Paige was in bed after Christine had dropped her off. Ridge had driven Evan and Jordan to a neighboring county’s sheriff’s station, so there was no telling when they would be home. Evan had promised to tell her everything when he got back.
She couldn’t sleep after seeing the shape Indie had been in when Cash pulled her out of that room. Physically, she seemed fine, but there was a darkness in her eyes that made Paige want to cry. She’d known Indie a while now, and the darkness had been there intermittently throughout their relationship.
As her mentor, Paige could help the girl professionally all she wanted to. Indie was bright, driven, and focused on her programming. But that darkness had a tendency to fuck it up at times, and Paige had really hoped this trip would help, and it had seemed to at first.
Cash had been amazing, and watching the two young people fall in love was a highlight of her life. Going from the skittish Indie she was used to, to the smiling, friendly, laughing Indie she was around Cash had been the best gift of Paige’s life, outside of Evan.
She waffled between thinking this time had been good for Indie, and Paige’s insistence she come on this trip being the biggest mistake of her life.
Last night was brutal.
The sun was just starting to glow over the horizon when Evan slipped into the covers beside her. Paige was still awake, and turned to look at him.
So gorgeous. Still, it took her breath away that he was hers. After fantasizing about a man she didn’t know for years, she had met him, and he’d been way more than she expected. Now that she was hers, she still went through these phases of not believing he was actually hers.
But his grip on her waist told her he was hers.
“Well, that’s done.” His murmur was warm in the room, and paige snuggled into his hold.
“Tell me about it?” This was something they did when he finished a job. He talked about it, as if letting it out into the open, and it seemed to help him keep from letting things fester inside.
“July has been running a drug smuggling operation. He steals the horses and makes them swallow drugs. That part’s still hazy. But one of mom’s rescues died on the Canadian border last week because a bag of heroin had ruptured in the stomach. She was traced to Mom because of the papers that are required to transport horses, that July forged badly. They were good enough to get the horses around, but after the death and discovery of the H, they looked closer at the papers.” He sighed. “Anyway, Ron was contacting all the sheriffs in Montana about his “daughter” who he suspected was being trafficked by us across state lines. He had made up a convoluted story about us luring Indie away from her family, and July saw a weakness he could exploit. He offered to hand her over to him, in exchange for drugs. Last night was a preliminary meeting, and Cash and Indie showed up on a silver platter.”
Paige waited for the rest of the story, and knew Evan would tell it once he brought his scattered thoughts in order. A few minutes later, he continued.
“I’m going to call Indie’s mom after I get a couple of hours of sleep. She needs to know about this. And she needs to let Indie press charges against Ron, because he’s not going to just go away. He’s in jail now for the kidnapping business, but he could get out. The jurisdictional stuff is a nightmare, but I had to get them out of this county. I have no idea who July’s paying off with his drug stuff, and took a chance with the guy I chose in the next county, but he seems legit.”
“She’s going to want to come get her baby.”
“I know. She probably should. We were supposed to keep her safe, and we didn’t.”
“We couldn’t know the level he was willing to stoop to. Clearly he’s sick.”
“Well, I deal with fucking sick bastards every day. Just because it was close to me doesn’t mean the dude’s not twisted. Ii should have known.”
Paige stroked his chest. “You can’t know everything.”
Evan’s arm came around her, drawing the comfort she was giving off. “I fucking love you.”
She smiled. “I fucking love you too.”
Indie woke up on a strange floor, but as terrifying as that should have been, it smelled right. Memories of last night clashed with her cognizant morning thoughts, and she knew she should smell like vomit. Instead, she smelled like Cash.
And that was okay.
The pillow smelled like him. The sheets smelled like him. He had come for her last night and gotten her out of that motel room. Away from Ron and the sheriff.
He had saved her.
And instead of putting her in another bed, he had made a pallet on the floor for her.
She opened her eyes to see him next to her, arm tossed over his face, his chest exposed to the daylight as the sheet had fallen.
