When your entire life is designated to be atonement for something you didn’t do, someone else’s second chance, things like happiness are hard to come by. For the last three years I’ve been pressured into making up for Nathan’s mistakes. It’s obvious my parents, my mom especially, feel as though if I live the perfect life, behave like the perfect daughter, it will somehow erase all the fault that they carry my brother. What they never managed to grasp is that I’m not perfect. Nor do I want to be. For once, I would like to just be. Just live. And live only for me.
“I can hear the wool gathering in that thick skull of yours.” Drake’s deep rumble pulls me out of my own head and I smile up at him. “What were ya thinking about?”
I frown and rub my eyes to clear the alcohol induced fog that’s now taking root in front of my vision. “Nothing important, just family bull shit.”
“What kind of problems could your family have? Your parents seem great, and you certainly don’t need for anything with that big fancy apartment and riding club to keep you occupied.”
His dismissive snort sends my hackles up and my claws out. You don’t anything about me! “You’re right. I have a big apartment, a big barn, a great job, wonderful parents and a best friend who I love more than anything. Wonderful parents who gave me that big apartment and big barn and great job with the understanding that I would be the perfect daughter who is conveniently under their thumb. Wonderful parents who love their little Lola Scarlet who is beautiful and charming and will one day marry the son they never had. A son they can be proud of. And a broken best friend I didn’t protect and who I couldn’t fix.” I glare at Drake and spin towards the bar and practically slam my hand through the wooden top in my demand for a beer.
I feel him before I see him. He stands behind me, a daunting physical presence at my back for at least five minutes before he speaks. “I’ve always hated people who judge other people.” Well, that’s not at all what I expected. I take a swig of my beer and wait for him to continue. “You can know everything there is to know about someone’s life, who their parents are, what they do for a living, how much money they have, the friends they hang out with, and never really know anything. People who seem simple on the surface, are usually the most complex.”
I do turn then, and Drake is standing behind me with his arms crossed, his hat down low and his mouth clamped in a straight line. Every aspect of his physical being is closed off, guarded. But the words he just spoke and the look in his eyes are wide open. In those three sentences I learned a lot about Drake Thomas. “Wanna get out of here?” I say in response and he smiles.