Making love to Lucy was amazing, but Oliver found he quite liked just talking to her as well. After a short nap on the rooftop, they got chilly, gathered their clothes and moved downstairs to his bed. There, he made love to her again, but instead of being sleepy, they were energized with conversation. They’d managed to lie in bed talking to the wee hours of the morning. He could tell she was getting tired, but like a stubborn toddler, not willing to give in to sleep quite yet.
“Harper and I are taking the train up to Connecticut next weekend,” Lucy said.
“A fun girls trip?” Oliver asked.
“Something like that. Do you have any plans? Maybe we can do something when I get back.”
Oliver picked up his phone from the nightstand to check his calendar. He would be lost without it. “Yep. I’m taking Danny to Coney Island. He’s finally tall enough to ride the roller coaster and he’s been pestering me for weeks.”
Oliver frowned. Not at Lucy, but at the fact that he hadn’t mentioned his brother to her in all this time. He supposed the focus of their discussions hadn’t really been on his family aside from Aunt Alice. “Hasn’t Harper ever mentioned our little brother?”
“Oh,” Lucy said, the pieces almost visibly coming together in her mind. “Yes, she has, she just never uses his real name. She calls him Noodle for some reason. I honestly had no idea his real name was Danny.”
At that, Oliver had to laugh. “His name is Daniel Royce Drake after my grandfather and my stepmother’s favorite car, respectively. Harper has called him Noodle almost since the day he was born but has never told me why. Do you know?”
Lucy shook her head. “She’s never said, and I guess I didn’t ask. She just mentions doing things with Noodle or posts pictures with him on Snapchat every now and then. I have to admit, that’s quite a nickname to grow up with.”
Oliver shrugged it off. “I’m sure he’ll be in therapy for far more serious things than a cutesy nickname his older sister gave him.”
“Why would you say something like that? That’s awful.” Lucy frowned at him, wrinkling her freckled nose.
“It’s true.” Oliver’s brow furrowed as he studied Lucy. Was it possible she didn’t know the strange and sad tale of Thomas and Candace Drake? Surely Harper had mentioned it. She had just started at Yale when their father began dating Candace. Or perhaps Alice said something. Just because she didn’t leave her apartment didn’t mean she didn’t know exactly what was going on in the family at all times. Or maybe Alice didn’t know. At least to the full extent. Their father may not have wanted to admit he’d squandered his fortune on a beautiful woman.
“What could a little rich boy possibly have go wrong in his life to necessitate counseling?”
Only people without money would think that life was easy if you had it. Yes, the necessities of life were no longer a worry, but it came with a whole new set of troubles. Women like Candace being one of them.
“Nothing, now,” Oliver admitted. “He was so young. I mean, I’m sure he misses his mother as a concept, but at the same time, she left when he was still a toddler. He may not remember much about her, only what’s told to him. But eventually he’s going to get old enough to realize that his mother used him as a pawn to get her hands on my father’s fortune, and then dumped him when he wasn’t useful to her any longer. When that dawns on him, it’s going to hurt. And it doesn’t matter how much Dad loves him, or Harper and I love him. It’s going to make him question why he wasn’t good enough for his mother to want him.”
Lucy’s big, brown eyes widened in concern, getting larger the more he said. “What kind of woman would leave her baby behind like that? That’s horrible.”
Her response and disgust seemed genuine. “A woman like my stepmother. Does Harper just not talk about our family at all?” he asked.
She shook her head. “Not really. I always got the feeling that talking about herself made her uncomfortable. I don’t know why. Violet and Emma grew up with wealth and privilege like she did. I’m the broke outsider in the group.”
“Not even when the stuff came up with the will? She didn’t mention Candace?”
“No, she didn’t.”
Oliver sighed. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and she snuggled in against his chest. “Candace is Danny’s mother. My father remained single for over ten years after our mother died of cervical cancer. Mom’s illness was hard on everyone, and when it was all over, he wanted to focus on raising us and running his company. There just wasn’t any room left for a relationship, even if he had been ready to date again. After Harper went off to college, he met Candace and got all wrapped up in her. It all happened so fast. The whole situation was a nightmare from start to finish.”