Home > Sometimes It Lasts(Sea Breeze #5)(5)

Sometimes It Lasts(Sea Breeze #5)(5)
Author: Abbi Glines

“I came to have lunch with Daddy. He’s gone to the stockyard though. His help called in sick this morning.”

Jeremy waggled his eyebrows teasingly. “Why don’t you have lunch with me instead?”

“I’d love to. I have some chicken salad in the fridge, corn on the cob and black-eyed peas, and biscuits on the stove, keeping them warm. More than enough for just me and Daddy. Come on in and we’ll eat, and you can tell me about all the girls’ hearts you’ve broken this year.”

There was a flicker of unease in Jeremy’s eyes that most people wouldn’t have noticed, but then most people hadn’t grown up spending everyday of their life with him. I knew him too well. Because I knew him so well, I decided to let it go for now. He was protecting something and I was going to let him.

“Your homemade chicken salad?” he asked with a pleased look on his face.

“Yep.”

“Hell, yeah,” he replied, and bounded up the stairs without waiting for me.

This was nice. Lately I’d been missing home. . . Daddy. . . Jeremy. . . the past. Not because I wasn’t happy with Cage—because I was, deliriously so. It was just that I didn’t feel like I could talk to him about home. Cage and Daddy still didn’t speak to each other. When they were together, it was awkward. Even though Cage didn’t mention it, I knew he still worried that he would never measure up to Josh. If I ever mentioned Josh, the look on Cage’s face said it all. I just couldn’t be open with him about everything.

I fixed both of us a plate and sat down at the table across from Jeremy. We’d been eating together at this table since I was a little girl. It felt good to still have moments like this. “Tell me about college. You madly in love yet?”

Jeremy glanced up at me then back down at his plate, then he shoveled a forkful of peas into his mouth. Guess that wasn’t something he wanted to talk about. Which meant we needed to talk about it. It had always been Josh’s job to get Jeremy to talk when he had a problem. I had watched their dynamic for years. I knew Jeremy as well as I had known Josh.

“Talk Jer,” I said, setting my own fork down and staring at him.

He let out a sigh and shook his head. “Nothing to talk about.”

“Yeah, and I know better than that. Can’t lie to me,” I replied.

Jeremy leaned back in his seat and leveled me with his eyes. “Fine. I don’t think college life is for me. I thought it was what I wanted. I couldn’t wait to get out of here.. . . You know, away from this small town. But I miss it. A helluva lot. I miss waking up early and going outside before the dew has dried. I miss the smell of the land and working with the sun on my back while I accomplish something. For so damn long I wanted out of this life and now I know it’s my home. It’s who I am.”

I understood some of that. I missed the land too. Maybe not as much as he did, but it was a part of both of us. “Then move home. If this is the life you want, come home.”

I could see the torn expression in his eyes. “I want to. . . but Momma is so damn proud of me. For the first time in my life, she acts as proud of me as she was of Josh. I loved my brother, you know that, Eva, but I never was as good as Josh in Momma’s eyes. She adored him. He was the one who everyone loved.” He paused and his eyes flicked down, away from me. “I understand why. I loved him too. But it’s nice to feel like for once I’m doing something that she’s proud of even if she hadn’t wanted me to go in the beginning. She’s glad I did now.”

I leaned across the table and glared at Jeremy hard until he had to lift his gaze back up to meet mine. “Jeremy Beasley, you listen to me, and I mean listen to me good. Your momma thinks you walk on water. She adores you just as much as she adored Josh. How could she not? After everything, you were the reason everyone—me, your momma, your daddy, everyone—grieved for Josh, and you stood there in the gap. When you should have ben grieving and falling apart, you kept us all together. You, Jeremy. You. If you decide you want to come home and live here and have this life, your momma will be thrilled. She wants you close, Jer. But more than anything, she wants you to be happy. Can’t you see that? She wants you to have a chance at life. She wants you to get to live the life your brother didn’t.”

A small smile tugged on the corner of Jeremy’s lips. It was a crooked smile that reminded me so much of Josh’s. “I’m glad you were here today. I needed you to set me straight. Always were good for that,” Jeremy teased.

“We all have our talents,” I replied, and winked at him before picking up my biscuit.

“How are things with you and Cage?” Jeremy asked before taking another bite of his food.

“Good—no, great. He got a full-ride scholarship to Hill State in Tennessee for baseball. I’m so proud of him.”

Jeremy frowned. “How’s that gonna work? I can’t imagine York running off and leaving you behind. Last time I was around, he was pretty damn attached to you.”

The fear eating away at me was back. I wanted to believe the best, but the truth was, there was a chance Daddy could say no. What if he said no? “I’m going with him,” I replied, deciding that speaking it might make it true.

“Wow, really? I didn’t think your dad would be real keen on you running off with Cage.”

Not what I needed to hear right then. I managed to shrug indifferently. “Maybe not, but I love him.”

“And when Eva loves someone, she loves them hard and with all her heart. I know that. I’ve seen it in action,” Jeremy said with a sad smile that I didn’t understand and didn’t want to dig to deep and figure out. It was odd

CAGE

I glanced down at my phone again for the third time in ten minutes. It was getting late. Eva had texted that she was headed back from her dad’s over an hour ago. I didn’t want to text her and check on her while she was driving, for fear she’d glance down at her phone and take her eyes off the road. If she wasn’t here in the next ten minutes, I was going after her.

“Loosen up. Damn, I finally get you alone for more than ten f**king minutes, and all you do is sit around sulking and checking your phone. I love Manda like mad crazy, but even we have to take breaks from each other. You need to learn to breathe without her under your arm all the time.” Preston was frowning at me from across the table at Live Bay where I’d met up with him and Dewayne to hear Jackdown play. Eva knew where I was and was coming straight here.

“Shut up,” I growled at Preston. He tucked some of his long blond hair behind his ear, and I swear two girls walked up to the table because of it. The dude and his hair were a damn chick magnet. Annoying as hell, since most of them came in pairs and one was always looking at me. Not interested. Never will be.

“Hey, Preston, you’re alone tonight?” one of them said, leaning into him with her double d’s pressed in his face.

“My girl may not be here, but I’m still not available. Go sniff somewhere else,” he replied with a flip of his hand. I didn’t even make eye contact with them. My eyes were locked on the door, waiting for Eva to walk inside.

“Next time point one in my direction,” Dewayne said as he put his beer down on the table and sat down beside me. “I walk off for three damn minutes and miss that. I need a f**king distraction. They’d have done it. Both of ’em.”

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