I wiped my eyes and forced myself to take a deep breath. I couldn't fall apart now. I hadn't fallen apart when I'd sat holding my mother's hand as she took her last breath. I hadn't fallen apart as they lowered her into the cold ground. And I hadn't fallen apart when I'd sold the only place I had to live. I would not fall apart now. I would get through this.
I didn't have enough for a hotel room but I had my truck. I could live in my truck. Finding a safe place to park it at night would be my only problem. This town seemed safe enough but I was pretty sure this old truck parked anywhere overnight would draw attention. I'd have the cops knocking on my window before I could even fall asleep. I would have to use my last twenty dollars on fuel. Then I could drive into a larger city where my truck would go unnoticed in a parking lot.
Maybe I could park behind a restaurant and get a job there too. I wouldn't need gas to get to and from work. My stomach growled reminding me that I hadn't eaten since this morning. I would need to spend a couple dollars on some food. Then pray I would find a job in the morning.
I would be okay. I turned my head to check behind me before I cranked the truck and backed out. Silver eyes stared back at me.
A small scream escaped me before I realized that it was Rush. What was he doing standing outside my truck? Had he come to make sure I left his property? I really didn't want to talk to him anymore. I started to turn my eyes away and focus on getting out of there when he cocked an eyebrow at me. What did that mean?
You know what? I really didn't care. Even if he looked ridiculously sexy doing it. I started to crank the truck but instead of the roar of the engine, I was met with a click and some silence. Oh no. Not now. Please not now.
I jiggled the key and prayed I was wrong. I knew the gas gauge was broken but I'd been watching the mileage. I shouldn't be out of gas. I had a few more miles. I know I did.
I slammed my palm against the steering wheel and called the truck a few choice names but nothing happened. I was stuck. Would Rush call the police? He wanted me off his property so badly he'd come out here to make sure I left. Now that I couldn't leave would he have me arrested? Or worse, call a tow truck. I did not have the money to get my truck back if he did that. At least in jail I'd have a bed and food.
Swallowing the lump lodged firmly in my throat I opened the truck door and hoped for the best.
"Problems?" he asked.
I wanted to scream to the top of my lungs in frustration. Instead, I managed a nod. "I'm out of gas. " Rush let out a sigh. I didn't speak. I decided waiting on the verdict was the best option here. I could always beg and plead afterward.
"How old are you?"
What? Was he really asking me my age? I was stuck in his driveway, he wanted me to leave and instead of discussing my options he was asking me my age. The guy was strange.
"Nineteen," I replied.
Rush raised both his eyebrows, "Really?"
I was trying hard not to get pissed off. I needed this guy to have mercy on me. Forcing the snide comment that was on the tip of my tongue back, I smiled. "Yes. Really. "
Rush grinned and shrugged. "Sorry. You just look younger. " He stopped and his eyes trailed down my body and back up again slowly. The sudden heat in my cheeks was embarrassing. "I take that back. Your body looks every bit of nineteen. It's that face of yours that looks so fresh and young. You don't wear makeup?"
Was that a question? What was he doing? I wanted to know what my immediate future held, not discuss the fact that wearing makeup was a luxury that I couldn't afford. Besides, Cain, my exboyfriend and current best friend, had always said I didn't need to add to my looks any. Whatever that meant.
"I'm out of gas. I have twenty dollars to my name. My father has run off and left me after telling me he'd help me get back on my feet. Trust me; he was the LAST person I wanted to ask for help. No, I don't wear makeup. I have bigger problems than looking pretty. Now, are you going to call the police or a tow truck? I prefer the police in case I get a choice. " I snapped my mouth closed ending my rant. He'd pushed me too far and I hadn't been able to control my mouth. Now, I'd stupidly given him the stupid notion of a tow truck. Dangit.
Rush tilted his head and studied me. The silence was almost more than I could handle. I'd just shared a little too much information with this guy. He could make my life harder if he wanted to.
"I don't like your father and from the tone in your voice, neither do you," he said thoughtfully. "There is one room that is empty tonight. It will be until my mom gets home. I don't keep her maid around when she isn't here. Mrs. Henrietta only stops by to clean once a week while Mom is on vacation. You can have her bedroom under the stairs. It's small but it's got a bed. "
He was offering me a room. I would not burst into tears. I could do that later tonight. I wasn't going to jail. Thank God.
"My only other option is this truck. I can assure you that what you're offering is much better. Thank you. "
Rush frowned a moment, then it vanished quickly and he had an easy smile on his face again. "Where's your suitcase?" he asked.
I closed the truck door and walked over to the back of the truck to get it out. Before I could reach for it, a warm body that smelled foreign and delicious reached over me. I froze as Rush grabbed my luggage and pulled it out.
