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|Echoes of Scotland Street(On Dublin Street #5)(66) by Samantha Young|
“Think I’d get a free tattoo when I get out of here? From the legendary Stu Motherwell himself?”
I grinned. “Definitely.”
“Good because I’ll have plenty of inspiration by the time I do.”
My stomach dropped at the reminder of where we were sitting. “How have you been? You’re . . . okay . . . right?”
“I’m not sunshine and roses, but I can handle myself. Don’t worry about me.”
“But what’s it been—”
“I’m not telling you that shit, so you can forget about it.”
I could feel my eyes bug out at his snapping, and raised my hands in surrender. “All right, all right.”
He smirked. “I’ve missed you, Shay.”
I almost burst out crying at him using the nickname he hadn’t called me since we were kids. “I’ve missed you too,” I choked out.
“Ah, don’t get all watery on me again. We have stuff to sort out.” He leaned forward, his stare direct. “Neither of us should have listened to Mum, Dad, and Amanda’s bullshit, but we did. That’s over now. What’s not over is this family. I know we’re not perfect, Shannon. But they are our family and they have stepped it up and been there for me. I want you to reconcile with them so we can try to be a real family. Promise me.”
Panic fluttered in my chest. After everything, no matter his protestations, I owed Logan. If he wanted this from me I had to figure out a way to give him it. But it was going to be difficult bringing my family around to the idea of forgiving me.
Moreover, it meant I’d have to forgive them.
I ignored the deep-seated uncertainty and gave my brother a reassuring smile. “I’ll try.”
T he sight of your childhood home wasn’t supposed to fill your mouth with the taste of ash and your stomach with dread. Yet, staring at the prewar bungalow I’d grown up in on a quiet street in a wee town outside Glasgow, I felt just that.
What I really wanted to do was jump on a bus back to Edinburgh, but I’d made a promise to my brother. I just hoped Amanda was still living with our parents so I could kill three birds with one stone.
On the back of that thought, the door to the house opened and my pretty sister stepped outside in house shoes, ratty jeans, and an oversized T-shirt. Her dark hair was piled on top of her head and she was staring at me with the dark brown eyes she’d inherited from Dad. To my surprise I saw a flicker of relief in them that was at odds with her dry “You’re alive, then.”
“You would have known that if you’d called.”
She rolled her eyes. “Works both ways.” On that note she slipped inside, leaving the door open for me.
The familiar smell of my dad’s tobacco hit me as soon as I entered. Gran had hated Dad’s smoking, but no matter how much she nagged she couldn’t get her son to quit. Mum never nagged him about it. She said Dad was always going to do what he wanted to do and she loved him enough to leave him alone to do it in peace.
I thought that was a copout, but then, she was always like that with Dad. He won every argument because she didn’t want him to see her as anything less than the perfect, supportive wife she tried to be. Personally I thought they were living in the freaking fifties. I shuddered when I remembered how similar I’d acted with Ollie until near the end. Of course, Ollie was a violent woman beater. Dad was just a stubborn pain in the arse.
Full of trepidation, I followed Amanda into the large sitting room where my dad was watching TV while Mum sat at the dining table, typing on a laptop. They looked up at my entrance and Dad pressed the mute button on the remote.
Our eyes met and I could see that familiar stubbornness in his dark gaze fighting an emotion I couldn’t quite name.
He stood up abruptly, drawing his hand across his mouth before sagging on a loud exhale. “Thank fuck.”
I was abruptly pulled against him, his arms tight around me as he hugged me.
It took me a minute to get over my shock and hug him back.
“You should have bloody called,” he bit out, and then pushed me back from him. He gripped my biceps so hard I winced.
“Dad, you could have called me,” I said, trying to keep the hurt and annoyance out of my own voice, unsuccessfully. “You were the one that told me this was all my fault and that I should stay away from Logan. I thought you’d be happy to see the back of me.”
He let me go, that stubborn chin of his jutting out. “I didn’t say it was all your fault.”
“So why didn’t you call?”
“Why didn’t you?”
I sighed. Typical Dad. His pride would never allow him to admit he’d handled this badly. I shot a look at my mum, who’d come to stand in the middle of the room beside Amanda. Amanda was taller than her. I’d gotten my lack of height from Mum along with her hair and eyes and figure. She was young looking—so young looking we could probably pass for sisters. But that was where the similarities between us ended. I was like neither of my parents.
I was all Gran, through and through.
“A lot of things were said and done,” Mum said. “But that was no excuse for what you’ve put us through.”
My hands fisted at my sides. “It hasn’t exactly been easy for me either.”
Mum sighed. “I imagine not. But it isn’t always about you, Shannon.”
“I didn’t come here to fight,” I replied through gritted teeth. “I’ve just been to see Logan. He asked me to try to work things out with you and I promised I would.”
“Fine.” Amanda crossed her arms over her chest, eyes narrowed. “You can start with where you’ve been for the last few months and why there’s a tattoo on your back that wasn’t there before.”
Damn. My shirt must have ridden up when I hugged Dad. “Okay. Let’s sit down.”
* * *
“I cannot believe this!” Amanda shot to her feet once I was done telling them the story of my life in Edinburgh. “This just takes the biscuit.”
“It’s not like that.” I glowered up at her. “You can’t possibly believe I’d be so stupid again. Not after everything we’ve all been through.”
“Yes, yes, I can!”
“Amanda,” Dad said gruffly. “Calm down.”