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  • Home > Samantha Young > Into the Deep Series > Into the Deep (Page 56)     
  • Into the Deep(Into the Deep #1)(56) by Samantha Young
  • Understanding lit up Rick’s eyes and his voice dropped. “You still …”

    I nodded again.

    Before he could reply, my cell buzzed in my jeans. Since I hadn’t heard from Claudia after I’d texted her that morning, I knew it was probably her. Quickly, thankful to escape our conversation, I dried my hands on Rick’s dish towel and yanked my phone out of my ass pocket.

    “Merry Christmas, Claud.”

    A lot of background noise hit my ears first and then Claudia’s quiet voice. “Merry Christmas.”

    I didn’t recognize her tone and I didn’t like it. “Honey, where are you?” I frowned. “What’s going on?”

    “My dad and I got into a fight,” her voice shook on the words. “He was drunk. He … he’s not my dad, Charley. He told me he’s not my real father.”

    Shock winded me for a minute. “Wha …”

    “My oversharing ass**les for parents told me they had an open relationship when they first got married. My mom was seeing an artist. When I was five, Dad didn’t think I looked like him because neither of my parents has green eyes and that art guy did. My dad got a paternity test. They’ve known I’m not his for fifteen years.”

    “Oh God, Claudia.” I closed my eyes, hating the pain in her voice and wishing I could just slam her self-absorbed parents’ heads against the wall.

    She laughed softly, the sound breaking on a sob. “Dad was so callous, you know, like what he just told me didn’t matter. I guess it makes sense why he’s been an indifferent ass**le toward me my whole life. And Mom. Mom’s walking around with these big guilty puppy dog eyes and I just couldn’t be there anymore.” She sniffled. “I’m at San Diego International. My flight leaves in half an hour.”

    I nodded. “What’s your flight number? I’ll pick you up.”

    “I’m sorry, Charley, I know it’ll be late.”

    “It doesn’t matter,” I waved off her apology. “I’ll be there.”

    She shot off the flight number and I hung up, a weight pressing on my chest for her. My solemn eyes hit Rick’s questioning ones. “Claudia just had the Christmas from hell.”

    By the time Claud’s flight got into O’Hare, it was almost two in the morning. I was jacked up on caffeine so I’d stay awake for the drive. Rick wanted to come with me, but I thought it was better that I collect Claudia myself. She didn’t sound like she was in good shape and having someone around she didn’t know that well might not be helpful.

    Mom and Dad wanted me to stay at a hotel with her in Chicago but I just wanted to get her home to somewhere she felt loved and wanted.

    When I saw her just inside the doors of the airport, I put my arms around her and she started to cry. I held onto her for a long time until she finally pulled back and gave me a wobbly smile. “Have I ever told you you’re the bestest best friend ever?”

    “You’re my family,” I told her quietly, pulling on her hand and leading her out to my car. “Nothing is more important, least of all sleep,” I teased.

    She laughed softly and got in the car while I loaded her suitcase into the trunk.

    As we drove out of Chicago and back toward Indiana, she told me everything from start to finish. Before I’d thought her dad was an ass—now I thought he was scum. The guy really didn’t seem to care that he’d completely destroyed his daughter. He thought it no big deal that finding out the man you thought was your father really wasn’t.

    He hadn’t even called Claudia and she’d been missing for over six hours.


    After a while Claudia lapsed into silence and I glanced down to see her tearing at a piece of paper, her fingers working frantically, nervously. “It’s going to be okay,” I assured her.

    She nodded but didn’t answer.

    How long would it take me to drive to California? I wondered if Rick could help me commit the perfect murder.

    Claudia’s phone ringing made us both jump. We held our breaths as she pulled it out of her bag. Her expression fell a little as she said, “It’s Beck. I texted him while I was waiting for you, but I thought he’d be asleep.”

    “Answer it.”

    She did. “Hey. Did you have a nice Christmas?” she waited and then frowned. “What? No, I’ll explain it later. I’m fine now, though, okay … no, I’m fine … Look, it was a pretty big blowout with my parents but I’m dealing … I’m here, actually. Charley picked me up at O’Hare. We’re driving back to her parents’ house … Well, because I didn’t want to disturb you … Beck, no, I’m fine … it’s nothing … Okay, I promise … yeah, I promise I’ll call you next time … I’ll tell you about it later … Yeah, my girl’s got me … I’m sure … Oh? What happened? … You’re kidding me?” I felt her wide eyes on me. “Yeah. I’ll let her know … We’ll talk later? … Yeah … You too.”

    My heart was pounding as she hung up, knowing that whatever Beck had said, it had something to do with me. Claudia exhaled heavily, her long dark hair falling in front of her face. She tucked it behind her ear and I felt her eyes on me. “He’s pissed I didn’t call him to come get me.”

    “Of course he is,” I muttered, beginning to lose patience with Beck’s behavior when it came to my best friend. All the caffeine, tiredness, Claudia’s shock, and the fact that I knew something had happened probably didn’t help my irritability much.

    “Also … Jake broke up with Melissa the day you guys arrived back in Chicago.”

    As though she’d stood on my chest instead of delivering news, I fought to breathe for a moment, my hands tightening around the steering wheel. I couldn’t speak.

    “Apparently he’s been trying to contact you?”

    Swallowing hard, I nodded.

    “So …?”

    I glanced at her expectant face and shook my head, doing my best to shove the news of Jake’s breakup and all the consequent questions to the back of my mind. “Now is not the time. You’re more important. We’re going to go home and drown your sorrows in chocolate pie. Okay?”

    She continued to stare at me for a moment, her concern palpable, which was crazy considering what she’d just been through. Finally, my best friend let it drop. She nodded and settled more comfortably in the passenger seat. “Sounds good to me.”

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