The Good Luck Charm Page 34

“Your son tried to use me as a towel.”

My dad’s expression is difficult to read as he turns to watch Lilah scamper up the stairs.

“Are you gonna grab me a towel?” I call after her.

“Sure.” A washcloth lands at the bottom of the stairs, too far away for me to reach, not that it’d be much help, anyway.

My dad’s cheek tics as if he’s fighting a smile.

“Come on, Lilah.”

“It’ll cover the important parts!” The sound of a door closing on the floor above means she’s not going to help me out more than she already has. I suppose it serves me right.

“You’re not gonna rat me out to Mom if I walk across the house like this, are you?” I ask my dad, gesturing to my wet suit.

He shakes his head, subdued.

I bust my ass across the living room, trying to stay off the hardwood, and skid across the floor, rushing down the stairs to my bedroom. I’m quick about changing into jeans, a tee, and a sweatshirt. Now that I’m not as angry and the adrenaline has worn off, I have a chill. I grab a couple of towels from the basement, mop up any water on the living room floor, and throw everything in the laundry before my mom returns from her dinner. It’s after eight already, and I have no idea what time she left, but I have to assume she’ll be back soon. She’s not big on leaving my dad for any length of time, even less when he’s without a chaperone, which he loathes. Unless it’s Lilah, of course. Although tonight even her presence didn’t seem to temper his bad mood.

I put the kettle on and return to the living room. If I’m cold, Lilah must be, too.


I look over at my dad, who’s sitting on the couch with the tablet still in his lap.

“You want tea, too?” I ask, not quite ready to forgive him, but I don’t think staying angry does me any good, either.

He nods, then pats the cushion beside him.

“You want me to sit?”

I get another head bob.

I cross my arms over my chest and stay where I am. “You planning to say more shitty things to me?”

He has the decency to look guilty as he shakes his head.

I flop down on the couch beside him. If he wants something from me, he’s going to have to ask.

He passes me the tablet and taps the screen. “Read, please?”

I glance down, expecting a question or a couple of lines asking me to do something for him—that’s not what I get, though.


I’ve been stuck inside my own head for a while now, and it hasn’t been a great place to be. I’ve had time to reflect, encumbered by my body’s unwillingness to do what I want it to. I’ve also had time to watch this relationship between you and Delilah blossom again.

It’s my fault that you were apart all this time.

I wish I’d said this years ago. Maybe I could’ve saved you both a lot of hurt and myself a lot of regret, because I forced you to make a choice without weighing the consequences. I wanted you to stay, and I thought I could push you to decide between the two things you loved the most. I didn’t realize the damage I would do to Delilah, to you, to our relationship.

Your mother was angry for a long time. It took me until now to understand why. She knew what I had been blind to.

You only get one soul mate.

You just found yours before you understood what it meant, and I interfered when I shouldn’t have.

I’m so sorry for keeping you two apart for as long as I have.

Right now I’m trapped inside this body that doesn’t work properly, and half the time I can’t even find the words I want to use, and then I use them in ways that hurt instead of help.

I love you. I’m proud of you.


I read the letter twice, hearing his voice the entire time. I can’t imagine the weight of living with this. Watching Lilah marry someone else, seeing that relationship fail, watching my career decline over the past eight years. When I meet his gaze, it’s full of sad regret, and I finally understand where the wall that’s been between us came from.

He pats my leg with a heavy, clunky hand. “I’m sorry.”

I could be angry, but it serves no purpose. Life is full of what-ifs and uncertainties. “If it makes you feel any better, I probably would’ve fucked it up along the way if we’d stayed together. She missed my worst years.”

The kettle whistles, and the front door swings open, announcing my mother’s arrival home. My father’s face lights up, and I suddenly understand what he means about soul mates.

Those two belong together. My mother is the pepper to his salt.

I don’t recall a time when they’ve been apart. Not for more than a day or two when my dad would go on one of his fishing trips.

My father reaches for the walker he detests and struggles to get it open on his own, but he manages after two tries. My mother takes slow steps toward him, and when they’re within reach of each other, he finds the strength to let go of the walker, cup her face in his unsteady palms, and kiss her.

chapter fifteen




A few days later Ethan shows up at my door dressed in sports gear and hiking shoes, holding a bag from my favorite bakery. I’ve been home for all of five minutes and I’m still dressed in my scrubs.

“What’s this?” I nod to the bag.

“So you don’t have to stop for breakfast on your way to work in the morning.”

“That was thoughtful.”

He grins. “No stopping for breakfast means more spooning time for me.”

“Ah, ulterior motives to go with your sweetness. I see.” I step back, smiling, as he invites himself inside and drops his duffel on the floor. I barely give it a glance—if he comes for a visit now, it’s typically overnight. He’s about three hours earlier than I expected, though. “I thought you were coming over around eight.”

“Sorry. I got a little antsy. I thought we could go for a walk.” He wraps his arms around me and gives me a warm kiss.

I cringe as Merk runs a circle around us, nudges up with his nose, then rushes to where his leash is hanging by the door and barks. “You said the w word.” There’s no way we’re getting into any kind of make-out session now.

He kisses the end of my nose and grins. “Looks like I have a taker.”

“Awesome. Why don’t you take him for a nice long one? I have some reading to do for class.” I give him a cheeky grin.

“You’d rather read a book than spend quality time with me and Merk?”

I hesitate, weighing the things I have to do against this opportunity to spend time with Ethan. Despite it being early in the course, the load is already pretty heavy. “I have homework when we get back, though.” I suppose I could put it off for an hour or so.

His hands go lower, cupping my ass. “You’re sexy when you study.”

“I mean it, Ethan. If you’re a distraction, I’m sending you packing. I have an assignment due in two days that I haven’t started.”

“That’s not like you.”

“No. It’s not. There’s a six-foot-two hockey player who keeps interfering with my study time.” While I very much enjoy having Ethan around, I don’t want to lose sight of my goal—which is only two stats courses away from being possible.

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