Chapter 1

1422 Words

Chapter 1


“Tell me that my brother is not Ethan’s father,” I hiss. My heart pounds in my chest while the tears stream down my face as I stand here looking at who are supposed to be my best friends. The tie around my neck suddenly feels tight. I have the white paper clenched in my hand so tight that my whole body feels like it’s shaking. Savannah stands there looking more beautiful than she has ever looked in her whole life, and trust me, I know. I’ve been watching her for what feels like my whole life.

“Tell me!” I shout, and the tears flow down her face.

“Ethan is mine,” says Jacob, my best friend and father of Ethan. Kallie, who left eight years ago when Savannah found out she was pregnant and said it was Jacob’s, stands beside him. When I learned the news, I was cut off at the knees. I was gutted and hollow, thinking that my best friend had slept with the only woman I have ever loved. I pretended to be supportive of them, but deep down inside, I died. A piece of me was gone forever.

“Really,” I say. Shaking my head, I walk around the big brown desk that belonged to my father for the past twenty-five years. And before that, it was my grandfather’s. Today was supposed to be a day I never forgot, and after this, it will be. Jacob and I would always sneak into this office and take a couple of swigs of the top-of-the-line whiskey my father kept in here. More than once, we got caught, but my father would just smile and walk back out of the room.

“Beau.” Casey says my name, and my eyes fly to his. Casey is Kallie’s brother and another one of my best friends. I look at everyone in the room and wonder if they all lied to me. Was it all a lie? Was everything a lie? “Sit down.”

I shake my head. “Imagine my surprise …” I start, my voice low so Savannah can hear me. She stands there watching me, her face wet from tears. “When I walked in here to take a drink with my best friends.” I swallow. “To take one shot of whiskey. Then my leg hits something on the desk, and the sound it made caused me to stop. But it would sound weird since the desk was one hundred years old. But when I bent down, this little box was under there. And if you look closely, you can see it is a hidden compartment.”

“Beau.” Savannah whispers my name, and my heart shatters in my chest.

“I had no idea what could be that confidential that he would have to lock it up this tight.” I laugh bitterly, looking down at the paper. “I flipped over a couple of things and then found this.” I hold up the paper being crumpled by my tight fist. “My brother is Ethan’s father.”

“No,” Jacob states loudly. “He’s my son.”

“Is he?” I ask, wondering how he could stand there after all he’s been through. He’s tolerated the judgmental looks from the townspeople for the past eight years. He heard all the whispers from everyone when Kallie left. He lost f*****g Kallie, and he still takes Savannah’s side.

“I, Savannah Harrison, relinquish Liam Huntington from all parental duties.”

“I can explain,” she finally says. Sobbing, she puts her hand in front of her mouth. Ten minutes ago, I would have been the first one rushing to her side to hold her in my arms. I would have given her anything. But now I look at her, and I can’t give her anything.

“Explain this to me!” I shout at the top of my lungs, and it startles her. The music from outside at my party can be heard. A party my parents put together to honor me for being the third generation to fill the shoes of mayor. “Why you would sign this paper?”

Jacob steps forward to stand in front of me. “You need to calm down and let her explain,” he tells me. When I push him away from me, Casey now coming forward to make sure that nothing else happens. The anger radiates from me now, and I brush away my tears.

“You lied to me.” I point at Jacob and lean forward, hissing in his face. “Everything was a f*****g lie.” My normal calm and cool demeanor is now out of the door. Suddenly feeling hot, I throw off my jacket. “This whole time, it was all a lie.” Laughing, I shake my head and loosen my tie. “What a f*****g joke this was.”

“You need to stop talking right now.” Jacob has tears in his eyes, his chest rising and falling the whole time. “Seriously, you need to just stop.”

“Stop,” I growl. “After everything.” My hand grips the white paper even harder in my hand. “After standing there beside you all this time. Supportive, stupid Beau.”

“Stop it!” Savannah yells. “Stop talking!”

“What’s the matter, Savannah? The truth hurts,” I say. I know I’m going over the line, and that I’ll regret it in the morning. “That the whole time, people were talking about you. Can you imagine what they would have said about you?” I laugh. “Guess what? They did say it.” I don’t even see the fist that comes flying at me, so I can’t duck, but Jacob hits me right in the jaw, snapping my head to the side.

“Jacob!” Kallie shrieks, and it takes me a second to realize that he hit me. After tasting the blood in my mouth, I reach up with my hand and wipe away a trickle of blood with my thumb.

I look down at my hand and then back up at my best friend. Savannah’s still crying silently. I turn back to look at Jacob. “She isn’t worth it.” The sound of Savannah’s gasp fills the room, and now when I look over at her, she looks down and then up. She never says a word. Instead, she turns and walks out of the room, slamming the door behind her.

“You son of a b***h,” Jacob hisses. “You stupid son of a bitch.” I feel numb, completely numb. I pick up the bottle of whiskey and take three long gulps, only stopping when the burning gets to my stomach and it feels like there is a fire there. I don’t know if it’s from the whiskey or if it’s because I just lost the woman I love. I slump into the chair, gripping the bottle tightly.

“How could you do that to her?’ he asks. I wonder if he’s for real right now. “Do you know what you just did?”

“Me?” I point at myself. “What I did? I did nothing.”

“You just s**t all over Savannah,” Kallie says, and my eyes fly to hers.

“Out of everyone in this room, I’m surprised you’re sticking up for her.” I take another gulp. “She ruined your life.”

“She is Ethan’s mother,” Kallie says, walking toward me and the big brown desk that held all these secrets.

“And God knows who the real father really is.” When I look into Jacob’s eyes, Casey shoots his arm out to stop Jacob from charging over to me.

Jacob looks down and then up. “It just goes to show the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

I look straight into his eyes when I say the next words, coming out before I can stop them. “Isn’t that the truth. Like mother, like daughter.”

He shakes his head, then over at Kallie. “Let’s go.” He turns and walks out of the room with Kallie right behind him.

“You better get your head out of your ass and go after her,” Casey says. Turning, he grabs Olivia’s hand and walks out of the room, then closes the door behind him. I look down at the paper I still have gripped in my hand and read the words over and over again until they are blurred from my tears.

I take another pull of the whiskey, and it takes five gulps until the burning starts. After another six, the glass bottle flies out of my hand and crashes against the white wall, shattering everywhere like an explosion while the amber liquid leaks down. The pictures on the wall of my father and my brother stare back at me. The picture of the three of us standing in front of this very house. “f**k you,” I say to the empty room, but more to my brother whose picture I’m staring at. “f**k you and the horse you rode in on.”

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