A warm wetness registered between her legs and she tossed the sheet back.
She’d gotten her period.
She was pregnant.
A mixture of emotions flowed through her as she struggled to breathe.
She was miscarrying the baby.
Relief. She wouldn’t have to carry the product of a disgusting rape.
Guilt. A baby was dead. She’d been relieved at that. Just because the father was evil, didn’t mean the baby wouldn’t be a joy.
Relief. She could do the internship without worrying about being pregnant and raising a baby.
Guilt. A baby. Gone.
Relief. The last of the filth that was Ron had seeped out between her legs in the night.
She realized tears were falling down her cheeks and she swiped at them ineffectively. She couldn’t stop them. They continued to fall, and she sniffed hard, her breath hitching.
“Indie? Oh God. Are you okay?”
Indie turned her head and looked at the man next to her. “Yeah. I’m fine. Or I will be. I need to shower.”
He led her on weak knees to the bathroom, which looked vaguely familiar. As she washed herself, she realized he had done this for her last night. He had taken care of her. She remembered the fell of his hands as if he were doing it now, his ghost fingers deftly washing the vomit out of her hair. She remembered Mia too, helping to dress her and put her to bed.
She remembered Mia looking at her arms and pursing her lips, but not saying anything. When she got out of the shower, she found Cash waiting for her with clean clothes—sweatpants and a long sleeved t-shirt.
Blood was still pouring out of her, it seemed. She wanted it gone. Wanted it to keep pouring, but didn’t know how that was feasibly possible without messing up all over Cash’s clothes, because she sure as shit would never wear what she’d had on last night again.
“Do you by any chance have something I can use to soak up the blood?”
Cash’s face melted from worry to relief as he finally had been given something concrete to do.
“One second. I’ll be right back.”
She heard rummaging in another room, as he looked for something, then came back with some Poise pads. For incontinence, but whatever. Surely they would work.
“Do you feel okay?”
“No, but there’s nothing to do about it.”
She thought about that. Sure, she was bleeding, but her biology told her it wasn’t her lifeblood or anything. It was a baby.
A sob formed in her throat and she swallowed past it.
“I don’t think so.”
She really needed to call her mom. After last night, she knew her mom would be freaking out if she knew, and if she didn’t know, she would freak when she found out. There was no way she wouldn’t. Too much had happened. She couldn’t keep that from her mom.
She had to tell her everything.
But she had to think about how the conversation would go first. Should she start chronologically, and tell her about the first time Ron had visited her room, ending with the miscarriage? Add in the cutting, Cash, and the pregnancy?
It was all so much, and made her exhausted.
“Maybe a nap.”
“Sure. Let me redo the bed.”
Right. Because she’d bled all over his things.
“No. Just—can you take me back to the main house? I think I need to be alone.”
She hated the look of hurt that crossed his features before he schooled them into a friendly smile.
“Sure. No problem.”
She wanted to reassure him, tell him to be her hero, because that’s clearly what he wanted to do. She was watching his thoughts, so plain on his face. But she was too tired to do anything for others. Indie needed to be for herself right now. By herself. Straighten her thoughts.
Indie wanted to do it in Cash’s strong arms, take from him what he wanted to give, but her thoughts were so muddled right now, she didn’t think that’s what she needed.
He led her to his truck and to the main house. She heard him talking to Jordan, thanking him for bringing his bike back to the house last night, as she walked up the stairs and to her room. There was a chair in there she could nap in.
Cash had told Jordan about the miscarriage, and left. He felt like someone there needed to know about it, in case something happened with Indie, and he felt awful about divulging something she might not want known. But Mia and Jordan shared something close to what he and Indie were going through, and Jordan seemed to completely understand when Jordan said he was going for a ride.
Instead of hitching up the horse, he took the old Jeep to the creek to think.
