“Can I talk to you?” Summer was sitting at the bottom of the steps appearing to have been waiting for Zora. However, Zora wasn’t in the mood to deal with her. She wanted to leave without the hassle.
“Why are you up?” She specifically set out to leave before anyone got up but luck wasn’t on her side.
“I always wake before everyone else. Can we talk?” Summer stood.
“No.” She moved around her almost knocking her over with her bags.
Summer straightened to her full height. “Can we be women about this? I’m trying to apologize.”
“I don’t want an apology. I want you and David to live happily ever in the web of lies the two of you have created. I know he doesn’t really love you and you don’t really love him.”
Summer rushed in front of her cutting off her path to the door. “Why does this bother you so much? I know you care about him but so do I, Zora and he cares about us too, just in different ways. He cares about me in as a companion and you in a more platonic kind of way.”
Zora smirked. “There was nothing platonic about what we did the other night. Excuse me.” She moved around Summer to the door but stopped to turn to her. “He didn’t tell you that, huh? Did he lie about that night? I guess that makes you both liars.” She turned back around heading out the front door and she didn’t look back.
It was complete chaos when David woke. Summer was yelling at his father about letting her people in to collect him and his things. Thomas was ignoring her because he was knee deep in police officers. They were all over the house, also his house, and especially at T-Time.
All of that was aggravating but the thing that bothered him the most was that Zora was gone. He knew it shouldn’t bother him but it did because he felt that it would probably be a long time before he saw her again.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
“Aria.” Zora smiled as she watched her best friend walk across the gym and there was a different air about her. She checked her out dressed in a blue jean wrap dress and tan wedges on her feet. She always looked beautiful.
Zora looked down at Carter, one of her youngest client who just finished his stretches and was dying to go outside to join the other boys. He had been asking since he got there after school. “Hey.”
He looked up at her.
“You can go play ball but be careful on the knee. Don’t push too hard.”
“Okay, Ms. Z” The young boy said as he dashed out the door to go join the other boys outside.
“Okay, Ms. Z” Aria mocked the boy as she wrapped her arms around her. “You sure have a way with the kids.” She laughed.
“He’s my only child client for a reason but you’ll be surprised how I have men who whine more than he does.”
“Children are resilient.”
“That’s what they say.” Zora smiled. “What brings you by?”
“Well I haven’t seen or heard from you in awhile so I thought I would pop up on you. You stay with me and then just go ghost on me when you get your own place.”
For some reason, Zora wasn’t buying that. “Thomas sent you?”
“No.” Aria shook her head. “He did tell me you probably needed some space but I think a week is long enough.” She took a seat on the bleachers and Zora followed suit. “You want to talk?”
“About what?” She looked out on the court to see if Carter was actually listening to her and not being rough.
That got her attention. She looked at Aria and hunched her shoulders. “What’s there to talk about, Aria? He’s with Summer. Thomas says he’s healing up nicely-”
“You’re just going to let him get away, Z?”
“He doesn’t want me, Aria!” She stood. “I can’t make him like me or want to be with me.”
“That’s bullshit and you know it.”
“Is it?” She arched her brow.
“Why don’t you tell him about what you saw?”
She shook her head. “No. I don’t want it like that.”
“He’s just standing in his own way like his older brother.”
“Don’t compare something so good you have with Graham to this thing with David and me.” She loosen the band in her hair running a hand through the strands and blew out a frustrating breath. She looked outside again.
“I’ll be back.” She took off out the door as Carter caught the ball and did a slam dunk.
“Are you crazy?” She snatched him up by the shirt once his feet touch the ground. “You could have damaged your leg or worse.”
“I’m fine, Ms. Z” He tried to loosen her hold, looking around in embarrassment, but she had a tight grip.
“It was my fault, Zora.”
It was Scotty who ran the afterschool program Thomas just started a few months ago. She didn’t know much about him but he was now on her hit list. “Go inside. Now.”
She pushed Carter towards the gym and she ignored the mumbling he said as she approached the man. The kids that surrounded him started to scatter as she got closer and she liked that they feared her.
“Have you lost your mind? Allowing him to catch a ball in mid air and dunk it while he is in rehab?” She said in a dangerous tone.
“No, you listen. I’ve been working with him for months now and I will not stand to see him go backwards because of you. Stay away from my clients.”
