Now everything Connor thought he knew about himself and his world is in doubt. But sometimes help comes from the most unexpected direction.
After a few rounds of hugs—during which he couldn’t help noticing that Callahan was on his feet and paying his own tab—Con exited the bar. He headed for the parking lot, but he was aware of the front entrance opening and closing behind him, of footsteps following his own.
His heart sped up in a confusing mix of excitement and anxiety. He kept his pace brisk though his spine felt fused with tension.
“Myers,” Callahan called.
Con stopped. He turned warily.
“Could I have a word?” Callahan sounded…not diffident, but maybe not as commanding as usual.
“Sure.” Con knew he sounded stiff, but he couldn’t help it.
Callahan walked up to him, looking capable and very attractive in a no bullshit kind of way. He was wearing fragrance, which he generally didn’t—something masculine and sporty—and his hair was more neatly combed than usual. That was pretty much all the effort he’d made. A shower, clean clothes and aftershave. Even so, not a man who needed to go home alone, unless it was his choice.
His expression was serious, his dark gaze direct. “I owe you an apology.”
Inexplicably, Con’s throat closed. He nodded.
“I’m sure Miss Lopez told you what happened in the play yard today?”
For a second Con couldn’t think who Miss Lopez was. Oh right. Pip. Perdita Lopez in grown-up life. “Yes.” One terse word was all he could manage.
“Look, I’m not afraid to admit when I’m wrong. I was wrong. I made a mistake. Even if I hadn’t seen for myself what it’s like out there, Liz told me you weren’t anywhere near her when she fell.”
“No, I wasn’t. And even if I had been, sometimes—”
“I know.” Callahan grimaced. “I got to see it for myself today. Even before the one kid popped the other, it was an eye-opener.”
Con nodded again. He was actually surprised to get even this apology. It was his experience that most adults were not good at apologizing to anyone, especially anyone who wasn’t family or a close friend. Especially not hot shot macho boss types like Callahan. He couldn’t bring himself to say thank you. Callahan had cost him a job he loved, and in such a way that it was going to be hard to find another one. But he did appreciate the effort.
“I spoke to Bea on your behalf. I told her that I had reacted out of anger and that I didn’t intend or want her to let you go, but…”
“She’s not going to change her mind,” Con said.
Callahan looked regretful. “She did say there were other performance issues. That the decision wasn’t based on that one incident alone.”
“And that is a lie,” Con said.
“I’m just telling you wh—”
“Never. Not once was I ever told there was a performance issue. I received a Super Star on every single one of my performance evaluations. A Super Star.”
“The most I ever heard was I needed to make sure the kids were doing crafts in the evening and not just—anyway, it doesn’t matter. I don’t know why I’m even talking to you about it.”
Con started to turn away, but Callahan’s hand closed on his upper arm. He said quietly, “Because I’m to blame for you losing your job. And we both know it.”
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