“Where’s Rory?” he asked Andrew when he spotted the man sitting on the couch, going over paperwork and looking better than he had in months.
“In the ballroom. Why?” Andrew asked, but Connor didn’t have time to answer him, not with five seriously pissed off James brothers after him.
“You have some explaining to do,” Reese, one of the Bradford twins and a f**king cop, shouted, drawing his attention.
Scratch that, he had five James, a little prick bastard and two seriously pissed off looking Bradfords after him and he probably only had seconds to convince Rory that he loved her and wasn’t after her company before they beat the shit out of him. Not wanting to waste another moment, he made a run for the ballroom, shoving men aside as he ran down the long hallway. The entire way he heard the sounds of very large men chasing after him, and he’d be lying if he said that he wasn’t a little weary of the ass whooping that he was about to receive, but he was more concerned about losing Rory.
He was just about to run through the open doorway of the ballroom when Rory stepped out, looking down at the clipboard in her hands and unaware of all the men barreling down on her. She’d barely looked up when he grabbed her arm and gave it a pull towards the elevators. He didn’t have a plan, but he hoped that this would at least buy him a few minutes.
“What the hell are you doing?” Rory demanded as he yanked her into the elevator, pushing her behind him as he slammed his finger against the “Close Door” button just as her brothers and cousins abruptly turned and headed for them.
“Come on, come on, come on!” he muttered, panicking as the door started to close, but not fast enough as her brothers got closer and closer until all they had to do was put their arms out to stop the doors from closing and take his only chance away. Just when he resigned himself to a trip to the hospital and losing Rory, something unexpected happened. The two Bradford twins reached out and grabbed Craig and Johnny just as they reached out to stop the elevator and yanked them back, allowing the elevator doors to close and confusing the hell out of him.
“What is going on?” Rory demanded.
“First things first,” he mumbled as he reached out and pulled the emergency elevator knob. The elevator shook hard once as it came to a complete stop. When the alarm began to blare, he flicked it off, took a deep breath and turned around to face the woman that he loved.
“I love you,” he said, needing her to know that. “I’ve always loved you and no matter what happens, I will always love you.”
“You son of a bitch!” Bryce shouted, reminding Connor that it probably wouldn’t take the brothers long to crack those doors open and kill him.
“I love you too, Connor, but what is going on?” Rory asked, shooting a nervous look past him at the closed doors.
“I need to tell you something,” he said, cringing when the banging behind him started.
“Yeah, looks that way,” Rory mused, shifting her gaze right back on him.
“Did I mention that I love you?” he asked, shooting her a nervous smile as he tried to figure out how exactly to explain the whole f**ked up deal without Rory going for his balls.
“Start talking, Connor,” Rory said, arching an expectant brow as she folded her arms over her chest.
Since time was a serious factor, he decided to get right to the point. “I f**ked up.”
“There was more to the deal than I let on,” he said in a rush. “I didn’t think it was worth mentioning because once I realized that I was still in love with you, I didn’t want it any longer.”
“What didn’t you want any longer?” she asked with a put out sigh, the same way she always did when he was telling her how he’d screwed her over. He felt himself relax, somewhat.
“The plan,” he said, searching desperately for the right way to explain his original plan to her without making her hate him.
“And why did Darrin and Reese attack my brothers?” she asked.
“Because of me,” Mr. James suddenly announced from behind him, making him curse when he realized that at some point during their conversation the doors had been opened.
At least the doors worked quietly and efficiently, he thought as several pairs of hands grabbed him and yanked him out of the elevator. As Craig pulled back his fist and let it fly, Connor hoped that they didn’t break his jaw so that he could beg Rory for a second chance. That’s if she came to visit him in intensive care.
* * * *
“Mother f**ker!” Connor gasped as Craig punched him in the stomach, causing his legs to give out, but before he dropped to the ground, Bryce and Sean were there, picking him right back up for more.
“Stop!” she cried, moving to help him, but her father blocked her and kept her in the elevator.
He kept his eyes locked on her as he told the twins, “She doesn’t get past me until we’re done and you make damn sure that no one interrupts us.”
“Sure thing, Uncle David,” Darrin said as he and his identical twin, Reese, stepped in front of the elevator and stood side by side, standing guard and blocking her view of Connor getting his ass kicked by her brothers.
“Shit!” she heard Connor groan a few seconds later.
“Dad, please tell them to stop,” she begged, panicking as she placed her hands on her face, struggling to keep it together.
“I’m sorry, Rory, but he has this one coming.”
“They’re going to kill him,” she said, trying to stay calm.
“Probably,” her father agreed with a shrug.
“Why didn’t you call me when you were hurt? For that matter, why don’t you call me when you need help? And why the hell did you just get married without me there to give you away?”
“What?” she asked, taken off guard. “Why would I call you?” she blurted out before she could stop herself.
“Because I am your goddamn father!” he shouted, losing his temper for the first time in her life. While her father could get pissed, really pissed, he never lost control, never shouted, never at her.
“When you’re hurt or need someone, I should be the first person that you call! Do you have any idea how f**king scared I was when I found out that you’d been rushed to the hospital by ambulance? I had to hear it from the f**king mailman that my daughter was seriously injured because no one called me!”