Determined: Book two of the Tucker Trilogy

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Chapter Five

“What the hell did you do to her?” Thomas slammed the door shut to David’s office.

“What are you talking about now?” David resisted the need to roll his eyes at his father as he collected the money and checks from the safe.

“Zora.” He said impatiently.

“If you haven’t notice she hasn’t even been here for me to do anything to.”

David couldn’t deny he was slightly relieved that Zora didn’t show up on Monday after what happened between them on Saturday but when Wednesday rolled around, he had to bite his tongue whenever his father was around so he wouldn’t ask about her.

Regret and shame weighed on him so heavy that he had refused to see Summer until he could at least attempt to clean his conscious. Now that today was Friday he planned to pop up over his father’s house to talk to her and see if there was some way they could just be friends or at least cordial.

“She was hiding one of those local house hunting books or whatever from me this morning. She’s trying to move out.”

“And that’s a bad thing?”

“She’s not ready.” He said plain and simple. Thomas knew she wasn’t ready to face the world on her own again.

“She’s not or you’re not?” David almost laughed at the thought of how Graham had to almost dragged Aria from the old man’s house after they got married.

“What the hell does that mean?” Thomas frowned.

David zipped the money bag and collected the receipt books to drop on the desk. “Nothing, I’m not trying to argue with you today.”

“Oh, there’s going to be an argument. Whatever you said to her that night is causing her to move out.”

“Not the fact that’s she a beautiful, healthy woman who’s saved enough money to finally move out and enjoy her own life. Maybe she doesn’t want to continue to feel like a burden on a man she met through a friend. Of course, it’s me that set her off and sent her running for the hills.” he gave his father a smug look. “Plus, I don’t even live there.”

Thomas shoulders slumped. “When did she say she felt like a burden?”

“Some things don’t have to be said. What I can say though is that you should have asked her instead of coming in here blaming me for losing another one of your girls.” David smiled. “You just like to spoil and control them when you can and they let you because you’re old.”

“I’m not too old to kick your ass.”

“You know I’m right. Go ahead and apologize.” David teased.

“I apologize for waking your mother up that morning instead of shooting you down the damn drain.” Thomas checked for his keys and phone before he turned to leave but then he paused.

“You sure you can handle closing up by yourself?”

“That’s an insult. Get out of here, Dad. Go check on your little princess and call Aria over too so you can have them both to yourself until Graham and I crash the party later tonight.”

“I told your mother to leave you at the hospital but she wouldn’t listen.” Thomas pulled the door open. “The storage room with the portable equipment is locked up, don’t forget to check the showers and restrooms, and lock every damn door.”

“This isn’t my first rodeo. I’m headed to the bank now while Jamal is here then about time I get back it’ll be closing time.” David waited for Thomas to lock the office then they were headed for the back exit.

“Call when you leaving here, I’m cooking a late dinner tonight so you should be on time for that.”

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” He said sarcastically but they both knew he rarely missed one of his father’s meals.

“Go ahead, boy and head to the bank.” Thomas said as he climbed into his truck.

David nodded at him and he hopped in his car and pulled off.

Thomas watched and shook his head. His son had managed to stay away from Zora for a week and he guess he finally couldn’t stand it any longer. He wondered how long it would take to figure out his was making a mistake marrying that damn McNeil girl instead of Zora. Okay, he was bias but his wife would love Zora, a woman after her own heart.

“I promise I have this under control, Lisa.” He looked up to the sky and smiled as the sun warmed his face. He missed his wife but he enjoyed the small signs that she was still with him.

Thomas got into his truck and started heading towards his home. He knew Aria would already be there and he couldn’t wait to see his favorite girls, that were like daughters he never had. It didn’t take him long to get up the mountain to his home and he frowned when he saw an extra car in the driveway next to Aria’s and Zora’s.

