“Just checking on things,” Law responds, and I can feel his eyes on me. I try to pretend he’s not there until he speaks right to me. “How you doing, Josephine?”
My heart clenches at the use of my name. It bugged me at first when he called me that, like he knew me, but over the past few weeks, I’ve grown to love it. Crave him saying it. When we’d make love and he’d call it out, it was like the sweetest thing I’ve never known. I still refuse to meet his eyes in the mirror and just go on ignoring him. I can’t believe he’s doing this in the middle of the bar for everyone to see. Before today I wouldn’t have thought it a big deal, but after seeing him out with the other woman, the pieces click into place. He didn’t want people to know we were together. How didn’t I see it before? I was too content to spend our time together just holed up in his home, in his bed.
Instead of answering him, I just give him the middle finger. Because that’s what he can do. Fuck off
“Josephine, sweets, don’t—”
“Sweets—” Paine tries to say interject, but I cut them both off.
“What the fuck are you doing here, Anderson? Pretty sure stalking is against the law.”
The bar has become eerily quiet now, and I know everyone is watching what’s happening.
“Jake, my sister around? I thought they came in here tonight,” Law says, pissing me off even more. He has a fucking sister? Law knows everything about me, and I didn’t even know he had a goddamn sister. Oh, I know why, there’s no point in introducing Joey because you’ll never meet her. You’re just the Sheriff’s dirty secret he fucks out in his cabin.
“She with that bachelorette party?”
“That would have been them. She’s the bachelorette.”
I almost want to laugh at the irony of Law’s words. Paine and I have been sitting at the bar, moping about a brother and sister who are way out of our range. But I have a feeling that won’t stop Paine. As for me, my ego can’t handle another round. I might shatter.
“They left here about two hours ago,” Jake says, pouring a glass of cheap whiskey.
“All right, I was just checking in before I head home for the night.”
I can’t help but snort at his words, not believing him. “Probably going to be fucking his date tonight since he won’t be fucking me,” I mumble to myself.
“Josephine, can I have a word with you outside?” I want to scream at him. Of course, so no one sees the sheriff is slumming it, but I can’t ignore him. He’s still the sheriff.
“Who’s asking?” I motion for Jake to pour me another shot. “The Sheriff or Law?”
“I’m asking, sweets.”
“Then the answer is no. Besides, you don’t like being seen with me in public.” I shrug my shoulders, trying to pretend I don’t give a shit and failing. I can feel the tension in my whole body; I’m practically vibrating.
“That’s not fucking true and you know it,” Law snarls, and I can feel him getting closer to me, something I don’t want. He can’t touch me. I won’t be able to hold back the tears if he does, and I won’t give him my tears. I slam back my shot, jumping off the barstool, and I wobble a little. Both Law and Paine jump to steady me.
“Don’t fucking touch her,” Law growls at Paine, pulling me towards his body in a possessive hold. I feel the dam inside me start to shake, and it takes everything in me to get my words out without it cracking.
“You made your choice. Now live with it.” I try to push past him, but he grabs me by the arm and I turn, shooting all my anger at him. I’ve got to hold on to that anger until I get out of this bar.
“You’re too drunk to drive.”
I don’t even respond to his words. I just call out Butch’s name. “Butch has me,” I say, hoping that fucking digs into his gut. Law may not want everyone to know we’re together, but I know he doesn’t want to share me. Double standard much?
Law clenches his jaw again, but what can he really say? Everyone in the bar is staring at us.
“Pick up your phone,” he grits out at me, but I’m having no part of it.
With that, I grab onto Butch’s arm, and he pulls me closer, probably because he sees the distress on my face.
“Get me home, please,” I whisper to him as the tears start to fall.
“You’re in over your head.” Paine says the words, but I don’t look at him. I keep staring out the door Josephine just walked through, taking a part of me with her. When she hadn’t returned my text messages I got a little worried, but when she sent that last text, it felt like the bottom of my world dropped out from under me.