Secrets & Lies (Roughshod Rollers MC 3)

Page 37

I know the truth now. He did miss me. He had recognized me the moment he saw me, of course, which means he never forgot my face. So I was in his thoughts.
Not anymore.
The look in his eyes earlier, when he told me that we were done… I’ve never seen it there before. It was equal parts resolve, determination and pain, as though he was making a decision that would hurt him, but was making it anyway for his own sake. Just like I left Grant to protect myself and our son, he’s walking away from any potential of a relationship to protect his own heart.
I pause, startled by my own thoughts. Potential for a relationship? What potential for a relationship? I ran off after we had sex on Friday night because I had no desire to get caught up with Grant again. I hesitated to agree for Grant and Owen to meet, even if I never said anything about it to Grant, because having him in my life would make it that much hard to resist the good memories that keep threatening to flood me. Now, suddenly, I’m mourning the death of a potential relationship that was never going to happen?
I laugh. There’s an edge of hysteria in it. It turns out that I’m one of those women, the ones who want the eyes of her loved one on her, despite never reciprocating, and can’t stand it when he moves on because she’s treated him like crap. How selfish I am.
And yet…
I glance at my clock. It’s past midnight. There’s no sound in the apartment. Owen is sound asleep, and I need to get to sleep too, before he comes in at six, excited for daycare. And if I don’t, I won’t make it through work.
If only sleeping were as easy as clicking my fingers and ordering myself to drop off, I think wryly.
Finally, after another ten minutes of tossing around, trying futilely to get comfortable, I sigh and get up, pulling a robe around myself. Maybe a warm cup of tea will help me sleep.
Yawning and rubbing my tired eyes, I shuffled out to the kitchen. On the way, I stop by Owen’s door. He’s tucked up in bed, his arm thrown around a large, brown teddy bear. At the foot of the bed is the truck that Grant got for him. He’s sleeping peacefully, his mouth open, and I smile at him before leaving.
The kettle seems abnormally loud at this time of night, and I hope it won’t wake Owen up as I wait impatiently for it to finish. My entire body feels tired and drained, but my mind is far too active to allow me the sleep I dearly need.
Finally, the kettle clicks off, and I make a cup of tea, the steam rising and making me yawn again at the feeling of the comfortable warmth. Instead of heading back to bed with my cup, however, I take a seat at the table.
Last night, Grant, Allison Owen and I sat around this table for dinner. It’s not going to be the last time Grant stays for dinner, I know. How am I going to handle seeing him across the table from me on those days, knowing that he doesn’t want me anymore?
You don’t want him, either, I remind myself. Regardless of my reasons, me leaving Grant three years ago meant that those reasons were more important than my desire to be in a relationship with Grant. I have no right to feel sour that Grant doesn’t want me in that way anymore.
This is all my fault. I pushed Grant to this. If anything, it should be more surprising that it’s taken him three years to walk away from me. If I was him, it would have happened a lot sooner.
Except, it didn’t, did it? Grant isn’t the only one who’s spent the last three years pining for a relationship that was no more. Everything just happened so suddenly. Even I wasn’t prepared for the way it all ended, and I was the one who walked out.
What even started it? I laugh bitterly as I remember the argument we had been having. Something stupid about food. I had been sick with the flu, and he was tired from work, it had been so foolish, especially considering it had been the argument that had torn us apart. Burdened with the knowledge I had recently gained, something in me had snapped, and I had walked out, telling Grant we were over. A few days later, while he was at work, I went around to get all my stuff, too much of a coward to face him, and left my key for him to find.
Did he know, after that argument, that I was serious about ending our relationship? Had he thought that we could work it out right up until the moment he returned home that day to find the apartment emptied of all my things? I’ve often wondered, selfishly, how he reacted that day, but there’s a part of me that doesn’t actually want to know.
Because if I know, it’ll just be another thing for me to feel bad about.
The minutes tick by slowly. Finally, as my eyes droop shut for the third time, I put my half-finished tea in the sink and head back to bed. This time, I relax into the mattress, too tired to allow my thoughts to keep me awake for much longer. Tomorrow is really going to suck, I decide, but it’s my own fault.
Just like everything else.
“Are you serious?”
I wince at the volume of Allison’s voice. It’s late afternoon and there are a few people milling about in the small coffee shop, most of them having just finished work, like me. Several of them turn to look at Allison’s outburst, and I sink low in my seat.
“Sorry,” Allison mutters. “I didn’t mean to yell. But...are you serious?”
“Yes, okay?” I hiss, angry and embarrassed. “I already know how stupid and selfish it is, alright? I don’t need you to tell me that something is wrong with me.”
Allison purses her lips. I can tell she’s unimpressed with what I’m saying, and I can’t blame her for it. It’s only my shame that is making me lash out.
“I just… It was only the other day that you were telling me how you didn’t want Grant in your
life anymore, and that you wanted to move on,” Allison points out. “I told you I was happy for you, and that I hoped you and Grant could both find something better in your lives.”
“I get it,” I snap, slouching down in my seat. “I know what I said. I still believe it, okay? But, it’s just that…” I trail off and looking away. “I can’t stand the idea of Grant moving on.”
Allison stares at me. And then she sighs, a wry smile coming to her lips.