Home > Serves Me Wright (Wright #9)(4)

Serves Me Wright (Wright #9)(4)
Author: K.A. Linde

Julian stiffened next to me. His eyes widened.

“Dad?” Julian gasped.

 

 

3

 

 

Julian

 

 

My father was standing in front of me.

In Lubbock, Texas.

Not in Vancouver, where he lived and where I’d moved from. This wasn’t a call, text, or email, like he’d been trying to reach me and I’d been ignoring him. I hadn’t seen him in almost four years. He’d asked us to stay, knowing we never would, and then I’d said good-bye. I’d meant it forever. What was he doing here?

I didn’t want to have to deal with this. It was bad enough that I already had to deal with Ashleigh today, but Ashleigh and my father in one day? Fuck.

“Hello, son,” my dad said.

Son. I recoiled from that word. The years of idolization and then the complete shattering of everything that I’d worshipped in him.

I pulled myself together. I couldn’t be the same person I’d been when my dad fucked up all of our lives. I couldn’t cower and hope that Jordan would take care of it. Like he always did. I had to handle it on my own.

I straightened to my considerable height and crossed my arms over my chest. “What are you doing here?”

“Good to see you, too.”

“Is it?” I mocked.

Jennifer fidgeted next to me. “I’m just going to…” She pointed at the concert, where she had been hired to take photographs.

My gaze shifted to hers. Fuck, how had I managed to drag her into all of my drama? She shouldn’t have had to witness any of it. I was such a mess.

Her hazel eyes were wide with concern and discomfort. Her bottom lip was caught between her teeth. I’d kissed her, and I’d much rather be doing that again than dealing with what was right in front of me. Not that it was going to happen. She’d made it pretty clear that she wasn’t interested. And it wasn’t like I should be dating right now anyway. Ashleigh was a hurricane, plowing through my life. It wasn’t fair to anyone to start dating when she was still rampaging.

“Sure,” I said with a nod. “Let me know if you need anything else.”

She smiled shyly. The same Jen who had drawn me to her at a pool party right before I fell in on top of her. After I’d moved here, I’d pushed her to date me, but she’d never really been interested. My flirting was relentless, and still…it was hard to tell what Jen was thinking. The opposite of Ashleigh, who wore every emotion on her sleeve.

I shook the past away from my eyes as she gave me a half-wave and disappeared toward the stage. My father was still waiting.

“New girlfriend?” he asked.

I clenched my jaw. “No. She’s our photographer.”

“The place is nice.”

“What are you doing here?” I demanded again.

“I came to see you.”

“You saw me. Now, you can go.”

My father sighed but held my gaze, unwavering. He’d had more practice in that than I ever had. “Can we go somewhere more private and talk?”

“I’m actually at work, if you haven’t noticed. I’m kind of busy.”

“Five minutes, Julian.”

I ground my teeth together and then nodded, heading for the door without looking back. My father followed me out of the building. I forced down my nerves and rising irritation. He still hadn’t fucking answered me. He wouldn’t have flown across the entire country just to see me. Not after everything had shattered. Why now?

The door shut behind us, drowning out the noise of Cosmere blasting through the building. A hot summer wind whipped around me, bringing in dust from the nearby cotton fields. Lubbock was small enough to feel suffocating and large enough to have most everything I could ever need. If not everything I wanted. It wasn’t Vancouver, but I’d been here long enough to appreciate the friendly West Texas city. I wouldn’t have opened a business here otherwise.

I didn’t think my father felt the same way about the city he’d left behind more than three decades ago. His nose wrinkled at the sight around him, and he brushed the orange dust off of his suit jacket.

“We’re here. Talk,” I told him.

“I know you’re still mad.”

“Yes.”

“But Jordan invited me here.”

I took a step back. “What?”

“He didn’t tell you?”

“No.”

I didn’t care that I sounded hurt. Why the hell would Jordan have hidden it from me? He knew how I felt.

“Well, he probably knew you’d react like this.”

I narrowed my eyes. “Get to your point.”

“I want us to have a fresh start.”

I laughed and then realized he was serious. “You believe that’s possible?”

“I do. I’ve changed, Julian.”

“A changed man,” I said slowly. “Wow. You’re really going that route?”

“It’s the truth.”

“And what do you know about the truth?”

My dad sighed. “Please, I don’t expect you to forgive me for all my vices in one meeting. I’m asking for us to try.”

“The inimitable Owen Wright, asking for us to try,” I jeered. “Unbelievable.”

He ran a hand back through his hair. He looked so much like me and Jordan. Just an older version. I could see what he must have thought looked like remorse on his face. I didn’t believe it.

“I know that I did wrong by you and your brother and your mother. I regret many things, but driving you away is what I hate the most. I really would like us to start over.”

I almost believed him. Almost saw the illusion he was creating. A glamour determined to blind me to reality. But the magic spell had burst a long time ago. It wouldn’t cover my eyes to his deception any longer. I saw the truth. Saw who he really was.

“I don’t want anything to do with you.”

“Julian,” my dad said carefully.

My cool vanished. “You left Mom when she had cancer! I’ll never forgive you. I don’t care what you want to say. It will never get over it.”

My father pinched the bridge of his nose. “I didn’t know about her diagnosis.”

“You think that makes it better?” I snapped.

“It’s not an excuse. I was wrong. Your mother and I had deteriorated years before the divorce papers. It should have happened long ago.”

“You are not helping your case.” I checked my phone. “Your five minutes are up.”

I stepped around him to head back inside. He grasped my elbow. I looked down at it as if it were nothing but vermin.

“Let me go.”

He didn’t. “I’m sorry.”

I shook my head. “We both know that you’re only here because you want something. That’s the only reason you ever do anything. So, what do you want? A job? Money? The company? Whatever it is, you’re not getting it. You dug your grave; you can go lie in it.”

Then I shook his hand off of me and strode back inside without him.

My mind was a haze of anger. It so infrequently took me that I didn’t know how to get rid it. Jordan had the anger issues. He was the one who had been working on not being like our father for so long. I’d always been the easygoing, charismatic, younger brother. But if there was anything that riled me up, it was my father. I wasn’t going to be fooled by him.

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