Never Too Far (Rosemary Beach #2)(6) by Abbi Glines

What? "Are you moving in with Bethy?" I asked, wondering if I was still asleep and this was a dream.

"No. I wasn't going to. But this morning I talked with Bethy and I thought maybe if I saw you and talked to you and faced... this I'd be able to stay with her for a while. It wouldn't be permanent; I'll leave in a couple months. Just until I have time to decide where I am going to go next."

She was still planning on leaving. I needed to change that. I had a couple of months if she stayed here. For the first time since she'd told me to leave the hotel room I had hope. "I think that's smart. No reason to make a rash decision when you have an option right here." She could stay in my house for free. In my bed.With me. But I couldn't offer that. She'd never agree.

Chapter 10


"I'll be working at the club. We'll... uh... see each other on occasion. I'd get a job somewhere else but I need the money the club pays." I was explaining this to myself as much as I was explaining it to Rush. I hadn't been sure exactly what I was going to say when I showed up here. I just knew I had to face him. At first Bethy had begged me to tell him about the pregnancy. However, after she'd heard exactly what happened with my father and Nan and her mother that day she hadn't been as Team Rush as before. She agreed that there was no need to tell him anything right away.

Working up enough nerve to drive back to this house after the way I'd left only three and a half weeks ago had been hard. The hope that my heart wouldn't react when I saw Rush's face had been futile. My chest had constricted so badly it had been a wonder I could breathe. Much less speak. I was pregnant with his baby... our baby. But the lies. The deceit. Who he was. All of that kept me from saying the words that he deserved to hear. I couldn't. It was wrong. I was being selfish. I knew it. That didn't change anything. The baby I was carrying might never know him. I couldn't let the way I felt about him cloud my decisions for my future... or my baby's future. My father, his mother and his sister would never be a part of my baby's life. I wouldn't allow it. I couldn't.

"Of course. Yeah, working at the club is good money." He stopped and ran a hand through his hair. "Blaire, nothing has changed. Not for me. You don't need my permission.This is exactly what I want. Having you here again. Seeing your face. God, baby, I can't do this. I can't pretend I'm not f**king thrilled you're standing in my house right now."

I couldn't look at him. Not now. I hadn't been expecting him to say any of those things. The stilted nervous conversation was more of what I expected. It was what I wanted. My heart couldn't take anything else. "I need to go, Rush. I can't, I just wanted to make sure you were good with me being in town. I'll keep my distance."

Rush moved so fast I didn't realize it until he was standing between me and the door. "I'm sorry. I was trying to be cool. I was trying to be careful but I cracked. I'll do better. I promise. Go to Bethy's. Forget what I just said. I'll be good. I promise. Just... just don't leave. Please."

What did I say to that? He'd managed to make me want to comfort him. To apologize to him. He was lethal to my emotions and good sense. Distance. We needed distance. I nodded and stepped around him. "I'll... uh... probably see you around." I managed to croak out before opening the door and stepping outside the house.

I didn't look back but I knew he was watching me leave. It was the only reason I didn't break out into a run. Space... we needed space. And I needed to cry.

It was as if he had known I was coming. I'd already decided to go straight to the dining room and look for Jimmy. I figured Jimmy would know where to find Woods. But Woods had been waiting on me at the door when I opened the back entrance to the clubhouse.

"And she returns. Honestly didn't think you would," Woods drawled as the door closed behind me.

"For a little while maybe," I replied.

Woods winked at me then nodded his head toward the hall that led down to his office. "Let's go talk."

"Okay," I said as I followed him.

"Bethy's already called me twice today. Wanting to know if I'd seen you yet. Making sure you got your job back," Woods said as he opened his office door and held it so that I could walk inside. "What I didn't expect though was the call I just received about ten minutes ago. It surprised me. From the way you bolted out of here three weeks ago and left Rush all high and dry, I didn't expect him to call me on your behalf. Not that he needed to, mind you. I'd already agreed that you could have your job back."

I stopped and looked back at him. Had I just heard him correctly? "Rush?" I asked, almost afraid I'd hallucinated that comment.

Woods closed his door and walked over to stand in front of his desk. He leaned back against the expensive looking shiny wood and crossed his arms over his chest. The smile he'd had when I arrived was gone. He looked more concerned now. "Yes, Rush. I know that the truth came out. Jace has told me some of it. What he knows at least. But then I already knew who you were. Or who Rush and Nan thought you were. I warned you he'd choose her. He was already choosing her when I gave you that warning. Do you really want to come back to all of this? Is Alabama that bad?

No. Alabama wasn't that bad. Being a single pregnant nineteen year old with no family was bad though. That however was not something I was going to share with Woods. "Coming back here isn't exactly easy. Seeing... them, won't be easy either. But I need to figure out what I'm going to do. Where I'm going to go. There is nothing left for me in Alabama. I can't stay there and pretend that there is. It's time I found a new life. And Bethy is the only friend I have. My options for places to go are a little limited."

Woods eyebrows shot up. "Ouch. What am I? Here I thought we were friends."

Smiling, I walked over and stood behind the chair across from him. "We are but well... not close friends."

"Not because I didn't try my damnedest."

A small laugh bubbled up and Woods grinned. "That's nice to hear. I missed it."

Maybe coming back wouldn't be so hard.

"You can have your job. It's yours. I've had shit for cart girls and Jimmy is still sulking. He doesn't play well with the other servers. He misses you too."

