Say I'm Yours (Page 39)
Her blue eyes beg me more than her words. I’m fighting it. I wish she knew how hard I’m trying to stop myself. When she showed up, I wanted to toss her out. Not because I didn’t want to see her but because I knew she’d fight me. She’d use every trick she could to get to me, and I would let her.
Grace has a way of breaking through the steel wall I erect. She always does, and most times, I’m grateful for it.
I look in her blue eyes and rake my fingers down her spine. “I’m glad you found me. I think I wanted you to all along.”
A phone rings, but neither of us moves. I don’t feel like talking to anyone but her right now. Grace is all I have that makes sense in my life.
She smiles and shakes her head. “Is that why you came here?”
“This is the first place we spent the night together. You slept in my arms, and I remember thinking I was a lucky bastard.”
“And you came back here to be alone with your beer?”
I chuckle and squeeze her tight. “I don’t think you get it, I needed you and you came. I didn’t want anyone, but I needed you.”
“You could’ve just went home and waited for me. You didn’t have to run away.”
I hate that I disappointed her again. I wasn’t thinking. I knew that I couldn’t stand to be around anyone. I had to go where no one would find me. I thought about going out to the cabin, but my brothers would look there. I thought about taking a hike into the woods, but didn’t feel like packing for a campout.
So, I came here.
I wish I would’ve stayed home, because once again, I caused pain to the person who has never betrayed me.
She deserves an explanation. “I didn’t want to hurt you, sweetheart. I just couldn’t look at any of them.”
Grace tilts her head and looks at me with sadness in her eyes. “You can’t stay here, honey. Your daddy needs you.”
Here we go.
I knew it was coming. I start to get agitated because I wanted to avoid all this shit. Talking to my parents isn’t going to help anything. Plus, she keeps forgetting that he already has his sons.
“Did you miss the part where I said he’s not my father?” My voice is terse, and I know she hears the anger. Her eyes close, which makes me feel like shit again. How is it that with one look from her, she can make me feel as if I kicked her dog?
“I heard you loud and clear, honey.”
Grace gets up, grabs the blanket we were using, and wraps herself tight.
“I much preferred you naked.” I try to joke, but she isn’t budging. She gives me a quick look before sitting beside me.
“I need you to hear what I say and not stare at my boobs.”
Smart girl, but since she said it, I’m picturing them just fine.
She snaps her fingers in my face. “Hello, Trent.”
“Sorry.” I shrug and rest my hands behind my head. “I’m listenin’ to all the reasons you think I should go talk to them.”
Grace gives me a pointed glare, and I sit quiet. “When I left, your dad wasn’t responding well to the transfusion. He’s sick, and you and I both know he’s dyin’. You’re not going to get answers about who you are and why they’ve been lying by hiding out here.”
“What if I don’t want the answers?”
She shifts a little and sighs. “I don’t think that’s the case.”
When did she get so damn knowledgeable about me? I do want answers, but I’m too pissed. They lied, they hid things, and now I feel like everything I thought I knew—vanished. Just like that.
I lived in a house of cards that was built on a crumbling foundation.
“It’s better if I get my head straight first.”
Grace curls herself back into my side with her head on my shoulder. “There has to be a reason why they never told you. I don’t think your parents ever wanted to intentionally hurt you?”
“I don’t know what they were trying to do.”
“No, I don’t believe you think that. Your parents are good people. They love you and sure, you’re hurt, I get it, but they would never intentionally set out to destroy you.”
But that’s exactly what happened. If it weren’t for the blood test, I never would’ve found out. I would’ve gone through my entire life believing that I was the firstborn son of Rhett and Macie Hennington. Instead, I’m the bastard son of another man.
“My mom was seventeen when she had me,” I say, tangling my fingers in her long brown hair. “I always assumed my dad knocked her up when they were kids and then they got married. Turns out that I have no idea what happened. Did she have an affair? Did he think I was his until I broke a bone and they found out? Does my real father know I exist? Hell, is he even alive?”
So many fucking questions. I’m losing my mind.
“There’s only one person who has those answers,” Grace reminds me.
The phone rings again and Grace goes to move. I hold her in place, not wanting anyone to break this moment.
“I should check that,” she says, but I shake my head.
“I don’t give a shit right now. Let them call—”
“Listen, I get that you want to avoid all of this, but you can’t, Trent.”
Grace doesn’t give me a chance to say another word. She gets up and grabs her phone.
“Hello?” She walks around the stable, cleaning the mess I made. “I’m here with him now. Yes, he’s okay, but . . .” Her eyes shoot to mine. “He should tell you why. Because it’s not my place to say.” There is a stretch of silence before she speaks again. “Okay, is everything?” Her eyes fill with tears, and she grabs her chest. “We’re on our way!”
“What’s wrong?” I ask, already knowing the answer.
“We have to get back.”
“He isn’t gonna make it?” Fear takes away my ability to talk.
She nods. “We should move fast.”
For the first time since I left, there’s no anger toward anyone but myself. Yes, I have a right to be pissed they never told me, but I was still selfish, just like she said. I throw on my clothes, and take Grace’s hand. All I want to do is get there.
I pray I can make it before it’s too late.
I’m sitting in the passenger seat since Grace refuses to let me drive. She claims I drank enough beer to put a horse to sleep, although I feel completely sober.
It’s one of those moments when whatever buzz you were feeling disappears instantly.
The guilt and remorse I’m drowning in washed away all the alcohol. I hate myself for thinking I could hide away. The thought of what would have happened if Grace hadn’t found me, and I didn’t have the chance to get here, is like a punch to my gut.
Grace was right, he’s the only father I have. The only man in my life that has been there, and I abandoned him.
“Too bad we don’t have your squad car.” The hospital is about thirty minutes away. “I’ll drive as fast as we can.” She tries to reassure me.
I lean back in the seat and close my eyes.
My mind goes through memory after memory. My father showing me how to fish for the first time. I remember the pride in his eyes when I shot my first deer. He clapped me on the back and told me I’d done well.
I remember the first time my brothers and I got in a fistfight. Dad put boxing gloves on us and told us if we wanted to fight, we did it like men. Zach always had quick hands, and he clocked me good, Dad showed me how to block the next punch and had me go back until I learned how to fight.
“What are you thinkin’ about?” Grace asks.
I glance over at her and touch her leg. “Memories of my dad from when I was a kid.”
She peeks over at me and attempts to smile. “Like what?”
“I was remembering goin’ hunting with him, and him teachin’ us how to fight.”
“I remember that makeshift boxing ring you had.” She laughs. “Wyatt tried to convince Presley and me to fight in it. He told us that all the kids did it, and if we wanted to do it in a bikini, he was all for it.”
“I would’ve watched that.” I squeeze her leg, and she slaps my chest.
“What else do you remember?”
“There’s no memory stronger than being a teenager and watching him sit on the porch at night, waiting for us to come home. Our curfew was strict.”
“Oh, I remember that. Wyatt and Zach didn’t mess around on curfew.”
Those two were always late. I learned early on how to get around it.
“Well, for every minute we were late, it was ten minutes shoveling the stables. Three minutes was a half hour of hard labor. I realized after the second time of bein’ late, it wasn’t worth it. But those two idiots were always late. If you were ten minutes late, it was almost two hours worth of chores.”
“If I’d known that, I would’ve made Wyatt late every day!”
“The trick was so show your face early, hang out with Dad for a bit, and then head to bed. He’d check on you before he passed out, and then you could go back out after.”
I was always skating around the rules. It also helped that Dad slept like the dead and Mom used earplugs to drown out his snoring. I’m pretty sure he figured it out, but he never said a word.