“I’ve been taking care of you.” He helped her to her feet.
“Who else do you think I’d trust with your care?”
“One of the women you steal from the streets? One of your men? I don’t know. Anyone who will get the job done.”
“I don’t trust anyone else with your care apart from myself. This is how I make sure you’re okay.” He helped her into the bathroom.
“Isn’t this job beneath you or something?”
Reaper laughed. “You think caring is beneath me?”
“I don’t know. I don’t really know you. You’ve taken me to hurt Preacher. What more could I expect?”
“Tell me, Robin, did you ever suspect Bishop’s hatred ran so deep?”
She clenched her hands into fists at the mere mention of his name. “I don’t want to talk about him.”
“You know he picked the easy route, right? He picked the one he wanted.”
“I know Bishop always had an issue with his dad. He hated being referred to as Preacher’s son. He always wanted to be his own man.”
“He was in love with you,” Reaper said.
“No, Bishop was in love with himself. He believed he was entitled to me, and he didn’t like it when I didn’t fall completely in line with whatever it was he wanted.” She sat on the toilet, looking up at Reaper. “Privacy?”
He surprised her by stepping out. “You think he was entitled to you?”
“Hell no. Not me. No, I think he believed he was entitled. I had nothing to do with that. He was always only my best friend. I … everything we did, it wasn’t what I wanted.” She finished on the toilet, flushing.
She went to the sink to wash her hands as Reaper entered. “What you two did?”
“You know, sex and stuff.”
“You fucked Bishop?”
“No.” She cringed.
“You may as well talk. I’m not going anywhere.”
“And neither am I?”
“You can do what you like so long as you know you can’t leave. You’re staying here.”
“Wow, okay then.” She picked up a toothbrush and quickly brushed her teeth. After that, she washed her face, and there was a knock at the door.
Reaper helped her return to bed before answering it.
“The food you ordered, boss.”
“Look, the guys are wondering when you’re going to want to be heading out.”
She watched Reaper. His jaw clenched.
“We’ll move out when I say we’re ready to.”
“It’s just, the guys have been worried.”
“If they can’t handle us staying in one place, then they should move out and not come fucking back. It’s not up to me to babysit.”
“What about Preacher?”
“What about him? He’s not going to find us. Stop fucking talking.” Reaper slammed the door closed.
She flinched at his anger but when he turned toward her, there was no anger or aggression. He looked calm and relaxed. “How about some breakfast?”
“Preacher is getting close?”
“He’s nowhere near finding us.”
“You haven’t moved?”
“The doctor believed you wouldn’t make any kind of trip. He didn’t know how strong you were and so we stayed here.”
“But Preacher could find us.”
“There’s always a risk. Tell me more about Bishop.” He placed a tray in front of her, and when she lifted the lid, she found a bunch of pancakes waiting for her.
She licked her lips and breathed in the scent. They were … amazing. “I think I’m starting to become addicted to these.”
“They’re one of the better addictions to have. Why don’t you tell me all about Bishop?”
“You want to know every sordid little detail?”
“Why not? It’ll pass the time.”
“Because it’s boring. Look, I don’t even want to talk about Bishop, okay? I find the whole thing with him boring and tiring. I don’t even want to remember him.” She cringed. “Wow, even after all this time, it still shocks me the way he makes me feel.”
“You sound surprised,” she said.
“Wouldn’t you be? I figured you and your little boyfriend were always so tight.”
She took a bite of her pancake, feeling a little sick. “We were. We were the best of friends, but with Bishop, it was always about sex. I never slept with him and it pissed him off.”
“Why didn’t you sleep with him?”
“Because sex is just part and parcel of everyday life, right?” she asked.
He held his hands up. “I didn’t say that.”
“No, but you implied it. Sex … I wasn’t ready. I don’t know why I wasn’t ready. Not that it made much of a difference. I lost it when I wasn’t ready.”
“I’m not telling you about what went on between Preacher and me.”
“But you love him?”
“Why do you want to know so badly?”
“Call me curious.”
“When it comes to Preacher…” She paused, thinking of the right words to say. “I don’t … I can’t … yes, I love him. I still love him. He’s always been there. With Bishop, he was always fighting his father’s name, and trying to make a name for himself, but it didn’t matter what he did, or how hard he worked, he would always be Preacher’s son. It’s how he was seen. Nothing I did or said would change that.”