CHAPTER 22 | girl talk

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📎A/N.  Hello my lovelies.  Have I told you all lately how much I appreciate and love you all to bits?  Your continued support has astounded me and I am thankful for each and every one of you.  Many of you are reading both CiNY and Buried and it puts a smile on my face when I read your feedback.  It makes the effort to keep up the momentum that much more worthwhile.  This chapter is dedicated to all my readers - both vocal and silent.  None of us can get by without help from our friends...

Take care...

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The moment Sydney confessed to Grace what she had done she regretted it.

"You did what?"

Sydney grimaced at Grace's reaction. Her cousin never raised her voice in anger. Perhaps telling her wasn't a good idea after all. She had to admit, she'd gotten off easy. After Ethan's unexpected arrival, she had anticipated the worst. His thunderous expression had been enough to warn her to brace for impact.

She wasn't prepared however, for the uneasy alliance they had agreed to and had spent the entire drive back to the city regurgitating their conversation. Her mind, wracked with guilt, had no regrets over her actions, but she had been asking herself why she hadn't come clean in the first place. The fact that she had kept Grace and Stephen in the dark had also haunted her. It was at this point she realized she would need to tell Grace, and quickly before her cousin heard about it through Mason.

***

"How could you?" The disapproving look from Grace was enough to have Sydney squirming in her chair and taking another sip from her glass of wine so that she didn't have to make eye contact with her cousin.

Grace topped her glass up, sunk back into the couch and continued to frown at Sydney. "I think you had better start from the beginning. I can't imagine this decision of yours just came out of the blue."

"Where do I start?" Sydney sighed.

"How about you start back at the gala. I suspect that there are a lot of things you've conveniently omitted to tell me." Grace reached for her phone. "But first, I'll cancel my plans with Mason."

Sydney rose to leave. "No don't. I don't want to ruin your evening."

"Sit your butt back down on that couch missy," Grace commanded. "One night will not kill him."

Sydney sat back down. Her cousin, when in this frame of mind, wasn't to be argued with. It was very rare to see this side of Grace, and she knew she was responsible for taking her cousin out of her normal even-tempered disposition.

"Okay," Grace said, once she had gotten off the phone. "Start from the beginning."

By the time Sydney had brought Grace up to date they had gone through a bottle of wine, two cups of coffee and were now cradling tubs of Ben and Jerry's ice-cream.

"I suspected something had happened up at the vineyard," Grace said, waving a spoon in Sydney's direction. "Mac came back from the beach that night in a right mood. But both of you were civil to each other at mom and dad's 4th of July party, so I thought nothing further of it. I thought there was some sordid little secret you both shared."

"Yes, well what we almost got up to is not the only thing we share," Sydney mumbled.

Grace raised an eyebrow. "Oh?"

"We both share the same quick temper," Sydney admitted. "We've both said things we regret - at least I know I have."

Grace let out a laugh. "Well, we were surprised when you dyed your hair dark. We were expecting you to go red to match that famous temper of yours."

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