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|Moonlight on Nightingale Way(On Dublin Street #6)(55) by Samantha Young|
I knew what that meant. It meant my mother was sick and she didn’t want anyone to know she was infallible.
The same inside sources also revealed that estranged daughter, Gracelyn Bentley, has still not returned to the homestead to be by her mother’s side. Rumors surrounding Gracelyn Bentley’s split from the family have circulated for years, but as yet the truth behind her departure remains within the family fold.
In a state of shock I somehow got myself to the bathroom. I felt the bile rise up in my throat and flipped the lid on the toilet seat. I coughed it up, but no vomit followed it despite the roiling in my stomach.
A cold sweat broke out over my skin, and I flopped back against the bathroom wall, pulling my knees up to my chin. I couldn’t stop trembling.
I wished I could stop trembling.
My mother had cancer. Possibly dying?
And now the press were finally interested to know where the Bentleys’ only daughter, Gracelyn Bentley, had disappeared to. I knew there had been rumors at first – family staff who couldn’t keep their mouths shut, most likely – but after a while the press weren’t really that interested. There were children of British rock stars up to far more scandalous and nefarious things, whereas Gracelyn Bentley was the quiet, studious girl with doe eyes who didn’t do anything of significance to capture their attention.
That’s how Gracelyn had been described once in the press.
But I wasn’t Gracelyn Bentley anymore. I’d legally changed my name to Grace Farquhar. Though I imagined if the press were really interested, it would be easy enough to find me.
I shivered at the thought.
They wouldn’t find the girl with the doe eyes anymore.
I’d worked hard to become my own person and not a shadow of the girl lost in the manipulations, cruelty, and neglect of her family.
If the press went searching for Gracelyn… they went searching for a ghost.
Or was she?
I squeezed my eyes shut and tears leaked out under the light pressure. Just like that the sob rose up from deep in my gut and I couldn’t control it. I couldn’t stop it.
My mother most probably had cancer and my father hadn’t reached out to tell me. And he knew where I was; he knew my surname. Farquhar after my grandmother on my father’s side. She’d died when I was eight, but some of my happiest childhood memories were when I was with her. She represented real family to me. She represented everything I wanted and hoped to someday have for myself.
My mother had cancer and I couldn’t go to her because they hadn’t asked me to.
They didn’t want me to.
And the horrible, awful truth was… I didn’t know if I wanted to go to her.
All the ugly things she’d ever said came flooding over me…
“That’s right. Keep eating that piece of cake if you want to get fatter than you already are.”
“An A in history? And why would I care if you’re able to memorize facts about a bunch of people that are dead?”
“Don’t tell me you lost your virginity. He must have been desperate.”
“If you don’t stop telling tales about Sebastian, I will send you to boarding school. As if any of his friends are hard up enough they’d need to force themselves on you.”
And the last, the most horrifically cliché…
“I was doing you a favor, Gracelyn. You reached too high. You can’t seriously believe that you can have what I can have. You need to lower your expectations.”
Swiping the tears from my eyes, I slowly got up from the bathroom floor. I couldn’t let them do this to me all over again. Reaching for my phone, I started to dial Aidan’s number and stopped.
He wasn’t the one I wanted to pour my heart out to.
His arms weren’t the ones I wanted wrapped around me.
And for that I started to cry again, because the one person I wanted was only a few feet away… and I couldn’t go to him.
Looking around at a bunch of people I didn’t know, I wondered if I’d made the right choice coming to this party at the Carmichaels’. Joss had invited me when we’d had our girls’ night in, and at the time I thought it would be rather exciting to attend. The party was for Ellie’s stepdad, Clark Nichols, celebrating his sixty-fifth birthday. I had discovered that although Braden wasn’t related to Ellie’s mother, Elodie, and Elodie’s husband, Clark, the two were as close to parents for him as any could be, and thus the reason he was hosting the event.
Somehow I’d managed to put myself together for the party at the Carmichaels’ huge, stylish town house on Dublin Street after the news I’d been dealt that afternoon, and the truth was so far the party had been a distraction. But now that I’d been introduced to all the people Joss loved, the news kept creeping into my head like a curtain blowing in the wind and allowing bright light to peek into the room every now and then when all I needed was the dark.
I’d been introduced to Elodie and Clark, a lovely, warm older couple whose teasing, bickering banter made me laugh. I’d also met their son and Hannah’s younger brother, Declan, and his shy wife, Penny. Moreover, I’d been overwhelmed by my introduction to the husbands of my new friends. The only one not present was Cole, because he had the flu, and he and Shannon were staying at home. Cam, whom I’d already met and blushed over, was there with Jo. It was from there that things got… well, yes, overwhelming. I met Liv’s husband, Nate.
I really hoped my face wasn’t on fire when I met him.