Never Too Far (Chapter 8)
I reached over and nudged Bethy's leg to wake her up. She'd been asleep for the past two hours. We were just outside of Rosemary Beach and I needed her to drive so I could look for Cain's truck at all the inexpensive motels.
"We there?" she mumbled sleepily and sat up in her seat.
"Almost. I need you to drive. I gotta look for Cain's truck."
Bethy let out a weary sigh. I knew she was only doing this in hopes of getting me to Rosemary and keeping me there. She could care less about finding Cain. But I'd needed a ride. I was going to drive Cain home. And he and I were going to talk. He had no business coming out here to see Rush. I only hoped he hadn't told him about what he'd caught me buying.
It wasn't that I wanted to keep it a secret from Rush. It was just that I hadn't let everything sink in yet. I needed to process it. Figure out what I wanted to do. Then I'd contact Rush. Cain going after him like a crazy person was not what I wanted. I still couldn't believe he'd done it.
"Pull over here. I need to run in and grab me a latte first," Bethy instructed. I did as she asked and parked the car in front of Starbucks.
"You want something?" Bethy asked as she opened the door. I wasn't sure that caffeine was good for the… for the baby. I shook my head and waited until she got out of the car before I let out the sob in my chest I hadn't been expecting. I hadn't thought about what those two pink stripes meant. A baby. Rush's baby. Oh, God.
I stepped out of the car and walked around the front to get into the passenger side. By the time I was back in the car and buckled up Bethy was headed back to the car. She looked a little more awake already. I pushed thoughts of my baby back and focused on finding Cain. I could dwell on my future, on my baby's future later.
"Okay. I have caffeine. I'm ready to find this dude."
I didn't correct her. I knew she knew his name by now. I'd used it several times. She was just refusing to acknowledge it. This was her form of rebellion. Cain represented Sumit and she didn't want me in Sumit. Instead of aggravating me it warmed me. She wanted me with her and it felt nice.
"He left Rosemary because of the price of hotel rooms. So, he's somewhere affordable. Can you take me to a few of those?" I asked.
She nodded but she didn't look at me. She was texting. Great. I needed her to focus and she was more than likely telling Jace we were almost there. I didn't really want Jace to know anything.
We drove around for thirty minutes with me checking parking lots at all of the cheap motels in town. This was getting frustrating. He had to be here somewhere. "Can I use your phone? I'm gonna call him again and let him know I'm here looking for him. He'll tell me where he is when he knows I've driven all this way."
Bethy handed me her phone and I quickly dialed Cain's number. It rang twice.
"Cain. It's me. Where are you? I'm just outside of Rosemary and I can't find your truck anywhere."
There was silence, then "Dammit."
"Don't get all mad. I needed to check on you. I came out here to drive you home." I knew he'd be frustrated that I came this close to Rosemary again.
"I told you I'd be home once I slept it off, Blaire. Whycouldn't you have stayed put?" The aggravation in his voice annoyed me. You would think he wasn't happy I'd come to check on him.
"Where are you, Cain?" I asked again. Then I heard it. A female voice in the background. The phone became muffled. It didn't take a genius to figure out Cain was with a female and he was trying to hide it from me. This pissed me off. Not because I thought Cain and I had a chance but because he'd let me think he was hurt and alone in a strange city. Asshole.
"Listen. I don't have time for more of your stupid ass games, Cain. I've been there, done that. Next time, could you not make it sound like you need me when it's obvious you don't."
"Blaire, no. Listen to me. It isn't what you think. I couldn't sleep after you called so I got back in the truck and headed back home. I wanted to see you."
A girl's angry scream came from the other side of the phone. He was pissing off whoeverwas with him. The boy was an idiot.
"Go make your company feel better. I don't need an explanation. I don't need anything from you. I never did."
"BLAIRE! NO! I love you, baby. I love you so much. Please listen to me," he begged and the girl with him got more hysterical. "Shut up Callie!" he roared and I knew then he was back in Sumit. He was with Callie.
"You went to Callie? You came home so I wouldn't worry and went to see Callie? You're ridiculous, Cain. For real? This doesn't hurt me. You can't hurt me anymore. But stop and think about others' feelings for a change. You keep jerking Callie around and it's wrong. Stop thinking with your penis and grow up."
I pressed end and handed Bethy back her phone. Her eyes were wide as she stared at me. "He went back to Sumit," I said in way of explanation.
