Focus (Page 56)

I hated that he asked. I didn’t want him to ask. “It’s none of your business.”

He groaned. “That can’t be your answer to everything.”

“It is.” We were still in stopped traffic. I noticed Andrew’s car two ahead of ours. Without really thinking, I undid my seatbelt. “I gave you your half hour.” I opened the door.

“Allie. Are you nuts?”

I didn’t answer. I knocked on Hailey’s window and Andrew unlocked the door. He turned and smiled at me as I slipped in. “Decided to join us?”

“Well, after Toby asked me to have sex, I wasn’t interested in sitting in traffic with him.”

Hailey laughed. “Seriously?”

“Completely.”

“You really do attract the cocky bastards, don’t you?”

“Unfortunately.” A knock on my window startled me. Toby peered in with a scowl on his face.

I couldn’t believe he’d just leave his car sitting there.

He motioned for me to open my window.

I shook my head.

Thankfully, the traffic started to move, and Toby ran back to his car.

“Unbelievable.”

“It’s kind of like old times.” Andrew looked at me in the rearview mirror. “You guys used to have some pretty crazy fights.”

“See, just another reason it’s good we broke up.”

“You and Levi fight a lot too.” Hailey turned to look at me. “Maybe it’s just your thing.”

“Maybe.” I grumbled.

Chapter Twenty-Three

Mom ran out of the house before I’d even unbuckled. I opened my door, impressed by the exterior of the condo. It was a step up from where we usually stayed. We’d spent quite a few weeks skiing in Vermont when I was growing up, but it had been several years since I’d been back.

“Allie!” The tears spilling down Mom’s face reminded me that this had been the longest we’d ever been apart.

“Hi, Mom.” I let her pull me out, holding on to her like she might disappear if I let go.

After hugging Mom for a full minute, I finally remembered I wasn’t alone. “Mom, this is Hailey.”

Hailey smiled, holding out her hand.

Mom ignored her hand and hugged her instead. “Hi, Hailey. It’s wonderful to meet such a good friend of Allie’s. I’m glad you could join us.”

“Thanks for having me.” Hailey smiled. “Wow, you two look so alike.” She looked between Mom and me.

“They definitely do.” That’s when I noticed the man behind Mom. “Hi, Allie. It’s great to see you.”

I wasn’t sure if I’d ever met Andrew’s dad before. “Hi, Steven.” I needed to use his name and stop thinking of him as Andrew’s dad. I held out a hand to shake his, but he hugged me instead. It felt awkward but I went with it.

“Hi, Diane. It’s lovely to see you again.” Toby hugged my very surprised mother.

“Toby? What are you doing here?” She was asking him but looking at me.

I shrugged and rolled my eyes.

“I thought I’d surprise Allie.”

“Oh. I bet she was surprised.” Mom gave me a sidelong glance.

Toby seemed to have just noticed Steven. “Hi, I’m not sure if we’ve actually been introduced before. I’m Toby Henderson.”

“Hi, Toby. It’s nice to see you.” He turned to his son. “Andrew, you didn’t mention that you and Toby were in touch again.”

Andrew sighed. He was probably getting tired of the accusations. “We’re not. He was at the airport when I got there.”

Steven looked toward Toby, waiting for an explanation.

“I missed Allie so much. I already knew we’d made a mistake when we broke up, and I hoped I could talk some sense into her.”

I put a hand on my hip and stared him down “Are you done trying to talk sense into me?”

“No. Not by a long shot.”

“I’m going to get my stuff out of your car. Then you can go.”

“Allie!” Mom snapped at me. Of course, she’d call me out on being rude. I wonder what she’d think if she knew what he’d suggested in the car.

Mom turned to Toby. “Where are you staying?”

“I haven’t found a place yet. I think everything’s booked. The only thing on my mind when I left was seeing Allie.” He reached over and grabbed my hand. I shrugged him off.

“You drove up here today? What time did you leave?” Steven asked.

“About three-thirty this morning.”

“Oh boy. You’re welcome to stay with us, Toby. We have plenty of room.” Steven looked at Toby sympathetically. “Now that’s what I call dedication.” He turned his attention back to me. “Maybe you should give him a chance.”

Was Mom’s boyfriend, who didn’t know me from a hole in the wall, trying to give me dating advice?

“That’s really generous of you. I’d love to stay.” He smiled at me. “I’ll go get our stuff, babe.”

Did he really think he could call me that again? I tried not to grimace. He went over to his car and returned a minute later with both of our bags.

Andrew already had Hailey’s bag. He wasn’t going to let her beat him to the punch again. I had a feeling watching the two of them would be entertaining.

Steven led the way into the house and Mom held back and put an arm around me. “How are you holding up?” she asked quietly.

“I’m surviving.”

Steven walked into the main room. A couple of comfortable looking couches and chairs surrounded a large fireplace that wasn’t currently lit. A kitchen was off to one side and there were two small hallways. Mom removed her arm and waited with Steven in the kitchen. The rest of us followed Andrew down the second hallway. He stopped in front of one of the two doorways.

“I guess you’re staying with me, Toby.” He gestured into a room with a set of bunk beds.

“We’re next door?” Hailey asked.

“Yup. Diane figured you guys would rather share a queen than have bunk beds.”

“She was right.” I walked into our room and tossed my purse and coat on the dresser.

Hailey did the same. “This is nice.”

***

“Tell me everything.” Mom put an arm around my shoulder as we curled up with blankets on a couch in front of the fire. Hailey decided to take a nap while the guys went to the store to pick up some food for dinner. I was relieved when Toby accepted Steven’s offer to go. I needed time with Mom.