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Make it a double, p.9
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       Make It a Double, p.9

         Part #2 of Last Call series by Sawyer Bennett
Page 9

  “Apparently, she’s divorced and moved back home,” Hunter supplied, his voice hard with anger. He likes Stacy no more than I do.

  “And she wants you back,” Gabby says, her voice venomous. She doesn’t care for Stacy either.

  But neither of them have as much room to hate her as I do. “Motherfucker. ”

  I start pacing the room, back and forth, trying to wrap my head around this. I never in a million years thought I’d have to come back face to face with that cold-hearted bitch. I had put her out of my mind, for the most part. She plagued my dreams at night… yeah, those were what you call nightmares. But I was working hard to let my memories of her go, if not my bitter feelings.

  Turning to Gabby, I ask, “What exactly did she say?”

  She pushes away from the desk, shoving her hands in her shorts pockets. “Well… I was just standing there, reading the nutritional labels on a box of Frosted Mini-Wheats when she said hello. I mean… I couldn’t believe it. I turned to look at her and, of course, she’s all decked out in her designer clothes, designer jewelry, and f**king designer shoes… and I just wanted to punch her. I swear. A solid punch, right to her nose, which I know she could get a designer plastic surgeon to fix—”

  “Gabby… focus,” I growl. “What did she say?”

  “Oh, sorry. But gah, she pisses me off. I asked her what she was doing here, and she said she had gotten divorced and moved back home for a bit until she decided what to do. She asked me what I was up to, but she wasn’t interested. I could tell. She wanted to know about you. And she eventually got around to it. Said she heard you were out of prison and wanted to know how you were doing. ”

  “What did you tell her?”

  Gabby’s eyes gleam. “I got up in her face and told her it was none of her f**king business. ”

  “That’s my girl,” Hunter murmurs, but I don’t spare him a glance. While it pleases me to no end that Gabby has my back, I still need to know what her game is.

  “What did she do then?”

  “She got all huffy, as only Princess Stacy can do. Honestly, Brody… I never got what you saw in her. She told me that she’d just have to seek you out to see how you were doing herself. And this is the part that really kills me… She said she wanted to try to reconnect with you. Try to see if you could make a go of something again. ”

  “She’s f**king nuts,” I curse again, contemplating for a serious moment about heading home right this very minute and packing my bags to hightail it out of town.

  “I don’t think she’s going to bother you though,” Gabby says, breaking into my escape plans.

  “Why not?” I ask, hope fervent in my voice.

  “Because I told her that I’d stomp her ass to unconsciousness, tie cinder blocks to her ankles, and then drop her in the middle of the Atlantic to drown. ”

  I blink my eyes hard… once, twice… Nope, Gabby still stands strong before me, her eyes hard as granite. “You told her that?”

  “I told her that,” she says, her chin lifting in the air, and Hunter starts chuckling with his hand over his mouth.

  “Don’t f**k with her, Gabby,” I warn. “She’ll run off to tell her daddy, and he can make your life a living hell. ”

  Gabby snorts. “Puh-leeze. What could he possibly do? Pass a bill that has me blackballed or something. ”

  Or something, I think to myself. Senator Hutchens’ reach was long and slimy. “Just leave it be, Gabby. Her dad can put your contractor’s license in jeopardy or stall every single building permit you would need to do a job. ”

  Hunter curses under his breath, and Gabby’s face goes pale at the thought. But she’s a trooper when she whispers, “I don’t care. It was worth it to see her bottom lip tremble at me when I threatened to drown her. ”

  For the first time since I was told my worst nightmare came back to town, I actually feel the pressure in my chest ease up a bit. Stacy may be a horror to me, but Gabby and Hunter are reminding me right this very minute that I have the love and support of family and friends.

  I literally can’t help myself when I walk up to Gabby and wrap my arms around her, pulling her roughly in for a hug. She actually yelps in surprise because me hugging someone spontaneously is paramount to a Catholic Church sanctioned miracle. Her surprise doesn’t stop her from returning the hug, and she wraps her arms tightly around me. I glance at Hunter and he’s watching us thoughtfully, his eyes warm and deep.

  “We love you, Brody,” Gabby says softly into my chest. “We’ll never let her hurt you again. ”

  “Thanks, kiddo,” I say quietly, and then kiss her on the top of her head before I release her.

  Turning to Hunter, I tell him. “Thanks for letting me know, man. She just better not show her f**king face around me. ”

  Hunter nodded but warned, “You got to keep it cool, Brody. Don’t do anything to jeopardize your parole. ”

  Fuck, but I envision putting my hands around her scrawny neck and wringing the ever-fucking life out of her. That definitely would not go over well with Jimbo.

  “I’m cool,” I tell him, taking a deep breath, momentarily closing my eyes. I search inside of me for a calming thought… anything to erase the rest of the rage that is swirling in my stomach. Stacy’s face swarms my thoughts, and I push at her hard to leave.

  Then a new vision comes to me… short, pixie hair, warm brown eyes, and soft fingertips rubbing over my palms. I start to feel a sense of peace overtaking me as I think of Alyssa, and I wish it didn’t bother me so much that I’m using the thought of one woman to banish another.

