“Hey Bess?” Dean’s voice was soft from his side of his bed. He didn’t want to wake her if she’d finally managed to drift off. But if she was awake, he wasn’t sure if he’d have the balls to ask it later.
“Sorry, am I blanket hogging again?” Bess answered and Dean’s heart leaped into his throat. He’d really been hoping that she was asleep so that he could tell the curious part of his brain that it was a sign that it was none of his business.
“No—no. It’s not that. I just wanted to ask a personal question.”
“Oh,” Bess’s voice was softer—more guarded this time, “You can ask. I can’t promise that I’ll answer.”
“Fair. I was just wondering-uh—I was wondering if you could tell me—well, why were you and Tay there during the accident?” For a long moment there was nothing but silence, and out of panic, Dean began to ramble. “Of course, you don’t have to tell me—if it was just something between you and Tay I understand that completely—I just wanted to ask, but I’ll just shut up now.”
“No. No, I can tell you. In fact, I think it might be good to tell someone. But—uh—if I tell you…you have to promise to not to tell Shauna anything. It’d break her heart. I mean—worse than it already is.”
Dean’s breath hitched in his chest and he felt a little sick. Was she suggesting what he thought she was suggesting? “Are you saying that the tabloids—I mean—that you and Tay actually were—“He cut off, unable to complete the accusation.
Bess sat up quickly. “Oh, Ew. No. God no. Taylor and I were not having an affair. I don’t mean to speak ill of the dead, but he wasn’t my type.”
Dean sat up as well, relieved to hear that his mental image of his best friend wasn’t irreparably tarnished. That being said,, he felt the need to defend his best friend. “What? Successful, well-tanned, fit men with great personalities aren’t your type?”
“Men who are madly in love with their wives are not my type,” Bess countered with a smile, before frowning slightly. “I miss him.”
Dean nodded but decided to try and move the conversation along, to keep them from falling into that now all too familiar silent funk. “What am I not telling Shauna about that doesn’t involve you sleeping with her husband?”
“Uh—right. You know about The Hughs, yeah?”
Dean raised an eyebrow. “The band? Shauna really likes them. Am I thinking of the right group?”
Bess nodded. “According to Tay, they are her absolute favorite. I went to high school with their manager, so when Tay said he was going to try and get them to play Shauna’s birthday I thought introducing him to their manager might help that process along. We were all the way out there because it was closer to her house and it fit her schedule better. She’d already left, about ten minutes before, but we’d each gotten one last drink to celebrate that it looked like she was going to be able to convince them. He was so happy.” Bess stopped as her voice caught in her throat. She took a deep breath to regain some composure. “So—you can’t tell Shauna. Not yet at least. She would blame herself for the fact that he was there, even though it was so not her fault that it almost hurts to explain.”
“No—I get it.” Dean nodded in agreement. “It’d be too much for her. She wouldn’t take it well.” Dean fidgeted with the edge of the blanket, weighing the pros and cons of what he was thinking. “Do you think we can still get The Hughs to play?”
“I mean—we don’t need to tell her that’s why you guys were there—but we could still set up the concert. You know, one last present for Shauna from her husband. I think she’d like that. And I think it would make Tay happy if we could still make it happen for her. You know—a kind of honor his memory kind of thing. Can we make that happen?”
Bess was quiet for a long time, thinking. Dean waited, knowing that patience was the only way to get a decision from Bess. “You’d think she’d like it? It wouldn’t be too much?”
Honesty is the best policy. “I think it might make her a little sad, but I think it would make her happier than it would make her sad in the long run.”
Bess nodded. “I’ll talk to Ashleigh. I’ll see what we can get together.”
Dean smiled. “Thank you. We should probably get some sleep now, yeah? We should both go to work tomorrow.”
“Sleep is good,” Bess agreed. The both laid back down, settling into their own sides of the bed. Dean laid there for a long time before sleep finally took him.