|Home > Samantha Young > On Dublin Street Series > Down London Road (Page 53)|
|Down London Road(On Dublin Street #2)(53) by Samantha Young|
I pushed at him and shoved at him until he let me go, and I glared into his face with every shred of my tattered self-respect. ‘You said it. It means it’s in there somewhere.’ And then I threw out, ‘And I saw the way you reacted to Ryan.’
As he dragged a hand through his hair, Cam’s expression changed from remorse to agitation. ‘Well, he is the kind of stupid prick you’d go for.’
I shook my head in disbelief. ‘You really think that after everything between us, he’s the kind of guy I’d go for?’
‘You really think that, after everything, I’d cheat on you with Blair?’
‘You cheated on Becca with me.’ I winced as soon as the words were out of my mouth. That was a low blow.
Cam huffed, looking at me incredulously. ‘And you cheated on Malcolm with me.’
‘Is that what you really think?’ I repeated his words back at him. I felt more tears tremble on my lashes and I hated that he could reduce me to this snivelling mess. ‘That I’ve been holding on to Malcolm in case this ends?’
He shrugged, his expression stony. ‘Do you really think I’ve been waiting on someone better to come along? That I’m using you?’
I wiped my nose with the back of my hand and looked away, unable to stare into his eyes as I answered hoarsely, ‘I think you never stopped seeing me as that girl. The one you didn’t respect very much.’
‘Then maybe you really aren’t that smart after all.’ His tone was cutting, horrible.
I didn’t think anyone had sliced me as deep with their words as he had. And I hated that he had that kind of power over me.
He sighed and I finally looked at him, watching as he rubbed a hand down his face and turned away from me. In a weary voice he suggested, ‘Maybe you better go before we say more ugly shit we don’t mean.’
I didn’t answer him in words.
I just left.
I had difficulty finding sleep that night. I finally drifted into unconsciousness in the wee hours of the morning and was awoken at ten thirty by the loud bing of a text notification on my phone.
It was from Uncle Mick, reminding me that I’d agreed to go flat hunting with him. That was fine. Probably better to keep my mind off my fight with Cameron anyway.
I’d swayed back and forth on the whole thing during the night. Part of me felt like our argument was ridiculous, that it was ludicrous to be feeling this much pain over misunderstandings. I wondered if they were all misunderstandings of my own making. Three times I almost picked up the phone to call Cam, to talk it through, to try to make sense of all the drama. I’d watched crap like this on the telly, read about it in books, and although I’d enjoyed the angst of it all, I’d rolled my eyes and thought of how it never really happened in real life. People weren’t that stupid.
Well, we were.
In the end I didn’t call him. I decided my wounds were still too fresh to talk to him just yet. Since I was sixteen years old I hadn’t been without a boyfriend, and during the months in between relationships, I’d been on the hunt for a boyfriend. I’d spent so much time believing Mum and Dad, believing I was nothing, that instead of putting effort into fighting the hateful crap they’d fed me all my life, I’d bought into it and thus clutched on to men I believed had all the attributes I lacked.
Cam had been different from the start, but I’d still launched myself into a relationship with him. I’d begun to rely on him. More than that, I’d begun to rely on his opinion of me as a person to make me feel better about who I was. I was more than a little cut up inside at the thought of losing that good opinion – or worse, that he’d never really had a good opinion in the first place.
I shook my head at that thought. Even though my mind was all over the place because of him, I couldn’t bring myself to believe that he’d never seen more in me. Everything he’d done for me, all the looks he’d given me, the affection, the tenderness, it couldn’t be fake. I knew it couldn’t be fake.
Maybe taking a day away from each other to calm down was best. We could talk it out tomorrow.
Chest aching, I nodded to myself. That sounded like a plan.
I got up out of bed to see Cole off to school. He took one look at me and he knew. ‘You and Cam have a fight?’
‘Bloody clairvoyant,’ I muttered irritably under my breath as I passed him to make some tea.
‘I’ll take that as an aye.’
‘Is it bad?’ He suddenly sounded worried and very much like a little boy.
I looked at him over my shoulder. Cole was trying to act cool, like a fight between Cam and me was no big deal, but I knew he would be anxious about what it meant for his friendship with Cam. I shook my head at him. ‘We’ll be fine. It’s nothing that can’t be fixed.’
Relief glinted in his eyes as he gave me a sympathetic smile. Sympathy from Cole. I must really look like crap.
I closed my eyes. God, I hoped Cam and I could fix this.
I loved him.
