She nodded and grabbed my discarded white tuxedo shirt and put it on without bothering to button it; she just held it closed and went out the door.
Little, sweet, sexy woman was going to make sure she checked on Nan while showing her just whose bed I was in. Made me grin. I liked knowing she had some fight in her. With a sister like Nan, she needed it. I hated to think of Nan hurting her in any way.
To think I almost lost this because I was worried about loving her and losing her. The fear of death had gotten its claws in thick. I had Rush and Blaire to thank for showing me that loving someone like this was worth it. I just had to find a way to tell Harlow exactly how I felt. I didn’t want to scare her off. The way she was looking at me lately, I wanted to believe she felt the same way.
The bedroom door opened and Harlow rolled her eyes. “She’s fine. Bitchy as ever. Said she wanted you to check on her next time,” Harlow said before dropping my shirt and crawling back into bed to snuggle up against me.
“What did you tell her?” I asked.
“I told her to get over it. I was keeping your sexy ass safely tucked in my bed.” Harlow replied as she threw one of her long legs over mine and burrowed into me.
I held her against me and went back to sleep with a smile on my face.
Rush found August. Even if Woods hadn’t fired him, he wouldn’t have been able to work. Rush managed to break the arm he hit Nan with and told him to leave town. Either Rush had an in with the police department or August had run scared. I’m not sure what exactly happened. I didn’t like talking about Nan with Grant.
Nan left town again, which was a normal thing for her, from what everyone said. She would be back when she was over the thing with August. I was just glad to have Grant alone. He seemed more relieved than I was.
The only thing standing between me and Grant now was my secret. The one that I had kept to myself most of my life. The one that made people treat me differently. And the one that kept me from telling him I loved him.
He hadn’t said he loved me. Was it fair to love him if I couldn’t give him things he deserved? For so long, I had lived without thinking about it because my grandmama hadn’t allowed me to use it as a crutch or an excuse. But now . . . I couldn’t do this without being honest. Telling Grant the truth was going to be hard. He would either understand or see this as a deception.
If I just had some more time. I didn’t want to ruin things. His heart was safe, even if mine wasn’t. I glanced back at Grant, who was on the phone with a construction site that we were headed to three hours out of town. He had wanted me to come with him, and I didn’t want to be away from him. We hadn’t been talking much on the ride because he’d been driving and making notes and talking on the phone to different people. I had even heard him argue with his father. It was a nice look into a different side of his life. He wasn’t like the other socialites in Rosemary—he actually had a job. A regular job for a blue-collar company. I liked it.
He finally dropped the phone onto the notebook and looked at me. “I swear, if I’d known they were gonna keep me on the damn phone all day I wouldn’t have dragged you out with me.”
“I just like being with you,” I told him.
His face transformed into a smile and he reached over and laced his fingers through mine. “I love having you with me. Makes everything better.”
He loved having me with him. He didn’t love me, but he loved having me around. That was new. I couldn’t keep the silly grin off my face.
“I’m starving. You ready for some lunch?” he asked, pulling off at the next exit.
“Yes, I’m getting hungry,” I admitted.
My phone rang, interrupting me, and I immediately grabbed it. Only two people would be calling me. Dad or Mase.
Dad’s name lit up the screen.
“Daddy?” I said into the phone. He rarely called me when he was on tour.
“Hey. I’m headed home. There’s a problem with Emmy. I need to be there. And I want you to be prepared. Things are going to blow up once they find you.”
Find me? “I don’t understand, Daddy. What things are about to blow up? Who’s going to find me?”
“Some motherfucker leaked the info about your mom. Some new staff member at the Manor. When she saw me there, she did some digging. When you came to visit, she discovered you’re my daughter. I was attacked by the paparazzi in f**king Paris tonight. I’m headed home. I don’t want them getting anywhere near your mother. The bitch has been fired and escorted off the property, but the press is covering the Manor. The staff is in a panic. They’ll be after you, too.”
I had always been kept safe from the paparazzi because I was boring. Now my mother’s existence was going to change it all. “What can I do to help, Daddy?” I asked, worried about the man I’d seen protecting the woman in that room as if she were a princess.
“Nothing. Not a f**king thing, sweetheart. Not a f**king thing. I gotta get to your mom. She needs me. I’m sorry, but you’re on your own. Just be prepared—they’ll find you. It’ll all come out. Everything. You understand that, don’t you?”
He meant my life. My secrets. My privacy.
“Yes, sir. I know.”
“I’m so sorry, baby girl,” he said, and the pain in his voice was honest. He really wished I didn’t have to face this. But I had to figure this out on my own.
“Only thing I can think of is you can come to the Manor. I can get you a room there and you’ll be safe, but they will eventually get the story. Too many people know things. It will all come out. You can hide for a while, and I’ll hide you. But it’s time you faced this. You aren’t my little girl anymore.”
He was right. It was time I faced this life. The one I’d hidden from.
“Call me. Let me know how she is and that you’re safe when you get there,” I told him.
“I will. Nan’s story will come out, too. Be ready for that.”
He hung up and I stared down at my phone.
“What’s wrong?” Grant asked, his gaze on me.
“I . . . they know. The media know.”
“Shit,” Grant moved the notebook between us and slid over to me. I hadn’t even realized we were parked until that moment. “You mean about your mom?”
I nodded. “Yes. My mom. Nan . . . me. They know it all. They’ll come looking for me. I won’t be hard to find. They already know where Rush lives. He makes the papers randomly when they need some Slacker Demon family stories for the smear papers.”
Grant pulled me into his arms and held me against his chest. I had to tell him everything now. I just couldn’t form words. “I won’t let those fuckers get near you. I swear,” he growled, tightening his hold on me.
