Chap. 19

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Sarah Campbell

I sat in the backseat next to Joel. We were both silent on the ride to my parents' place, Ryan and Caden keeping the conversation flowing in the front seat.

The last person dad had told was Ryan. And then for some reason he'd never informed Caden, Joel, or me about the fact that he had cancer.

Cancer.

Why would he keep that from us?

Joel's fingers were drumming on the armrest, his eyes focused on the bypassing scenery.

I reached over and nudged his arm, his gaze flickering toward me.

Much like mine, his eyes were red-rimmed with puffy bags underneath, signaling that he hadn't slept.

I offered him a small smile, to which he did the same. But I'm sure like he could see that mine was fake, I could see right through his.

Ryan glanced in the rearview mirror. "You guys hungry?"

I don't think that I could keep anything down.

"Starving," Joel said.

We stopped off to grab some fast food, Joel insisting that we eat inside.

I think he was just as anxious about arriving at my parents' place as I was.

"I've got a stress headache like you wouldn't believe," Caden said, reaching up to massage his temples.

Ryan checked the time on his phone. "We should get back on the road." He glanced back toward the restroom. "Caden, go and yell at Joel."

Caden shoved away from the table, and I helped Ryan clear all the remaining mess.

"Sarah?"

I glanced toward him, raising an eyebrow.

He nodded toward the door, and I followed him outside.

"I'm sorry," Ryan said, glancing toward me. "About all of this."

I could barely contain the tears brimming in my eyes. "Why didn't you tell me?"

He shoved his hands into his pockets, and I could see the tears in his eyes as well. "Dad begged me not to. He said that he wanted to tell everyone individually, let us hear it from him."

"But he didn't."

Ryan nodded. "Well Xavier fucked that up."

Xavier, the prodigal son returns home.

"Sarah, I just want you to be prepared," Ryan said. He turned to fully face me now, his eyebrows pinched together. "There's a lot of shit that you don't know that is going to be brought to light today."

More secrets?

I felt the anger start to build inside of me. "What don't I know, Ryan? Why does everyone find it so damn important to keep things from me?"

He offered me a small smile. "Because you're our baby sister."

"Fuck off."

Ryan just shrugged. "You're the last hope for the Campbell family. We can't screw you up too."

Before I realized I was crying, Ryan pulled me into a tight hug. "I love you, kid. I really, really do."

"I know."

And that was the worst part of it all. I couldn't be mad at Ryan, Xavier, or Aiden. They'd only been honoring dad's wishes.

Ryan released me, squeezing my shoulders. "Where the fuck do you think those two knuckle heads are?"

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