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  • Home > Samantha Young > Into the Deep Series > Out of the Shallows (Page 38)     
  • Out of the Shallows(Into the Deep #2)(38) by Samantha Young
  • “Ah, c’mon, it’ll pass the time,” Jake encouraged. He pointed across the restaurant to an elderly couple. Although it was cold outside, it wasn’t freezing, but both were wearing layer upon layer. The woman, wearing an ugly multicolored hat, was eating quietly, while her husband ate and tried to read the newspaper. His face was bent low over the paper as he chewed.

    The woman looked at him over her spectacles and started to speak.

    I smiled. “Could you get any closer to that paper? Are there naked women in it or something?” I filled in for her.

    As the man replied, Jake said, “If there were, I wouldn’t know it. Last time I saw a naked woman, I’d just helped oust the Nazis from Holland.”

    I could hear Claudia and Beck laughing but I managed to stay in the game as the woman apparently snapped something at her partner. “Don’t remind me. I had to get a cream for the itch you brought back.”

    The older man peered up from his newspaper and Jake said in his stead, “I’d treasure that memory. It’s the most daring thing that ever happened to you.”

    I choked on a chuckle and replied as the woman tapped a hand on the newspaper. “That’s it. You better start looking in the classifieds for your own place.”

    The man didn’t say anything, but he took a bite of omelet as he looked at the woman. He started to speak and Jake answered with, “I think you’ll find it’s my name on the deed to the house.”

    The woman leaned over the table to him and I said, “If I left, you wouldn’t know what hit you. Do you think just anybody would wash out your skid marks and deal with the glasses of false teeth you leave lying around?”

    “Ugh,” Claudia giggled.

    “Me? You think I’m hard to live with?” Jake replied. “What about all those ceramic owls you got lying around the whole house? I can’t move an inch without walking into a damn ceramic owl. And don’t get me started on the pot pourri.”

    I shot a look at Jake and mouthed, “Pot pourri?”

    He grinned.

    Looking back at the couple, I watched as the woman dug into her breakfast but continued to speak to the man. “If I didn’t have pot pourri everywhere, the house would smell of cigars and feet.”

    “Don’t start in on me about my cigars, woman,” Jake snapped as the man waved his fork at his wife. It really did look like they were arguing about something. “My cigars mask the smell of that damn pot pourri and chicken. Don’t you know how to cook anything else?”

    “How about arsenic and apple pie?” I answered in mock anger.

    The two didn’t say anything for a few seconds and then the man patted his wife’s hand and she gave him a small smile.

    “I can deal with the pot pourri and chicken if you can deal with my cigars and teeth,” Jake said quietly.

    As the woman nodded and replied, I said, “Sure. And tonight… I’ll let you leave the light on.”

    “Aw, sweetheart, that’s real nice of you but I think we’d both get on better with the light off.”

    Our eyes met at that, Jake’s twinkling with laughter, and I found myself giving into that laughter, feeling it for the first time in as long as I could remember. By the time the food arrived, the tension between us had eased and we dug into our food, our foursome joking and chatting about meaningless things and enjoying the peace of the momentary distraction from all the meaningful things.

    I tried not to meet Claudia’s smug, satisfied gaze.

    The drive from Des Moines to Lincoln, Nebraska, was about three hours, give or take. The light chitchat from the restaurant carried over and the hours seemed to pass faster now that Jake and I could talk without stumbling over the big stuff.

    We found a cheap motel in Lincoln just off the I-80. We got two rooms and Jake said he was taking a nap before dinner. Claudia and I had just dumped our things in the room when she turned to me.

    “I’d like some time alone with Beck. Will you be okay on your own?”

    I studied her a moment, trying to understand what was going on. Finally, I said, “Of course I’ll be fine. But I’ve got to ask—”

    “I don’t know,” she cut me off abruptly, throwing her hands up in the air. Her beautiful eyes shimmered with emotion. “I really don’t know. All I know is that I’m the one person who can lift Beck’s mood. I’m the one person he can talk to about anything… and these last few weeks…” Her expression seemed to plead with me. “Charley, he’s letting me in. For the first time I really feel like he’s letting me all the way in. And life’s too short, right? We both know that.”

    It wasn’t that I wasn’t happy for her. I truly believed she and Beck were meant for one another. But I also believed that there was a time for everything and I wanted to make sure she was doing this for the right reasons, and that she was ready for it. “And everything from before… the reason you decided to walk away from him for good. You’ve worked all that out?”

    Claudia blew air out between her lips, looking a little lost. “If I’m honest, no. But I’m starting to wonder if I go on the way I am, I’ll always find an excuse not to trust someone. If I don’t see where this is leading, if I don’t try, I’ll regret it.”

    “And Will?” I said, reminding her of the TA.

    She looked a little ashamed as she said, “I broke that off a few days after Beck’s dad passed.”

    I raised an eyebrow. “You kept that quiet.”

    “I knew if I told you, you’d make assumptions about what’s going on between me and Beck.”

    “Assumptions that would turn out to be right.”

    “Charley, you wanted me to see Beck in this light for a long time. I need you to support me in whatever happens here.”

    “I do.” I pulled her in for a hug. “I always will. But Beck is going through this huge emotional upset right now and I just don’t want you to get chewed up in it.”

    Claudia held me tight. “He wanted to try something serious with me before his dad died, remember?”

    “Yes. It’s the only thing stopping me from grabbing your hand and running a million miles away from him while he’s going through what he’s going through.” I stepped back and gave her a small smile. “I’m here no matter what. Why don’t I go check out the bar while you guys talk?”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire