“I swear, Ryan. I’ll be alright for a half an hour by myself,” Zack huffed, plopping down on the couch and twirling a paintbrush.
Ryan eyed his lover with uncertainty. It’s been two days since Rob got out of jail and there’d been not a word from him. From what his father had said, Rob has holed up in his apartment, not speaking to anyone but his accountant and lawyer. Rob even had the nerve to tell his own father to stop calling him.
No matter. Between himself, Charlie, and Maria, Zack had not been alone one minute. Even with the protective injunction against Rob, no one trusted him to stand by its order. However, tonight, Ryan had to get on shift, Maria was at one of her shows, and Charlie had been detained by a disorderly drunk who had a warrant for his arrest from another county.
“Go.” Zack made shooing motions toward the door.
Still, Ryan’s gut didn’t feel right. “Maybe I can call the Sheriff and…”
“No. You are not to bother George. He’s out with the Widow Johns. I don’t need a babysitter. Charlie will get here as soon as he can.”
Reluctantly, Ryan nodded. He was correct. Zack was a grown man. He’d taken the news of Rob’s release well. Even Dr. Parker was impressed with how he was handling the situation. Now the rest of them…they weren’t so accommodating. They were worried sick for his safety and their own.
“I’ve got my cell. Call me if you need me.” Ryan opened the door and nearly tripped over a box sitting on the floor. He picked it up. It had Zack’s name on it. “Looks like your new brushes came.”
“Really?” Zack rose from the couch and took the box from Ryan.
Zack shook his head. “No. Just thought it would be another couple of days.” He shrugged. “It’s okay. I don’t need them until this weekend anyway. I want to finish this with the brushes I started with. Keeps the textures the same.” He placed the box on the kitchen table.
Ryan kissed Zack. “Lock the door.”
“Don’t talk to strangers. I know the drill, Mom.” He rolled his eyes. “Just be careful out there. No more bullet wounds.”
“Don’t be a smart-ass.” Ryan smirked. “I already told you, that was Charlie’s fault.”
Zack chuckled. “Yeah, sure.”
The smile faded as the door closed shut. Ryan had a bad feeling. Still, he couldn’t encase Zack in bulletproof glass for the rest of his life either, could he? With a sigh, Ryan walked away from the apartment to start the night shift, his nerves already on edge.
The phone rang not five minutes after Ryan left.
“Hey, Zack. Is Charlie there?”
It was George.
“No. He got held up at work.”
“That’s why I can’t get a hold of him. Damn.”
“What’s wrong? Something I can do for you?”
There was a pause. “Who’s with you, Zack?”
He let out a silent sigh and rolled his eyes. Here comes Papa Bear. “No one. Ryan had to get to work, but Charlie will be over as soon as he gets done.”
Another second of silence. “This is embarrassing, but my truck battery died. I don’t have my jumper cables…and well.”
“Where are you?” He smiled with amusement. He rarely heard George so flustered.
“The rock query.”
A local make out spot for teenagers. But with it being a weeknight it was most likely deserted. And a perfect spot for an adult to take his lady for some quiet.
“No problem. I’ll be there in about fifteen minutes.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll be careful. Promise.” He shook his head and hung up the phone. Grabbing his keys, he chuckled. “And I’ll make sure he never lives this down.”