Beneath These Chains (Page 58)

“Still not interested. It’s not something I want to have to flip if I need to. I’m not in the market for more cars right now.”

“Seriously? Just do me a solid,” he said, shoving his hand into his hair and pressing his palm against his forehead. That’s when I got a real good look at his watch.

It looked damn near identical to the one Elle had snatched out of the customer’s box a few days ago.

“But your watch, on the other hand … let me check it out and see if we couldn’t make a deal on that.”

His eyes cut to me, overly bright and excited. “Yeah?” He yanked his hand out of his hair, and I was surprised he didn’t tear out a chunk with his erratic movements.

He ripped the watch off his wrist and handed it to me. I held my breath as I flipped it over.

The inscription read, “To T.S. with love.”

Holy fucking shit.

Chains did have some voodoo magic sprinkled on its doorstep, because there was no other explanation for the watch showing up.

“How much you want for the watch?”

His eyes locked on me. I wasn’t being particularly smart when it came to getting the best deal, but I didn’t care. I was buying the fucking watch.

“I need ten grand.”

It wasn’t worth that, but it was priceless to Elle.

“Let me take a closer look with my loupe. I want to make sure there aren’t any cracks in the crystal.”

I was mostly making up that bullshit about the cracks, but I needed to show it to Elle to confirm.

“Sure. Whatever.”

I carried it to the counter where she stood waiting, arms crossed over her chest. I held the watch out and flipped it over so the inscription faced up.

“You’re gonna want to look at this.”

Her eyes zeroed in on my hand, and she snatched it up. “No way. No fucking way.” Over and over she repeated the words. Luckily, her voice was hushed; otherwise the kid would have heard her. “It’s here. That’s it. Holy fucking shit.”

“Good. Then it’s not leaving this shop with him.”

I stared at the watch I had strapped around my wrist. It was too big, but I didn’t care.

“I just can’t believe it,” I said again.

Lord’s hands landed on my shoulders and squeezed. “Believe it. After all, that’s why you came here in the first place. You must’ve had some faith it would show up.”

I finally pulled my eyes off the watch. “I mean, yeah, but it’s still crazy. I just can’t believe it.”

“Believe it,” he said one more time.

“You have to let me pay you back.”

He’d dropped five grand on the watch. It wasn’t worth that much, but the kid refused to take anything less. Lord had pushed him, but he also hadn’t wanted to let him leave with it.

“I’m not letting you pay it back. It’s a gift.” His tone didn’t allow for any argument—but that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to try.

“But the shop can’t absorb that kind of loss right now.”

Lord spoke directly into my ear. “You let me worry about that. Besides, I’ve got twenty bucks on Rix coming back to buy the Charger. That’ll give me plenty of room.”


“Woman, you need to learn to accept a damn gift when I want to give one to you.”

I reached my hand back and rubbed it over the buzzed hair on the back of his head. I craned my neck around and kissed him. It was time to give in gracefully. “Thank you.”

“It’s on your wrist where it belongs; that’s all that matters.”

What Lord had said earlier about putting back the pieces because I had never finished grieving was eerily accurate. How he’d known, I wasn’t sure, but I was just now realizing how right he had been. It was one of those things I’d pushed aside every day, preferring instead to focus on my anger toward my mother and Denton. She’d moved on so fast, and it had caused me to pen up all of my grief and cement it over with resentment.

It was time to learn to let go.

“Putting the pieces back together,” I said.

“One at a time,” Lord replied.

The rest of the day was uneventful—thank God—but when we were climbing in the ’Cuda to head back to Lord’s, it occurred to me that I really needed to get more clothes and do laundry, and there was a certain green dress I wanted to get my hands on so I could wear it to work and see what happened. And for the record, I’d be wearing it without panties…

“You mind dropping me at home?”

Lord’s gaze cut to me. “You need to grab some more clothes?”

“I need to do some laundry and get myself organized. I’ve been living out of a suitcase, and I’m running out of options. And … we should probably talk about how long I’m going to be staying with you.”

“Still no leads on who killed Bree and Jiminy.”

“But what if they never close the case? I can’t just move in with you permanently. It’s … it’s way too fast to be normal.”

Lord’s expression sobered. “I thought we were on the same page, Elle. Things move fast when a lot of intense shit happens. I’m not willing to go backward just because you think we should be moving at any pace except for the one that works for us.”

“What are you saying? You do want me to move in with you? Like, for real?”

“Works for me.”

“You’re serious?”

“I wouldn’t have said it if I wasn’t.”