One Secret Night, One Secret Baby(2)

By: Charlene Sands


He let her go to sip his soda and she began breathing normally again. Cautiously she took a step away from him. Having his hand on her played too much havoc with her brain. She had escaped telling him the truth today, and the devil on her shoulder whispered in her ear, Why rock the boat? Clever little fiend. This can be your little secret.

Could she really get away with not having to tell him?

She battled with the notion as the yacht made its way out of Marina del Rey, traveling past the docks at a snail’s pace. Pungent sea scents filled her nostrils, seagulls squawked overhead and one white-winged bird landed on a buoy and quietly watched the yacht head into open seas.

“I guess it’s time,” Dylan said, minutes later, once they were far enough out to sea. Dylan wanted to do this alone, with just his family. Later today, a memorial would be held at his Moonlight Beach home open to Roy’s friends and fellow crew and cast members, the only family he’d ever known. That’s when Emma and Brooke would go to work, hosting an informal buffet dinner in Roy’s honor. It definitely wasn’t a Parties-To-Go kind of event, but Dylan had turned to them for help. “Roy always joked, if he missed the net from a ten-story fall, to make sure I tossed his ashes from the Classy Lady. He loved this boat, but I never thought I’d ever have to do this.”

Brooke’s doe eyes softened on her brother and Emma hurt inside for both of them. Brooke and Dylan were miles apart in most things, but when push came to shove, they were always there for each other. Emma envied that. She had no siblings. She had no real family, except for foster parents, two people who’d taken her in and then neglected her as a child. She hadn’t hit the jackpot in the parent department, that was for sure. Not like Brooke. Brooke was Dylan’s younger foster sister whom his parents had eventually adopted. They were totally amazing. They’d been better parents to Emma than the two who’d collected monthly checks on her behalf.

Dylan made swift work of saying heartfelt words about his friend, his voice tightening up to get it all out, right before he opened the urn, lifted it up and let the wind carry Roy’s ashes out to sea. When he turned around, tears filled his eyes and his mouth quivered in heartbreak. She’d never seen this vulnerable side of Dylan and she gripped the railing tight to keep from going to him. It wasn’t her place.

Brooke went to him and cradled him in her arms the way a mother would a child, whispering soft words of sympathy in his ear. Dylan nodded his head as he listened to his baby sister. After a few minutes he wiped the tears from his eyes and the solemn expression from his face. He gave Brooke a sweet smile.

Dylan McKay was back.

It was the first time Emma had ever seen him let his guard down.

It touched her soul.

Secret dibs.

* * *

Dylan’s kitchen could swallow up her little apartment in one large gulp. Every kind of new age appliance ever conceived was set on the shiny onyx granite counter and in the textured white cabinets. It was a culinary dream kitchen and his housekeeper, Maisey, made great use of it. She’d cooked up a storm for the fifty-plus people who’d come to pay their respects to Roy Benjamin. Aside from Maisey’s home cooking, the caterers Emma had commissioned delivered trays of finger foods, specialty breads and appetizers. Everyone from grips to the president of Stage One Studios was here. Emma and Brooke, dressed in appropriate black dresses with little ornamentation, set out the food and offered drinks to the guests. They weren’t acting as Parties-To-Go planners today as much as they were Dylan’s hostesses for this sad event.

“Did you see what Callista is wearing?” Brooke muttered under her breath.

Emma set out a plate of sweet-cream-and-berry tarts on the dessert table, shooting a quick glance to the living room, where many of the guests were gathered. Callista Lee Allen, daughter to the Stage One Studio mogul, was on Dylan’s arm, hanging on his every word. She wore Versace, and the only reason Emma knew that was because she’d overheard the blonde gloating about it. It was a silver glimmer dress with detailed layering and jewels dripping off her throat and arms. “I see.”

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