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  • Home > Samantha Young > Into the Deep Series > Out of the Shallows (Page 39)     
  • Out of the Shallows(Into the Deep #2)(39) by Samantha Young
  • She smiled gratefully. “You wouldn’t mind?”

    “Not at all.”

    I left my friend to it and made my way across the lot to the on-site restaurant and bar, my mind on Claudia and Beck. I did want it to work out for them, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t terrified for Claudia. She’d been disappointed by so many people who were supposed to love her. I didn’t know if she could take any more disappointment, and I was only ninety percent sure that Beck would remember everything she’d gone through and treat her carefully while he dealt with his own demons.

    Totally lost in thought, I’d only taken two steps inside the almost empty bar when my feet faltered. A blond woman sat in profile at the bar.

    “Andie?” I whispered in disbelief.

    My heart slammed so hard I thought it was going to launch itself out of my chest. Sweat slickened my palms as my body froze to the spot.

    Then just like that, the blond turned to smile at the bartender.

    It wasn’t Andie.

    Of course it wasn’t.

    How could it be?

    Tears pricked my eyes and I stubbornly shoved them back as I marched up to the bar and slid into a stool.

    “I’m going to need to see some ID.” The middle-aged bartender smiled kindly at me. He was tall, broad-shouldered, and he looked like he could handle himself. He also looked like he wasn’t born yesterday. Thank God I was twenty-one now.

    I gave him my ID and he slid it back to me. “What can I get you?”

    I glanced down the bar at the woman I’d mistaken for my sister. “I’ll have a scotch on the rocks.”

    He seemed bemused by my choice but didn’t question it. “Any brand in particular?”

    “Surprise me,” I muttered.

    He grinned and set about making my drink.

    After a half hour of nursing it, the bartender approached. Sensing him hovering, I looked up.

    He shrugged. “Sorry, I’ve got to ask.”

    “Ask what?” I sipped at the last of my drink.

    “Why a pretty twenty-one-year-old is drinking scotch in my bar while looking like the world just ended.”

    I stared at this curious stranger, this person who had no ties to me, no previous dealings with me, and thus no understanding or expectations of me, either. And I found myself replying, “I miss my sister.”

    His eyes softened and he leaned on the bar. “That’s rough.”

    “Have you got family?”

    “Two brothers in Colorado. They got wives and a whole bunch of kids. I don’t see them much.”

    “Do you miss them?”

    “Sure, I do.”

    “You should really visit them while you can,” I offered sagely.

    His grin was sad. “We had a falling-out a couple of years back. Things haven’t been the same since.”

    Emotion clogged my throat. I took my time choking it down. “You’d think that would be all the more reason, but sometimes it’s like you get frozen, like you can’t move or make a decision either way. Is that how you feel?”

    He nodded, eyes filled with understanding. “Yeah, that’s how I feel.”

    “Do you think you’ll ever get past it?”

    “I expect I might. One day.”

    “What do you think will make you do it? Make you go see them?” I desperately wanted to know.

    “I don’t know.” He stood up, contemplating me. “Maybe a sad, pretty girl telling me I should do it while I still can might do the trick.”

    I finished my drink and offered him a wry, melancholic smile. “Maybe.”

    Chapter Fourteen

    After Claudia had broken down over Dustin’s callous rejection, Jake called Beck to let him know what had occurred and he’d hurried back to the hotel.

    Something happened, though. When Beck got there, he tried to hug Claudia but she didn’t embrace him in return and wriggled out of his hold like she didn’t want him to touch her. He attempted to talk to her¸ but she cut him off, barely acknowledging his presence while they booked tickets out of Barcelona.

    The entire way to the airport, Claud gave Beck the coldest shoulder, even snapping at him when he tried to help with her luggage. She’d been adamant that I sit next to her on the plane.

    Beck was stunned and clearly hurt.

    I gave it twenty minutes before I plucked up the nerve to ask. “What was that all about?”

    “What?” she asked flatly.

    “Beck.”

    Claudia shot me a sharp look. “I’m done, Charley. I’m done being made a fool of by men who pretend to care. Dustin doesn’t want me in his life, fine. Guess what? I don’t want Beck in mine. I’ve spent the last six months trying to convince myself that he didn’t break my heart. But he did. He hurts me all the time and doesn’t even care. He’s selfish and cruel and I hate him.”

    I knew my friend, and I knew that what she’d said wasn’t her. I was convinced she was projecting what she felt about Dustin onto Beck. “You don’t mean that.”

    The coldness in her eyes shocked me. “Yes. I do.”

    “Claudia…” I reached for her hand. “What exactly did Dustin say?”

    Pain etched itself into her features. “When I got to his apartment, I knew something wasn’t right. He was nervous and jumpy and wouldn’t meet my gaze. Then Pedra showed up.”

    Renewed anger flooded me. “He said it in front of her?”

    She nodded unhappily. “He told me we needed to talk and I sat down across from them and he told me that his life is his art and that he didn’t have time for distractions. He said he’d never had to be responsible for anyone other than himself and at almost fifty years old, he knew it was too late to change that. And then he said that he thought I was a lovely young woman, but he’d rather not keep in contact because he felt it would be too confusing for both of us.”

    “He’s a dick,” I said.

    Claudia looked at me with a renewal of unshed tears in her eyes. “Why was he so excited and cool to begin with, Charley? He made plans with me for the future and then he just… why did he do that? I wish he’d never emailed me back. It would’ve hurt less. It’s like… he got to know me and decided he wanted nothing to do with me.”

    “No.” I grasped her hand tighter in mine. “No, that’s not why.” I leaned closer so I had all her focus. “Dustin Tweedie is a mercurial, selfish, self-absorbed artist, Claudia. You were something new to play with for a while, like a new muse… and it suddenly occurred to him that you weren’t just any muse. You were a person who would demand more from him… and unfortunately, I get the feeling he’s limited. He didn’t have anything more to give you. And that’s about him. Not you.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire