Delicious(Buchanans, Book 1)(79) by Susan Mallery
She took a step back. “Just get out of here. I don’t want to see you or talk to you.”
Walker nodded. “We’ll be in touch tomorrow.”
Instead of responding, she walked out of the living room. A few seconds later, a door slammed.
“Shit,” Cal said as he rubbed his jaw. “What the hell was Gloria thinking? I never thought she’d really tell Dani.”
“We should have been the ones,” Reid said.
Walker stepped between them. “We need to give her time. Some wounds need to bleed for a while.”
Cal knew Walker was right but he didn’t want to think of his sister bleeding. He didn’t want her hurt ever and he hated knowing he could have helped ease this one.
“I don’t think she should be alone,” Reid said.
“Penny will be home soon,” Cal told him.
Walker looked between them. “Should we give her a heads-up?”
Cal wasn’t sure how to answer. In truth, Penny already knew about Dani, so she wouldn’t be surprised.
“I’ll call her,” he said at last. “She’ll get here as soon as she can.”
PENNY HESITATED a second before turning in to her driveway. She was still trying to figure out what she was going to say to Dani.
A fight with family was one thing. Finding out you weren’t family was something else.
Of all the siblings, Dani was the one most interested in being a Buchanan. She had always defined herself that way—by her name and her connection to the business. Even when she’d married Hugh, she’d refused to change her name.
Penny parked, then climbed out of her car. She cupped her belly, hoping her concerns weren’t upsetting the baby.
“There’s going to be a lot of emotion, little one. Some crying and maybe even some bad language. None of this is about you. I love you very much and we’re going to be fine.”
With that she drew in a breath and walked into the house.
She found Dani curled up on the sofa in the living room. There was an open bottle of Merlot in front of her. Her eyes were swollen and bloodshot, her face blotchy. She was misery personified.
“Oh, Dani,” Penny breathed.
Her new roommate looked up. “Tell me Cal already told you so that I don’t have to repeat myself.”
“He did. I’m so sorry.”
“Yeah. Me, too.” She picked up her wine and took a drink. “Screw ’em all. What do I care about being a Buchanan? They’re all a bunch of losers. Good riddance. The same with Gloria.”
But as she spoke tears spilled onto her cheeks. Penny dropped her coat and her purse on the floor, then hurried to her friend’s side.
“I don’t know what to say,” she admitted as she sat on the sofa and touched Dani’s arm. “I wish I did.”
“Me, too,” Dani admitted. “Oh, God, Penny, this hurts so much. Way more than finding out Hugh was having an affair. That was a betrayal of trust. I wasn’t happy, but I knew I’d recover. This is different. I don’t even know who I am anymore.”
“Yes, you do. You’re a bright, ambitious, hardworking, wonderful woman. You’re caring and loyal. Plus you got the looks in the family.”
Dani gave a faint smile as she brushed away her tears. “So you’re saying I’m prettier than my brothers?”
“Absolutely. Although Reid comes fairly close.”
“I agree. It’s the eyes.” Her mouth began to quiver as her smile faded. Her whole body trembled. “I can’t do this. I can’t survive.”
“Yes, you can,” Penny told her. “You may not like it and you’re going to hate how much it hurts, but you will survive. You know why?”
Dani shook her head.
“Because you’re tough. That’s the main reason. The other is you’re not going to give that bitch Gloria the satisfaction of winning.”
Once again Dani smiled through her tears. “You’re right about that. I’m so angry at her. Furious. I always knew she had a thing for power and running our lives, but I refused to believe she was deliberately cruel. But she is.”
“She’s horrible,” Penny said. “You’re doing such a great job for her, but she can’t see that.”
“I know.” Dani sighed. “And to tell me that way. I think she was almost happy to be able to ruin my life.”
“No,” Penny said. “Don’t say that. She didn’t ruin anything. Not if you don’t let her.”
“She sure didn’t make things better,” Dani said. “I don’t know who I am anymore.”
“That’s bullshit,” Penny said.
Dani blinked at her. “Excuse me?”
She stood and then motioned for Dani to rise. “Come here.”
Penny led the way into the hall bathroom. After turning on the light, she pulled Dani in next to her and had her face the mirror.
“What’s different?” she asked. “Look and tell me what’s different.”
Dani glanced at her reflection and grimaced. “I’m really puffy.”
“Ignore that. I mean what’s different about you? What has changed in the past twenty-four hours?”
“I don’t know who my father is. I’m not a Buchanan.”
“I know that. But your experiences are still your experiences. Your body is still your body. You’re talking about context, and yes, I’ll agree that can change everything, but it doesn’t have to. Not if you don’t let it.”
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