The Immortal Who Loved Me(Argeneau, book 21)(68) by Lynsay Sands
“No one gets a job with a degree in one of the ologies unless they go all the way to get their doctorate,” he said impatiently.
“One of the ologies?” Basil queried.
“Psychology, sociology, archaeology,” Alexander rattled them off. “B.A.’s in any of them is basically toilet tissue.”
“That’s your opinion,” Sherry snapped. “And who says I wouldn’t have gone all the way to get my doctorate?”
“Your mother couldn’t afford to put you through all the way to a doctorate,” he said with irritation.
“I was getting one hundred percent on my exams. The university pulled me aside and offered to help. They said there were grants for people who did as well as me,” she reminded him coldly. “You know that. I told you when you were Lex Luth—Dear God, you really are my Lex Luther,” she realized suddenly. “You’re the bad guy in my life.”
“No,” Alexander protested. “I was just trying to help.”
“Help me to be what you wanted me to be,” she snapped, and turned to Basil. “I’ve heard enough. I—” She stopped abruptly as she spotted someone to her right. Turning, she stared at Lucian Argeneau. She almost asked him when he’d arrived and how long he’d been there listening, but it didn’t really matter. Even if he hadn’t heard it all, a quick read of her mind would tell him everything that had been said.
“If you’re done speaking with your father, I’ll have Bricker take him to the Enforcer house,” Lucian said mildly.
“Why?” she asked uncertainly.
“Because I broke one of our laws and interfered in a mortal marriage,” Alexander said quietly, moving past her to Lucian’s side as Bricker stepped off the stairs and approached him. “It’s time to face the music.”
“He will be held until the council can gather, hear his case, and pass judgment,” Basil said quietly in explanation.
“We don’t use handcuffs, buddy,” Bricker said when her father held his wrists out. “Immortals can just break them anyway. I’ll just trust you not to try to break and run and walk you out to the SUV.”
Alexander let his arms drop, but then turned back to Sherry. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes with you, Sherry. I’m sorry. My only excuse is that you are my first child and I . . .” He sighed and shook his head, and then said, “I know what the punishment is and I’ll take it. And while I regret that I hurt your mother emotionally, I don’t regret what I did, and knowing everything I know now, I would do it again. If I hadn’t done it, your mother and I wouldn’t have had you, and I think she’d agree with me that you are worth the emotional pain she suffered, and you’re certainly worth the physical pain I am going to suffer.” He raised a hand as if to caress her cheek, but then let it drop and sighed. “I hope after it’s done we can talk and I can still be a part of your life. I do love you, sweetheart. You’re my daughter.”
He turned back to Bricker then and nodded. Justin took his arm and urged him toward the stairs leading down to the door that opened into the alley.
“Fortunately for you, we parked in the alley rather than take the time to try to find a spot on the street,” Bricker explained to her father as they paused at the back door and he unlocked it.
“Why is that fortunate for me?” Alexander asked dryly.
“Because Victor and Elvi drove up today and are in the front of the store,” Bricker explained as he unlocked the door. “And I’m pretty sure Elvi wants to kick your ass for showing up in London and scaring the hell out of her with that trick you played in the dressing rooms,” Bricker said dryly.
“I didn’t go anywhere near Elvi,” he said quietly.
“Yeah, but just the hint that Leo was in the area had them pulling Stephanie out of Port Henry, and Elvi’s a mama bear who now wants to tear apart the immortal who got between her and her baby bear,” Bricker said wryly.
“Right,” Alexander said with a sigh as Bricker opened the door and urged him out of the office.
The back door swung closed and Sherry stared at it in utter confusion. She was angry, and hurt, and so very unsure who she was anymore. She had no idea how much of her life was made up of her own decisions and how much had been Alexander’s. It just wasn’t a problem she’d ever imagined having before learning about the existence of immortals.
“I need a word,” Lucian said to Basil.
Basil hesitated and then turned to Sherry and clasped her face in his hands. Peering into her eyes with concern, he asked, “Will you be okay for a minute alone?”
Sherry nodded and cleared her throat. “Of course. I’ll just . . .” She waved vaguely toward her desk, unsure what she would just do. Sit around and think about everything she’d learned, probably. Try to sort out how many of her life decisions were her own and whether she really wanted to be where she was, or if instead she was where Alexander had wanted her to be.
“Are you sure?” Basil asked with a frown.
Obviously, she hadn’t been convincing, Sherry thought wryly, and straightened her shoulders. “I’m fine. Go ahead and talk to Lucian. I’ll be waiting here when you’re done.”
Basil still looked concerned, but he kissed her gently and then released her face and followed Lucian down into the store. Sherry watched them go, then started to turn toward her desk, but paused as the sound of a vehicle starting and driving away drew her gaze back to the door. Bricker had unlocked it to leave, but couldn’t lock it from the outside. She should do that now, she thought, but paused and glanced toward the door to the store when it opened.
“Sherry?” Elvi called, and then said, “Oh,” when she spotted her at the top of the stairs. “Can I come up?” she asked uncertainly.
“Of course,” Sherry said quietly.
Nodding, Elvi slipped through the door and hurried up the steps to join her on the landing between the two sets of stairs. She hesitated once there, and then pulled her into a hard hug. “I’m so sorry, Sherry. I shouldn’t have said those things. I was just scared that we were going to lose Stephanie. That’s no excuse, I know, but I really am terribly sorry.”
Sherry hugged the woman back without hesitation. “I know. It’s okay. I understand.”
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