He found himself in their spot, the place he knew he could never come again after Indie left. Which she would. And he’d have to figure out how to go on in this miserable existence without her.
What did he have here? Ridge and his mother. That was all that tethered him to this place.
This place that wasn’t even his anymore.
He’d lied to Indie that first ride they’d taken. The creek used to be his family’s too, but they’d sold it first. He’d known about that tract of land going, as it was the most expensive, and his mother obviously thought it would pay for everything, getting to keep the rest.
When had everything changed? It used to matter to him that he didn’t have anything of his own. No land. No horses. No house to raise a family in.
Then Indie had come along, and he’d realized none of it was important without her in his life.
And now she was gone.
Not yet. Not physically. But she was gone, nonetheless.
Still his, yet not his.
She was like a dream, a most wonderful dream, but every time he reached to touch her, she evaporated, wavering into wisps of air he couldn’t reach.
He wanted to take last night away. Go back in time and never take her out. It was his own damn fault for being so stupid as to want to show her off to his friends. It wasn’t like she was sticking around anyway.
It had been such an emotional day. The barn, the greenhouse, the creek. Why hadn’t he stopped there? Why hadn’t he just bundled her back to the bunkhouse and kept her safe there?
What the fuck had happened, anyway?
The more he thought about it, the more pissed at himself he became. She came up here to get away from that guy, and he’d just tossed her right back in the asshole’s lap. To do more of whatever he’d already done, again.
He realized he was sitting on the spot where they’d buried her cutting implements. It almost burned his ass, as he realized the power of those razorblades. He could cut himself right now, and share her pain, the guilt she felt.
The energy emanating from the dirt at his backside called to him, as if a real entity. A bit creepy, yes, but he could see it humming and vibrating in the dirt, calling out to him.
Really. He could actually hear it.
He scooted away and turned to look at the spot, convinced it was calling to him. But it didn’t look any different. Just a pile of dirt.
Then the humming stopped and he realized it was a four-wheeler.
Cash shook his head. What the fuck was happening to him?
A minute passed and he heard light footfalls coming toward him. Something inside him leapt at her nearness, because he knew it was her.
The willow tree branches parted and he saw her as she approached and sat herself down on the spot he’d just been listening to calling him.
“My mom is here to take me home. Evan called her and she hopped on the first plane she could.”
Her words were spoken simply but held a huge impact.
She was leaving. Matter-of-fact words that spoken with no context could mean nothing. If she’s said them to him three weeks ago, he’d have shrugged and told her to have fun.
He was speechless. Cash didn’t know what to say to her at all.
Well, he wanted to beg her to stay.
But for what? To live with him in a hayloft and watch him train someone else’s horses all day?
“I don’t want to leave you,” she whispered. “You’re the first good man I’ve met, besides Evan and his brother, but I don’t really know them, and some part of me knows that I’ll meet more good men. That they aren’t all like Ron.” She shrugged, looking at the ground. She was silent a minute, and he held the silence, knowing she wasn’t done talking. “But a bigger part of me loves you and doesn’t want to go trying to find other good men, because I’ve already got you.”
“I love you, Indie. I want you to stay, but I don’t have anything to offer you besides that, and you have to go back and live your life.” He spoke the words, but he didn’t mean the part about her going back. He knew that’s what she needed though. She needed to figure out what was going on inside her head before he could invade it.
Then he thought of something.
“I want you to love me,” she interrupted him, and he put aside his thoughts. She needed right here, right now. Not more dreams that he didn’t know how to fulfill.
“One more time before I go. I need something good to take home with me, please.” Her eyes begged him, and he was helpless to say no.
But he didn’t want to hurt her.
“Can you? Are you still bleeding?” She shook her head, no. He grinned at her, in spite of the heaviness he felt. “One last swim?” He stood and offered her his hand to help her up. “I could use a good memory too. I won’t be coming here again, not without you.”
Indie’s pov. Ride home. She tells mom everything and then thinks about cash. Gets head on straight to start her internship with Paige. She has a life to live.
