Neither of them said anything on the ride up toward the highest hill in Lani Bay. Each of their minds raced twice as fast as the truck wheels with all the potential outcomes they were about to be faced with.
The house was run down, but surrounded by a well-maintained garden and not in disrepair. Set back from other properties, it stood as alone as Brodie imagined the two people in it felt. The brick wall surrounding its grounds, a symbol of their life choices. It was obvious just by looking at the place that Sophia’s grandparents weren’t part of a family.
But this wasn’t about them. It couldn’t just be the two of them against the world anymore. That ship should have sailed when Sophia got her diagnosis and Brodie planned on making it perfectly clear to them when he got inside.
When they reached the oak front door, Robbie hesitated, so Brodie knocked instead, balling his hands into fists to stop them from shaking.
He had expected a frail older couple to be behind the door, but the woman who answered looked far from frail.
“Robert?” She looked straight past Brodie, eying her son-in-law up and down.
“We need to talk. Can I come in?”
Her eyes shifted to Brodie, and he held out a hand for her to shake. She ignored it and looked at Robbie as if he was invisible.
“This is Brodie. He’s about to marry Sophia and has some things he’d like to talk to you about before he does.”
“Your granddaughter.” Robbie seethed through gritted teeth.
“I know who she is. It’s just been so long. Come in. Bert’s not in a good way, so if you’re here troublemaking, don’t bother.”
“We just want to talk, that’s all.”
Brodie heard the desperation in his voice, and Susan picked up on it, too.
Stepping backwards, Susan welcomed them into her home and Brodie noticed her husband pushing up on the arms of a traditional oak rocking chair. Slicing his hand through the air, Brodie reassured him that there was no need to get up on his account.
He opened his mouth to speak, but Robbie cut him off.
“I know it’s been a long time since I last saw you both, but I appreciate you allowing us in today. We won’t keep you for any longer than is needed. In short, my daughter Sophia is sick.”
“What’s wrong with her?” Susan asked.
“She had her kidney removed as a child. Now the one she has left is failing.” Brodie blurted out. He didn’t mean for the words to come out as cold as they did, but his emotions were spent, at least for today. This wasn’t about him, Robbie, or them. It wasn’t even about feelings. This was purely about answers, and he folded his arms across his chest, intent on not going anywhere until he got them.
“Did you have any idea about this?” Sophia demanded.
Callie had guilt written all over her face when she shook her head. She’d always been the worst liar.
The chartered yacht sailed away from the shore and Paige popped open the bottle of non-alcoholic champagne. Sophia turned toward the sound and got showered in a steady stream of bubbles. She wasn’t sure if this was what Brodie had in mind when he told her to wear a bikini, but she suspected it was probably exactly what he had in mind.
She grinned and wrung out her crochet kaftan as Paige passed her a glass of the fake champers and Jayda poured for everyone else.
“You don’t have to all drink this crap. Please tell me that bar is stocked with more than just fizzy soda?”
“Sophia, if you’re not drinking, then we’re not drinking. Simple as that,” Kate furrowed her brow and quickly closed the conversation down with a sip of her drink.
“You are all crazy. I want you to have a good time. You should all let your hair down. It’s been a long week.”
“Can I just point out that we’re all together for the first time in so long? On a yacht in this gorgeous place. I don’t think we need alcohol or anything other than each other to have a good time tonight.” Callie dropped her head to one side, daring anyone to argue with her.
“It’s just like old times,” Lennon said without taking her eyes off the golden shimmer on the waves.
“Do you remember the first time we all got on a boat?” Sophia asked. She recalled the memory as if it was days ago rather than years.