Archer, eyes on Finn, put his hand on Haley’s, stopping her. “I have a feeling we’ve got things backwards,” he said.
“Ohhhh,” Willa said, staring at Finn. “You walked.”
Finn nodded. He’d walked. And she’d let him go without a fight.
Not that he’d given her any choice with the I don’t want to see you again thing . . . Fuck. Willa was right. He’d been wielding around a six-foot dick, which made him the six-foot dick.
Willa looked greatly disappointed. “I don’t understand.”
Finn shook his head. “I know. But I’m not going to tell you more.” He might have turned his back on Pru, but he wouldn’t have these guys doing the same. She deserved their friendship. She deserved a lot more than that, but he was still so angry and . . . shit. Hurt. He pushed away from the table. “I’ve gotta go.”
He hoped to be alone but Sean followed him back to his office. “What aren’t you telling me?” he asked. “What is it she did that was so bad?”
Finn shook his head.
“Just tell me,” Sean pushed. “So I can tell you that you’re being an idiot and then you can go make it right.”
Finn stared at him. “What makes you believe that this can be made right?”
Sean lifted a shoulder. “Because you taught me that love and family is where you make it, with who you make it. And even in this short amount of time, Pru’s become both your love and your family.”
That this was true felt like a knife slicing through him. “Sean, her parents were the ones in the car that killed dad. Her dad was the drunk driver.”
Sean stared at him. “Are you shitting me?”
“I couldn’t have made that up if I’d tried.”
Sean sank to the couch. “Holy shit.”
“Yeah. Listen, this stays right here in this room, yeah?”
Sean lifted his gaze and pierced Finn. “You’re protecting her.”
“I just don’t want to hurt her,” he said. At least not more than he already had . . .
“No, you’re protecting her.” Sean stood again. “The way I bet she was trying to protect you when she didn’t tell you who she was.”
Finn shook his head. “What are you saying?”
“That you’re the dumbass, not her.” Sean shook his head. “Look, I’ve got to get back out there. One of us has to have their head in the game, and trust me, no one’s more surprised that it’s me.” He stopped at the door and turned back. “Listen, I get that you’re too close to see this clearly, but take it from someone who lost as much as you did in that accident . . . we didn’t lose shit compared to what Pru lost. She doesn’t deserve this, not from you. Not from anyone.”
And then he let himself out and Finn was alone. He went to his desk and pushed some paper around for half an hour, but it was useless. He was useless. He’d just decided to bail when Archer walked right in. “Ever hear of knocking?”
Archer paced the length of the office and then came to him, hands on hips.
“What?” Finn asked.
“I’m going to tell you something,” Archer said. “And I don’t want you to take a swing at me for it. I’m feeling pissed off and wouldn’t mind a fight, but I don’t want it with you.”
Shit. “What did you do?” Finn asked wearily.
Archer grimaced. “Something I once promised you I wouldn’t.”
Finn stared at his oldest and most trusted friend in the world and then turned to his desk and poured them both some whiskey.
Archer lifted his glass, touched it to Finn’s, and then they both tossed back.
Archer blew out a breath, set the glass down and met Finn’s gaze. “I looked into her.”
Archer had programs that rivaled entire government computer systems. When he said he’d looked into someone, he meant he looked into them. Inside and out. Upside down and right-side up. When Archer looked into someone, he could find out how old they were when they got their first cavity, what their high school P.E. teacher had said about them, what their parents had earned in a cash-under-the-table job four decades prior.
Archer didn’t take this power lightly. He had a high moral code of conduct that didn’t always line up with the rest of the world, but he’d never—at least not to Finn’s knowledge—looked into his friends’ pasts or breached their privacy.
He had, however, looked into Willa’s last boyfriend, but that had been for a good reason.