|Home > Samantha Young > On Dublin Street Series > On Dublin Street (Page 47)|
|On Dublin Street(On Dublin Street #1)(47) by Samantha Young|
“You’re also bloody good at pretending you don’t feel anything. I thought if I could hurt you this morning, I might get the proof I needed that you were lying.”
I pinned him with a look that said I wanted to rip his balls off. “So you told me you had slept with someone else?”
He nodded gently and brushed an apologetic kiss across my lips. “Sorry, babe. I did it to get to the truth… but if I’m honest I did it to hurt you the way you hurt me last night.” His eyes filled with remorse. “I’m really sorry. I never want to put that look on your face again, or ever make you cry again, I swear. But the truth is, you did cry. You cried because the thought of me doing that to you ripped you apart. You love me.”
I tried to gather my thoughts, my panic sending them scattering. There was too much to deal with, too much to discuss, and it all had to be later because Ellie needed us. “One: that was the shittiest thing in the world to do. Two: we can’t do this right now.”
“We’re not leaving this kitchen until you admit you love me.”
“Braden, I mean it.” I pushed at him sternly and he let me go, although he didn’t step back. “I’m still broken up with you. I’m not changing my mind.”
His eyes looked to the heavens and I watched him wrestle with his patience. Finally his gaze cut back to me and I could see the muscle in his jaw twitching. “Why not?” He bit out.
I wouldn’t explain it to him. He’d just find some way to argue around it and I just… no! “Because I just won’t. Now, we have a long day in front of us and a possibly even longer few months, so just… let it go.”
“Okay.” Braden threw up his hands and stepped back. I was just about to sigh with a small kind of relief when he spoke again, “For now.”
Oh hell. “What?”
He grinned at me, and it was a boyish weary grin aiming for wicked, but too tired and worried to reach it. “I love you. You’re mine. I’ll kill any bastard who tries to take you from me. So, here’s how it’s going to go: Ellie comes first, but while we’re taking care of her you can be as pig-headed as you want and pretend that we’re broken up. I’ll even let you. But I’m also going to be here, every day, showing you what you’re missing.”
My cheeks were still wet, my eyes swollen, and I knew I must look a mess, but right then I didn’t care. Part of me was overwhelmed and in awe. The other half of me was scared shitless. And holding on to both of their leashes was my headstrong persistence. “Are you insane? I’m not changing my mind.”
“Yes you will.” Braden sighed. “We’re going to need each other through this. All of us. But if you can’t do that, then I’m going to play hardball. I’m going to do whatever it takes. Some of it will frustrate you, some of it will turn you on, and some of it will hopefully really piss you off.”
“You are insane.”
“No.” We spun around to see Ellie standing in the kitchen doorway in her bathrobe, wearing a small, exhausted but determined smile. “He’s fighting for what he wants.”
“He’s not the only one,” I heard Adam’s voice as the front door opened and shut, and Ellie turned in the doorway to look out into the hall.
We waited as his footsteps approached and then he was there beside her.
Christ, he looked like hell. I’d never seen Adam unshaven before, and he was wearing a ratty old t-shirt, a parka and jeans that had seen way better days. He had dark circles under his eyes to rival Braden’s and desperation was etched in every molecule of his expression.
Adam took Ellie’s hand and brought it to his lips, his eyes closing as he pressed his mouth to her skin. When he opened them I saw tears shimmering there, and felt my throat close up. I watched Ellie’s breath catch as he tugged on her hand and pulled her into the kitchen with him to face Braden. All of sudden Adam looked a little sick. “I need to tell you something.”
Braden crossed his arms over his chest, frowning as he took in the two of them standing close together. “Go on.”
Adam closed his eyes briefly and then when he opened them I saw determination that I admired in the face of his bulldozer of a friend. “You’re like a brother. I would never do anything to hurt you. And I know I haven’t been what a brother would consider good material for his wee sister, but I love Ellie, Braden. I have for a long time now and I can’t not be with her. I’ve wasted too much time as it is.”
Ellie and I held our breaths as the two best friends faced off.
Braden’s eyes went to Ellie, his expression not giving anything away. God, he could be an intimidating a-hole when he wanted to be. “Do you love him?”
Adam looked back at her and she squeezed his arm. With a small smile she turned to her brother. “Yes.”
Braden shrugged and reached casually over to the kettle to turn it on. “About bloody time. You two were giving me a headache.”
