Frayed Page 81

When I enter the break room, Ruby is sitting at the table reading on her iPad.

’’Anything good?’’ I ask her.

She looks up. ’’Just the latest on government health care and fiscal crisis.’’

’’So early in the morning,’’ I joke.

I grab the pot and tip it toward her. ’’Want a cup?’’

’’No, I\ve had a few.’’

’’What hour did Beck drag you in?’’

’’It was supposed to be a two-minute stop over two hours ago.’’

’’Well, I think it\s under control now, so hopefully not much longer. Got plans? Christmas shopping?’’

She laughs. ’’I wish. Actually we\ e going to visit my parents.’’

I nod.

’’I\ve been meaning to call you,’’ she says. ’’I went to the address I had for my birth mother.’’

’’Oh yeah. Did you meet her?’’

’’No, I changed my mind once I got there. I decided I am happy with the life I have. She gave me up for a reason, and honestly not knowing just seems better than knowing now.’’

I nod again. Not sure of what to say.

’’I love my parents. I don\ need any other parental figures in my life. They\ e enough.’’

I stare at her for the longest time and it suddenly hits me I have to believe that my child, S\elle\s and my child, is just as happy with his or her life as Ruby is with hers. I have to let that go.

’’Hey, man, Eric is a wizard. Whatever you pay him he\s well worth it,’’ Beck announces as he enters the room.

’’You dragged my ass in here on a day off to tell me my computer engineer came from Oz?’’ I smile at him.

’’Something like that.’’

I grab my coffee and clap him on the shoulder. ’’Now get out of here. I\ll talk to you later.’’

I head to my office, figuring while I\m here I might as well get some work done. But after an hour or so I head back home. When I arrive home at two p.m., Caleb\s car is here, so I can ask him about the flash drive that looks suspiciously like the one I gave to him. I\m glancing up just as Trent begins to pull in, but then he slams on the brakes and backs up, opting to park off to the side of the road rather than in the driveway. He rushes out of what used to be my car my beloved BMW M5 Touring. Dahlia had given it to him and there was no way I could take it back.

’’Hey, Uncle Ben, I need to talk to you,’’ he huffs, bending down to catch his breath.

I raise an eyebrow. ’’What\s so important that you\ e running, kid?’’

The wind shifts direction as he swipes the back of his hand over his forehead. ’’I had lunch with Dahlia today.’’

’’Yeah, so you told me in your note.’’ I motion toward the house and walk toward the door.

When we reach the garage I turn toward him.

’’Now, don\ be pissed,’’ he says.

My eyes narrow on him. ’’Come on, let\s go in.’’

I open the unlocked door and we both walk in. As we enter the family room, my attention turns to Caleb sacked out on the couch with a few containers of Chinese food scattered on the floor and the coffee table, but I quickly turn my attention back to Trent. ’’Go on.’’

’’Well, I mentioned to Dahlia that you thought the girl you like is f**king someone else.’’

I stare openmouthed at him. This is the first time his mouth has caught me off guard. ’’You did what?’’

He repeats himself and Caleb bolts upright.

I flop down on the couch and rub my palms on my jeans. ’’I heard you.’’

Trent picks up one of the take-out boxes and a pair of chopsticks and slurps some noodles in his mouth.

’’First of all, why the f**k didn\ you tell me you were awake? And second, why would you say anything to Dahlia?’’

He shrugs and settles into one of the oversized chairs across from the sofa. ’’I wasn\ asleep last night when you were talking to Uncle Caleb and I heard you telling him about Dahlia\s sister-in-law. You sounded a little desperate.’’

I squeeze my eyes shut. F*k, f**k, f**k. ’’So you heard everything?’’

I chance a glance at Caleb, who\s sitting there with a blank look on his face red eyes, messy hair, and obviously very hungover.

’’Hey, Trent, what you heard, I\m not like that anymore.’’

He laughs. ’’I know that. And, Uncle Ben, I\m not twelve. I get we all make mistakes. Come on, you of all people know I get that.’’

’’He\s a pretty smart kid,’’ Caleb finally chimes in.

I shoot daggers his way.

’’So, do you want to hear what I have to tell you or lecture me on how not to behave?’’

’’Keep being a smart-ass and I\ll call your mother,’’ I threaten.

’’I\ll take the lecture,’’ he jokes, biting into an eggroll.

I run my hands through my hair. ’’Okay, what did she have to say?’’

He grins. ’’That the guy you were talking about is a complete douche bag.’’

My eyes widen in disbelief. ’’Dahlia called him that?’’

’’Well, no, she called him an ass**le.’’

’’Go on.’’

’’Anyway, that douche bag still has the hots for her. I guess she dated him for like a month almost a year ago. Dahlia thinks he keeps coming on to her. And don\ worry, I didn\ tell Dahlia you were heartbroken or anything.’’

I ignore his smart-ass comment. I already knew Bell had dated Tate. F*k me, obviously I was letting my anger about the baby impact my reaction. But why didn\ she correct me? I guess because I was being just as big a douche as her ass**le boss. Wanting to hear her voice, to talk to her, I pull my phone from my pocket. When she doesn\ answer I send her a text.

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