Get To Me (8th Sin #1) (9 page)

BOOK: Get To Me (8th Sin #1)
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Chapter 14

Day after day we bond. Week after week we get even closer. Jackson and I. Ryker and I. I’ve created two totally different relationships, and I don’t want to get out of either one. Two perfect souls in two perfect human beings. What one has, the other one rivals. What one doesn’t give me, the other one does.

Nobody can tell me that I’m doing wrong, and I wouldn’t care if they did.

Jackson is content; Ryker is fine. We’re all spinning around in our circles of lust—or is it love--I’m not really sure.

I like when I’m with Jackson. I miss Ryker when he’s away, and he makes me crazy when he’s here.

I’m Ryker’s biggest fan. I sit in the crowd while he’s skateboarding or backstage at an event when he’s in town. I worry he’s going to break his neck.

When I work alongside Jackson, I put my all into everything he asks of me.   I support his ambition; I push him into getting things done when he grows bored or tired. We complement each other.

I am Ryker’s shoulder to vent, his sex buddy, his best friend.

 

“What are you making?” I ask, coming into Jackson’s enormous kitchen. It’s truly impressive.

“The only thing I can make,” he says pointing to the empty macaroni and cheese boxes on the counter.

“Yum.” I take a seat at the counter.

We still haven’t slept together. We’ve come close a few times, but we don’t want to give in to our desires until it’s right.

 

My stomach clenches with lust as he backs away from the stove wearing nothing more than dark gray sweatpants. He’s perfectly sculpted in all the right places.

“After we eat we can hit up the shelter. I have a few things I want to check on.” He lifts the big spoon and gives the pasta a stir.

“Sounds good.” I frown staring at my phone and Jackson notices.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” I shake my head. “Just my brother. He keeps bugging me to help with my parents’ anniversary.” It wasn’t that I didn’t want to help. We did the same thing every year, and I was bored. I couldn’t imagine they weren’t.

“You know,” he says. “It’s not often people our age can even say their parents are still together. It’s kind of nice.”

“Your parents are together,” I point out so he can stop telling me that I am so unique because my parents haven’t killed or divorced each other yet.

He shakes his head. “My father remarried when my mother died.”

“I’m sorry.” I sigh. “I thought with the way you two were the other day she was your mother. And she looks like you.”

Jackson smirks. “No. My mother died when I was fifteen. Diane did all she could to take her place.”

“That’s sweet.”

“That’s noble. Not too many women would take on two teenage boys. But she did, and I think that’s what saved me from becoming the big asshole that I otherwise might have been.” He makes a face, his dark eyebrows lifting.

“I don’t think you could ever be an asshole.”

He takes the pot off the stove. “I think I am getting used to all of these compliments.”

He finishes the macaroni and cheese and makes two bowls. I take mine. “I don’t even notice anymore. Maybe it’s your eyes.”

He looks down, trailing his spoon across the top of his mac and cheese. “These old things.” He smirks.

“I never knew I was a sucker for blue eyes and dark hair until now.” I watch him take his first bite and grin, his beautiful mouth working perfectly against the spoon.

He licks his lips and saunters on over to me. “There are a lot of things I didn’t know until now.”

He presses his lips into mine.

When we stop I look up at him. “What didn’t you know?”

He shakes his head. “Nope. Not going to go there.”

“Go where?”

He proceeds to eat and ignore my question.

My brother texts me again. “Why don’t we drop by and help out?”

“You want to come to my house and help with my parents’ party?”

He nods his head and sets his bowl down. “I think so.”

 

***

He’s kind. So kind that I forget that he is also very sexy. So sexy that I forget that we haven’t had sex.

He wants to do things for me that most guys would never even consider.

 

“So, this is your house?” He checks out my modest, two-story home with a big front porch. After being in Jackson’s house, everything else seems very shabby. But I know it doesn’t bother him.

“This is it.” I unbuckle my seatbelt. “And my brother is already here.”

Jackson gets out and follows me up the sidewalk.

“Hello. We’re here.” I call out looking around for my parents or brother.

Ben pops his head out from the dining room. “I’m in here.”

He has the room full of old boxes of pictures. And it looks like more of a mess than any attempt at a celebration for our parents.

“What is all this?”

“Jenny wants to do a collage.” Jenny is my sister-in-law. He starts sifting through some more photo books. “So I have the job of picking the right pictures.”

I sigh, crossing the room. “How many do you need?”

Ben ignores me and looks at Jackson. “Hi. I’m Ben, Savy’s brother.”

They shake hands. “Jackson Luckman.”

Ben scratches his head. “The boss, right?”

I give Ben a weird look.