  Chapter 8


  Crap! I hate when I’m running late, but I didn’t sleep for shit last night. Chad kept calling me, which I ignored, but he became so persistent—translation, stalker like—I finally cut my phone off. Then when I tried to go to sleep, my thoughts were racing in a million different directions.

  I had a moment of panic that I had forgotten to put in my feed order for the shelter, and then, when I was halfway out of bed to get online to order it, I remembered that I had indeed done it just that morning. Then I thought about my Corolla horse¸ worried about his poop of all things. He had been having loose stools, which the vet assured me was natural as we were introducing new foods into his diet and weaning him off the Spartina grass. I thought briefly about going back to The Haven to check on him, and then told myself I was being ridiculous.

  Finally, when I started to settle down, I started thinking of… Brody. I can’t get him out of my mind. While many things cause my brain to race—Chad, dog kibble and horse poop—Brody is the one thing that plagues me the most.

  Maybe it’s because I have a naturally soft heart, and maybe it’s because Brody reminds me of my poor lost souls that come into The Haven. I want to care for him, and let him know he’s safe. But there’s another side of me that does a hell of a lot of thinking about him too, and that’s got nothing to do with my soft heart and everything to do with my hormones.

  He’s just absolutely perfect and pushes every single one of my girlie buttons. Where many women would consider Chad to be the epitome of a great catch, with his JFK Jr. good looks, and money oozing out of his pores, there’s something about Brody that is carnally attractive. I’m not sure if it’s his long hair, or the full beard he keeps. I don’t know if it’s the powerful build of his body, or hell, maybe it’s the pained look in his blue eyes, but he is absolutely magnetic to me and the more time I spend around him, the more I’m feeling the physical pull.

  And if it was only a matter of me fantasizing about Brody, that would be one thing. I’d be content to let him visit my fantasies where I could imagine him pulling me into his arms, and moving those full lips against mine. But no… that’s not what’s got me twisted.

  It’s the wondering.

  Wondering what he thinks of me.

  I wonder if he’s interested… in anything, with me. Friendship? Sex? A rel
ationship? I know I’m probably stretching on those last two, but Brody is someone that I’m fascinated with, and the fact he wears a cloak of hurt tightly around him makes me want to do something… anything, to make it better.

  Here lies the rub.

  I’m sort of betting that Brody doesn’t want anyone to help him lift the shroud of his pain. He seems content to immerse himself in it, almost as if he’s continually punishing himself for what he did. Or maybe he’s just so deeply mired within it that it’s become somewhat of a comfort to him.

  It’s a mystery that’s driving me f**king nuts, and I spend more brain cells on trying to solve said mystery than I really can afford to lose right now.

  The ringing of my phone brings me back to reality. The reality of having rolled out of bed almost forty-five minutes late, realizing that I was late to breakfast with my two besties, and I’m speeding now down the highway to make up for it.

  I see it’s Casey calling me, and I answer with, “I’m almost there. I hope you ordered for me. ”

  “Of course we did. Food just got put on the table now,” she says.

  “Then stay away from my sausage,” I poke at her before I disconnect the phone, laughing to myself. Casey always orders crisp bacon, and then tries to snag one of my sausages.

  I walk into The Sand Shark and wave a hand at our waitress, Babs, as I walk over to our normal table where Casey and Gabby are already sitting, shoveling food in their face. Our regular Monday morning breakfast meeting has commenced, even though I’m a bit late.

  As I approach the table, I hear Gabby say, “…and drown her in the Atlantic Ocean. ”

  “Drown who in the Atlantic ocean?” I ask as I immediately take in the fact that my plate is light one sausage. I reach over and steal a piece of bacon from Casey, who had the temerity to look affronted by my actions. I just take a bite and give her a brilliant smile.

  “Stacy Hutchens,” Gabby says as she takes a bite of toast and manages to grimace at the same time. Since I know the food at The Sand Shark is impeccable, I assume she’s grimacing at Stacy Hutchens.

  “That name’s familiar… why do I feel like I should know who that is?” I ask, breaking my egg yolk with a piece of my toast.

  “It’s Brody’s ex-girlfriend,” Casey says with her nose crinkled up in distaste. “In fact, I think we should just go ahead and drown her. I’m in if you want, Gabby. ”

  Awareness filters through me as recognition of the name dawns. “Oh… she’s who Brody was dating when…” My words trail off because I hate to even mention the car accident that sent Brody away to prison.

  Gabby nods vigorously. “Yeah, she was in the car with him. ”

  The memories become clearer. I remember Brody had been seeing her about a year before the wreck, but I never got to meet her because he stayed in Durham between his first and second year of medical school. That’s when they started dating pretty heavily. I also remember that she was from this area and was a few years older than Casey and Gabby, which made her just a few years younger than Brody. I think she was going to college in that area and although she and Brody had sort of known each other vaguely, they had apparently hooked up the summer before his arrest and had been going strong since that time.

  I wasn’t around when the accident happened. I was traveling with my parents in Europe for the summer before I started college when Brody got arrested. Gabby had called me on my cell phone, frantic and crying, to tell me what happened. Casey had gotten on the phone, and I remember sitting in my hotel in Bellagio, Italy, and my heart just breaking in half because of Casey’s pain. I had demanded my parents fly me back immediately, but they were having none of it. They were still hoping to use the trip to woo me into accepting a slot at Yale rather than gasp, Carolina.

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