My cell’s nagging ringtone wakes me up and I lift my head, glance down to find Fable snuggled against me, warm and nak*d and fast asleep. Her arm is draped over my stomach, her cheek pressed against my pec, her silky soft hair in my face. Hell no, do I want to answer that call. They can wait.
I have my girl sprawled all over me, fast asleep. Why would I want to end this anytime soon? My phone stops ringing only to start again and I reach out, grabbing it from my bedside table to see who it could be.
The word Dad flashes on the screen and I answer the call, trying my best to keep my voice low so I don’t disturb Fable. “Hey.”
“Can you talk?” He sounds frantic. Freaked out and upset.
“Sure, give me a minute.” I disengage myself from Fable’s grip and she murmurs in her sleep when I slide away from her. Quietly I climb out of bed, grab my sweats and slip them on before I head out into the living room. “What’s going on?” I ask.
His breathing is ragged before he starts speaking. “Adele cheated on me. I know it. I’ve seen proof. We’re finished. Through. I won’t put up with her lies any longer.”
I fall onto the couch, my skin going ice-cold at his words. “What sort of proof have you seen?”
“I followed her. She went to the country club, told me she was going for golf lessons. Some lessons.” He snorts. “She met up with the golf pro, dragged him into a private room and kept him in there for hours. Hours. When they finally came back out, he had shit-eating grin on his face and she had a fresh f**ked look about her.” He groaned. “I confronted them.”
“Ah, Dad.” My heart hurts for him. At his pain, the humiliation of what he must’ve endured. And for him to confront Adele and her sidepiece…damn, he must’ve been enraged.
“She went crazy, son. Crazy. Crying, hysterical, full of denials. All of them lies, all of them.”
“Where are you now?”
“At the house. I kicked her out. Left the country club, raced home and tossed all her shit out onto the lawn. She followed me, raged at me in the front yard and swore she was going to call the cops. So I did it for her.”
Closing my eyes, I scrub my hand over my face. My dad’s imploding marriage was one big f**ked-up mess. “You called the cops?”
“Sure did. And I asked them to escort her off the premises since she wouldn’t leave. Considering my name is the only one on the mortgage, legally I have that right even though we’re married.” He pauses. “I met with my lawyer today and we’re proceeding with the divorce. The papers are being drawn up. She should be served in the next few days. I’m done.”
“Really.” My voice is flat and full of doubt. I can’t help it.
“Really. I know you probably find it hard to believe but I’m dead serious. She has wronged me so completely there’s no way she could ever come back from that. I can’t trust her. I’m done.”
If he only knew what happened between Adele and me, he’d probably be done with me too. I can hardly stand the thought. Besides Fable, he’s all I have. “Has she bothered you lately? Like in the last twenty-four hours?”
“No. I’ve not heard from her at all. I figure she’s staying with her f**king golf pro. Let her go see how uncomfortable her life will be, living with a punk-ass kid working a shit job? She’ll figure out real quick he wasn’t worth screwing up our entire marriage over.” The bitterness in Dad’s voice is overpowering. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard him sound so angry.
“If you need to get away from all the crap, come up here and hang out with me. I have the extra bedroom or you can grab a hotel room. Spend some time with me, clear your mind,” I offer. Fable probably won’t be pleased. She’s not a huge fan of my dad but I’ll worry about her later. I need to help him. He sounds off. Consumed with anger, and that can’t be healthy.
“I appreciate the offer, but no way am I leaving this house. With my luck she’d move her pretty ass back in here and never leave. Then she’d get me on squatter’s rights or some such shit. I can’t have it. I’m staying put,” he says determinedly.
I bite back the sigh that wants to escape. “Well, know the offer still stands.”
“I appreciate it, son, I do. I just can’t believe…” His voice trails off and he releases a shuddering breath. God, I hope he’s not crying. “I can’t believe she would do something like this to me. After everything we’ve been through, everything we’ve shared together, she goes and does something like this. It’s unbelievable.”
There’s nothing I can say. I can’t console him. I want him to run as far and as fast away from Adele as he can. But he loves her. For whatever reason, he loves her and now he’s hurting from her betrayal.
Imagine if he found out what I did to him. I think of Vanessa. I still don’t know the truth. No way do I want to go to Adele and demand the truth. She’d tell me one thing and Dad another.
Sick, twisted bitch.
I talk to Dad for a few minutes longer. More like me letting him rattle on for a while over how much she betrayed him while I listen and make the appropriate noises where needed. He can’t stop talking about it. He’s starting to repeat himself, saying the same things over and over, his voice full of fire, his anger and sadness so strong I feel it settle over me like a heavy, wet blanket.
But then I glance up and catch Fable standing in the hallway, her hair sticking out all over the place, my dark blue comforter wrapped around her nak*d body, her expression hesitant.
