Home > Deathly : The Dillon Sisters(5)

Deathly : The Dillon Sisters(5)
Author: Brynne Asher

The young woman can’t be older than Briar. I hand her my paddle, ignore the comments from the line behind me, and turn and scan the area for Kate or, worse, my new dog and my date.

Dammit. I don’t even know what to do with a dog.

“Wow.” I look to the woman who is now staring wide-eyed at the tablet in front of her. “You’re a big spender! That will be fifteen-thousand dollars.”

My stomach roils as I hand over the credit card I keep only for emergencies, even though this does not qualify. She swipes and I sign—my gritty signature the only hint of the frayed nerves I’m barely clinging to.

“I need to leave. Please have the rescue organization contact me about the dog—”

She interrupts with a smile, reminding me of the hell I’ve just gotten myself into. “And your date.”

“Yes, that too.” I wave her off, stuffing my abused credit card back into my small clutch.

“Thank you for your donation,” she calls but I’m already halfway out the door, my dupes not carrying me nearly as fast as I need.

I type out a quick text to Kate, lying to my only friend about my non-existent emergency, telling her to take the Uber, and that I’ll call her tomorrow. She’s used to me putting my patients first—it isn’t the first time I’ve dumped her in the middle of a night out.

The cool night air fills my lungs as I move as quickly as I can around the corner of the building. I barely get ten feet into the dark alley before it happens. I drop to my hands and knees, ignoring the bite of rocks and wet, cold concrete on my bare skin. Appetizers, wine, and the protein shake I chugged on our way here haunts me as the contents of my stomach empty and splatter in front of me. Poor decisions chased by dry heaves are the very physical reminders of what I’ve done.

I tremble but it has nothing to do with the cool, moist air seeping through my barely-there cocktail dress. It offers no protection from the elements or my own self-absorbed and sick fascination.

I cough and spit as I drag myself to my feet. The buzz of my phone vibrates through my purse. I’m sure it’s Kate, but I don’t dare look. Instead, I move through the dark passageway between buildings, a place I have no business lurking by myself.

I need a taxi.

I need my treadmill.

I need a shower and definitely a toothbrush.

But what I need now more than anything…

Is a plan.

 

 

3

 

 

Bad Memory

 

 

Brand

 

 

“You need to be careful, son.”

“I’m thirty-seven. Don’t son me.”

The sunrise is struggling to peek through the clouds—the weather shifted last night. A walk by the lake usually brings me clarity like nothing else, but today it’s a pain in my ass since I’m stuck with a dog. The big spender ghosted both of us last night.

My fucking life.

“Ruff!”

The dog pulls at his leash and barks at fuck knows what—probably the wind. If only my problems could be as easy as his. I have no time for this. He bites at the leash, as chipper as a rodeo clown.

I learned my lesson last night when I cracked the door and he took off. I chased the little shithead all the way to the water and up the shore to the next property—a good thirty acres away. He was a muddy fucking mess. I had to put him in the tub and wrestle him clean. My bathroom now looks like a warzone dusted in dirt, though it’s seen worse.

A breeze mingles with the sounds of the city through the phone as my father does what he does best—be my father. “I’ll son you as long as I’m stalking this earth. Your mother would be crushed if she heard you talking like that.”

It’s early and my dad is out for his morning walk to my mother’s favorite coffee shop. He hasn’t strayed from his morning ritual for as long as I can remember. He loves the city—Seattle has been his life since we moved here when I was two.

My parents give new meaning to a functioning-dysfunctional relationship. He makes life a soft bed of feathers for her and she pretends he doesn’t keep a piece on the side—a piece that changes, sometimes with the seasons. Mom spends half her time back in New York with her family, spending every penny of his she can manage. It’s the normal we’re used to.

That is what love looks like, or what they’ve made it look like. I know firsthand true love is nothing more than a business and political arrangement. Where my father and I differ is he lucked out—my mother is a fucking saint and goes along with the charade. She knows what she signed on for. Nothing like the she-devil I was expected to love, honor, and cherish, ‘til death do us part.

Or at least pretend to.

Catholics can be sticklers on that last point. Annulments might come easy when every priest and bishop in a four-state radius are in your back pocket.

But family on the other hand…

They take the death do us part so fucking seriously, you’ll be fearing for your life if you even think about taking a break, let alone uttering the D-word.

Divorce is never an option.

A bell clanking against glass replaces honking traffic as my father continues to speak. “It’s been six months. You’ve done your part—you’ve grieved publicly. You’re pushing forty and your mother wants more grandchildren. Hell, God gave me one son and a slew of girls. Eventually you need to step up and do your part to carry on the name, but now is not that time. Things are hot.”

“I know—”

“You think you know, but you’re not in the day-to-day business,” he bites. “That little show you took part in last night is getting chatter and the sun is barely up. Your mother doesn’t get it and said just last night that she has a friend from church who has a granddaughter she wants to introduce you to—”

“No fucking way,” I interrupt.

“I agree.” He pulls the phone away and in the background I hear him say, “Good morning, beautiful. I’ll take my normal order, but throw in a couple of those muffins for the love of my life.” I sigh—same bullshit, different day. “Keep the change.”

“I don’t have time for this. I understand. Look, I’ve gotta be at the station before eight, but I got a call late last night. There’s been a delay on the Realm project. An inspector blocked the permits.”

“Fuck,” he hisses. “Who the hell would do that?”

“I don’t know. The money was paid—my source is clueless. I’ll make some calls once I get through check-in at the station.”

“Hang on, Brand. Thanks, love. See you tomorrow.” The bell rings and sounds of the city streets replace tree-hugging, coffee-shop music. “Stay on it and let me know who’s standing in our way. That building is already behind schedule.”

I tug the leash to get the dog back up the hill to the house. “Will do.”

“And call your mother. Break it to her gently that you’re not ready.”

“You don’t need to worry about that. She’s not setting me up with anyone.”

“It won’t be like this forever. When it’s time, it’ll be different. You’ve done your part for the family. We need this shit to settle with all parties—I’m as anxious as anyone for that to happen. I need the Vitale name to carry on and it’s your responsibility.”

Hot Books
» House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)
» From Blood and Ash (Blood And Ash #1)
» A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
» The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #
» Deviant King (Royal Elite #1)
» Sweet Temptation
» Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6)
» The Play (Briar U Book 3)
» Den of Vipers
» Angry God (All Saints High #3)
» Steel Princess (Royal Elite #2)
» Serpent & Dove(Serpent & Dove #1)
» ENEMIES
» Archangel's War
» Credence