Even Now

Even Now by Karen Kingsbury

Book: Even Now by Karen Kingsbury Read Free Book Online
Authors: Karen Kingsbury
mother’s voice was slower, more calm. “Listen to yourself. This is Shane we’re talking about, honey. He was practically part of the family for all those years, remember?” She sighed loud enough that Lauren could hear it in the hallway. “I mean the kid calls the bank looking for you, looking for some way to reach Lauren, and you have your secretary tell him he’s got the wrong bank? Is that fair?”
    Lauren’s knees felt week. She felt the room begin to spin, and she braced herself against the wall. Shane had called the bank, her father’s new bank? And he’d been told he had the wrong place? So what would he think next? Did he even know what Chicago suburb they’d settled in or what neighborhood? She squeezed her eyes shut and forced herself to listen.
    “Of course it’s fair, Angela. The things Sheila and Samuel said about our daughter, the way they treated her . . . Lauren’s my child, Angela. I don’t want her around people who don’t like her. If she’s away from Shane, she’ll be away from his parents.”
    Her mother was quiet for a moment, and Lauren wondered if she was crying. Finally she said, “How did it all turn so bad? They were our friends. Our best friends.”
    “I’ve learned something.” Her father sounded matter-of-fact. “Playing cards together, vacationing together, doesn’t always mean you know people.” His voice grew wistful. “I thought I knew Sheila and Sam. But you watched how they handled this. The only thing that mattered was Shane. They would’ve burned down our house if it meant protecting their boy from his responsibility.”
    There was silence for a moment. Lauren’s entire body shook and she felt sick to her stomach. This was the sign she’d been looking for, the proof that her parents really and truly had conspired against her and Shane. Now she would leave this house, walk out of their lives without looking back, and one day, when she and Shane were settled, she would consider being a part of this family again. But not until then. She was about to burst into the room, but she waited in case there was more.
    There was.
    After another few seconds, her mother said, “So what did he say? I mean, did he leave a message?”
    “He told my secretary his name was Shane Galanter, and he was looking for Bill Anderson.” A long sigh came from her father. “I’d already told her that if anyone named Galanter called, she was to say they had the wrong bank. No one there by my name.”
    Her mother groaned. “The kids miss each other, Bill. What if we’re wrong?”
    “We’re protecting Lauren.” Her father was curt, adamant. “It’s for her own good, because I love her. Besides, she’ll never find out.”
    “Yes, I will.” Lauren stepped into the room, still holding onto the door frame to keep her balance. Her head pounded, and she could barely feel her feet. She stared from her mother to her father, her eyes wide, unblinking. “I heard it all, Daddy. Shane called you at work and you had some . . . some woman tell him he had the wrong bank.” She wanted to scream at him, shout at both of them that they couldn’t do this. But it was already done. All that was left inside her was an eerie sort of iciness, an anxiety that defied expression.
    “Lauren — ” Her father was on his feet. His mouth hung open for a few seconds. But he rebounded quickly. “The two of you need time away from each other. The Galanters and we agreed. It’s important, so the two of you can figure out what you want from here.”
    “We already know what we want.” She was imploding, her voice fading with every few words. “You and Mom don’t have any idea what I want.” She pressed her hand to her chest. “What Shane and I want. We need to be together.”
    “Okay.” Her father looked across the room.
    As if on cue, her mother turned to Lauren. “We’ll help you find him, honey. It won’t be hard. Your father has ways.” She paused. “It’s like your dad said. We all

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