Secrets & Lies (Roughshod Rollers MC 3)

Page 89

I can think about Jessica and what I’m going to say to her later. Right now, I have a job to do.
Tom didn’t approach me again tonight, and my prediction about needing to throw him out for fighting came true. He swore at me as he left, gesturing rudely, but it seemed more forced than usual, as though his heart wasn’t in it. Or maybe I’m just imagining things. Either way, others started leaving not long after that. It’s only Wednesday, so we don’t normally stay open very late, but the fight drove people from the bar earlier than usual. By nine-thirty, no one was there.
I hesitate, and then close the doors. I told Jessica that I finished around ten, so it’s too early to go back to my place. What if I get there and she’s already arrived? I’m not emotionally prepared to face her, yet.
I still don’t know what I’m going to say to her.
So I dally around the bar, putting glasses away and straightening chair pillows. When that wastes only ten minutes, I grab out the broom; it’s been a while since the floor got a good clean.
When it’s almost ten, I know I can’t put this off any longer. Jessica will be waiting for me soon. I wonder who she got to look after Owen at such short notice. Probably Allison; as amazing as Hazel sounds, even she wouldn’t be able to drop everything on a Wednesday night to babysit with only an hour or so of notice.
Though, if it is Allison, it means that Kyle will soon know what’s going on, too. I glance at my phone, half expecting to see a message from my friend, but there’s nothing.
Deciding not to look a gift horse in the mouth, I unlock my bike and put my helmet on. The world muffles and I flick the clear visor down. Then I kick the bike into gear and speed into the night.
I don’t live very far away from the bar. It doesn’t take long before I’m pulling up out front, though maybe that’s because I’m dreading having to face Jessica. I take the stairs for extra time, trying not to drag my feet.
I’m not surprised to see Jessica standing outside my apartment door. She’s leaning against the wall beside the door, looking down at her phone, and I pause, taking a moment to look at her. She doesn’t look distressed, and her short hair is tucked behind her ears as she reads. Her foot is tapping though, fidgeting restlessly, and I know she’s as anxious as I am.
Maybe even more. She’s the one that confessed, after all. She must be worried about what I’ll say about it.
I wish I knew what I was going to say.
“Hey,” I say, clearing my throat.
Jessica’s head shoots up straight away. She blinks at me, her eyes wide, and pushes herself off the wall. Her shoulders are tense.
“Grant,” she breathes.
It almost looks like she’s about to talk about what she said right there in the hallway. I move quickly to the door before she can say anything, pulling my keys out with a loud jangle.
“I’ll let us in,” I say.
She steps back, taking the obvious hint. I fumble with the keys for a moment, looking for the right one, and it takes me three tries to insert the key into the keyhole. She doesn’t say anything about it though, her hands clenched at her side.
Finally, the door swings open, and I step back to allow her in first. She says an almost inaudible thanks before moving carefully past me. The last time she was here was when she arrived in the pouring rain, begging for the first time for me to give her a second chance.
It’s almost funny to think how much has happened since then. On that night, I was completely certain that I wanted nothing more to do with Jessica. Then she showed up on my door, soaking wet and tired, desperate to talk to me.
Now she’s here again. The circumstances aren’t that different, either. She’s still here asking for that second chance. But she doesn’t look as desperate as she did back then. There’s a determined look in her eyes, as though she knows she’ll do whatever I ask her to. She’s given me all the control in this; she won’t push anymore unless I let her.
Will she be okay if I decide that we can only be friends? I glance at her. I don’t know if she will be, despite what she says. But she hasn’t pushed me for some time, and continues to claim that she’ll be happy with whatever I decide.
I suddenly feel nervous. I left her this morning without warning, leaving only a message. What does she think about that?
“Sorry,” I say to Jessica, my back to her. “About this morning.”
“It’s fine,” she assures me.
I glance at her. There’s sincerity in her voice. She isn’t mad at all. Does she think she deserves it because of everything she’s done? Despite her actions, I don’t want to go out of my way to hurt her. Even in my pettiest moments, I haven’t wanted her to feel the way I did.
“Actually,” she continues before I can reply. “I need to say I’m sorry too.”
“You’ve said it enough,” I reply, shaking my head.
She gives me a sad smile. “I’m not sure it’s ever going to be enough. Everything that happened could have just been avoided if I’d only spoken to you at the time. You could have been there when Owen was born, we could have been a family. But I ruined all that. And I know I hurt you really badly. I was suspicious and stupid, and I should have trusted you more than that.”
“Maybe we both should have trusted each other more,” I say with a sigh.