Dare to Dream (Carolina Beach #1)(3)

By: C.A. Harms

I no longer cared that he had once again managed to isolate himself when I needed him most. I just needed him to hold me and somehow convince me that I would make it through this. I needed to be supported and forced to face the loss of my father. I needed Tucker to tell me that no matter what, he would be right by my side.

This wasn’t about intimacy, because he and I had only been together for a few weeks and had yet to share that. This was a girl simply needing her best friend.

I forced my feet to move, though I still felt as if I were floating through the movements with no recollection of each step I took.

The red car next to Tucker’s truck in the driveway should have been all the proof I needed that he had company I wouldn’t approve of. I recognized the car. I’d seen it here often prior to my relationship with Tucker becoming more than just a friendship. But I moved forward, forcing myself to face yet another painful part of this day of hell.

The urge to hurl the pot next to Tucker’s front door through the windshield of that pretty, little red car was almost impossible to resist. Instead, I lifted it and retrieved the key hidden under it, something I’d done often throughout my many visits to his house.

I knew exactly what I would find inside, but I no longer cared. It was strange, but I felt as if I needed something to focus on other than my father’s death. That need drove me not to run from the truth I knew I was about to find, but instead face it. I was done running. I was done living in the dark and in false hope. And right now I needed to feel something more than grief about my father, even if it was just more pain.

I forced myself to turn the key in the lock, twist the handle, and carefully push against the door. As it slowly creeped open, I found that the living room was dark, but the hallway light lit the way to Tucker’s bedroom.

My heart thumped so hard in my chest that blood whooshed through my ears. One step at a time, I moved toward the bedroom as I fisted the key tightly. I knew it was weird, but I needed to feel the pain of the metal digging into my palm. That feeling kept me moving forward, forcing me to face what was behind the bedroom door.

The squeaking of bedsprings and panting breaths didn’t even faze me. I found an inner strength I didn’t know I had and placed my other palm against the door before slowly pushing it open.

I should have screamed or thrown something at the two of them, but I remained in the same spot, staring ahead blankly at the two bodies intertwining and the long, brown hair flowing down the girl’s back as she moved above the man below her. The same man that only weeks ago had told me he was ready to settle down and give me the life I deserved. The same man that had spent each day since reassuring me that he meant every single word. I had known this man my whole life and was stupid enough to believe he could be something more for me than a friend, even though I had never in all those years seen him offer any other woman more than just a wild night.

I should have been saddened by his betrayal, but in a way I felt relieved. Tucker was never going to be the man I needed him to be. He wasn’t built that way, and I think I knew that all along but refused to accept it. I was more saddened by the loss of the friendship I knew we would no longer be able to share than the loss of the possibility of being lovers. We were never lovers.

“Greer.” His gruff voice was laced with shock, yet I remained frozen. I was still amazed that for once I no longer cared if he shared the feelings I’d believed I had for him for years. “Damn it.” His irritated curse echoed through the room. I saw quick movements in my peripheral vision, but I still didn’t move. “Babe, I can explain.”

I looked up just in time to see Tucker rushing toward me.

He stepped in front of me, blocking my view of the bed, and for the first time since arriving, I could see him clearly. He’d covered his front with a sheet, his hair was sticking out in every direction, and his face was flushed. “I just—” He looked behind him at the woman still in his bed. “Fuck,” he mumbled, gripping the back of his neck in frustration.

“My father died today,” I whispered before I could stop the words. My vision blurred from the tears that pooled from saying it aloud.

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