Home > Until Harry(8)

Until Harry(8)
Author: L.A. Casey

Every. Single. Thing.

“Yeah, I saw Kale,” I replied, my voice low.

Roman whistled. “How was that meeting?”

I blew out a breath. “Surprisingly civil. He is acting like nothing ever happened. He greeted me just like an old friend he hasn’t seen in a long time.”

“Is that a bad thing?” Roman questioned. “I mean, you don’t want it to be awkward while you’re there and have your past aired out again, do you?”

Do I? I shook my head. God, no, I couldn’t deal with that. It’s just a little – a lot – upsetting that he is acting like there is nothing between us. Not even awkwardness. He is completely at ease in my presence and shooting the shit like before things went to hell with us, which is weird because the last time I saw Kale . . . it was bad. There were declarations of unrequited love, tears and a lot of screaming.

“Lane?” Roman’s voice broke through my thoughts. “Are you still there?”

I cleared my throat. “Yeah, I’m here, and no, I don’t want it to be awkward.”

Roman was silent for a moment, and then he said, “Does he look the same? Or is he fat and bald now? I’m praying for the latter.”

I unexpectedly laughed.

“Unfortunately, it’s the former.” I lowered my voice to a whisper. “He looks incredible, and he’s been going to the gym with my brothers. They were talking about changing up their workouts at the dinner table, and then they told me they took their health and exercise seriously now.”

Kale was always a healthy size. He’d never had huge arms or shoulders, but now he had both of those things and more. His arms were chiselled, so was his chest, even his thighs were thicker. I didn’t get a visual of his bare torso, but I could imagine the defined abs that hid under his T-shirt and jumper.

“Damn, does that make it harder?” Roman quizzed.

I sighed, my shoulders sagging. “Yes and no. It would be just as hard no matter what he looked like, ’cause it’s Kale. But the fact that he is too hot for words is making it . . . difficult.”

Roman snorted. “Your poor vagina must be a quivering mess.”

I slapped my hand over my mouth when laughter flew free.

Damn it, Roman! my mind cackled.

“I’m going to beat the shit out of you when I’m back!” I stated, but giggled like crazy.

This was exactly why I loved Roman; he could always lift my spirits no matter how many shadows tried to shade me from the light of life. He had managed to resurrect my old sense of humour, which was no small feat.

He gleefully laughed. “When will that be exactly?”

“I’m honestly not sure,” I admitted. “I’m going to stay awhile to help sort everything out with my uncle’s belongings, and to spend time with my family. The tension is thick between us, but I’ve missed them. I didn’t realise how much until I saw them.”

“Of course you do, they’re your family,” Roman said, his tone soothing. “Look, I’m going to let you go. I won’t bother you while you’re with your family, but if you need me for anything, just pick up your phone. Okay?”

This was why I loved him. He was one of the most thoughtful and considerate people I had ever met. “Okay,” I replied, nodding even though he couldn’t see me.

“I’ll see you soon, honey,” he chirped. “I’ll collect you from the airport; just send me the date and flight info when you decide.”

I nodded again. “I will.”

“Bye, sweetie. You hang in there! I love you.”

I smiled and closed my eyes. “I will. I love you too. Bye.”

The line went dead, and I took a minute before I opened my eyes. When I did, I walked down the hallway and into the kitchen, where I found my father getting a start on the dirty dishes from dinner. I instantly felt rude for not cleaning up after myself, so I rolled up my sleeves and prepared to help, but when my father saw me, he shook his head.

“You sit down,” he said, and nodded to the kitchen table. “We’ll take care of this.”

Then he called my brothers and Kale in to help with the dishes. They filed into the room without a complaint and got to work. I sat down at the kitchen table and looked at my nanny when she entered the room and sat across from me. She stared at me, so I stared right back at her.

“Do ye have a boyfriend?” she randomly asked me, her eyebrow raised.

I wanted to roll my eyes when my father and brothers grew quiet as they cleaned the dishes in the sink. Lochlan was passing dirty plates to Layton, who washed them, then handed them to my father, who sprayed them down with clean water before handing them to Kale, who was on drying duty. I could see them stilling, not moving a muscle, as they turned their attention to my conversation with my nanny.

“No,” I replied. “No boyfriend. I don’t have time for one.”

That was a lie. I had nothing but time for a boyfriend. I just didn’t want one.

