Say I'm Yours (Page 25)
“Grace!” A familiar voice yells louder as they continue banging on the door. “I’m busting the door down!”
I lean back and wipe my eyes. I’m not about to have a broken door on top of all this. Our volunteer firemen will do it without question. They’re a little overzealous when it comes to fire safety since we haven’t had a fire in . . . ever.
“No!” I yell as I rush toward the front door. “I’m fine! We’re all fine!”
I throw the door open as I see Beau’s foot in the air. “You’re really okay?” he asks quickly and drops his foot.
“Everyone is fine,” Cooper says from behind me. “Some food spilled over in the oven and created a lot of smoke.”
Beau looks disappointed. “I still need to check things out to be sure.”
I give him a pointed stare. “No hoses in my house. There’s no fire. We’re not on some episode of Chicago Fire.”
Cooper jerks his head to the side and puts his hand on my shoulder. “Yes, sorry that we didn’t set the place on fire so you had something to do.”
I watch him walk off and turn back toward Cooper. “I’m sorry about tonight. Hell, I’m sure we can go back a month and still not cover all the things I should apologize for.”
Cooper grabs his jacket and walks toward me. “It’s me who should be apologizin’, Grace. I never should’ve pushed you. I knew you weren’t feeling anything, but I needed to know for sure.”
Beau walks back out and shakes his head. “No Southern woman burns a pie like that. It’s unheard of.”
I ignore his jab. I’ll be sure to send his wife a text about his new hunting bow he’s been hiding in my store, thinking she isn’t going to find out.
Cooper punches Beau in the arm and chuckles. “He’s an idiot. I had a good time tonight.”
“I did, too.”
“Until you set the kitchen on fire,” he jokes, making my lips tilt in a smile.
He comes in close and holds me tight. I wrap my arms around him and squeeze. Cooper kisses the side of my head.
“Well, at least we didn’t have Trent show up this time. Come to think of it . . .” There’s no way Trent wouldn’t be here. Angry or not, if he heard my address and a fire, I can’t imagine him ignoring it. He may not always do the right thing when it comes to our relationship, but he’s extremely protective of me. This wouldn’t be a call he’d ignore.
I step outside and search for the police cruiser I know is somewhere close. “Hank?” I yell, and he turns to me with a smile. “Isn’t Trent workin’ tonight?”
“You didn’t hear?” His grin falls as he walks toward me. “Rhett collapsed this afternoon. We rushed him to the hospital, but he was still unconscious when I left. It’s been a busy day for us.”
“Oh my God!” I clutch my chest. “Is he all right?”
Hank shrugs. “I haven’t heard much. The whole family is there. Trent worked on him until they got him to the hospital.”
“I have to go! I need to be there!”
I run back inside, and start searching for my things. I can’t find my purse. Where did I put my purse? My heart races as I think about Trent and his family. His father means everything to them. I don’t know what is wrong or why he didn’t call, but I have to go.
“Grace, calm down.” Cooper’s hand is on my shoulder.
“I can’t find my keys! I don’t have my phone. Why didn’t anyone call me? I should be there! I didn’t know and no one told me. Where the hell are my damn keys?”
“Okay, okay. Where did you put them?” Cooper asks.
“I don’t know! I just . . .”
“Listen, you’re not in any state to drive. I have my keys right here, grab your phone and bag, and I’ll drive you there.”
I cover my mouth with my hand and nod. “All right.”
Cooper helps me locate the items I need and we climb in his truck. I’ve been a part of that family for a long time. Rhett and Macie are like a second set of parents to me. My leg bounces as he drives. I think about Trent working, whatever that means, on his father. I envision them all gathered around and how alone Trent must feel.
“I’m sure it’ll be okay, Grace,” Cooper tries to reassure me.
“Thank you for drivin’ me.”
Cooper smiles with sadness in his eyes. “I told you we’d always be friends.”
He did, and it’s clear he keeps his promises.
