Jeremy was with you,” I lie.
“Whatever. You never could fool me, and you’re not going to start now. Jeremy went to see some of the guys from the football team. Alexa and Ava are up in the condo taking a nap. The flight wore them out, I guess,” she says, pointing up to resort where I’m staying. I turn and look, scanning the balconies to catch a glimpse of her. We’re too far away for me to make anyone out, so I look back at Sierra.
“That’s cool that she could come so that you guys can join in on all the events this weekend. Hopefully I get a chance to meet your daughter. I can’t imagine Jeremy as a dad,” I laugh, recalling the goofy guy from high school.
“Trust me, you’re not the only one, but he’s the best. Ava’s the ultimate definition of a daddy’s girl, and he’s just as hooked. Anyway, his parents decided to come in town and they’ll be taking her for the night,” she tells me with a smirk on her face.
I play it off and act like I don’t know what she’s trying to say. “Oh, I didn’t know they’d moved.”
“Yeah, they decided to move to Ohio after Ava was born. They wanted to be near their only grandchild. It’s actually been really nice having them around. They’re a lot of help with her. They figured they’d come down this weekend and see some old friends. I think they really just didn’t want to miss her first experience at the beach. It all worked out just fine, especially since that means that Lexi can go out with us tonight when everyone meets at the bar.”
Before I can help myself, a smile comes to my lips. “Ah, um, yeah, it’ll be good to see her, too. Hopefully we can catch up.”
“I think you’ll have plenty of time for that this weekend.”
“So, umm, a couple of months ago I saw online about her husband. How is she?”
“Jace McAllister, were you Facebook stalking?” Sierra teases.
With what I’m pretty sure is a bashful grin spreads on my face, I admit it.
“I didn’t even know you used it anymore. You hardly ever add anything on there. Anyways, she’s doing okay. For a while she wasn’t eating and she’d barely leave the house, but over the past few months, she’s started coming out of her shell a little bit. She still has dark circles under her eyes, so I don’t think she’s sleeping well, but for the most part, I think she’ll be okay. It was just…a lot to take in. For all of us.”
I let out a deep breath as her words sink in. “Man, I hate that. It makes me even angrier at myself for letting our friendship go. I wish I could’ve been there for her.”
Sierra looks at me as she places her hand on my arm. “Jace, you can’t worry about that. You didn’t know. How could you have? All you can do is be here for her now. I don’t know that she’ll open up to you about it, but be patient with her, okay? She’s been hurting for a long time. I think you may be exactly what she needs to heal.”
“You always knew, didn’t you?”
She smiles and gives me a knowing look. “Everyone knew. Except for the two of you. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen two people be so oblivious to the other’s affections. I know something happened before you left, but Lexi wouldn’t ever tell me. Care to spill?” she asks, cocking up her right brow.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about, Mrs. Banks,” I reply as I try to maintain a look of pure innocence.
“Right. You always had a shitty poker face. Fine, don’t tell me. I’ll wait until tonight when you’re full of alcohol to get it out of you. I’m gonna head back in and rest up for tonight. I can’t drink like an eighteen-year-old anymore. See you tonight, Jace,” she says, giving me a hug before she walks away.
I glance down at my watch and see that it’s almost 3:00 p.m. Six hours until we’re all supposed to meet at the bar. Six hours until Alexa Sullivan Tate walks back into my life. Six long freaking hours until my life feels complete again.
I close the door to
Ashley Suzanne, Melissa Gill, Tiffany Fox