Delicious(Buchanans, Book 1)(64) by Susan Mallery
But when he pulled up there was a car in the driveway and several toys on the front yard. Toys for small children. Either Ashley had been keeping secrets from Ben or this wasn’t the right one.
Walker parked and climbed out of his X5. He stepped over a tricycle on his way to the front door.
A tall blond woman answered on the first ring. She looked frazzled and had a toddler on her hip.
Walker had deliberately dressed casually. He smiled and introduced himself, then quickly explained he was looking for someone who had known a friend of his in the marines.
“I don’t remember anyone named Ben in high school,” the woman said, shifting her child to her other hip. “Was he in the same grade?”
“One year ahead of you.”
He reached into his jacket pocket and brought out the two pictures. The first showed Ben in high school and the second had been taken four months ago at their base camp.
She studied them, then shook her head. “Sorry. I don’t know him.” Then she frowned. “Why me?”
“His girlfriend’s name was Ashley.”
She raised her eyebrows. “You’re kidding. You’re going to talk to every Ashley who went to high school with this guy?”
“Until I find her.”
“Good luck with that.” She hesitated. “Your friend died, didn’t he?”
“I’m sorry. I hope you find her.”
“I’LL BE FINE,” Cal said. “I get to sleep through everything. Lindsey’s the one with the tough job.”
Penny nodded. She’d done a little research on the Internet and knew he was telling the truth. Cal would wake up with a few bruises, facing two or three days of recovery. Lindsey was in for a much rougher time as her body dealt with the new bone marrow.
“Are you sorry you put off meeting her?” she asked.
“No. Lindsey has enough to deal with right now. I want her to focus on getting better. She can meet me later.”
Several members of the hospital staff came into the room. “It’s time,” the nurse said.
“Okay.” Penny bent down and kissed Cal. “I’ll be here when you wake up.”
“You don’t have to do that. I’ll be fine.”
He squeezed her hand. “Thanks.”
She waited until they wheeled him out, then she joined Reid in the waiting room.
“Some belly you got there,” he said when he saw her.
She smiled. “Gee, thanks.”
He patted the cushion next to him in the colorful, plant-filled room. “Just trying to distract you. There’s no reason to worry.”
“So everyone keeps saying. I’m not worried. Not exactly.”
“I don’t know. This is all so strange. Three months ago I hadn’t spoken with Cal in ages and now…”
“Now you’re in a hospital waiting for him to have a simple procedure that may save the life of a child you never knew about?”
“That’s a very nice summary.”
Reid leaned back in the sofa and picked up a paper cup of coffee. “Does his willingness to help Lindsey make you mad?”
She considered the question. “Not mad. I want her to be fine. And there was never any choice. Cal’s a good man. Of course he would do this.”
“But…why wasn’t he like this with me?”
“When you lost the baby?”
She nodded. Why hadn’t he cared more? Why hadn’t he been willing to open his heart to their child? “There’s so much he didn’t tell me, so much he wouldn’t say. He’s not very forthcoming, emotionally.”
“Does that matter?”
It shouldn’t. She and Cal weren’t together. Not in that way. And yet…
“I don’t have an answer,” she said. “Let’s change the subject.”
“Okay. We could talk about how good-looking I am.”
“There’s a topic that could fill hours.”
He smiled smugly. “Yes, it could. It’s also one of my favorites. You start.”
She laughed. “No, thanks. Have you talked to Naomi lately? She’s been off doing stuff. I haven’t seen her much.”
“She and Walker were in the bar a couple of weeks ago. I haven’t seen them since.”
“I know she has a lot on her mind. She’s mentioned she might be leaving.” Penny thought about what Naomi had told her about having a family back in Ohio. “I understand she had a life before she came here, but I don’t want her to go. Gee, suddenly everything seems to be about me.” She sighed. “I’ll miss her.”
“She’s been a good friend to you.”
“I know. You’re great, too, but you don’t do the girl stuff really well. You never want to talk about pedicures.”
“Or body waxing.”
Penny smiled. “That, too.”
Dani walked into the waiting room. “Has he already gone in?”
“A few minutes ago,” Reid said as he stood. “How’s my baby sister?”
“I’ve been better, but I’m surviving.” Dani hugged Reid, then smiled at Penny. “So, is that offer still open?”
“Sure. You want to come be my roommate?”
Dani sank down in Reid’s seat and nodded. “If you don’t mind. I need to get out of the apartment as soon as I can.”
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