Recognizing the look on Jen’s face, Rhys got up, checked to make sure the door to the bar was locked, and disappeared into a backroom. Presumably with Jeremy.
Jen remained at the table, frantically trying to process everything that had happened since she first met Rhys such a short time ago. Thoughts chased around her head making a bewildering crossing so complex that it rivaled the highway systems she’d seen growing up out in L.A. Her thoughts kept coming back to two things, though. Rage at her ex for dragging her and Cullen into this insane world, and a growing sense of panic for Cullen’s safety.
She jumped when she saw Rhys standing at her table. He’d seemed to appear out of nowhere for all the sound he had made.
“Come on. I’ll take you to your house so you can get some things. Then I’ll get you somewhere safe.”
She didn’t say anything. Just grabbed her small purse and followed him out the door. She paused when she saw Jeremy waiting in the truck Rhys was standing by.
“Don’t worry. Jeremy is one of mine.”
Jen still hesitated. It wasn’t that she didn’t trust Jeremy. Or Rhys. It was more that there was a sense of finality to this. That if she went with them, her life would be irrevocably changed. The question was – would it be for better or for worse?
She took a deep breath and climbed in the truck. She needed to feel Cullen’s warm, wriggling little body in her arms. She’d give anything to hear his squeaky voice shout “Mommy” again. Part of it was a selfish giving; she felt as if she’d shatter into a million pieces without him. However, most of it was that Cullen didn’t deserve this. What two-year-old did? It wasn’t his fault he’d been born to messed up parents. Come whatever may, she was not going to quit until Cullen was safe with her once again.
When they got back to her house, Rhys followed her in while Jeremy waited in the truck. Rhys passed her to enter the house first once the door was unlocked. As he slipped past her, Jen noticed the blood and jagged tears in one shoulder.
“Come on. You need a new shirt and to clean up your shoulder.”
“It’s fine,” Rhys continued to search through the house unfazed by her observation.
Jen made her way through the house gathering up things into a backpack. She found Rhys waiting in the living room. She tossed him a shirt.
“It was one my ex left here. I used to use it for a work shirt when I didn’t want to get anything of mine dirty. I think it should fit, though it may be a bit tighter on you than it was my ex. He wasn’t in as good of shape.”
Rhys caught the shirt, “Where may I change?”
“There’s a bathroom right around the corner there.”
Rhys was back in less than a minute. The blood was cleaned up and the torn shirt was balled up in one hand. Jen was right. The shirt was much closer fitting on Rhys. It also revealed the edges of a couple tattered tattoos on that shoulder. Scars and scabs marred some of the intricate beauty.
Jen took a deep breath, “As ready as I’ll ever be.”