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|Echoes of Scotland Street(On Dublin Street #5)(69) by Samantha Young|
“I’m not choosing anyone over—”
“I can’t do this right now.” He held up a hand to interrupt me. “I need to walk out of here before I say shit I’ll regret.”
Wondering how the conversation could have taken such a bad turn, I pleaded with him. “Don’t. I’m not trying to hurt you. I’m just trying to think of—”
“Not trying to hurt me?” He pushed the chair he’d been sitting in hard against the table. It was my turn to flinch back. “You’re asking me to fucking prove myself. If anyone has to prove themselves it’s them!”
I pressed my lips closed, realizing with a heaviness in my gut that that was exactly what I’d just asked him to do. After telling my family that I would never do that to him, I’d done it without thinking. “I didn’t mean that,” I promised. “I really didn’t. I just don’t know what else to do.”
But my apology didn’t even penetrate his anger. He leaned forward, eyes narrowed, and hissed, “Here’s a hint: You should never have said you wanted to take a break. You should never have asked me to prove myself after all the shit you’ve put me through.” He cut me another disgusted look and strode out of the room while I recovered from his furious attack.
Hearing the front door open, I snapped out of my stupor and raced down the hallway. “Cole!”
He spun around. “And to think I was going to ask you to move in with me. What a huge fucking mistake that would have been.”
Oh heck, this was not happening. “Cole, please—”
The door slammed shut on my face.
I stumbled forward, about to chase after him, when his words started ringing in my ears. He was furious. My continued attempts to rectify the situation weren’t going to change how he felt at the moment.
I leaned my forehead against the door. “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck,” I whimpered.
* * *
My suitcase lay open on my bed, my clothes scattered all over my bedroom, and I was staring at my artwork wondering how I was going to pack it up when the front door slammed.
“Shannon fucking MacLeod, you and I need to have a word!” Rae shouted through the flat. “I’ve just been consoling your very pissed-off and hurt man and I’ve got to say . . .” Her voice trailed off as she entered my bedroom. I watched as she took in the suitcase and the clothes that were in the progress of being packed into it. “Okay.” She swallowed hard. “You should know that Cole is really hotheaded. He doesn’t seem it because he’s so laid-back all the time, but when something pisses him off, I mean, he just lets fly without thinking.” She was rambling now. “Did you know that when he found out Marco was the guy that knocked Hannah up when she was seventeen, he didn’t even give her a chance to explain shit? He just flew off the handle and went after Marco. He tried to beat the crap out of him on a construction site. Got a few good punches in too.”
I opened my mouth to explain, but my phone rang before I could. Glancing over at it on the bedside cabinet, I recognized the number. “Oh, I have to take this.” I snatched it up and answered, all the while waving at Rae to get out of my room to give me some privacy.
She stared at me stubbornly for a second but finally edged out of the room.
By the time I got off the phone with my dad to arrange everything, it was late and Rae was lying across her bed fully clothed. Her snores filled the entire flat.
* * *
Rae was already up and gone by the time I woke up. It was puzzling because Rae was never out of bed before me. I’d lain awake for most of the night worrying myself sick about Cole and forcing myself not to call him. There wouldn’t be any point trying to talk to him when he was still riled up.
Exhausted, I walked into INKarnate, heading straight for the coffee machine. I was feeling a little breathless, anticipating seeing Cole after our first huge argument as a couple. Technically I think maybe he’d broken up with me, but I couldn’t even process that right then without wanting to burst into tears, so I concentrated on the coffee.
I chewed on my lower lip, trying to decide if I should take Cole a cup.
“There you are.”
I looked over my shoulder at Rae standing behind my desk. “Morning.”
She scowled at me. “Whatever. Cole called in sick. You need to phone and reschedule his appointments for today.”
My heart took a swan dive out of my chest. “Sick?” Cole never called in sick.
“Like you care,” she snapped.
“Rae.” I stomped my foot in exasperation. “Why did Cole—”
“I can’t hear you!” she yelled childishly, and strode away from me.
I hurried out of the closet onto the main floor. “Rae!”
“Don’t push me.” She stopped and glared at me over her shoulder. “You’re my friend, Shannon. I care about you, but if I have to choose, I choose Cole. So back the fuck off before I slap the fucking stupidity out of you.”
Aghast, I stood there, stunned, as she disappeared into the back.
I was still standing there when Simon ventured out of his room. From the look on his face he had heard everything. Whatever he saw on my face made him hold up his hands in surrender. “I don’t want to know. I’m sorry, babe, but I’ve got my own shit going on with Tony.”
I crushed my rising panic. “Are you okay?”
He shrugged glumly and walked past me to get a coffee. “We’re trying to work through this baby thing.”
“I’m sorry.” I slumped against my desk, wishing relationships didn’t have to be so bloody heartbreaking.
Simon gave me a sad smile. “I’m sorry too.”
* * *
Frozen out by Rae for the rest of the day, I’d lost strands of hair from tugging it in frustration so much. I couldn’t believe what she’d said to me. I didn’t even know what I’d done to deserve it.
Finally, after locking everything up for the day, I reached for my phone. I felt so sick I thought I might actually vomit, and the only way to get rid of that sensation was to call Cole.
It went straight to voice mail.
Rae came out of the back wearing her jacket and bag. Simon had already left. I reached for my own jacket. “Don’t even think about walking me out,” she said, sneering, as she strode by my desk.