Secrets & Lies (Roughshod Rollers MC 3)

Page 22

“You’re sorry,” I say. There’s something painful growing in my chest, something tight and horribly crushing. “You sit here and tell me that I have a three-year-old child, something you would still be keeping secret if I hadn’t come to see you, and you’re sorry? How long were you planning on keeping it from me? When were you going to tell me?”
She averts her eyes. The answer to the last question, then, is likely “never”. I almost choke on the wave of hurt that hits me. What did I possibly do that warranted her doing this to me?
I have a son. A son I would have loved and spoiled. A son that has grown up without me, forcing me to miss every important milestone in his life. A son I wasn’t there for because I wasn’t allowed to be.
“How could you do this to me?” I ask, and my voice is shaking.
t wasn’t about you,” she says sharply, as though I’m the one being ridiculous by getting upset over this. “It’s about what was best for Owen.”
I stare at her. Ah, there’s the anger back again.
“Fuck you,” I say with feeling. “What fucking right do you have to decide that? When did you decide that I was such a horrible person that I wasn’t even allowed to see my own son?”
She clamps her lips closed and looks away. She obviously doesn’t intend on answering that. I want to try and force her, but my nerves are too frazzled to attempt it right now. I can’t even think straight without my thoughts coming back around to I have a son!
This is definitely worse, I decide. Way worse than her cheating on me. At least then I could have yelled at her for a second and then gone on my way, comfortable in the decision to never want to see her again. Now, though, I have a son that I need to think about, a son that I want to meet so badly, and the reminder of this, far worse, betrayal will be in my face every time I see him.
Jessica didn’t just separate me from my son. She separated her son from his father. How was this doing what was best for him? I’ve always tried my best to be a good person, and I always treated Jessica well. So why did this happen?
“I want to meet him,” I tell her. There’s a burning anger starting in me, but now isn’t the time to address it. That can wait until my head is on straight once more. “I want to be part of his life.”
“We’ll organize a meeting,” she assures me.
At least, now that the secret is out, she’s not trying to hide it anymore, and she’s willing to work with me to introduce me into our son’s life.
Our son. It’s such a strange thought. When Jessica left me, there was a part of me that mourned the loss of a potential family as well. There’s a part of me that’s always wanted to be a father, that was a little envious of Ethan and his relationship with his daughter. As time passed and I became unable to look at anyone who wasn’t Jessica, I had given up any hope of having children.
Now I have a son, with Jessica, of all people. I run a rough hand through my hair and close my eyes, unable to look at the woman I once loved with all my heart. We have a son, together.
A son that Jessica kept from me for three years.
“Why?” The question bursts out of me without permission. I’ve already asked, and I know Jessica isn’t going to answer, but the emotion driving me, this time, isn’t anger. There’s a bone-deep sadness that trembles in my breath, and drags Jessica’s unwilling eyes to me.
So much time lost. How could she do this.
“I…” Jessica falters. Something flashes through her eyes and, for a moment, I think she might be about to tell me. But then her expression hardens. “We broke up, Grant. I don’t need to explain myself to you.”
“We broke up…but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a right to know I had a son!” I shout, shocked at her words. “I…”
I’ve never told Jessica about my dream of one day having a family with her. She’s always seen me as the strong, tough bartender, and part of me didn’t want to disabuse her of that notion. She always had stars in her eyes when she told me how strong I was.
Maybe, if I had told her, she wouldn’t have kept Owen from me.
I slump back in my seat. Part of me had hoped that I could let go of all my regrets if I could only talk to Jessica one more time. It was a fool’s errand, I know. I have more regrets than ever and I’m angry on top of all that.
Angry, sad and hurt.
“Can’t you just give me something?” I ask her quietly. I’m not above begging her now, and I see her eyes widen as she stares at me, taken aback by my demeanor. “Please?”
She’s sitting still, staring at me like she’s never seen me before. I see her leaning forward, bending toward me like a branch in the wind, and I brace myself for whatever she has to say.
I don’t expect her to grab my collar and pull me into a fierce kiss.
Chapter Nine