And she is. Her face is set in somber lines and there’s a glint in her eyes that tells me I better get the answer right.
“I need you to be safe. That’s the most important thing to me.”
“It’s a mom and a teenage boy. How terrible could it be?”
That’s how she convinces me and now that we’re standing outside the gate with Hayden on my right and Pippa on my left, I realize it was a mistake. If I didn’t have witnesses, maybe I would have just strong-armed the boy aside, gotten into the car and driven up to an empty cabin. But now I got a boy who is feeling cornered, a scared as hell mom, a security officer who is feeling pressured and a bewildered civilian. It’s a good thing we live out in the boonies or we’d have the local police on our doorstep for causing a disturbance.
The boy raises the shotgun again. “Don’t come near me,” he screams.
I raise my hands even higher. “No one’s going to hurt you.”
“I thought this was a safe place! They said it was a safe place!”
“Why you all have guns then?” He swings the barrel between me and Pippa.
“Lay it on the ground, Pips,” I order.
“Not while he has a 12 gauge pointed in our direction.”
“This isn’t good,” Hayden says.
“I know. Get into the truck and drive back to the cabin.” It’s hard to keep the growl out of my voice.
“Not them. Him.”
I follow her outstretched hand to see it pointing toward a white SUV pulling up in the snow. A man’s behind the wheel. The sound of another engine’s breaks diverts the kid’s attention. I jump forward and tackle him. The shotgun skitters out of his hand. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Pippa snatch it up. The mom gets out of the car, runs over to us and starts to pummel my back.
“Get off him. Get off my son!”
Somehow, over the din, I hear Hayden say, “Ethan?”
I watchmy sister check over the teenage boy, Isaac. I know he shouldn't have had a gun but I feel proud of him for wanting to protect his mom.
“No more guns.” Danny tells him as she puts a bandage over his elbow where he scraped it during his fall. The entire situation had been scary but the bravery that this young man had showed was commendable.
“It was my father’s. I took it.” He admits.
“You got any more we should know about?” I beat my sister to the question. He shakes his head no.
“I did what I had to.” He puffs out his chest some. It is stupid but I get it. King comes strolling in with a look of understanding for the boy’s actions on his face, too. Seeing King in his element and how he’d handled everything that went down has only made me want to be here with him more.
I don’t know why I’m fighting this King thing. Me continuing to pretend that it is only going to be sex and then I am going to be on my way is not working anymore. That plan now sounds ridiculous to me. King is the kind of man you marry. One that you keep and cherish. I am only lucky that no one had up and took him for themselves already. The care and concern that he shows for strangers is commendable. Imagine how he’d be with his own family. Thoughts of having his baby run through my mind. It’s something that I never really thought much about but he makes me want all the things.
“I’ll teach you about gun safety but you won’t be needing them while you’re here. As you can see no one makes it past our gates unless we let them in.” The boy nods, mumbling another apology. He is as scared as his mother. He’s just a little bit better at hiding it.
“We can stay though? You’ll keep my mom safe?”
“Of course.” I answer for King who aims a smile my way, letting me know he appreciated me answering for him like I owned the place. “We have a cabin for you.” I think we do anyway. I remember a few being empty.
“We do.” King agrees with me. Danny pulls down the sleeve of Isaac’s sweater covering up the bandage.