“Hey. Is Grandma okay? Dad just told me—”

“I haven’t gotten to see her yet. The doctor is still in there, checking her over,” Law says, cutting me off.

“Okay. I’m on my way.”

I hang up the phone, putting it back into my purse. “I have to go.”

“I know. I just don’t fucking like it.” Paine’s whole body looks like it’s filled with rage.

I walk over to him and reach up to grab his face. I pull it to mine so we’re only a breath apart. “I want what we talked about,” I tell him, letting him know I’ll come back to him.

He kisses me hard before reluctantly pulling away. “Don’t clean up. If you’re leaving this house without me, the cum on your thighs and pussy stays put.” I should be appalled, but I’m not. I like that I still smell of him. That when I leave, a part of him is coming with me. I nod, making my retreat into the bathroom.

I make quick work of putting my dress and shoes back on. I toss Paine’s shirt onto the bed. When I enter the bedroom, I see Paine is also dressed and is just pacing back and forth like a caged animal.

“Paine.” My voice makes him stop and turn to look at me.

I can’t read the look on his face, but I reach out, wanting him to come to me. He walks over, his big hand engulfing mine. I lead him down the hallway and to the front door. I open it and see my father still standing there.

Turning back to Paine, I squeeze his hand. “I’ll call you when I have news.”

“You’ll call me every hour,” Paine corrects, but he’s not looking at me. He’s in a staring match with my father.

“Okay, I’ll call you every hour.” Which I will if it will cool him down a little and put him at ease.

“I don’t know what the fuck your game is, Mayor, but I’ll figure it out. And when I do, I’ll burn you.”

“Stick to things you know, Paine. Like fixing cars. You don’t want to get tangled with me.” My dad looks down his nose at Paine. Something he does to a lot to people, and it makes me want to lash out. Now is not the time to get on his bad side when he’s standing between me and my grandma.

“We’re already tangled. You show up on my property, take my girl, and don’t think that’s all there is to it? Maybe you’re the one who’s not too bright.”

“Enough.” I break into the middle of their pissing match, which I know will just escalate. “Let’s go, I want to get there before the doctor leaves. I want to hear what he has to say.” I start to walk off the porch, but Paine pulls me back to him, kissing me hard and possessively.

“Take this.” He hands me his phone.

“I have mine.” I indicate to my purse under my arm.

“I want you to take this one.” I can tell by his tone that there is no arguing. He grabs my purse, taking my phone out of it, and hands the purse back. “I’m keeping yours. You can reach me on it.”

I don’t know what he’s doing, but I just go along with it. I take one last look at Paine as I get into my father’s car.

As the car pulls away, I expect him to lay into me about Paine and Scott, making threats and demanding I get back with Scott, but he doesn’t. He takes a different tactic.

“Paine will get you nowhere in life, Penny. I just want what’s best for you. I thought if I pushed you into marrying Scott, you’d see he was right for you. He’d be good for you. He’s going places.”

“He’s not.” My response is flat and without emotion. It’s right there in his words. Scott is going places, and I’m guessing my dad wants his hand in those places. I have no idea what he’s playing at with this soft, caring approach. This is nothing like how he was days ago when he was telling me what I would and wouldn’t be doing.

He sighs deeply, making me look over at him. I see him glancing at the cell phone Paine gave me, making me grip it tighter before I put it into my purse.

“We’ll discuss this later. Let’s just get back home and see how your grandmother is doing.”

It’s silent the rest of the twenty minute drive home. I’m out of the car before it even comes to a full stop, rushing into the front door as fast as my heels will let me. I dash up the stairs and head for the east wing, and I’m out of breath when I reach her hallway.

When I get to the door, I see my brother sitting outside, still in uniform, his eyes coming to mine.

“The doctor just left. Grandma’s sleeping.”

I’m relieved and sad. I wanted to see her, but if the doctor left and isn’t having her transferred to the hospital then she must be okay.

“What happened?” I turn to see if my father followed me, but he didn’t. He hasn’t seemed too concerned about Grandma, but he doesn’t care about any of us unless he has a use for us. It’s clear from his not coming to check on her that she doesn’t have something he needs at the moment. Except maybe for her money.

“She had a dizzy spell, had a little fall, and hit her head. Thankfully, she didn’t break anything, and she’s just got a little bruise on her forehead.”

“Oh, thank God.’

Law pulls me into his arms, giving me a hug. “She’s fine. Why don’t you go lie down, and you can see her first thing in the morning.” I nod into his chest, but for some reason I feel like he’s trying to get rid of me. It’s not something I want to contemplate right now, so I let it go. This day has been long and filled with more emotions than I can handle. I need to crash, and my bed is calling me. I wish I could be in Paine’s bed, but this one is close to Grandma.

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