Fallen Too Far (Chapter Sixteen)
"Your room is upstairs now," Rush said, breaking the silence.
I knew that. My mind was just elsewhere. I turned and headed for the steps. Rush didn't follow me. I wanted to look back and see what he was doing but I couldn't.
"I tried to stay away from you." His words sounded dark. I stopped and turned back around to look down at him. He was standing on the bottom step staring up at me. The pained expression on his face made my heart ache.
"That first night I tried to get rid of you. Not because I disliked you." He let out a hard bitter laugh. "But because I knew. I knew you'd get under my skin. I knew I wouldn't be able to stay away. Maybe I hated you a little bit then because of the weakness you'd be able to find in me."
"What is so wrong with you being attracted to me?" I asked, needing him to at least answer me that.
"Because you don't know everything and I can't tell you. I can't tell you Nan's secrets. They're hers. I love her, Blaire. I've loved her and protected her all my life. She's my little sister. It's what I do. Even though I want you like I've never wanted anything in my life, I can't tell you Nan's secrets."
Every word from his mouth sounded like it was being ripped from him. Nan was truly his sister and I understood that kind of loyalty and love. I would have died for Valerie if I could. She had been only fifteen minutes younger than me but I'd have done whatever she needed me to. No guy or other emotion could have made me betray her.
"I can understand that. It's okay. I shouldn't have asked. I'm sorry." I was sorry. I'd pried into his life and his sister's. Obviously whatever Bethy knew she shouldn't know it. If Bethy thought that Rush's need to protect his sister would be an issue for us she was wrong.
Rush closed his eyes tightly and muttered something. He was dealing with something. Maybe this had brought up a bad memory. As much as I'd like to go down there and hug him I knew I wasn't welcomed right now. I'd messed that up.
"Good night, Rush," I said and walked up the stairs. I didn't look back this time. I went directly to my room.
There was no mistaking morning time up here with these windows. An alarm clock wouldn't be needed. The sun had woken me up an hour before my alarm clock had gone off. I showered and dressed with ease now that I had a bathroom right here and more room to move around.
I wasn't in the mood to eat Rush's food this morning. I wasn't really in the mood to eat but I had two shifts to work today so I needed some food. I would stop by the coffee house and get some caffeine and a muffin. The short black linen skirt and white cotton button down top we had to wear as a uniform when we served in the dining room at the club was our responsibility to keep washed and pressed. I'd spent a few hours yesterday ironing the few I had here at home.
Once I had on my tennis shoes, I headed down the stairs. I hadn't heard any activity upstairs yet today so I knew Rush wasn't awake. For once, I was grateful to not have to face him. Now that I'd had time to sleep on last night's events I was embarrassed.
Not only had I let Rush touch me in places I'd never had anyone touch me before but then I'd turned around and acted like a crazy nosy bitch. I needed to apologize to him but I wasn't ready to do that just yet.
I quietly closed the front door behind me and headed out to my truck. At least I wouldn't be home until after dark tonight. No having to face Rush for at least twelve more hours.
Jimmy was already in the staff room with his apron on when I arrived. He flashed me a grin and then made a pouty face with his lips. "Uh, oh, looks like someone had a bad morning."
I couldn't tell Jimmy my problems. He knew these people too. I had to keep this stuff to myself. "I didn't sleep that well," I replied.
Jimmy made a tsking sound. "For shame. Sleep is such a beautiful thing."
I nodded in agreement and clocked in. "Am I on my own today?" I asked.
"Of course. You had this figured out after following me around for two hours. You should breeze through this day."
I was glad someone thought so. I grabbed an order tablet and a pen and stuck them in the pocket of my black apron.
"Breakfast time," Jimmy said with a wink and pushed open the door that led into the dining room. "Oooh looks like the boss and friends are at table eight. As much as I'd love to go ogle their fine asses, they would prefer you. I'll go take the early morning tennis mommas over on table ten. They tip well."
Waiting on Woods and his friends was not something that I wanted to do this morning. But I couldn't argue with Jimmy. He was right. He'd get better tips from the women. They loved him.
I headed over to their table. Woods eyes lifted to meet mine and he smiled. "You look much better in here," he said when I stopped in front of them.
"Thank you. It's much cooler," I replied.
"Blaire has moved on up. I may have to eat more meals here," the blond curly headed guy said. I still didn't know his name.
"This could be very good for business," Woods agreed.
"How was your night out with Bethy?" Jace asked with a slight edge to his voice. He was holding the Bethy thing against me apparently. I didn't care. He was pond scum as far as I was concerned.
"We had a good time. What can I get y'all to drink?" I asked, changing the subject.
"Coffee, please," the blond chimed in.
"Okay, I get it. Off-limits. Girl code and all that shit. I want some OJ," Jace replied.
"Coffee for me too," Woods replied.
"I'll be right back with your drinks," I replied and spun around to see two more tables with guests. Jimmy was helping one of the tables so I headed for the other. It took me a second to realize just who was at that table. My feet stopped moving as I watched Nan flick her long strawberry blond hair over her shoulder and then level a scowl at me. I glanced back over to Jimmy who was finishing up drink orders at his second table. I had to do this. I was being silly. She was Rush's sister.
I forced my feet to move and walked over to her table. She was sitting with another girl. One I hadn't seen before. She was equally as glamorous as Nan.
"Webster must be letting anyone work here these days. I need to tell Woods to speak with his daddy about being more selective with their employees," Nan drawled slowly in a rather loud voice.
My face felt warm and I knew I was red faced. Right now I just needed to prove that I could get through this. Nan hated me for unknown reasons. Unless of course, Rush had told her I was snooping into her business. It didn't sound like something Rush would do but did I know him that well. No.
"Good morning, what can I get y'all to drink?" I said as politely as possible.
The other girl snickered and ducked her head. Nan glared up at me as if I were something repugnant. "You can get us nothing. I expect a classier server when I come to eat here. You won't do."
I looked for Jimmy once again but he was gone. Nan might be Rush's little sister but she was a major bitch. If I didn't need this job so badly I'd tell her to kiss my ass and I'd walk out.
"Is there a problem here?" Woods' voice came from behind me. For once in my life, I was relieved by his presence.
"Yes, there is. You hired white trash. Get rid of her. I pay too much to be a member here to tolerate this kind of service."
Was it because I was living at her brother's house? Did she hate my dad too? I didn't want her to hate me. If she hated me Rush would never open up to me. That door was firmly shut.
"Nannette, you've never once paid to be a member here. You're here because your brother allows it. Blaire is one of the best employees we've ever had and not one other paying member has complained. Certainly not your brother. So, pull in the claws, sweetheart and get over yourself," Woods snapped his fingers and Jimmy came hurrying over toward us. He must have come back out during the drama and I'd missed him. "Jim, would you please serve Nan and Lola? Nan seems to have an issue with Blaire and I don't want Blaire being forced to wait on her."
Jimmy nodded. Woods took my elbow and led me back towards the kitchen. I knew we were drawing attention but I didn't care at the moment. I was just extremely grateful to be getting away from the curious onlookers and getting a breather.
Once the kitchen door closed behind me I let out the breath I'd been holding.
"I'm only going to say this once, Blaire. You stood me up the other night at Rush's. I didn't have to ask you why. I knew why when Rush was nowhere to be found. You had made your choice and I was backing off. But what happened in there is only a small taste. The bitch has serious venom in her veins. She is bitter and angry and when the time comes to choose, Rush will choose her."
I turned and stared at Woods unsure what he meant. Woods gave me a sad smile then let go of my elbow and walked back into the dining room. Woods knew the secret too. He had to. This was going to drive me crazy. What was the big deal?