“Dad, I gotta go. Call me if you need me.” Before he can reply I end the call and go to her, slipping my arms around her and pulling her in, the bulky comforter preventing me from getting too close. “Hey, you’re awake.”
“I woke up when you slipped out of bed.” She rests her hands on my bare chest, stroking my skin. “Is everything okay?”
“Yeah.” I wish she would drop the damn comforter so I can touch her for real. “It was my dad. I guess the divorce is back on.”
Her hands still. “And that’s a good thing, right?”
“Definitely. I want her out of our lives for good. There’s been a lot of back-and-forth, though. I don’t know if I believe him.”
“What happened to make him want the divorce again?” she asks.
“I guess he caught her cheating on him. As in, he followed her and watched her hook up with a guy, then confronted her later.” Dad’s acting like a man possessed but I guess when a person’s been wronged so completely by the one they love, that person can tend to do crazy things.
“Wow. Sounds awful.”
“I know. My dad…he’s really upset.” I smooth my hand over her hair, trying to tame the wayward strands. I desperately want to change the subject. “You look pretty in my comforter.”
Fable rolls her eyes but her cheeks turn a delicate pink. “I think you’d say I look pretty in anything.”
“You’re right.” If I could I would forget about all of my problems and lose myself in her. She’s the only thing that feels right and normal in my entire universe.
“I should go,” she says softly. “I promised Owen I’d be home when he’s done with school. Plus I’m going out with Jen tonight and I need to get ready.”
Jealousy flares in my gut and I tamp it down. I’m being ridiculous. Like a macho a**hole who never wants to lose sight of his woman and that’s not cool. I trust her.
I just don’t trust any other guy who gets near her. I mean, look at her. She’s beautiful and she’s all mine. One mistake on my part though and I could lose her. Look at what happened last night.
I push last night’s argument firmly out of my mind. Dwelling on my mistakes is pointless.
“Okay.” I kiss the tip of her nose. “How did you get here, anyway?”
She shrugs, a little smile curving her lips. “Jen came by my apartment to pick me up earlier so I could go get my paycheck from the restaurant. Once I was there, I jogged over.”
“You jogged?” I had no idea she had it in her. Though her body is bangin’, there’s no denying it, she’s never mentioned she likes to run.
Of course, there’s plenty I don’t know about Fable. She’s still a mystery to me. One I want to examine and take apart, learn every bit of her piece by piece.
“Yeah.” She leans in and presses her lips to the center of my chest. My heart skips a beat, as if it could literally feel her kiss. “I have all sorts of secret talents.”
“I’ll say,” I mutter, enthralled with the way she’s touching me. So easily, as if we’ve been together forever.
Laughing, she withdraws from me and starts toward my bedroom. “Maybe if you’re lucky you’ll discover more of my secret talents later tonight,” she calls from over her shoulder.
I frown. “What are you talking about?”
More laughter, the musical sound washes over me, filling me with happiness. “You’ll see.”
I’m left still pondering that remark hours after she left.
I feel good. Like the best I have in ages. Jen and I went out to dinner at some new place downtown where they serve the best appetizers ever. We laughed and laughed as we gushed over the delicious food, knowing Colin would absolutely kill us if he caught us in there.
We were coconspirators and that was fun. The only time I’ve ever felt truly part of a team is with Owen and somewhat with Drew. With Drew, our relationship is still so new, so fragile, I’m afraid sometimes to push too hard.
Tonight, I plan on pushing hard. Tonight, I feel free.
“So tell me more about your hunkalicious boyfriend.” Jen’s dark eyes are sparkling. We’re at one of the local college hangouts. It’s two stories, the bottom level a very casual restaurant/burger joint, the top level has a huge bar and dance floor. They don’t let anyone underage upstairs, which totally bums me out. I’m literally writhing where I sit in the booth, my body overtaken by the muted throbbing beat that comes from upstairs.
“What do you want to know?” I play coy on purpose, stirring my straw in my glass of soda. I sort of wish for harder stuff. Jen’s a little buzzed, I can see it in the flush in her face, the light in her eyes. I’m less than six months away from my twenty-first birthday and not that I’m a party girl or anything, but it’ll be nice to be able to booze it up whenever I want.
“How’d you meet?”
Such a simple question that requires a not so simple answer. “It’s sort of hard to explain.”
“He’s gorgeous, you know. And popular as hell, you little shit. You told me he was no one I knew. Everyone in town knows Drew Callahan.” Jen sips from her drink, her lips curved in a smirk. “Is he amazing in bed or what?”
Jen gets a little liquored up and she’s making all sorts of crazy statements. I don’t even know how to answer that. I’m used to girls accusing me of stealing their boyfriends, not of friends asking how my boyfriend is in bed.