“I’ll protect you. I won’t let anything happen to you.”
“Do you think my father wanted to let my mother die?” I’m shouting. I never shout but I’m shouting. “You can’t protect me. No one can.” I’ve said too much, but it’s too late. I can’t even seem to care. My chest is heaving, my body trembling.
He stares at me, and the torment in his eyes rips through my emotions and creates more. I am on overload, tunneling into the abyss, and I do not know what to do. Suddenly, I feel him, rather than my panic. He’s hurt. He’s really hurt. I don’t want to care, but I do. “Liam—”
He turns and disappears. I stare after him and fight through a million emotions. He was an ass tonight and I should be furious, but there was something in him just now, really during this whole encounter, that I have never felt from him. Something painful.
I grab the red silk robe he’d given me from the back of the door and tie it around me before seeking Liam out. I find him on the couch, his elbows on his knees, his head on his hands.
He looks up at me and there is more turbulence, more darkness. “You’re right. I was an ass. My father called today, and it’s not an excuse. It’s just a fact. I always say I won’t let him mess with my head, but he does.”
“Your father? I thought he was gone?”
“Like I said. Sharks swimming at my feet, baby. He only calls when he wants money or he’s in trouble. It started out with him wanting to make amends, and have his son back in his life years ago, but it was only about money.”
Oh, God. The way he values honesty makes sense now. I want to go to him but I’m afraid he’ll stop talking. “He just…” He scrubs his jaw and starts again. “He was drunk driving today and hit a car with a family in it.”
I grab my stomach. “Oh, God. No.”
He nods. “A little girl’s mother is now in intensive care and she was in the car while her mother almost bled to death. I’d just found out when I went to Earl’s. I felt like being with you would somehow…” He hesitates. “I saw you with him, and I snapped. I’m sorry.”
I rush forward and I go down on my knees in front of him, my hands settling on his knee.
“I’m sorry. I would never make you feel like I made you feel tonight on purpose.”
“You didn’t make me feel this. I did. I think maybe I have a little too much of my pops in me for both our good.”
“No. You were human tonight, Liam.”
“You don’t get it. Every time he does this, I crawl out of my own skin. I have to go to New York. I booked the last flight out tonight.”
I don’t even hesitate in my response. “I’ll go with you.” He needs me. I have to be there for him. I won’t be anywhere anyone will find me. I’ll be with Liam. I’ll be safe.
“No. This will hit the papers and if you’re with me, you will, too. We both know you can’t have that happen.”
I’m taken aback. What does he mean? What does he know? “Liam—”
“We’ve already established you don’t want to be around me when I’m like this. I’m not done being an ass. I’ve got a lot more of my father to deal with and a lot more of the me you don’t like to follow.”
“I can deal with you being an ass now that I know why.”
“I can’t. Just please stay here in the hotel where I know you’re safe. There are cameras and security, especially in this suite. I need to know you’re safe.”
He’s decided. I hear it in his voice. “Yes. Okay. I’ll stay, but I really want to go with you.”
“Stay, Amy. And think about tonight when I’m gone.”
“There’s nothing to think about.”
“We both know that’s not true.” He sets me aside and pushes to his feet.
I follow him to the bedroom and sit on the bed while he changes into faded jeans and a light blue pullover, and boots, then fills a suitcase. “When will you be back?”
“I don’t know. I have to take care of this kid my father hurt and her family, and get him back into rehab.”
Back into rehab. This is very much an ongoing battle for Liam.
“Where’s your phone?” he asks.
“I don’t know. I don’t even remember dropping my purse or briefcase when we came in the door.”
His jaw tenses and he turns away, returning with my things. “I want you to put Derek’s number in your phone. I know you don’t know him, but he’s like a brother to me. I trust him and so can you.”
I pull out my phone and Liam takes it, keying in the number for me before going down on a knee in front of me. His expression softens and his fingers caress down my cheek. “For the record, we’d make beautiful babies together.”
My breath lodges in my throat and I lean into him, resting my forehead on his. “I don’t want you to go.”
“I just hope you want me to come back.” He kisses my forehead and then digs out the key to the car, pressing it to my palm. “I’ll take a cab. Use it if you need it.” He reaches behind him and pulls out his wallet and a credit card.
I shake my head. “No, Liam.”
“I’m not getting on this plane thinking you might need something I can’t give you. Take it. The pin is 1117. We will both have piece of mind in knowing you have it if you need it.”