Shade's Fall

Page 19


They went to a movie afterward, which everyone enjoyed, deciding to go to the diner for coffee and dessert once it was through. They were sitting there, laughing over the movie, when the door opened and The Last Riders came in, taking several large tables. Beth and Razer came in the door last with Razer’s arm wrapped around Beth’s shoulders and her hair windblown. They sat down at the large table. Lily noticed that Beth lost her smile when she saw her, but she still came to their table.
Lily noticed that Shade was missing from the group.
“Did you have fun at the movies?”
“Yes, it was good. I see you guys went for a ride.” Lily wondered at her sister’s bright flush.
“Enjoy it while you can, winter will be here soon,” Lily said as Charles paid the waitress their ticket.
“Where’s Kaley? Didn’t she go on the ride?” Miranda questioned Beth.
“No, she stayed at the clubhouse,” Beth spoke as she turned to go to her own table. “See you in the morning, Lily.”
Lily could tell that Miranda wasn’t happy with Beth’s answer.
Following Charles out the door, she waved at the members sitting at the table, seeing Rider was also missing from the group.
“You’re quiet tonight,” Charles said on the drive back to her home, sending her a questioning glance.
“I guess I’m just tired,” Lily replied, laying her head back against the headrest.
“Lily, is everything all right? I try not to pry, but you know that you can talk to me.”
“I know, Charles. You’ve always been a good friend to me. I’m glad you’re back in town,” Lily said, looking out the window.
“Where are we going?” she asked Charles as they drove past her house, instantly alert.
“It’s still early; I thought we would take a walk.”
Lily was ready to go home. Her hand went to her wrist. “I have to be up early in the morning, Charles. I volunteered to help at the church.”
“I won’t keep you out too late, Lily. I missed you while I was gone, I thought we would be able to spend the summer together. Dad’s restaurant took longer to get situated than I thought. Didn’t you miss me at all?”
Lily looked at his handsome face as he drove. “I missed our friendship, Charles. I don’t really have anyone to talk to since Penni left school.”
His lips tightened. Lily knew it wasn’t the answer he wanted to hear.
She watched the road, wondering where they were going. They drove out of town, going toward the lake. Lily wasn’t frightened. She had dated Charles since high school, so his actions didn’t raise any alarms.

Ten minutes later he pulled into a spot within walking distance of the lake. Charles got out of the car, coming to open the door for her. Lily emerged, letting him take her hand.
He searched her eyes. “Do you remember when we used to do this in high school? We would walk for an hour and just talk.”
“I remember, Charles.” Lily walked next to his tall figure, knowing he was reaching out to her, and trying to reconnect after being away for most of the summer. However, Lily had felt the loss of closeness before he had left when he had tried to deepen their relationship, and she had to tell him she didn’t return his feelings. She thought maybe he had hoped being away would have changed her mind, that missing him would have shown her she cared about him after all.
Lily watched her feet as they walked. She could have told him before he left that she wouldn’t change her mind about him. He didn’t attract her in that way. No man did.
As soon as the thought crossed her mind, a picture of Shade appeared to replace it.
“Is something wrong?” Charles paused next to her.
“No, I guess someone walked over my grave.” She shivered again. Charles placed his arm over her shoulder as they walked further along, losing sight of the car.
* * *
Shade sat in the darkness of Cash’s borrowed truck, watching Lily as she walked next to the fucker that was courting a death wish if he didn’t move his arm. He relaxed when he saw Lily move slightly away, keeping a few inches between them. He didn’t like them holding hands, but he could handle it.
He had planned to come up with another lame-ass excuse to spend the evening with her, but Razer had told him that Charles had beaten him to the punch. He hadn’t had to deal with him before now because he had been out of town, but now he was back and thought he and Lily would continue dating.
Shade got out of the truck as soon as they walked far enough away that they couldn’t see their car. Keeping to the shadows in case they doubled back, Shade made it quickly to Charles’ car, kneeling down by the back tire. He slipped his knife out of his boot, and thrust it into the tire before moving to the front and doing the same. As soon as he heard the hissing air, he returned to the truck, sliding back behind the wheel.
Taking out his cell phone, he gave Rider a call to give him a head’s up that Razer would be calling him shortly, so he needed to finish his business with Kaley. He wanted his ass ready to roll when Razer called to give Lily a ride home.
Shade sat back and patiently waited for the couple to return.
* * *
Lily couldn’t hide her yawn as Charles talked about his father’s new restaurant.
“Let’s head back; I can tell you’re tired,” Charles broke off.
“I’m sorry, Charles. It’s been a long day.” She squeezed his hand, relieved when he gave her a smile.
When they got to the car, he opened the door, letting her slide inside. Lily watched as he walked around the front of the car, seeing Charles bend down by the front tire then stand with a frown on his face. She turned as he walked to the back tire and stood, staring down for a minute before getting inside the car.
“I have some bad news. We have two flat tires,” Charles said, reaching into his pocket and pulling out his cell phone.
“Don’t you have a spare?” Lily asked then felt stupid at the look he gave her.
“I do, but not two. Dad’s still in Lexington, so I can’t call him. I’m going to try Lyle, but it’s Friday, so the chances aren’t good that he’ll actually answer.”
Lyle was the town drunk. Lily hated to refer to him that way; however, he was drunk more often than he was sober. She really didn’t want to be stuck in the tow truck with him after he had been drinking most of the night.
“I’ll call Razer,” Lily offered when Charles had no luck reaching Lyle. She pulled out her own cell phone, calling her brother-in-law. He answered on the third ring, and Lily quickly explained their predicament. He offered to send Rider.
“Thanks, Razer.” She disconnected the call, turning back to Charles. She could tell he wasn’t happy she had called Razer, but the problem with living in a town the size of Treepoint was that your options were limited.
“I wanted to spend some more time with you. I guess I got my wish,” Charles said wryly.
Lily laughed. Reaching over the console, she kissed his cheek. “I really missed you, Charles.”
The tension faded from his face and he relaxed back against his seat. They started talking about the mischief they would get into in high school.
Twenty minutes later headlights pulled in behind them. Rider opened his truck door as another truck pulled up next to him. Shade climbed out of the older-looking truck that everyone in town knew was Cash’s. Both Charles and Lily then got out of the car.