“Rose, what can I do?” I ask, sincerely wanting to help my best friend find an answer to what is upsetting her.
Her phone beeps and her lips tighten as she reads the text. “Listen, I’ve got to run,” she says brightly. “Don’t worry about me; I’m just PMS-ing today. I’ll pick up some chocolate and be as good as new tomorrow.” Before I can stop her, she’s out the door. What in the holy hell just happened?
Aidan and I have just finished going through the agenda for the next month. With business out of the way, he relaxes back in one of the chairs in front of my desk with his usual lazy grin. “So, how’s the little momma?” I hadn’t wanted to keep Lia’s pregnancy from my inner circle so they’ve known for a few weeks now. I also told Aunt Fae around the same time. Predictably, they were thrilled once the initial shock wore off.
As usual, when Lia is mentioned, I know I look like a lovesick pussy. “She’s good.” I grin, my mind going back a few hours ago to when I was buried deep inside her. My cock twitches and I discretely adjust myself under the cover of the desk. Lia’s right, I’m hard all the time. She doesn’t even have to be near. Just the mention of her name does it for me. Fucking napalm.
“She getting used to the idea of having a baby now?” he asks in concern. The last time he and I had talked about it, Lia had still been in shock and denial over her impending motherhood.
“Yeah, I think so. I’ve been in my own head a lot the last few weeks though, so I haven’t been as observant as I normally would be,” I admit.
He gives me a look full of sympathy. Aidan isn’t without his own vices, but unlike me, he’s never had a particular preference. His drug of choice has long been Cassie and, unfortunately for him, she’s an addiction he’s never had the will to kick. “You look better,” he remarks as he studies me intently. “Is it getting any easier?”
Ah, that does seem to be the question of the day from those who care about me. “Somewhat,” I answer honestly. “My stress level has been off-the-charts without something to take the edge off, and I’ve been a bastard to anyone near more often than not. If Cindy didn’t love me, she would have quit. Hell, she told me that very thing when she almost slammed the door off the hinges one day last week.”
Aidan grins before saying, “She might beat your ass, but she’ll never leave you.” I incline my head in acknowledgment because I know he’s right. I study my friend and notice that he appears more cheerful than usual. He looks almost lighthearted. A comment about him getting laid is on the tip of my tongue when he leans forward and I know what’s coming. Cassie. Fuck, why must we keep talking about her? I turned over complete control to him when I stopped using coke. Max was against it, but I felt that far too much of my time, as well as my lawyer’s, had been tied up in her care. Aidan was more than willing to be her advocate, and I knew he would protect her interests where I could not. I don’t trust myself to make decisions concerning her any longer. I was never the person who should have been entrusted with that. Clearing his throat, he begins, “So, I met with Cassie’s doctor this past weekend.”
“That’s good,” I say in a voice I know does not sound encouraging. I’m tapping a pen restlessly on my desk, hoping he’ll get to the point quickly.
“We discussed an overnight visit in the near future if she keeps progressing as she has been.”
My blood runs cold as I stare at him in shock. Surely, the fuck he can’t be saying what I think he is. “What exactly do you mean, Aidan?” I ask, hoping I’ve misunderstood.
I can tell he’s choosing his words carefully as he says slowly, “Luc, she’s really made remarkable strides since she began the new medication. She recognizes me and mentions things from her past. Her doctor says she is continuing to interact with everyone there and shows marked improvement daily. They think that a short visit to a familiar place might really be of benefit to her as she struggles to regain the missing parts of her memory.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I manage to croak out. Fuck, this kind of anxiety is the last thing I need right now.
“You put me in charge of making the decisions for her,” he points out quietly, but with a hint of steely resolve in his voice. “I know you and I differ greatly on the outcome we are hoping for here, but I need you to respect my feelings and judgment.”
My temples begin to pound and I reach to rub one absently. Tension headaches, fuck yeah, they appear to be here to stay. “Aidan, I don’t know what you want me to say.”
“How about it’s been a long time and you wish her the best? I know you can’t forgive her for what she did to you, but you loved her at one time. We were all so close. She was our girl, Luc, don’t you remember that?”
I flash back to years past when we were all just kids. Aidan’s right. We both loved her and at the time, I could never have imagined how badly the future would turn out. “Of course I do, man. It’s…hard for me to reconcile the younger Cassie with the one who slit my throat and killed my child.” I see him flinch, but I continue. “It’s almost as if they are two different people in my mind. I would have done anything for her back then, but I don’t even know the person she became.”
“I need to try to save her, Luc,” Aidan implores me to understand. “I can’t turn my back on her. You couldn’t either or you wouldn’t have been her guardian all these years.”