|Home > Samantha Young > On Dublin Street Series > Before Jamaica Lane (Page 54)|
|Before Jamaica Lane(On Dublin Street #3)(54) by Samantha Young|
I burrowed closer to Jo to comfort her. ‘Does anyone know what that phone call could have been about?’
‘Not a clue.’ Ellie hugged herself, almost causing her umbrella to hit a person walking by. But Ellie wasn’t aware of anyone else at the moment, and her panic was making my unease increase. ‘But I haven’t seen Joss so guarded in a long time. It’s definitely not good.’
‘She’ll be okay,’ Dad reassured me, pulling me into his side for a hug.
After Ellie texted Braden she’d jumped in a taxi to go home to Adam, and Jo and I jumped in a taxi to head back to her flat. When we got there, the boys were back from judo class and we told them all what had happened with Joss. No one had a clue as to what it meant.
It was only afterward, as we were sitting around the living room, that I realized it was the first time in two weeks that Nate and I were in the same room with our friends. This time it felt weird. It felt weird because after I’d been watching four loving couples for the last few months it seemed to me that what Nate and I had wasn’t that different. Not only were we having mind-blowing sex, but we hung out, we talked about things that bothered us, we laughed … we snuggled. Nate joked and teased with me and stole my phone to take random snaps of me all the time.
We cared about each other.
Hiding what we obviously had behind the excuse of lessons in sexual education and keeping it a secret was beginning to gnaw at my gut. Mostly because I knew Nate.
He wasn’t over needing to see that ‘A’ on his chest in the mirror every day, and I didn’t know if he’d ever be. It was becoming increasingly obvious to me that I was in danger of getting hurt.
Yet somehow I wasn’t smart enough to extricate myself from the situation.
A few times that afternoon I felt his eyes on me and it made me squirm uncomfortably, as if he could see inside me to exactly what I was thinking.
Soda Pop, if he knew what you were thinking he’d be out the door faster than a fugitive.
So when my dad called and invited me over for an early dinner I jumped at the offer, hurrying out of Jo and Cam’s with barely a good-bye to Nate.
Dad had thrown together marinated chicken, potatoes, and salad, and I sat on the stool next to him, picking at my food while he reassured me after I told him about the Joss incident.
I shook my head at his assurances. ‘You didn’t see her face. She looked … haunted.’
‘Braden found her, right?’
‘Yeah. Els texted to say he found her at the castle, where he thought she’d be.’
‘Well, we’ll just need to wait and hear from them.’
I nodded but kept pushing my food around my plate, my thoughts consumed by Joss and Nate.
‘You’ve lost weight,’ Dad commented. ‘Eat up.’
That was another upside to constant and active sex. I really had lost a few pounds and even toned up a little. Not that I could tell my dad the reason why. My cheeks burned just at the thought. ‘I’ve been really busy. Not a lot of time to eat.’
Dad raised an inquisitive eyebrow. ‘I have noticed these last few weeks you’ve been a little distant. Is it work keeping you busy?’
‘Yeah, work … and, you know, sometimes I help Nate out with his job as a reviewer.’
I caught the curl of his upper lip out of the corner of my eye. ‘Surely he’s getting paid to do that himself.’
‘He’s my friend, Dad,’ I warned.
‘I can’t help it. He’s twenty-eight years old and hasn’t bloody well grown up. He swans around taking photos and playing video games and watching movies, and he takes to bed anything that moves. That’s not a man, Olivia. That’s a boy. One that’s trouble. And I don’t like him sniffing around you.’
‘Hey, that’s enough!’ I snapped, my fork clattering to my plate.
Dad stared at my angry, flushed face in surprise.
‘You don’t know him,’ I said before he could reply. ‘You don’t know anything about him.’
‘Then enlighten me. What is it about this guy that you find worthy of your respect and time?’
‘He’s a good friend. A loyal, caring, compassionate friend.’
‘How? Why? What has he done?’
Crossing my arms over my chest, I leaned back, staring at the beautiful bay window that looked out over Heriot Row. I couldn’t quite meet my dad’s eyes as I admitted, ‘Last Thanksgiving I lied to you. I said I was okay, but I wasn’t.’ I felt the air around him thicken as he tensed. ‘When I left you I went home and went into a crazy meltdown. I cooked a turkey, potatoes, everything, but I burnt it and started to freak out. I mean … really freak out. Luckily, Nate was just dropping by and he caught me in the middle of it and he sat with me while I sobbed all over him about Mom.’ I chanced a glance at my dad and saw his jaw was taut, his eyes bright with sadness. ‘Nate was really there for me, Dad. And he got it. He got me. He lost the love of his life when he was eighteen.’ My voice cracked on the words ‘love of his life.’ ‘She died of cancer.’
‘Jesus.’ Dad bowed his head, drawing his hand down his face as though exhausted by the news.
‘They were childhood sweethearts and by all accounts she was pretty special. He hasn’t been the same since. You can’t tell anyone, Dad. He doesn’t talk about it.’
Dad looked at me, his gaze sharp. ‘Are you seeing him?’
My pulse started racing, my limbs shaking as I lowered my eyes. I couldn’t lie to my dad. I just couldn’t. ‘We’re not in a relationship, if that’s what you’re asking.’
‘Oh, baby girl.’ He groaned as if he was in pain. ‘I hope you know what you’re doing.’
Feeling tears inexplicably prick my eyes, I looked away and picked up my fork to play with my food again. ‘You can’t say anything. No one knows about us.’
‘And who am I going to tell?’
I smiled weakly at my plate. ‘Are you disappointed in me?’
‘No.’ His hand came down around mine, stilling my nervous movements. ‘But my girl deserves more than whatever you two are up to. You deserve to start making a life with someone. You deserve to be the love of some man’s life.’
Somehow I managed not to cry. Instead, I smiled brightly at him, pushing all the negative stuff into my deep, dark pit. ‘Believe it or not, Nate has taken me a hundred steps closer to finding that.’