Read Gavin (A Redemption Romance #3) Online
Authors: Anna Scott
Thankfully, she would be fine, though she was still asleep, because of the medication they’d given her after they’d run a bunch of tests.
Because she’d blacked out, they’d been concerned about a serious head injury, she had a concussion, and it needed to be watched, but thus far, it seemed that she’d make a full and speedy recovery.
The lot of us hung out in the waiting room for several more hours, getting tidbits of information from Jake. She’d woken briefly, a couple of times; but had been out of it, so we decided to wait and come back to see her in the morning.
We found a small, hole-in-the-wall diner nearby and gathered around a long table to eat. Everyone was quiet, introspective and subdued.
I for one, thought a lot about my mom and about Zach. How my mom had survived living with my father all those years, I didn’t know? He wasn’t physical with her, or with us often, but it did happen. I marked us, all of us.
I was most concerned now, however, about how it had molded Zach, was he some sadistic monster like Hope’s ex? Did I need to worry that he’d try to come after Dawn? Or after someone else? I had no idea. I didn’t want anyone getting hurt.
Since I had little contact with him, there was no way for me to know the kind of man he was. I didn’t want to think the worst of my brother, but he’d done little in his life, aside from his stellar military career, to show me otherwise.
The cab of the truck was silent, and when I pulled up in front of Dawn’s house, she jumped down before I could get around to her side to help her down. She was rushing up the sidewalk and opening her front door before I could stop her.
Turning to face me, she plastered on a smile and thanked me for lunch. Her behavior was strange and I didn’t like it one bit. Instead of asking about it, I reached out and pulled her into a hug.
“Thank you, for going with me today. We’ll have to spend another day together soon, since this one was interrupted.” I said softly into her ear. She tensed for a moment, then hugged me back. Before I was ready, she was inside the house and I listened as she locked the door.
I took extra time scanning the area as I walked back to the truck. As I’d been doing, every time I was at Dawn’s, I paid attention to every detail. It was dark now, and for whatever reason, the area near the trail caught my attention, but again, as I studied the area more closely, I didn’t see anything over there. I decided that I’d come by early tomorrow morning, before I was supposed to pick her up and look around the area in the daylight.
Gavin: There in 20
Shit, I was not ready. Gavin was picking me up, we were all meeting back at the hospital and I still wasn’t dressed.
Tyler had called and we’d talked for over an hour about everything that had happened the day before with Hope, and the lunch with Gavin. Ty was really worried that I was going to lose my heart to him, when he was obviously already seeing someone.
He told me about the big fight, he and Marc had the night before too, he still didn’t know why Marc was in such a rush to move in together, and I thought that was a pretty big red-flag.
When the knock came at my front door, I was hopping around, getting my boots on, which made a rather funny sight, if Gavin’s loud belly laugh were anything to go by.
I gave him the fiercest glare I had, but it only made him laugh harder. Straightening, I grabbed my sweater and handbag, and walked out the door, passed him. He followed me out, so I was able to close and lock the door.
When he reached out to help me into his truck this time, I swatted his hands away and made the excuse that I wanted to try it on my own. Honestly, I didn’t want his hands on me that way, I couldn’t handle it, not and keep my feelings platonic. Gavin looked frustrated, but didn’t say anything about it.
Once everyone had congregated in the hospital waiting room, Trent walked over to the nurse’s station. The older woman suggested that we wait a little while, as the doctor had been in with Hope the last she’d checked.
The group of us walked down to the cafeteria, grabbed some really strong, disgusting coffee and waited about thirty minutes, trying to give them plenty of time. Upon our return, the nurse allowed us to go inside.
“Knock, knock,” Aurora called as she pushed the door open. Gavin’s hand moved to my back as we walked inside, I wanted to shrug it off, but couldn’t without looking like a bitch.
It was obvious that we’d interrupted an intense moment, but there wasn’t much we could do about it now. Everyone greeted Hope and Jake, then the men walked to the other side of the room and we walked over to Hope. As he walked away, Gavin brushed his hand down my back, the movement was small, but seemed rather intimate. I ignored that too, just another thing I was brushing under the rug.
The time with Hope was good, she looked terrible, but I noticed that she kept running a hand over her abdomen. The looks that she and Jake shared were sweetly intimate, and I had to wonder if there was a secret hiding just under her hand.
Gavin received a phone call while we were in the room and went out into the hall to take it. I could hear his voice, though not what he was saying. He was speaking in a happy, almost excited voice, and I had to wonder if it was the woman who I’d seen him with the other day. Of course, I kept my mouth shut. If we were going to be friends, I couldn’t act like a jealous bitch, even if that was what I was. It did remind me of my place, which was just what I’d needed.