Phone calls with Cash, love doesn’t go away. Nothing gets better, except Ron is going to go to jail according to her lawyers, and the internship is going well. She doesn’t have a place to live yet, but will get a full-time job at the end of internship and be able to afford it. She’s also learning the skills she can possibly use to start her own company, or work off-site if she wants to. Paige is being very accommodating.
Instead of a plane ride, Indie’s mom insisted on driving across the country, citing Indie’s health. Of course, the main reason was the woman was terrified to let her daughter out of her sight and wanted her as close as possible for as long as possible. After an interminable time at the neighboring county’s Sheriff’s station, interrogations, videos, tons of written statements, and a promise to come back if they needed anything else, Mom was in a rental car and ready to go.
The first day consisted of Indie silently crying most of the way home. She didn’t talk much to her mother until the second day. The cramped rental car gave her a sense of claustrophobia, her insides were going to burst if she didn’t let something out. So she asked Mom to pull over at a roadside park, on the Interstate in Colorado, and she told her story. All of it.
So, day two of the drive was tears from both of them. Leigh ended up finding a motel early, too exhausted to go on driving. So was Indie, for that matter. The confessions had taken a lot out of her, mentally, emotionally, and physically.
And they had completely freaked her mother out. She got it. Indie was her life, but at some point in a woman’s life, she had to stop paying so much attention to their children and focus on themselves. Indie had turned 18, had a plan, and was independent. That’s when Leigh had broken up with Ron, because he was a jerk, and moved on, content Indie was happy and would tell her if something happened.
On day three, Leigh decided to drive through the entire way home, taking turns with Indie. Indie knew the decision was a fear, and needing to be home amongst her things, but the further away from Cash they went, the more hopeless she felt. She texted him when they had a signal,
It was stupid shit, like, “I miss you. I love you. I wish I was still there.” And he’d always respond with, “You’re doing what’s best. I love you too. Go set the world on fire, woman.”
Meanwhile, her mother was going through her own existential crisis. When it was Indie’s turn to drive, she was on the phone, trying to make sense of the world they’d fallen into. Phone calls with doctors and lawyers, and her first week back in Austin was set up with lawyer appointments, and visits to her family doctor. Indie was pretty sure Evan and Paige were paying for this, since there was no way they had the money on Mom’s bartending tips.
But he’d paid for the rental car and given them a wad of cash to get home.
Guilt was running strong.
Indie would be forever grateful to Evan and Paige for this trip. She had met Cash, who was undoubtedly the love of her life. If there had ever been a doubt in her mind, it was erased with the stretching distance between them.
The ache inside her was just growing. It was widening into a pit she wasn’t sure she could ever fill.
Cash was worrying Jordan. He knew what the guy was going through. His girl had gone through a horrific experience, and Cash was clearly blaming himself. Indie was gone, and he, Evan, Mia, and Paige would be gone in a couple of days. Cash would be left alone to stew in his juices for an eternity. And knowing what little he did of the kid, he would marinate, stew, and die thinking of what could have been.
“Hey Evan. You talked to Cash lately?” He and Evan were on actual horses, riding the fence lines this morning. It was something they’d taken to doing, the huge beasts growing on them.
“Yep. Actually, I made him a deal he couldn’t refuse.” A small grin lit Evan’s face, and it sort of reassured Jordan, but at the same time, he knew it meant Evan thought he was solving the world’s problems, and was proud of himself.
“Yeah?” Jordan prodded.
“I’m loaning him some money to start up an operation in Texas, close to Austin. We’re gonna be partners. Dad’s in on it too. Wanted to expand his recue thing. We made plans yesterday for Cash to teach rehab classes and stuff to bring in an income. He’s supposed to be looking at properties this evening, give me a list in the next couple of days before we leave.”
“Whose idea was this?”
