I’m fighting a losing battle. Maybe it’s time to admit that. Maybe it’s time to just give up and give in.
To see where this craziness takes us.
We pull up to the house he called home and his hand leaves my thigh. I almost grab his hand to retain my connection to him.
The suggestion, maybe we could drive around for just a little longer, is poised on my lips but I don’t let it pass.
Abigail is exhausted and needs her bed.
He gets out of the car and comes around to open my door. He helps me out and then takes care of Abigail, picking her up and carrying her into the house.
I follow behind him, shutting all the doors behind us and locking them.
The irony is not lost on me.
Up the stairs, I follow behind him.
The way he cradles and carries Abigail, it’s like he’s carrying the most precious package in the world.
We enter her room.
Gently, he lays Abigail down on her bed and draws up the covers, tucking her in. Stepping back, he gives me just enough room to squeeze in. I bend over her, stroke her hair back and give her a kiss goodnight on her forehead.
She smiles in her sleep.
As long as she is safe and happy, I can endure anything.
Even this man.
Straightening away, I turn to find Andrew holding out his hand.
I hesitate, looking up at his face and all the dark tenderness there before I place my hand in his. His fingers curl around mine and even this innocent touch is enough to quicken my breath.
Instead of becoming desensitized to him over time, I seem to be becoming more and more responsive to him.
He leads me out of Abigail’s room and down the hall to his… no, our room.
With each step, my heart beats a little faster. And with each step, I sense a change coming over him. His grip on my hand tightens with tension and his face hardens with determination.
Have I done something to anger him? I wonder. I’m not sure but something certainly has.
He pulls me into the room and quickly shuts the door behind us.
I glance up at him in surprise. Something is very wrong. He was so calm, so affectionate a few moments ago… but maybe that was just the calm before the storm? Right now he looks like he’s about ready to unleash on me.
“We need to talk,” he says gruffly and drops my hand.
He reaches up, tugs on the knot of his tie and then yanks it out of his collar.
“What about?” I gulp and take a step back.
The drive home was so quiet, I almost forgot to be frightened of him.
Tie gone, he starts unbuttoning his shirt, his movements sharp and quick.
“About Ivan,” he growls.
“What about him?” I ask, and nervously lick my lips. My mouth is suddenly dry and my stomach twists with apprehension.
He rips his shirt off and then cracks his neck.
Head straightening, he stares at me for several long, tense seconds before saying, “We’re releasing him.”
Fuck. My worst nightmare is coming true.
“When?” I ask, trying to come to terms with the information.
“Tomorrow,” Andrew says, his eyes never leaving me. He stares at me long and hard, taking in my reaction.
“Why didn’t you…” I stop and swallow. I can’t even finish my question.
Perhaps it makes me just as bad as him, but a sick, twisted part of me was hoping that Lucifer would find a reason to take care of Ivan once they got the information they wanted out of him.
I was hoping I’d never have to see him again. I’d never have to fear him again.
Andrew sneers. “Why didn’t we kill him?”
Slowly, I nod my head.
“Because we still have a use for him.”
My heart lurches and my breathing quickens. I have to swallow again as bile creeps up my throat. Of course they have a use for him. Ivan is no doubt a never-ending fountain of information.
But he’ll want me back.
“Oh god,” I groan.
I waver on my feet then I tip my head back and peer up into Andrew’s hard, unforgiving eyes. “You have to let me go.”
His eyes blacken and the word is nearly a roar when it comes out of his mouth. “No.”
I should be afraid of Andrew’s reaction and his furious expression, but right now I’m much more afraid of Ivan.
“But he’s going to look for me,” I begin to tearfully explain. My panic ratchets up with each word I speak, knowing deep down in my soul that they’re true. “He always finds me. Always.”
“I’ll fucking kill him if he tries to take you from me.”
I shake my head, wanting to believe him but knowing it’s not as simple as that. Ivan has uncanny luck and very deep pockets. Eventually, he’ll find me. If not tomorrow, then the day after that. And then…