The Professor Woos The Witch

Page 37

“Dad…” Cole took a breath. He didn’t want to leave things like this with his father. “I appreciate you coming down. I’m still not happy about you and Mom not telling me the truth, and I don’t agree at all with your decision not to tell me much now, but I guess I get that you were doing what you thought was right to protect me.”

“You’d do the same for Kaley.”

“Yes, I would.” He took his glasses off and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “I’ll get you a blanket and a pillow.” He headed into the house, his father behind him, and went for the stairs. “Tomorrow morning we can go out for breakfast. There’s a diner in town that looks good. Kaley’s been wanting to go there.”

Jack smiled. “Sounds like a plan. You want me to talk to Kaley?”

“No, but I appreciate the offer. I need her to understand that impulsive decisions can have negative consequences later on. Moving here permanently on a whim…it’d just be…impractical.”

Jack nodded. “She’s a good kid. She’ll understand. Maybe not tonight, but she will.”

“I hope you’re right.” Cole ran upstairs, got his dad a blanket and pillow and tucked them under his arm. He knocked on Kaley’s door.


“Can I come in?”


He opened the door. She was already in bed. One earbud dangled free while the other was still in her ear. “We’re going to try that diner in town for breakfast tomorrow. Sound good?”

She shrugged and stared at the screen of her iPhone. “I guess.”

He sighed. “I know you’re mad at me.”

No response.

He came in and sat on the edge of her bed. “Kaley, we can’t stay here. I know you like this place, but I have a lot of years invested in my job at home. I can’t just walk away because this place seems like fun.”

She cut her eyes at him. “You could get a teaching job here.”

“There aren’t any colleges in the area. And a high school isn’t going to pay what I’m making now.”

“It’s not all about money, you know.”

He laughed. “You think I found that iPhone in a cereal box? You’re right that money isn’t everything, but it is important. We need a certain amount to pay our bills and eat.”

“What about all the money from selling this house?”

“That will definitely help, but we’re not just going to spend it. A lot of it will go into your college fund.”

She frowned. “Maybe I’m not going to college.”

“We’re not having that discussion.”

She rolled her eyes. “I want to stay here.”

“What about all your friends back home?”

“I’m already making new ones.”

“I’m glad to hear that. But our plan isn’t changing. We’re fixing up the house, selling it and moving back. That’s it. End of discussion.”

She huffed out a breath, her eyes narrowing. “What about Miss Williams?”

The question caught him off guard for a moment. “She’s…she’s going to help me with the house and you with your witch stuff. Nothing’s changed there either.”

Kaley tipped her head, mouth bent in obvious skepticism. “Really? Nothing’s changed? She’s totally mad at you.”

“No, she’s not. Everything is fine between us.”

Kaley laughed. “Dad, you have a lot to learn about women.”

He kissed her on the cheek and stood. “On that note, it’s time for you to go to bed. Earbuds out, iPhone off.”

“Fine.” She yanked the other earbud free, then flung the covers over herself.

He hit the light switch on the way out, still shaking his head as he headed downstairs. Kaley was right. Pandora was mad at him.

He thought for a moment about going to see her, but it was after ten. She was probably in bed. And probably wouldn’t want to see him. He rolled his shoulders, but the prickly energy from the night’s events was stuck in his bones. He needed to do something.

He put the blanket and pillow on the couch. Jack was sitting on the porch. Cole stuck his head out. “You okay?”

“Yep. You?”

“I’m going out for a run. Don’t wait up.”

Jack smiled like he knew what his son was up to. “All right.”

Cole went back upstairs to change into his gear. If Jack thought Cole was going to see Pandora, he was wrong.

Running by her house was not the same as going to see her.

Pandora pulled away from Pilcher Manor with one clear thought. She wasn’t ready to go home. She was too wound up from Cole’s revelation, too buzzed on hurt feelings and the disbelief that he thought everything was still hunky dory between them. How the hell was she going to help him with that house and spend time with Kaley and pretend that they were nothing more than friends?

Practical. Not freaking likely.

She needed a drink. And she didn’t want to imbibe alone. That would only put her in a worse state of mind. She needed company. She pulled over and hit Willa’s speed dial.

The fae jeweler answered a couple rings later. “Hey, woman, what’s up?”

“Are you busy? You want to come over for a glass of wine?”

Willa made a disappointed sound. “I’d love to, but Nick and I are watching a movie. How about tomorrow?”

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