Craving Vera(48)By: Nicole Jacquelyn
“Where’s your mom?” I asked Lily, realizing that she should have been with us at the table.
“Cecilia called,” Lily replied. “And they went down there.”
“What?” My mouth dropped open in surprise.
“Yeah,” she said. “Cam went with them.”
“Oh shit,” I muttered. “Do you know what’s going on?”
“Not a clue.” Lily shrugged like it didn’t matter, but I knew her better than anyone and I could see the fear she was trying to hide.
“Well, she’s always been dramatic,” I said, trying to downplay what we both knew must be a hell of a situation. “She probably hooked up with the wrong guy.”
“Or borrowed money she can’t pay back.”
“Slept with some crazy broad’s husband.”
“Crashed her car and can’t afford a new one.”
“Got arrested for hooking,” I said easily.
Lily burst out laughing, giving me exactly the reaction I hoped for.
“It’ll be fine,” I said, leaning toward her so I could bump my shoulder against hers. “Your dad and Cam will figure it out and fix it.”
“I just hate not knowing what’s going on.” She sighed. “Is she coming home? Is she in actual trouble, real trouble? Should I actually be worried about her? What are we dealing with? What am I going to have to deal with?”
“Yeah, all the cloak and dagger shit is bullshit. You want me to ask my dad? You know Uncle Casper told him and Dragon what’s happening.”
“No.” she sat back in chair. “It’s okay. I’m sure they’ll let us know what they find when they get there.”
“Even if she’s coming home,” I told Lily seriously. “It won’t be like it was before.”
“I know that.”
“And if she gives you shit, I’ll take care of it.”
Lily laughed. “Trix already offered to beat her up.”
“Well she can get in line,” I replied. “Family gets first dibs and I have a whole lot of memories to draw from.”
“Love you, Rosie.”
“Love you, too, Lilybug,” I said, smiling as she reached out to hold my hand. We both turned to look at Amy as she started to speak.
“Vera said the ride felt like it took days instead of just hours…”
“How you doin’?” Charlie asked, pulling my jacket down my shoulders. “Damn, you’re sweatin’ like a whore in church.”
“It’s hot out here,” I replied, fanning my face.
“It ain’t that hot.”
He led me toward the truck stop bathrooms, his fingers entwined with mine.
“This should help,” he said, pulling a hanky from his pocket and sticking it under the bathroom sink. “Don’t worry, it’s clean.”
“I wasn’t worried.” The wet fabric felt cool against my skin and I laid the entire thing over my face, muffling my words.
“Only a couple more hours to go,” he reminded me, leaning against the doorframe while I let the cold sink water run over my hands.
“I’m nervous,” I said, staring at my hands. “Is that stupid?”
“Don’t know,” he replied. “Depends on what you’re nervous about. If you’re nervous about your parents, that’s stupid. You know I won’t let anythin’ happen to you.”
“No,” I shook my head. “It’s not that.”
“Then what?” he asked.
“I don’t want to say goodbye,” I replied, turning to face him. “In the back of my mind, I think that if we never get there then none of this is actually happening.”
“You know that ain’t true, baby,” he said softly, reaching out to tug me against him.
“The other part of me is terrified that we won’t get there in time and she’ll be gone.”
“Ain’t nothin’ you can do about that,” he murmured, kissing the top of my head. “Can’t get up there any faster.”
“I know.” I dropped my forehead against his chest and let the smell of his warm skin soothe me.
He’d been giving me the space that I’d asked for to figure things out, and I was thankful for that, but when the woman had called me about Gran, he was the first person I’d thought of and the only person I wanted.
He was far from perfect, I knew that. To say he was rough around the edges was an understatement. I didn’t think he’d ever been faithful to one woman in his entire life and I was reasonably sure that the club he belonged to was into some very bad things that he’d probably try to hide from me.