Never Too Far (Chapter 10)
"I'll be working at the club. We'll… uh… see each other on occasion. I'd get a job somewhere else but I need the money the club pays." I was explaining this to myself as much as I was explaining it to Rush. I hadn't been sure exactly what I was going to say when I showed up here. I just knew I had to face him. At first Bethy had begged me to tell him about the pregnancy. However, after she'd heard exactly what happened with my father and Nan and her mother that day she hadn't been as Team Rush as before. She agreed that there was no need to tell him anything right away.
Working up enough nerve to drive back to this house after the way I'd left only three and a half weeks ago had been hard. The hope that my heart wouldn't react when I saw Rush's face had been futile. My chest had constricted so badly it had been a wonder I could breathe. Much less speak. I was pregnant with his baby… our baby. But the lies. The deceit. Who he was. All of that kept me from saying the words that he deserved to hear. I couldn't. It was wrong. I was being selfish. I knew it. That didn't change anything. The baby I was carrying might never know him. I couldn't let the way I felt about him cloud my decisions for my future… or my baby's future. My father, his mother and his sister would never be a part of my baby's life. I wouldn't allow it. I couldn't.
"Of course. Yeah, working at the club is good money." He stopped and ran a hand through his hair. "Blaire, nothing has changed. Not for me. You don't need my permission.This is exactly what I want. Having you here again. Seeing your face. God, baby, I can't do this. I can't pretend I'm not fucking thrilled you're standing in my house right now."
I couldn't look at him. Not now. I hadn't been expecting him to say any of those things. The stilted nervous conversation was more of what I expected. It was what I wanted. My heart couldn't take anything else. "I need to go, Rush. I can't, I just wanted to make sure you were good with me being in town. I'll keep my distance."
Rush moved so fast I didn't realize it until he was standing between me and the door. "I'm sorry. I was trying to be cool. I was trying to be careful but I cracked. I'll do better. I promise. Go to Bethy's. Forget what I just said. I'll be good. I promise. Just… just don't leave. Please."
What did I say to that? He'd managed to make me want to comfort him. To apologize to him. He was lethal to my emotions and good sense. Distance. We needed distance. I nodded and stepped around him. "I'll… uh… probably see you around." I managed to croak out before opening the door and stepping outside the house.
I didn't look back but I knew he was watching me leave. It was the only reason I didn't break out into a run. Space… we needed space. And I needed to cry.
It was as if he had known I was coming. I'd already decided to go straight to the dining room and look for Jimmy. I figured Jimmy would know where to find Woods. But Woods had been waiting on me at the door when I opened the back entrance to the clubhouse.
"And she returns. Honestly didn't think you would," Woods drawled as the door closed behind me.
"For a little while maybe," I replied.
Woods winked at me then nodded his head toward the hall that led down to his office. "Let's go talk."
"Okay," I said as I followed him.
"Bethy's already called me twice today. Wanting to know if I'd seen you yet. Making sure you got your job back," Woods said as he opened his office door and held it so that I could walk inside. "What I didn't expect though was the call I just received about ten minutes ago. It surprised me. From the way you bolted out of here three weeks ago and left Rush all high and dry, I didn't expect him to call me on your behalf. Not that he needed to, mind you. I'd already agreed that you could have your job back."
I stopped and looked back at him. Had I just heard him correctly? "Rush?" I asked, almost afraid I'd hallucinated that comment.
Woods closed his door and walked over to stand in front of his desk. He leaned back against the expensive looking shiny wood and crossed his arms over his chest. The smile he'd had when I arrived was gone. He looked more concerned now. "Yes, Rush. I know that the truth came out. Jace has told me some of it. What he knows at least. But then I already knew who you were. Or who Rush and Nan thought you were. I warned you he'd choose her. He was already choosing her when I gave you that warning. Do you really want to come back to all of this? Is Alabama that bad?
No. Alabama wasn't that bad. Being a single pregnant nineteen year old with no family was bad though. That however was not something I was going to share with Woods. "Coming back here isn't exactly easy. Seeing… them, won't be easy either. But I need to figure out what I'm going to do. Where I'm going to go. There is nothing left for me in Alabama. I can't stay there and pretend that there is. It's time I found a new life. And Bethy is the only friend I have. My options for places to go are a little limited."
Woods eyebrows shot up. "Ouch. What am I? Here I thought we were friends."
Smiling, I walked over and stood behind the chair across from him. "We are but well… not close friends."
"Not because I didn't try my damnedest."
A small laugh bubbled up and Woods grinned. "That's nice to hear. I missed it."
Maybe coming back wouldn't be so hard.
"You can have your job. It's yours. I've had shit for cart girls and Jimmy is still sulking. He doesn't play well with the other servers. He misses you too."
"Thank you," I replied. "I appreciate it. I want to be honest with you though. In four months, I intend to leave. I can't stay here forever. I've…"
"You have a life to get to. Yeah, I heard you. Rosemary isn't where you intend to put down your roots. I got it. For whatever length of time, you got the job."