Say You Won't Let Go (Page 16)
The blood runs cold in my veins. I will not let Cooper be hurt by this man, and I will do or say anything as long as it gets him to let me go. So I shake my head quickly. When he drops his hand, I speak. “No, I’ll give us a chance.”
This can’t be real. This is just a nightmare. It has to be, because Wade would be here if it was real. He has to be coming here any second now.
“I knew you’d come around.” He grazes his teeth against my ear. “Your little protector may have found my cameras, but remember that I’m always listening. I won’t hesitate to remind you how much Cooper doesn’t love you if you tell the dog about our little chat. I love you. I’m willing to do anything to have you.”
He presses his lips to the side of my head, and I bite my tongue to keep from screaming out.
“I’ll see you soon, my sweet little nightingale. I’m always around.”
I feel the heat from his body disappear. I turn quickly, but all I see is the back of his head as he runs off the stage and out of view.
My legs go limp, and I fall to my knees. He’s the reason Cooper lost his herd. He’s been able to get in my bus not once but twice that I know of. There’s nothing he won’t do, and I know, deep down in my soul, that he’ll hurt Cooper if I don’t obey.
With trembling hands, I dial Wade’s number.
“Where the fuck are you?” he growls through the phone. “I told you to stay on the fucking bus!”
“The stage,” is all I’m able to say before I completely fall apart.
Minutes later, I hear footsteps and Wade’s voice. “Emily!” He rushes over.
My eyes meet his, and even in the dark, I’m sure he can see the tears. “Please take me somewhere. I can’t walk.”
“Are you hurt?”
“Not physically.” I go for a half-truth.
I can’t tell Wade about what happened just moments ago. Not here. Not now. The psycho is clearly listening, watching, and God only knows where he is. Being quiet is all I can do. There are times I believe in trusting my gut—this is one.
“Did you fall?” Wade’s hands brush over my arms and legs as if he’s checking for injuries.
Oh, I fell. I fell into the hands of a stalker who wants to kill my boyfriend.
I fell in love, only to have it torn away.
I fell into the depths of hell, and the only way out is a deal with the Devil.
Instead of saying any of that, I shake my head. “I’m tired.”
“You’re lying.” He studies me and then glances to the shadows around us. “Something has you rattled and you need to tell me what. Why did you leave the bus?”
“Luke was supposed to be right back,” I say as my lip trembles.
“What the fuck?” He looks around. “I’m going to kill him.”
Wade is a good man, and I wish I had trusted in that. He’s been here ensuring my safety for weeks, and I failed him.
Now, it’s Cooper I’m worried about.
If this guy is willing to go all the way to Bell Buckle to prove some sick point, I have no doubt he will make good on his threat if Cooper shows up here. I start to cry harder, each tear is an outward display of the pain I’m in. I don’t want to do this, but I don’t have a choice.
“Talk to me, Emily,” Wade urges.
I look up at him, and the knot in my stomach twists. “It’s over. It’s all over.”
“What’s over?” His voice drops to a whisper. “Is he here?”
I shake my head. “No. I mean me and Cooper.”
Another loud sob escapes my lips, and I cling to Wade. Everything is falling apart, and I have no hope left.
“I’m sure you’ll work it out.” Wade tries to comfort me, but he’s not very convincing, and I cry harder. “Cooper won’t let you go, not without fighting the world. I’ve seen what a man will do for the woman who owns him.”
Too bad it isn’t Cooper’s choice. I’m the only one who knows his life is in danger at the hands of a psychopath. One who will stop at nothing to get me.
There’s only one option.
I have to walk away from the only man I’ve loved to keep him safe.
“Please, just take me away from here,” I beg.
Wade doesn’t hesitate. He hooks his arms under my legs and pulls me to his chest. My arms wrap around his neck, and I hold on.
I’m lost inside my hopeless thoughts. My eyes are open, but I don’t see anything. His words ping pong around my head, bouncing from one terrifying thought to another. I’m going to have to hurt Cooper.
I’m going to lie to him.
I need to find a way to make him stay in Bell Buckle because he won’t listen if I just tell him to. He’ll fight back and show up regardless.
Wade carries me back to the bus without complaint. He climbs the stairs and sits me on the couch. I immediately curl into myself.
“Emily.” He touches my face, and my tears continue to drop.
Something hits me. Wade works for Cooper. I lift my head and sit up quickly. “Will you break the contract with Cooper?” I ask.
“Will you end your contract with him and work for me?” I clarify.
Wade scratches the back of his head with his ball cap. “I’m telling you there’s no way he’s going to fire me.”
I shake my head. “I didn’t think he would. I’m asking you to work for me. I don’t want Cooper involved.”
He takes a seat next to me. “This is going to blow over.”
“No. It isn’t.” I wipe my face and look away.
I can’t let it.
“I know you’re upset, but he is trying to protect you.”
I can’t talk about this. I don’t know if the crazy man who wants to hurt Cooper to win me is listening. The pain of what I’m about to do slices through me. My chest aches, and I try to hold myself together.
“Can you please let me have a few minutes to myself?” I ask Wade. “I want you to stop relaying anything about me to Cooper. Can you do that?”
He sighs and drops his head. “Sure.” I hear the disappointment in his voice, but it’s vital they don’t communicate.
“Thank you. I’ll pay the fees for my protection if you need it to be black and white. I need you to ignore Cooper’s calls because this is no longer his concern.”
Wade’s eyes meet mine. “I technically work for him.”
“Do you want me to fire you?” I ask, praying he’ll say no. I need Wade more than ever. Even if I’m lying to him.
“Fine. Twenty-four hours, but after that, I’ll need to figure out how we’re going to handle this.”
He walks off the bus with frustration radiating off him.
Now to make the phone call that will officially destroy me.
When I see Emily’s face flash on my screen, I answer. “Hi, darlin’, are you okay?”
“No. I’m not. I thought I was okay with everything, but I’m not.”
I sit up in my bed and turn the light on. She sounds angry again.
“I thought we talked about this.” I’m not sure what changed in an hour. We were fine, talking about me coming there, and now she’s pissed again?
Emily’s breathing quickens. “I don’t want you to come here. I want time alone.”
What the fuck? This is completely different from what she said before. “What changed?”
I swear that women confuse the shit out of me. “Can you elaborate please?”
“This was just the eye opener I needed. This can’t work between us. We were fooling ourselves, and I think it’ll just be easier to sever things now. A clean break.”
Okay, now I’m completely fucking floored. She has never mentioned a damn word about having any doubts. We’ve talked every single day. Our conversations have been about how to make things work. Who could travel when and finding ways around the shit in our way. Both of us were on board. I don’t know where the hell this is coming from.
“I understand you’re upset, but—”
“No, it’s over.”
“No, it’s not,” I reply. “It is not over… We’re going to talk about this.”
She laughs. “There’s nothing to talk about, Cooper. We’re done. I’m done.”
“Well, I’m not done.” I’m not letting go of her. I love her, and I’ll fight to the ends of the earth to keep her. She’s the girl I’ve waited my whole life for. There’s no way I’m going to walk away because she has a few doubts.
“It’s not up to you!” Emily yells. “I don’t want to do this with you anymore. I don’t love you. I was foolin’ myself.”
“Bullshit!” This is insanity. She’s lying to me, and I know it. I saw the way she looked at me. I hear it in her voice when we talk. “If you’re scared, I get it, but I’m getting on that plane in two days. You’re not goin’ to end this on the goddamn phone. If you want to end this, you need to say it to my face. I want to see you look me in the eyes and tell me you don’t love me.”