“What the hell was that?” Graham's tone was filled with a mixture of emotions that everyone was feeling. Nervous, scared, and slightly irritated.
They were all back at Thomas’s house, congregated in the living room. No one sure of what to do or what to make of the situation that just took place.
“They just shot him. He’s dead.” Aria shook her head with a blank expression. “I don’t know how much more I can take of this.” There was no wonder why Nia hide her away from the world.
“Come here, baby.” Graham pulled her into his arms. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“I’m sorry too, Aria, but there is going to be a lot more killing when I get my hands on that damn McNeil and whoever has a hand in this scheme.” Thomas paced the room.
“Leave it to him to go get us mixed in with them.” Micah cut his eyes at David.
“Fuck you.” David wasn’t up for Micah’s bullshit. It was one reason Zora stood in the corner, away from everyone. She hadn’t spoken since they left the event. Not to him. Not to anyone. “They were trying to use me so don’t you dare put this on me.”
“You didn’t make it hard for them either.”
Before David could respond, Thomas cut in. “Cut it out, you two. I’m not in the mood.” He looked between his two sons. “This is not the time to be pulling apart and playing the blame game.”
The knock at the door was a much needed distraction to ease the tension in the room. Thomas went to the door with his gun by his side. Tonight, he was prepared for anything.
“It’s Anna.” He called out after checking the security system. He opened the door, and she rushed inside.
“What can I do, Thomas?” Not only was her name on the line, but now so was his.
He snorted as he walked off, but stopped at her commanding voice.
“Don’t walk away from me, Thomas Tucker! We both know I’m not capable of putting women through what I went through.” She continued as she came closer to his stiffening body. “You want me to take you to all the spots, give you all the numbers of people we were in contact with because I will. But we both know that won’t make a difference. Crystal is gone.” Long gone.
“A-a-anna?” It was Aria peeking around the corner.
“Aria... Are you okay?” Anna moved from Thomas to in front of her daughter. She wanted to pull her into her arms, but how could she comfort the person whose heart she kept breaking.
“What that man said can’t be true. Tell me it’s not true!” Aria pleaded.
“It’s not true! I would never.” Anna used the back of her hand to stroke Aria’s cheek.
“You shouldn’t have left.” Aria said, barely above a whisper.
“I said, you shouldn’t have left!” Aria snatched away. “If you would have stayed here and been my mother, then maybe people wouldn’t be saying those awful things about you. Maybe that man would still be alive tonight. His blood is on your hands! What will it take for you to understand that you can’t save the world? My blood?”
“Don’t say that.” Anna shook her head. She couldn’t think of anything happening to her one and only daughter.
“I’m what you’re missing. I’m what you ’re searching for in those streets and if you would take the time just to see me, to see your daughter. To see that I love you regardless of your past, then maybe, just maybe, you’ll find yourself... In me. I’m my mother’s daughter.”
Aria passed Anna, and she let her go. Brutal words that made her want to turn and walk out the door, but she couldn’t move. Why would she? She would just be proving Aria right, and she wasn’t. Was she?
Graham Tucker strolled into the hall like a silent storm, looking more like his father than ever before.
“I’m getting really tired of cleaning up your mess.” He didn’t even look at her. He moved to follow his wife upstairs.
“That’s why I try to stay away from her. I only make things worse.”
“Did you not hear a word she said?” Graham’s voice shook the walls. “Excuse my language, Dad, but Anna, you need to grow the fuck up and except what happened to you and move on or you’re going to lose your daughter forever. Believe me, if she says to me she never wants to see you again. I’ll make sure with everything in me you never lay eyes on her or any children we have in the future. Grow. Up.” He turned to Thomas. “Talk some sense into her.”
Thomas looked at Anna and could tell Graham’s words had hit home. “I don’t think there’s anymore to be said.” He cleared his throat and ushered Anna towards the back of the house. “Let’s go. Terry’s in my office. We have a lot to go over.”
David had enough. “Come sit down, Zora.” He pushed off the counter he was leaning on to move to the corner she was tucked away in.
“No.” She stood her ground, folding her arms under her breasts.
