Never Too Far (Chapter 13)
Blaire came walking out of Bethy's apartment holding two cups of coffee before I could get out of the car. I opened my door and stepped out of the Range Rover. Her hair was loose and hanging down her back. I loved it like that. The shorts she had on barely covered up her legs and were going to make it hard to concentrate once she was sitting in my car. They would ride up her thighs. I tore my eyes off her legs and met her steady gaze. She was forcing a small smile.
"I brought you some coffee since you got out of bed so early for me. I know early isn't your thing." Her voice was unsure and soft as she spoke. It was going to be my mission to change that on this road trip. I wanted her comfortable with me again.
"Thank you," I replied with a smile I hoped eased her nerves as I opened the passenger side door for her. I'd been unable to sleepsince three this morning. I was anxious. I was pretty sure I had gone through two pots of coffee since then. I wasn't about to tell her that though. She'd brought me coffee. A real smile tugged on my lips as I closed her door and headed back to my side.
She was holding her cup up close to her mouth taking small sips when I glanced over at her. "If you want music, I promised it was all yours," I reminded her. She didn't move but a smile lifted the corners of her lips.
"Thanks. Trust me, I remember. I'm okay right now. You can listen to something if you want to. I need to wake up first."
I didn't care about the radio. I just wanted to talk to her. What we talked about wasn't important. Talking to her was all I cared about.
"So, what's the plan? Does Cain know we're coming to get your things?" I asked.
She shifted in her seat and I forced myself to keep my eyes on the road and not her legs. "No. I wanted to explain to him and his grandmother, Granny Q, about this. I also need to convince him to sell my truck for me and send me the money. It won't make it back out here again. It's in bad shape."
Her truck was old. The idea that she wouldn't be riding around in it was a relief. However, I wasn't crazy about her not having a vehicle. How the hell I was supposed to fix that I didn't know. She would never take a car from me. Maybe her truck could be fixed and made safe.
"I could take it in and have it checked out while you're packing up. Could be it just needs a couple things done to it."
She sighed. "Thanks but don't bother. Cain already took it in and had it checked. He had them fix it up so I could get around town but he said it was a temporary fix. It needs more work than I can afford."
I gripped the steering wheel tighter. The idea that Cain had been taking care of her drove me insane. I hated that he'd been the one to have her truck checked out. That it was his family that helped her when she needed it most. Mine had fucked her life up. I wasn't there for her to call when she needed help.
"So are you and Cain…?" What the hell was I asking? Were they what? Fuck. I didn't want to hear this.
"We are friends, Rush. We have been all our life. My feelings about him haven't changed."
I eased my grip on the steering wheel and ran one of my sweaty palms on my jeans. Damn, she drove me crazy. If I was going to ease her back into being comfortable with me I needed to calm down. That was going to start with me not beating the shit outta Cain when I saw him.
Before I could say anything else Blaire leaned forward and turned on the radio. She found a country station on my satellite radio and then leaned back in her seat and closed her eyes. I had pried too much. She was politely asking me to shut up. I could take the hint.
Thirty minutes of silence passed before my phone rang. Nan's name appeared on the screen in my dash. Damn iPhone was programmed to my car. Normally that came in handy and made things hands free. But having Blaire see Nan's name wasn't cool. I hadn't wanted a reminder. My plan was to make this day reminder free. I clicked ignore and the radio started playing again.
I didn't look over at Blaire but I felt her eyes on me. It was real hard not to meet her gaze.
"You could have talked to her. She's your sister," Blaire said so softly I almost missed it over the music.
"She is. But she represents things I don't want you thinking about today."
Blaire didn't stop looking at me. It was taking all my strength to keep this casual. Jerking the car over and grabbing her face and telling her how important she was and how much I loved her wasn't what she needed right now.
"I'm better, Rush. I've had time to take everything in. Deal with it. I'll see Nan at the club. I'm prepared for that. You're helping me today. You could be doing anything else but you chose to take the day to help me. I don't want to keep you from taking phone calls from people you care about. I won't break."
Fuck. So much for keeping this casual and easy. I pulled over onto the side of the road and slammed the Rover into park. I kept my hands to myself but I gave my full attention to Blaire. "I chose to take you today because there is nothing I'd rather do than be near you. I'm driving you because I'm a desperate man who will take whatever the hell he can get when it comes to you." I broke down and reached over to run my thumb over her cheekbone then into the silky hair I'd been fascinated with since I'd first laid eyes on her. "I will do anything. Anything, Blaire, just to be near you. I can't think about anything else. I can't focus on anything. So never think you're inconveniencing me. You need me, I'm there." I stopped. I sounded pathetic even to my own ears. Dropping my hand from her head I shifted the Rover into gear and pulled back onto the road.
Blaire didn't say anything. I didn't blame her. I'd sounded like a crazy man. She was probably scared of me now. Hell, I would be.