He didn’t know what they were like. This was a breaking story in the music industry. The world’s most legendary rock band’s lead singer was married to a woman he’d kept a secret from everyone. Even his own daughter for years.
Then there was me. Their miracle child. The child who shouldn’t have lived but did. The one who might not live a long life. The one who couldn’t have kids or it would kill her. The one who wasn’t whole, whose heart never worked properly. The pills I’d taken my entire life. The precautions—it would all come out. And I would be the sick girl. The one everyone looked at as if she wasn’t normal. I didn’t want that. Not again.
I had lived that life before, and I didn’t want it again. I kept my secrets guarded for a reason. And now they were all coming out, and I had no control.
“Shh, it’s okay, baby. I swear I will protect you. I swear, I will,” Grant murmured as silent tears ran down my face. My life was about to completely change.
Holy hell. This wasn’t something I could fix, and I hated it. Harlow’s shoulders silently shook as her tears wet the front of my shirt. Her life was about to be splashed all over the media. And I couldn’t do a damn thing about it.
Rush had never had to deal with this because the world knew he existed. He made the tabloids at times, but his normal life didn’t supply them with the drama they craved.
This would. Harlow would get no peace. I could take her away and hide her. We could get on a plane and leave the damn country. “Let’s leave. Get on a plane and hide. We can go to a secluded island somewhere.”
She shook her head. “It won’t make it go away. They will find me one day and until I face it—” she hiccupped “—they will be after me. I have to face this. And I need to check on my dad. This is going to be so hard on him.”
Always worrying about someone else. It was what she did. It was one of the things I loved about her. But right f**king now, I wanted her to think about herself. Kiro was used to the paparazzi. He was used to being in the media and rumors spreading about him. He had kept Harlow out of the limelight and now she was about to be thrown into it.
It wasn’t like the world didn’t know she existed. They just didn’t know that much about her, so they ignored her. She was boring, and Kiro’s exploits were a lot more fun.
“Tell me what to do and I’ll do it. Just tell me what you need,” I told her as my heart felt as if it was being broken with each sob.
“I need to go back to Rosemary and pack,” she said, simply.
Pack? Why? “Why are you packing?” I asked, feeling the first pulls of panic.
“I have to leave. Nan will be less interesting to the media if I’m not there. I need to go back to L.A. and hide out. I’m good at that.”
“I can’t work in L.A. but I’ll call Dad and tell him to deal,” I told her.
She shook her head. “No, you don’t need to come. You need to stay here and stay out of this.”
I gently grabbed both her shoulders and pushed her back so I could see her face. Her tear-streaked face and big eyes stared up at me. “I’m not letting you leave me. Ever. Don’t you understand that?”
She just looked at me. Emotions flashed in her eyes that I wanted to cling to, and others I hated. She doubted me . . . she doubted us. I thought we’d moved past that.
“Harlow, I won’t let you leave me.”
She wiped at the tears on her face. “You will,” she said with a sad, defeated sound. I hated it.
“Sweet girl, ain’t no amount of paparazzi gonna send me away from you. I can handle any shit as long as I have you.”
Harlow shook her head and looked away from me. “You say that now. But you don’t know. It isn’t worth it.”
She was worth anything and everything that could be thrown at me.
“I’ll take you back, but I won’t leave your side. I won’t let you deal with this alone, and I’m not going anywhere. Do you hear me?”
A sad smile touched her face. “I know you think that, but it’ll be too much. You’ll know soon. It isn’t what you think. Stuff will come out, and you won’t be able to deal with it. And I’ll understand.”
She didn’t trust anyone. I was losing this fight. I was gonna win her heart, dammit. She had mine, and I was gonna do anything I could to prove to her she had my heart. Telling her wasn’t enough. Words were weak. I had to show her. And I would.
I kept Harlow tucked beside me. We didn’t listen to the radio. I was pretty sure it was already being talked about on every station. I didn’t want to upset her. This wasn’t going to be easy, and I was liable to beat the shit out of someone before it was over, but I’d show her I meant it. That she was it for me.
When we rolled back into Rosemary, TV station vans and cars lined the streets. I turned around and headed for my apartment.
“What are you doing?” she asked, sitting up and looking at the paparazzi already surrounding Nan’s house. They were taking pictures of her car and the house.
“Taking you to my place,” I informed her.
“I need to face this now. It’ll just get worse. I want them to leave so everyone in Rosemary can go back to normal.”
“Harlow, if I let you out of the car and they come at you, I’ll end up in jail. Do you understand me?”
She glanced at me with a frown. “Why?”
“Because I’ll f**king snap. That’s why.”
“Oh,” she replied. She let me drive to my apartment without any more questions.
When we pulled in, I felt like breathing a sigh of relief. I was afraid they had already figured out who I was and would be waiting here, too.
My phone rang when I stopped the truck, and I grabbed it. Rush’s name was on the screen.
“Hey,” I said, opening the truck door. I wanted to hurry and get Harlow safely inside.
“Where’s Harlow?” Rush asked.
“Just got to my apartment,” I replied.
“Get her inside and don’t f**king leave,” Rush barked.
“Already ahead of you,” I told him, annoyed that he thought he needed to protect what was mine.
“She knows?” Rush asked.
“Yeah. Kiro called and warned her.”
“Did she know about her mother?”
“Yeah, she found out when we went to find her dad in Vegas. I was there.”
“They’re already talking about Harlow. Keep the TV off,” Rush said.
“Planning on it. I’m taking care of her. I don’t need you telling me how the f**k to keep my woman safe.”
Rush was silent a moment. “Okay. Fine. But if—” he paused. “Never mind. Call me if you need me.” He hung up and I took Harlow from the truck and slipped my hand into hers, and we both started running for the door. There was no one here, and I wanted to f**king keep it that way.