Page 36 of Hero Next Door

“I would love to have you with me.” I nod eagerly. “I’m scared to do it by myself.”

I’m also terrified that Mr. Jones will break free and get me if I am ever by myself which is why I need to do this. If I can get him locked up in prison for any amount of time, then I will be able to live a bit freer for a while without constantly having to look over my shoulder, wondering, waiting, preparing myself for something that may or may not happen. And with Theo by my side supporting me through it all, I feel like I can get through anything.

Perhaps that’s the reason why I don’t let him go. Why I hug him closer to me in bed and lie my head on his chest, because with him next to me, supporting me all the way I don’t feel like anything can go wrong.

To think, I didn’t know this man only a short while ago and now he is super important to me. Who would have thought it?

Chapter 16 – Theo

“You did really well.” I hold Esme under my arm, doing what I can to reassure her. “You were incredible in there. You definitely helped the investigation along a lot. They were really grateful, I could see it.”

She nods her head but shudders beside me. I can tell that she is still shell shocked from the whole experience and I can hardly blame her. I have spoken to the police a number of times and know that they are always doing their best work even if it doesn’t always seem like it on the outside. But I’m sure that it can be an intimidating experience for someone who isn’t used to it. There is no way in hell that Esme is used to talking to police officers.

“Come on, let me get you back in to the car.” I lead her the way because I don’t know if she’s even aware of where she is right now. “Then I can take you back home. We can talk about it then if you want… or we don’t have to. I don’t know what’s better for you. Erm, whatever. Yes.” Am I talking too much? “Here we are.”

I guide Esme in to the car and close the door behind her before I let out a deep breath. That was stressful, even for me and I didn’t need to say anything. It was hard work, but thankfully now it’s over. The police are going to be all over Mr. Jones like a rash, they are going to arrest him for sure, so at least we don’t need to worry about him until the court case. If there will be a court case that is. He might plead guilty and all of this will be over.

I search inside myself as I drive since Esme wants to do so in silence, to see if I am pleased to be proven right. But I really don’t think it’s that. I think I’m just happy for the whole thing to be over. I’m more pleased that Esme is safe and Callum can’t get to her. The last thing I want is for anything else to happen to her. She has been through enough.

“We’re nearly there now,” I say quietly the closer we get to home, more to remind Esme that something is happening now, that she needs to snap out of the fear she’s in just for long enough for us to go inside. “Are you okay? Do you want to stop off anywhere along the way? The shops, maybe? Or your friend?”

“Delia,” she whispers as she thinks about her friend. “I do want to see Delia, yes, but not right now. I’m too drained after all of this. I’m too emotionally exhausted. But I will call her when I get back home.”

“Okay, good.” I nod slowly. “So, you want me to just take you straight back there? Would that be for the best?”

“Thank you, yes. Home is the only place I can be right now. I need to rest and have a moment to myself.”

I send her a side eyed glance and watch her staring wistfully out the window. I can practically see the cogs ticking in her brain but I have no idea what she’s thinking. I wonder if she’s wishing that none of this ever happened. If I could do anything to take this pain away from her I would, but this is really out of my control.

As I pull the car up to park, I don’t know what to say or do. This could be our parting moment now. Esme could go back in to her house and I won’t see her again for a very long time. I mean, she has a lot of her life to sort out now, doesn’t she? There will be a lot of changes for her and it’s bound to consume her for a while. I’ll miss her during that time, but if this is what she wants then I will have to respect that. I can’t protect her if she doesn’t want me to.

Tags: Mia Ford Romance