Just like last night on the way to dinner, he’d been texting someone, and had a huge smile on his face as he did. It didn’t seem like the right emotion for the time, not if he were talking to one of the group, or someone from work. It had been just what I’d needed to put that professional face on again, bland courtesy, friendship only, totally platonic. It was a huge challenge for me, but I’d put that space back where it needed to be.
We all squealed and were appropriately excited for Luke and Aurora when Hope noticed Aurora’s engagement ring. Amber and I already knew, but it didn’t matter, any excuse to celebrate with a friend was welcome, besides, it took my attention from Gavin, who I’d noticed kept looking at me.
Strangely, Amber left Hope’s room in a hurry, after she and Trent shared some interesting looks, I thought I’d seen a sheen of tears in her eyes as she’d escaped. After she was gone, he stared at the door with longing on his face. I’d ask her about it, but that would give her cause to ask me, and I was nowhere near ready to talk. Besides, we’d become friends since I’d begun to work at Indulgence, but I didn’t want to push it.
Feeling a buzz inside my pocket, I pulled my phone out and read the text from Tyler. Something was going on with him, so I told him where I was. He was going to meet me back at my house after, which would give me the perfect excuse for getting away from Gavin.
Hope tired easily, so we said our goodbyes and left. I was able to climb into Gavin’s truck with him touching me only a little. I kept reminding myself that I wasn’t that naïve little girl anymore, I could be friends with him and not let my old crush take over.
“You want to grab something to eat?” Gavin asked, his voice sounding almost hopeful.
“Sorry, I’ve got plans this afternoon.” Thanks to Tyler, I didn’t have to lie, or look at Gavin’s handsome face across the table again. I needed a little break from him. We could resume friends-only tomorrow, for now, I had to get away, or I’d throw myself at him again and embarrass both of us. Begging wasn’t attractive, and I wasn’t about to start.
I saw Gavin’s struggle, I thought that he wanted to ask what my plans were, but he resisted.
I leaned over the console and gave him a quick, one-armed hug, before jumping down and heading inside without looking back.
I’d sent a text to Tyler when Gavin and I left the hospital, so twenty minutes after arriving home, Ty showed up.
He was a mess; I’d never seen him look like that. Marc had called him this morning, upset and freaked out because he’d gone out the night before, without Tyler and had kissed another man. Marc had been distraught, and apologetic, but Ty didn’t know what to do about it.
Marc had been angry with Ty about the whole moving in thing, but his behavior was unacceptable as far I was concerned. Tyler had to make up his own mind about Marc, but I for one wasn’t happy, not seeing my best friend in this state. I wanted to go out and kick Marc’s ass. Sadly, the guy was huge and I wasn’t a bad ass.
Ty stayed for the remainder of the day. I’d silenced my phone and changed into sweats. We settled in on the couch to watch movies and ordered pizza. By the time he left, it was almost midnight, and I was exhausted. We both felt better, just having a relaxing day after the drama of the morning.
Climbing into bed, I checked my phone, looking for an update on Hope, but instead, I had a couple of texts from Gavin.
Gavin: Hope you’re having a good day. Miss you.
And another from just an hour ago.
Gavin: A little worried about you, you never answered me earlier. Maybe I should drive by and check on you?
I quickly shot off a text to him, letting him know that I was fine and going to bed and asked for an update on Hope. He didn’t answer, but it was late, so he was probably asleep.
By Monday night, I began to worry about Tyler, I hadn’t heard a word from him. That wasn’t unusual, but with what had happened the day before, I was concerned about what was going on with him and Marc. I hadn’t heard from Gavin either, but that was fine. Of course it was, it was fine, right?
Amber and Aurora each took time out of the day to run by and visit Hope, leaving the store quiet, which was good for me. I was busy with restocking, and clean up after Aurora had abruptly closed the store Saturday afternoon and part of the day Sunday. She didn’t do that often, but we had a forgiving clientele, so I was sure she wouldn’t be adversely affected. Besides, when you made your employees part of your close group of friends, it was inevitable that when things happened, no one would want to work.
Tyler’s handsome face, strolled in at five-thirty on Tuesday and whisked me off for dinner. It had been a surprise, but a happy one. The spring in his step was back, since he and Marc had talked things out.
Our conversation had been easy. Neither of us had anything special to talk about. He’d asked if I’d talked to Gavin, but when I told him no, he dropped it. The funny thing was, I hadn’t heard a word, not even a text from him. The hopeless part of me lamented that, but the half-way intelligent part was relieved.
