I played it cool. “Okay, no problem. Guess I will catch up with her tomorrow.”
Jackie’s eyes glittered across at me from his heavily bearded face. And something told me that he knew what was going on. “They didn’t go to the movies in town. Said they was going to see some early release over in Humphrey.”
Yeah, Jackie knew, all right. He knew exactly how I felt about his daughter. Hell, he had probably known longer than I had.
“Thanks,” I said.
I didn’t even bother waiting until I was out of sight before running to my car. I jumped in and took off toward Humphrey.
Two hours, two sticks of gum, and almost a full packet of cigarettes later, I watched Indy finally emerge from the cinema with Tommy. It was dark out. A light rain had started to fall, and as they made their way along the boardwalk toward his car, Tommy pulled off his jacket and wrapped it around Indy’s shoulders. Jealousy twisted in my gut. The way he had his arm around her. The closeness of his body to hers. My heart felt like it was stuck in a vise and someone was tightening it.
I lit another cigarette and watched as he opened the door to his car—the very car where he had fucked Laura Hope last month—and then scooted around to the driver’s side. For a while, they didn’t go anywhere. They just sat and talked—only talked. I could see from where I sat, my eyes glued to his car, as I kept dragging on my cigarette. After about ten minutes, he gunned the engine and they pulled out of the parking lot and drove away. I followed them through the rainy streets, my gut stirring, my heart thumping, my anger slowly simmering beneath my skin when I realized he was taking her to Cavalry Hill.
The number one make-out spot in town.
The plain and simple truth was this: Anson and I had broken up a couple of months before my father’s death.
A brilliant trauma surgeon, Anson had been offered a position in a world-renowned Swiss medical facility almost a year into our relationship. He had asked me to marry him because it would be easier for me to follow him to Switzerland as his wife, so in one afternoon I had agreed to be his wife and to follow him half way around the world. But I had agreed to marry him for all the wrong reasons. Because I needed more time to think about the offer, and agreeing to it seemed like a better option than turning him down and breaking his heart in one fell swoop.
Two months later, and I’d had all the time I needed. I wasn’t going. And I wasn’t going to marry him either.
So, we had broken up in a surprisingly un-painful and calm manner, and I remember thinking at the time how bizarre it seemed, breaking up with my fiancé and feeling completely and utterly … relieved.
Then two months later my daddy died.
When I had weakened and given into my traitorous urges toward Cade, Anson and I weren’t together. But he had shown up, unannounced and uninvited as a show of friendly support, and seeing him was exactly what my confused and battered emotions needed. He was my safe house. I felt emotionally bruised by Cade and my father’s death, and seeing something so safe and familiar in Anson I had grabbed onto him for dear life so I didn’t have to face my feelings toward the other things going on around me.
Why did I tell Cade that Anson was still my fiancé?
The truth? It wasn’t planned. But when Cade showed up looking so damn beautiful and my stupid heart went all achy for him, I realized I’d fallen back in love with him.
And that was bad.
Like super bad.
Because where my heart was concerned, Cade Calley was my kryptonite.
So, my self-preservation kicked in, and telling Cade I was engaged erected a wall between us and gave me the space I needed to think about what had happened and how the pieces all fit together.
Now my safe house was leaving to go back to Seattle. We left the barbecue at the motorcycle club early so he could catch his flight home. He insisted I didn’t need to drive him, but I was grateful for the excuse to get away, especially from Cade’s watchful eye. I needed to catch my breath, and the drive out of town to the airport was exactly what I needed.
As we stood in the departure lounge at the airport, I wrapped my arms around him and hugged him. His warm, familiar smell was both a comfort and a reminder that we were well and truly over.
“Thank you for coming here,” I said. “You didn’t need to do that.”
“Hey, we were friends before we were anything else. I’d like to keep it that way.” He smiled warmly. “But having said that, just so you know, if you change your mind about any of it … Switzerland … me … the offer still stands.”