THE LIMO barely fit on their street. Houghton ordered the driver to park it directly in front of Brynna and Chance’s place. They lived in the larger house across the street from the one where Brynna and I had grown up. My sister had always loved that house. I liked that she was right across the street from my father.
It was hard not to want to keep an eye on Brynna, wasn’t it?
I have been responsible for her for almost her entire life. It was a hard habit to break. Even though Chance took it to the extremes. If Brynna even hiccupped my brother-in-law was right there.
My sister Jillian was already hard at work at the stove when we walked in the back door.
I took a moment to check on her. Her hair, so dark red it almost looked unreal, was pulled back in a French braid. I was glad to see that—for the first month after the day she’d almost died Jillian had kept her hair down.
Covering the scar where that bastard had almost slit her throat right in front of me. It wasn’t a large scar, but no one would miss it. It would remind my sister of what had happened every time she looked in a mirror.
Jilly, the sweetest, kindest of the lot of us. The one who had had the least to do with what had happened at the end of last year.
I hugged her impulsively. I will never forget how it had been, watching her and Houghton fighting for their lives.
I pushed the anger and hatred for the man responsible aside. Now was not the time for that. Now was the time for my family.
“Glad to see you’re back,” Jillian said. “Can you make the salad? Chance and Brynna are coming over soon; Elliot and Gabby are with them now.”
I’d spent the past six years cooking in this kitchen for my family. To tell you the truth, I kind of missed it since moving in with Houghton. He had a cook, and six different places inside the house where he could get food. Yet somehow we ended up eating here at Dad’s at least three nights a week.
I think Houghton enjoyed the time at the family table as much as I did.
I looked over at him. He and my father were speaking quietly. They were still a little uneasy with each other. But it had only been a bit over a month and a half since everything had happened. They would get used to each other eventually.
Houghton looked at me and smiled. Just like that, I forgot what I was doing.
“Focus, Mel. You can stare at Houghton later.” Jillian snarked at me, like she’d used to. Jilly is four years younger than I am, but we have always been close. We’d tag-teamed taking care of Brynna and Syd between us for years. I depended on Jillian, same as she had me. I half feel like I abandoned her recently.
She and Syd were left at the house with Dad, but Brynna was right across the street. Things had changed like crazy since October. Jillian, especially. “You ok, Jilly?” I asked quietly. “Tell me the truth.”