Good Enough (Meet Me in Montana 3) - Page 28

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I shook my head, and the sinking feeling of sadness suddenly came back in a whoosh. I needed to be honest with him before I let things grow between us, because I knew I was sending him mixed signals. This was the moment I needed to decide what to do about my attraction to Tanner. Give in to it or tell him we had to only be friends. I knew what I wanted, and I prayed he would be patient with me.

My phone buzzed in my pocket with an incoming text, and my heartbeat picked up slightly. I had called Cory to tell him I had decided on a piece of property to buy. Even though I had come into my trust fund, I was still relying on Cory as my financial advisor. After all, I was only twenty-four, and I now had a rather impressive bank account. So, I thought maybe it was him reaching back out to me.

I pulled the phone out and saw it was from Mary, an old high school friend and the woman who had cheated with a boyfriend of mine I had been going out with at the time. I had felt so betrayed by her, especially since she had been my best friend and the one person whom I had always counted on being there. And Jase, the guy I had finally allowed myself to open up to, had turned out to be a major dick. I knew I should have let it go. That nothing she could possibly say was anything that I wanted to hear. I hadn’t talked to her since we graduated high school. Then, I caught a glimpse of the text. “I hope you’ve been able to forgive…”

Curious, I opened her text to see there was an attachment to it. I read her full text.

Mary J: “I hope you’ve been able to forgive me and that you will be able to join us.”

When I opened the attachment, my stomach jerked and a wave of nausea hit me as I read the save the date announcement.

Mr. and Mrs. Jerkins have the honor of announcing the engagement of their daughter, Mary Kathleen Jerkins, to Mr. Jase Logan. Save the date of June 24th, everyone! We are having a wedding!

I stared at the beautiful scripted announcement in teal and white.

Mary and Jase were getting married. Why in the world was I acting like I had been hurt by the two of them all over again? I honestly could not have cared less about Jase Logan or Mary. So why was this wedding announcement throwing me into an emotional tailspin?

“Timber? What’s wrong?”

“N-nothing,” I said, my voice unsteady. I deleted the message and tossed my phone to the side. I needed to get myself back in check, but that damn voice nagging in my head reminded me that I hadn’t been good enough for Jase. That he had slept with my best friend. That Mary had betrayed our friendship.

“Hey, what’s going on? What was that text about?” Tanner dropped down in front of me and lifted my face until our eyes met. “Talk to me, Timber.”

I slowly shook my head as tears filled my eyes. “I don’t think I can do this. I thought I could, and I don’t mean to keep leading you on. It’s just…”

“Lead me on?” he asked.

I attempted to keep my hands still in my lap instead of rubbing them together or against my jeans. It was something I did when I was nervous or upset. It started shortly after my mother died, and I had tried like hell to break the habit. “I’m not going to lie and say I’m not attracted to you, because I am. Very much so, Tanner.”

My words made a brilliant smile appear on his face and my insides melted.

“Why do I feel like there’s a very big but coming?” he asked.

“Because there is. I’m not sure I’m ready for this. I want to be, I thought I was. But I’m not sure I can trust you.”

His smile faded. “And why can’t you trust me?”

I laughed. “One, I don’t want a boyfriend who would be gone all the time, and I wouldn’t be the type of girlfriend who’d be able to join you out on the road. Not that I wouldn’t like it, I’m sure it would be fun…at first…but I have my own set of dreams that I’m finally able to follow. I can’t risk anyone taking that away from me.”

Tanner frowned. “You think I wouldn’t allow you to follow your own dreams?”

I gave him a half shrug, even though I knew he would.

His eyes flashed with anger. “I would never do that, Timberlynn.”

I hated that he didn’t use the nickname he had been calling me.

“I would never deny you your dreams. No one ever denied me any of mine.”

