing, I smooth down his hair and lean forward, kissing the top of his head.
“Let’s get this cleaned up and get started on making you and your mom breakfast.”
“We don’t have that much milk,” he says.
How fucking hard can it be to make pancakes?
“I thought you wanted pancakes,” I reply with a wink. His eyes light up and the smile he gives me is worth every bit of heartache that brought him into this world. I get it now. I understand what Mac meant when she said he was too precious to be labeled anything less than a blessing.
“Uncle Bas, I know you said I don’t have to be afraid of you but…”
“You don’t,” I assure him. “I would never hurt you. Never.”
“Does that mean you won’t hurt my mom either?”
It might not be my place, but I don’t give a fuck. It’s time Ryder, and I had a talk.
Man to little man.
Rising to my feet, I hold out my hand for him.
“C ’mere,” I tell him.
He places his little hand in mine and I pull him to his feet before leading him to the kitchen table. Sitting across from one another, we stare at each other. I’m not sure if he’s looking at me with curiosity or if he’s sizing me up trying to decide if I’m the guy good enough for his mom.
“Why don’t you tell me what you’re thinking,” I suggest. “And remember, anything you ask me won’t make me angry.”
“Okay,” he says. “I don’t want anyone to hurt my mom. She smiles a lot and I like it.”
“She has a great smile,” I agree.
“The best,” he whispers. Then as if a light bulb has gone off in his head, he looks at me with wide eyes. “If I promise not to be afraid will you promise not to take her smile away?”
“Ryder, I want you to pay close attention to what I’m going to tell you, can you do that for me?” I ask him as I lean over the table and level my eyes to his.
“I’ll try my hardest.”
“Fair enough,” I say, taking a deep breath. “Ain’t no one in this world going to take your mom’s smile away ever again nor will anyone hurt either of you. As long as I’m alive, you and your mom will always be safe and if I have a say in the matter, the both of you will keep sharing your smiles with me.”
“Does that mean you love her?”
“I’ve loved your mom for a really long time. What it means is I finally get a chance to prove to her and to you just how much I love you both.”
I let my words sink in for a minute before continuing.
“When a man loves a woman, he isn’t afraid of expressing it and his actions sometimes speak louder than his words. One day you’re going to be a man and you’re going to find a girl who knocks you off your feet. You won’t see her coming, you’ll ask yourself why she chose you and you’ll pray you never lose her. It’ll be the most exciting time of your life and the scariest too. You might make mistakes, but they’ll never be intentional because you’re going to think back to this conversation and remember how you wanted me to treat your mom.”
“I want you to be nice to her,” he whispers.
“I want you to be humble and kind,” I counter.
“Take her nice places,” he continues.
“Always hold the door for her,” I say.
“Tell her it’s going to be okay when she’s sad,” he adds.
“Do your best to never make her sad,” I counter.
“Make her smile,” he whispers.
“Cherish every smile she gives you,” I reply.
“Love her,” he pleads.
“Love her,” I agree.
A beat of silences passes between us before I hold out my hand.
“A man’s handshake is his word. It’s his promise,” I explain, tipping my chin to my hand, urging him to take it. Lifting his hand, he slides it into mine and he gives it a firm shake, sealing our promise to one another.
For him to grow up and be a good man.
For me to set the example by loving his mother.