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  • Home > Samantha Young > On Dublin Street Series > Echoes of Scotland Street (Page 49)     
    Echoes of Scotland Street(On Dublin Street #5)(49) by Samantha Young
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    A slow, pleased smile lit up Joss’s face. “Well, I have to write it first. I just wanted a reader’s opinion before I continue any further—someone I can trust. Cole said I could definitely trust you.”

    I flushed inwardly at Cole’s praise. Sometimes he made me feel guilty as sin for not trusting him in return. Huh, sometimes? Try all the time.

    “Thanks for trusting me.”

    And as if she read my mind, Joss smirked. “Maybe you could try trusting Cole.”

    “Did he say something?” I could feel myself bristling inwardly. My business was my business. It wasn’t for Cole to be telling people.

    “Not much. But he finds himself surrounded by a lot of women who have adored him since he was a kid, so we tend to get a bit nosy and all up in his business.” She grinned, like it was funny or something. I didn’t really agree. “We managed to find out what I already suspected: You don’t trust him because of a bad breakup.”

    Slowly the tension eased out of me. “But that’s all he said?”

    “Yeah, no details from Cole. He wouldn’t do that to you. I’m not dumb, however, Shannon. I know bad in your case means bad.” She gave my shoulder a comforting squeeze. “But you can trust Cole. He cares about you.”

    I didn’t respond, because I didn’t know what to say. My chest began to ache as we walked downstairs and the sounds of laughter and conversation hit our ears. Cole deserved to be with someone who could not only trust him but give herself to him the way that he was willing to give himself in return.

    Oh God.

    Was it time already? Did I need to walk away?

    Feeling sick at the thought, I found it took everything within me to smile at Cole as Joss led me into the dining room. The place was a crush with one large dining table and a smaller one at the end of the room where the kids were sitting. Apparently I was visiting on one of the rare days that everyone was free for Sunday lunch.

    Cole tucked me in beside him and I had Hannah and Sophia on my other side. Somehow Elodie miraculously managed to get food in front of everyone.

    “Nate, tell them the what-if story.” Liv chuckled at her husband.

    Nate smiled across the room and I followed his gaze. His and Liv’s daughter, Lily, a dark-haired beauty around the age of seven, was giggling with her sister, January, and Joss and Braden’s daughter, Beth. Seeing her occupied, Nate nodded.

    Liv looked at me. “We just got back from a weekend break in Argyll.”

    “So we’re in Dunoon,” Nate explained. “Liv’s on the docks with January because Jan’s still a bit afraid of water. So I take Lily out on a rowing boat on the loch to teach her to fish. And Lily is going through her what-if phase.”

    “What’s a what-if phase?” I asked.

    “The what-if phase,” Braden said, “is a phase most kids go through. All day, every day, for what feels like months, they ask what-if questions.”

    I laughed and nodded at Nate to continue.

    “So Lily and I are on the boat and she’s asking me a ton of questions and I’m trying to answer them as patiently as possible. ‘Dad,’ she said, ‘what if we don’t catch any fish?’ ‘Then there will be one more fish in the loch.’ ‘Dad, what if we lose an oar?’ ‘Then I’ll use the one we have left to get us back to the docks.’ ‘Dad, what if we lose both oars?’ ‘Then we’ll paddle back with our hands.’ ‘Dad, what if a boat came?’ ‘Then we’d get out of the way.’ ‘What if it was really close?’ ‘We’d get out of the way really fast.’ ‘Dad, what if you didn’t see the boat?’ And by now I’m losing my patience. ‘Lily,’ I said, ‘I thought you wanted to learn how to fish. Why all the boat questions?’ ‘Because, Dad, there’s a big boat behind you.’ I look over my shoulder and the Dunoon ferry is right there!”

    We all burst out laughing as Nate starts gesturing with his hands. “I start rowing like hell to get us out of the way and Lily’s just sitting there calm as you please.”

    Shaking with laughter against Cole’s side, I could tell the parents at the table totally got the conversation. I didn’t think I’d ever gone through a what-if phase as a child. My parents weren’t big conversationalists, so I probably didn’t even bother to ask.

    Olivia was wiping tears of laughter from her eyes, probably having heard the story too many times to count, and still finding it hilarious.

    “Well, since you’re sitting here today we can safely assume you and Lily made it out of the way,” Joss said dryly.

    “Just. Alive by the skin of our teeth because my daughter is a smart-arse just like her mother.”

    Liv shrugged. “I can’t help it if she inherited my wonderful sense of humor.”

    Our chuckles were interrupted by a loud clatter at the end of the table.

    Elodie was gripping her arm in pain, her eyes wide with shock, her face sallow and glistening with sweat.

    “Elodie.” Braden, who was closest to her, pushed out of his chair at the same time Clark started hurrying to get to her from the other side of the room.

    A deep unease settled in my gut as we watched on as Braden and Clark questioned her.

    She sank into their hold, seeming unable to talk through the pain.

    “Call an ambulance,” Braden barked, but Marco was already on his phone.

    Stunned, I looked up at Cole. He was staring at Elodie with panic in his eyes, his own face pale.

    Jo was suddenly at his side, her hand gripping his tightly.

    *   *   *

    A grim pall hung in the air in Cole’s flat. He lay on his bed, staring up at the ceiling while I lay by his side not knowing what to say.

    The paramedics had taken Elodie to the hospital; her husband, Hannah, Declan, Ellie, Braden, and their partners and kids took off after them. The kids were crying because they knew something bad had happened, and their parents were trying to keep it together for their sake.

    The rest of us were left behind.

    Cole was silent.

    He was silent when Jo suggested we go home and she’d contact us with any news. He was silent all the way to his flat in the taxi. He’d been silent for the last fifteen minutes.

    I’d known he was close to the Nicholses; I just hadn’t realized the depth of his attachment until now. He was frightened for Elodie and I knew I couldn’t ease those fears even if I tried.

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