One Secret Night, One Secret Baby(4)

By: Charlene Sands


Emma plunked three ice cubes into a glass and poured him a root beer, his favorite from childhood. “Here, drink up.”

“Thanks,” he said, “though I could use something stronger.”

“The doctor says not yet. You’re still on pain meds.” Brooke’s internal mother came out. It really was sweet seeing how close the two had become since the move from Ohio to Los Angeles years ago.

“One drink won’t kill me.”

“Let’s not find out, okay? I was worried enough when you were sent to the hospital. And Mom just went home two days ago. If I have to call her again to tell her you’re back in Saint Joseph’s, she’ll have a heart attack.”

Dylan rolled his eyes. “You see how good she is, Emma? She knows exactly how to lay on the guilt.”

A chuckle rumbled from Emma’s throat. “I know all about Brooke’s tactics. I work with her.”

“Hey!” Brooke said. “You’re supposed to be on my side.”

“Like I said, Emma’s a diplomat. Thanks for the drink.” He lifted his glass in mock toast and then pivoted around and walked away.

“He’ll be okay,” Brooke said, watching him head back to his guests. “We just have to do whatever it takes to help him along.”

Dread formed a tight knot in Emma’s stomach. She hated keeping secrets from Brooke. They usually shared everything. But how exactly could she come out and say, I begged your brother to sleep with me the night of the blackout and all I remember is his body on mine, heated breaths and sexy words whispered in my ear. She didn’t remember how she got in bed or when he left her that night. She couldn’t recall how they’d ended things. Were there parting words recognizing the big mistake? Or had he promised to call her? He had no knowledge of what they’d done, but geesh, she didn’t recall much of that night, either.

“Oh, brother,” she mumbled.

“What?” Brooke asked.

“Nothing. Nothing at all.”

* * *

“Brooke, you did a wonderful job today,” Callista said, leaning her arms over the granite island, spilling her cleavage and smiling her billion-dollar smile. The sun was setting and all but one guest had left the memorial service. “You helped make the day easier for your brother.”

“It wasn’t just me, Callie,” Brooke said. “Emma did her fair share of the work and we’d both do anything to help Dylan get through this day.”

Callista’s gaze darted Emma’s way as if she’d just noticed her standing there. Hello, I’m not invisible. “Of course, you, too, Emma.” She spoke to her as if she were a child. What was it with rich powerful women that made them feel superior, just by right of wealth? Emma could probably run circles around her SAT scores. “You did a marvelous job.”

“Dylan’s a special guy and I’m happy to help.”

Callista gave her a cursory nod, eyeing her for just a second as if measuring the competition, and then turned away, writing her off.

“Brooke, do you know where Dylan is? I want to say goodbye to him and tell him his eulogy was touching.”

“Yeah, I do. He said to say goodbye to you for him. The day tired him out. He went to sleep.”

“He’s in bed already?” Callista straightened and her gaze moved toward the hallway staircase. She knew exactly where Dylan’s bedroom was. “Maybe I should go up and wish him good-night.”

“He, uh, needs uninterrupted rest. Doctor’s orders.” Brooke’s accomplished smile brought Emma a stream of silent chuckles. Leave it to Brooke. She was in defense mode now.

“Yes, of course, you’re right.” She nibbled on her lip, shooting another longing glance at the staircase. Then her expression changed. “He does need to rest up so he can be back on set as soon as possible.”

The SEAL movie had been shut down for a month already and it was costing the studio big bucks, so Dylan’s return to the set was essential. Even Callista recognized that fact. “Tell him I’ll call him.”

“Will do, Callie. I’ll walk you out.”

“Oh, that’s not necessary,” Callista said.

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