I wanted to give you notice that I will be temporarily unpublishing The Dealer's Daughter on May 3, 2019. Please make sure to give yourself enough time to read it by then.
I made dough and set it aside to rise. On a warm day like today, I didn't anticipate that being a problem. We had all the ingredients we needed for toppings and I gave Brett the task of helping me slice the peppers and grate cheese. I had ulterior motives, but he didn't need to know that. With everyone safely out on the boat or dock, I had him to myself. Treading carefully was important.
"Are you still in Zach's old frat?"
"Phi Sigma Kappa? Yeah, of course."
"Zach never talks about it."
"Because he probably doesn't remember most of it," Brett said and laughed at his little joke.
"He hasn't told you a thing?"
Brett grabbed another red pepper, a huge smile on his face, no doubt remembering all the escapades he'd had with his best friend. I put three onions in front of him. That would wipe away the smile.
"He's mentioned a few things. Do you think he misses it?"
"Nah. He had to get serious about school. Our frat was a constant party. It still is. Why do you ask? Because we were smoking up last night?"
"No, just curious."
I didn't know what more I could ask without arousing suspicion. I couldn't come out with 'hey, Brett. What's on the video? I'm sure you've seen it. Are you in it too?' If I went there, Zach would know about it before I finished my last question.
"Are you going to put the spicy chorizo on one of the pizzas? It's my favorite."
A year ago, my first impression of Brett was a stuck up rich brat. Slowly, over the past few months I'd gotten to know him. He had a simplicity about him, always trying to keep up with Zach but being subtle about it. At first he didn't like me because that's what he thought he should do. Now that he'd gotten to know me, I knew I'd changed his opinion of me. But like anyone's best friend, he didn't trust me yet.
"You know Julia, Dylan's girlfriend?"
"Not too well. Why?"
"She mentioned Bianca. I guess they're friends."
I watched Brett's face but he gave no reaction. "Oh, I had no idea. Bianca's got a lot of friends."
"Yeah, you're right."
"Was she taking sides? I don't want her making trouble."
"No, nothing like that. She mentioned it in passing. There wasn't tension or anything."
"Good," he said with a sniffle. The first onion was doing its job.
I bit down on my lip. Did I go for it? Chance he might put it together. Brett was a nice guy, but he wasn't the brightest bulb. "You still see Bianca?"
"She's kept a pretty low profile. I don't think I've seen her all summer. After all that shit went down with you she disappeared. I hear her parents threatened to take her out of Western. They must have found out what she did. It was pretty cool of you not to finger her." He paused. "Finger her," he said again and laughed.
His sense of humor was so bad.
"I did punch her in the face."
"That was pretty cool."
"I don't condone violence."
"It's still funny."
Brett grabbed the last onion and sliced them thinly, just as I asked. I wanted him to feel maximum pain for being a goofball. He kept wiping his eyes with the back of his hand. I loved it.
"The part I don't get is how her parents found out."
He shrugged. "Uh, Zach," Brett said, like I was some kind of idiot.
"He told them?"
"He probably got someone else to do it." Brett's teary eyes narrowed. "Why don't you ask him?"
Did I go too far? "I have. He doesn't really answer my questions."
"That's Zach." And that was the end of our conversation. Brett moved on to the upcoming hockey season since he knew I was a fan. I could have pursued the Bianca conversation but that would have made him more suspicious. Talk of hockey might help him forget my inquisition. Maybe it was time to let the whole thing go. It was old news and I really had no interest revisiting it. There was a video with Bianca doing something she shouldn't have. Zach took it. He was in it. So what.
Except that Zach was in it. If they had sex . . . I couldn't let myself consider it. The past was the past and if they'd done something together back then, why did that matter now? I had to look forward even if this damn video was eating me alive.
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Emma has everything she wants. Good friends, family who loves her and the boyfriend of her dreams. She's also finally rid nemesis Bianca Smythe from her life. But life is full of twists and turns. The first is a phone call from her mother, the o...