He walked into the house and immediately heard laughter and he knew where it was coming from. He headed towards the kitchen, out onto the deck where he looked out at three women sitting in chairs surrounding the fire pit drinking wine.

“Seems like you ladies are having a good time?” He said as he stepped down the steps to place kisses to Aria’s and Zora’s forehead. “I didn’t know you were coming, Melissa.”

“And if you kiss me on the forehead, I’ll cut your lips off your face.”

“I wouldn’t dare, little witch and that better be wine in that glass and not my liquor from my office.”

“I poured it myself, Thomas.” Aria laughed as she held up the bottle of wine for him to see.

“Don’t defend me, Aria. I’ll be dipping in his stash eventually.” Melissa hunched her shoulders.

“I didn’t know we had business today?” He arched his brow.

“You don’t. I invited her for some girl time.” Aria said.

“Don’t be a bad influence on them Melissa, they’re already bad enough.”

“They’re the ones rubbing off on me.” She snorted. “But if we get into your stash I can’t make any promises.

“I hid it, brat.” He moved back to the deck. “I’m going to start dinner.” He had no idea what he would make but he was sure his girls would love it. They loved everything he made. He slid the glass door closed and started to prep for dinner.

“Somebody has a crush on daddy, Zora. Look at her.” Aria gave a mischievous smile before taking a sip of her wine.

“Ooooo, Melissa and Thomas sitting in a tree-”

“I’m a grown woman and I don’t crush on anyone and I’m also a murderer so I would stop with the taunting.” Her eyes narrowed as she looked at the two women across from her.

Aria waved her off. “You may be older than us but we know when a woman is into someone and you’re all into Thomas.”

“Just because you fell in love doesn’t mean you have to push us all in your well to drown plus, he’s still in love with his wife. Only a fool would think about falling in love with Thomas Tucker now let’s leave it there.”

“Well let’s talk about Zora getting all hot and heavy with David the other night.”

The wine flew from Zora’s mouth as laughter sounded out in the back yard. “What are you talking about, Aria?”

“We heard you moaning his name. “David, Davidddd.”” Aria mocked. “You might as well give us the details.”

“Omg, Graham heard me?” She covered her face.

“Graham was slightly embarrassed but I thought it was sexy.” Aria chuckled as her friend grabbed the bottle and poured more wine into her glass.

“And here I thought you were good girls. Doesn’t David have a fiancée?”Melissa asked.

“She’s horrible, Melissa.” Aria scrunched her face up at her comment.

Zora and Melissa laughed.

“And boring. He needs excitement and that’s you.” Aria clicked their glasses together. “Now tell us.”

“So he came in my room all upset and then we played a little.”

“What’s played?”

“Just a little touching...” She rimmed the glass of wine.

“Whenever you guys do have sex, I want to be there.”


“We’re going to need something stronger than this to really get her talking. I can’t believe she’s acting so modest when she flirts with everyone.” Melissa said.

“Go find Thomas’s good stuff and maybe I’ll flirt with you.” Zora winked.

“Whatever. I need you to distract him.”

“Zora.” Thomas stepped out on the deck. “Come talk with me for a second.”

“Keep him busy.” Melissa whispered as she stood then she walked up the stairs and Zora and Aria followed.

“I didn’t call all of you.” The corners of his mouth twitched.

“We’re getting more wine. I’ll let Melissa pick this time.” Aria said.

He watched as the two women pushed aside the sliding door and rushed through the kitchen and down the hall.

“What are these?”

Zora started to question him before her eyes dropped to his hand to see what he was holding.

“What’s...?” Thomas lifted the apartment pamphlets from behind his back. It wasn’t how she wanted him to find out but she was kind of relieved that he knew now. It was time for her to move on with her life and maybe even start her own family. It was time for her to be with someone who loved, craved to be with her and only her.

“Don’t take this the wrong way. I love being here and my stay here has been wonderful, but it’s time for me to get back out there on my own. It’s time I move out.”

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