The Best Goodbye(Rosemary Beach #13)(5) by Abbi Glines
I couldn’t imagine why Benedetto would send him to Rosemary Beach. Unless it wasn’t Benedetto. Lately, he was giving more and more power to the man he was grooming to take over: Cope. No one knew the guy’s last name. We just knew he was in charge. And no one argued with him.
“Cope send you?” I asked.
“Yep. He’s the only one I deal with now. DeCarlo doesn’t call the shots much anymore. He leaves it up to Cope.”
I suspected I was the only one Benedetto still dealt with personally. He was the closest thing I’d had to a father figure in my life. He’d grabbed me when I was a scared kid and given me a purpose.
“Don’t piss him off,” I warned Colt. I’d seen Cope kill just because he could. And that shit was scary. The dude didn’t ask questions; he just finished the game and left. It was what someone like Benedetto had to do—but not me. I agreed to one thing only: I’d take them out if they deserved it. Not in the eyes of the law but in the eyes of me. That was all that mattered to me. If I thought I was saving someone who needed it, then I pulled the trigger.
Major chuckled. “Yeah, I got you. He’s the king of badass.”
He was more than that, but Major would figure that out soon enough.
“I’ve got work to do, Colt. You got a point to this?”
Major stood up and shrugged. “Naw, just wanted to say hi and I’m here for a while.”
Great. Fantastic. Shit.
A knock on the door turned my attention away from Major. “Come in,” I called out, hoping it wasn’t more bullshit this early in the morning.
Those glasses caught my attention first. Her laughter from yesterday came back to me, and my stomach clenched. Had she been what made the nightmare come back? I fucking hoped not. I didn’t want to fire her over this. But I couldn’t work with her if she was going to raise my demons.
“Can I help you?” I asked, trying not to get flustered by the sight of her.
She glanced nervously at Major and then back to me. “My daughter’s sick. She woke up with a fever this morning, and the caregiver I have for her is an elderly lady. I can’t expect her to expose herself to whatever Franny has. I also need to take Franny to see a doctor.”
Relief that I wouldn’t have to see her today washed over me. “How long you think this’ll take?”
Her entire body tensed up, and it was as if she was physically trying to restrain herself from snapping at me for my callous response. I almost grinned.
“Hopefully, I’ll get a prescription from the doctor for her, and she’ll be well enough for me to come in tomorrow,” she said, in a tone that communicated exactly what her body was trying not to say. She was pissed at me.
“Kid doesn’t have a father?” I replied, wanting to see her snap for some insane reason.
But instead of her getting defensive and smarting off at me, her face went pale. I heard Major mutter a curse word that I knew was meant for me. Fuck, was the kid’s father dead or something? Damn my stupid mouth.
“I don’t think so . . . no,” she replied in a whisper, before stepping back and closing the door.
“You’re a Grade A asshole,” Major mumbled, sounding irritated. “She looks like a sweet thing. A very sexy sweet thing. And she’s a single mom.”
He was right, so I didn’t argue. I owed her an apology.
Strep throat. This wasn’t going to be better in twenty-four hours. I would need to stay home with Franny for two days, at the very least, before the antibiotics did their job well enough for me to return to work. However, letting my boss know that made me want to cringe.
River’s—no, Captain’s—words had been it for me. There was no reason for us to stay. I couldn’t say this was a mistake. At least I knew what had become of the boy I had carried around in my heart for all these years. I wasn’t depriving Franny of a good father. Captain was an asshole. She didn’t need to know him. Besides, I wondered if he’d even believe me. I couldn’t take that from him. This was enough.
I peeked into the bedroom we shared, and Franny was sleeping peacefully, thanks to the medicine they’d given her. I collected the cup of melted ice beside the bed, before tiptoeing back out of the room. Calling Captain was next on my list. If he gave me a hard time about it, then I’d just quit before he could fire me. There were other jobs to be had in this town. I could get one of them until we had enough money saved up to move yet again.
Taking care of us was what I did, and I was good at it. This would not end in regret. This was simply a door that I could finally close so I could move on. The guilt I felt about dating other guys wouldn’t haunt me any longer. I wouldn’t see River’s face smiling at me every time a guy asked me out. From now on, I would say yes if I liked the guy. I wouldn’t live with self-blame and guilt another day.
I went outside to make the call so I wouldn’t wake Franny. If I was lucky, I’d get Elle, and she’d handle it incorrectly. Then I could just quit. Easy.
“Hello?” Captain’s deep voice vibrated over the phone. I hated the fact that I liked his stupid voice.
“Captain, this is Rose. My daughter has strep throat, and I’m going to need to stay with her for two days.” I blurted it out quickly and then tensed, ready for his response.
“OK, yeah. Take however long you need,” he replied.
I forgot to breathe a moment and stood there with my mouth hanging open. Had I heard the man correctly?