She didn’t give him a chance to say anything else as she stormed back into the building. Aria was standing there waiting on her. “Listen, I’m about to head out because I see you’re busy but I think we should go out this weekend and catch up.” She smiled. “We can dress all sexy and dance the night away. I think it’s just what we need, a night on the town.”
“It’s a date, girlfriend just text me and let me know when.”
“Okay. I’ll see you later.”
“Later.” Zora walked over to where Carter who was sitting on the bench. “Go ice down that leg.”
“I don’t know why you’re so upset. It’s my leg.”
She grabbed him by the front of his shirt tugging him close to her as she got into his face “Until you are no longer required to come see me then that is my leg.”
She reached down and applied pressure that caused him to wince. “When it becomes your leg again you can be as careless as you want but as long as it belongs to me, you will act accordingly.” She released him and he shot daggers at her. “Your mom should be here in a few minutes. When I come back there better be ice on that leg and that attitude better be gone.”
She had to go collect Carter’s paperwork for his mother and show how he was improving. She was proud of him but that stupid move he pulled today could have set him back.
“Zora, can I talk to you?”
“No.” She said to Scotty as she moved into her office to grab the papers off her desk. She turned to head back out and he was there blocking her from exiting. “Move.”
“No.” He shook his head.
“You know I can move you?” She did her famous brow arch and waited for his next move however all he did was smile.
“I’m sure you could, Z, but there’s no need for all of that. I just wanted to apologize.”
“Okay now move.”
“Jeez you’re a tough one. How am I so damn attracted to someone as mean as you?”
Attracted? To her? She must have heard that wrong. He was attracted to her but he also said she was mean. She wasn’t mean. She kind of looked mean at times but life had a way of sucking the happiness right out of her sometimes.
“I can’t believe that made you speechless. If I knew that was all it took then I would have been got that off my chest.”
“Don’t get too happy. I accept your apology and thanks for the compliment but if you’ll excuse I need to take these to Carter’s mother.”
He let her ease by but not by a lot though. She had to brush against his hard frame to ease out the door. He had the audacity to laugh about it as he followed her down the hall.
“How about dinner?”
“No. Now stop bothering me.” She called over her shoulder as she continued her stride back to the gym. She wasn’t surprise to see that Carter’s mom was there and he indeed had an icepack on his knee but the attitude was still there no matter that he tried to mask it. Just as long as he listened to her was all that mattered. She had enough of stubborn men in her life.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Thomas rolled the cameras back again for the hundredth time as he watch his son fight to defend himself against the hooded men. Every second of it had his blood boiling to extreme heat. He couldn’t rest. He wouldn’t stop until he found out who did this to David and why.
The phone on his desk rung and pulled him from his focus on the film.
“T-Time, Thomas speaking.”
“Hey Tucker, it’s the Sheriff. I have a bit of good news.”
Finally. “You’ve identified one of them?”
“Try two. Head down here and take a look for yourself and see if you recognize either one of them. I made copies so you could show David.”
“I’ll be there in ten minutes.” Thomas hung up the phone and rushed to his truck.
He spent only a few minutes at the sheriff’s station before he was headed to David’s house.
“Hey,Dad.” David greeted as he opened the door.
“I got some photos I need you to look at and tell me if you recongize any of them.”
“Okay.” He took the photos and started sifting through them. “Mmmm. None of these are ringing any bells.”
“Keep looking. You’re my kid, use your head.”
David took a deep breath and analyzed every picture and he held one up to his father. “That’s Zora’s ex’s bodyguard.”
Thomas snatched the picture to look at it again. “Why the hell couldn’t I remember that? He looks damn familiar to me now.”
“You think Isaac was behind my attack, because of Zora?”
“I’m going to find out. You just keep your mouth closed about this.” Thomas collected all the photos and stuffed them back into the folder.
“How’s she doing?”
“She’s fine.” Of course. That was always his answer when he asked about her. “I’ll be back to see you later this week.” Thomas walked out the door but before it shut Summer squeezed in.
“Hey. I just saw your father. What was he doing here this early?” She said as she carried bags of groceries into the kitchen and he followed to help put them away.
“Just asking questions about my case.”
“Did he found out anything?” She dropped the bags onto the counter.
“He’s still piecing together some things.”
“He should probably let it go. Those men are probably long gone.” She called out from the walk-in pantry.
“Yeah, long gone.” He said in a distant voice.
She had no idea how close they were to busting the men who jumped him but so many questions were going through his head and he hoped he would soon have the answer to all of them.