“Would you sit?”
He nods slowly and then sits. I can see the tension in his shoulders and jaws.
“I think we need to talk, don’t you?”
Rory stares past me, his expression unreadable.
“Clear the air,” I say. “Get everything we couldn’t say as kids off our chests.”
He finally makes eye contact with me. “I’m sorry.”
“Sorry? What for?”
“Betraying your trust. Telling your secret to the Garda. I just“—he clenches his teeth, squeezes his eyes shut, and shakes his head—“I couldn’t let him keep hurting you.”
“I know. I’m not angry about that, Rory. I’ve never been angry about what you did.”
“You left without a word. You never called or wrote. I thought—”
“Mam and Dad convinced me I needed to put everything behind me. They thought it was the only way I’d heal.” I let out a bitter laugh. “If only. But that’s in the past now. It’s all in the past. Things are better. I’m okay.” I reach across the table and squeeze his hand. “You shouldn’t feel guilty for what you did.” I manage to smile. “I hope you left some deep gouges in that bastard’s car when you keyed it.”
“Three.” Rory’s smile is watery. “They were deep and long.”
“Good.” I take my hand away from his. “This is weird.”
He nods. “Are you really okay, Cal?”
God. It’s been so long since anyone has called me that. It was always Rory’s nickname for me. It was what he called me before he could say my name properly, and then it stuck. I’ve never asked or wanted anyone else to call me Cal. A knot of emotion makes it hard to breathe. I clear my throat to dislodge it so I can answer his question.
“I am now. It took a long time.”