“What?” I climb out of bed, never looking in Fable’s direction. She might be awake by now, I don’t know, but I need to concentrate on what Dad is saying.
At the moment he’s sort of blowing my mind.
“I can’t believe that she had an…affair with you. An affair.” He laughs but it’s hollow sounding. “She molested you. God, she’s sick. I never want to see her again.”
“You don’t blame me?” I fall onto the couch, my head spinning. All these years, I believed if he discovered the truth, he would hate my guts.
“Blame you? How could I blame you? She said this started when you were still fifteen. Fucking fifteen!” He’s crying harder. “I’m sorry, Drew. I brought her into our lives and I’m so goddamned sorry. I had no idea. No f**king clue she was doing that to you. How could I be so stupid, so selfish? So blind?”
“It’s not your fault, Dad…”
“Stop right there, just…stop. It’s all my fault. I should’ve paid better attention. I should’ve been there for you but I wasn’t. I hate that. I’ve let you down.” He takes a deep shuddering breath. “It’s over, son. My marriage is over. You don’t have to worry about her being a part of our lives any longer. She’s no longer welcome in my home, in my heart, in my life.”
I’m crying too. The tears are falling and I sniff, trying to gain some control over my emotions. That tight feeling I’ve been carrying in my chest for months—hell, years—is slowly but surely easing. My dad knows the truth.
And he doesn’t hate me for it.
“When did she tell you?”
“She called me hours ago. I have no idea where she is. Did you see her? Did she come there? God, she’s twisted. I swear she’s obsessed with you.”
“I saw her. Fable tried to beat her up when she found out Adele had met her younger brother.”’
“You’re still with Fable? I thought you two broke up.” He pauses for a moment. “Wait a minute, does she know what happened between you and Adele?”
“Yeah.” My voice is a raspy whisper.
He’s silent for a while, as if he needs time to process that bit of information. “Things must be quite serious between you two.”
“She—she figured it out when I brought her home.” Adele had been less than subtle. That my father couldn’t recognize her crazy, possessive behavior showed how oblivious he really was to her.
When Adele always complained about how Dad ignored her, I believed her.
“I’m an idiot. I hope someday you can forgive me.”
His words take my breath away. “I—I feel the same way.”
“There’s nothing for me to forgive. You were innocent in all of this.” A little sob escapes him again. “I’m so sorry, son. For everything.”
We talk a little bit more and I promise to come see him soon. Hopefully going there without Adele present will remove the ghosts that haunt me in my old house. My dad needs me right now. I need to forget all those ghosts once and for all.
I end the call and go back into the bedroom to find Fable sitting up, leaning against the pillows, the bedside table lamp on its lowest setting. She has the sheet tucked around her, her shoulders bare and gleaming in the soft light, and she’s twirling a strand of long blonde hair around her finger, staring at the ends so hard she almost looks cross-eyed.
She’s silly. Beautiful. And so understanding, so accepting of all my secrets, I don’t know what I did to earn her trust and forgiveness. I love that she’s in my life. That she wants to be with me despite it all.
“Is everything okay?” she asks, her voice hushed.
Going to my side of the bed, I settle in beside her. “That was my dad.” I take a deep breath and stare straight ahead. I’m almost afraid to look at her even though she knows everything. “Adele told him what happened.”
“How did he react?”
“He doesn’t hate me. He feels awful for what she did to me.”
“See?” Her voice is quiet. “I told you he would be on your side.”
She did. I hadn’t believed her. “I guess you were right.” I release a deep, shaky breath. “I can’t believe how accepting of me he was.”
“Did she tell him about…Vanessa?”
Frowning, I turn to look at her. How could I have missed that? “He never mentioned her. So I’m assuming no.”
Fable lets the strand of hair she’d been twirling fall from her fingers. “Do you really think it’s true? That she was your daughter?”
I shrug. This is the information that makes me the most uncomfortable. I don’t want to believe it. That I could’ve been a father just…blows my mind. I have a tough time talking about it with anyone, even my therapist. It’s a subject I don’t want to face.
Especially since I haven’t a clue if it’s true or not. There’s no way I can prove it either. Vanessa’s gone.
“I want to believe she’s lying to me because it’s easier.” Fable moves closer to me, resting her head on my shoulder, and I slip my arm around her. Closing my eyes, I voice what I’ve been unable to say since the day Adele threw that bomb at me. “The day we came back here, after I dropped you off at your apartment, I called Adele. I demanded she tell me the truth. She said…she said she couldn’t get pregnant with my dad so she decided to try with me. That she poked holes in the condom and she got pregnant. All it took was one time, she insisted. One freaking time. I hate her. I hate that she tricked my father and me. I hate what she’s done to me. I hate that I let what happened between us control me for so long.”
