I’m beelining it straight to my room. Jax must sense it too because he is heading for his. I need Advil, a gallon of water, and sleep.
“Reed!” My dad is leaning in the doorway waiting for me. Shit.
“Unless someone’s dead, not today.” I try to move around him, but he grabs hold of my bicep.
I stop, more from disbelief than from him actually stopping me. I surpassed my dad on height and bulk a year ago. I look at him, and his green eyes bore into me. “I would like a word with you.”
“Dad, I’m not in any condition to talk rationally.”
“We will get to that, Reed, but first, this.” He holds up some letters. I look around desperately for Jax.
“Your brother can’t help you. You’re going to have to stand on your own two feet.”
“Perfect.” I drop into one of my mother’s ridiculously expensive chairs. He sits opposite me and lays out the letters on the table. They are all addressed to Jax.
“Reed? Do you have any idea what these are?” He points to the envelopes.
My head is throbbing, and my patience is about zero. I want to walk out of the room, but I can’t, so I sit and rub the back of my neck.
“Um, no, Dad I don’t.” Leaning forward I say, “I can tell you that I feel like crap and would be more agreeable if I had a nap.”
He laughs. “Really? My son is in a bad mood again?” His sarcastic voice makes me want to punch something. Instead I take a breath and look him straight in the eyes.
“I wish I had some sympathy, Reed, but watching you self-destruct on whores and God knows what else, it needs to stop.”
I sit up, ready to do battle. He holds up his hand. “No, you’re going to listen, Reed. I was young. I know what you’ve been going through. Which is why I have been allowing your expensive hobby. And by hobby I’m talking about the girls, not the drugs.”
I blink a few times. My eyes are killing me, and I don’t have any desire to look at my father’s face.
“Why didn’t you come to me, Reed? Talk to me? You never reached out to me at all when you and Tess broke up. Did you think I didn’t know how much you loved and needed her?”
My eyes are stinging with tears. “I… can’t talk about her, Dad.”
He nods. “Well, son, I’ve done pretty much everything. Nothing you can say would shock me or make me feel differently about you.”
I rub the back of my head before I look at him. “I’m lost, Dad, and I’m embarrassed to admit it because I hate it!” I spit it out. “I lost my soul mate and it hurts more every day.” I say the words that have been stuck in my throat for a year and a half.
He leans back and crosses his arms. “What will you do if she comes back? Can you forgive her?”
I shake my head because as much as I love her, I hate her too.
“I think it’s too late. I will always resent her. Resent that she picked her father over me.”
I feel his hand on my shoulder. “Let’s take it slowly, Reed. First, the drugs need to stop.”
“I agree.” And I honestly do. The reminder of what just happened still makes bile rise in the back of my throat.
“Second, the prostitute situation. You are using condoms, right?”
“Always.” I snort. “You think I wouldn’t wrap it up? I have never gone bare with anyone.”
“Are you with these girls because you like older women? Or because they are the opposite of Tess?” I wince.
“Both, I guess. Also, I have nothing in common with high school girls. They want relationships and I’m incapable of having one.”
“Fine.” He stands up, hands in his pockets as he walks to the French doors, lost in thought. I’m almost ready to stand, thinking he’s done.
“I’m familiar with the madam that you and Jax are paying.”
I must look horrified and disgusted because he instantly justifies himself.
“Hold your judgment. I got the call because you two are minors even with your fake IDs. She called to get my permission and a lot of money to overlook your ages,” he mumbles.
“Whatever.” My head is pounding. He shakes his head at me, clearly annoyed as he sits down across from me.
“Fine, let’s go back to this.” He points to the table.
“Yeah, Dad, I had a rough night. I’ve agreed to everything. Can I go? Those letters are to Jax anyway.”
“Yes, Reed, these are letters to Jax. What I’m wondering is why you have not received any.” I glance around the room. Floral displays are everywhere. Absently I wonder if my mom calls the florist or if she has them delivered and displayed daily.
“Reed?” my dad says. My mind returns to him.