"Thank you," I replied. "I appreciate it. I want to be honest with you though. In four months, I intend to leave. I can't stay here forever. I've..."

"You have a life to get to. Yeah, I heard you. Rosemary isn't where you intend to put down your roots. I got it. For whatever length of time, you got the job."

Chapter 11


I knocked once before opening the door to Nan's condo and walking in. Her car was parked outside. I knew she was here. I just wanted to make sure she knew I was here. I'd made the mistake once of not knocking and had seen my little sister straddling a guy's lap.I had wanted to pour bleach in my eyes and brain after that experience.

"Nan, it's me. We need to talk." I called out then closed the door behind me. I stepped into the living room and the sound of more than one hushed voice and footsteps coming from the master bedroom almost made me turn around and leave. But I wasn't going to. This was more important. Her sleepover guest needed to go on home now anyway. It was after eleven.

Her bedroom door opened and closed. Interesting. Whoever was here was staying. We'd need to step outside on the balcony to talk. I wasn't discussing Blaire in front of anyone else. I probably knew the guy in that room. It would be the only reason she would keep him hidden in there.

"Ever heard of calling before you come over?" Nan snapped as she walked into the living room dressed in a short silk wrap. She looked more and more like our mother the older she got.

"It's almost lunch, Nan. You can't keep the man in bed all day," I replied and opened the doors that led out onto the balcony overlooking the gulf. "I need to talk to you and I don't want to do it where your bedroom buddy can hear us."

Nan rolled her eyes and stepped outside. "I find it odd that I've been trying to get you to talk to me for weeks and now that you want to talk you come barging over like I have no life. At least I call you first." She was starting to sound like our mother too.

"I own this condo, Nan. I can come in any damn time I want to," I reminded her. She would be leaving here in mid August to head back to her sorority house and her still undecided major. College was a social function for her. She knew I'd pay her bills and tuition. I'd always taken care of everything for her.

"Snarky much. What is this about? I haven't had my coffee yet." She also wasn't afraid of me. I didn't want her to be but it was time she grew up. I wasn't going to let her send Blaire running. In a month, Nan would be gone. Normally I would be too. Not this year. I'd be keeping my residence at Rosemary. Mother would have to pick another location. She wasn't going to have this house free for the rest of the year.

"Blaire is back," I told her bluntly. I'd had time to see things from another angle. I didn't feel like Nan was the victim in this any longer. As a child she was but then so was Blaire. Nan tensed as her eyes flashed with the hate that belonged at her father's feet instead of on Blaire. "Don't say anything. Let me speak first or I'll go escort your sleepover friend from my condo. I hold the power here Nan. Our mother has nothing. I support you both. I've never asked you for anything. Ever. But right now I'm going to ask... no, I'm going to demand you listen to me and you follow my terms."

Nan's anger had faded and now the spoiled brat was there looking back at me. She didn't like being told what to do. I couldn't blame my mother for her behavior, not entirely. I did this too. Overcompensation had ruined Nan.

"I hate her," she seethed.

"I said to listen to me. Don't assume I'm bluffing Nan. Because this time you've fu**ed with something I care about. This affects me, so listen and shut the hell up."

Her eyes went round from shock. I was sure I'd never spoken to her that way. I was even a little surprised myself. Hearing the hate in her voice directed at Blaire had set me off.

"Blaire is staying with Bethy. Woods has given Blaire her job back. She has nothing in Alabama. She has no one. The father the two of you share is worthless. To her he might as well be dead. She's back to find out where she fits and what to do next. She was doing that before but when the truth came out it sent her world crumbling so she ran. It's a f**king miracle she's back here. I want her back here, Nan. You may not want to hear this but I love her. I will stop at nothing to make sure she's safe. She is secure and no one and I do mean no one, not even my sister, makes her feel unwanted. You leave soon. You can keep your misplaced hate if you want to but one day I hope you grow up enough to realize there is only one person to hate here."

Nan sank down onto one of the lounge chairs she kept out here to lay out and read books. I loved her too. I'd been protecting her all my life. Telling her this and threatening her was hard but I couldn't let her hurt Blaire any longer. I had to stop this. Blaire would never give me another chance as long as Nan was tormenting her life.

"So you're choosing her over me," Nan whispered.

"This isn't a contest Nan. Stop acting like it is. You've got the dad. She lost him. You won. Now let it go."

Nan lifted her eyes and tears were clinging to her eyelashes. "She's made you hate me."

Damn f**king drama. Nan lived a soap opera in her head. "Nan, listen to me. I love you. You're my little sister. No one can change that. But I am in love with Blaire. It may be a major hitch in your plans to conquer and destroy but baby, it is time you let your daddy issues go. Three years ago he came back. I need you to put this behind you."

"What about family first?" She choked out.

"Don't go there. You and I both know I've put you first all my life. You needed me and I was there. But we are adults now, Nan."

She wiped the tears that had leaked out of her eyes and stood back up. I could never tell if her tears were real or fake. She could turn them on and off at whim. "Fine. Maybe I'll go back to school early. You don't want me here anyway. You've chosen her."

"I'll always want you around, Nan. But this time I want you to play nice. Think about someone else for a change. You have a heart. I've seen it. Now it is time to use it."

Nan's spine stiffened. "If we're done here could you please leave your condo?"

I nodded. "Yeah I'm done," I replied and walked back inside. Without another word I headed out the front door. Time would now tell if I had to follow through on my threats to teach my sister a lesson. I really hoped I didn't.

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