Home > Songs and Sweethearts (Untouchable #10)(6)

Songs and Sweethearts (Untouchable #10)(6)
Author: Heather Long

“Son of a bitch,” I swore before wading in as Jake and Dominic delivered a series of blows to each other. I slammed into Dominic, trusting Jake not to hit my back as Bubba grabbed Jake, and then I drove Dominic all the way back to the wall. Pinning him there, I glared. “What the fuck was that?”

“Proving a point,” the asshole stated even as blood dribbled from the corner of his mouth. “Remember, you chose violence first. I’m just responding in kind.”

Was he for fucking real?

A door closed behind us. “Guys.”

Frankie’s voice hit me and I sighed. Goddammit. This was exactly what we’d been trying to avoid. I let go of the prick and dragged a handkerchief out of my inner pocket. Now I knew why Hank told all of us to carry at least two today. Though I’d thought it was supposed to be for Frankie.

With a droll smile, Walsh took the cloth and dabbed at his lip with a nod before he glanced past me. I shifted so I could keep Mr. Sucker Punch in my line of sight, and also check on Frankie. She stood there with Archie. For his part, Archie had his hands in his pockets and a dark look on his face, which he fixed on Dominic.

See, he got it.

But it was Frankie’s expression that had me swallowing my next statement. That and the fact that Rachel stood right behind them. The ball-shriveling look she wore was one hundred percent focused on Walsh.

“Good luck, man,” I told him with a slap to his shoulder. “You’re toast.” I walked away from him and glanced to where Jake straightened his own shirt. Like Walsh, his knuckles were bruised and a thin trail of blood leaked from his nose. He was already in the act of pressing a handkerchief to it.

“Can we not do this today?” Frankie asked and I exhaled, guilt twisting my guts into knots.

“My apologies, Frankie,” Walsh said before any of us could respond. “Your boyfriends were merely acting on yours and Rachel’s behalf.”

She just lifted her brows. “Look, Dominic, thank you for coming and if Rachel doesn’t mind if you’re here, you’re more than welcome to stay. But fighting? Or making her uncomfortable? Those are a no go for me.”

“I’m fine,” Rachel said quietly from behind her, but Archie rolled his eyes.

“If you were, they wouldn’t have marched him out of here. So let’s just cut the crap, shall we?”

“Rich Boy,” Rachel said. “You want to talk about cutting crap, we can compare notes, but right now might not be the time.” She started to move around Frankie, but to my surprise and clearly to Rachel’s based on her expression, Frankie stopped her.

“No,” Frankie said, looping her arm through Rachel’s. “If you hate him then I hate him. If you want him gone, then I do. No one needs to cut the crap, but I’d really rather no one ended up going to the hospital today. I’m sick of them.”

Fuck. Archie’s expression transformed as he looked at her, and Bubba was already heading to join them. Yeah, this was what we didn’t want to happen at all.

“My apologies. To both of you. I’ve been worried about Rachel and you. I know you have these guys to look after you, but I wanted to be here for Rachel while she was here for you. Clearly, that’s not welcome, so I’ll excuse myself. You shouldn’t have to worry about this right now. Call me if you need anything.”

Huh. That was decent of him.

“Both of you.”

Okay, that took it a bit far and I glared at him. He just gave me a smirk.

“Rachel?” Frankie asked.

“Let me talk to him for a minute,” she said. “You guys go back in or better, let them take you back up to the room. You look like shit on a stick.”

“I love you, too,” Frankie said with a faint laugh. “Come on guys…”

“You sure about this?” Jake asked and I didn’t blame him. The whole damn reason we’d dragged the dick out here was because he wasn’t listening to Rachel.

“I’ll be fine, asshats, thank you for defending my honor or whatever. Now shoo, go hover over Frankie and make sure she eats something. She’s looking pale.”

Now that she mentioned it, Frankie did look a little pale still, I lingered by the door even after Bubba and Archie ushered Frankie back inside, with Jake following. I leaned back against the wall, hands in my pockets and I waited as Rachel and Dominic walked out into the parking lot.

You could learn a lot about a person watching their body language. Rachel’s arms were folded tight, her spine rigidly straight and though she’d walked next to him and now faced him as they talked, she kept her distance. Dominic, however, stuffed a hand in his pocket while the fingers of his free hand kept twitching like he wanted to reach out to her. He leaned in, she didn’t.

But he didn’t move to invade her space and while they spoke, both of them kept the most neutral expressions in place. Like emotion had no part of their debate. Or maybe it was the opposite—there was far too much emotion between them. While I kept an eye on them, I did my best not to stare. That would be rude.

Eventually, Rachel turned and walked away from Dominic. Their expressions were unreadable. He lingered until she was almost to me and then he turned away and went to get in his car. I flicked a look back to Rachel who stared at me.

“And you’re waiting, why?”

I shrugged. “Needed some air. Not everything is about you.”

That earned me a reluctant smile. “Thank you.”

“I’m sorry,” I said with exaggerated shock, even putting a hand up to my chest. “What did you just say?”

“Not going to repeat myself,” she countered and smacked her hand over mine. “Not everything needs to be discussed, Mr. Psych Major.”

“You don’t know what you’re missing,” I said before opening the door for her.

Her indelicate snort just made me grin again. Once we were back inside, I scanned the room for Frankie. Where was she? What the fuck?

“She asked for a moment,” Archie informed me. He glanced past me toward Rachel, who was already being surrounded by mine and Jake’s sisters. “Rachel okay?”

“Yep,” I told him. “Walsh is gone. She doesn’t have to worry about him for today.”

Tomorrow? Well, not much we could do about that right now.

“You good?” I asked.

“Shockingly,” Archie said slowly. “I’m fine. It was weird to talk to him in the car and we took a drive to air some things out. But—as bad as he’s hurting, he’s also trying to be there for me and for Frankie.”

“That’s weird.” I winced. “I mean—”

“No.” Archie shook his head. “Weird is the word for it. It is weird. I just need Frankie’s grandparents to leave him alone.”

“Has the district attorney said whether they’re going to pursue charges or not?” That was the one thing still up in the air. He’d had a gun, but it wasn’t registered in New York, though he had a carry permit from Texas. Clearly, he’d acted in defense of Archie and Frankie, but there was still a chance the DA would press the matter. They hadn’t so far, but…

“No, but the attorneys don’t think they will. No one else was hurt and he had a gun that day because he’s been worried about Maddy for months. Worried what she would do. He always assumed she’d come after him directly…” Archie sighed.

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