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Some Kind of Perfect (Calloway Sisters #4.5)
Author:Krista Ritchie & Becca Ritchie

We’ve been through so much, and I can see our road paved with more bumps, our fight filled with more battles—but ones we’re finally equipped to face.


The elevator doors slide open, and we walk ahead.

Ready to face one more together.





[ 2 ]

June 2018

Hale Co. Offices

Philadelphia





ROSE COBALT


“They’re late,” I announce, ice dripping off each syllable. “Late arrivers must pay the consequences.” I spin a pen between my fingers, seated at the head of the table in a Hale Co. conference room.

Connor is seated at the other end, the long stretch of the table separating us. His calmness proves infuriating, per usual. I make sure to send him scathing glares made of fire and brimstone.

He should be worried too. Loren is his best friend, and he’s now—I check my phone—fifteen minutes late. It’s not like Lily and Lo are always prompt, but they’re usually here before Ryke.

My brother-in-law has chosen the leather chair closest to my littlest sister, both in the center of the conference table. As though to declare their neutrality between Connor and me. I would test Daisy’s loyalty, but her wide-eyed baby preoccupies her attention. She rocks the little five-month-old in her arms, trying to ease Sullivan Minnie Meadows into a post-lunch nap.


I love my niece, but she was not invited.

Ryke peels his gaze off his daughter. “Do I even want to ask what paying the consequences fucking involves?”

“Blood sacrifice probably.” Daisy wags her brows; then she tucks a yellow baby blanket tighter around Sullivan. The air conditioning blows a violent stream of cold air onto them.

The air ducts, too, recognize that babies are not allowed to this particular meeting. We all agreed. I dropped Jane, Charlie, and Beckett off at our parent’s house. Lily did the same with Maximoff, so I don’t expect to see my nephew when she arrives.

Daisy was supposed to follow suit, but she retreated at the last minute and brought her daughter here. I’m not sure if it’s because she doesn’t want to leave Sullivan with our mother or if she doesn’t want to part with her baby.

I just want to make sure my sister is mentally doing fine. After what happened—I inhale a strained breath, my collarbone jutting out from my red dress. I try to block out a moment that ripped me to shreds.

I almost lost my sister.

I bear hard on my teeth and focus back on the topic at hand. “It involves my wrath, but depending on how late they are, blood sacrifices might need to be implemented.”

Connor cups a steaming mug of coffee. “How will we decide who goes first?” he challenges. “Your sister or Loren?”

“I’ve had to make harder decisions in preschool.” I click my pen. “My sister will be spared—of course.”

He doesn’t blink. Instead he sips his coffee with smugness pooling in his deep blue eyes. What does he even have to be smug about?

I click my pen more forcefully, drilling a hot glare between his eyeballs. The war is not over, Richard. You haven’t won a thing.

His lips rise as he sets down his mug. “Your vote plus Daisy’s vote against my vote and Ryke’s—that’s called a tie. You do know what those are, don’t you?”

I flip my glossy hair off my shoulder. “Not as much as you. I win more than I tie.” I say win with so much hostility that his small smile transforms into a blinding grin.

Ugh.

That didn’t go as planned.

I glower and gesture to Ryke and Daisy. “And they haven’t even voted yet, Richard. You can’t just assume what they’d choose.” My head whips to their side of the table.

Ryke is focused on someone who lingers in the hallway.

Did I mention that all of the boardrooms and offices have glass walls? A young employee loiters by a copy machine, his tie crooked and hair smoothed with too much gel. He does a pathetically awful job of pretending not to watch us.

I snap my fingers towards Ryke until I gain his attention. It takes him a second to catch up.

He raises his hands in surrender. “Fuck no. I’m not getting into this.”

“Daisy.” I lift my chin and pull back my shoulders. “Choose your next words wisely.” Sister loyalty.

She adjusts her baby in her arms. “I don’t want to sacrifice anyone. Can’t we all hypothetically live?” She offers me the kindest smile. I love Daisy for being able to voice her opinions, even when they differ from mine.

Can’t we all hypothetically live?

Literally, I’d fight for all of our survival.

Hypothetically and figuratively, I don’t mind a few casualties.

I click my pen. “If we must.”

Sullivan smacks her lips and then yawns against her mom’s palm. Daisy nuzzles her forehead against her daughter’s.

It’s borderline nauseating.

I don’t grow fuzzy feelings at the sight of cooing babies and maternal warmth. Infants are miniature devils.

Mine included.

And I love them. Including their downfalls: the snotty noses and incessant crying and inability to carry intellectual conversations. I may not appear as affectionate as any of my sisters, but I show affection in ways that don’t involve using my nose to tickle a baby’s nose. I’d never tell her not to be that way. I want her to be her. Just as I’d hope people would want me to be me.

If anyone says that my love is somehow less than another mother’s, then fuck them. They have no clue the lengths I’d go for my little gremlins.

I watch my sister murmur a few soft words to Sullivan, the baby finally nodding off. Ryke has his arm draped over Daisy’s shoulders, his focus partly on his daughter and partly on his wife. I see exhaustion in his face and hers, but more so my sister. Dark crescent moons lie beneath her eyes.

I set my pen down. “Daisy?”

“Yeah?” She keeps her voice hushed but meets my gaze.

“Connor and I would be happy to babysit anytime you need us.”

Connor has his annoying finger to his annoying jaw like he’s in mock contemplation. There’s nothing to contemplate. Daisy and Ryke have been glued to Sullivan since she was born. Five months without one break. I understand every parent is different, but I’m worried about my sister.

Ryke runs a hand across his unshaven jaw and then swivels his chair towards Connor. “You’d be fucking happy to babysit my daughter?” He’s disbelieving.

“Of course,” Connor replies. “Your daughter is already more articulate than you are, so really, I like Sulli more than I like you.” Connor sips his coffee again like he just professed the weather: sunny with a side of fuck you.

Ryke flips him off. The more direct approach to a fuck you.

They can act like they’re enemies for as long as they want, but in their eyes, even I can see how much they care for one another. I’ve seen real hate from my husband. I’ve seen real hate from Ryke. What they share doesn’t even come close to aversion.

Confusion furrows Daisy’s brows. “…I don’t know.” She thinks longer. “I don’t want to put more stress on you.”

I scoff. “She wouldn’t be any stress.”

“You already have three babies.”

I remember how Daisy and Ryke saw me at a lower point when I first had Charlie and Beckett. I was admittedly stressed out, and the new change scared me. I like order, but once I found a better routine and delegated more to Connor, I became invincible. In mind and body, and if I wanted to house a hundred children, I could do it with high heels and lipstick and a dress.

I’m the raging blizzard and the fucking wildfire. There is nothing that will stand in my way of what I want and what I will achieve.

I remind Daisy, “And another baby would hardly topple my world. I’m a fucking fortress.” This fact makes my little sister smile. I point my matte black nail at her infant. “You dressed her in a cupcake onesie. How could she cause any stress?”

Before he pipes in, I raise my hand towards Connor, shutting him down. I already see his grin in my peripheral and the words behind his lips: being dressed in a pale yellow cupcake-printed onesie has no relation to stress. Blah. Blah. Blah.