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|Moonlight on Nightingale Way(On Dublin Street #6)(7) by Samantha Young|
I curled my hands into fists. “Mr. Jenner is not an old goat.”
“That’s not the point.” Janice waved my defense off. “Aren’t you terrified you’re living next door to a convicted criminal? I went straight onto the phone to Mr. Carmichael, but he insists that thug is a friend of his and that we’re actually safer with him as a neighbor. Can you believe it?”
Mr. Carmichael was our landlord. Although I’d never met him personally, he was a very good landlord. If anything went wrong in the building or our apartments, it was fixed immediately. “Perhaps he’s a good judge of character. And maybe we are safer with Mr. MacLeod here.” I couldn’t explain why I found myself defending Logan. He was certainly a very inconsiderate neighbor, and I was intimidated by him on occasion. But truly frightened?
Janice grunted. “Oh, you’re all idiots. You forget I defend people like that man. I know exactly what kind of person he is. I’ll be looking for a new place to rent.”
Oh, finally some good news.
I just managed to stifle my smile. “Okay. Have a good day, then.” I skirted around her and hurried down the stairs before she subjected me to any more of her judgmental bile.
I had just entered the supermarket when Aidan called and asked me if I fancied grabbing a quick coffee. I knew saying yes was deliberate procrastination, but I talked myself around to it because coffee might wake me up a bit and thus give me more energy for my work later.
The low spring sun cast the outside of the coffee shop in a beautiful soft light. I shaded my eyes against it and saw Aidan sitting at one of the little metal tables. He’d already ordered me a coffee.
I smiled gratefully as I slipped into the seat across from him. “You are a rock star.” I immediately wrapped a chilled hand around the hot cup and sipped at the smooth drink.
Aidan squinted at me against the light of the sun. “You look knackered.”
I grunted. “Thank you.”
“Is it that neighbor of yours?”
I thought on the news Janice had imparted this morning and decided not to mention it to Aidan. It would concern him. He would jump to conclusions.
Perhaps… well, perhaps I should be jumping to conclusions, too, about the fact that my neighbor was a convicted criminal, but I didn’t know what he’d been convicted of, I didn’t know why Mr. Carmichael seemed so sure of the man’s character, and I’d always found it best to reserve judgment until I had all the facts. For instance, I did know Logan MacLeod was arrogant, annoying, and loud. I could judge him all I wanted about that. “He seems intent on living life to the fullest.”
“He’s very loud.”
Aidan shrugged. “Well, perhaps he doesn’t know how loud he’s being. Just say something.”
“If I do, he’ll just assume I’m being difficult.”
“You?” Aidan said. “Difficult? You wouldn’t know how to be difficult.”
“I don’t want to talk about Logan. Why are you lot so interested in my bloody neighbor?”
He grinned. “Because of your reaction to him.”
“Oh, not this again. Ever since Chloe introduced you to Juno, you’ve come to think of her as the queen of perception. I’ll have you know she gets lots of things wrong. All the time.” I sipped at my coffee and then deliberately changed the subject. “How’s Callum?”
Callum was Aidan’s teammate. I’d dated him a few years ago for a couple of months, until we both realized we didn’t have a lot in common and were actually very boring as a couple. We were definitely better off as friends. A few months after we broke up, Callum started dating Annie, a very outgoing, outdoorsy sports journalist. They’d been together ever since and were planning their wedding.
Aidan’s face fell. “Callum and Annie broke up.”
“Oh no!” I said, aghast. “Why?”
“Believe it or not, you and she share a very similar family situation, except she still talks to hers. Her parents are dominating and negative, and they’ve completely tried to take over the wedding. They also started putting pressure on them about grandkids, and not like other parents’ kind of pressure. It turns out they own Annie’s house. Callum didn’t know that. Her mum and dad have threatened to force them out if Annie isn’t pregnant within their first year of marriage. Apparently, they believe that having children will prove that Callum is serious about Annie. Unlike marriage.”
“Oh my gosh,” I murmured, feeling a deep empathy. Other people might think it ridiculous that any parent would act like that – perhaps even disbelieve that such parents existed – but I knew from personal experience that they did.
“Callum kept waiting for Annie to stand up to them. They had already discussed that they were going to have at least a year to themselves as a married couple before they’d try for kids. He could give a shit about the house. He’s ready to walk away from it all. But Annie… she won’t, and she keeps getting pissed at him when he asks her to stand up to her family. Finally Callum got sick of the arguments. He felt trapped by her parents, and he can just see that that’s what he’s in for, for the rest of his life, if he marries Annie.”
“That’s awful,” I whispered, my chest aching for Callum. “Bloody families.”
“They’re not all bad.”
“No,” I agreed. “Especially if you self-build them.”