A low chuckle sounded from Evan. “Actually, it was both of us. I was going to him to make the offer, and he was getting up the nerve to ask me. I came up with some ways for him to make some extra income, and he trimmed off some of my expenses, but together we came up with a workable plan. Kid’s good. He knows his stuff.”
A weight lifted from Jordan that he didn’t know he’d been carrying around. “Well, I’m glad. He really loves Indie, and would be good for her.”
“And that’s why I did it. Paige loves Indie too, and wants what’s best for her. She’ll help Indie get what she needs on her end, and made me swear to help Cash out.” Evan shrugged. “Now it’s all in the kids’ hands. They’ll need to work their shit out.”
“Roger that.” He needed to talk to Cash, make sure he didn’t rush things and freak Indie out. Although, the way the two kids had gotten together, Jordan thought, Cash knew how to handle her. He had treated her like one of his abused horses from the get go, and managed to get her smiling before any of the rest of them. “I think it’ll work itself out.”
“Baby,” he murmured through the phone into Indie’s ear, filling her insides with warmth from that one word.
“Hey, stud,” she joked back. It was easier to be light and airy than it was to express her true emotions. Because everytime he called, she loved talking to him, but it made her so damn sad. Indie had no idea when she would see him again, if ever, and talking to him was just a reminder of what she couldn’t have.
Her job was amazing, and Indie had jumped into this new life with gusto, because there was nothing else to do. This life was hers, and nobody else’s, and apparently she didn’t get another one. Like, a life in Montana.
“I have a surprise for you.” He was smiling. She could hear it. Or she imagined she did, anyway. Cash’s smile made her belly flutter, and she loved it. Other things made her belly do that, like when a particularly complicated bit of code worked the first time she tried it, when one of her illustrations came to life on the screen, but Cash’s voice did things beyond the satisfactory flutter of accomplishment.
Cash’s voice made her think of the Creek and their last days together.
That really made her belly flutter.
“Surprises aren’t really my thing, but I’m pretty sure exceptions could be made for a surprise from you.”
“Well, I’m really excited about this surprise. I’m hoping you’ll like it. You still enjoying your job?”
He asked that every night. Yes, they talked on the phone every night. Every night, she broke her heart by answering the phone and talking to him, and every night, it broke again when she hung up the phone.
“Yeah. Paige and Arleen and I went out for drinks after work. Well, I had a fancy coffee thing, since my 21st birthday isn’t for a year, still. But it was fun.”
Paige had acted funny, too. But whatever. Maybe something was going on with her and Evan. There wasn’t any reason for her to ask about it, so she hadn’t.
“I’m still bummed I missed your birthday. I wish I could have been there.” Indie had turned twenty last month, and the office had actually thrown her a party. Any excuse for pastries from Mia’s coffee shop. Mia and Jordan had come, and so had her mom. Paige had given her a pair of earrings that she wore every day. It was the only piece of nice jewelry she owned. When she’d told Cash about them, he’d vowed she’d get more someday. From him.
But that was all these phone calls were really good for, besides filling her with warm flutteries. Empty promises he could never fulfill, no matter how badly he wanted to. Indie just couldn’t see a way. So she took what she could get.
“You ready for bed?” His voice took on a different tone, one she was familiar with. Darker. Seductive. She enjoyed this part of their phone calls too.
“Yes,” she replied, her voice turning breathy. She was like Pavlov’s dog. As soon as she heard that tone of his voice, her panties got damp and her nipples started tingling.
“What do you want to do tonight, babe?”
Her hand was already plucking a nipple, making her breathless. “I want to make you come.” She loved the noises he made when he got off. His ragged breathing was enough to make her climax. “Tell me how to make you come.”
“Fuck, babe. Just tell me what you’re doing. Are you touching yourself?” There he went. His breathing got ragged, and his voice took on a guttural tone she loved.
“Yeah. My nipples are super hard.”
“Squeeze one.” The sound of his belt clanging and then his zipper echoed through the phone.
