Immediately I know something is very wrong.
Lucas is just ending a call as I enter the kitchen. Years together, and I’ve never seen this particular expression on his face. Something like disbelief and rage and agony.
My stomach drops.
“Luke? What is it?”
“We have to go see Ethan.” His response is distracted. He has yet to look up from the phone in his hand.
“Okay,” I assure him. “Okay, we’ll go see Ethan.”
He nods, his only acknowledgment I’m there. Increasingly concerned I cross the distance between us and cup his cheeks in my hands, bringing him back to me. Where he needs to be. Where we’re strongest. His eyes meet mine, holding torture I haven’t seen there in years. Not since he started making peace with his family.
“Hey, whatever it is, I’m here. We’ll figure it out.”
His tense posture relaxes somewhat and he presses a swift kiss against my lips before pulling me close, arms around my waist. He buries his face in the curve of my neck, another sure sign he’s upset about something.
Dread is settling in my already roiling stomach. “Babe, what is it?” I whisper. I run my hands through his hair, trying to soothe him.
He takes a deep breath before stepping back, his hands still on my waist keeping us connected. “I – I have a sister. She’s waiting in Ethan’s office.”
I bite back a million questions, knowing that’s not what he needs right now. And that he is probably battling the same list in his own head.
“I’ll call Gabby and Riley. I’m sure one of them can stay with the kids.”
We drop the kids off at Gabby’s on the way. As I predicted she was happy to spend the afternoon with them. I know I’ll have questions to answer later – when I hopefully have answers – but my best friend never turns down an opportunity to spoil my children for a few hours.
I insist on driving, Lucas is still too distracted. He’s sitting beside me, fingers drumming on his knees as he silently, broodingly stares out the window. I’ve learned, with time, that sometimes he falls into these dark moods. Jax told me once when they were kids and things got bad that Lucas would turn it in. Back then he would channel it into his art and while that is still his pattern he also has us now.
He isn’t a foster kid being shuffled house to house. He isn’t a poor, angry kid that no one believes in or has any time for. Now he knows he is loved. And when he goes to this place I am there to constantly remind him of that fact so he never stays there for long.
I have no idea how this will affect him.
I turn on to the street where Ethan’s office is located and breath a sigh of relief when someone leaves a parking spot right out front I can pull into.
Lucas is jumping out of the car before I can even finish parallel parking, his patience at an end.
I scramble to catch up with him. He’s half way through the lobby before I do. He presses the up elevator button much harder, and more often, than is required but I don’t say anything.
He turns to me abruptly and busts out, “I love you. Thank you. For being here.”
My eyes sting with tears and uncaring of the people walking by us I wrap my arms around his waist, resting my head against his chest and wait for the elevator to arrive.
“I love you too. I will always be here when you need me.”
He’s stiff in my arms and I squeeze him, listening to his heart beat.
It’s taken time and a lot of missteps but Lucas has slowly made peace with his family, the Abbotts. Some of them, like Riley and Zane, have even become good friends. But for so many reasons, his relationship with Ethan has remained… tense. I’m worried this news is even harder to stomach from this particular messenger.
Finally, the elevator doors slide open, I pull away and we step inside pressing the button for the forty-first floor. It takes an agonizing amount of time to get there, Lucas holds my hand the entire ride. This is when I start to really feel my nerves. Now, when there isn’t anything to do but wait for the elevator to make it’s journey, I realize my stomach is churning.
What does this mean? How is this possible? A sister? Does that mean they found his father? If I’m spinning like this I can only imagine what Lucas is going through. My heart hurts just remembering the anguish on his face when I found him in the kitchen.
A soft ding indicates we’ve finally reached our destination. Releasing my hand, Lucas rushes through the doors and storms passed Ethan’s assistant into his office. Once again I’m running to keep up with his much longer legs.
I enter Ethan’s office just far enough behind Lucas to see him rearing back and punching Ethan square in the face. I rush to his side and grip his arm tightly, before he can decide to hit Ethan again.
“Lucas, let’s hear him out. You need answers right now,” I say softly. He meets my gaze, eyes in turmoil. “Whatever this is,” I remind him, “we’ll deal with it. I love you.”
His chest expands with a deep inhale as he visible relaxes, nodding at my words.
We turn to Ethan who is rubbing his cheek, working his jaw, and eying my husband warily.
“Nice to see you too, Cousin,” Ethan deadpans.
“How long? How long have you known?” Lucas barks.
Ethan sighs, his expression grim.
Suddenly I realize we are not the only ones in the room. Looking over my shoulder a see another couple standing near Ethan’s couch. Lucas had been so focused when we entered he had rushed right by them.
“Years,” Ethan finally admits. “I’ve known for years.”
Oh my god.
I hear a gasp and realize it’s me. Unconsciously, I move closer to Lucas, my hand tightening on his arm. He is visibly shaken by this news, staggering a few steps back.
“How – how could you do that? How could you know this whole time-”
“I wouldn’t let him tell you.”
We both turn abruptly as the woman I had noticed before steps forward.
“He kept the secret because I made him.”
Lucas looks at me in disbelief then back to her.
“You?” He’s clearly stunned, as surprised as I am. “It’s you?”
Click here if you’d like to read about the beginning of Ash and Lucas.