Lochlan looked over his shoulder. “Who is Roman then?”

Kale’s shoulders tensed, and he began drying off the dinner plates with unnecessary speed and force. I focused on Lochlan and raised a brow. “How do you know about Roman?” I asked.

My brother shrugged. “I heard you mention his name on the phone in the hallway. Heard you also tell him you love him.”

What a bloody eavesdropper, I silently grumbled.

I wanted to glare at him, but I didn’t, I kept my cool and replied honestly. “Roman is my friend, and before you ask, no, he is nothing more.” My lip twitched. “He bats for a different team.”

My nanny snorted, and the men relaxed. I shook my head at the four of them; they were acting like I was sixteen again and talking about a boy for the first time.

“Although,” I added just to annoy them, “he did say he would be my baby daddy if I ever needed sperm. I may take him up on the offer because he is really good-looking. His has dark chocolate skin, a killer jawline and eyes that are always bright. I think we’d make a cute baby.”

My nanny burst into laughter while Layton shook his head with a grin on his face. Kale glanced at me, and in that moment I wished I knew what he was thinking, because he was staring at me with an intensity that caused my knees to lock together. I broke free from his stare when my father clucked his tongue. He and Lochlan were less than pleased with my humour.

“You aren’t funny, Lane,” Lochlan grumbled.

I gestured to our laughing grandmother. “She would beg to differ.”

My nanny snorted then as she laughed, and it made me smile. Lochlan turned away from me and shook his head, and I couldn’t help but shake my own at him. He was a huge pain in my arse, but only because he loved me so much. He felt that I was his responsibility because I was the baby of the family, and it was why he had been more overbearing than Layton. Sometimes even our father wasn’t as harsh as he was.

Lochlan was the sole reason I never had a boyfriend growing up. He never admitted to it, but I knew he roughed around Blake Cunning, who asked me out on a date when I was sixteen. The next day Blake had a black eye and told me he didn’t think it was a good idea if we dated, and then he walked away from me without looking back.

“Lochlan?”

He looked over his shoulder when I called his name. “What?” he asked.

I held his gaze and said, “I love you.”

Lochlan stared at me for a moment before he turned away from me and went back to passing dirty dishes to Layton. Layton stared at our brother, waiting for him to reply to me, and I was surprised when Kale leaned over and said, “Say something back to her. Now.” I was even more surprised that Lochlan listened to Kale.

“I love you too,” he replied, his voice low.

I looked to my nanny, who was smiling at me, and I couldn’t help but smile back. I gestured to her knitting, when she picked it out of a bag next to the table, and pulled a face. “I can’t believe you’re still knitting.”

She smirked devilishly. “Do ye want ta help me make some—”

“No!” I cut her off, my voice slightly raised. “No bloody way. I have nightmares about knitting to this day. I told you I’d die before I ever picked up needles and wool again.”

Snickers filled the kitchen.

I looked around the room and found the only smiling face missing was my mother’s, and my uncle’s, of course. I sighed and relaxed into the chair. I had to make things good with my family. I had to make things how they used to be before I left and life went to the gutter. They didn’t deserve to be blocked out because things didn’t end the way I wanted them to with Kale.

They deserved better than the way I had been treating them the last six years, and it rightly fell on my shoulders to make everything better. I just hoped the relationships I walked out on could be mended.

All of them.

CHAPTER FOUR

Ten years old (sixteen years ago)

Kale,” I whispered, and then held my breath to keep all noise to a minimum.

I couldn’t sleep.

All week, since I’d got home from a shopping holiday with my mother and nanny in New York, I’d found it difficult to go to sleep. I quickly got used to bright lights and noises in a city that never sleeps, and found that the silence in York screamed louder than any noise could. Tonight it wasn’t my jet lag or the deafening stillness that was keeping me awake though. It was something very distinctive. It was the reason I was trying to be deathly quiet as I called Kale.

I was so scared the monsters would hear me and come get me before he woke up. I kept staring at my open wardrobe while I blindly reached down and shoved at Kale’s shoulder as hard as I could. He was sleeping on his blow-up mattress on my floor, as he always did when he stayed over, and it was pretty much his own piece of furniture inside my room.

It was probably the last time he would be allowed to sleep in my room. My father said now that he was thirteen, he would have to sleep in my brothers’ room when he stayed over, which delighted him and my brothers.

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