God, I feel like I’m going to throw up.
“She’s messing with my head. She called me when I was driving back from seeing you and when I told her where I’d been, she freaked out. Demanded that I come and see her right away. So I went home and she…attacked me.”
I close my eyes, wishing he would shut up.
“She was crazed. Like she couldn’t get enough of me. I know you don’t want to hear it, but it was the best sex we’ve had in…years. I don’t get it. I don’t get her.”
“She’s using sex to keep you with her, Dad.” My voice is tight and I feel completely strung out. I hate hearing all of these details. Worse? I hate hearing that she attacked him after she knew he’d spent time with me.
What did that mean? I can only assume that maybe she thought of me when…
Fuck. I can’t finish the thought.
“She probably is,” Dad readily agrees. “But if she keeps it up, I might not be ready to let her go yet.”
He’s an idiot. I want to tell him that, but I keep my mouth shut. Their problems are none of my business. “I guess that’s up to you,” is all I say in response.
“Listen. We talked a lot last night, Adele and I. She wants you to come home for the summer. She says she misses you and wishes you were around more. And I agree. Could you consider it? For us?”
That would be a mighty hell no, but I’m not going to be a dick to my dad now. He’s still too fragile over this whole should-I-divorce-or-not deal with Adele. And look at her, trying to worm her way back into my life. Trying to get me to go back there. Does she think I’m an idiot? “I gotta go, Dad. Call me if you need to talk again.”
“Tell me you’ll at least consider it, son. Adele misses you and loves you so much. Ever since we lost Vanessa, she hasn’t been the same. You know this. You could bring some happiness back into her life.”
“See ya, Dad.” I hang up before he can say anything else. I don’t think I could stand it.
My appetite gone, my nerves shot, I pace around my apartment, completely on edge. I throw on some shoes and try and go for a run but all I can think about is my dad staying with Adele. Of her trying to convince me to go back home and spend the summer with them. I can’t go back there. Thanksgiving had been bad enough. I still haven’t fully accepted what she told me. It’s hard for me to wrap my brain around her revelation.
Could my little sister really have been my…daughter?
Panic fills me and I stop running, glancing around as I stand in the middle of the sidewalk. Wishing like hell I had someone to talk to. Anyone.
But she’s at work. It’s late afternoon and her shift started at three or four. Hell, I can’t remember. I can’t waltz back into her life and lay the heavy shit on her anyway. I wish like hell it wasn’t a Sunday or I’d call Dr. Harris…
Deciding to hell with it, I yank my phone out of my sweats pocket and dial her number. She answers on the third ring.
“I’m surprised to hear from you on a Sunday,” is how she greets me. “Are you all right?”
“Not really,” I admit, thankful she doesn’t berate me for contacting her on her day off. “My dad called.”
“Hmm. That doesn’t sound good. Lucky you, I’m in the mood for a coffee. Want to meet for one in, say, twenty minutes?”
Relief floods me. How did I get so lucky to find Dr. Harris in the first place? Maybe this isn’t commonplace, her meeting a patient for coffee on a Sunday afternoon, but I need to get all this bullshit off my chest. Not just the bad stuff that happened with my dad, but also my night and morning with Fable. “I’ll be there,” I tell her after she rattles off an address of a nearby Starbucks.
* * * *
“So how do you feel about what your dad said?”
I take a drink of my iced coffee. “I’d rather he divorce her. I want her out of my life for good.”
“I thought Adele was already out of your life.” Doc looks at me in that certain way she has. The one that reminds me I’m an adult and I’m the one in charge of what happens to me.
“She is. But I want her out of my dad’s life too. As long as she’s still married to him, she’s a barrier between us. One I don’t want to cross,” I say with a finality I desperately want to believe in.
“That’s you’re decision to make and one you’re allowed to have. You know it will hurt your father if you cut him off completely without an explanation.” She sips from her straw, her expression one of utter contentment, but I know what she’s trying to do.
“No way am I telling him what happened between Adele and me. He’ll hate me for it.” I shake my head.
“He shouldn’t. You’re his son. You were a child when it started. You were a child when you put a stop to it. She was in the wrong. Don’t you think he’ll see that?” she asked, her voice soft.
I have no idea. I’m too scared to take that chance. “He’ll see what he wants to see. He’ll believe what he wants.”
“Do you really have that little of faith in your dad?”
Ouch. I never thought of it like that before. “It’s not that I don’t have faith in him. It’s just…she knows how to twist everything up. She’s a master manipulator and she’s been playing the both of us for years.”
“You give her too much power. She knows it and she revels in it,” Dr. Harris points out.