Heaving a heartfelt sigh, I opened my eyes and squealed.
On my mug.
‘Cole!’ I yelled, frozen on the spot.
‘Spider?’ he asked casually, his footsteps coming closer.
He knew my squeal so well.
I never moved a muscle as Cole calmly tilted the mug out of our kitchen window, depositing the spider on the sill, much as Cam had done with the humungous spider that had been in his kitchen. I felt a wave of longing at the memory of that day and tried to squash it just as quickly as it had risen.
Cole gestured the mug at me and I made a face. ‘Bin it.’
He rolled his eyes. ‘Just wash it in hot water.’
‘If you think I can put that mug to my mouth without forever remembering that those spindly, hairy – eeeeeh’ – I shuddered – ‘legs were on it, you’re mental.’
With another eye roll, he threw the mug in the bin and I slumped with relief.
Damn all the spiders of the world. They were putting a serious dent in my road to independence. When Cole came over and kissed my hair before going to school, I knew I had progressed from looking like crap to just looking pathetic. Still, his affection gave me the warm fuzzies and for a moment I forgot my worries about Cam.
I hurried in the shower and got dressed in something comfortable for flat hunting with Uncle Mick. As I was passing Mum’s bedroom, I sighed in exasperation. Mum hadn’t popped her head out of her bedroom for days, and the only reason I knew she was alive was because I heard her snoring. It occurred to me as I stood in our quiet flat that I hadn’t said a word to her in a week. Not one word. Maybe that’s a good thing, I thought with a surprising amount of sadness. Maybe I would never learn to think more of myself if I continued to let Mum get close enough to poison my attempts. And maybe if I thought more of myself, I wouldn’t feel so irrational over Cam’s friendship with Blair.
Then again, maybe that was just wishful thinking.
Uncle Mick and I were lying on the hardwood floor of the two-bedroom flat on Heriot Row. A street that was mere minutes away from Dublin Street, it skirted the north side of Queen Street Gardens. More importantly, it was just around the corner from Jamaica Lane, where Olivia had just signed a lease on a one-bedroom flat above a coffee shop. It was all coming together for her. Proving it’s who you know once again, Clark managed to get Olivia an interview at the university library. They’d been impressed with her postgraduate degree in library science from the States as well as her six years of work experience. They had taken her on, on a temporary contract to be reviewed for permanency in six months’ time.
She seemed happy. Nervous but happy.
Mick was worried.
Since Olivia had started her new job today, I’d offered to accompany Mick to see the unfurnished flat that was so close to his daughter’s new home. Unfurnished wasn’t ideal, but the location was. The rental was under the Carmichael banner, so Ryan was the one viewing the flat with us. When we suddenly lay down on the floor, our eyes studying the level of craftsmanship in the decor, Ryan had stared at us wide-eyed and then said, ‘Uh, I’ll wait outside.’
Uncle Mick and I used to lie like this when he took me on jobs with him. During our lunch break we’d lie down on the dust sheets and talk nonsense to one another. Today, I wasn’t in the mood for nonsense. I was in the mood for answers.
‘Are you going to tell me why you keep hovering over your adult daughter like she might disappear or shatter into a million pieces at any second?’
Mick heaved a sigh, rolling his head to the side to look at me. His golden eyes were soft with affection for me, but I could still see that glimmer of sadness at the back of them.
‘I’m a father. I worry, baby girl.’
‘Is it because she’s carrying all this guilt about Yvonne?’
‘She told you that?’
‘My girl is tough, just like you, and she’s going to be okay. I know that. But I’m her dad and she’s moved to a new country, left all her friends behind, and is starting over. I want to make sure she’s okay, and I’ll worry if I can’t be near her. So what if I have to put up with bad paintwork in order to do that?’ He gestured to the main wall, where the paint had dried in uneven brushstrokes. ‘Something happens, she needs me, she calls me, and I’m literally seconds away.’
‘So you’re taking this place, then?’
‘Aye.’ He sat up, pulling me with him. ‘Fancy a trip to Ikea?’
I grinned. ‘Lucky for me today was payday.’ Mick looked confused. ‘I can go a little accessory mad when I shop at Ikea.’
‘Ah.’ He chuckled and helped me to my feet.
As I dusted off my bum, I became aware of the heat of Mick’s sudden and intense scrutiny.
I looked up and raised an eyebrow at his grave expression. ‘What?’
‘I’m worried about you, too.’ He brushed my hair off my face, stroking my cheek with his callused thumb. ‘You look tired.’