Cade confronts Holden after driving Valerie home

This scene is actually referred to in the final edition of the book. When Cade says something about ‘wanting the best of both worlds.’ I really like this one, because it shows a different side of Holden, but I think it makes Cade look too angsty (though, he is a pretty solemn guy lol).


 

After dropping Valerie off at home, Cade circled around and headed back into town.
He slowed his truck at a stoplight and glanced at the street names. Atherton and River Street. He was looking for Kensington Street, and he was pretty sure that it lined the opposite bank of the river. He turned onto River Street and crossed the bridge. At the next light, he hung an immediate right onto Kensington.
Holden’s house was the largest, and also the last, on the block. It figured. An ego like that usually came from money.
Cade parked the truck along the curb, then walked out back. The landscaping was beautiful, even he had to agree. He almost wondered if a Traditionalist had tended it, then he snorted. No chance in hell. They would never stoop so low.
The back deck was wide and luxurious with diagonal floorboards and multiple levels. Patio furniture and greenery lined each plateau in just the right place, making it perfect for community cookouts, sports parties or whatever. A pool was encased on the bottom level of the deck, and off of that, a long boardwalk lead to a dock at the edge of the river. A speedboat and a pontoon floated silently, tethered tightly to the dock. Two jet skis were beached on the bank.
He exhaled a deep breath, then ducked around the right side of the deck and tapped at the glass of the double doors there.
Holden answered a few moments later, clad in snug tee-shirt, board shorts, and distressed cloth flip-flops. He slipped outside, then closed the sliding doors behind him.

“Cade. What a pleasure. Please, have a seat.” He gestured toward a glass patio set surrounded by a large circle of rhododendrons with intense fuchsia blossoms. “Drink?”
“Please.”
“Coke alright?”
“Sure.”
Holden reached around the corner and grabbed two cans from a hidden, outdoor fridge. The aluminum began sweating almost immediately in the early autumn heat. After they sat, Holden laced his fingers and raised an eyebrow. “So, what do you want?”
Cade chuckled and cracked open his can. “I love how quickly the pleasant pretenses fall away.”
“So do I,” Holden agreed easily. He opened his own can and took a leisurely sip, waiting.
Cade leaned forward and eyed him intently. “I saw your little show in Chemistry today,” he began.
“My show?” Holden asked, amused.
“Yeah. You know what I mean.”
“With Val?”
Cade pointed a finger. “That’s my nickname for her. And yes, with Val.”
Holden laughed condescendingly. “Seriously? That’s why you’re here? I didn’t realize you cared who I dated.”
“You’re not dating her.”
“Not yet.”
“God, I fucking hate you,” Cade growled in frustration.
Holden merely smiled in good humor, pissing him off further. “Because of what I am or what you’re not?”
“Just stay away from Valerie,” Cade demanded broodingly. “You know I like her.”
“Hey, I like her, too,” he replied simply. “And it’s not my fault that my way of life actually allows me to like her. To be around her.”
“You’re ‘way of life’,” Cade mocked. Anger and irritation radiated off of his skin in waves. “You’re a bunch of liars and hypocrites.”
Holden shrugged. “If that’s how you feel…”
“It is.”
“Well, we all have the ability to choose.”
“I don’t,” Cade countered fiercely.
Holden frowned. “And that’s still your choice.”
Cade was jittery, like a caged animal, and Holden almost pitied him. He took a swig of coke.

“If I hated my life so damn bad, I’d like to think I’d have the balls to change that.”
“I don’t hate my life,” he retorted venomously. “I hate you.
“I don’t think that’s it…” Holden murmured. He glared at Cade like a predator. “I think you’d still be as indifferent as ever toward me if it weren’t for Valerie.”
He’d struck a chord. Cade was only just containing his hostility.
“And even the idea of Valerie goes against every last rule you Traditionalists have. So why? Why even entertain the idea, if you love your precious lifestyle so much?”
Cade looked away, but the muscles in his jaw ticked.
Holden smirked. “You want the best of both worlds, don’t you?”
“Just… Leave her alone,” he threatened dangerously.
“I don’t think I will…” Holden tossed his unfinished can of coke and it found the trashcan like free throw. “You’ll see yourself out?”
He then turned on his heel, slipping back into the house without another word.
There was absolutely nothing Cade could do.
Like always.

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