My mouth fell open along with Adam and Ellie’s. Not once the entire time we’d been dating did Braden let on that he knew what was going on with Adam and Ellie. That sneaky bastard.
“You really are a know-it-all pain in the ass,” I announced snarkily, brushing by him rudely. I stopped quickly at Ellie and Adam to say, “I’m happy for you.” And then I hurried by them down the hall to the bathroom to get away from Braden and his perceptive, growly, inflexible ass.
I heard Braden’s soft, scratchy laugh, his delicious voice echoing in my head as he countered, “She loves me, really.”
For the first time in a really long time, I called in sick at work that night. Ellie hadn’t wanted a huge fuss made about the appointment at the hospital so she’d decided on allowing just Elodie and Clark to take her to meet with the neurologist. I was a little surprised that it was on a Saturday, but Braden had swooped in and did some sweet-talking—more like growly string-pulling since he knew someone on the hospital board—to get the neurologist to see them as soon as possible.
Elodie and Clark had picked her up, dropped Hannah and Declan off with us, and taken Ellie away an hour ago. Braden and Adam didn’t leave. The five of us sat in the sitting room, staring at the clock, staring at our phones. I got up to pee. Braden made some more coffee. Adam didn’t move once.
Two hours later, Hannah was tucked into my side, Braden was watching Declan who’d fallen asleep in the other armchair, and Adam had his eyes closed so tight with worry that Hannah even noticed and reached across to squeeze his hand. Adam shot her a grateful smile and I kissed her soft hair, my heart hurting because she was just as much of a sweetheart as the one we were all worried about.
The front door opened.
We all shot to our feet. Well, not Declan. He woozily woke up and kind of fell onto his feet.
Elodie entered the sitting room first, but I couldn’t gauge her expression. I glanced behind her to see Clark with his arm around Ellie’s shoulder, and I swear to God I had to keep myself from bursting into tears.
“What happened?” Adam moved towards her and Clark immediately let Ellie go.
Ellie sunk into Adam’s side and smiled tremulously. “Let’s sit. I’ll explain.”
“I’ll make us all some tea.” Elodie nodded and headed back out of the room as we all sat, our butts right at the edge of our seats.
Ellie heaved a deep sigh. “Good news is that my tumor is actually a big cist with two small tumors on it. It’s sitting on the surface of the top right side of my brain so they can remove all of it. Dr. Dunham thinks that in all likelihood the tumors are benign. He thinks it’s been there a long while and that it’s just gotten slowly bigger and needs to come out for obvious reasons. I’ll have surgery, scheduled in two weeks’ time, and they’ll send the tumor off for biopsy.” Ellie smiled, her lips trembling a little. “I’m a little scared about the surgery, but Dr. Dunham was really confident and said that the risk in this kind of surgery is like 2% and the possibility of the tumor being cancerous is really very small.”
At once we all let go of our breaths, relief cascading over us in a huge wave that almost knocked us off our chairs. Braden rushed Ellie before anyone else could, squeezing her up into his arms until she told him she couldn’t breathe, and while he did that Clark reassured Declan, who was still a little sleepy that Ellie, was in all likelihood going to be okay. Braden finally let his little sister down with a loud smack of a kiss on her forehead and before she could even catch her breath Adam was on her, kissing her right on the mouth in front of everyone. A real kiss too. Ballsy.
“Well, it’s about time,” Clark sighed.
Ellie laughed against Adam’s mouth at that one. Obviously she was just now realizing I’d been right all along. She and Adam had been anything but subtle these last few months.
“What’s funny?” Elodie asked, bustling back into the room.
I took that opportunity to haul Ellie into my arms. “Worst twenty four hours in a very long time, my friend.”
She pulled back to look at me. “I’m sorry I put you through that.”
I sighed heavily and then looked at the tea and coffee Elodie had brought into the room. I gave her an apologetic look as I said, “I don’t think that’s strong enough.”
She raised an eyebrow at me. “Do you have anything stronger in the house?”
“Not really.” I glanced at Ellie. “But there is the pub just a few doors down from us that we’ve never been into yet. Maybe it’s time. I think there’s a possibility they’ll have something stronger.”
“Strong sounds good to me.”
“And me,” Clark agreed.
“We have the kids,” Elodie complained.
I grabbed my purse sitting on the coffee table. “They’re allowed into a pub if they’re with an adult. They can have a Coke.”
Elodie didn’t look too sure.
I smiled reassuringly. “It’s just one drink. A celebratory drink at that.”