My stomach tightens. The man walks toward us, leaving Paige standing alone. She stares at his back, her face pale and unreadable.
“Look at our little family reunion,” the man says.
Paige takes a few more steps toward us, but still hangs back. Watching everything. Her eyes look a little wild.
“I was wondering if I’d see you tonight.” Oz’s voice is cold and calculated.
“Not even going to introduce me?” The man, who I assume is Alexander, Oz’s dad, ignores Oz to stare at me. Oz pulls my arm back and steps in front of me, blocking me from the man’s view making it clear he won’t be doing that. I have to poke my head out to even see what’s going on.
“I assume you received the paperwork today. How does it feel to have everything bought out from under you and taken apart?”
Alexander takes a step closer to Oz, until they’re only inches apart. “I warned you, Miles, don’t fuck with me. I’ll make sure this one doesn’t wake up.”
A chill runs down my spine at his insinuation, and before I can process what this all means, Oz is on him. He’s got Alexander by the throat, pinned up against the wall with his feet dangling inches off the ground. Alexander’s hands are trying to pull at his wrist, but Oz only squeezes tighter. His face is turning a deep red, and he’s gasping for air as he struggles to breathe.
“You threaten what’s mine, and I’ll fucking end you. Do you hear me?” Alexander’s feet kicking against the wall are the only sound in the room. “We’re done. I’ve taken all your businesses and put them under. I’ve got piles of dirt on you a mile high, and if you so much as step foot in my town again, I’ll do more than fuck with your money. Do. You. Understand. Me.”
Oz clips out each word at the end, but all Alexander can do is nod. His breath is coming out in choking gasps, and he’s turned from red to purple.
Walking over, I place my hands on Oz’s back. “I want to go home,” I tell him, and I feel him release a deep breath. It takes a solid minute before he relaxes, but he finally releases him, letting Alexander crumple to the ground.
Oz turns to look down at me, grabbing my hand once again. I look over at Paige, who’s looking at her father like he’s a pile of trash on the floor. After a beat she turns to us, and I see something flash in her eyes, but it’s gone so quickly I’m not sure if I even saw it.
“Your driver’s out front, sir.” Captain’s words break the silence that’s fallen over us.
I glance around, not knowing what to do, but Captain walks over to Paige and takes her hand. He looks back to us and he and Oz share a look, and I feel that there’s so much passing between them that I still don’t know. But there’s not time to explain, because Oz wants to get me as far from here, and as far from Alexander as possible.
He wraps his arm around my waist and we walk out to the street and quickly climb into the back of the limo. I don’t fight him, wanting to put distance between that situation as much as he does. Oz wastes no time in pulling me into his lap.
“You okay?” I ask, worried about what the confrontation might have done to him.
“I’ve been after revenge for my mother all these years, and she doesn’t even seem to give the man two thoughts.” He lets out a deep breath. “But I knew when you came into my life that it needed to end. I couldn’t live a life where I was worried about you around every corner.”
“I’m not scared of him, if that’s what you’re thinking. I’ll keep my security and do as you guys ask if you’re worried about him coming after me,” I offer.
“You don’t want me to let it go?” he asks, a hand coming up to cup my cheek.
“I want you to do whatever it is you think you should do, but I don’t think Paige is going to let it go.”
He’s still for a few seconds, as if he’s thinking about what he should do.
“I wouldn’t stand in the way of Paige,” he tells me. He wouldn’t but I also can’t stand aside and let her walk alone. I don’t tell Oz that. Maybe with time I can bring Paige and Oz together. Make us all a family.
“Did it scare you when I grabbed him in there? Threatened to kill him?” he asks, and I can see the worry in his eyes.
“I’ve never been scared of you, Oz. You were protecting the people you love. That doesn’t scare me. It’s another reason I love you.”