In the last scene, we left Icarus knowing they need to be prepared for what’s to come. And part of that will include letting Cassie know what that could be. But, he’s not looking forward to the conversation. Also, there’s a reason Ladies is capitalized. They’re the wives/girlfriends/old ladies of the Riders of Justice and are referred to as Ladies of Justice, or just shortened to “Ladies”.
Icarus left Trace and Birdie standing together in a corner of the main room and went in search of Cassie. He knew she was safe, that nothing had happened to her. And still he needed to see her before he really knew.
After a quick search of the downstairs rooms, he didn’t find her inside. And he didn’t know what reason she’d have to go upstairs this time of day. Unless it was to have a few moments alone. Though most of the Riders and even the Ladies gave her space when it was obvious she needed it. They were good like that.
But, that meant she was probably still outside. He hoped she wasn’t alone, unless she wanted to be. And he really hoped she hadn’t heard the news from anyone else. This wasn’t something that would stay only among the members for long. Henry had never gone after anyone except him and his. But, the other men would want their old ladies to be warned as well.
But, he should be the one to let her know. Even if she didn’t want to be his. She always would be.
He turned around the corner of the clubhouse and saw her standing in the middle of the yard. With Barbie and Raven standing with her. They were smiling and chatting, and he let out a relieved breath. That would not be the expression on their faces if they’d heard anything. He wasn’t too late.
She turned her head then and a smile spread as she saw him approaching. He’d missed that smile. It had taken a while before it had made an appearance after they’d brought her here. And it still wasn’t a common sight, but it was coming more often. That was all he could ask for.
Even if he wanted to ask a lot more. He wasn’t going to rush her and risk ruining what they could have. He just wasn’t used to moving this slow.
“Ladies,” he greeted them.
Barbie smiled indulgently at him. She’d been in love with Bull since they were graduating high school from the stories Chief had told. And she’d waited for him until he came back from serving in the Army. Icarus was sure she would have waited any amount of time for him.
He’d always wanted to have that kind of love. Instead Cassie had crushed his heart. It had taken nearly twenty years to learn she’d been trying to protect him.
Now, it was up to him to protect her.
Icarus wrapped his arm around Cassie’s waist. “You want to take a walk with me?” he asked.
“Another one?” she asked with a smile. “What is with you and walking lately? If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were courting me, Grady Hartson.”
He let out a bitter laugh. “If I’d ever tried that, your father would have just tossed me out.”
He regretted that as soon as the words were out of his mouth. Her father had done worse than that. He’d tossed Icarus into a cell on trumped up kidnapping charges and only released him when Cassie had agreed to marry another man.
Henry Kearns. Who now threatened the people he loved.
Cassie slipped her arm through his and gave him a soft smile. “Thankfully my father doesn’t dictate my choices any longer.”
Yes, thank goodness for that. But what he was going to tell her was likely going to wipe that smile right off her face. And he absolutely hated it. But, there wasn’t really much he could do about that.
She needed to be prepared.
He waited until they’d walked a short distance away before saying anything. “I have to tell you something, Cass, and it’s going to be hard.”
She stilled beside him then turned to look up at him. “Is this about whatever you had that meeting for?”
“It’s part of it,” he admitted. “There were some other things, but this is the only one that directly affects you.”
The color leeched right out of her face. “Henry?” she asked.
He should have known she’d figure it out easily enough. “Yes,” he said and proceeded to give her the highlights of what Arrow had told them. When he was finished, her face was still pale, but her lips were set in a firm line.
“Why is he doing this?” she asked.
Icarus had a few answers to that, but none that would make her feel any better. “I’m not going to let him hurt you. Not you or Trace. Never again, Cassie. Do you understand me?”
There were tears trembling on her lashes, but she nodded. He brought his thumb up to brush away a tear from her cheek. He kept cradling her face as he lowered his mouth to hers. He kept the kiss light, not wanting to push her. It wasn’t the first time he’d kissed her in the last months, but he’d always kept them light, feeling she wasn’t ready for more.
He wanted to give her time. To let her heal from everything Henry had put her through. To let her come back to him.
But, now her lips parted and moved against his. And he lost himself in the taste of her.
Has he given her enough time? Will he be able to keep Henry from hurting them?