No one pressured her.
Her father didn’t ask her to come home. No one asked anything from her. She went through the motions, and all the time in the back of her mind, she knew something wasn’t right.
Of course something wasn’t right.
She’d lost a child.
Bishop was attentive, even more so now than when she was pregnant. She wasn’t a fool; she knew why. He was really happy about her not being pregnant, and rather than keep it to himself, he showed it in this way.
Preacher kept his distance, and she hated that more than anything else. He was the only one to understand what she was going through.
Randall tried to talk to her, but she didn’t want to sit and chat with him. It was too impersonal.
Going home was out of the question, and she had also stopped going to the library. The only places she went now were the school, home, and the clubhouse. Being at the clubhouse was hard, but she made herself go.
Milly would never be there again.
Some of the women stayed away from her. In fact, all of them stayed away from her. She didn’t mind the quiet, and she knew half of them were sleeping with Bishop anyway. They all expected her to take him away from them, but she had no plans to sleep with Bishop, even if he wanted to.
As she sat at one of the tables outside, the scent of the fire they already had burning hung heavy in the air. There was still a chill, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. She wore a large sweater, and it was way too big for her, and it didn’t remind her of how pregnant she once was. It was nice not to have a constant reminder.
She stared down at her English book, but the words didn’t mean anything.
Men and women were gathered all around her, laughing, joking, having a good time, and she should be happy for them, but she felt sick.
“Hey, beautiful,” Bishop said.
He kissed her neck, and she closed her eyes, counting to ten. She found his little actions of concern annoyed her. Deep down, he was happy that she was no longer pregnant, and she couldn’t allow herself to let go in front of him. How could he be happy about something like this? It made no sense to her.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Nothing.” She knew this anger was her own fault. She had to deal with it by herself, but each time she tried to get any peace, he was there, always wanting more.
“Are you sure? You can talk about it, you know. I’m always here.”
“Drop it, Bishop. Please.”
“I know you’ve been through a lot and I get that you’re hurting right now, but if there’s anything you need…”
She slammed her hands down on the bench. “Do you know what I really need?” she asked. “I need you to leave me alone and to stop telling me that you’re here for me. I know you’re not really here for me because you’re happy this has happened. You never wanted me to be pregnant in the first place. I get it, Bishop. I’m not pregnant and you can have anything you want, but you can have all the women here. I don’t care. Sleep with them. Do what you want, but stop pestering me. It’s not going to happen.”
Without picking up her books, she stormed away.
The silence all around her was deafening. She couldn’t believe what she’d just done or said, but what more did he expect from her?
Rushing toward Preacher’s office, she closed the door and moved toward his closet. He only kept files in there, but long ago, when she was little, he’d once told her if she ever felt afraid or needed to be alone, she could go here.
What was wrong with her? It wasn’t like Bishop deserved her anger.
He’d done nothing wrong.
He’d not pushed them off the road, or caused her to be thrown from the window. It wasn’t his fault.
“Great, now I feel guilty.” She dropped her head in her hands and hoped the silence would come to her soon.
“I should go and talk to her,” Bear said.
“No.” Preacher put a hand on his chest. “Don’t.”
He walked to his boy. Bishop stared at where Robin had disappeared.
“Are you okay, son?” he asked.
“No. Yeah. I don’t know. I … I’m not trying to push, Dad.”
“It’s hard. I want to be happy, but I know she’s hurting and I don’t know how to help.”
“We can only take our time.”
“How can I expect her to want me when she’s right? I did want her to lose the baby. I’m a horrible bastard.” Bishop sat down on the bench. “I’ve spent so much time caring about myself that I didn’t think about what it was she wanted.”
“No, it’s not fine because she’s all alone, and I can’t stand her to be alone. Not ever.” Bishop’s shoulders slumped.