“So do tell about the charter captain hottie,” Jolyn said. “He loaded?”
She could feel her blood pressure rising. “Out,” she said, pointing to the door. “Go.”
“Anywhere other than Lucky Harbor.”
Jolyn got the same look that a pit bull did just before he sank his teeth into you. “I like Lucky Harbor.”
Great. Frigging great. “You don’t belong here,” Olivia told her.
“Neither do you. But hey, if you want to implode your life the way you always do, who am I to stop you?” Jolyn said.
“What will get you to leave?” Olivia asked.
“Do the show and get Mom off both our backs.”
Olivia turned to face her sister. “The doctors said she was fine, you know. I talked to them myself.”
“Fine is relative. The accident took a lot out of her.”
Yes, that’s what happened when one got drunk off one’s ass and drove into a pole.
“She gave up doing hair,” Jolyn said. “She says it hurt to stand on her feet all day.”
“She owns the hair salon,” Olivia said. Which she ought to know, as Olivia had purchased it for her. “When it’s managed properly, she doesn’t have to work a day in her life if she doesn’t want.”
“Define managed properly,” Jolyn said.
Olivia stared at her. “You are kidding me.”
“You made a tactical error by believing she could manage anything properly. Which is your own fault, seeing as she handled your career. You should’ve known better.”
This was undoubtedly true, but at the time, Olivia had been thinking only of how to be free. Buying her mother her own salon and walking away seemed like the best thing.
Which made her selfish. A new and unsettling thought.
“She’s in trouble, and I need your damn help,” Jolyn said. “We’re in this together, you and I. We’re all she has.”
“Contrary to what you think, I don’t have any hidden pockets of money,” Olivia said. “We spent my royalties, all of them.”
“Which, hello, is why you need to green-light this TV Land special. They’re going to pay you out the ass to sit there and look pretty. I don’t see what the BFD is.”
“The big effing deal is that I don’t belong in that world anymore,” Olivia said.
“One day,” Jolyn said. “You smile and make nice for the camera, and then hold out your hand for a big, fat paycheck like in the old days.”
“And then?” Olivia asked tightly. “I suppose I sign it all over to you and Mom?”
“Well, why not?” Jolyn asked. “This was never about just you. Mom moved all three of us across the country to Los Angeles. We gave up everything for you, everything. We earned your paycheck every bit as much as you did.”
The only thing she’d ever really done of worth was make money for her family. “Fine,” she said. “I’ll do the show.” But she’d do it her way. “Now you’ve got to go, and so do I. I’ve got somewhere to be.”
“Now? Captain Hottie must’ve been pretty important, huh?”
“Yeah.” Heartsick, Olivia pulled out her keys. She needed to find Cole and make him understand that the past didn’t matter.
Jolyn stared at her for a long beat. “I’ll watch the shop for you.”
“What? Why would you do that?”
“Because you look like a puppy who’s just been kicked. Consider it my good deed for the month.”
“I’m not leaving you in charge of my livelihood,” Olivia said.
“Hey,” Jolyn said. “My petty thieving days are long over. I’m auditioning and shit. If I get arrested now, I’ll blow my chances when you do this show.”
Olivia blew out a breath. “Ironic, isn’t it?” she asked. “Last time you wanted my show to fail. Now you want me to succeed.”
“It’s not exactly a bad deal for you, either,” Jolyn said. “I’m getting you closure, a reunion with your beloved Not Again, Hailey! community, not to mention the undying love of your family.”
That love was pretty damn expensive. She’d always just accepted that was how it worked, but now she’d seen the Donovans. She’d seen Cole do whatever was in his power to be there for his family, no matter what. No price. Their love didn’t cost a damn thing except unconditional acceptance. And the only way to get that was with complete honesty.
The exact thing she’d withheld from Cole.
Maybe instead of wishing she could go back in time to strangle Jolyn before she could spill the beans, Olivia should go back in time and…never have lied in the first place.
The phone rang, and she picked up. “Unique Boutique.”
“Honey, it’s Lucille. Listen, I’m getting ready to announce what you did at our weekly tea, but it occurs to me that you might want to speak out on your behalf about why you lied to our very own Cole Donovan.”
Olivia pulled the phone away, stared at it, and then brought it back to her ear. “You only heard this about five minutes ago, and you’ve already got a tea organized?”
“Oh, lucky for us, this tea was a preplanned event. So…your reason?”
“No comment,” Olivia said, and hung up. “Good Lord. And I used to think the paparazzi were bad.”