She complied, and sucked in a harsh breath. The feel of her fingers sent a sensation rocketing throughout her body, and she shuddered.
“Won’t take you long, will it? Me neither.”
“What are you doing, Cash?” She meant with his words, because they affected her like nobody else on the planet. But of course she didn’t say that specifically, and he was a literal guy.
“I’m stroking myself, pretending I’m touching your pretty little pussy. Will you touch it for me? Tell me how wet it is, Indie.”
Her hand drifted down, inside her panties, and one finger stroked through the wetness she knew she’d find. “I’m wet.”
“Put me on speaker, and put the phone down. I want one hand on your tits, and the other in your panties. I want to hear you come, princess.
She did as he asked, and it wasn’t long before her hands were moving, full of herself, like he’d asked. Her breaths came in moans, and she could hear him doing the same. The soft slapping noises filtering through the phone echoed with his harsh breathing, and she was gone. She probably wouldn’t even need to have touched herself.
Indie tried to prolong it, but all she really had to do was swipe her finger across her clit a couple of times while she tweaked her nippled, and her ragged moans filled the room with her climax.
Desperate to regain control of her breathing, she sat up and pulled in deep breaths as she brought the phone back to her ear.
Cash’s voice rumbled in her ear, and she missed the vibrations they caused when he held her. She was already coming down, reality setting in.
“See you tomorrow, babe.”
“Sure,” she answered, not pointing out his mistake. No point in it.
Nerves settled in his belly despite the fact he knew Indie wanted this. As he stood outside the building where she worked, he leaned against his bike, folding his arms in front of him, then unfolding them to wipe the sweat off his palms and refold them again. He felt stupid, but knew he wanted to be the first thing she saw when she left.
He’d talked to everybody. Leigh wasn’t expecting her home tonight. Paige wasn’t expecting her at work tomorrow. Jordan had given him a thumbs up and bro-clap-hug. Evan had wished him good luck, but smirked at him in an indulgent locker-room way.
Everyone else had faith in him, he just needed to have it too.
He was taking a huge risk here, putting everything on the line. At the moment, he had it all, but the inner demons inside had told him she could topple everything with one word.
But Ridge had talked to him on the phone last night and told him he was being stupid, that anyone could see Indie’s world revolved around him, and he could handle that. Truth was, he wanted to handle it. He wanted to handle everything for her. But he also knew she needed to handle some things herself. He just hoped he’d given her enough time.
Then he saw her.
Dressed in a denim skirt and baggy, long-sleeved t-shirt, she still wore her boots. It was her style, and he’d missed the hell out of it. The skirt was clearly a nod to the work environment, but everything else was casual fuck-off that she exuded so effortlessly. He liked the tied part of the t-shirt though. It showed she was embracing some aspect of her femininity, and that made him happy.
She never looked up though. Her gaze was wholly focused on her feet hitting the pavement as she turned and walked away from him.
He jumped and started after her at a jog.
“Indie!” He called after her, with no response. It was then that he saw a cord going to her pocket and he realized she had earbuds in. That was not safe. She was clueless to her surroundings. He was following her and could be anybody.
Conversation for another time. Totally. He just needed to get her attention right now. Then he could lecture her.
He reached her, and fell into step next to her, unwilling to touch her and freak her out. He knew the moment she realized he was there.
Indie tripped over air and spun to face him at the same time she tried to stop. Clearly, her feet weren’t listening to her head, because as she twisted, she fell on him.
And he gladly caught her.
“Oh my god, Cash! What are you doing here?”
He grinned at her, tugging her closer and feeling a little stupid from enjoying her discomfort so much. “I told you I’d see you today.”
“I thought – I thought you made a mistake.” She breathed at him. He felt the same way. As often as he’d imagined this, he still couldn’t make words.
