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|Echoes of Scotland Street(On Dublin Street #5)(70) by Samantha Young|
“Where the heck is Cole?” I called after her.
“With Hannah.” She shook her head at me, all childishness gone and replaced with disappointment. “Don’t bother them. He’s visiting the baby.”
I slumped. “I didn’t mean to hurt him, Rae.”
“You gave up on him. How was that not hurtful?”
“I never gave up on him. I’m just trying to keep a promise to someone.”
“The wrong someone, apparently.” She shook her head. “Cole’s really been there for you, and you’ve gotten in deep with him, which means somewhere along the line you’ve made promises to him too. Maybe you should work out whose promise is the one you should concentrate on keeping.”
“Why does it have to be an either-or situation?”
“Because someone is making it that way . . . and again, maybe that’s the someone you should be taking time off from. Not Cole.” She slammed out of the studio, leaving me alone to lock up and ponder the many ways I’d somehow managed to let everyone in my life down in less than seventy-two hours.
T here’s nothing quite like the feeling of fear you get in your gut when you know you’ve hurt someone you care about. The fear turns into a flurry of nerves the more time passes with everything unresolved.
I was scared sick.
That night I tried calling and texting Cole, but he didn’t answer. Desperate to talk everything through, to fix it, I took a taxi to his place, hoping he’d cooled down enough so we could talk.
However, Cole wouldn’t answer his door.
I returned home that night with this heavy, thick, swelling sickness in my gut.
That feeling only worsened when I walked into work on Monday to find myself face-to-face with Stu. “Cole needs a break, so he’s off on some photography trip with his friend Nate for the next couple of days. I’ll be covering his appointments.”
I was a little breathless at the news that my boyfriend had up and left town without informing me. “Trip? Where?”
Stu shrugged, not meeting my gaze. “Not sure.”
“Look, Shannon.” Stu shrugged at me, sympathy mixed with hardness in his eyes. “You’re good at your job, but if your presence here is going to be a problem for my best artist, I will have to let you go.”
“Let me go?” I stumbled forward, shocked to my core. “Cole and I had an argument. We’ll sort it out.”
That darn sympathy melted the hardness completely. “Cole seems awfully upset.”
“I suggested something, he took it the wrong way, but that’s hardly . . .” I touched my forehead as the room started to wobble. “He’s hotheaded and he said things, but I thought . . .” I trailed off as I searched my bag for my phone. Cole and I needed to talk. He couldn’t just run away.
It wasn’t like him.
“This isn’t like him,” I muttered, fumbling for the phone. This time it rang, but I got no answer. I winced at the sound of his voice asking me to leave a message. “Cole, it’s me. Answer your phone. This is ridiculous. We need to talk.”
Stu grimaced. “I hope you’re good at groveling, wee fairy.”
I sighed. “I have a feeling that by the time this week is over, I’ll have made an art form out of it.”
* * *
“I miss it here.” Dad smiled, taking in the view of the castle out the coffee shop window. “Your mum is pure Glasgow through and through, but this place never stopped feeling like home.”
I nodded. “It’s in my blood too.”
“Yeah, you have a lot of my mum in you. Might be for the best considering your sister has a lot of your mum’s side in her and look how neurotic she turned out.”
I wrinkled my nose. “Dad.”
He just chuckled and sipped his coffee.
“Thanks for meeting me.” I’d decided after my argument with Cole that perhaps it would be better to try to have a rational discussion with a member of my family. Dad had been the one who’d seemed most receptive to me, so I’d called him to arrange meeting up. He could only meet me at the weekend, which meant I’d had to ask Rae to cover me—something she’d done begrudgingly. Although she was still pissed at me for upsetting Cole, she could see how much of a toll it was taking on me that he hadn’t returned my phone calls all week. So, despite the fact that my roommate was barely speaking to me, she had agreed to cover my shift.
“It would be nice to have some peace in the family again.” Dad shrugged. “If we can find a way to do that, then great.”
“I don’t want to have to compromise my relationship with Cole in order to maintain one with you. It’s not fair.”
He threw me a disapproving look. Frankly I was weary of seeing that look on the faces of the people I knew. “Amanda told us about him.”
I bit back my frustration. “She barely let him say two words. She walked into the studio and just started insulting him. She had no intention of giving him a chance.”
“She says he looks and acts exactly like all your ex-boyfriends.”
“He’s nothing like them.” I leaned forward, infusing every word with my conviction. “He’s the best person I know.”
“Why can’t you just be single for a while, Shannon? Take time to figure things out. Our family needs a break from the drama.”
“There was no drama between me and Cole.” I could taste bitterness on my tongue. “Until my family came back into the equation.”
“That’s not what I meant.” I waved off my last comment, but I wasn’t sure I hadn’t meant it. “I’m just trying to do the right thing by everyone. Logan wants us to be a family again, but to do that you want me to break up with a guy you know nothing about.”
“Look at it from our point of view. The last time you were in a relationship with some tattooed . . . anyway, you let it get so bad your brother got put away for protecting you. That’s beyond normal.” He clasped my hand. “Kid, you need time to sort out your head. There’s no way you could have had time to do that since you left Glasgow, not after jumping into another relationship with another idiot.”
I wrenched my hand out from under his. “Cole’s not an idiot. And I keep trying to tell you he’s the reason my head is sorted out. He’s helped me. He’s done so much to make me feel valued again, and more than that he got me back to Logan. You know, I kept having these nightmares. I’d think they were gone and then they’d come back. I’ve not had a single one since I visited Logan. Not a single one. And Cole did that.”