Saved By The Lumberjack

Page 16

My fists clench at the memory. My lying, disloyal brother had a baby with Sylvia. My ex-girlfriend. The woman he stole from me. The betrayal still stings.
I turned to leave, not wanting to look at her a second longer.
“Please Burke, just talk to me. Eddie and I both miss you.”
I continued walking.
“I’m sorry that I hurt you, Burke. I really am. But you played your part too. You never fought for me. Eddie did.”
Her words were like a knife to my gut. As if their betrayal was my fucking fault.
“You didn’t even try.”
I didn’t turn around. I got into my car and left.
I shake my head, trying to rid myself of the memory. Sylvia is my past. She doesn’t matter anymore. Neither does my brother, even though it’ll probably always sting that he chose a woman over me. Over his family.
I see Daisy sitting at the counter, laughing with Marianne. She’s the only one that really matters now. The sight of her laughing face takes the edge off my anger, but just barely.
“We should get going.”
Daisy turns to look at me, and the smile slides off her face at my dark expression. Marianne only lifts an eyebrow, as if to ask, Who pissed in your cheerios?
“Oh, okay,” Daisy says, grabbing her bag. “It was great to meet you, Annie. I’ll talk to you soon.”
I incline my head in Marianne’s direction before leaving.
In the car, Daisy keeps shooting me worried glances. I hate that I’m making her feel bad. And I hate even more that I can’t stop.
“Are you okay?” Daisy asks cautiously.
“Fine.” I grip the steering wheel tighter. I wish I were better at talking about my feelings, but fuck, I just can’t bring myself to say anything. The only time I talked about what happened with Sylvia was right after I found out she was dating my brother. Marianne and I got so drunk we could hardly walk, and I spilled my guts while we finished one bottle after another.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Daisy swallow nervously. “Annie offered me a job.”
“That’s great,” I say, trying and failing to sound cheerful. I figured Marianne might do something like that. It’s one of the reasons I took Daisy to the café. An hour ago, I would’ve been over the moon at the news. By tomorrow, I’ll be able to tell her how happy I am for her. But not now.
“And she said I could rent the apartment over the café.”
A vein in my temple throbs and my mouth suddenly tastes bitter. I knew this day would come. I knew she would leave. I just didn’t think it would be so soon.
“When are you moving in?” I can’t bear to look at her.
“I—” She swallows. “I’m not sure. Annie said the last tenant already moved out, so—”
“Good. Then you can move in tomorrow. I’ll drive you over.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Daisy open and close her mouth. But she says nothing, and neither do I. I should’ve known it was too damn good to be true. Men like me don’t end up with women like Daisy.
I’m relieved when I finally park outside of my house. The sun has barely gone down, and I’m bone tired.
“Are you hungry?” Daisy asks once we’re inside.
I shake my head. “Tired. I’m just gonna go to bed.”
She tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. “Oh, okay. In that case, I’ll join you.”
I shake my head again. “I think it’s best if you sleep in the guest-room.”
I pretend not to see the hurt on her face. I turn and make my way to my bedroom, knowing Daisy is standing there, rooted to the spot, watching my back. I want to turn around and hug her, but I can’t. She’s leaving, and I’ll be alone again. I better get used to it.