If I Only Knew

If I Only Knew

Corinne Michaels



“I’m getting married!” My sister, Amy, screeches into the phone as I’m driving home from grocery shopping.

“What?” I ask, almost veering off the road.

“Javier proposed, and I said yes!”

“Oh! Wow! That’s . . . great! Yay!” I say with fake enthusiasm.

My sister is the last person in the world who should be getting married. First, she’s never had a job, paid a bill, or been a contributing member of society. Second, I’m pretty sure her now fiancé . . . is gay.

“Javier picked out the most amazing ring, Danni. Like, it sparkles in the light and sends these rainbows everywhere when I move. Oh, and he wants to get married in a month!”

“What’s the rush?” I ask.

She sighs, and I picture her staring at her ring. “He thinks it would be better to do it now instead of waiting.”

I roll my eyes and bite my tongue. Today isn’t the day to have an opinion on this. She’s clearly excited and nothing good will come of me telling her that he doesn’t love her, and there’s some ulterior motive—like a green card.

So, for now, I’ll be the good sister and keep my trap shut.

“Well, I love you and I know Peter and the kids will be excited,” I say, staring at the traffic ahead of me.

I look at the clock and start to worry a little. I have to get my fifteen-year-old hellion daughter, Ava, and my sweet five-year-old son, Parker, from school in twenty minutes. Plus drop this stuff back at home so all my frozen food doesn’t thaw. My thumb taps on the wheel as I barely move an inch.

“I love you too! Gah! I’m just so happy!”

My phone beeps, “Amy hold on, it’s Peter’s cell.”

I swap the call over, thankful that I can stop trying to pretend my sister is making an even halfway decent decision. I love her to the moon, but she lives in the stars. Peter and I have never understood her. “Hi, babe. I can’t wait to tell you my sister’s latest bullshit. She’s getting married to that idiot! Can you even believe that? How dumb is she?”

“Umm, is this Mrs. Bergen?”

“Yes? Who is this?” I ask when it’s not my husband’s voice on the other end.

The male clears his voice. “This is Officer VanDyken with the Tampa Police department.”

My heart starts to race and my throat goes dry. “Is everything okay?”

“Ma’am, I’m going to need you to come down to the station.”

A sense of dread fills my veins. Peter works with some shady people and there have been times when he’s done some things that I’ve thought were a little weird, but he says it’s for the protection of his clients.

“Which one?”

He tells me the address and I make a quick U-turn to head that way. I have no idea if Peter is in trouble, but I range from worried to pissed off. I hate his job. It was part of the reason we almost divorced three years ago. Well, that and Parker, who unexpectedly graced us with his presence and sent our lives into a tailspin.

I send a quick text to my best friend, Kristin.

* * *

Me: Can you get the kids? I just got a call from the TPD asking me to come down. I have no idea what happened but I’m freaking out because I won’t make it to pick them up.

* * *

Kristin: Of course. I have to get Finn and Aubrey anyway, I’ll swing by and grab them.

* * *

Me: Thank you!

* * *

Kristin: Is he in trouble or arrested?

* * *

That’s the question of the day.

* * *

Me: I have no idea. I swear, if this is about the case he’s been working on and he got arrested for hiding the client or some shit . . . I’m going to kill him.

* * *

Kristin: Call Heather! Don’t talk to anyone until you’ve talked to her.

* * *

I didn’t even think about that. Heather has been a Tampa police officer for a long time. She knows everyone.

* * *

Me: Thank you! I’ll grab the kids as soon as I’m done.

* * *

Kristin: No worries. We’ll entertain them.

* * *

Or Ava will drive Kristin nuts, but she’s usually only the devil for me. She’s fifteen and a load of freaking fun. She knows everything. Hates everyone who is not her father, and thinks I’m the worst person on the face of the earth. Which has made for some lovely family dinners.

Then there’s my sweet baby, Parker. He’s the angel to the demon spawn I birthed first. I know as a mother we’re not supposed to have favorites, but that kid makes it hard not to. He loves me, still thinking I’m wonderful, and I can’t imagine a world without him.

While he was never in the plan, he was the best mistake I ever made.

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