Home > The Stepsisters(12)

The Stepsisters(12)
Author: Susan Mallery

   Given they were sisters, one would assume Daisy and Cassidy would stay in touch, but that never happened. Despite sharing a father, they weren’t exactly close. Eight years younger, Cassidy had initially been tight with Daisy, but after the divorce, everything had changed. Sage had become the beloved, fun sister, while Daisy was merely to be tolerated.

   “A couple of days ago,” her father said, drawing her back into the conversation. “She fell while hiking in Patagonia. She has some broken bones and maybe a concussion. It’s hard to tell exactly, because her doctor didn’t speak much English and my Spanish is terrible. Desean was there, so he told me what had happened. He’s going to stay with her until she’s on the plane back home.”

   “Who’s Desean?”

   “Her boyfriend.” Wallace sounded surprised she didn’t know. “I’m not sure that’s how she’d refer to him, but they’ve been seeing each other on and off for a while now. I met him the last time I visited Cassidy. He’s a good man. I like him. He said he would get her onto the plane I’m chartering.”

   “To fly her back to Miami?”

   “No, to Los Angeles. She’s going to need round-the-clock care and somewhere to stay. I’m assuming I can have her brought to the house.”

   Daisy held in a groan. There was only one house in their family and she was living in it.

   While her father knew in his head that she and Cassidy hadn’t gotten along in years, he’d always wanted them to be closer. They were “his girls,” as he still called them. Even after the divorce, he’d stayed in touch with Sage and had visited her a couple of times in Europe.

   “Dad, no,” she began, then stopped. There was no way to refuse. The house was big enough and Cassidy was family. Wallace wanted to take care of his daughter—end of story.

   Dozens of thoughts flashed through her head. Things like wondering how long she could keep the separation a secret and what she was going to tell the kids and how mean Cassidy was going to be, but she ignored them. Instead she told herself to suck it up and said, “When is she arriving?”

   “In two days. I’ll email you the particulars, including some ideas about nursing care. I can’t get away for a couple of weeks. I have too many patients scheduled. But I’ll get there as soon as I can.”

   “There’s no need to rush, Dad. We’ll be fine.” A lie, but the last thing she needed was her father showing up, as well.

   “Thank you for doing this, Daisy. I’m going to let Joanne know. If you’d tell Sage, I’d appreciate it. Do you have her number?”

   “I don’t think so.”

   “I’ll text it to you, along with the flight information when I get it. I’m not happy Cassidy was hurt, but I’m glad you three girls will have a chance to hang out together. It’s been a long time since that last happened.”

   It had never happened, she thought grimly. Daisy and Cassidy had been close and then Cassidy and Sage had bonded.

   An uncomfortable thought occurred to her. What if Cassidy and Sage were still tight? That would mean if Cassidy came to stay, Sage would follow. Unless she’d already gone back to Italy, and wouldn’t that be nice.

   “Is Sage still in LA?” Daisy asked. “I thought she lived in Rome.” That was what she’d told Krissa.

   “Not anymore. She’s back in Los Angeles and living with Joanne.”

   Oh, joy, Daisy thought.

   “I’ll let Esmerelda know,” she said, keeping her voice light. “I think the upstairs guest room would be best. There are big windows and lots of space.”

   “I agree that’s a good choice. They’re emailing me a copy of her records. I’ll forward them to you as soon as I get them. Once you look them over, you’ll have a better idea of what she’ll need. Esmerelda can get it all in place.”

   “No problem, Dad. We’ll figure it out.”

   They spoke for a few more minutes before hanging up. Daisy stared at the blank screen, wishing there had been a way to say no. But she’d been unable to—

   “Dammit, Dad!”

   She stood and shoved her phone into her handbag as she dealt with the fact that she’d just been played. There had been no reason for her father to ask her to tell Sage about Cassidy’s accident. According to him, Sage was living with her mother and he had said he was calling Joanne. No doubt Joanne would tell her daughter about the accident. But he’d made Daisy promise to get in touch with Sage.

   She heard the beep that alerted her to a text message. Probably her father forwarding Sage’s contact information. And because she’d said she would, now she would have to call, because not keeping her word wasn’t an option.

   She was thirty-six years old and her father was still messing with her life. One day she was going to have to deal with that, although in truth, the more pressing issue was the fact that her half sister was about to move in. Daisy would be forced to deal with her injuries, nurses in and out of the house, while living with someone who disliked her. And trying to hide the fact that her husband had moved out. The same husband who had once been engaged to her former stepsister—and that same stepsister had loudly promised to love Jordan forever right in the middle of his wedding to Daisy.

   “Later, there will be wine,” Daisy promised herself. “And possibly chocolate.”

   Because some days, that was all that stood between her and madness.

 

* * *

 

   Sage arrived home to an empty house. Grateful she wasn’t going to have to deal with her mother, she went to her room and quickly changed into jeans and a T-shirt. While she was willing to admit to a little anticipation about her evening with Adam, she didn’t want him to know that. And she’d learned the best way to tell a man an evening with him was no big deal was to dress as if it didn’t matter at all.

   She went into the bathroom to brush her hair before pulling it back into a simple ponytail and tried not to notice the hint of wrinkles at the corners of her eyes. She knew she still looked good, but for how long? Five years? She really needed to start saving up to get some preventative work done. Something she would add to her money to-do list, along with an apartment and possibly putting aside a few dollars for a savings account.

   “Not going to think about that right now,” she whispered, before returning to her room and collecting the bottle of tequila and the limes.

   She walked over to Adam’s house and knocked. He opened the door and smiled at her.

   “I have the blender ready to go,” he said, stepping back to allow her inside.

   She held up the tequila and the limes. “Good, because we wouldn’t want these to go to waste.”

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