“No, but I’m sure you’re going to tell me.”

“You care too much about what people think of you. You never used to, but when you got out there in Hollywood, it changed you.”


“Of course I care what people think about me. My career depends on it. And, right now, I look like a fucking idiot—yet again. It’ll probably be inscribed on my headstone—Vaughn West, Dumb Fuck Who Didn’t Know His Best Friend Was Screwing His Girlfriend Behind His Back for Months. And the Next Girl He Met and Fell for Turned Out to Be Fucking Married.”

“That kind of wordage would be expensive on a headstone, Vaughn. And I don’t think they allow curse words either.”

I give her a droll look. “Then, I’ll ask them to use an asterisk in fuck.”

“God, you’re dramatic.” She laughs. “So, the world thinks Charly cheated on you? Big deal.”

“I look stupid.”

“You don’t look stupid. People, if anything, feel sorry for you.”

“I do look stupid,” I argue. “And this could affect my career in a negative way. The stuff with Piper and Cain was bad enough, but at least I was the victim in it. In this, I look like the wife-stealer.”

“Good Lord, Vaughn. Who cares what people think? Did you know that Eddie Fisher left Debbie Reynolds, his wife and the mother of his child, for Elizabeth Taylor, his wife’s close friend? He married her the same year he divorced Debbie. Do you think that did any harm to their careers? No. People love scandal. That didn’t do Eddie’s or Liz’s careers any harm.”

“Things are different nowadays, Gran.”

“No, they’re not. There might be all this social media now, but it’s just a different century with the same kind of people with the same opinions. And opinions are like assholes, Vaughn. Everyone has one, and everyone knows one. Stop caring what everyone else thinks, and think about what you want.”

“I don’t know if I can trust her,” I tell her honestly.

“Relationships don’t work without trust.”

“I know,” I sigh. “That’s why I let her go.”

“I guess you’ve got to think about if you’ll look back at this and think you made the right decision by letting her go. Or if you’ll look back and regret it.”

“Do you have any regrets?” I ask her.

“None. Because every decision I ever made brought me to where I am now, and I’ve had a damn good life.”

“You’ve still got a good life,” I remind her.

“I don’t have regrets, but I did have a choice to make a long time ago. And the one thing I do wish is that I hadn’t taken so long to make it.”

“But you made the right choice.”

She looks at me and smiles with a softness in her expression that I rarely see on my Gran’s face. “I made the best choice. Remember, you only get one shot at this life, Vaughn, so you gotta grab it by the balls and make the most of it.”

Hearing my gran say balls makes me chuckle. And also reminds me of Charly and the first time we met.

Pins.

My Pins.

I rub my hands over my face.

Is my problem that I don’t think I can trust her? Or is it about caring what everyone will think of me if I stay with her?

And I know it’s the latter.

I’ve been letting my head…my ego…rule my heart.

I look at Gran. “You’re right. I do care too much about what people think.”

“The wrong people,” she says.

And she’s right.

When the only person I should be caring about is Charly. What she thinks of me.

My gran is right. Screw what everyone else thinks. I want Charly.

And I’m going to get her.

I stand up. “Do you know where Charly is right now?”

A slow smile spreads across my gran’s face. “As a matter of fact, I do.”

Charly

After I went over to Vaughn’s parents’ house with his gran, we sat down in the living room. She gave me a piña colada. I downed the whole thing in one go, and then I started spilling my guts like a pig that had just been cut open for slaughter. I told her everything—the truth about my marriage to Nick.

But something tells me that I can trust Phoebe.

Or maybe it was just the two strong piña coladas telling me that.

Either way, it doesn’t matter.

I lost Vaughn, so nothing matters to me right now.

I know I should ring Nick and tell him what happened, but I just can’t bring myself to talk to anyone.

Every time I open my mouth to speak, I feel like I’m going to cry. So, I’m keeping it shut.

After I talked to Phoebe and cried my way through a box of tissues, I was embarrassed that I’d unloaded on her like that.

So, I thanked her for everything, and I looked up flights. Turned out, there wasn’t a flight to New York until tomorrow night.

It’s like the world is trying to punish me by keeping me here.

I asked Phoebe if she could recommend a hotel in Klamath Falls. She gave me the name of one, and then I called a cab.

The cab arrived fifteen minutes later. I hugged Phoebe and thanked her for everything. Then, I climbed into the cab, and it took me to the hotel.

I checked in for a single room. Took my case up to the room, sat down on the bed, and stared at the wall.

I knew I was going to cry again. After years of never crying, my eyes were sore, and I felt drained. I knew I wouldn’t cry in front of people, so I got up to go outside, and I started walking.

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