“Yes, the boss.” Jackson looks at me giving me a weird look himself. “I guess you could say that.”

I quickly change the subject. “What else needs to be done?” This moment has become more awkward than I want it to be.

Ben rubs at his brow. “I still need to pick up the cake.”

Jackson walks around the dining room studying my mother’s abstract paintings.

“Go do that, and I’ll find the pictures,” I tell him.

He nods, taking the opportunity to leave me with the brunt of the work just like every year. This is why I hate celebrating their anniversary. I pull up a chair and bring one of the hundreds of photo albums down on my lap.

“I am sorry about that.” I push some hair behind my ear. “My brother, he likes to run at the mouth sometimes.”

“Must run in the family,” he teases. “It’s fine if all you see me as is your boss.” He sits down across from me lifting a photo album. “This is your mother?”

I look at the photo and nod. “Yep.”

“You must look like your father.” He moves on to another one.

“I never thought about it before,” I tell him. “I guess we’re similar.”

“When’s your birthday?”

I flip through page after page of photographs. “January 8th.”

“How’d you get the name Savy?”

“I get asked that all the time. If you knew anything about my mother, you would know that wasn’t something she would name me.” I smile. “I would expect her to have named me Joanne or Sue.”

Jackson’s not smiling. “Were your parents married when you were born?”

“Yeah. They got married a year before my brother was born.” Jackson gets quiet. “Everything okay?”

He shakes his head. “No, I don’t think it is.”

“What do you mean?” I stare at him, waiting for him to say something. He struggles for the right words.

“What is your mom’s name?”

“Laura.”

“Have you ever seen your birth certificate?” His eyes are dark, and he’s chewing on his bottom lip.

I stand up and go around the table. And he hands it over. I see my name. Savy Andrea Arnold. But something has to be wrong because my mother isn’t on this birth certificate. Jackson takes my hands in his when they start to shake, and he forces me to sit down.

“Sara Rose Gately,” I read. I look at Jackson; I know he is thinking the same thing that I am. “What is Lee’s last name?”

He sighs. “Gately.”

I pull at my hair. “Where did you find this?”

Jackson shakes his head throwing up his hands. “It was wedged between the pages of this book. Stuck to a bunch of photos.”

My legs are shaking.

”I can’t believe this.” My heart sinks.

When Ben comes back in the house, I shove the paper at Jackson, and he puts it in his back pocket before my brother sees what we are doing.

“I forgot my wallet.” He searches the table. Jackson keeps his eyes on me, and I don’t say anything. Once he leaves I exhale. I can’t move; I can’t do anything but stare at the table.

Jackson touches me, bringing me back to reality. “Let’s get out of here.”

“Ben is going to be back soon. I can’t just leave.” I start cleaning up the books and then remember I am supposed to be finding photos. I tear several pictures from the little plastic sheaths and slam them down on the table.

Jackson grabs my arm before I can do anything else. “Let’s go. You don’t need to be here right now.”

He takes the book out of my hand and tosses it on the table. “I know a guy who can throw something together in no time. I’ll call him right now.”

I follow him outside. He gets on his phone and helps me into his car. I catch a glimpse of the paper that quite possibly changed my entire life in seconds. I clutch my stomach; I think I might need to throw up.

Chapter 15

I think Sophie is as stunned as I am when she looks at my birth certificate.

“You have got to be kidding me,” she scoffs. “And you waited two days to tell me this?”

“I didn’t want to say anything to anyone.”

“But you just said Jackson knows.” She tries to argue. I don’t know what it is with her. She never has the appropriate reaction when the time calls for it.

“Jackson was there.” I remind her. “He’s the one who found it.”

“It was just laying around in a box of family memories?” She drops down on the couch. “How awful.”

She’s not helping the situation. I’m not feeling better like I did when I talked to Jackson about this entire thing. I’m trying not to be angry. I am waiting it out, so I don’t do the wrong thing.

“Your father had a baby with another woman while he was married to your mom?” She says this out loud. “And your mother just stayed with him and never told you?”

That wasn’t the worst part. Before I can tell her about Sarah Rose and the shelter someone knocks on the door.

Sophie answers it. “Ryker, nice to see you.”

They hug, and she lets him inside.

“Hi,” I tell him, once again he has showed up without even as much as a text message announcing his arrival but I’m beginning to get used to it. Maybe one day he’ll trust that I won’t run to the media and announce his arrival.

“Hey,” he says, pecking me on the lips. “These are for you. New sponsor shit.”

I clutch the giant bag.

“Are you going to open it?” He looks around the room sensing the funky vibe. “What the hell is going on?”

