“Not sure.” Not much was the correct answer. “But she’s probably not going to come out of her house for a while. I found a footprint on the west side under her bathroom window.”
“I’ll be there in ten.”
I hang up the phone and knock against the window. Khloe rolls it down.
“Ren’s coming over, but in the meantime, I’m going to take a look around. Remember what I said. Don’t unlock the door for anyone, not even Ren. You got me?”
“I appreciate it.”
“As long it makes sense to me, I’m not going to act dumb.”
“Good girl.” I chuck her on the chin and then step back while she closes the window. I do a quick sweep around the house, but I don’t see anything else. By the time I get back to the squad car, the front lights are all on and Ren is standing outside the door. I collect Khloe and head inside. Tina’s still in her red get-up and lets out a shout of shock when I barrel through the door with Ren and Khloe.
“Oh my God! You can’t just barge in here like you own the place,” she yelps, grabbing a blanket off the back of the sofa.
“So you’re a high-handed jerk around everyone,” Khloe observes. She steps forward and holds out her hand. “I’m Mae’s niece.”
“I heard,” Tina says a bit sullenly, but she’s a good egg and takes the hand that’s offered. “Welcome. Anyway, can you all get out? There’s no one here and I want to go to bed.”
“There’s a footprint outside your downstairs bathroom,” I tell her.
Tina’s eyes grow huge. “What?” She rushes to the bathroom, the blanket flying behind her like a cape. “Are you fucking kidding me? I was joking when I said there was someone here.” Her mouth snaps shut when she realizes what she’s saying. “I mean—“
I wave my hand. It doesn’t matter now. “You have any problems lately?”
“There was just one footprint but I didn’t see any others. The ground was too hard.”
“I watered the bushes yesterday.” She totters slightly. Khloe rushes to her side. She might have been annoyed with Tina before, but now she’s worried for her even if she is mad about what she did. Soft-hearted.
“Come on. Sit down. Tina, is it?” A shaken Tina nods her head and allows herself to be led to the sofa. “I’ll make you some warm milk. I had a friend whose mom always made her warm milk whenever she was upset.”
A friend’s mom, not Khloe’s own mom. I’m not one for violence against women, but, if Khloe’s mom ever comes around, we’re going to have words.
“Will you add some chocolate powder to it? There’s a tin in the cupboard next to the stove.”
While Khloe leaves to make the hot chocolate, I take Tina’s statement. She didn’t remember seeing anyone around her house, but she did hear noises. She thought it was an animal but decided to use it as an excuse to call. Ren clucks his tongue like an old woman and Tina blushes out of embarrassment.
“Why don’t you go stay with your brother for a while?”
She makes a face. “What a barrel of fun.”
Tina’s brother is an artist whose mouth hasn’t formed a smile since birth.
“Better bored than dead,” Ren says.
“I’ll drive you there,” Khloe offers, coming in with the drink. She sets the mug down in front of Tina, who takes it with a grateful glance.
“Would you? Even after I did all this?” Tina flicks a hand down her front.
“You were obviously feeling lonely and that’s why you had this momentary loss of sense because who in her right mind wants him?” Khloe jerks her head toward me.
Ren shouts out a laugh and a reluctant smile tugs at Tina’s mouth.
Yeah. If I hadn’t already fallen for Khloe, this moment would have done me in. Sexy as fuck body and sweet as pie inside. You can’t ask for more than that.
I snuggle more into my bed, trying to wrap the blanket tighter around me. Where did all the warmth go? My eyes spring open when I hear a loud bang followed by a curse. Dane is here. Actually, he never left. That isn’t entirely true. He left the bed and that’s why I am no longer all cozy and snuggled up in his warmth. He took it with him when he left the bed. I sit up, not letting myself be annoyed about that.
He shouldn’t have been in my bed to begin with. I start to backtrack. The last thing I remember is us dropping Tina off at her brother’s. A vague memory of Dane carrying me inside flicks through my mind like remembering a dream.
“Oh no.” I pull the pillow over my head, recalling me kissing him and pulling him down into the bed with me. He stayed all night in bed with me. I’m pretty sure I was the one that attacked him. I don’t even like cuddling. But there is something about that man that makes me do all sorts of crazy things. If he isn’t getting on my nerves then he’s getting in my bed. I have to admit that I enjoy the back and forth we have going on between us.