The sound of fists meeting skin came next.
I winced but forced myself forward. I was moving at a much slower pace, though. Then, deep breath, I was in the doorway.
The woman was holding a bedsheet to her front.
I recognized her. She was the Bonham wife, from a couple that was friends with Quinn. She was naked, her entire side was exposed. She didn’t see me, her eyes wide in horror.
Matt went to the floor, but he was trying to fight. He rolled to his feet and windmilled his feet up, thrashing everywhere. I wasn’t sure of his intention with that move.
It was almost humiliating to watch.
Matt tried to punch back. Kash easily deflected and hit him even harder. My brother was bleeding from the face, and he finally quit, collapsing to the ground with his arms and legs spread out.
Standing over him, not even breathing hard, Kash saw he had stopped and stepped back. He grabbed one of the pillows, dropping it on Matt’s stomach with extra oomph.
Groaning, Matt could only get one eye open. “You dick.”
“You’re the dick,” Kash shot back. “You left her at that loft.”
“Yeah.” Disgust and disdain laced that word. “You’re lucky you can still walk. You don’t use her, then leave her. Ever.”
“What? She has guards. She’s fine.”
Kash was looking at me.
Matt stopped talking, trailing, looking up, and finding me.
He said, “Oh no.”
A frustrated sound roared from Kash’s throat before he stepped away from him. “It’s taking everything in me not to beat you senseless. Get the fuck up.”
Mrs. Bonham—I didn’t know her first name—was staring at me now, but I avoided her gaze.
Just felt wrong to have violated this scene, but I had to see. Matt didn’t deny what Kash said. It was true. With how long it took us to drive here, knowing Matt had intentionally used me, lied to me—how long would I have been there?
A tear fell, but I brushed it away. I wasn’t going to cry over this. “How were you intending to make this okay? Were you going to try and cover your tracks?” What lie would he have used, when he finally came to get me? But I saw the guilt flare, then shame, and he turned his head. He literally looked the other way.
He wasn’t coming back for me.
I was in the room, heading for him, when I growled, “Are you serious? You would’ve left me there? All day?” There was a hysterical note coming from me. It didn’t sound like it was me, but it was. I heard it. I was cringing at it, but I couldn’t stop. I wasn’t even conscious of making the decision to go into the room, but as soon as I started, I wasn’t stopping.
“Answer me!” A guttural cry from me.
A guard was inside, coming behind me. He had an arm around my stomach, but I shifted, pivoting. I was running at Matt.
Kash cursed, moving to block me. He stepped over Matt and caught me up just as I would’ve kicked my brother’s face. With my momentum and the abruptness of how he caught me, I was in the air. Gravity was pushing me up, somehow, but Kash was moving away. He didn’t let me go over his shoulder. Tucking his head into my side, he wrapped one arm around my back, anchoring me to him, with the other behind my waist.
I was yelling over his shoulder as he carried me out.
“Huh, Matt? You piece of shit. You were going to just let me figure it out for myself? How long? How long?”
Kash grunted, but clipped out to the guard, “Get him fixed. I want him taken back to the estate. I’ll deal with him tomorrow.” He carried me out to the hallway. The guard moved in front so I couldn’t see Matt, but the last image I had of him was his face turned the other way. The woman, who the fuck cared about her? I didn’t, but our eyes caught for a second. The same horror hadn’t faded, and I had an urge to give her the middle finger. I didn’t.
Kash set me down before we started down the stairs.
My legs buckled. He caught me, then hoisted me back up, just how he’d been holding me. He carried me all the way down, and by then I was moving around. “I can walk. I’m fine.” So he let me go, but when I started back up the stairs, a quick laugh hit my ears as he settled himself directly behind me. He walked me outside. I was being herded by his arms and hips.
I broke away once we were outside. “Is he for real?!”
Kash wasn’t responding. He kept a hand to my elbow and steered me to his car.
“I can walk on my own.” I ripped my arm away.
“Still.” He stopped, making sure he was behind me so I couldn’t make a run to the house.
Giving up, with one last curse, I turned, storming to his car. I got inside, slamming the door behind me.
Kash stood on the sidewalk, his gaze latched on to me. His head was lowered, his hands going to his pockets. A security guard approached him, and they spoke before Kash got into the car. We didn’t talk as we drove out of there.
I wasn’t paying attention to where we were going. I was stewing.
Then I noticed the large buildings.
“Where are we going?” We were downtown.
He slid me a heated look. “Because it’s time you know everything.”
“You know Calhoun Bastian?”
We’d just gotten to Kash’s downtown place and I was starting to take it all in. The last time had been fast and hot. I hadn’t had time to really look at his place, and I was currently gaping at how sleek and modern and masculine it all was. Shiny cement floors. Dark leather couch—the good leather, too. The tight stuff. A big mural of a mustang on his fireplace.
He had a fireplace. I pointed at it. “Do you actually use that? Is that safe?”
He leaned back against his kitchen counter, his hands in his pockets, his head down and his eyes lidded. He always gave me that look, and damn but it did things to me on the inside. My little heart flipped over at the sight.
His hair was messed again, too.
“Did you hear what I asked?”
“Huh?” I rewound and nodded. “Yeah. He’s the sixth-richest man in the world. How do you know him?”
He stared at me. Long. Hard.
There was no joy in those eyes, his darkness coming forth once again, and the back of my neck prickled. My heart flipped again, sinking. What he had to say to me wasn’t good. I just knew that much.