Delicious(Buchanans, Book 1)(61) by Susan Mallery
“Oh, right. I swear, it’s like living in a soap opera. I keep expecting to hear the smooth-voiced guy murmuring in the background. ‘While Dani is unaware of her brother’s illegitimate child, Lindsey has dealt with cancer. Of course Dani is an idiot for marrying a jerk like Hugh. More after the commercial break.’ It really pisses me off.”
“No. You. What other secrets are there?”
He could think of only one really big one and he wasn’t going there today. Dani had enough to deal with.
“Like I said, I didn’t know Reid and Walker had heard me fighting with Gloria about Lindsey back when I was in high school. I didn’t deliberately keep the information from you.”
“But you didn’t tell me when you found out the guys knew.”
“You had stuff on your mind.”
She sighed. “I’m all grown up, Cal. You can stop trying to protect me from the world.”
“Sorry, that’s part of the job description.”
She linked her arm through his and leaned against him. “You’re a good big brother.”
While he appreciated the compliment, he wasn’t sure he’d earned it. Penny had told him to come clean with Dani and he planned to. Soon. But not today.
“Are you sure about this?” he asked.
She patted her jacket pocket. “Completely. I’m not paying some guy to serve Hugh the papers when I can do it myself. Plus I want to see the look in his eyes. He won’t be expecting me. Some small discomfort on his part isn’t a whole lot of reward, I know, but it’s all I’m going to get.” She glanced at her watch. “He has office hours now. Maybe he’ll have students in with him. That would be exciting.”
“I’m sorry,” he said, not sure how to make things better for her.
“Don’t be. I don’t like how Hugh handled things with me, but I’m no longer questioning the divorce. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still furious. I gave him so much of my life and to have him tell me he outgrew me makes me want to back the car over all of his possessions. He practically sucked the life out of me and now he’s acting all noble. But the truth is I don’t love him. I haven’t for a while.”
That was a relief. Bad enough Dani had to go through this. Had she been heartbroken, it would have been so much worse.
“Maybe you’ll like being single,” he said.
“I’m kind of looking forward to it,” she admitted. “I went from a college dorm to married. I’ve never had my own place.”
“Do you know where you’re going to move?”
“No. Part of me wants to make Hugh move. After all, this was his idea. But handicap accessible apartments are hard to find.” She turned right on the path. “But it really bugs me that this is all his idea and I’m the only one inconvenienced.” She shook her head. “Let’s change the subject. The campus looks pretty.”
Cal glanced around. Spring had arrived and there were tulips in bloom everywhere. The ground was wet from recent rain, but the sky was a bright blue.
“I have a lot of memories here,” he said.
“I can imagine the parties—and the girls—you indulged in,” Dani said. “I, of course, only studied.”
He chuckled. “Yeah, right. I remember getting more than one call from you because you didn’t want to drive back to the dorm after a party.”
“Hey, at least I didn’t try driving.”
“Did I ever complain?”
“There was that one time. I distinctly remember a disgruntled female voice in the background. Hmm, could it have been Penny?”
“She’s great, you know.”
“You two are doing a terrific job at The Waterfront.”
Cal glanced at her. “I’m sorry about that. Not the success, but that Gloria didn’t offer you the restaurant.”
“No offense, but me, too. Still, it’s done. Once I get Hugh served and move out, I’m going to have a big sit-down with Gloria and lay it on the line. Either she gives me something more to do or I’m quitting.”
He didn’t know what to say. “You would leave the company?”
“Watch me. Here it is.”
She pointed at the flight of stairs, then led the way up to Hugh’s office on the second floor. Dani walked down the hall and stopped in front of one of the closed doors.
When she tried the handle, it didn’t turn.
“Locked,” she said. “But it’s his office hours.” She glanced at the card by the door to confirm the times Hugh was supposed to be there. “Weird.”
She listened for a second, then knocked. “Hugh?”
There was a muffled noise, then a bump. Dani looked at Cal. “Okay, I don’t like that.”
Cal was with her on that one. He had a bad feeling. “Let’s come back.”
Her mouth pulled straight as she dug into her purse. “I don’t think so. Dammit all to hell, if that bastard…” She pulled out a key chain and searched through the keys. When she inserted one into the lock, Cal nearly pulled her back.
“You don’t want to know,” he said, putting a hand on her arm. “Let’s go.”
She shrugged him off. “Don’t you think I have a right?”
With that she pushed open the door. Hugh sat in his wheelchair, his shirt open. A young woman, probably a student, stood next to him. Her hair was mussed and she’d nearly finished buttoning her blouse.
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