“What do you mean, no? I’m not asking you to do anything crazy. All I said was sit down. You have to be exhausted.”
“I don’t want to do this with you, and if your crazy ex’s family wasn’t so fucked up, I would be out of here.” She maneuvered around him, headed out the kitchen. “I don’t want to talk to you. I don’t want to see your face.”
Micah grabbed Zora’s arm, causing her to pause. He locked eyes with her before he moved his gaze to David. “You need to fix this.”
“Don’t you see me trying!” David was flustered. It had been a long day for all of them.
“For a man who fucked up, you’re not trying hard enough. You hurt her, again and all you can do is throw demands at her?”
David ran his hand down his face. “I’m sorry.”
Once he moved closer, Micah released Zora for him to take her hands. “I’ll make this right, I just need a moment alone with her.”
Micah nodded before pulling Zora’s face to his and kissing her on the cheek. “Just hear him out for me.” He whispered before leaving them alone.
When Micah was no longer in sight, David began pouring out his heart. “These last few weeks with you have been the best time of my life. Almost too great, I just knew something was going to come mess it up.”
“Not something, but someone. Take accountability for this, David. This was all on you.”
“You’re right. I sabotaged our relationship before it started, but I was scared, but I’m not scared anymore. I told my brothers and Summer that I’m in love with you, Zora.”
She was taken back. “What?”
“I did. When you ran off, my body went stiff and the dark cloud loomed over me. You’re my light that brightens everything and keeps me warm. Don’t let me be cold anymore, Zora.”
So this was what love was like. David was baring his soul, and she seemed to still not be affected. Was his actions that bad that she couldn’t give him one more chance?
“How do I know I can trust you?”
“Listen to your heart, Zora.” He released one hand and placed it on her chest. “It’s calling out for me. You know how I know that? Cause mine is doing the same.” He used his other hand to take hers and put it on his chest, right over his beating heart. “One more chance. I ended it with Summer and I never felt so relieved because I finally know who’s really the one for me. Just listen to your heart. One more chance. Please. I love you.”
Zora bit down on her lip, trying to control her emotions. “It’s been a long night. I can’t do this right now.” She broke away from him and he let her go, but not before giving it one more shot.
“I never took anyone to the cove. It’s the special place that I go to visit my mother and have alone time with her. That place brings me peace I didn’t think I could find anywhere else, but I was wrong. I found peace with you. That’s how I know I’m in love with you.” He sighed. “My mother loves you too, by the way. She told me you were prefect for me.”
Zora got choked up. Tears rolled down her face. She moved in front of him, and he used his thumb to brush the tears from her cheeks.
“I can’t give you anymore chances.”
“I don’t need anymore, Zora. This was my last mistake.”
She released a deep sigh. “Let’s go upstairs.” She grabbed his hands. “I need you to hold me.”
They were upstairs in David’s old room in no time. They took time to change clothes and crawl into bed. David pulled her body into his and brushed his lips over her forehead. She couldn’t believe more tears were falling from her eyes.
“What’s wrong?” David asked after a deep sob came from her chest. She couldn’t hold it in a second longer.
“Just hold me. Tighter.” She whimpered.
This was all she ever wanted from David. For him to be as vulnerable with her as he was downstairs. Here was a man who had lost his mother at such a young age, not having that motherly love or just a woman’s affection. His confession tonight made her realize he was dealing with women the best way he knew how. “I’m sorry you didn’t get to grow up with your mother.”
“I didn’t tell you that to feel sorry for me or to guilt trip you. I just wanted you to know that me taking you there was sharing the bond I have with her in death. So, I got to grow up with my mother just differently than others.”
“I understand and I wasn’t guilt tripped into giving you another chance but what you said gave me some clarification on some things, that’s why I gave you another chance. Don’t make me regret it.”
“I’m not playing games anymore, Zora. Whatever you want. We can take things as slow as you want. You’re in control.”
Him saying that was like a breath of fresh air. “Thank you.” She paused to clean her face. “David?”
She sat up on his chest, staring down at him. “How was Summer’s face when you told her you were in love with me?”