“I’ve known Mandy ten years. You’ve known Anna five minutes.”
“Mandy has been taken a lot longer than you’ve known her, Lewis. See, I can hurt you just as much as you can hurt me.”
Lewis’s jaw clenched, and Russ felt like an asshole for bringing it up.
Feeling like a fucking pussy, Russ went back to looking through the device. He checked the time, and saw that he had an hour free before going back to the hospital. At that moment he didn’t want to think about how much he was looking forward to seeing Anna again. She was the first woman he enjoyed spending time with.
One week later
Even though she’d been able to sleep on her own, Russ was still insistent on staying the night. Anna hated to admit it, but she liked him being there. During the night she would wake up, and he’d be there. If she was in the throes of a nightmare, he’d tell her everything was okay, and promise to take care of her, and for her to go back to sleep. He reminded her that she was safe, and no one would ever hurt her. During the day, when he was busy with his work, she made arrangements for Karen’s funeral. Her body had finally been released, and in one week, she was going to be putting her to rest. Franny was there to help as well.
“You don’t have to stay,” she said.
“You’re being discharged tomorrow.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to go back home to my and Karen’s little apartment.” She took a deep breath. There were going to be a lot of memories there.
“I’m going to be here to pick you up,” he said.
They had gotten into a strange routine. He stayed during the day, left in the morning, returned in the evening, and then left for a couple of hours before returning at midnight for her to fall asleep.
“You don’t have to do that.”
“The doctor has discharged you into my care. You can’t leave without me.”
Anna licked her lips and tucked her hair behind her ear. She was so nervous about being near him outside the walls of the hospital. Russ didn’t scare her, and he’d told her he was Russ, not Russell. She wasn’t about to argue with him.
His billionaire status unnerved her.
Some women would love to have a billionaire taking care of them, but for her, it was just a nightmare. She and Karen had planned their own business, and now she was sitting in front of a man who was a success.
It was embarrassing, their small time dream, and here was a man with a massive one.
“So I’ve not got a choice.”
“I’m a good man, Anna. You’re safe with me. Are you scared of me?”
“No, of course not. I wouldn’t be frightened of you.” She told him the truth. “I just, I’m used to being alone.”
“You’re used to being with Karen.”
“And she’s gone.”
“Exactly. It gives me no pleasure to say that to you.”
No matter what he said, it would hurt. Karen was gone.
“Look, I don’t think you should be alone right now.”
“Living with you will help me?”
“I’m hoping it will give you a chance to get over the pain of losing your friend.” He took a seat on the bed, taking her hands. One of her hands was in a cast, but the doctor said it was healing perfectly. She didn’t like it when he touched her. Anna didn’t want to get used to his comfort. In the end, it would disappear like everything else. “Going back to your apartment is going to be tough enough. Staying there with memories, it’s going to eat away at your soul. Trust me on this.”
“I do trust you. I know it’s going to hurt, but I don’t want to become dependent on you.”
“You’re not going to. All you’re doing is leaning on me for support. Let me help you.”
“I want to.” His jaw clenched, and she forced herself to look away.
“Do you always get what you want?”
She growled with frustration. “This isn’t fair. I don’t owe you anything.”
Russ stuck out his lip. “I guess you don’t owe me anything. I mean, it wasn’t me who found you, and unlocked the dog cage you were locked in. I didn’t help you get to hospital, nor have I been the one sitting here night after night—”
“Stop it. Okay, yes, I owe you, and I sound ungrateful. I’m being ungrateful. I’m sorry. How do you put up with me?”
“I don’t know. I wonder that all the time.”
She rolled her eyes and giggled. “Fine, I will not moan at you anymore, and I will be a nice girl to you.”