His phone began ringing and he grunted into it. “Can you contain it?” Silence. He was listening. “I don’t know.… I said, I don’t know. I stayed back for her.” Pause. “We’re going now.… Yes. She is too.” Another beat of silence.
That jaw clenching again. It was sexy, but scary in this moment.
His eyes closed. He took in some air, then his voice dipped low—eerily low, but still sexily low. “If you want to start telling me how to keep your daughter safe, you and I are going to have a whole new level of problems.” He was quiet. “You got that?” He didn’t wait, saying right away, “We’re two minutes away. You want to know how she is, you ask her yourself. You want to know how your son is, you come ask him yourself.” And he hung up, dropping the phone in his lap and turning to look out the window.
I was stunned.
That was Peter on the phone. Peter asking about me, then asking again. They got into a spat. Over me. Me. His daughter.
I was getting squeezed on the inside again. Pressure was pushing in from all angles.
“What needs to be contained?”
Kash’s shoulders lifted up, then down, before he said, so quietly, such a contrast from the anger that was literally spewing from him, “Press got your name. Word’s out.” And then, “They know you’re Peter Francis’s daughter.”
Camille Story was the one who broke the news.
And that was after I had hacked her. She had a whole offline file of everything. Smart. And annoying. But it almost didn’t matter, because that night all that paparazzi got pictures of me standing by the ambulance, Kash’s hand in mine. Peter’s program to delete Kash’s picture crashed. It was overloaded that night, so when Kash said word was out, word really was out.
As I sat in the waiting lounge, while Matt was being worked on by the hospital, I was seeing what I could do. And after an hour I had to come to the conclusion that it wasn’t much. I only had my phone with me, and Kash’s picture was everywhere.
He was the big story. Not me.
Press already knew about his image. There’d been articles posted about Kash, but I had to guess that it wasn’t as much as they wanted to publish. Writing an article on Calhoun Bastian’s grandson would’ve made me fear for my life, too. I wouldn’t have had the nerve to write the story, so I almost had to give respect to the ones who were reporting on him.
I had to assume they already knew who Kash was, since someone having a picture that doesn’t load for years is kinda big news. It makes you wonder who the hell that guy was. Now the world knew, and after the first few stories were posted, the rate of more and more posting was astonishing. Calhoun Bastian couldn’t go after all of them. Safety in numbers, that sort of thing.
So, in a way, I was almost not news at all.
My boyfriend couldn’t say the same.
He was news. He was huge, big news. And we were already seeing the result of the news spreading like wildfire. We’d been asked to leave the main general lounge right away, not because of Kash but because of all the guards. We were getting enough attention from that, but then we were asked, twenty minutes ago, to leave the second private waiting lobby for a third, way more private one.
I was pretty sure we were in the doctors’ lounge.
Thirty minutes into our wait, when we were still in the second lobby, Peter and Quinn had arrived. The atmosphere in the hospital switched again. They came in dressed to the nines. Quinn was wearing a formal dress, with sparkling cleavage and diamond earrings. Her hair was pulled up in a twisted side bun, more diamonds added among the strands for decoration. Peter was in a tuxedo, shiny black shoes, and was even wearing a tailcoat.
There’d been a nervous excitement that had slowly built and built, but put this couple on the scene and I wasn’t surprised when a guy walking with them screamed “hospital administrator” to me.
Shit was serious now.
The nurses kept stopping in, checking on us, their eyes going to Kash and staying. I was pretty sure all the nurses actually working on Matt weren’t the ones coming to see how we were doing. That was all extra. And I knew this because those nurses were working. These weren’t.
Waiting on Chrissy had meant that the hospital was almost a second home to me, growing up. I knew how the staff and shifts worked there. But all that stopped once the administrator was there. Nurses came in, saw him, saw the reproach in his gaze, and stopped coming in.
When Peter and Quinn entered the waiting room, Kash didn’t go over to them. He remained in the seat next to mine.
I was surprised at that.
Both Peter and Quinn noticed, too, and Quinn’s eyebrows furrowed a small bit. Peter’s face was kept blank, his eyes darting to me as if reassuring himself, then he focused on what the administrator was saying.
It was another twenty minutes after their arrival, after they were given coffee and anything else they wanted, when the doctor breezed in through the door.
We all moved.
“We were able to diagnose the poison your son ingested.”
“Poison!” Quinn sucked in her breath.
Kash stepped back, a harsh hiss from him.
Peter and Quinn both frowned at him.
The doctor frowned at them frowning at him and kept on, “It was touch-and-go for a while, but once we were able to identify the poison, we administered an antidote. Your son has since stabilized. We have an IV drip giving him saline, and extra oxygen. We want to make sure all his body functions and organs don’t have any lasting damage, but the last set of vitals we got were good. They were very good. We want to monitor Matt for another night, make sure everything is fine. We’ll have him moved to a more secure floor, too.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” Quinn said. “Can we see him?”
“He’s sleeping, but once we have him in the room, a nurse will come to get you guys.”
Peter was staring right at Kash, who was on his phone and moving away from the group. He was speaking in a low voice, one that he was using on purpose so none of us could hear what he was doing.
He was making plans. Without us.
I didn’t like it. Someone had hurt my brother. I wanted in on the revenge, but that was ludicrous, right? Kash would handle it—that’s what he did.
Then Peter cleared his throat.
He ignored the doctor, speaking over another question Quinn was asking, and spoke right to Kash. “You’re in the spotlight, Kash.”