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Promises We Meant to Keep: Chapter 37


WE’RE HEADED BACK to my—our—apartment after the gathering, Sylvie’s head heavy as it rests on my shoulder. She’s so tired. The last few days have been a lot, and while I know she’s trying to hide the relief she feels about her mother’s death to everyone else, she knows she can always be real with me.

Just like I need to be real with her.

“Are you awake?” My voice is soft in the confines of the car, the wall up between us and the driver.

We have complete privacy. I already scoped the vehicle out earlier for any possible bugs. I’ve been at this too long to let a rookie mistake like that slip past me.

She slowly lifts her head, her gaze searching mine. “Yes. Everything okay?”

“Not really.” A ragged sigh leaves me. “I need to tell you something.”

“Are you finally going to confess your truths? The ones you keep from me?” Her voice is hopeful. No one else would want to know this kind of shit.

Only Sylvie.

I hang my head, letting my shame wash over me. After everything that’s happened with her mother, I haven’t been able to tell her about my father, and what I do for him. There are already so many secrets that tie us together.

What’s one more?

Taking a deep breath, I lift my head, my gaze finding hers. There’s no judgment in her eyes and it’s such a relief, the words spill out of me.

“We’re in the mafia. Well, we’re more on the fringe of it. We work for a family, one that’s well-connected.”

Her expression doesn’t change. “You’ve already told me that. Well, not the fringe part.”

“Right. Yeah.” I run a hand through my hair, noting that it’s shaking. Fuck, I’m agitated. This isn’t easy. “When I was younger, I used to go with the guys and we’d visit the ones who owed us money. Those poor suckers. They’d cry and plead. Beg us not to hurt them or their family.”

My chest aches with the confession but she remains quiet, listening. Which is what I need.

“Sometimes things would get—violent.” I pause, the words turning over in my brain. “I’ve hurt people, and I don’t like that.”

“Oh, Spence.” Her voice is the barest whisper, breaking my heart.

“I never killed anyone though. I couldn’t muster up the nerve. My father would always tell me it takes time. He didn’t make his first kill until he was twenty-six. I had a few years to go.” I laugh but there’s no humor in the sound.

“Your father…”

“Is decent when he wants to be, but yeah. He’s got blood on his hands. So do I.”

She touches my hands, bringing one up to her mouth so she can kiss it, and the gesture nearly breaks me.

“I don’t do that any longer. I’m an accountant now for the business.”

She drops my hand and bursts out laughing, as if what I said was a joke. “You’re kidding.”

“I’m not.” I shake my head.

“An accountant?” Her laughter dies.

“Yeah. We have one set of documents we turn in, and then there’s another set.” I glance around, like I’m worried there is some sort of spy camera in this place. But I checked it already. My paranoid urges are making me want to search the car again. “You know what I’m referring to.”

“I think I do,” she says slowly.

“We move drugs, Syl. All kinds. Counterfeit money. Arms.” At her frown, I explain. “Guns. Ammo. Anything the family needs us to do, we’re doing it. It fucking sucks.”

“Then why do you do it?”

“I don’t have a choice.”

“We always have a choice.” She touches my cheek lightly and I lean into her hand, my eyes falling shut for the briefest moment. “Thank you for telling me.”

“Thank you for not running away from me.”

“As if I would.” She smiles.

I smile too. God, this woman.

What did I do to deserve her?


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