Sophie sits back down and clears her throat. “Savy got some bad news while you were away.”

“Sophie,” I snap. “Maybe I didn’t want to say anything.”

I watch the color slowly leave his face. I wonder if he thinks I’m about to tell him I’m pregnant.

I cross my arms. “I wasn’t going to say anything to you. Because it’s not your problem. But since Sophie has such a big mouth I’ll just tell you.”

He sits down. “So tell me.”

“I found this the other day at my parents’ house.” I hand the birth certificate over. He rubs the back of my neck, barely acknowledging the paper.

“Yeah.” He hands it back.

“What do you mean yeah?” I squeeze the plastic bag he just gave me a bit, angry that he’s treating my crisis like it’s nothing.

“I’ve been trying to find a way to tell you for four years now, that I think something is not right with your parents.”

Talk about a punch to the gut. “What?”

“The night of the accident, you called me and wanted me to pick you up. I was going to tell you that night, but that obviously didn’t happen.”

“Tell me what?” I demand.

“That I might have seen your father doing some shady shit four years ago.”

Sophie groans. “What kind of shady shit, Ryker? Don’t you think this is something you might wanna tell a girl?”

“I looked into it. I couldn’t prove anything. He was handing over what I thought at the time looked to be a lot of money to someone.” He looks at me. “An older guy. Maybe he was paying someone off.”

I clutch my chest. I can’t breathe. This is all making me sick. “You saw my father paying someone and you never told me until just now when I show you a birth certificate?” I jump up. “A document showing that I am not my mother’s child.”

It’s not the first time I’ve said it out loud. “And the woman who’s my real mother is dead. And you just never told me?”

Ryker tugs down his hat. “It’s not like I knew your parents were lying to you about something like that. I thought maybe he just had a gambling problem or something that he wasn’t telling the family about. It happens all the time.”

I shake my head. “Please leave.”

“Savy,” Ryker says.

“Just go.” I don’t want to talk to him. I have been talking to him for months now and not once has he ever bothered to tell me that he thought my father was hiding something from me.

He touches my arm, but I pull away. I shove the bag at him.

“I can’t believe you’re getting mad at me for this.”

“Well, you know what?” I glare. “If you would have mentioned what you thought four years ago maybe I would have known sooner and not been blindsided with the truth.”

He drops the bag at my feet. “This is fucked up. I’m out of here.”

“Good.” I follow him to the door and slam it before he can say anything else to me.

When I turn around, Sophie is looking at me.

I sigh. “When I started working for Jackson at the homeless shelter there was this man...” I explain the whole weird thing that I thought was nothing more than a coincidence until now.

When I finish, Sophie shakes her head. “You have to talk to him.”

“I know. But Jackson thinks he’s crazy. I’m not sure I can believe anything he says.”

“You have to try.” She touches my arm. “Savy, I tell you all the time I believe in divine intervention.”

“I know. And I try to ignore you every time you say it.”

She points a finger at me. “You quit school to work for free at the shelter where you possibly met your grandfather, the dad of the mother you never even knew existed.”

“Why wouldn’t my parents tell me this?” I shake my head. “Why would they let me think everything was fine all these years when it wasn’t?”

I hate to think of what else I’ve been lied to about.

 

***

I can’t sleep.

I roll over in bed and grab my phone off the nightstand. I don’t know who I should call, so I call the only person that can make me feel better.

Jackson picks up on the second ring. “You’re up late.”

“I can’t sleep.” I draw up my legs and press my chin against my knees. “I’ve been lying here thinking of every worst-case scenario.”

“I can imagine,” he says softly. “Why don’t you let me pick you up? We can hang out here at my place. Maybe it’ll take your mind off things.”

“I’m sure you have meetings or something in the morning.” It’s almost three in the morning.

“I’ll cancel them.”

“And the shelter,” I point out.

“I’ll have someone else go in for the day.”

I sigh. “This is not your problem.”

“I don’t mind making it my problem. Besides, I think you would do the same thing for me.”

He was right; I would. And it makes me sad that Ryker isn’t anything like him.

“I can be there in about ten minutes.” He waits for me to agree.

“Sounds good.” Before I hang up I thank him for being way too amazing.

“There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you, Savy. Don’t worry about it. We’ll figure this out. I promise.”

I hang up the phone and fight tears. I gather up some clothes and a few things I’ll need and tie my hair back in a ponytail.  What I need to do right now is to get away. Because if I don’t, I’m not so sure of what I might do.

I don’t know if this secret is meant to be uncovered. And I don’t know if I want to know why it became one in the first place.

BOOK: Get To Me (8th Sin #1)
11.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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