I shrug. “Maybe I do. It’s easier to avoid her rather than face the truth.”
“You know how I feel about you constantly running away from your problems. It’s not healthy. And they always catch up to you sooner or later.” She takes another sip of her drink and then pushes the cup aside so she can rest her arms on the edge of the table. “Enough focusing on the bad. Let’s talk about the good. Let’s talk about Fable.”
Just like that, I’m smiling as I study my cup, running my finger through the condensation that’s formed there. “I already told you I was with her last night.”
“Have you two talked much?”
“I said I was sorry.”
“Ditching her.” I meet Doc’s gaze from across the tiny table. The Starbucks is emptying out, it’s already near six. Most people are home fixing dinner or whatever. “We need to talk more.”
“Wouldn’t you want to make sure that you do? Are you going to explain to her why you ran away? It seems that she’s good for you,” Dr. Harris says with a slight smile. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you look so happy.”
My smile grows. “She is good for me. I’m in love with her.” Saying the words out loud makes them that much more real. And scary.
“Have you told her that?”
“What if she doesn’t love me back?” My absolute biggest fear is I lay it all out on the line for Fable and she doesn’t feel the same. Or worse, she laughs at me.
Though I know deep down inside she would never do that. I also know, deep down inside, that she probably feels the same way about me that I feel about her.
It’s easy to write the words I love you, to compose poems about her, declaring my undying love for her with a bunch of flowery sentences. It’s another thing entirely making that declaration to her face. Scary enough just saying the words out loud to my shrink.
“Loving someone is taking a constant risk with your emotions. When you find the right person, the one you know you want to be with, that person becomes worth the risk.” Dr. Harris pauses, studying me carefully. “Do you believe Fable is worth the risk to you?”
“Yes,” I say without hesitation.
She smiles. “If that’s what you believe, then she’ll want to hear those words, Drew. I bet she thinks you’re worth the risk as well.”
We are afraid to care too much for fear that the other person does not care at all. – Eleanor Roosevelt
The restaurant is relatively quiet, which I guess is the norm for a Sunday night, according to Jen. My shift drags, the four hours feeling like twelve, especially because I’m not keeping constantly busy, which usually helps pass the time.
I check the clock and see that it’s seven thirty. Finally. Thirty minutes until I see Drew and I can’t wait.
Sucks that Colin is here, though. I don’t want him to see Drew pick me up. I promised him there wouldn’t be any drama and that I would keep Drew far away from here.
How was I supposed to know we’d literally kiss—and plenty of other things—and make up? I seriously thought we were through. Done. Finished.
Plus, I’d been so freaking angry with him. Mad that Drew came back into my life like he never left and tried his best to screw with my head. Kissing me, saying he missed me. All the things I wanted to hear but not like that. A confrontation at my work is not the way to go in reconciling a romance.
Funny, how things change completely in a few hours. I feel like my life has been flipped completely upside down.
In a good way.
“You’re antsy,” Jen says as she passes by me.
I’m bouncing on my heels. Sort of hard to do considering the heels I’m wearing. We’re in the dresses tonight. They’re black, they skim our bodies and end midthigh, though the skirt always rides up. The one where I make sure and wear boy-short-cut panties for fear I’ll show everything I have with one wrong move.
I wonder what Drew will think of my dress. I like the way it makes my boobs look and I’m wearing a special bra just for him.
“Full of nervous energy,” I explain, which sounds plain stupid but hey, I’m not lying.
“Why?” She raises a brow, crosses her arms in front of her. We’re hanging out at the waitress station near the bar, out of sight of the few customers who still linger in the dining area. “Does it have anything to do with the guy last night?”
Well, shit. There are no secrets in this place, are there? “Maybe.”
Jen smiles and shakes her head. “Colin is going to kill you.”
“Oh, give me a break.” I wave a hand but my stomach starts turning. What if Colin gets mad about me being with Drew? Not that he can control my personal life, but I did promise him there would be no boyfriend trouble.
“He’s worried about you. He thinks the guy who was hanging around here last night could become a problem. Who is he, anyway? I thought he looked sort of familiar.”
I’m not telling her. Bad enough Owen is still flipping out over the fact I’m dating Drew. If that’s what I can call it.
“He’s no one that you would know,” I lie, because practically everyone in this small town has heard his name mentioned once or twice.
“Huh, well, if I were you, I’d keep him a secret,” Jen warns.
Okay, now I’m getting irritated. “What’s up with Colin being so nosy about our personal life, anyway? It’s sort of weird, don’t you think? I mean he’s our boss. Isn’t he afraid of crossing a line?”