This couldn't be happening, not now. Andrew was screaming filth and hatred beside him while Kai was crying in the backseat. His life wasn't meant to be this way. Riley had come halfway around the world to be with a girl whom he didn't even love, just because she needed his help. His family had thought he was nuts when he told them he was going to marry his friend Karen and raise a child who wasn't his, but sadly, in one heartbeat, a stupid tree had taken it all away from him.
Karen's family, who had looked down on him from the very start and had never shown an ounce of love to Karen's son, was now kicking them both to the curb. It was Andrew who had been given the honor of taking him and "the brat," as the Goldings referred to Kai, off the family property. Karen's brother was supposed to be his best friend. Promises of help were tossed aside the moment Karen had set him free to find his heart. She had, in her pain, unwittingly outed him to her whole family -- her very bigoted and extremely racist family; they were nothing like the wonderful family he had left behind in Australia. He had been here for a grand total of six months, two weeks and three days, and now he was tossed aside like yesterday's rubbish.
The day after his new wife passed away, Riley and Kai left their lives and their home on the Golden Spur with the strict instructions never to show either of their faces there again, or the law would be called.
"I don't understand." Tears prickled behind his eyes as Andrew leaned across him and opened up the door. "I thought you were going to help us? Kai is your nephew for crying out loud."
"And I thought you were straight -- not some perverted, sick freak," Andrew spat back. "Just get the fuck out of my car."
"But it's raining; Kai will get sick," Riley said helplessly. Andrew had been his one friend since moving to this damn country. Friendships didn't mean shit if you couldn't count on the person when needed. He could see now that he had been played for a fool, though sadly he thought Karen had loved him in her own way; she just wasn't ready to be a momma. He should have stayed in Australia like his family had wanted, but if he had, then what would have happened to Kai?
Deep down Riley knew they would still have given the infant away like he was a total stranger and then gone on with their lives without giving the baby a second thought. They had hated the fact that Kai wasn't white; his daddy must have been of Asian descent as Kai's eyes were almond shaped, and his skin was a beautiful mocha color. Even though he wasn't Kai's biological father, he loved him as if he were. He hated how Andrew's yelling was distressing his son so much.
"Do I look like I give a fuck? Just get the fuck out of my car, and take that screaming kid with you. If I never have to look at either of you again, it will be too soon. That kid is not a Golding! He never has been; he has your name and is now your responsibility. The only good thing my fucked-up sister ever did was have you adopt her bastard."
Knowing there was no use in arguing any longer, Riley took off his coat and tossed it into the backseat with Kai. Getting out of the car he unbuckled the car seat and covered it with his coat. It wouldn't keep the infant dry, but it was better than nothing. The door had barely closed when Andrew pulled away in a squeal of tires and headed back the way they had come. At least walking in the rain washed away his tears.
Fear filled him as he realized just how destitute they really were. The Goldings hadn't even let him take any of the baby's things, so they had no bottles, no formula, no diapers; all he had was the fifty-seven dollars and a bit of loose change that were in his wallet. He was dreading having to ring home and ask his family for help. There would be so many saying "I told you so" that he just couldn't handle right now. Tomorrow would be the day he would get his brain actually to function enough to try and sort out the mess he now found himself in. Tonight he just needed to find shelter. Riley needed to get himself and the baby out of the rain before they both caught pneumonia. It was freezing, so getting sick was a real possibility.
Hours had passed, and his feet were aching. He couldn't stop shivering as he finally came across another road. Riley hoped it led to another property; in the six months he had lived with the Goldings, he had never once left their ranch. He had worked right alongside Karen's family. Truth be told, he had worked harder than they did all because he thought he needed to prove himself, to show the Goldings he was capable of doing everything they did, and still they'd treated him like shit. Free labor was all he would ever be to them. Riley had hated having to ask the family for anything, because whenever he did, he was made to feel as though he was asking for the most expensive thing in the world. The only good thing about it was that he was forced to give up smoking. His lungs thanked him for it.
Dawn was almost breaking by the time Riley neared an actual homestead. With relief he sent up a prayer of thanks to the big man in the sky. Lights were on in the main house, so he stuck to the shadows as he made his way to the barn. He just needed time to dry off and dry Kai's things before he could move on. He didn't want any drama or hassle with whomever lived here; he hoped he got out before they even realized they had been here at all.
Climbing into the hay loft, he spread his wet coat on the floor and gently took Kai's small body out of the car seat and laid him on the coat. Removing his son's clothing, he wrung them out and set them out to dry. Stripping off his own clothes, he did the same then curled his body around Kai, because he knew he needed to keep the child warm. They were going to get through this. They just had to.