That was the question I had been prepared for, but I was pushed and I stumbled forward.
“Miss Manning, where is your father? Is he still in Paris?” another voice shouted at me. I couldn’t focus. There were too many of them. Too much.
“Miss Manning, can you tell us if you have seen your mother?”
“Did you know?”
“Have you been living in your father’s Beverly Hills mansion since the death of your grandmother?”
My head was spinning. Questions were yelled at me, and I could hardly see over the flashes of light in my face. I shouldn’t have come out here. I wasn’t going to be able to do this.
“Get the f**k off her.” Grant’s voice broke through the tunnel of people and voices. His hand closed around me and pulled me away, and he shoved me into a truck. At first I thought it was his. Then I saw Rush sitting in the driver’s seat.
“You okay?” he asked, his face hard as stone as he glared out at the people now calling out his name.
“Get her out of here,” Grant said without looking at me and closed the door.
Rush backed his truck up as I watched Grant walk back toward his condo. Not once did he look back at me.
“I’m sorry, Harlow,” Rush said.
“Me, too,” I replied. I couldn’t go back to Nan’s. I needed to leave all of this.
“Can you take me to the airport?” I asked him as I pulled my purse closer to me.
“Where are you going to go?” Rush asked.
“L.A., Texas, I don’t know. Dad needs me but I don’t know if he wants me. I could go to Mase, but I don’t want to take this insanity to his ranch.”
“Grant just needs time to deal. He’ll come around,” Rush said.
“No. That’s over. Things were said I’ll never forget. That chapter is closed.”
Rush didn’t reply as he pulled out onto the main road that led out of town.
“He’s just scared,” Rush said, defending him.
“I’m gone now. Nothing for him to be scared of,” I replied. “Could you get my things from Nan’s and ship them to the L.A. house?”
Rush let out a loud, defeated sigh. “Yeah, I can do that. So you’re going to L.A.?”
It was better for Mase if I did. “Yes, for now. I’ll hide out there and help deal with Dad.”
We drove in silence for a while. I tried to think about Dad and what he was dealing with. I didn’t let myself think about Grant. I couldn’t. I would break down on Rush, and he didn’t need to deal with that. I would have plenty of alone time once I got to L.A. Plenty of time to cry.
“I never knew,” Rush said quietly.
“I didn’t tell people. Dad didn’t either. After Mom’s accident, the world believed she was dead and they forgot about me. It was like I had died with her.”
Rush’s phone rang, and I hated how hope soared through me. Even if it was Grant, I couldn’t get over what he’d said.
“Hey, baby . . . I’m taking Harlow to the airport,” Rush said into the phone. It was partly Rush and Blaire’s fault. I had seen them together and wanted to know that feeling. I had given in when Grant pursued me. Yes, he’d been pretty damn irresistible, but I’d also wanted to feel loved. I wanted to love someone freely and know the security that came with that.
But I didn’t get that. My heart would always stand in the way. God hadn’t created Grant for me after all. No, God had left me out. Figures. I was used to being left out in life. At least I had lived once. I had this memory to pull out and remember. Grant might not have loved me, but I had loved him. I still loved him. I knew what that felt like. I was thankful for that.
Maybe that was my gift. I had a few stolen moments of a life that I could have had if I was whole. I never had to give those memories back.
“She’s upset but she’s going to be okay . . . yes, I’m sure. She’s tough—a lot like another woman I know . . . yeah. I love you, too . . . I’ll call you when I’m on my way home. Don’t shoot Grant if he comes over there.” Rush grinned then hung up the phone.
He glanced over at me and his grin faded. “She’ll probably call you. A lot. Be prepared.”
I needed a friend. I was glad I had one in Blaire. “Okay,” I replied.
Rush pulled into the private airport that Slacker Demon’s jet usually departed from. I hadn’t called for the jet, so it wasn’t here.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
Rush flashed an ID at the gate and they opened up. “I’m getting you a private jet. You can’t walk into the airport and get on a regular plane, Harlow. You’ll get mobbed. When you land in L.A., I’ll have a limo waiting to pick you up and get you to the house. Stay there. They’ll probably be swarming outside the gate.”
I hadn’t thought of any of that. He was right, though. My private life was now over.
“Thanks. I hadn’t . . . this hasn’t sunk in yet,” I said, opening my door.
Rush got out of his truck and walked toward the main office.
“Stay here, I’ll be right back,” he called out.
I didn’t doubt Rush could get me a jet. He knew how to make the world do what he wanted. I often wondered if it was because he was raised in our fathers’ world.
He never seemed intimidated.
When he came walking out, he waved me over.
I went to him, trusting him to get me home safe. My time in Rosemary was over much sooner than I’d expected.
But the memory was mine to keep.