Turning around I looked up at him. He winked at me. "I can carry your bag. I'm not that big of an ass. "
"Thank you, again," I stuttered, unable to look away from his gaze. Those eyes of his were incredible. The thick black lashes that framed them almost looked like eyeliner. He had an all-natural highlighter around his eyes. It was completely unfair. My lashes were blonde. What I wouldn't give for lashes like his.
"Ah, good, you stopped her. I was giving you five minutes and then coming out here to make sure you hadn't completely run her off. " Grant's familiar voice snapped me out of my daze and I spun around thankful for an interruption. I had been gazing up at Rush like an idiot. I'm surprised he hadn't sent me packing again.
"She's gonna take Henrietta's room until I can get in touch with her father and figure something out. " Rush sounded annoyed. He stepped around me and handed Grant the suitcase. "Here, you take her to her room. I have company to get back to. "
Rush walked off without a backwards glance. It took all my willpower not to watch him walk away. Especially since his backside in a pair of jeans was extremely tempting. He was not someone I needed to be attracted to.
"He is one moody sonuvabitch," Grant said, shaking his head and looking back at me. I couldn't disagree with him.
"You don't have to carry my suitcase inside again," I said reaching for it.
Grant moved it back out of my reach. "I happen to be the charming brother. I'm not about to let you carry this suitcase when I have two very strong not to mention pretty damn impressive arms to carry them with. "
I would have smiled if not for the one word that had just thrown me for a loop. "Brother?" I replied.
Grant smiled but the smile didn't reach his eyes. "I guess I forgot to mention that I'm the kid of Georgianna's husband number two. She stayed married to my dad from the time I was three years old and Rush was four until I was fifteen. By then, Rush and I were brothers. Just because my dad divorced his mom didn't change anything for us. We went to college together and even joined the same frat. "
Oh. Okay. I hadn't been expecting that. "How many husbands has Georgianna had?"
Grant let out a short hard laugh then started walking toward the door. "Your dad is husband number four. "
My dad was an idiot. This woman sounded like she went through husbands like she did panties. How long before she got rid of him and moved on?
Grant walked back up the steps and didn't say anything else to me while we headed toward the kitchen. It was massive with black marble countertops and elaborate appliances. It reminded me of something out of a home decorating magazine. Then he opened a door that looked li
ke a large walk in pantry. Confused I looked around then followed him inside. He walked to the back of it and opened another door.
He had enough room to walk inside and put my suitcase on the bed. I followed him in and scooted around the twin size bed that left only a few inches between it and the door. It was obvious I was under the stairs. A small nightstand fit tightly between the bed and the wall. Other than that, there was nothing.
"I have no idea where you are supposed to keep your luggage. This room is small. I've never actually been back here. " Grant shook his head and then sighed. "Listen, if you want to come to my apartment with me you can. I'll at least give you a bedroom that you can move around in. "
As nice as Grant was I wasn't about to take him up on that offer. He didn't need an unwanted houseguest taking up one of his bedrooms. At least here I was tucked away so no one would see me. I could clean up around the house and get a job somewhere. Maybe Rush would let me sleep in this small unused room until I had enough money to move out. I didn't feel like I was imposing so badly back here. I'd find a grocery story tomorrow and use my twenty dollars for some food. Peanut butter and bread should get me through a week or so.
"This is perfect. I'm out of the way back here. Besides, Rush is calling my dad tomorrow and finding out when he will be home. Maybe my father has a plan. I don't know. Thank you though, I really appreciate the offer. "
Grant looked around the room one more time and scowled. He wasn't happy about this room but I was relieved. It was sweet of him to care.
"I hate leaving you back here. It feels wrong. " He looked back at me this time with a pleading sound to his voice.
"This is great. Much better than my truck would have been. "
Grant frowned. "Truck? You were gonna sleep in your truck?"
"Yes. I was. This, however, gives me a little time to figure out what I'm gonna do next. "
Grant ran a hand through his shaggy hair. "Will you promise me something?" he asked.
I wasn't one to make promises. What I knew of promises was that they were easily broken. I shrugged. It was the best I could do.
"If Rush makes you leave, call me. "
I started to agree and realized I didn't have his phone number.
"Where's your phone so I can put my number in it?" he asked.
This was going to make me sound even more pathetic. "I don't have one. "
Grant gaped at me, "You don't have a cell phone? No wonder you carry a damn gun. " He reached into his pocket and pulled out what looked like a receipt. "You got a pen?"
I pulled one out of my purse and handed it to him.
He quickly scribbled his number down and then handed the paper and the pen to me. "Call me. I mean it. "
I would never call him but it was nice that he was offering. I nodded. I hadn't promised anything.
"I hope you sleep okay in here. " He looked around the small room with concern in his eyes. I would sleep wonderfully.
"I will," I assured him.
He nodded and stepped out of the room closing the door behind him. I waited until I heard him close the pantry door as well before I sat down on the bed beside my suitcase. This was good. I could work with this.