The Best Goodbye(Rosemary Beach #13)(16) by Abbi Glines
Well, then, that made sense. I nodded and headed into the kitchen. Table seven’s order was nearly up.
I walked back to the serving line and saw Brad organizing orders and laying out steaming plates. He had a bandanna tied around his head to hold back his shaggy hair. He looked up and shot me a grin.
“Hey,” he said, before focusing on the dish he was plating.
“Seven is up,” Henry, one of the other cooks, called out to me.
“Great. Thanks,” I replied, turning to one of the food servers waiting to the side. “Take it to seven. Left to right. I’ll follow behind.”
One of the things Captain insisted on was that the main server of the table shouldn’t bring the food. They were to follow behind, ready to address anything that was wrong or get the guests anything they requested.
I had turned to leave when Brad called out, “Hey, friend.”
Unsure if that greeting was meant for me, I stopped and looked back at him.
He winked and shook his head. “I need to step up my game.” Then he went back to work, still grinning.
Was he talking about what I had said to Patricia? Had she told him?
“Flirt on your own time. You have people to serve, and he has food to cook. No distractions, Rose.” Captain’s hard voice startled me, and I jerked my gaze up to see him glowering at me from the doorway of the kitchen.
I’d been working to be beyond good tonight, but to be excellent and get this treatment from him? I haven’t been flirting, thank you very much—I’ve been working! Why wasn’t he correcting Brad? Biting my tongue, I met his angry glare with one of my own before walking out past him without a word.
“Rose,” Captain called out, in a clipped voice.
I wanted to keep walking and ignore him, but I’d draw attention from the others in the hallway who were watching us. I sucked it up and stopped to look back at my boss. “Yes, sir?” I bit out.
His eyes flared a moment, and I wondered what I’d done to make him so pissed. “Acknowledge me when I give you instructions.” His voice was low, and the warning tone in it only made me angrier.
“You should direct your instructions to those who need them. I did nothing wrong.” I tried to keep the acid out of my voice, but it was difficult.
“Told you Brad is the best. Don’t want his head anywhere but on the food.”
“I’m not distracting him. I was getting my table’s food sent out,” I shot back in defense.
“Then why was his focus on you when he should have been busting his ass on the shit in front of him? Don’t play dumb with me, Rose. I know women, sugar. I know them too damn well.”
That was it. Captain had pushed me too far. “I’ll finish the evening, and then I’m gone. That’s what you want, after all. I’m not going to work here just to be accused of stuff I didn’t do.” I was louder than I should have been, but I didn’t care. I spun on my heel and stalked away from the infuriating man I’d made the mistake of uprooting my life for.
Shit. I stood staring at Rose as she walked through the door and into the dining room. She was right. It was Brad who had been flirting with her. I’d been watching them all night, and I could tell that when Patricia told him that Rose had said they were just friends, he hadn’t liked it. Figured he couldn’t wait to discuss it with her until after closing.
The fire in her eyes, even behind those glasses, reminded me of Addy. When pushed, Addy had that same fire. That same determination. My chest ached. It always ached when I remembered her, and Rose made me remember all the damn time. The memories were only getting worse. There was no gun in my hand and no revenge in my plans now. I’d left that life behind.
And my mind was once again open to the good parts of my life. The best part. Even though we’d been living through hell in that house with my parents, Addy had made it perfect. She had made everything worth it. I had thought I was saving her, but she’d saved me. She’d given me a purpose. She’d shown me what real love felt like.
Then, after all she’d given me, I’d failed her in the end. I hadn’t saved her after all. Loving me was what had killed her. Finding Addy and me in bed together had sent my insane mother over the edge. It hadn’t been our first time—Addy had given me her innocence months before, and it had been the most beautiful moment of my life. Our time together had brought us closer and forged a bond that I thought could never be broken. In a way, I’d been right; Addy’s hold on me was still there. Still strong.
“Shit, looks ace out there. No need for you to be in here scowling.” Major’s voice brought me out of my thoughts.
I focused on the man in front of me and shoved my memories and my issues with Rose aside. “I’m ready to move on. This ain’t my thing,” I said simply. Because it wasn’t. I needed more solitude.
Major cocked his head and studied me. “You saying you want to come back? DeCarlo would shit a brick, he’d be so happy.”
“No. Said I was finished, and I am.”
Major shrugged. “Got it. But it’s exciting. That thrill you get. The hunt. You don’t miss that?”
He might have looked like a pretty-boy player who was always ready for a good laugh, but Major Colt was a fucked-up dude. Maybe not as fucked-up as Cope, who I wasn’t sure even had a soul, but at least you knew what you were getting with Cope. Major could fool anyone. Even his own family. Which he did, brilliantly.