“Yes, but I can’t leave the country.”
“You weren’t going to anyways; so that’s okay.”
“I know; I told them that.” She nods, sniffling.
“Good, let’s get out of here. We’ll stop by your house and get you and Ashlyn some clothes. Then we can head to my house for the night.”
“Hey.” I tilt her face towards mine with a finger under her chin. “If you think for one f**king second that I'm letting you out of my sight tonight, you have lost your damn mind.”
“Okay.” She sighs, looking down.
“You okay, darlin?” my dad asks. Her body stiffens and she looks over her shoulder; seeing both my dad and Trevor, her face pales, and I feel her body start to shake.
“Oh no,” she whispers, looking back at me.
“Hey, it’s okay. My dad came when I called him. Both he and Trevor wanted to make sure you were okay,” I tell her quietly.
“They already hate me,” she says under her breath as new tears begin to fall from her eyes. “I think I'm going to be sick,” she says before covering her mouth with her hand and running down the hall towards the sign marked restrooms.
“I think I need to apologize.” My dad lets out a heavy sigh. “I didn’t think that she noticed.”
“She’s sensitive. The day after the bar-b-que she was excited to get to know you guys. She thought you were all welcoming her into the fold; then she noticed that y’all acted different with her than you do with November or Liz, and that was okay with her. She understood that it would take some time to build a relationship, except no one ever tried, and now she feels like an outsider. Well, except Ma; she has made it clear from day one that she has Lilly’s back.” I smile; I love my mom.
“I know Liz has called her,” Trevor says, and I nod.
“She did, and they talked and Lilly likes her a lot. She likes her and November both.”
“I like Lilly,” Trevor says, shaking his head and frowning.
“Yeah, but you all still act like she’s going to wig out if you say or do the wrong thing when she’s around. She can feel it, and so can I.” I rub my face. “She is here all alone; her parents are in Alaska, and she has no one except Ashlyn, Jax, and me.”
“We’ll do better,” my dad says, shaking his head. Then he turns as an officer starts coming towards us.
“Are you all here with Lilly Donovan?”
“Yes.” I take a step towards him. His eyes go from me to my dad.
“Shit, James, is that you?” the officer asks, looking at my dad with surprise written on his face.
“Dan?” My dad steps forward to shake the man’s hand.
“How the hell have you been?” Dan asks, pulling my dad in for a one-armed hug.
“Could be better. My son’s girl was brought in for question.”
“So you’re seeing Lilly?” the guy asks, turning towards me.
“I know that this is hard, and I hate doing this, but it’s not my decision. I'm sorry that she is going through this, and if it makes you feel any better, I don’t believe that she did it. But the evidence is pointing in her direction,” Dan says, looking at my dad.
“I know that it’s a part of the job,” my dad says, and Dan nods his head.
“I know she didn’t do it,” I speak up.
“I’m sorry, but until we get evidence that proves otherwise, we are forced to go with what we have. Now, I informed Ms. Donovan that she is not allowed to leave the state, and that it would be best for her if she got a lawyer.”
“Done,” I say right away.
“Also, it wouldn’t hurt for her to have proof of her whereabouts on the days that the checks were cashed.”
“If you can get me the dates, I'm sure we can come up with that information. She and my daughter are usually with my son and me,” I say as Lilly starts heading back our way from the bathroom. Her face is pale, and her eyes are red and puffy from crying. I hate that she’s going through this. Once she reaches our group, I wrap an arm around her shoulders, tucking her into my side.
“Lilly, here are the papers that I told you about, and there is also a list of affordable lawyers in there that you can contact.”
“Thank you. And I know that the answer will probably be no, but do you think that I can get the address of the lady this happened to? I would like to see if she needs anything.”
“I'm sorry, but I can’t give that information out, but I can give her your information, and she can choose to contact you,” he says with a shrug.
“Okay, well, thank you,” she says quietly, taking the file folder from his hand.
“My card is in there as well, and if you need anything or have any questions, you call me.”
“I will, thank you,” she repeats, and I see the tears beginning to fill her eyes once again.
“Let’s get you out of here, baby,” I say softly, and then Trevor is there, taking her out of my arms and pulling her in for a hug.
“Don’t worry, sis. We’ll get this figured out,” he tells her, rocking her back and forth. I hear another loud sob come from her before Trevor transfers her into my arms.
“You good riding with dad?” I ask Trevor before scooping Lilly up into my arms. She doesn’t protest, just wraps her arms around my neck, laying her head against my shoulder.
“Yeah, man, call me tonight,” he says, looking at Lilly once more before shaking his head.
“Thanks for coming, Dad,” I say as we start making our way out of the building. Once outside, my dad holds open the door of the truck for me as I set Lilly inside, making sure she gets buckled in. When I'm done, I kiss her forehead, and then tilt her chin up to kiss her lips. “Give me a minute to talk to my dad, and then we can go.” She nods, not looking me in the eyes. “Look at me, baby.” She shakes her head. “Lilly, look at me.” Her eyes come up and meet mine. “This will all be worked out; I promise you.”
“Okay.” The word sounds defeated. I press my mouth to hers in another quick kiss before hopping out of the truck and slamming the door.
“You’re right; she didn’t do this,” my dad says, and Trevor nods in agreement.
“I know.” I pull off my hat, running my hands over my hair and face.
“I'm going to call Dan tonight and see if he can tell me anything as a friend. In the meantime, I want you to call our lawyer and get him on the case. Any of the lawyers in that folder are going to be severely over-worked and underpaid, and it will show in their work.”