I watched Max closely. He had secrets he wasn’t willing to share with me. I knew for certain, I was being used. Was he the one using me? Was it only his employers? Or both? I didn’t like being used. I wanted to be done with this mess.
“I know where it/he is or where he was last night. I want to go take care of this today.”
Max raised his eyebrows then glanced behind my shoulder. Chase was attempting to pull Killer out the door. I hadn’t even realized Chase opened the door, I’d been concentrating that hard on Max.
Killer wore his elf outfit and stood like a rock, on dry ground, not giving an inch. Chase repositioned himself, gave Killer a good yank, while talking nicely to him at the same time, and lost his footing. Sliding into Killer he landed flat on his back in the snow. Killer apparently thought Chase was playing a game, he wagged his tail and pounced on Chase’s chest, licked Chase’s face and sank them deeper into the snow.
I slid by Max, tugged on Killer, convinced him to get off of Chase, then began to dig Chase out as Trina and Alexis strode up to the deck laughing. I offered Chase my hand, planted my boots on the tips of his and pulled him up, out of the snow.
“Oh Killer, you look so adorable,” Alexis crooned. “Come here boy.”
Killer wagged his tail, but stood his ground.
“He doesn’t like snow much,” Chase said grinning. He brushed off his cloths. “What’s the plan?” He asked no one in particular.
“I’ll be here for the duration,” Max replied, eying me. “Shovel, then you can go do what you need to do.”
“We’ll help,” Trina said, both her and Alexis clomped up the stairs with their cell phones out, “pictures first though.”
If Killer could blush he’d be a dark red color.
The girls posed beside Killer for pictures, knelt down, and proceeded to hug, kiss, and rub his face until he finally decided to brave the snow and wandered off the deck. Once the deck was clear Chase took off with the girls while Max and I stood at the railing watching the snow continue to fall. I sighed staring up at the clouds, not a hint of blue sky showed.
“Come on,” Max said laying his hand on my back, pushing me toward the door.
I jerked his hand off me. “Stop touching me Max.” It had been frustrating enough dealing with the girls’ high energy. His made my blood boil, literally. “It’s time for you to find someone else to pick on.”
“Ah, but I like you.”
“Too much,” I spun around, looking him square in the eyes. “Your going to make me spontaneously combust with all the heat you carry around.”
He frowned. “Maybe there’s a cure.”
Yeah, right, if only I’d be that lucky. “Don’t talk to those people about me ever again Max. I mean it! Cure or not.”
“So what are you going do? Become an old spinster?”
“Or find the most boring guy on the planet.” I glared at him. “I’m hoping it will wear off, eventually.”
Max threw his arms around me, pulling me into his embrace before I had a chance to step back. He picked me up off my feet and kissed me fiercely, then set me down again.
“Not if I can help it,” he growled.
My ears rang. My heart seemed like it was trying to escape out of my chest. I plopped down on the couch and lit a smoke with shaking hands. Max plucked the cigarette out of my fingers and paced back and forth, brushing his hand through his hair. His agitation didn’t help my overwrought nerves.
Was he using me? Or did he really care? I shook my head. I wasn’t ready to trust him and definitely wasn’t going to delve into his closed off emotions with this new gift of mine. Even though, I had a feeling I could if I really wanted to. I watched him pace until I was ready to scream. Instead of screaming, I settled for making us some espresso’s and prayed he’d wear himself out before I returned. He stood in front of the fireplace when I handed him his coffee.
“Tell me where he is,” Max said.
“Tell me what he is,” I countered.
“Chase told me about the note you received. I’ve decided that I don’t want you involved in this. Tell me where he is and I‘ll find him and take care of it.”
I laughed ruefully. “I’m already involved, no thanks to your people. Besides your stuck here until it stops snowing, he might be long gone by then. You need me Max.”
“I’m not going to change my mind Montana, you are staying here.”
“Then how will you protect me?”
“I’ll figure something out.”
He was being pig headed. I pushed him aside, stomped into the solarium, and sat by the window, watching the snow continue to fall. I did inventory in my mind on what I’d already placed in my backpack and what I still needed if I was to sneak out. After I made my mental list I snuggled into a ball and took a nap. I didn’t need Max or Chase to take care of me. I was a big girl, I could take care of myself. When I woke it had stopped snowing and I was snuggled in bed with Max sleeping next to me.