Rival Page 86

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During the next couple of days, Fallon and I started getting things sorted out in Chicago. She went to class, while I handled the paperwork of withdrawing from one school and transferring to another. At night, if she wasn’t doing homework, we got online to look for apartments.

Fallon had been trying to contact her father to tell him about our marriage, but when she contacted one of his men, he’d said that Ciaran was “unreachable” at the moment.

Which meant he was being detained for questioning, probably. No one was “unreachable” in the twenty-first century, unless their cell phone had been confiscated.

“Daniel,” she spoke to one of her father’s men on the phone, “if I don’t hear from my father by tomorrow, I’m going to the police myself. I, at least, need to know he’s not dead.”

It was Thursday night, and she was sitting on the couch in Jared’s apartment, while Tate and I had just gotten back from a run. Fallon normally joined us, but she’d opted to stay in and make her calls.

Jared was still at ROTC training, and he’d been gracious enough to let Fallon and me have the extra space in the loft of his apartment this week.

“Shower?” I asked Fallon as I tore off my sweaty T-shirt.

She held up a finger for me to wait, still talking on the phone.

Tate was still breathing hard as she walked into the living room and grabbed her phone.

“Jared’s mom called,” she said more to herself.

After pushing some buttons, she held the phone to her ear, calling Katherine back, I would assume.

I walked into the kitchen, grabbing a Gatorade out of the fridge as they had their conversations. Jared walked in, slamming the door and just as sweaty as Tate and me.

“Toss me one of those,” he said, gesturing to the Gatorade in my hand and using the bottom of his T-shirt to wipe the sweat off his face.

Throwing him mine, I snatched another one out of the refrigerator, and we were silent for a few minutes, drinking and catching our breaths.

“This shit’s for the birds,” he grumbled, yanking his shirt by the back of his neck and pulling it over his head.

Yeah, my throat itched with laughter.

Jared in the Army—or whatever branch he was choosing—was still weird to me.

Jared as part of a team. Jared following orders. Jared pressed and dressed in a uniform. Jared as a leader? For the good of mankind? I still shook my head at the idea.

“So get out,” I told him. “There’s lots of stuff you could do with your life. Stuff you’d be good at.”

He looked at me like I had three eyes. “I’m not talking about ROTC. I’m talking about Tate. Look at her.”

I tipped my head around him, watching her on the phone. It was October, and she was running in short shorts and a tank top. Probably to tease him.

I smiled. I liked Tate a lot. There was even a time when I wanted her. But she was like a sister now.

The kind of sister I wouldn’t screw, I mean.

“What about her?” I shrugged.

He scowled. “She’s driving me nuts, that’s what. She wears stuff like that to turn me on, and it’s working. I’m actually Googling ‘ballroom dancing’ to find out if it’s really that bad.” He looked at me, wincing. “I’m caving.”

I threw my head back, laughing. “You look like you’re about to cry,” I choked out.

“Well, would you do it?” It sounded like an accusation.

I rolled my eyes. “How long have you known me, dude? There’s not a lot I wouldn’t do.”

He blinked long and hard, knowing that that was true and then turned his head to watch Tate, probably daydreaming about all the things he was missing out on.

Fallon hung up and walked over, smiling as I put my arm around her.

“Everything okay?” I asked.

She nodded. “For now.” And then she scrunched up her nose. “You need a shower.”

I shot a look to Jared. “Can we have the bathroom first?”

His fist tightened around the Gatorade, and I felt sorry for him. He probably wanted to do the same with Tate, and he was hurting.

“All right,” Tate called. “We need to pull together for this, so listen up.”

All heads turned to her as she walked up to the bar in the kitchen.

She arched an eyebrow in Jared’s direction but withheld eye contact, and I had to fold my lips between my teeth to stifle a laugh.

“Your dad.” She looked at me. “And your mom.” She finally looked at Jared. “Are going to your family’s charity function tomorrow.” She then looked between Fallon and me, talking about our parents’ Triumph Charity for Disabled Children.

I absorbed what she said, surprised but not uncomfortable by the news.

My dad and Katherine were appearing as a couple at his and his wife’s charity function.

That would be awkward for some people. Not me, though.

“So,” she continued. “Katherine has invited us to attend, but I think it’s more for moral support.”

“Did she tell you that?” Jared asked, looking concerned.

“No, but I just got the impression. It’s her first public appearance with your dad”—Tate looked to me—“and his wife and her friends will be there.” Her eyes snapped to Fallon, an apology in them. “I’m sure there will be talk. We have a family table, so all of us will be seated together for dinner.”

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