Before jamaica lane, p.39
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       Before Jamaica Lane, p.39
 

         Part #3 of On Dublin Street series by Samantha Young
Page 39

  ‘What if I go first?’

  Of course my curiosity got the better of me. I wanted to know about Ben’s big heartbreak. Just as I was about to agree, my cell rang. With an apologetic smile, I reached for my clutch and pulled out the phone.

  I got goose bumps all over when I saw the caller ID.

  Nate.

  Did he know I was on a date? Was that why he was calling? Angry that he kept interrupting my life, I shoved the phone back in my purse.

  Ben gestured to it. ‘Was that him?’

  ‘How did you guess?’

  ‘Because I’m fairly certain I get that look in my eye anytime my ex tries to contact me. ’

  ‘What look?’

  ‘That “if-I-could-tear-you-to-shreds-with-my-incisors-I-would-why-won’t-you-get-out-of-my-life-you-crazy-bitch” or in his case “crazy bastard” look. ’

  I laughed humorlessly. ‘Close. It’s more like … I keep trying to get back to who I was before this happened, and every time someone says his name or he calls, it reminds me that I probably won’t ever get back to that person because … he was a part of who I was then. ’

  We sat in silence for a moment.

  Finally Ben took my hand and rubbed his thumb over my knuckles. ‘One day you’ll wake up and he won’t be the first thing you think about. ’

  ‘Promise?’

  ‘I promise. ’

  My cell rang again, jarring the sweet atmosphere between us. Growling in frustration, I reached for my purse, ready to switch off the damn phone, but then I saw it was Jo calling this time.

  For some reason I felt an unpleasant dip in my belly.

  ‘I’m sorry,’ I told Ben. ‘It’s my friend. I should answer her. ’

  ‘Of course. ’

  ‘Jo?’ I asked as I put the phone to my ear.

  ‘Liv’ – she sounded out of breath – ‘Liv, Nate tried to call you. Something’s happened. ’

  ‘What is it?’ I asked, instantly panicked. ‘Is he okay?’

  ‘He’s … His dad’s been rushed to hospital. ’

  I got a taxi from the wedding as quickly as possible, but it took me almost an hour from the time Jo called to get to the hospital. The whole time I was begging and pleading with whatever divine being might exist in this world to help Nathan. Jo said they thought he’d suffered a heart attack.

  I practically threw the cab fare at my driver and dashed out of the car, hurrying inside the main entrance of the hospital.

  Please, please, let Nathan be okay. Please.

  He was such a good man.

  And Nate cannot take more loss.

  As I hurried toward the main reception to ask after Nathan, his son’s voice called my name and I stopped, my eyes following it. Nate stood in the middle of the crowded waiting room, looking pale and haggard.

  I moved toward him, drinking him in. The beard was gone, but the eyes were still dark, and now his mouth was pinched with worry. Sitting behind him were Sylvie, Cam, Cole, and Jo. Sylvie was tearing a Kleenex into pieces. She reminded me of a frightened animal, the way she kept staring round-eyed at the doors beyond.

  ‘Nate –’ I stopped hesitantly before him, not sure if I should hug him but wanting to. ‘Is there any word?’

  He shook his head, his eyes bleak. ‘They took him into surgery. No one’s come out yet. ’

  Breaking, I took one last step toward him and wrapped my arms around him.

  Nate instantly sank into my embrace, his strong arms locking around my waist as his head bowed into my neck.

  We stayed that way for a while.

  ‘Nathaniel Sawyer’s family?’ a doctor called.

  Nate and his mother quickly stood up from their chairs and hurried to him. I glanced around at Jo, Cam, and Cole before looking over at Peetie and Lyn, who had arrived a little while after I had. We’d been waiting for hours and hours, and now all of our expressions were the same.

  Hopeful.

  Desperately hopeful.

  At the sounds of Sylvie’s sobs my lungs ceased to work and I watched in horror as Nate pulled her into his arms. Cam, his eyes hollow with grief, moved toward his friend. He rested a hand on Nate’s shoulder and Nate gave him a small smile, shaking his head.

  Cam’s body slumped, as if with relief, and my lungs started working again. He strode back to us, running a shaky hand through his hair. ‘Nathan made it through the surgery. He’s stable. ’

  ‘Knock, knock. ’ I leaned around the hospital door, wearing a huge grin.

  I’d left Nate to be with his mom and dad for the last few days, but on Monday I cut out of work to make visiting hours.

  Nathan was alone in his room, watching television. He blinked in surprise at the sight of me and then smiled widely as I walked in. Having dealt with a very sick person, I was a master at schooling my reaction to the physical toll sickness could take. Nathan’s frame looked so much smaller as he lay in the hospital bed. His cheeks were drawn and there were a few more wrinkles around his mouth than there had been when I’d last seen him.

  ‘To what do I owe this pleasure?’ he asked, sitting up, careful of the wires connecting him to monitors hooked up by his bed.

  Laying the flowers I’d brought with me on the bedside table, I pulled up a chair. ‘I was worried. ’

  ‘Pfft. ’ He waved me off. ‘What’s a little coronary disease?’

  I glared at him.

  ‘Aye, Sylvie didn’t think that was funny either. ’

  My lips twitched. ‘Don’t make me laugh. I’m trying to be stern. ’

  ‘Stern?’ He huffed. ‘Stern? I’m going to be on medication for the rest of my life and I have to cut out my favorite food. My entire life is going to be stern from now on. I don’t need stern from a pretty girl too. ’

  ‘Fine,’ I agreed. ‘I won’t do stern. ’ I glanced around the room in confusion. ‘Where is Sylvie?’

