Fighting For You:A Danvers Novel(10)

By: Sydney Landon



“Maybe so. Thanks Nick, I appreciate the talk.”

Declan walked back toward his office and had to admit that Nick was right. Protecting Ella was going to fall on his shoulders. Teaching her to defend herself was also a good idea. If Ava had known how, her life might have been very different now. He wasn’t a man prone to fanciful thoughts, but he would love to see his sister smile that easy smile that she had for so many years before that bastard took it away from her. And he would be damned if he would let the same thing happen to his Ella.

Not your Ella, she will never be yours. Remember who you are.

***

“Ready to go, kid?” Ella looked up to see Beth, Suzy, and Claire standing on the other side of her desk with their purses. The morning had passed in a blur of work and thoughts of Declan. She was surprised to see that it was well after noon.

“Get your things,” Suzy demanded. “I hear you have some good stuff we need to hear during our lunch hour.”

Ella looked over at a sheepish Beth.

“Hey, you know that pregnant women can’t keep anything that good to themselves. I really tried, but I can never hide anything from my sister.”

Suzy put her hands on her hips and looked at Beth. “Oh, really? It seems to me like you are the queen of hiding things. Let’s see, there was that whole doing my brother-in-law in my kitchen and then practically living with him for months before you told me.”

Beth’s face flushed red as she laughed. “Well, that was an isolated incident. I’m totally truthful now.”

Claire stepped forward and took her arm. “Come on, Ella. They can walk behind us and bicker all the way to the car. At least they’ll get it out of their system so we can all focus on you during lunch.”

True to her prediction, Beth and Suzy did indeed tease each other for the entire ride to lunch. Once again, Ella found herself grateful to have such an amazing group of friends. They might embarrass her more often than not, but she knew that they genuinely cared and would support her no matter what.

Since Beth had a craving for Japanese food, they decided on the Yamoto at Broadway at the Beach. Ella loved the mix of restaurants and stores arranged around a lake. Sometimes during her lunch break, she would come here alone and spend her hour walking the boardwalk and feeding the fish. Luckily, it was a favorite of everyone in the group so they came here often.

When they were settled at a table, Suzy leveled a direct stare at her and asked, “So, with tongue or without?”

As she choked on a sip of iced tea, Beth thoughtfully wacked her on the back.

“Wha . . . what?”

Flicking her wrist impatiently, Suzy asked, “Did he put his tongue in your mouth or did you just rub lips?”

“I . . . well.”

Giving her a sympathetic look, Claire said, “Honey, just go ahead and answer the question. It will be less painful.”

Ella took a deep breath and admitted, “Yes, there was tongue.”

“Good, good,” Suzy smiled. “Are we talking a lot of it or just a swipe?”

Ella could feel her face flaming as she shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “I’m not sure how much a lot is, but it lasted a while and . . . I liked it.”

“You slut!”

“Suzy!” Beth and Claire both gasped out in horror.

“What? I’m just kidding. I’m happy that she admitted to liking it. My little girl is growing up.” They all laughed as Suzy looked at Ella like a proud parent. “So the dating thing is getting to him.”

“I don’t know,” Ella said. “Maybe.”

“Oh, yeah, it is. I busted him at the office watching you leave with your date. He didn’t know I was there so I had a few minutes to study him. When you strolled off with your not so attractive date, he looked like someone had kicked him in the balls.”

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