Never Too Far (Chapter 5)


Bethy pulled Jace's car into the parking lot of the Dairy K. I noticed Callie's little blue Volkswagen and decided against getting out of the car. I'd only seen Callie twice since I returned and she'd been ready to claw my eyes out. She'd had her sights on Cain since high school. I'd come home and messed up whatever kind of relationship they'd finally managed to have. I hadn't meant to. She could have Cain.

Bethy started to get out of the car and I grabbed her arm. "Let's just talk in the car," I said, stopping her.

"But I want some ice cream mixed with Oreos," she complained.

"I can't talk in there. I know too many people," I explained.

Bethy sighed and leaned back in her seat. "Okay fine. My ass doesn't need any ice cream and cookies anyway."

I smiled and relaxed, thankful for the dark tinted windows. Knowing I wasn't on display as people stopped and stared at Jace's car. No one around here drove cars even close to this one's league.

"I'm not gonna beat around the bush with this, Blaire. I miss you. I've never had a close girlfriend before. Ever. Then you came along and then you left. I hate you being gone. Work sucks without you there. I have no one to tell about my sex life with Jace and how sweet he's being which is something I wouldn't have if I hadn't listened to you. I just miss you."

I felt tears sting my eyes. Just being missed felt good. I missed her too. I missed a lot of things. "I miss you too," I replied, hoping I didn't get all weepy.

Bethy nodded and a smile tugged on her lips. "Okay good. Because I need you to come back and live with me.Jace got me a waterfront condo on the club's property. I, however, refuse to let him pay for it. So I need a roommate. Please come back. I need you. And Woods said you'd have your job back immediately."

Go back to Rosemary? Where Rush was… and Nan… and my dad. I couldn't go back. I couldn't see them. They'd be at the club. Would my dad take Nan to play golf? Could I see that? No. I couldn't. It would be too much.

"I can't," I choked out. I wished I could. I didn't know where I was going to go now that I knew I was pregnant but I couldn't go to Rosemary and I couldn't stay here.

"Please, Blaire. He misses you too. He never leaves his house. Jace said he's pitiful."

The angry wound in my chest flared to life. Knowing Rush was hurting too was hard. I'd imagined him having his house parties and moving on. I didn't want him to still be sad. I just needed for us to move on. But maybe I never would. I'd always have a reminder of Rush.

"I can't see them. Any of them. It would be too hard," I stopped. I couldn't tell Bethy about my pregnancy. I had hardly had time to comprehend it. I wasn't ready to tell anyone. I might never tell anyone other than Cain. I would be leaving here soon enough. Where I went I wouldn't know anyone. I'd be starting over.

"Your… uh Dad and Georgianna aren't there. They left. Nan is but she is quieter now. I think she's worried about Rush. It would be hard at first but after you ripped the bandage off you'd get over them. Over everything. Besides, the way Woods' eyes lit up when I mentioned you coming back you could distract yourself with him. He is more than interested."

I didn't want Woods. And nothing would distract me. Bethy didn't know everything. I couldn't tell her that either. Not today.

"As much as I want to… I just can't. I'm sorry."

I was sorry. Moving in with Bethy and getting my job back at the club would be the answer to my problems, almost.

Bethy let out a frustrated sigh and laid her head back on the seat and closed her eyes. "Okay. I get it. I don't like it but I get it."

I reached over and squeezed her hand tightly. I wished things were different. If Rush were just some guy I had broken up with it would be. But he wasn't. He never would be. He was more. Much more than she could understand.

Bethy squeezed my hand back. "I'm going to let this go for today. But I'm not looking for another roommate right away. I'm giving you a week to think about this. Then I have to find someone to help me pay the bills. So will you? Think about it?"

I nodded because I knew that was what she needed even if I knew her waiting was pointless.

"Good. I'll just go home and pray if God even remembers who the hell I am." She winked at me and then reached across the seat to hug me.

"Eat some food for me, okay? You're getting too skinny," she said.

"Okay," I replied, wondering if that were going to be possible.

Bethy sat back. "Well, if you aren't gonna pack up and head back to Rosemary with me then at least let's go out. I need to stay the night before I do that drive again. We can go find some fun somewhere and then crash at a hotel."

I nodded. "Yes. That sounds good. Just no honky-tonks." I couldn't walk into another one of those. At least not this soon.

Bethy frowned. "Okay… but is there anything else in this state?"

She had a point. "Yeah… we can drive into Birmingham. It's the closest big city."

"Perfect. Let's go have some fun."

When we pulled into the driveway at Granny Q's she was sitting outside on the porch shelling peas. I didn't want to face her but she had given me a roof over my head for three weeks with no strings attached. She deserved an explanation if she wanted one. I wasn't sure Cain had told her anything. His truck wasn't here and I was immensely grateful.

"Want me to stay in the car?" Bethy asked. It would be easier if she did but Granny Q would see her and call me out for being rude if I didn't let my friend come inside.

"You can come with me," I told her and opened the car door.

Bethy walked around the front of the car and fell into step beside me. Granny Q hadn't looked up from her peas yet but I knew she'd heard us. She was thinking about what she was going to say. Cain must have told her. Dang it.

I looked over at her as she continued to shell those peas in silence. Her short white bobbed hair was all I could see of her. No eye contact. It would be so much easier to just go inside and take advantage of her not speaking to me. But this was her home. If she didn't want me here I needed to pack up and leave.

"Hey, Granny Q," I said and stopped, waiting for her to lift her head to look at me.

Silence. She was upset with me. Disappointed or mad; I wasn't sure which. I hated Cain right now for telling her. Couldn't he keep his mouth shut?

"This is my friend Bethy. She came to visit me today," I continued.

Granny Q finally raised her head and gave Bethy a smile then turned her eyes on me. "You take her on in and fix her a nice big glass of iced tea and give her one of them fried pies I got cooling on the table. Then you come on back out here and talk to me a minute, hmmm." This wasn't a request; it was a subtle demand. I nodded and led Bethy inside.

"Did you piss off the old lady?" Bethy whispered when we were safely inside.

I shrugged. I wasn't sure. "Don't know just yet," I replied.

I went to the cabinet and got a tall glass down and went to fixing Bethy a glass of iced tea. I didn't even ask her if she wanted it. I was just trying to do what Granny Q had said.

"Here. Drink this and eat a fried pie. I'll be back in a few minutes," I said and hurried back outside. I needed to get this over with.