With a hard swallow, I looked away from him for a moment before I gained the strength to let at least one wall down. I had to give him something. “After my mother died, my father slowly became distant with me. So much so that he hired a nanny, Rachel, who pretty much became the mother and father figures in my life. She worked for my father up until I entered my senior year of high school.”

Tanner’s expression softened some.

“I remember so many times I begged my father to come to a school play or a dressage competition I was in. He would promise to be there but never showed up.”

Tanner took my hands in his. “I’m so sorry. Did he ever tell you why?”

My eyes stung with the threat of tears. “No. I haven’t spoken to him in a while. He doesn’t even know I’m here in Montana. For all he knows, I’m still in Atlanta working the nursing job he guilted me into taking.” I let out an unfeeling laugh. “He didn’t even wish me a happy birthday, Tanner.”

I lifted my eyes to meet his. “Please don’t look at me like that,” I said. “I can’t stand pity. I’m fine, for the most part. He always provided me with everything I could ever want or need. He spoiled me. I saw a horse I liked, he would buy it. I wanted a Jeep for my sixteenth birthday, he bought it for me. He was there for me when it came to money, just not when it came to emotions.”

Tanner’s face tightened and his body was tense as he watched me closely. “That had to be hard for you. I know how important my parents were in my life growing up, and you missed out on both.”

I stared at him in disbelief. No one had ever acknowledged the missing pieces of my life. Kaylee had, of course, but never someone from the outside looking in.

I looked down and drew in a deep breath, slowly letting it out. “One of my good friends from high school, her name was Mary, she had always been there for me from the time we met in eighth grade and was more like a sister than a friend. I caught her and my boyfriend Jase one night. They were having sex in her bedroom while her folks were out of town. They both thought I was at a horse show that day.”

I let out a gruff laugh. “They got the dates mixed up. Let’s say I found them in bed together, having rather…eventful sex.”

“I’m sorry, Timber,” Tanner said as he ran his hand through his hair. He looked both angry and upset.

I shrugged and pulled in another deep breath. “When I walked into the room, I froze. I didn’t know what to do. They didn’t see me at first, but then Jase did. He pushed Mary off of him and started to beg me to let him explain.”

“Tell me you didn’t.”

“Oh, I couldn’t move.” I scoffed. “He took that as me wanting to hear why he was in bed fucking my friend. I don’t even know what he said, to be honest with you. I was completely zoned out. When I finally had the wits about me to leave, I turned and walked out. Mary and Jase called for a few days, but I ignored their calls. Ignored them both in school. Eventually they both stopped trying, and I was once again left alone.”

“I’m so sorry that happened to you. You didn’t deserve to be betrayed by the two of them like that.”

I sighed. “I’m not looking for you to feel sorry for me, Tanner. It didn’t take me long to realize they weren’t worth it, but it still rocked me to the core. I’ve had a hard time trusting anyone since.”

“And the text just now?” he asked as he glanced down to my phone on the sofa. “You looked like you were gonna be sick.”

“I was caught off guard, that’s all. It brought back those feelings of inadequacies I fought to push away.”

“What did it say?” he asked.

I sat up straighter. “It was from Mary. She said she hoped I had forgiven her and Jase. She sent a save the date for their wedding and sa

id she hoped I would make it.”

Tanner seemed shocked. “She hasn’t talked to you since high school, and she invited you to her wedding?”

I shrugged. “Guess she wants another present.”

Silence filled the room, and I glanced at him. He looked confused.

“Are you upset he’s marrying her?”

“No!” I clenched my hands together. “God, Tanner, not at all. I don’t have feelings for him anymore. I was surprised. And it reminded me of all the stupid issues I have.”

He sat back, watching me carefully. “So, you got a notice that your ex, who treated you like shit, is getting married, and that made you decide you can’t trust me? You’re basically putting me in the same category as that douchebag.”

I closed my eyes and shook my head. “That’s not it.”

A flash of anger crossed his face. “That is it, Timberlynn. You just told me you can’t trust me. Have I given you any reason why?”


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