The Best Goodbye(Rosemary Beach #13)(17) by Abbi Glines
I glanced around, making sure we were still alone, before replying. “I did it to survive, not because I enjoyed it. I was seeking something I never truly found.”
Major smirked. “So you’re saying I’m a sick fuck.”
“Yeah,” I said.
Major chuckled. “Naw, just like the game.”
Life wasn’t a game. It was a gift. And choosing to take that gift from another person wasn’t easy. What we did—what he did—would never be right. Didn’t mean I’d change it. Every time I pulled a trigger, I knew the costs. I knew what it meant. And although I wasn’t God, and choosing who got to live or die wasn’t my job, I chose anyway. I corrected the wrong shit in the world, hoping each time that I was saving someone’s Addy.
“Why are you still here? Job should be done,” I said, moving past Major and toward the door.
“It’s complicated. This one ain’t cut and dry. DeCarlo wants some answers first. Lucky me, I get to fuck around with a smoking-hot babe to get those answers. God, I love this job.”
I stopped at the door. “I’m leaving here soon. But I want you out and DeCarlo’s job done before I go. Don’t want this shit near my sister and her family. Forget about the pussy, and focus on the task.”
I didn’t wait for his response before I opened the door to go back out into the dining room.
“You think Mase told Reese about what DeCarlo did?” Major asked in a low voice.
I paused. I’d wondered that myself. She was one of the reasons I had been in Texas before I came to Rosemary Beach. I didn’t talk to Reese now that my job for her was done, but Mase and I touched base every once in a while. Killing the man who had molested and raped Reese when she was a child had been one of my greatest moments of success. He’d ruined a young woman’s life with his sickness. I would have done anything to make sure he never touched another girl. DeCarlo was her real father, and he had wanted that man’s death more than anyone. His daughter had been a fighter. She had made it through hell, then walked right into the arms of Mase Colt Manning. A guy who would cherish and love her for the rest of her life. She’d been one of the lucky ones.
“No. I think if he’d told her, DeCarlo would know.”
Major nodded. “Yeah.”
I didn’t wait for more. I went to check on the dining room. I needed tonight to be a success so I could leave and figure out the rest of my life.
• • •
Arthur was happy. Customers were happy. And I was fucking glad it was over. Soon this place would be handed over to Arthur’s friend’s son, Jamieson Tynes. All I had to do was train him over the next few weeks and then let him have it.
It was well after midnight before I locked up my office and headed toward the back exit. The thought of my bed had never seemed so damn good. Today had started before dawn and hadn’t slowed down once.
“Captain,” Elle called out, and I jerked my gaze over to see her standing just outside the dining room. I’d been doing my best to stay the hell away from her.
“Yeah,” I replied in a no-nonsense tone. I didn’t want any drama with her. Especially not tonight.
“Can we talk?”
“Seriously, this is how you’re going to be? We slept together for weeks. We were in a relationship. You can’t just turn off those emotions like that.”
I stopped and made myself acknowledge her with an irritated glance. “I have no emotions, Elle. I told you that in the beginning, just like I told you I was just in it for the fucking. Nothing more.”
“Who are you in love with, then? Huh? Where is she?” Elle raised her voice and took a step toward me. “If she’s so damn wonderful, why isn’t she here fighting for you? Because I’m here. I do love you. She doesn’t, or she would be here.”
The emotion I didn’t feel for Elle was surpassed by the emotion that always came with any mention of the girl I loved. The one who owned my heart in a way no one else ever would. “She was nothing like you. She was pure and kind. She was selfless, and when she smiled, the world lit up. She was my best friend. My reason for getting up in the morning. That is who the fuck she was. No one will compete with that. Ever.”
Elle threw up her hands like I was a madman. “Do you hear yourself? You’re talking about her in the past tense. She’s gone. You even know it. Move on! She obviously has.”
I hated her in that moment. I hated her voice. I hated the way she looked. I hated the air she breathed. I wanted her to shut the fuck up. My body tensed with fury, and I had to fight the urge to bury my fist in the wall. And I couldn’t roar in rage at her to get out of my sight. I couldn’t lose my cool here. Not now.
All of the disgust and hate I felt toward her was contained in the glare I leveled on her. She would see it, and if she was as smart as I thought she was, she’d never come near me again.
Saying those words was never easy. I wanted to throw shit. Anything but admit it out loud.
I didn’t wait for her response, but the pale color of her face told me she got it. I left her behind and went to my only safe haven: my boat.
Eleven years ago
My mother was singing in the kitchen. That was never a good sign. I stopped at the door and put my hand protectively in front of Addy. It was a reflex. As if my mother would hear us and come running like a crazy person and attack her. I knew that wouldn’t happen, but I was also bracing both of us for what this could mean. My mother singing meant she was happy, and that usually meant she thought my dad would be home early for dinner.