Chapter no 46 – GRAYSON

The Brothers Hawthorne

Gigi drove. It did not take Grayson long to ascertain that Gigi should not drive.

“You’re over the line,” he said mildly.

“So the car keeps informing me!” Gigi swerved to correct the problem. “But let’s talk about you. Do you know what Savannah said after the party last night?”

“I can only imagine.”

“Nothing,” Gigi replied. She turned to give Grayson a look. “That’s weird, right?”

“Eyes on the road.”

Gigi obligingly looked back at the road but wasn’t deterred from making her point. “And you just disappeared. Also weird. And the way the two of you reacted to my thinking-on-ye-old-feet subterfuge when Duncan asked what we were doing in his dad’s office?”

Gigi paused, and Grayson gathered that he was supposed to reply. “Weird?” he suggested dryly.

“Extremely!” Gigi came to a stop at a light and turned to look at him once more. “You two have a history, don’t you? That’s why Savannah has been in cat-with-an-arching-back mode since you got here. That’s why you’re here.” Gigi’s voice grew almost tender. “You still love her.”

“What?” Grayson squeaked. He had never squeaked in his life, but some things could not be helped. “No,” he told Gigi emphatically. “I told you—”

“You have a girlfriend,” Gigi said with a roll of her eyes. The light turned green, and she accelerated. “Fine, then. What is this imaginary

girlfriend like?”

“Smart,” Grayson said, and there was still a part of him—a fainter part now, like an echo or a memory or a shadow—that had to fight to keep from seeing Avery’s face when he said it. “Not in a predictable kind of way.” He paused. “Maybe that’s a good word for her. Unpredictable. Unexpected.”

“In what way?” Gigi asked.

Echoes faded. Shadows receded in light. And some memories were meant to stay in the past. So this time, Grayson didn’t think about Avery. Instead, he thought about the black opal ring, about Nash holding his gaze and saying, Why not you?

“I am not a person who’s easily surprised or easily defeated,” Grayson said, his voice coming out thicker than it should have. “My partner…” That make-believe impossibility of a girl. “She can do both. She does both, frequently. She’s not perfect.” He swallowed. “And when I’m with her, I don’t have to be, either.”

“How did you meet?”

I am making her up as I speak. “Grocery store. She was buying limes.”

Limes? Grayson cursed himself.

“Was it love at first sight?” Gigi asked with a little sigh.

“I don’t believe in love at first sight. Neither does she.” Grayson swallowed. “We just… fit.”

Gigi held up a hand, which was mildly terrifying since she was turning left at the same time. “Okay, you’ve sold me on the existence of the mythical girlfriend. But can you at least admit that you’ve been playing pretend since I met you?”

Grayson felt a twinge in his stomach. What exactly does she know? He didn’t have time to consider that question. “Brake,” he told Gigi. “Brake!”

She braked, and a moment later, pulled into the parking lot of the bank. Screeching to a stop and parking the car, she turned to look at him. “You’re pretending to be Mr. Stoic, but I see straight through you.” She grinned. “You like me. Not that way, obviously—which, same, buddy—but in a friendly kind of way. I’m growing on you. Admit it, we’re friends.”

She opened the door and jumped out of the jeep without waiting for a response. Grayson steeled himself. We’re not friends, Gigi. He got out of the vehicle and walked around to the front, his mind on what had to be done next.

The decoy key was still in his pocket.

“Not a word about the fact that I’m not parked in the lines.” Gigi expelled a breath, then she craned her neck up at the bank. “Let’s do this.”

Grayson stepped into her path. “You can’t go in.” “You say can’t, I hear definitely going to—

“They’ll recognize you.” Grayson waited until he had her eyes before continuing. “It will be hard enough getting into the box without authorization. We don’t want them calling the cops again.” He gentled his tone, as much as he could. “You can’t do this, Gigi.”

She looked down. “But you can?”

“I’m a Hawthorne. I can do anything.” Grayson waited, just a beat, timing his next move with precision. “All you have to do is give me the key.”

Gigi pulled her necklace out from underneath her shirt, her eyes round, her fingers handling the necklace like it bore precious stones. “I guess you don’t need the chain.” She unclasped it.

Regret hit him with surprising force. “I’ll take it anyway,” he told her. “For good luck.” She handed over the chain. He slid the key off it.

“And I’ll go with Grayson,” another voice added. “For good luck.” Savannah’s tone was perfectly pleasant on the surface—and absolutely withering underneath.

“Sav!” Gigi was delighted. “You said you weren’t coming.” “I didn’t, actually. You assumed.”

Grayson recognized himself in the way she said those words: the set of her chin, the even pacing of the words, the absolute control.

“Do you have the ID I gave you?” Savannah asked her twin calmly.

Gigi reached down the front of her shirt, then produced the card. “Here!”

Grayson averted his gaze. “May I see it?”

“No, you may not,” Savannah told him, but by the time the words were out of her mouth, Gigi had already placed Sheffield Grayson’s fake ID in his hands. The first thing he noticed was the picture—and Sheffield Grayson’s eyes.

His eyes.

The second thing Grayson noticed was the name that Sheffield Grayson had chosen for his false identity: DAVENPORT, TOBIAS.

My middle name. And my grandfather’s—and uncle’s—first.

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