Chapter 21 - So you're avoiding me?

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Dane stood in the kitchen trying to decide whether or not to he should confront Berkley about the whole deal with Blake or wait it out a while and see what she offered up openly.   He also didn’t want to leave her while he went to lunch.  They needed to talk.  He had questions about where he stood regardless of Blake.  Now that he wasn’t in the same room with her his head seemed clearer and his frustration and anger returned.  He grabbed his luggage and emptied his laundry into the hamper, took a shower and left hopefully before Berkley realized it.

Dane dreaded the family dinner but it was something that needed to be done so he did it.  All the way back home he thought of the day.  The only good thing about it had been Ethan.   He took one look at Dane and went crazy.  He had squirmed in his high chair until he managed to free himself from the safety buckle and was standing up with his arms outstretched as Dane approached him.  He dove into Danes arms with a squeal.  That had been the highlight of his day and it felt good.  The cloud that surrounded his mood earlier was lifted temporarily but then it return as he drove home now with Ethan sleeping in his car seat.  Maybe he should just take a few days with Ethan just to get away and spend a little quality time together, just the two of them, without Berkley.  Yeah that was good maybe a few days out on the coast.

He regretted going to dinner.  The swollen bruise on Dane’s face was cause for concern by everyone at dinner.  He had played it off the best he could, claiming to fall in the shower on the flight back home.  It was no secret that they ran into some turbulence, Ana had complained about it openly.  He seemed convincing enough so they went along with it pretty good with the exception of Ana at least.  She woke him before they landed so she was very aware that his face had been fine when he exited the plane.  She frowned in response to his lie but said nothing and as always Dylan noticed the look they exchanged.  It confirmed his suspicion.  Something was bothering his brother and he ended up confessing to Dylan as usual.  After surviving Dylan’s interrogation and Alan’s he finally bailed.  Now he just wanted to get home, pack and get out. 

Berkley was sitting on the couch when Dane blew through the living room. 

“Hey, where’s Ethan?”  She looked confused.

Dane couldn’t help but notice that she had tried very hard to cover the bruise on her face with make-up.  His heart melted.  Dang it!  Why did she have to break down his defenses?  He kept walking and spoke over his shoulder as he passed trying not to look at her anymore.  He couldn’t endure it.  She would have him groveling at her feet if he stopped to chat.  “He’s in the car asleep.”

“Why, do you need me to get him?”

“No, I’m taking him away for a couple of days.  He’s good.”

Berkley quickly followed after him.  “Dane what’s going on?  Is something wrong?”

“You tell me?”  He snapped.

“Huh?”

Have mercy on his soul, he heard her gasp and the hurt in her voice caused Dane to stop dead in his tracks. He turned to face her.  He knew it would be a mistake but he couldn’t help it.  Her eyes looked wary in anticipation of just what he would say.

“I just need to get away for a few days.”  He said with no emotion. 

“You just got home?”  She said her eyes glistening now.

“And Ethan doesn’t need to see you like this.”  He added.

“Dane, I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have gone to the apartment but he wasn’t supposed to be home until later.  Please don’t go because of me.  I can go stay with Garrett if you want.”

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