“I came for you.” He kept it simple. He couldn’t take his eyes off her face. She was so fucking beautiful. Her wide green eyes that saw him—the real him. Her pouty mouth she was biting right now, making him hard as granite. Her black braid, he gave into the temptation to wrap his hand in.
Indie threw herself at him, then, and he caught her, walking over to whatever building they were next to and leaned her against it as he devoured her mouth with kisses.
Her tongue tasted like the sweetest part of heaven as she moaned into his. Their afternoon at the creek that last time they were together came rushing back to him, and his vow that would not be their last time together.
One hand went down and grabbed her ass as she writhed against him. He made sure she felt how turned on he was, but this reunion was not happening on a random city street. It would happen in their bed. He’d made sure of that.
He broke the kiss, and she grabbed his bottom lip with her teeth, making the retreat that much sweeter.
“I came for you. I have a surprise.” Lowering her, he kissed her nose and smiled at her, then grabbed her hand and led her to his motorcycle. Lifting the seat, he grabbed a helmet for her. A pink helmet with a skull and crossbones on it, he gotten just for Indie.
“I need to call Mom,” she said, but he settled the helmet on her head.
“I’ve already talked to her. She’s not expecting you tonight.”
Indie bounced on her toes in excitement, and Cash marveled at how happy she seemed. They would talk about the bad shit later, the upcoming trial, the lawyers, all the awful shit they’d talked about on the phone. But first, he wanted to show her the good stuff.
He straddled the bike, and helped Indie on, clasping her hands around his torso. This was perfection. Right here. He’d missed the feel of her wrapped around him.
Evan was tense the entire ride wherever he was taking her. The set of his massively broad shoulders was squared and his abs were tense. She didn’t mind, though, as she traced the ridges and bumps unashamedly. Indie had no idea how long she would have to touch him before he left to go home, so she was going to take advantage of every moment she could.
She kept expecting him to pull into a motel parking lot and looked wistfully at each one they passed, but he kept the bike racing through the streets until they hit the highway and let loose.
He was obviously in a hurry to get them where they were going.
But he wasn’t being dangerous, and she leaned into him as he drove, feeling safe and secure in this cocoon of Cash.
His body relaxed substantially when they exited the highway and meandered along the side road to a long windy road to nowhere. Then he turned onto a gravel drive that went on and on and eventually led to a house.
It was an old farmhouse with a ramshackle barn behind it. It honestly looked like something from a bad movie, and something weird went up her spine. But again, she trusted Cash, and when he swung off the bike and helped her off, she got excited again.
Then he dug around in his pocket and brought out something before dropping to one knee.
“Indie, I’ve worked hard the last two months to make this happen. I know I should be patient and take more time, but this just feels right in the chronology of things, because I bought this place for us, and I want you to be a part of making it our home. I can tell you my plans, but they can all change at any moment, because I’m doing it for you. If you want to sell this and get someplace inside the city, we’ll do that. But if you want to be a cowboy’s wife, we can do that too. I love you, and am tired of living across the country from you, or pretending to, anyway. I’m ready to be with you. To start a life with you. Marry me?”
Her limbs filled with jelly at his words, and her knees collapsed. She wasn’t sure she heard him right. Maybe the wind rushing through her ears on the motorcycle had made her hear the wrong thing. How long had he been living here? “What?”
“Please be my wife, and tell me what colors to paint this thing. Your mom want’s purple everywhere, and I’m not sure that’s what you want,” he answered sheepishly.
“How long have you had this house? Wait, you bought this house? You moved here?” Too many questions.
“I’ve had this house a month. I’ve fixed the plumbing and electrical, but everything else is up to you.” His face started to soften from the hopeful look he’d had earlier, and she realized she hadn’t answered his initial question.
“Yes, I’ll marry you, but—“ he didn’t give her the opportunity to finish, which was going to turn into a lecture about not telling her he’d been living a half hour away from her for a month.
His tongue was in her mouth and his hands were at her waist and she forgot what she was about to yell at him for.