Rival Page 34

“I want you to divorce my mother.”

His eyes widened, but I continued. “Make sure she’s taken care of, of course. I don’t love her, but I don’t want her on the streets, either. She gets a house and some payoff cash.”

He laughed bitterly, shaking his head.

“You don’t think I’ve been trying to divorce her, Fallon? Your mother is fighting the inevitable. She doesn’t want a divorce, and the attention of a long, messy legal battle would be right up her alley. Believe me, I can divorce her and not lose much doing it, either. But not without a media circus.”

Poor guy.

“That’s none of my concern. I don’t care how you go about it or how it hurts you. If you want quick and easy, then I suggest you open your wallet wider.”

He pressed his lips together, and I could tell he was thinking. I wasn’t worried. A lawyer like him can’t beat his wife in court? Please. He cared about his reputation and nothing more. He was right. My mother would do anything to get attention, and she’d drag him through the mud. But she had a price.

Everyone does.

“What else?” He raised his eyebrows, clearly not liking the terms so far.

“One of my father’s associates, Ted O’Rourke, is up for parole in September. See that it gets approved.”

“Fallon.” He shook his head at me again. “I defend the bad guys. I have no pull with the parole board.”

Who was he kidding?

I leaned in, placing my hand on his desk. “Enough with the helpless act. Don’t make me ask twice.”

“I’ll look into it.” He cocked his head at me. “What else?”

“Nothing.” I gave a closemouthed smile.

“That’s it. Your mother and Ted O’Rourke. Nothing for yourself?”

Standing up, I tucked a few strands of hair behind my ear and dropped my arms to my side. Putting my hands in my pockets would also be a sign of weakness.

“This was never about me, Jason, but you made it about me, didn’t you? That’s why you freaked when you caught Madoc and me together. You knew who my father was and what my mother was like by then, and you assumed the worst about me. You didn’t want your only son playing in the dirt.”

He pinched the bridge of his nose. “Fallon, you were only kids. It was too much, too fast. I always liked you.”

“I don’t like you,” I shot back. “The guilt, the sadness, the abandonment by adults that were supposed to stand by me at the very least, and everything that happened afterward was stuff I should never have gone through. Especially alone.”

He narrowed his eyes in confusion. “What stuff afterward?”

I lost my scowl. Didn’t he know?

Of course. Why would I have thought my mother would have told him?

I shook my head, ignoring his question. Who cared? It’s not like he would have protected me anyway.

“Those are the pictures I have of Katherine Trent. I kept nothing digital.”

He blinked. “You’re just letting me have them now? That’s not how blackmail works.”

“This isn’t blackmail,” I sneered. “I’m not like you. But I know a lot of bad people, and that’s why I know that you’ll do what I’m asking. If you keep your word, I’ll say nothing.”

Yeah, he knew who my father was and the kind of people I knew through him. I would never have used them to hurt anyone, but he didn’t know that.

He looked up and asked, “How do I know to trust you? I don’t want Katherine’s name dragged through the dirt.”

“I’ve never lied to you,” I pointed out and turned to walk away.

“Fallon?” he called, and I turned back to face him. “I’ve known for a long time where my talents lie. And my faults.” He stood, sticking his hands in his pockets. “I’ve neglected my wives, my son, and I never took much interest in anything outside of the courtroom.” His sigh was weary. “But no matter what you think, I do love my son.”

“I believe you do.”

“Was it so bad?” His eyes narrowed, studying me. “Being separated from him? I mean after all this time, can’t you see that it was for the best? Did it really hurt so much?”

Hurt. My jaw tightened, and my eyes burned. Did he ever love anything enough to be hurt?

My voice was almost a whisper. “I thought it did. At first. It hurt when I was ripped away from him without a good-bye. It hurt that I couldn’t see or talk to him. It hurt when my mother didn’t call me or invite me home for holidays. And it hurt when I snuck back here after a few months and found Madoc with someone else.” I straightened my shoulders and looked him dead in the eyes. “But what really hurt was being forced by my mother into that clinic, into that room, and being all alone while that machine stole his baby out of my body.”

His eyes widened, and I knew without a doubt that he hadn’t known.

I nodded, my voice raspy. “Yeah, that’s the part that really sucked.”

I turned, walked out, and tried not think about the heartbroken look on Jason Caruthers’s face before he buried it in his hands.




I opened my eyes, blinking away the sleep, and shot up in bed when I saw Addie staring down at me.

“Addie. What the hell?” I adjusted the sheets to make sure I was covered.

This was f**king awkward.

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