“Cara would be the one to ask, she talks to Jill more than I do.” Ty looks at Cara expectantly.
“She’s good. Working hard.” Cara smiles at us and shrugs. “We have a phone date tonight.”
“A phone date?” I ask.
“Yeah, we try to carve out a few hours every month to catch up. Tonight’s our date night.”
“Why did she decide to stay in California after the divorce?”
Ty frowns and rubs his forehead. “Good question.” He glances at Cara, his face sober. “Has she ever confided in you about what happened with the asshole?”
Cara shakes her head and sighs. “No. Even when we’ve had too much to drink, she won’t tell me.”
“She’s so damn frustrating,” Ty mutters as he pulls his hands down his face and back up through his hair in agitation. “I wish she’d talk to me about it so I’d know how to fix it.”
“You’re always fixing things for the women in your life,” I mention quietly, and cross my ankle over my knee, memories of not so long ago echoing through my mind. “Maybe she wants to take care of this on her own.”
Ty just stares back at me and cocks an eyebrow. “Would you leave it alone if it were your sister?”
“Fuck no.” I sigh.
“I wish she’d come home,” Cara murmurs. “For good. Not just to visit.”
“Yeah, I need someone to harass,” Ty agrees with a sad smile.
“You guys always did torture us endlessly. What was up with that?” Cara turns to me, looking all exasperated and adorable.
“You were girls, we were teenagers, and it was our God-given right as older brothers—and friends of older brothers—to torment you.” She bites her lip to keep from laughing, her eyes sparkling with memories.
“But no one else would dare give us a hard time for fear of your wrath,” she says, laughing, and she’s absolutely right.
If anyone else had fucked with them, we would have killed them.
“Where is Zack these days? Is he still deployed? I haven’t talked to him for a while.” Ty grabs a paper clip off his desk and slowly begins to straighten it.
“He’s been in Afghanistan. He should be back in Texas this week, and then he’ll be on his way here once he processes out of the army.” I sigh and glance over at Seth to make sure he’s still listening to his music.
“What the fuck was Kensie thinking?” Ty breathes.
“Who cares? Seth is safe, and Zack will be home soon, and hopefully things will calm down for everyone.”
“What will Zack do here? The army is all he’s known for more than ten years.” Cara frowns and crosses her short legs. I wish she’d worn shorts again today. Her legs are toned and soft. I wonder what they’ll feel like wrapped around my waist.
Or propped on my shoulders.
“I’m not sure what his plans are.” I shake my head, attempting to focus on the topic at hand. “I think he’s just anxious to get here and make sure Seth is okay. We’ll take it from there.” I’m ready for my brother to be home full-time. As Cara said, he’s been gone for more than ten years, and it’s time for him to come home. He’s a good man, and given the chance, he’d be a good dad, no matter what lies his bitch ex-wife put into Seth’s head.
“I’m done.” Seth stands and pulls his buds out of his ears.
Ty joins him and checks over his work. “That was faster than I expected. Good job.”
Seth grins proudly and waits while Ty checks Seth’s work.
Ty pulls a few files back out of the drawer. “These three were out of order,” he accuses, his tone hard. “Someone could have gone to jail or lost a lot of money because you filed these incorrectly.”
“I tried my best.” Seth sets his jaw and frowns.
“I told you, it has to be perfect.”
“I don’t care about your stupid papers.”
“Seth,” Cara warns just as I’m about to shove to my feet. “Ty is your employer. He deserves your respect.”
“Sorry,” Seth mumbles.
“Overall, you did good, Seth. Thank you.”
Seth turns to me. “Can I go to the car?”
He rushes out of the building and Ty sighs. “That sucked. I don’t want to play the scared-straight game again.”
Cara laughs and rubs his arm soothingly, and I suddenly want to punch my best friend in the face. “Thanks for helping.”
Ty’s eyes are on mine, and he smiles slowly, the bastard. “My pleasure, little one.” He bends down and kisses her cheek, runs a finger down her face, and Cara gapes up at him.
So, they’re not a couple, and Ty thinks he can have some fun with me. Bastard.
“Let’s go.” Cara turns toward the door. “We have one more stop to make.”
“You’re an ass,” I mutter to Ty after Cara leaves through the door.
“I know.” He grins and then sobers. “You like her.”
“Yeah, I like her.”
“She’s grown up nicely.” Ty nods.
I narrow my eyes on him again. “Why am I just now noticing?”
“I don’t know, man.” He slaps my shoulder and holds the door open for me. “Good luck.”
I follow Cara to the car and climb in. “Where to now?”
“Just one more stop.” She checks the mirrors as she pulls into traffic. “How was that?”
“Ty’s an ass,” Seth says.
“Watch your damn mouth!” I yell before I can stop myself. “Ty is my best friend, and an adult, and you will respect that.”
Seth crosses his arms defiantly and I sigh. “I’m sorry I yelled, but, Seth, you’ve got to stop with this disrespectful attitude.”
“We’re here.” Cara pulls the car to the stop and I gape at her.
She turns her amber eyes to me and nods solemnly, and I think I’m going to throw up. There is no way in hell I want my nephew in the jail. He’s only twelve years old!
“Come on.” Cara climbs out of the car and we follow behind her.
“Hey, Cara, Josh.” Brad Hull, one of the police detectives, meets us and greets us warmly.
“You must be Seth,” Brad greets Seth, and shakes his hand. “I’ve heard a bit about you.”
“Yeah, I suck.”