Why had he just told her that?
It wasn’t something he talked about. It was something he’d left in his past.
“Which part was the mistake? Becoming the lawyer or giving it up?”
“The first part.”
“So you grew up thinking you wanted to be a lawyer and then you did it and you hated it?”
“Partly true. My father was a lawyer. A good one.”
“He’s not still a lawyer?”
James put his glass down slowly. “He died when I was seventeen.”
“I’m sorry.” Guilt and distress filled her eyes. “You’ve never mentioned it. I didn’t mean to be insensitive.”
“You could never be insensitive. And I was lucky in many ways. I had a great childhood up until that point.” He knew she hadn’t even had that much. And she was so brave. So courageous.
“But maybe in a weird way that was easier. I mean, you loved yours. He was your hero.”
“And when he died, you wanted to be just like him,” she said softly. “Do what he did. Make him proud. Am I right?”
He nodded. His throat felt scratchy. “And you think you’re not smart?”
“What sort of lawyer were you? Apart from the good sort.”
“Oh. So you saw some bad stuff.”
Remembering, he gave a humorless smile. “Really bad stuff. The sort that makes you wonder if there’s a single good person left in the world. There was one particular case—” He broke off. Was he really going to ruin a perfect evening with details? “Forget it, it doesn’t matter. I realized I didn’t enjoy what I was doing. And my father strongly believed in living life to the full and part of that was doing something you loved to do. He loved the law. I didn’t.”
“So you left and retrained. Wow. That’s brave.”
“Brave is what you did.”
“Getting away from Eddie and building a life for your daughter. Doing it all on your own, with no support —”
“I had support. Matt, Paige, Frankie, Eva—” she swallowed “—and most of all, you. So how about relationships. Women. You make any mistakes there?”
“Never got in deep enough to make a mistake. You’re an impressive person, Rox. Studying and working two jobs—”
“So I can buy my little girl a princess doll’s palace?” She grinned. “My priorities suck, don’t they? I should be investing that money for the college education I’m going to make sure she gets.”
“I think buying her a princess palace this year is a good choice.”
“I should be thinking about the future.”
“If you live life well in the moment, the future usually takes care of itself.”
“If I could sew, I’d embroider that on a pillow and sleep with it.” Her gaze met his and her smile faded.
James put his napkin down on the table. “Let’s get out of here.”
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