Not Quite Over You

Page 6


“He’s trying to bribe Silver into sleeping with him,” Cade said with a chuckle. “I’m not sure that’s the best way to get her attention, but if you don’t have the goods personally then hey, whatever works.”
“Shut up.” Drew’s tone was mild. He was used to his cousin’s teasing. They’d been tight since birth.
“Why trailers?” Jasper asked. “And you did use the plural version of the word so there’s more than one?”
“I want to buy into her business.” He thought about mentioning the trouble with the bank loan but not only was the information personal, Libby was Cade’s mother. The two weren’t close but he doubted Cade would appreciate him dissing his mom.
He also wasn’t going tell them that he’d flat-out lied to Silver. Yes, he wanted to be involved in her business, but not because he was “building his personal portfolio” or whatever other crap he’d told her. He was a bank guy, through and through. He had no more interest in buying into other businesses than sprouting wings, but the fib had been necessary to get her to agree.
As to the why—as in why was he working so hard?—that was harder to define. He just couldn’t get her out of his head. Given their past, simply asking her out seemed fraught with peril. But this way, he could get to know her again while doing something interesting. Should things work out, then great. Should they not, he would loan her the money to buy him out—no harm done.
“The trailers were for sale, so I bought them. I’m hoping Silver lets me be a minority partner.”
“She strikes me as the kind of person who prefers to be in charge.” Jasper chugged more water. “Why that business?”
“Silver and I go way back. I’m helping an old friend.”
Cade snorted. “Is that what we’re calling it?” He turned to Jasper. “Drew and Silver have a past. The summer before Drew here took off for college, he and Silver had a thing. It was a hell of a summer. I still remember that party before Labor Day.”
“Silver and I threw a big party by the falls,” Drew explained to Jasper. “Underage teens, a lot of drinking.”
Cade touched his water bottle to Drew’s. “My first time getting drunk. I paid for it the next day, but the party was killer.” He chuckled.
Jasper studied Drew. “So you and Silver were an item? Then what?”
“I went off to college.” He hesitated. “Silver insisted we break up before I left. I didn’t want to, but she was determined.”
“She can be stubborn that way,” Cade told him.
“She can. Then I left.” There was more. So much more. Before he could decide what he should and shouldn’t say, he found himself blurting, “She was pregnant.”
Both Cade and Jasper stared at him.
“Seriously?” Cade asked. “What happened?”
“She came to visit me at college. I was well into my freshman year and had moved on. I didn’t want to believe her, but I knew what we’d been doing. I proposed, she said no. We agreed to give up the baby for adoption.”
Jasper and Cade exchanged a look.
“So you have a kid out there,” Jasper said. “How old is he? Or she?”
“Nearly twelve. I never asked what she had. I assumed a boy.” He’d always pictured a son, one who looked just like him. Ego, he supposed. And a lack of any other input. Of course, if they’d had a girl, he would have assumed she looked exactly like Silver.
“A kid,” Cade said quietly. “Bethany and I want kids. The sooner the better, but you beat us all.”
“We were young and foolish.” They’d been passionately in love, he thought. That part had been about as real as it got.
“Is the baby why you want to go into business with her?” Jasper asked. “Out of guilt?”
“I don’t feel guilty.” Drew paused. “We were kids ourselves. We couldn’t have been decent parents. I want to invest in Silver’s company because I think it’s the smart thing to do. I’ve run the numbers. She works hard, makes a good profit and is turning business away every week. It’s a sound business decision.”
“Uh-huh.” Jasper didn’t look convinced. “What did she say?”
“I think the real question is what did she hit you with when you told her what you’d done?” Cade chuckled.
“She’s thinking about it.” Drew grinned. “She was fine with it.”
“Okay, but she really did listen.”
Jasper finished his water and tossed the bottle into the recycling bin in the corner. “So you’re going to invest in Silver’s company, and then what? Are you going to help her manage the other trailers?”
“We’re still discussing the details.”
“The bank getting to you?” Cade sounded sympathetic. “I don’t know how you stand it, being there all day. It’s like a big, brick trap.”
Drew knew the bank wasn’t a trap—it was a living, breathing creature tied to the community. The bank was possibilities and he had a million ideas about how he was going to make it better.
“The bank is the least of it,” he said, avoiding the question.
Cade shook his head. “Your folks still on you?” He turned to Jasper. “Drew’s parents are...unusual. Happily Inc was never big enough for them. They always wanted to be somewhere else, doing something else. Howard, Drew’s dad, got involved politically and got an ambassadorship when Drew was still in school. Where was it again?”
“Andorra,” Drew said, remembering the thrill of having his parents leave town while he was in high school. He’d moved in with Grandpa Frank and life had gotten a whole lot easier. “It’s near Spain.”
“Never heard of it,” Jasper said. “Maybe I should do some research and set a book there.”
Cade grinned. “You should. Anyway, Howard had a couple more ambassadorships after that, then left the diplomatic corps to join a lobbying firm.”
“They’re still there,” Drew admitted grimly. “Growing the company and making room for their firstborn.”
Their only born, he added silently. Nothing would make his parents—mostly his mother—happier than having him take over the family bank for a couple of years, and then join his parents’ lobbying firm. While he was all over the first half, he had no interest in being a lobbyist.
“Not your dream job?” Jasper asked.
“Not even close.”
Jasper grinned at Cade. “Too bad they’re not your parents. Imagine how happy they’d be to know their son was marrying a genuine princess.”
“I don’t know where to start with that,” Cade admitted, then looked at Drew. “Have you told your mom about the engagement?”
“No, and I don’t plan to. The last thing any of us want is my mother camping out in town so she can go to your wedding or whatever it turns out to be.”
Cade had bought a stallion from the king of El Bahar. The “stable girl” who had delivered the stallion had turned out to be a royal princess in disguise. Cade and Bethany had fallen in love and were getting married. While the details hadn’t been worked out, there would be some kind of event or celebration locally, complete with the royal family attending.