"Yeah… I got that part," Bethy said slowly. She was waiting for more. She deserved more. She'd brought me back here. She was also the only real friend I had. Cain wasn't a friend. Not really. A real friend wouldn't keep doing stupid stuff like he did.
"Can I sleep at your place tonight? I don't think I'm going back there. I was leaving soon anyway. I'll figure out where I'm going tomorrow and then when I get there I'll have Granny Q ship the rest of my things. It isn't like I have that much anyway. My truck is headed to the graveyard. It would never make the trip again."
Bethy nodded and cranked up the car then pulled out onto the road. "You can stay with me as long as you need. Or longer," she replied.
"Thank you," I said before laying my head back on the seat and taking a deep breath. What was I going to do now?
The smell of bacon got thicker and thicker the more I inhaled. It was as if bacon was taking over my senses. My throat constricted. My stomach rolled from the rich smell of it. The grease sizzled somewhere in the distance. Before I could completely get my eyes open my feet were on the floor and I was running to the bathroom.
Luckily Bethy's apartment wasn't big and I didn't have far to run.
"Blaire?" Bethy's voice called from the kitchen but I couldn't stop.
Dropping to my knees in front of the toilet I gripped the porcelain seat with both hands and began throwing up everything in my stomach until nothing but dry heaves wracked my body. Everytime I thought I was finished I'd smell the bacon grease mixed with my vomit and it would begin again.
I was so weak my body trembled as I tried to vomit and nothing else would come up. A cold washcloth was in my face and Bethy was standing over me flushing the toilet and then leaning me back against the wall.
I held the cloth over my nose to block out the smell. Bethy noticed and closed the bathroom door behind her. After she turned on the fan she put her hands on her hips and stared down at me. The disbelief on her face confused me. I got sick. What was so strange about that?
"Bacon? The smell of bacon made you hurl?" She shook her head, still staring at me as if she couldn't believe it. "And you weren't gonna tell me, were you? You were just gonna put your crazy ass on some damn bus and ride away. All by yourself. I can't believe you, Blaire. What happened to the smart girl that taught me not to let a man use me? Hmmm? Where the hell did she go? 'Cause your plan here sucks.Like bad. You can't just run off. You have friends here. You're gonna need friends… and I'd hope that you intended to tell Rush about this too. I know you well enough to know that this is his baby."
How did she know? I just threw up. Lots of people get viruses. "It's a virus," I muttered.
"Don't lie to me. It was the bacon, Blaire. You were sleeping so peacefully on the couch and the minute I started cooking the bacon you started making weird noises and tossing and turning. Then you shot off like a bullet to puke your guts out. Not rocket science baby. Get that shocked look off your face."
I couldn't lie to her. She was my friend. Possibly my only one now. I pulled my knees up to my chin and wrapped my arms around my legs. This was my way of holding myself together. When I felt like the world was breaking around me and I couldn't control it I always held together this way.
"That's why Cain came here. He caught me buying pregnancy tests yesterday. I know that's why he came here. To ask Rush… to ask about the relationship between Rush and me.It's something I refused to talk to Cain about. I didn't want to talk about Rush at all. Then I was late. Two weeks late. I thought I'd buy a couple of tests and it would come back negative and everything would be okay." I stopped my explanation and rested my cheek against my knees.
"The tests… they were positive?" Bethy asked.
I nodded but didn't look up at her.
"Were you gonna tell Rush? Or were you really gonna just run off?"
What would Rush do? His sister hated me. His mother hated me. They hated my mother. And I hated my father. For Rush to be a part of this baby's life he'd have to give them up. I couldn't ask him to give up his mom and sister. Even if they were evil. He loved them. And he wouldn't give up Nan. I'd already learned that when it came to me or Nan, he'd choose Nan. He had up until the end. When I'd found out everything. He'd kept her secret. He'd chosen her.
"I can't tell him," I said quietly.
"Why is that exactly? Because he'd want to know and his ass needs to be a man and be there for you. This running off shit is stupid."
She didn't know everything. She only knew bits and pieces. It had been Nan's story to tell and no one else's in Rush's eyes. But I disagreed. It was my story too. Nan still had both her parents and her brother. I had no one. My mother was dead. My sister was dead. And my father might as well be dead. So this story was just as much mine as it was hers. Maybe more so.
I lifted my head and looked up at Bethy. She was my one friend in the world and if I was going to tell this story then she was who I wanted to tell it to.