RUSH (Montgomery Men Book 1)(6)

By: C.A. Harms

Like I said, Jase and Bruce were dirty.

“Excuse me,” I said, causing Jase to redirect his attention from the person he was talking to toward me. He tightened his grip on my waist and gave me a questioning look. “I just need to go to the ladies’ room and freshen up before dinner is served,” I said in explanation as I plastered on a fake smile and leaned into my husband.

Appear as the loving devoted wife always, Kinsley.

The thought made it hard to breathe.

“Hurry up and come back to me,” he whispered sweetly before leaning in to kiss my cheek.

I fought the urge to roll my eyes as I stepped away and turned toward the exit of the ballroom where the event was being held.

I felt like running, just craving the moment alone that I was seldom granted. I ignored the people I passed, who looked as if they wanted me to stop and talk, offering them smiles. I had been given a small taste of freedom, and I was embracing it.

Once I was safely tucked inside the women’s restroom, I took the first available stall I could find, shutting and locking the door. When I leaned back against the metal, the coolness felt amazing. For a moment I closed my eyes, taking the time I had been allowed to breathe and attempt to relieve some of the tension coiling through my body.

I stayed that way for a while, then panicked as I realized I didn’t know how much time had passed. Fearing that Jase would come looking for me, I hurried to relieve myself, washed my hands, and rushed toward the door. Just as I was reaching for the handle, it flew open. I stumbled back to keep from being hit in the face and held my hand out in defense.

Relief washed over me when I looked up and didn’t see Jase. An older, kind-looking woman with gentle eyes stepped inside and offered me a sweet smile.

“I’m sorry, sweetheart, I almost hit you.”

I felt like I had seen her somewhere before. Something about her seemed so familiar.

“It’s okay, I’m fine, really,” I replied and gave her a reassuring smile.

She stared back at me for a moment, tilting her head to the side with a puzzled look on her face. But then she smiled once again and I relaxed.

“You’re Kinsley, right?” she asked. “Your father was Arthur.”

I nodded, realizing then where I knew her from. “Yes I am,” I said. Then her words hit me. “Wait, ‘was’?”

“I remember seeing you visit him on occasion. I haven’t worked at Whisper Ridge for close to a month, but I do stay in touch with the other caregivers there, and I was so sorry to hear about your father, dear.”

I had never in my life been more confused than I was in that moment. I stood staring at her as if I was mute.

“He was always one of my favorite residents. That man always left a smile on the faces of everyone he came in contact with. Such a kind soul. I know the ladies sure do miss him too.”

My heart sank. “What? I’m not sure I understand what you’re referring to.” My heartbeat hammered in my ears, and I felt lightheaded and nauseous, as if I may pass out at any moment. Tears welled in my eyes. I already knew the answer to my next question, but I had to ask it anyway. “What do you mean they miss him?”

Even though I’d seen this woman before, I couldn’t remember her name. But she had obviously spent time with my father, because the way she described him and his kindness was dead on. She stared back at me without answering my question, and I found myself suddenly growing angry.

“Answer me,” I said as my nostrils flared. “What happened to my father?” None of this was her fault, I knew that, but I couldn’t control my emotions.

“I’m so sorry. I just assumed that you of all people would know.” She sagged and her own eyes filled with tears. “Your father passed away last week.”

I felt my body collapse to the floor, and I did nothing to stop it. The impact barely fazed me because in that moment my heart was breaking.

“He didn’t tell me,” I whispered. The woman knelt at my side and took my hand in hers. “Jase didn’t even tell me he died.” The words burned in my throat.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, but how could someone keep that kind of news hidden? Did he think I would never find out? How long did he think he could continue to delay our visits and make excuses?

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