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|Moonlight on Nightingale Way(On Dublin Street #6)(21) by Samantha Young|
I sighed and sat down next to her. “Honestly?”
“The answer to that is always yes.”
I smiled at her response. “Okay. Noted. The truth is, Logan moved in here only a few months ago, and we’ve been at loggerheads for most of it. But I don’t think he’s a bad guy. In fact, I’m fairly certain that he’s one of the good ones.” I thought of all his women. Well, for the most part. “But mostly I’m doing this for you.”
“Why? You don’t even know me.”
“Because I’ve been where you are – looking for family because the one I was born with let me down in a way you can’t forgive.”
She stared up at me with those wise violet eyes. “They hurt you too.”
I nodded. “I made a new family here with my friends. I just want the same for you.”
Silence enveloped us, but this time it was the sweet kind, made even more so when Maia reached across the bedspread and slipped her hand into mine.
“I don’t really need this.” Maia stared at me with those big woeful eyes of hers as she stood in a changing room.
“It’s cute.” I gestured to the dress she’d tried on. It looked particularly cute with her grungy biker boots. “We should get it.” I patted my purse and reminded her, “Logan’s credit card.”
She looked down at the ground. “I just don’t want him to be mad at me for spending too much money.”
I’d been having so much fun with Maia that morning, making her breakfast, taking her shopping, that I’d temporarily forgotten how scary and confusing this must all be for her. Just because she initiated the whole thing didn’t mean she wasn’t terrified it could all blow up in her face. “Logan won’t be mad. We’ve barely bought anything. He knows you need at least a week’s wardrobe. That’s what we’re doing.”
The nod she gave me was reluctant, but we ended up buying the dress along with a pair of jeans and a few shirts. She changed out of her uniform and into a set of her new clothes. Afterward I led Maia away from Princes Street and up onto the path that ran along the outskirts of Calton Hill, where we would have privacy.
I had woken up that morning to the sound of my kettle boiling at five a.m. Maia was in my kitchen, making herself a cup of tea, moving from one foot to the other with nervous energy. Her eyes were bloodshot, and that, along with how early it was, told me the girl had gotten hardly any sleep. I thought the best thing to do was get her out of the flat. Logan had given me his credit card before he left the previous night for work, and I’d thought Maia would be like most teenage girls, and that shopping would take her mind off things.
It had not.
She had so many thoughts right now I could practically hear the buzz of them over the sound of the busy city-center traffic below us.
“You can talk to me,” I announced. “If you want to talk to me about anything that happened at home. I understand if you’re not ready yet for that. I just want you to know that I’m here.”
She stared out over the city, and for a moment I thought she might not answer. Finally she spoke. “Maybe you could just tell me more about you?”
It occurred to me then that for all Maia knew, I was a crazy person she was entrusting with her well-being. I didn’t think she believed that, but I could understand her hesitation. She had been desperate to get away from the situation with her mother, and that meant taking a big risk, such as living with me. “Sure. That’s only fair. What would you like to know?”
Finally she looked at me. “You’re an editor? For, like, a publisher?”
“No. I’m a freelance editor. I mostly do editing for self-published fiction writers, but I also copyedit academic papers.”
“And you make a lot of money? You have nice things.”
I grinned at the nosy question. “I make just enough. Most of that nice stuff I found while bargain hunting, and a few pieces are from a previous life.”
She frowned. “What does that mean?”
Although this was a topic I usually shied away from, I knew to earn Maia’s trust I was going to have to show her I trusted her in return. “My parents have a lot of money.”
I watched as she processed this. “But you don’t talk to them anymore,” she deduced.
“No, I don’t.”
“Can I ask why?”
“You may,” I corrected her with a reassuring smile.
She blushed a little and looked away. “May I ask why?”
“Well, it’s not something I like talking about, but… my parents are not very nice people.”
“When did you stop talking to them?”
I searched her face, wondering why she wanted to know so much. “About seven years ago. I went to university here at Edinburgh, and when I graduated I returned to London. I tried to be a part of the family, but it… Let’s just say I was better off back in Edinburgh, where I felt more at home with the friends I’d made here. I stayed in a flat with a number of them for a while, and then they all started pairing off and getting engaged. By then I’d built up a clientele and was making good money editing, and so I found my little flat on Nightingale Way.”
Maia came to an abrupt stop, and I halted too, looking back at her quizzically. “So you did it,” she said softly. There was something in her tone. Something akin to awe. “You made a life for yourself outside of your family. You really did it.”