Home > Sweet Little Lies (Sweet #2)

Sweet Little Lies (Sweet #2)
Author: Abbi Glines

I’D DRIVEN FOR OVER AN hour with nowhere to go. Tears were blurring my vision, my chest ached, and I wanted to curl up in a ball and sob freely. But there was no time for that. I had Heidi to think of. My sister. She was my first concern. Always my first concern. She could never know what had happened.

I no longer had a home or a job. I had this car I was driving. I had my sister. That was it. Heidi’s care had been taken care of—or I thought it had been. Jasper had said he was going to pay ten years in advance but I wasn’t sure he’d had a chance to do that yet. Even if he had how could I let him after what we’d learned? She was my sister. Mine. I should take care of her. Not him.

Just three hours ago my life had seemed perfect. I’d been happy and I was almost at the point where I could accept the security that came with Jasper Van Allan’s love. I didn’t blame him because he was an innocent bystander of the dark past too. Our circumstances weren’t his fault or mine, but I should have known better than to trust love. It was a dangerous path that eventually uncovered lies that always led to ruin.

The home that Portia Van Allan had placed Heidi in for her long-term care loomed up ahead. I pulled over to take a breath before walking inside to face Heidi. She wouldn’t understand why I was upset. I didn’t want Heidi to know the ugliness of the world. Her heart was too big and her smile was too bright to ruin them with our reality. The lies that I now knew regarding her birth were secrets I’d keep. Heidi wouldn’t understand them anyway. She loved our mother as I did. Our mother was a saint and I knew we’d never be the same without her.

The fact Heidi had been born to Portia Van Allan was a secret I would keep from her. Sharing who her birth mother was with Heidi was pointless, even if she could understand—I wasn’t sure that was possible.

Heidi had been the most important person in my life for as long as I could remember. Even as a kid I knew Heidi’s difference made her special. Precious. Easier to love.

As much as I hated Portia for tossing Heidi away because she’d been born with Down syndrome and that hadn’t fit into her life, I was equally thankful she left her to my mother. Portia had given Heidi to us and she’d completed my family. It had always been the three of us. A perfect three that I would always cherish. Our mother had left us with beautiful memories. She had taught us that family was everything.

I pulled off the road and shifted the car into park. Crossing my arms over the steering wheel, I continued to cry. At this point, crying was all I could do. It’s what I needed to do. I would cry and let it all out—my fear, my pain, my disbelief. Then I would dry my face, walk inside, and see my sister. When I walked inside, I planned to hug Heidi tightly and I would not fall apart in front of her. I was strong. My mother taught me to be strong. But right now, I needed Heidi. I missed her more than ever.

Beyond visiting Heidi, I had no idea what to do next. I had no idea where to turn.

Just as a loud sob escaped me, the passenger door of my car opened. My head jerked in the direction of the intruder and I was ready to scream when I realized it was Stone Richmond taking the seat beside me. His face was hard and cold like always.

Jasper’s best friend hated me. I wasn’t sure I liked him that much either. Stone was closed off and unfriendly. He didn’t approve of Jasper and me. It was no secret Stone didn’t think I was good enough for Jasper.

“Crying won’t make it go away. Crying has never fucking fixed a damn thing,” he said looking straight ahead out the window. His jaw clenched and his chiseled face appeared determined.

“I’m out of his life. What do you want?” I said as my voice cracked. Being taunted or corrected by Stone wasn’t what I needed or wanted. Now or ever.

He turned his head to look at me. “I was expecting this,” he said.

How could he have expected this? He didn’t even know the details of what had transpired. I wanted to slap him and scream at him to release some of my pain. But I had never been violent.

“You want her to stay here, don’t you? She likes it here,” he nodded his head at the home Heidi lived in.

The facility was perfect for Heidi. She had friends. They gave her jobs that made her feel productive. She loved the activities. The home offered her a life that was safe but allowed her to be independent.

“It costs too much. Jasper wanted to pay ten years in advance. I don’t know if he did, but I can’t let him. Especially now,” I replied unsure why he was asking about Heidi.

He reached over and took my keys out of the ignition. “You shouldn’t be driving like this. You’re too upset. It’s dangerous.”

I shot my arm out to snatch my car keys back from him. I was angry because his comments were unwelcome and out of line. “Give me my keys back. I’m fine.”

He slipped them into his pocket. “No, Beulah. You aren’t fine. You’re a danger to not only yourself but others on the road. You need to calm down.” He opened the passenger door. “I’ll drive you up there. But you should wait until your face isn’t red and splotchy from crying before you see your sister. I imagine that would upset her.”

I agreed with him. I didn’t want to agree with him. I didn’t want him here. But for a moment, I wasn’t alone. Even if it was Stone, he was helping calm me down. However, his sudden appearance still made no sense, unless Jasper had sent him.

“He sent you to find me, didn’t he?” I asked him as I sat unmoving in the driver’s seat.

Stone waited a moment, then climbed out of the car. He closed his car door, and walked around to open the driver’s side door. I sat and watched him. Waiting for the confirmation that Jasper was trying to take care of me. My heart ached at the thought. Jasper couldn’t do that. Not anymore.

As Stone stood waiting for me to get out of the car, I sighed and climbed out to face him. “Do you know? The lies? Did he tell you?”

Stone appeared unconcerned. His face showed no emotion. I wondered if it was his distaste for me that made him this way. Because I’d seen him laugh, smile, and it had been startling. Stunning even. But he’d never done those things while looking at me.

“I’ve not seen or spoken to Jasper since earlier today in his office.”

Frowning I wondered if he knew anything. Did he think we’d broken up? “Why . . . What are you doing here then? Were you looking for me?”

Stone lifted his chin and he looked slightly annoyed as he stared at something over my shoulder. “Understand something, Beulah. I’ve never disliked you. It was the lies I hated that would eventually come out. They had to. And when they did, I knew you’d be hurt. I knew you both would. I was trying to protect Jasper.” He paused and moved his steely gaze back to me. “And I was trying to protect you.”

What? I shook my head. That didn’t make sense. “What lies did you know?” Because Stone couldn’t have known that Heidi was Portia’s daughter. Or that Portia was my aunt. Were there more secrets I didn’t know? I wasn’t sure I could handle more, but I also knew I had to face the truth. Whatever it was.

“Jasper is a good man. He’s got a good heart. But his life has been easy. It’s been one with little destruction. He has never faced truly dark shit. I have. I see more than I want. I hear more than others want me to hear. When you arrived, I knew there was more to your sudden appearance. I knew there was more that you didn’t understand. I did my own investigating. I found out the truth easily enough.”

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