tagIllustratedNever Saw Blue Like That Ch. 04

Never Saw Blue Like That Ch. 04


"I'm sorry."

Cal swiftly wiped his tears away, embarrassed by the emotions that he seemed unable to control. He released the young man, glancing up into his dark blue eyes, temporarily mesmerized by their beauty. Words that he'd spoken years ago came back to haunt him, echoing in his brain. Never saw blue like that ... He quickly averted his eyes and shook his head in an attempt to clear the memory.

"So, Mr. Butler ... "


"Cal." Neal corrected, giving the man some space and forcing himself to ignore his suddenly aroused body. "What made you suddenly decide to come visit?"

"I was hoping to buy the property from Garrett's heir."

"Buy the property? But it's not for sale."

"I know it. I've been trying to buy this property for years."

A knowing expression bloomed on Neal's handsome features. "So you're the one! You're the one that's been hounding my family!"

Cal nodded. "I've always wanted this place. For the memories."

"I wondered why someone would want our little piece of swampland. Now it makes perfect sense." Neal turned away. "Only I'm not willing to sell, Cal. This is my family's legacy and I'm the only one left."

"I understand." Cal slowly arose, feeling better than he had in a long time and extended his hand to Neal. "Thanks for seeing me, Neal. I appreciate it. Maybe we can have some dinner while I'm in town."

"I'd like that."

With a curt nod, Cal left, sinking into the air-conditioned back seat of the car, then turned, perched on his knees like a child, watching as the lake and the past began to disappear into a tiny dot on the horizon. But what remained with him were the tear-filled eyes of his best friend's son, the dark blue orbs drilling into his and lighting a flame whose warmth would keep him heated until they met at the lawyer's office two days later.

"I don't understand."

Cal sat forward in the chair, looking from the lawyer to Neal, who also sat with his mouth hanging open. A day of quiet introspection and a trip to his old home had left him exhausted and he slept like a restless baby, his dreams filled with images of Garrett. Breakfast went down like sawdust and the driver made sure that he arrived at the lawyer's office in time for the reading of Garrett's will.

"What is it that you don't understand, Mr. Butler? It seems to me that Mr. Whitley's wishes are quite clear."

Cal heard what the lawyer, Mr. Hammerstein, said but he couldn't believe that he'd heard what he thought Hammerstein had said. He could have sworn that he heard the lawyer say that he was half-owner to the lake and all of its surrounding acreage. For some reason, it just wasn't registering in his mind.

"What the fuck is this?" Neal blurted, standing and pointing an angry finger at Cal. "You convinced him to change his will, didn't you?"

"Neal, I told you, I hadn't talked to your father in years!"

"Why now? Why'd you come back now?"

"Because of the property."

"Exactly!" Neal's eyes gleamed with uncontrolled anger. "The property, which you are now half-owner of. Well, I'll tell you right now, Mr. Butler, you'll never get that property! Never!"

Silence pervaded the room after Neal stormed out, slamming the door behind him. Shaken, Cal remained in his chair, gratefully accepting the shot of Johnnie Walker Black that Hammerstein offered him. "What do I do now, Mr. Hammerstein?"

The wizened lawyer slugged his own alcohol back and stood, straightening his tie. "Live, Mr. Butler. You just live."

* * * * *

Cal headed out to the house that night, intent on patching things up with Neal. He had had a lot of time to think and had come to the conclusion that it would be best to give up his claim on the property and to never return here again. He eschewed the driver for this trip and commandeered a rental car, piloting it down the long driveway and pulling alongside Neal's Saturn. Music was coming through the open screen door of the house and Cal called out for the young man before he stepped inside.

Neal was passed out on the couch, an open bottle of Jack Daniels on the table beside a half-filled shot glass. In his lap was a photo album and the breath caught in Cal's throat when he noticed that the pictures he could see were of him. He crept forward, easing the book out of the sleeping man's hands and sank into a neighboring chair, flicking to the front page. In a child's scrawl was written, Uncle Cal.

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