ec556-moonthumbI opened my eyes again. I’d been trying to nap, but every time I drifted into asleep my heart would start pounding fast in my chest and I would become fully awake.

I told myself over and over I had nothing to be afraid of, but my instincts kept telling me I did. I glanced sideways under my lashes at Chase; he was still sitting in the chair by the couch watching me.

My first thought was to tell him, get it all out into the open. I opened my mouth. A great trepidation came over me. I closed it again.

I was hit full force with the knowledge I wasn’t allowed to talk about it. I could try as hard as I wanted to, but wouldn’t be able to get the words out.

What if I needed help? I wouldn’t be able to ask. A shiver ran down my spine, I was on my own.

I sat up when my phone rang, poured myself some coffee, and stepped outside for a smoke.

“Hey sis, how’s it going?” This was exactly what I needed, a distraction from my life.

“Not good.”

“What happened? Is the baby all right? Are Shawn, and, Charlie, all right? Are you all right?”

“Yes, yes, and yes.” Zoë snorted. “What did you do?” She whispered.

My heart stopped, numbness spread through my body right before the anxiety hit.

“What do you mean?”

“Dicks disappeared. Shawn went over there to try to talk some sense into him, he’s gone. All of his things are still there, but no-one has seen him. What did you do? I thought you were just going to talk to him. Is his body going wash up on a beach somewhere?”

I laughed, “Hormonal already huh? I did just talk to him.”

There wasn’t any reason for her to know I threatened him.

“How long has he been gone?”

“I knew it, I knew you saw him. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I didn’t want you to get upset, because of the baby.” I also didn’t want her to drill me with questions.

“Well,” I could picture her mind bursting with questions. “I’m not exactly sure how long he’s been gone. I didn’t think anything about it, but now I’m worried. Does he know who you are?”

I eyed Chase; he was standing right next to me. I turned my head into the wind, so he couldn’t hear our conversation.

“No, I’ll find out what I can.”

“Please do. I know it could be, and most likely is the hormones, but Dick scares me. I don’t like feeling scared. I have a family now.”

“I know. I will, I promise.”

We talked about her family for a few minutes before hanging up. My sister normally didn’t freak out so easily; it worried me. I needed to find out where the “idiot” was and put my sister’s fears to rest, so she could enjoy her pregnancy. I wondered if Max would help me again. Maybe if I promised to stay home this time?

Speaking of Max, Chase was stuck to me again like super glue, which meant Max knew something was going on. The question was: how much did he know? I smiled; maybe I did have a little help after all.

“Looks like a storms coming.” Chase commented, interrupting my thoughts.

I watched the waves crash onto the beach for a moment. “It does.”

“How’s your sister doing?”

“She’s fine. How’s Alexis and Trina?” I asked changing the subject.

We meet Alexis and Trina last winter. Trina was a model and Alexis was Trina’s makeup artist. They’d been on a sabbatical from work and men until Alexis spent some time with Chase. Chase and Alexis began to date long distance.

“They’re both doing great, I flew in from California.”

“Really?”

Chase frowned. “Alexis and I decided to be friends. Close friends if we see each other and neither of us are dating.”

“I’m sorry to hear that Chase.”

He shrugged. “She wanted me to move to California and live with her, but my heart belongs in the mountains, not the city. And I’d miss all of you too much.”

“We would come visit you.”

He shrugged again. “Bear and Tree are helping Rose take care of the horses while I’m gone.” He changed the subject.

I smiled, Bear—Tom is the owner of Pops Bar and Grill, Tree—Joshua is Bears son, and of course Rose takes care of my property while I’m gone.

“Are Rose, and, Bear, still together?” I hadn’t talked to her in a while.

“Yes,” Chase grinned, “I’m waiting for him to pop the big question. I think it will be soon, and then you’ll have to find someone else to take care of your land.”

“You could do it.”

“Ah, the problem with that is I go where Max goes, if he needs me.”

I thought about what he said for a moment, I would hate to have to replace Rose. I’d worry about that when it happened.

I sighed, one of these days when I wasn’t feeling so rough around the edges I was going to corner Chase and make him tell me what exactly he did for Max. I was also curious about his family, but he had this tendency to close up every time I inquired.

Max showed up at dinner time with take out. We sat in the living room watching the news and listening to the wind howl outside. The weather had turned for the worse and we wanted to see how bad the night would be. There were storm advisories out to stay away from the ocean, meaning no swimming and no surfing. I wondered who would do that in this weather.

After dinner Chase left to Max’s condo and Killer.

Max hadn’t said two words to me all night, I couldn’t take it anymore.

“What’s with the gun?” I asked breaking the silence.

I’d seen the bulge from it the moment he walked in. He’d tucked it into the back waist of his jeans, and since I was constantly checking out his backside I noticed it right away. I knew he carried them from snooping around in his house, I’d never seen one on him.

“This case has gotten a little dicey.”

He wasn’t fond of guns, but felt better having it.

It was the beginning and end of the conversation. I looked at him. His face was blank; I poked at his emotions. Upset wouldn’t come close to defining what he was feeling. I quickly closed myself off and stepped outside for a smoke.

Max materialized right beside me. He was taking up as much of my space as he could without touching me, but didn’t say anything. I ignored him, put out my smoke, and went to bed.

Sterling-A Montana Dayton Novel Chapt.13:2
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