We spent a couple of hours, sitting and talking, enjoying the easy camaraderie of a great friendship, then his phone buzzed. He and Marc were getting together later that night, so we made our way back to Indulgence and my car.
When I pulled out of Tyler’s hug to climb into my car, I saw Luke heading toward the back entrance of the store. After seeing me with Tyler, he did the head nod thing, but had a strange look on his face.
“Who’s that?” Tyler asked me quietly.
“Aurora’s fiancé, Luke,” I explained.
“He’s friends with Gavin, right?”
Tyler nodded a knowing smirk on his face, but he didn’t say any more about it. Climbing into my car, I waved at Tyler and headed toward my house.
Gavin didn’t get in touch that night, or the next day, so when he showed up at the store Thursday morning, asking me to grab coffee with him, I was surprised, and hesitant. Not having a good reason to decline, I went and promised Amber that I’d be back in twenty minutes.
The conversation with Gavin was uncomfortable to say the least. I had to wonder if maybe things with the woman I’d seen him with had heated up, maybe she’d found out that he’d hung out with me and she didn’t like it. I had no idea, but that would make sense.
He seemed quieter than usual and I had no idea what was wrong with him. After we’d ordered and sat down to wait, he started. “Have you seen Zach since that day at my mom’s house?”
Surprised by the question, I waited a moment, then answered; “no, I thought he went back to base.”
“That’s what he told mom, but I went over there for dinner Sunday night and he was there.”
Knowing that must have been uncomfortable for all of them, I wondered what, if anything, I should say. I didn’t want tension in their family because of me. I waited for him to go on; he watched me for a few minutes and then did.
“He told me he’d seen you last week, I was hoping that he hadn’t bothered you while you were out.”
There was a strange tone to his voice when he’d said
, but I ignored it.
“I didn’t see him, so no, it’s fine. Don’t worry about me, okay?” At least I now understood why he’d wanted to talk to me. He must have been really worried about Zach.
“I’ll always worry about you, Dawn, we may not have seen each other for a few years, but you’re still important to me.”
I smiled at him, loving what he was saying, but not sure how to respond. We finished our coffee, I grabbed one for Amber, talked to Gillian for a few minutes and we walked back to the store. Since my hands were full, I was able to give him a quick side hug and avoid something longer that would pull at my heart even more.
“Hey, can we have lunch on Friday?” He asked as I was walking into the store.
“Sounds good,” I called back over my shoulder. I was off again, and it would be nice to hang out. Lunch would be good, it was casual and friendly, not like a date.
Friday morning arrived, and I was rushing around, trying to get my house cleaned and my laundry done before Gavin got there to pick me up. I’d tried to tell him I’d just meet him at the restaurant, but he wouldn’t hear it.
When I got dressed and ready for the day, I made an effort to stay casual. I wore jeans, a sweatshirt and hot pink Converse, put my hair up and wore very little makeup, it was a reminder to myself that this wasn’t a date. This wasn’t a date. This wasn’t a date. I repeated to myself over and over, trying to guard my heart and prepare myself to see Gavin again.
When he pulled up, I was waiting, so I was able to rush out and jump up into the truck before he came around to help me.
“Hey,” I said cheerily.
“Well, hello; you look pretty.”
“Thanks,” ducking my head, to break our gaze, I felt shy all of a sudden, surprised by his compliment. Gavin always looked good; today, he was wearing dark jeans and a black button up shirt. He was working today, so he was dressed up. That was also good, we’d only have an hour.
Once I’d climbed into the truck, he walked around and I noticed that he looked up and down my entire street, seemingly looking at every house and car. I wondered if that was a reaction to his surroundings because of his job, or if there was something else. Had he seen something?
Thankfully, lunch was quick and conversation was easy. The stilted awkwardness of our previous meeting seemed to have vanished. By the end of it, he’d gotten me to promise to see him over the weekend. Tyler and I had plans, but we hadn’t picked a time yet, so I was mostly open.
Twice during lunch, he’d received and returned text messages, smiling each time one came in. He’d also gotten up from the table to walk outside and take a call, I knew he was working today, but his facial expressions were too excited for it to have been a professional call.
Since it wasn’t my business, I didn’t comment, but I couldn’t stop myself from wondering if it was the same woman I’d seen him with before. I had no way of knowing how many women he was dating. Maybe he and that woman were exclusive, if that was the case, I was hopeful that he’d at least told her that he was spending time with me like this, I’d hate for her to be hurt by something like seeing us together and getting the wrong idea.
My smile was forced when we headed back to my house, but I didn’t think that Gavin noticed. I hesitated to agree to dinner the following night, so I suggested another lunch. Maybe it would seem strange to someone else, but dinner seemed too intimate.