Irresistible(Buchanans, Book 2)(48) by Susan Mallery
She didn’t want to understand. She hated that she could see his side of things, but she did. Which meant she couldn’t hate him.
Oh, but she hurt inside.
“Do they know now?” she asked.
He shook his head. “I c-couldn’t say anything. I felt so bad about what I did, plus I thought it would hurt them more. They would know they’d missed their chance with you and it was all my fault.”
That sounded a whole lot more like he was covering his own ass than worried about his family.
“I didn’t tell them I’d found you,” he continued. “I didn’t know if you’d want me to.”
Her parents hadn’t rejected her. Her parents didn’t hate her. Maybe they never had. She felt tears in her eyes and a crazy desire to be in her mother’s arms. She wanted to be little again and never grow up.
Nothing was as she thought. All the decisions she’d made were based on something that might not be true.
“I worked all summer so I could hire a detective,” Bobby said, raising his head slightly and looking at her. “I wanted to find you and tell you the truth.”
He looked young and scared—two things she could relate to.
“Are you going to talk to them?” he asked. “They still miss you, Elissa. They don’t talk about you much, but your pictures are everywhere and at Christmas, they always fill your stocking.”
A couple of tears escaped and ran down her cheeks. Walker’s strong hand gave her something to hold on to and she squeezed his fingers as hard as she could.
She remembered her stocking. She’d made one for Zoe that looked just like it.
“My mom’s the one who taught me to sew,” she told Walker. “She could make anything.”
“She would be impressed with what you’re doing now,” he told her.
Maybe, she thought, considering the possibility for the first time. How odd. Nearly as strange as thinking she might not be alone in the world anymore. That she might have people she could lean on.
Just then the waitress appeared with their drinks. She set them down without saying anything and hurried away. No doubt the display of emotion made her uncomfortable. Elissa knew she wouldn’t want to be serving this table.
“What are you going to do?” Bobby asked tentatively. “Do you want me to tell them?”
“No,” she said slowly as she wiped away the tears. “I need time to think about all this. I guess I’ll go by and see them.” Should she do that? Should she call first? Dropping in on them didn’t seem right, but she wasn’t sure she could figure out what to say on the phone.
“Can you tell me when?” Bobby asked. “I want to be there to tell them what happened. I’m ready for them to know what I did.”
There was something in the way he said the words that made her think he meant it. Part of her crowed that it was about time, while another part of her appreciated his willingness to grow up and accept the consequences.
“Sure,” she said. “I have your cell number. I’ll give you a heads-up when I’m ready to make an appearance.”
He nodded, then swallowed. “I know you hate me, Elissa. I deserve that. But I hope, eventually, we can, you know, be close again.”
“I don’t hate you,” she said reluctantly. “I’m not happy about what you did, but I can almost understand it.”
Tears filled his eyes again. “Thanks. I, ah, wondered. Did you keep the kid?”
For the first time since walking into the diner, she smiled. “Yes, I did. Her name is Zoe. She’s five. Which I guess means you’re an uncle.”
Bobby brightened at the thought. “Yeah? Cool. Can I meet her sometime?”
Suddenly she felt as if she’d run a marathon. Her body ached and she couldn’t seem to catch her breath. She dug ten dollars out of her jeans’ front pocket and tossed it on the table.
“We have to go,” she told her brother as she released Walker’s hand and slid out of the booth. “I’ll be in touch.”
Bobby scrambled to his feet where he topped her by at least six inches. “You promise?”
He leaned forward and wrapped his arms around her. She resisted the embrace for three heartbeats, then hugged him back.
Walker was silent on the way to the car.
“You have to tell me what you’re thinking,” Elissa said. “I can’t read your mind.”
“I want to beat the crap out of him.”
“I’d probably have to stop you, but I appreciate the support.”
He held open the passenger door. “You really think you could stop me?”
She stared into his dark eyes. “Physically, no. But I could try reason. Or a food bribe.”
“Pie might work.”
She smiled. “That can’t have been pleasant. Thanks for coming with me.”
“You’re welcome. How are you doing?”
“I don’t know. Everything is different. When I woke up this morning, I understood everything about my past and how it made me the person I am. Now that’s all changed. I’m angry and I can’t figure out why or at whom. Everything is different.”
“You’re still who you were before.”
“Maybe. But for how long? I’ve gotten used to being alone. Now I have a family again.”
“Is that a bad thing? You like being with people. Mrs. Ford, your friends from work.”
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