Breaking Love Page 82

I needed answers so I looked to Keiran, but he had his hands full with Lake, who was back to crying and babbling in his chest.

“Son, I’m glad your friend is okay, but I think it’s time to go,” my father stated quietly.

“If you think I’m about to leave her, you’re crazy.”

“As you can see she’s in good hands.”

“No.”

“Son, think about the image of this family. God knows what crimes happened tonight.”

“I’m not leaving,” I repeated while pinching the bridge of my nose.

“It’s time you consider this family rather than just yourself.” His voice had risen, attracting the attention of everyone else.

“Dad,” Sheldon called.

“Be quiet, Sheldon. It’s bad enough you had a child with one of them. Your interference is not needed.”

“Did he just tell my lady to ‘be quiet’?” Keenan snarled.

“Do you see what I mean? You do not need to mix with the likes of these people. Your sister is beyond saving, but I will not have my heir chasing some two-bit girl from the wrong side of the tracks.”

“Have you lost your mind?” Willow’s mother shrieked.

My father had effectively gotten the situation out of hand. Willow stood nearby with tears glistening in her eyes. It was clear she heard every word that was spoken.

“Chambers!” Simon’s voiced boomed from across the hall, shocking us all. He had been quiet through all of it until now. “If you interfere with my daughter’s happiness like you did with mine, I’ll kill you.”

Willow’s mom made a strange sound that didn’t escape Willow’s notice. “What’s he talking about, Dad?”

“Richard, I don’t think this is the right time,” Willow’s mom cut in.

“Mom?” Willow spoke up for the first time. “Since when do you know the Chambers?”

She must have sensed Willow wasn’t about to let it go, so she took a deep breath and sat in one of the plastic chairs as if no longer able to stand.

“Your father stopped me from marrying your mother,” Simon offered. “He didn’t think she was good enough because her blood wasn’t blue. When he couldn’t convince me to break it off with her, he told my parents and they forced me to marry someone else. I never even knew Natalie was pregnant.”

I looked at my father in disbelief, waiting for him to deny it, which he never did. He actually looked proud.

“You’re the reason?” Willow whispered. She stepped away from her mother, her stare fixed on my father. I had no idea what she meant, but I knew I needed to diffuse the situation quickly.

I crossed the short walkway and took Willow’s hand, turning her. “Now isn’t the time. You were just attacked or God knows what. You need rest, but first you need to finish your discharge.” I nudged her towards the receptionist desk. The nurses had stopped working to watch the drama unfold, but with one hard look, they snapped back into action.

* * *

I nursed Willow back to health over the next week, despite the protests of her mother and father. All they managed to do was argue who was the worst parent. It had driven Willow up the wall, so I kept them away from her with orders not to come around until all her scars had faded.

It had been a long, hard week considering everything that had unraveled. Willow had come clean about everything, even the fiancé she hypocritically never mentioned and her attempt to butcher my best friend.

In the end, I could do nothing more than nod and accept the truth of what is all the while wondering if I could truly forgive her.

After a week, the answer came to me when the bitter truth had transformed into resentment, and I could no longer pretend anymore.

I came home after working from sun up to sun down and found her in the kitchen making lasagna. The apartment smelled delicious, but I couldn’t bring myself to appreciate the smell or the sentiment behind it.

I stood against the doorframe for long moments, watching her move around the kitchen. She seemed like a natural. She had always been someone I could just sit and watch do mundane things like brush her hair and never get bored.

I waited and waited for the familiar stirrings I normally felt when just looked at her, but none came. I felt dead inside.

“You weren’t just coming to visit your mother, were you?” The words were out before I could stop them. She jumped at the sudden sound of my voice and clutched her chest with deep breaths. I continued to watch her dispassionately from my perch.

When she finally collected herself, she asked, “What are you talking about?” She looked around nervously and now clutched her middle.

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