The Best Goodbye(Rosemary Beach #13)(6) by Abbi Glines
“And about my comment today,” he said. “I’m sorry. It was rude and shitty. I shouldn’t have asked you that. I respect the fact that you’re a hardworking single mom.”
Words I had been ready to shout at him all but evaporated as I stood in silent awe at what I was hearing.
“You there?” he asked. I managed to nod my head, although he couldn’t see that.
Swallowing, I opened my mouth again and managed to squeak out, “Thank you.”
Captain let out a heavy sigh and waited a moment.
Was he waiting for me to say more? He’d shocked me. I didn’t know what to say.
“Just give me a call when you know you can come back in. We’ll manage without you while you take care of your daughter,” he said, before ending the call. He didn’t wait for me to say more, but I figured he had given up on me replying.
I held the phone in my hand and stared at it blankly. Had that really just happened?
“Mommy,” Franny called from inside. I hurried back to her. I’d figure out Captain’s motives later.
Fourteen years ago
“You like to eat, don’t you?” he drawled, with an amused grin, from across the table.
If he wasn’t so nice to look at, I’d ignore him, but I liked seeing him smile. Even if he was teasing me. My cheeks felt warm with embarrassment for inhaling my food so quickly. I never knew when food was going to stop coming. As long as full plates were set in front of me, I intended to enjoy them.
I just nodded my reply.
“They won’t stop feeding you,” he assured me, as if he’d read my mind.
This kid, who had been given this life, didn’t know what it was like to be hungry. I did. I also knew that good things didn’t last. You had to soak it up as it was happening.
“I kinda thought they might eat with us tonight, but Dad didn’t come home in time for dinner. Mom’s off pouting. This happens a lot. You’ll get used to it.”
I put another forkful of mashed potatoes into my mouth. As long as they fed me, I didn’t care where they ate.
“You aren’t a big talker.”
I swallowed and put down my fork.
He was nice enough, although he liked teasing me. Maybe we could be friends while I stayed here, if I gave him a chance to get to know me.
“I like the chicken,” I finally said, because I wasn’t sure what else to say.
His face went from a grin to a full-blown smile, and he started laughing. My face burned this time, and he started shaking his head while he laughed. “No, that’s”—he let loose another cackle of laughter—“that’s good. I’m glad you like the chicken, Addison.”
“It’s Addy,” I replied in a whisper.
He went silent and leaned in closer. “What did you say?”
I pushed my embarrassment away and met his gaze. “My name is Addy.”
The corners of his mouth lifted, and the green of his eyes sparkled. “I like that. Addy.”
“Thanks. Me, too. Addison’s too long and sounds old.”
His smile stayed in place, and he shrugged. “I don’t think it sounds old, but Addy fits you.”
“My mom called me Addy,” I admitted, surprising myself. I’d never talked about her.
“What happened to your mom?”
I wanted to tell him. I never wanted to tell anyone, but I wanted to tell this boy. “She left me a long time ago . . . in a grocery-store parking lot . . .”
When my office door opened without a knock, I assumed it was Elle. She continued to confuse our having a sex life with her having some kind of power around here. “Knock next time,” I snapped without looking up. She’d pout, and I wasn’t in the mood.
“My hands were full with your coffee. I intercepted that tall, dark-haired girl you keep bringing around,” Blaire replied.
I jerked my gaze up to see my sister standing in the doorway with a smirk and a cup of coffee.
“But I’m thinking with that attitude, I might keep this coffee for myself.”
I had only met my sister a few years ago. I hadn’t even known she existed until my biological father came and found me. But from the moment we met, she’d gone out of her way to make sure we became a family. And she’d succeeded. Blaire Finlay was hard to say no to.
“I’m sorry. I thought you were Elle,” I explained.
Understanding lit her eyes, so similar to my own, as she walked over and set the cup on my desk. “In that case, I completely understand. She’s annoying.” Leave it to Blaire to be blunt. She always said what she was thinking.
“To what do I owe this pleasure?” I asked, taking my coffee and leaning back to study my sister, who was making herself comfortable in the chair across from my desk.
“Just missed you. I thought your moving to Rosemary Beach meant we would see each other more often, but you work all the time. I was complaining this morning, and Rush suggested I come see you and invite you over for dinner.”
Rush Finlay was her husband and the son of the drummer of the world’s most renowned rock band, Slacker Demon. They’d started releasing number one hits twenty years ago and were still at it. The world Rush came from was very different from Blaire’s, but they worked together. He worshipped the ground she walked on and was a surprisingly great dad to their son.
“This place has consumed every last second. This is my first time actually starting up a restaurant, and it’s more than I bargained for.”