“I’m sorry,” Fable whispers.
I close my eyes, trail my fingers across her shoulder, down her arm. I need to touch her. Having her close anchors me. Reminds me of how far I’ve come in so little time. “So am I. But I can’t remain in the past. I can’t blame her for what she’s done and let it cripple me for the rest of my life. I need to let it go. Let her go, once and for all.”
“Easier said than done.” Fable lifts her head so she can meet my gaze. “It’ll take time, Drew. I’m here, though. Even though I’m getting my own place, and I know you don’t like that, I’ll be here for you. I swear.”
“You don’t have to move—” I start but she cuts me off.
“I need to do it. I can’t be dependent on you. Not like this.”
“I want to take care of you,” I whisper. “I can do it. I have money. You’d never need anything if you and Owen lived here with me.”
She flashes me a quivery smile. “I know. And I love that you want to help and take care of me. But I need to learn how to take care of myself first.” She lifts her head and brushes her mouth against mine. “I need to show Owen I can do this.”
I touch her throat and she shivers. I slip my hand around her nape and bring her in closer to me, our mouths meeting, our tongues tangling. She melts against me, slipping her arms around my neck, the sheet falling away from her so I feel nothing but soft, bare skin.
After everything that happened today, my normal MO would be to run and hide. Pretend I don’t exist. Focus on anything else but living. Feeling.
Now, all I want to do is feel. Feel Fable’s mouth on mine, her hands on my body, her body moving against me. Pressing her into the mattress, exploring her skin with my hands and lips, pushing inside her, finding that connection with the one person who means more to me than anyone or anything in this world.
As I stare into her eyes while buried deep in her welcoming body, I whisper that I love her. The smile she offers me in response, tender and so full of emotion, unravels me completely.
She holds my heart in her hands. And for the first time in my life, I give it over to her completely.
Fable Maguire owns me. And I know I own her.
Yesterday was one of the craziest days of my life. A whirlwind of emotions swept through me from the highs to the lows and everything in between.
I find the apartment of my dreams. I try to beat the shit out of a woman who almost destroyed the man I love. The man I love is nearly brought to his knees when his father discovers his darkest secret.
After the day we had, both of us were emotional wrecks. Somehow I still fell into Drew’s arms, too overcome to fight the powerful pull that tugs within both of us. That pull brings us together as if we can’t resist each other.
It’s a fact. We just…can’t.
We made love slowly, quietly. No teasing, no urgency. Just a fluid, delicious connection of bodies until we were both spent, falling asleep in each other’s arms like the corniest movie you’ve ever seen on cable.
I’m the luckiest damn girl in the world. I know most girls would think I’m crazy. Drew Callahan is definitely not what’s expected. He’s troubled. He has issues, issues that aren’t resolved yet.
I don’t care. He’s mine.
Despite being up half the night, I get up early and force Owen awake. Ply him with a real breakfast before I drive him to school using Drew’s truck. I need a car. More than I need furniture or anything else a freaking car would come in real handy. I can’t depend on Drew or Jen driving forever. Colin mentioned a few days ago he knew someone who manages a local dealership and could get me a deal. I might take him up on that offer.
Smiling, I park Drew’s truck in his assigned spot and shut off the engine. For the first time since I don’t know when, I’ve surrounded myself with people who I can call my friends. Jen, T, Colin…Drew. The list isn’t long but it’s getting there. I know my life isn’t perfect, that I’ll be facing more struggles. The issue with my mom is far from resolved.
But for once in my life, I feel like I’m in a good place.
The weather turned dreary overnight, though the dark clouds heavy with rain don’t spoil my mood. The wind whips up, bending the little trees that dot the apartment complex property, and I climb out of the truck, forcing the door open against an extra-hard gust of air. I hit the keyless remote and start toward the Drew’s apartment building, when I hear a voice straight out of my nightmares.
“Well, look at you. Moving in with him. Driving his truck. Aren’t you all cozy and snug in your seemingly perfect little life?”
I turn to find Adele standing before me, a smirk on her face. She looks odd. Still wearing the same clothes from yesterday, her hair’s a mess, as if she hasn’t brushed it, and her eyes are wide as she stares at me. A huge, expensive-looking dark brown leather purse is slung over her shoulder and she clutches it close.
“What are you doing here?” I try to keep my voice casual but she’s freaking me out a little. Something’s not quite right with this picture.
“Looking for you.” She smiles.
A chill trickles down my spine at first sight of that weird smile. “Yeah, right.”
“No, really. I wanted to talk to you. Maybe we should go somewhere and chat.” She waves a hand behind her. “My car is around the corner. Let’s go.”