  ‘Och, I sent her home. She’s absolutely shattered. She wouldn’t leave me. ’ He tutted. ‘Had to get my doctor to make her leave so she could get some rest. I’m going to pay for that later. ’

  I snorted. ‘I’ll bet. ’

  ‘Nate’s downstairs getting coffee, if you were wondering …’

  My gaze was sharp as our eyes met. ‘You know, don’t you?’

  ‘The two of you didn’t exactly do a bang-up job of hiding it when you came to visit. I am sad to hear it didn’t work out, though … Which begs the question … What are you doing here?’

  I answered belligerently, ‘Is a person not allowed to be worried about another person?’

  ‘Aye, of course. You being a nice girl, I think you probably were worried about me and that’s appreciated, but I think more than anything you’re worried about my son. Which makes two of us. ’ His brows dipped in concern. ‘He misses you. ’

  ‘I miss him too,’ I confessed softly.

  A throat cleared behind me.

  Turning, I discovered Nate standing in the doorway, stirring a cup of coffee. He pinned me to my seat with the weight of his stare.

  ‘Nate. ’ I finally found my voice. ‘I just wanted to stop by and see how Nathan was doing. I should get going. ’ I stood up.

  ‘Nonsense. ’ Nathan stopped me, gesturing to me to sit down. ‘There’s still half an hour left. Sit. Talk. ’ He looked up at his son. ‘Sit down. ’

  Nate looked like he wanted to laugh as he casually took the seat beside me.

  My eyes, with a will of their own, traveled over the long sprawl of his legs. Tingles hit me unexpectedly as I lifted my gaze to his hands, continuing to stir his coffee. He had beautiful, masculine hands – graceful, strong fingers that were callused from work and judo. The soft roughness of his hands had always felt wonderful. And the T-shirt he was wearing showed off his strong forearms. I looked quickly away from the thick vein that ran up his muscular arm. I’d licked the entire length of that vein with my tongue.

&nbs
p; Hurriedly, before I expired on the spot, I turned my attention to Nathan.

  He was smirking at me.

  Great. Even sick, the guy could tease.

  ‘So how have you been, Olivia? Nate says you’re seeing someone. ’ His tone had turned disapproving.

  ‘I’m not seeing someone,’ I answered irritably. Technically, I wasn’t seeing Ben. Yet.

  Nate sat up. ‘You’re not?’

  I flicked a look at him before directing my answer to his dad. ‘It’s just been a couple of dates. ’

  Nathan frowned. ‘That constitutes as seeing someone. ’ He looked at his son. ‘What do you think?’

  ‘Agreed,’ he answered tersely. ‘And it definitely looked serious. ’

  Starting to feel uneasy, I exhaled. ‘Can we talk about something else?’

  ‘Why? Nothing else is as interesting. ’

  I groaned. I was so not ready to do battle with two Sawyer men. ‘Fine, then I should definitely go. Nathan, I’m so happy you’re going to be okay. ’ I leaned down and pressed a kiss to his cheek, ignoring his bemused expression.

  Not looking at Nate, I quickly exited the room.

  ‘Olivia, wait,’ Nate called as I hurried down the hospital corridor.

  I did not wait.

  That’s why I found myself caught in his hard grip and unceremoniously hauled into a dark janitor’s closet.

  ‘What are you doing?’ I hissed, feeling his breath against my cheek as he pressed me back against the door.

  His answer was to kiss me.

  I froze in shock at the move, but soon the shock wore off under the feel of warm, coaxing lips. Perhaps it helped that he wasn’t aggressive or fierce. His kiss was soft, yearning. My lips answered to that and I found myself kissing him back.

  Nate pulled away first, panting heavily as he nuzzled my cheek, his hands iron bands around my biceps as he breathed me in. I was surrounded by him. The familiar strength of him, his scent, his taste on my tongue, even the slightly bristly feel of his cheek on mine.

  I closed my eyes, tears clinging to my lashes.

  Maybe I was wrong. Maybe the loss of him wasn’t the most painful thing in the world. As I stood there in his arms, knowing that he would never really be mine, it occurred to me that more than loss, it was the longing that hurt.

  ‘You’re the first person I thought of,’ he told me hoarsely, his words vibrating against my ear and causing an involuntary shiver. ‘The only one I wanted here with me. ’

  Swallowing past the burning, choking ball of unshed tears in my throat, I whispered, ‘I’m sorry I ignored your call. ’

  ‘Don’t be. You came. That’s all that matters. ’

  Needing some kind of distance, some kind of break from the intensity between us, I cracked, ‘I think there’s an inappropriate joke in there somewhere. ’

  He laughed against my skin before pulling back. ‘Fuck, I’ve missed you, Liv. ’

  ‘Nate. ’ I pushed gently against him until he got the message. His hands dropped from around my arms, leaving me bereft. ‘I’m glad your dad is going to be okay, but I have to go. ’

  ‘Liv, please –’

  ‘Ben’s waiting,’ I lied impulsively. I had this sudden fear that Nate’s calls and his confession that he missed me were leading somewhere. And I didn’t know if I was strong enough to do the right thing, so I wasn’t going to give him the chance to mess with my head. ‘I’m meeting him. ’

  He was quiet in the dark for a moment.

  And then …

  ‘We need to talk. ’

  ‘No. We really don’t. ’ I fumbled for the door handle and managed to slip outside. He didn’t follow.

  I took that to mean that he understood there was no point.

  25

  Apparently Nate didn’t take it to mean that at all.

  I shouldn’t have been surprised really to find him waiting for me in my apartment when I got home from work that night. I slammed the door behind me and held out my palm. ‘I want my key back. ’

 
Turn Navi Off
Turn Navi On
Scroll Up
Scroll
Add comment

Add comment