“Oh, my God! I have been trying to get in touch with you. Are you okay?” Kayan says as soon as she answers.
“I’m fine; I just got my phone back. Are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m at Z’s house. We were on our way there when someone called to tell him what happened, and he turned his car around, brought me here, and dropped me off before leaving.”
“Did he tell you anything?” I ask.
“No, just that he would be back. Where are you now?”
“On my way home. Wes said he would be at my house in a couple of hours, so my guess is Z will be about that long as well.”
“He let you go home alone?” she asks in disbelief.
“No, Tuck is my babysitter.” I roll my eyes.
“Who’s Tuck?” she asks, and I look out the window.
“He is one of Wes’ friends from the military,” I explain then yawn as the day catches up with me.
“Get some sleep and call me in the morning.”
“I will. Be safe.”
“You too, girl. All this drama is almost more than I can take.”
“Sounded like you were taking it just fine when I called you earlier,” I whisper and hear her giggle.
“Shut up. I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Love you.”
“Love you too,” I say, hitting the end button on my phone just as we pull up to my house.
I get out of the car and head up to the front door with Tuck following close behind me. As soon as we get inside, I pick up Capone and scratch him behind his ears then let him go to the floor, where he runs circles around Tuck. Then I pick up Juice and give him some love before setting him back on the table and going to the couch, taking a seat so I can unbuckle my sandals and slip them off.
“Do you want a beer or something?” I ask Tuck, who has taken a seat on the couch.
“I’m good. You go on to bed,” he says, picking up the remote and pressing the TV on.
“Are you sure?” I mutter, watching absently as the channels flip from one thing to another.
His finger comes off the remote, his head turns toward me, and his face goes soft. “Babe, go to bed.”
“Right,” I mumble, standing back up. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” He nods then turns back to the TV and begins flipping through the channels again. I head to my room and shut the door behind me then go to the shower, turning it on hot before stripping off my clothes and stepping in.
The moment the hot water rushes over me, I sigh in relief. I don’t take long getting washed up before drying off and going to my room. Normally, I would just get into bed without putting anything on, but knowing Tuck is here has me pulling out a set of pajamas and slipping them on before crawling into bed.
“You’re home,” I sigh as Wes slides in behind me and his smell engulfs my senses.
“I like that you call this my home,” he whispers, placing a kiss on the back of my neck. I try to reply, but sleep takes me away before I can get anything out.
I look out the front window of Wes’ truck, watching as the rain beats mercilessly against the windshield, and my leg bounces in sync with the wipers.
“Babe, relax,” Wes says as he takes my hand, placing it on his thigh. I look over at him and try to release, through a breath the stress that has been swarming in my stomach since he picked me up a half-hour ago.
We’re going to meet his mom. I’m nervous…so nervous that I want to jump out of his truck and try my luck with hitting the road at seventy miles an hour.
“She’s going to love you,” he tells me, and I look out the window, wondering if he said that before to his ex-wife the first time she met his mom.
“Did she like your ex-wife?” I ask then kick my ass around in my head when I feel the muscles of his thigh contract. “Sorry, Tuck told me. He didn’t mean to, and I promised I wouldn’t say anything, but it just slipped out,” I ramble, pulling my hand from his leg.
“I wasn’t hiding it,” he says quietly.
“I know. I told him we haven’t known each other long. I totally get it,” I reply just as quietly.
“My mom did like her,” he answers, making me regret asking when that all too familiar feeling of jealousy begins to ignite in my stomach. “We met right after Hell Week. I was still on a high from making it through SEAL training.” He pauses and pulls my hand back to his thigh and places his hand over it. “She had the whole girl-next-door thing going for her. I thought she was a sweet, beautiful woman, and I was gone so much that it took me far too long to realize she wasn’t at all who I thought she was. She married me so she could say her man was in the military. The moment I started talking about getting out, things went to shit. She was more concerned about what her friends would say than how I was feeling going into work everyday.”
“I’m sorry,” I say, squeezing his thigh.
“Two years ago, right after I got out of the military, we got divorced. I know it may sound fucked up, but I don’t even think about her,” he confesses, and I have no idea what to say about that. I can’t imagine being married and having the person I promised to spend my life with become nothing, not even a thought in my head.
“I don’t know what to say.”
“There’s nothing to say.” He clasps my hand tighter.
“Why did you get out of the military?” I ask after a moment, trying to fill the uncomfortable silence.
“Me and my boys had been on a rescue mission. One of our own had been kidnapped, and they were being held by insurgents who wanted us to give them back one of their men. The US doesn’t negotiate with terrorist, but they will attempt to rescue their people if they think they can. We were sent in and found out too late that it was a setup. I lost three of my brothers when everything went to shit, and the rest of us barely made it out alive,” he confides then runs his hand over mine, and I notice my fingers have dug into his denim-covered thigh. “Coming home from that solidified what I needed to do, and I knew it was time for me to leave the military and do something else with my life.”
“I’m sorry you lost your friends,” I say, feeling tears sting my nose.
“Me too, baby.” He gives my hand a squeeze.
I look over at his profile and can tell he’s not with me but back there, so I attempt to lighten the mood by asking, “So you decided to become a biker?”
“Smartass,” he mutters, smiling at the windshield before bringing his eyes to me for a brief moment.