Beneath These Lies (Page 49)

The stairway creaked again, and this time it was Rix coming down. He stopped a few feet from where Trinity and I were hugging it out.

“You take care of your girl. I’ll be back later. Got some more shit to do.”

Tears welling in my own eyes, I nodded, even though I wanted to argue with him and demand the entire story. Trinity’s head lifted from my shoulder at the sound of his voice. She turned toward him in my arms, her voice a little shaky.

“Thank you. For everything. I’m sorry about . . . everything too.”

I didn’t know what she was apologizing to Rix for, but I’d get the details from her soon enough.

“You thank me by doing what I asked of you. Got that?”

Her nod was quick and short.

“Good. Be back soon as I can, duchess.”

He turned for the portico, and that’s when I noticed the dark stain on the side of his dark gray T-shirt.

What the hell?

My eyes followed Rix as he walked toward the door. His movements were a fraction slower and more careful than normal.

“Wait, Rix. Are you okay?”

My eyes flicked to Trinity, who stared directly at the floor.

Clearly, I missed something big.

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll be back when I can.”

I started toward him, not willing to accept that non-explanation. He reached out to fend me off, but I was quicker. Yanking up his T-shirt, I saw a large gauze pad taped over his side, and my stomach twisted. My gaze cut to his flashing silver one.

“What the hell happened tonight?”

“You can wait to hear it until I’m back.”

“But you’re hurt!”

“Ain’t the first time and won’t be the last. Settle down, duchess. Your man ain’t exactly fragile.”

“No, but he sure is stubborn.”

Rix tugged the shirt out of my grip and let it fall over the bandage. Grabbing my hand, he pulled me closer. “Glad to see we’re finally on the same page.” He pressed a hard kiss to my lips before releasing me and spinning toward the door.

He was gone before I could think of another thing to say.

Trinity’s awestruck voice came from behind me. “He’s your man? Damn, I missed out on a lot.”

It had been a week since I’d last seen Trinity, and the magnitude of the changes in my life in such a short span of time was ridiculous.

Crossing the foyer to her, I hugged her again, squeezing her tight in my arms. “I’m so glad you’re safe.” Trinity shook again and after another round of tears, I finally pulled away and asked, “What in the world happened?”

Her expression shuttered immediately. “You’re gonna have to ask Rix, because he told me I couldn’t tell you anything.”

Excuse me? He did what?

“I don’t care what he told you. This is between you and me.”

Trinity shook her head. “I can’t. He’s Rix.”

I knew who he was, and I didn’t see how that registered as important.

Trinity and I were only a few inches apart in height, so looking down into her dark brown eyes was no difficult task. “You know you can tell me anything. I’ve been worried to death about you. Rix promised he’d get you home safely, and said there was no guarantee that the police could do the same. That’s the only reason I didn’t send a SWAT team after you the first night.”

Trinity’s smile wobbled. “I know that. I talked to him the day after they grabbed me. He told me he’d kill them if they hurt me, and they knew it too.” With a hiccupping sob, she continued. “He also told me you were losing your shit being worried about me, and I was going to have to be on my best behavior for the rest of my natural-born life to make it up to you.” Her tears dried up when she added, “He’s really protective of you. I don’t know what kind of voodoo you worked on that man, but I’d say he’s gone for you, girl. Maybe even in love with you.”

And that’s when I knew my eighteen-year-old Trinity was back without lasting harm, because even though her boyfriend had gotten her kidnapped, she was still a hopeless romantic.

Which reminded me, I’d never once asked for an update on D-Rock. Subconsciously, I probably feared I might murder him myself. I also wasn’t about to bring him up now to her, especially if her story about them breaking up was true.

“Are you hungry? I can fix you something.”

Her giggle was quick, assuring me once again that all was going to be just fine. “How about I fix something, because I don’t think I’ll ever get the smell of burned grits washed from my nose after that one time.”

My glare was playful. “I’m still blaming a malfunctioning timer. My cooking skills aren’t that bad.”

Trinity laid a hand on my shoulder, her expression mock-sober. “If you want to keep Rix, whatever you do, don’t cook for him. Your skills aren’t gonna catch any man.”

“Impertinent child.” I shook my head, crossed to the counter, and made myself comfortable on a bar stool. “Your punishment is cooking for both of us.”

“And your man. But don’t even try to claim it was you. You’ll never live up to my skills in the kitchen.”

“Brat.”

Trinity’s laughter was the best sound I’d heard in weeks.

She still wouldn’t give up any details. I’d pushed and prodded throughout the late-night snack she’d prepared, but Trinity had stonewalled me. With a sigh of exasperation, I’d settled her in the downstairs guest room that she preferred and retreated to my own bed, which was empty.