Kash stiffened, looking back. He spoke into the phone: “I’ll call you back. Move on my orders until you hear from me.”
He put the phone in his pocket and raised his head up, looking almost defiant. There was a big “fuck off” look in Kash’s eyes, though. He wasn’t being defiant. He was furious. He was being Kash. This was what he did.
“It was Bonham. He was picked up on the club’s security feeds, leaving a few minutes before Matt collapsed.”
Peter’s frown deepened. “Bonham? But—”
“The wife,” Kash grated out. His glance skimmed to Quinn before returning to Peter. “Revenge.”
“Oh dear Lord. Are you serious?”
“What?” Quinn was looking between the two. “What’s going on?”
Both men ignored her.
Peter was saying, “That’s insane. He would’ve known the enemy that I’d be for him.”
“The man’s at the end of his run. He knows it. The wife was the last straw.” Kash’s eyes narrowed. “He was desperate and not thinking.”
“Jesus.” Peter turned away, a hand going to his forehead. He was thinking. “His wife now? His home? There are children—”
Kash cut in. “Already called the police. They have units checking the home.”
“They had a cabin. I had a meeting set up at the end of the week with Bonham to discuss the board he’s still on. He asked to push it back. Said he would be up north at a cabin till then.”
Kash looked at me, and then I got it.
I could do this. I could help this way.
Taking my phone out, I was already looking. “I’ll get the address.”
An iPad was held out to me.
It took a second to put two and two together. The hand holding it out to me was … my father’s. He waved it again. “You can work faster on this than your phone.”
He was right.
I snatched it up, moving to the chairs. I’d process that later. My dad giving me his iPad, having it at the ready, letting me do my thing.
It wasn’t a computer, but I got the address within minutes
Kash was at my side, phone in hand. He read it off to whoever was on the other side.
“It’ll take a little bit of time, but I can turn off his security program. Or at least get the codes, if they need them.”
Kash gave me a look, saying into the phone, “Yes, Detective. You can reach me at this number. Thank you.” He put the phone away and doubled his look. “An officer of the law just heard you offering to illegally hack a security system.”
He shook his head, exasperated, but bent and kissed my forehead. “Only you. Only you.” I heard the amusement from him, and that lessened some of the anxiety in me.
We waited another twenty minutes before a nurse came to show Quinn and Peter to Matt’s room. I wanted to point out that Matt wouldn’t have wanted Quinn in there. If he had a choice, I would’ve been the female he would’ve preferred, but Kash just gave me the signal to keep quiet. He held back, then said he was going to seek out the doctor again.
He wanted to check one more thing.
Torie had been waiting with us until then. Kash told her she could go and she did, saying good-bye to me and letting me know I could call on her for anything. I appreciated that. I did. She’d become a quick friend, and at this point, I was being loose in my classification of friend. She was it, for the moment.
It was an hour later when we were told that Matt’s prognosis was good, better than good. We could all go home and let Matt sleep the night through.
As soon as we got the report, exhaustion hit hard.
That was when we heard the shouting. Kash was walking with me, down a hallway. At the same time, Peter and Quinn were just coming off an elevator. They saw us. There was no surprise, so they must have planned to leave with Kash and me.
But then a stairway door burst open and I heard, “I am going to see my daughter whether you want me to or not! She’s mine! I saw her on the news, heard the story, and this hospital is the closest to that club where patients would be sent. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out that she’s here, and I know she is. Call it mother’s intuition.”
A blond head was walking into the hallway, talking to two hospital staff behind her. Another nurse was behind them, looking aggrieved, and from down the hallway, hospital security was heading our way.
Then that blond ball of fury looked my way, and I swear I could see steam rising from Chrissy Hayes’s head.
“There you are!”
My mother had arrived.
Chrissy Hayes hadn’t arrived. It was Christina Kathryn Hayes, and she wasn’t messing around.
I was lectured on the way out of the hospital. I was lectured in the car ride back to the estate. I was lectured as she followed me into Kash’s villa, only pausing once to comment on how breathtaking the home was. She avoided looking at the mausoleum, even sniffing and wrinkling her nose, but she hadn’t paused in her lectures.
Not one word. Not a beat. She never missed one.
She kept on even after Kash returned from talking to Peter.
He sat on the couch. Chrissy didn’t stop.
I was an imbecile.
I wasn’t thinking.
I was being ruled by childhood hopes and dreams.
I was being selfish.
I hadn’t been thinking. That was a favorite of hers. I heard it sixteen times. Yes, I started counting.
How could I have done this to her?
Hadn’t I known better?
She birthed me. She hadn’t needed to do that. She could’ve kept me in her stomach for all of eternity. I ought to be grateful I was pushed out of her vagina. What a wonderful vag she had. I had ruined it, for a couple years. It was never the same.
What would my grandpa and grandma think? Had I thought about the other family? My cousins were missing me. (I was pretty sure they had no idea I’d been gone.) Apparently, Cousin June got married and everyone wondered where I was. She was humiliated. (She didn’t know that I knew Cousin June went to Guatemala on a mission trip.) I had missed the county fair. I never missed the county fair. (I missed it all the time.) I had missed bingo at the VFW. I wasn’t around to be the caller for the nursing home bingo tournament. (All not true. I never went to them in the first place. Elderly playing bingo were scary. Mistakes were for the weak.)