Greenvale Cemetery - Saturday Afternoon
Rayne hung back as much as she could from the funeral, the memory of last night’s viewing still unpleasantly fresh in her mind. It was a bright day. Early summer in full bloom. A family of ducks paddled around in a little pond just on the other side of the grave site.
“You’re thinking about a trust fund?” Slim’s voice, deep and gruff, behind the shrubbery.
She took a small careful step forward. Her father stood next to him, looking tired. “I think we’re looking at more than that. If he doesn’t come up with something on his own, I’m going to need to throw something out there now. Look into it for me when you get the chance. Beth will be over there playing rescue Ryan if I don’t.”
“Still having problems?”
Cooper moved out from the shadow of the tree, shrugged his shoulders. “We were getting past it. This might open everything up again. Let’s go, they’re waiting for us.”
He saw his daughter watching them, hesitated, eyes narrowing. Rayne looked down at her shoes and then at the ducks, folding her thoughts away behind an impassive mouth. “You’d better stay with me, Rayne. We’ll be leaving in a few minutes.”
She followed him toward the group of people gathered around the grave and a heap of flowers. People had begun to leave. Tyler was gone. Shaun and Stevie left. Heydon hung around briefly then slipped away. Daniel had been watching Peri, but he eventually left too. Her mother waited next to a stone cross and looked out across the cemetery with a set, sad face. If she’d cried, Rayne had not noticed it. She was watching Ryan.
Rayne glanced at Ryan and then quickly looked away again. It hurt to see him like this. Ryan was always the one in control who took care of everybody. Fired and dumped – yeah, she knew what had gone down in that park, what had been going on – and now Landry died. Just throw money at it; that would fix it all. She swallowed a mix of anger and unease, clenched her hands and kept quiet.
Her mother said something to her father and then walked through the wrought iron entrance into the grave plot, wobbling a bit as she tried to avoid the flowers. Ryan stood up, looked at her for a long, silent minute, then the two of them held onto each other.
“You know I’m here for you."
Ryan tightened his grip around her shoulders, her waist. “I know. I never doubted you.”
He didn't? He should have. Rayne abruptly pushed right past her mother, bumping her as they passed one another, and walked over the flowers, making no effort to avoid stepping on them, and up to Ryan. “Thank you,” she told him. “I won’t forget you.”
“It’ll be all right,” he started to reassure her. Rayne reached out for him, took his arm and then slid her hand down to clasp his. The biceps under the black cloth of the suit were powerful, hard. His skin under her fingertips warm. He looked down directly into her eyes. Shock, electricity, strong enough to rock her on her feet.
She remembered someone like this. The memory flickered, caught fire and flared, hot and dark. “Yes. Yes it will.”
South Metro Area – Adams Square, Saturday near midnight
It had been months since Camilla had come to this part of the city. Irritated, she stood in front of a storefront window, glaring at the shoe store which now sold lamps when her cell rang.
A little surprised, it was late, Camilla checked the caller ID twice before cautiously answering, “Heydon? Yeah sure that would be great but I’m not home.”
“Right now I’m at Adams Square…I guess I can hang around, no it’s fine. If you don’t see me, call me when you get here.”
She snapped the cell shut and stood there on the corner of the street, rethinking her plans for the evening. That was kind of strange to hear from Heydon. They’d run into each other a couple of times recently but wasn’t today the funeral for that girl who worked in the office?
Camilla decided on the place near the top of the Belkin Building and headed up the stairs, smiling a little. Be careful now, she cautioned herself. You’re starting to get a buzz when you hear from this guy.
The place was empty except for one girl sitting at the bar. Camilla looked at her, couldn’t believe it, stepped to one side and looked again. That was Cooper Stanfield’s girl. Child. Daughter. What was her name? Cam reached for it. Stormy no that wasn’t it. Rain. The girl with the weather name flashed an ID at the bartender and ordered a drink. Camilla was impressed. Not so much for the ID since any child of Coop’s should be able to fake an ID but the choice of drink. Not an apple martini or a beer. Tequila Fuego shooter.
Cam slid on the barstool next to her, waited for the girl to say something. When she didn’t, probably hoping Camilla didn't recognize her, she said, “Kind of a bad day for you wasn’t it?”
Rayne propped elbows on the bar, still not looking directly at her. “Are you going to rat on me?”
How ridiculous, she could just imagine, no she really couldn't. Camilla laughed, “It would be the first time I’ve ever done THAT so I don’t think I’ll start with you. But I am sorry about the thing that happened with Ryan’s girlfriend. I didn’t really know her but still I’m sorry.”
The girl tossed cash on the bar and stood up. “She wasn’t his girlfriend. They broke up. He doesn’t have a girlfriend. Not even,” she added after a brief pause, golden eyes cool, “a married girlfriend.”
Fascinated, Camilla followed her, stood in her way, rummaging fast for something to say to get a little more out of her. She knew it, knew that was what was going on. Girlfriend though...as if that woman would jump that far for Ryan but the girl believed it. “If you're talking about who I think you're talking about...darling I think that was probably one-sided and more like on his side than her side. So I wouldn't worry about it.”
“Whatever,” Rayne told her, crossing her arms and looking both uncomfortable and annoyed. “He’ll find somebody else. He’s like a prince.”
Oh god…a prince? Cam eased down onto the sofa, crossed her legs, swung her foot in the sandal with the loose strap she was not going to be able to replace tonight, and studied the girl with even more amusement.
“Ryan,” she finally managed, “is very hot but Rayne he’s a bodyguard sort of guy not somebody you need to think about and I don’t think “prince” exactly describes him. How did you get here anyway and do you need a ride home?”
She didn’t take that well. “If he’s a prince, I’ll know it. And I don’t need a ride home. I’m not a child. Goodnight Camilla.”
Camilla shifted to the window and looked out on the square, watching Rayne go somewhere. And there was Heydon. It hadn’t taken him long at all but maybe he’d been close by when he’d called. The two of them saw each other but the girl swept by without apparently saying more than maybe hi.
How extremely peculiar and odd and strange….but not worth thinking about anymore. The girl probably had a crush on the man. Camilla put the whole weird thing out of her head and started for the door.
She could still see Rayne at the far end of the block but she was moving fast. “Were you out drinking with Rayne?” Heydon asked her, his voice soft, teasing. The neon signs lit up his eyes, and he was smiling. It felt good, it felt incredibly good to know he was standing there and he was glad to be there. With her. Camilla never hesitated. “You mean Coop’s kid? I didn’t even know she was here.”
NEXT CHAPTER: Rising Above Chapter 8