“I f**ked up!” he shouts this time, making the guard take a step towards us.
“You did, but what I want to know is—are you still f**king up?”
“What do you mean?”
“You said earlier you wished Sophie had died. Do you still feel that way?”
“Do you know why I’m in this f**ked-up place?”
I do know. I know he’s in here for murder. “I do,” I reply, looking him dead in the eyes.
“Do you know who I killed?”
“No.” When Justin told me where Sophie’s dad was and why he was there, I didn’t ask any more questions.
“I killed the guy who touched her. It was two days after she left. I had been sober for two whole days, looked around, and realized what I was doing to myself and what I let happen to my daughter. I tracked the guy down that hurt her and killed him. I’m in here for the next fifteen years. I do not regret for one second taking that f**ker’s life. I know I should have prevented it from happening in the first place, but I didn’t, so I made it to where it would never happen again.”
“Holy shit.” I sit back in the chair, my body sagging.
“I know I f**ked up with her, but I never wanted her to be afraid again,” he says softly.
I shake my head, still in shock from what he just said. “Someone has tried to hurt her twice since she moved to Tennessee.”
“That’s where she went?”
“What do you mean?”
“I had someone keeping an eye out for her, and then one day she was just gone.”
“Yeah. She’s in Tennessee with me.”
“How long have you been in the picture?” He cocks his head to the side.
“How is she?” he asks, closing his eyes, but not before I catch the look of pain in them.
“Good, but I really need to know who’s after her. Do you know of anyone here from her past who would be messing with her?”
“The only threat she had is dead.” I nod. “What’s your name?” he asks.
I debate for a second if I should tell him, but seeing him in here behind bars and knowing the reason he is here, I quickly make up my mind.
“And you’re with my daughter?”
“Is she happy?” he asks quietly, hopefully.
“Very,” I tell him.
His eyes search my face. “Take care of her,” he chokes out before hanging up the phone and standing. He leaves me sitting there in shock.
I still know nothing about who’s after Sophie, but I do know that her dad loves her, and now I have to figure out if I should tell Sophie about him.
“Fuck,” I grumble out before hanging up the phone and getting the f**k out of there.
“Girl, you know I don’t do the whole ‘white meat’ thing, but that man of yours is seriously fine. I mean F-I-N-E,” Maggie says, throwing herself down on the bed next to me.
“I know.” I smile.
“I’ve never seen you this happy.”
“I’ve never been this happy before. He makes everything okay. With him, I feel safe, like I can explore or just be me and know he will watch over me.”
“Yeah, I saw that. He’s kinda scary,” Maggie says quietly.
“He told me he doesn’t have to be nice to anyone but me,” I tell her, watching her eyes widen.
“Wow.” Her head turns towards me, her lips parting slightly.
“You know, when I first met you, I wondered how the hell this little ol’ white girl was gonna make it in the world if she couldn’t even be around a group of people without freaking out. Then you surprised me by never giving up. Yes, you did freak the hell out every time, but you never quit trying. You’re one of the strongest people I know, Sophie. So yes, that man will probably kill anyone who ever tries to harm you, but your strength is internal,” she says, and I start to cry immediately.
“Don’t mind me. This baby has me all messed up,” I say before thinking. No one knows I’m pregnant. Well, no one except Kenton, Nico’s friend Leo, the EMTs, and a whole bunch of cops. Okay…so a lot of people know I’m pregnant.
“Did you just say what I think you said?” I squeeze my eyes closed and shake my head. “You did! You just said, and I quote, ‘Don’t mind me. This baby has me all messed up.’”
“Holy mother of God! Sophie Jean Grates, you’re pregnant!” Maggie yells as she climbs up to stand on the bed. “You’re pregnant and you weren’t going to tell me?” She starts to jump up and down, and just like that, my stomach flips, I stand up and run to the bathroom, and proceed to get rid of my breakfast and lunch. “Oh shit, I’m so sorry! I didn’t even think.”
I feel a cool, wet washcloth run across my forehead. “It’s fine. Just the whole jumping-on-the-bed thing was a little much,” I say, flushing the toilet before taking the washcloth out of her hand and bringing it to my mouth.
“Why the hell were you jumping on the bed?” I hear growled.
Maggie and I look at each other in shock before turning our heads to the open bathroom door.
“Seriously, babe. You have a hard-enough time keeping food down as it is, so tell me why the hell you would feel the need to jump on the bed,” Nico demands, walking into the bathroom.
He is so hot that I have to look at Maggie and see if it’s just me who is affected by him. Nope. The look on her face says that he does it for all women. Today, he has on jeans, boots, and a black Henley with the neck unbuttoned, showing off his tattoos. The area between my legs starts to tingle just from looking at him. I watch as he gets out my toothbrush before putting some toothpaste on it and setting it on the side of the sink. Then he walks over to where I’m still sitting on the floor, picks me up, and places my butt on the bathroom counter.
“You said you were only going to be gone a couple hours,” I complain right away. He has been gone for the last six hours. I try to avoid pouting out my bottom lip like a two-year-old who’s not getting her way.
“I know. I got held up. Now open,” he instructs, and I do before I realize what he’s doing.
“I can brush my own teeth,” I grumble, pulling the brush from his hand to clean my own teeth, and shake my head at him.
“No more jumping on the bed, okay?” he prompts. He looks really worried, and I don’t think it’s from seeing me sick.