“Coop?” I pull his attention back. I want to ask him something, but don’t know how it’ll go. “Are you upset? About . . . you know . . . this?”
“You mean me driving you to the man you truly love?” he asks, and I nod. “Before I came over tonight, I talked to Presley,” he admits. “I told her about what happened this morning and on our date, and she of course laughed, but she tried to explain what it’s like to love someone the way she loves Zach. I think the way she feels about him is how you are with Trent. I could never compete with that.”
“Coop,” I try to stop him, but he takes my hand in his.
“I’ve known you my whole life, and you’ve never looked at anyone like you look at him. I may wish it was different, but it’s the truth.”
“I never wanted to hurt you.”
He shakes his head and chuckles. “You didn’t. We’re friends who tried to see if there was anything there. I told you that I had no expectations. We both deserve to be crazy about each other. Shit, I want a girl to come runnin’ into my arms and not get enough of kissing me.”
“I’m sorry I’m not her. You deserve that, you really do.”
And he does. Cooper is a textbook perfect man. He’s like my daddy. He works hard, loves harder, and is a good man. He’s going to make some woman very lucky someday. I hope he finds her fast because he deserves everything he wants.
“Thanks.” He gives me a rueful smile. “In another life, I think we would’ve been perfect. In another time, we would’ve been happy. More than anything, I want that for you.”
“Cooper Townsend, walkin’ away from you is going to be my greatest regret.”
He smirks. “I can live with that. Just make him treat you right.”
I don’t say anything because my knee-jerk reaction is to defend Trent, but that isn’t right. Cooper has a right to say what he needs to, and he isn’t wrong. Trent hasn’t been great, which hasn’t been a secret.
“Thank you for being such a good guy.”
“I guess all the clichés are comin’ true. Nice guys do finish last.”
“That’s not true.” Cooper doesn’t see the flip side. “Settling with me would’ve been you comin’ in last. Now, you can find the girl that deserves your love.”
We enter the hospital’s parking lot, and my nerves start to rise. I don’t know how he’s doing or if he’s okay, and I want nothing more than to run into that building and find him. Yet, when I reach for the door handle, I pause, turning back to Cooper.
He shakes his head and gives me an encouraging smile. “Go to him,” he instructs.
I lean over, kiss his cheek, and rush out of the truck.
The hospital isn’t hard to navigate, but with how many times I get lost, you’d think I’ve never been here. The white walls all look the same. I called Presley and Trent again, but got no answer. I decide to ask a nurse where Rhett is, when she refuses to release the information, I lie and tell her I’m his daughter.
Now knowing where to head, I follow the red line to the intensive care wing. My heart is heavy with worry. The Henningtons are a strong unit, with Rhett being the head of them all. I can’t imagine what the boys or Mrs. Hennington are going through.
I round the corner and stop dead in my tracks when I see Cooper standing there.
“Hey. What are you doing here?”
“You forgot your purse,” he explains as he holds out my bag.
“Thank you! I didn’t even realize. I’ve been walkin’ around this place for what feels like forever and I still haven’t seen any of them. I don’t know if he’s all right or . . .” I say as my eyes mist over. “I can’t get ahold of anyone either.”
“If something happened we’d know. My mama and yours would’ve called.” Cooper’s hand touches my shoulder in a comforting way.
He’s right. I can’t imagine our parents wouldn’t let us know. Okay. I feel a little better.
I look up and Cooper’s entire body goes still. When I turn to see what has him on edge, relief fills me before flickering away, causing my heart to plummet.
Trent is standing there with a murderous expression on his face. His hands clench into fists and he stomps forward. I’ve seen him like this two times in my life. The first was when he found William after he killed Scarlett and the second was when he heard someone beat their infant to death a town over.
He wanted to tear them both limb from limb.
And it looks like Cooper is the object of his rage right now.
Cooper’s arm drops, and I rush toward Trent, hoping to diffuse a situation before it happens. “Trent, I came as soon as I heard. Is your dad okay?” He doesn’t look at me. He keeps moving toward Cooper. “Trent!”