Dirty Together (Page 3)

“Okay. Thank you.”

Logan tugs my bag from my hand, and I don’t fight him. I’m whipped. Dog tired. Worn out. I just want to get to Gran’s so I can face-plant on what I hope to God are clean sheets, and hibernate for a few days.

We pull out of the service station in Logan’s big black jacked-up Chevy truck. The seats are dark gray leather, and it smells new. I scan the interior, looking for a dangling pine tree air freshener labeled New-Car Smell, but I don’t see one. The electronics are so fancy that I think it must be new. Apparently Logan Brantley is the one living large these days.

He flips on the radio—to a country station, of course—and heads out of “downtown” toward my gran’s. I do the mental quote-y fingers around “downtown” because it’s one blinking red light and four corners. Given that the people of Gold Haven, Kentucky, aren’t all that creative, they just refer to downtown as the Four Corners. There’s the beauty shop corner, the pharmacy/post office corner, the pub corner, and the service station corner. That’s the sum total of the Four Corners.

The radio DJ’s voice catches my attention when he says my name. My latest single comes on. I should be giddy over the fact that I’m getting airplay, but all I can manage right now is a slight smile. I didn’t come home to be Holly Wix.

Logan looks at me as if he’s expecting me to say something, so I mumble the first thing that comes to me. “Guess you know you’ve made it when you hear yourself on your hometown radio station.”

Logan shakes his head. “That’s satellite. Local station plays you all the damn time. Don’t play much else.”

“Oh.” The word comes out shaky.

He’s looking out the windshield when he says, “I always knew you’d make something of yourself. Glad you took your shot when you had the chance.” He glances sidelong at me before adding, “Even if it did put you out of my reach.”

I’m so blown away by the surreal situation I find myself in—back in Gold Haven, riding in Logan Brantley’s truck—that I can’t even fumble for a response.

Apparently Logan doesn’t mind, because he continues. “So, what the hell are you doing here, looking like you been rode hard and put up wet?”

I choke out a laugh and raise an eyebrow. “And here I thought you said I looked good.”

He smiles, glancing toward me again and then back at the road. “Oh, you do, but you look tired, strung out—and you’re short a husband.”

I ball up my left hand and cover the rock with my right palm. Here in Kentucky, it seems even more obscenely large.

“I just needed a break,” I say. “I needed to step away for a little while and sort some stuff out. By myself.”

Logan flips on the blinker and turns right into Gran’s gravel drive before slowing the truck to a stop close to the house and shifting into Park. He turns toward me in his seat.

“I would’ve thought this was the last place you’d come running to.”

A million memories await me inside this house—and whatever mess Mama left behind after she broke in and helped herself to some of Gran’s most prized possessions.

I take a breath, my shoulders rising, and then let it out slowly, straightening. “I guess when you decide to make a run for it, the most natural place in the world to run is back to your roots. I’ve only been gone nine months, but so much has changed. I wanted a bigger life, and boy, did I ever get it.”

I don’t even think before I speak, the truth of my feelings spilling out of me.

“But it’s gotten so big, it’s like I don’t know who I am anymore. I thought if I came back here, maybe that would give me the answers I can’t seem to find anywhere else.”

“You made a run for it?”

I’m not surprised that’s the part he picks up on. “It’s a long story.”

Hoping to leave it at that, I reach for the handle and push the door open before jumping down to the ground. Practically need a damn stepladder for that thing.

I hoist my purse up one more time and meet Logan at the front of the truck where he’s holding my bag. He follows me up the front steps to Gran’s purple porch.

She picked that color the summer before she passed because she was banking on it pissing off her crotchety old neighbor. She was right. Gran was always right. I guess the real reason I came back is because I’m hoping I can find her guidance and wisdom here, even if she’s not.

I unlock the dead bolt and push the front door open. Dust motes float in the air. I guess getting picked up and tossed in jail got in the way of Mama doing some cleaning.

Logan drops my bag just inside the front door. He takes a step back, and I slip inside.

“Thanks. For the ride and for the help with the car. You can leave a message on Gran’s machine when it’s ready. I’ll be checking it.”

“Ain’t no trouble.” He’s standing with his thumbs hooked into the waistband of his coveralls, and I have no idea what he’s waiting for.

I start to push the door closed, but Logan says, “Be ready at eight.”


“You heard me.”

“But I . . . What?”

“You came back to find your roots, Holly. I’m gonna reintroduce ya.”

I told myself I wasn’t going to go as I crawled under the clean sheets of my old bed and didn’t set an alarm. I told myself I wasn’t going to go while I ignored the high-pitched chime of the doorbell at seven forty-five. I told myself I wasn’t going to go while I covered my head with a pillow to muffle the pounding coming from the door.