Miranda tried not to take it personally when Drew looked mortified, spun on his heel, and marched up the stairs like the condemned, but it was a challenge after having him shrug her hand off then comfort Suzie. Such comforting; so tender and thoughtful and concerned, as if nothing was more important to Drew than Suzie’s feelings.
Miranda had gone to close the door so she wouldn’t have to look at them. She hadn’t intended to accuse him of anything when she saw his car out front and asked if Vin’s attacker used it as an excuse to come inside their home.
Who was she kidding? If the nasty, jealous little imp that drove her had realized she could use his guilt to lash out at Drew she’d have been much more pointed about it. Thank God the imp was quiet.
Not that it was doing any good, because Drew must have some reason for marching up the stairs and Miranda seriously doubted it was to do his nails.
“Drew?” Suzie asked, looking as concerned as Miranda felt and beating her to the question a nanosecond faster. “What are you doing?”
He didn’t answer, nor did he slow down.
“Drew!” Miranda charged up the stairs with Suzie right behind her. “What are you doing?”
“I’ll take an overnight back for tonight, then come back for the rest later,” Drew said to Suzie over his shoulder.
Miranda supposed it was appropriate for Drew to make arrangements with his landlord rather than answering Miranda directly, but…. He was moving out! No!
“You can’t go,” Miranda and Suzie said at the same time as if they were sisters in spirit.
“I have to go.” Drew walked into his room without slowing down to talk. “I have brought harm to your home. As long as I stay…”
“No, no. You didn’t bring harm here. No harm was done. Right Suzie?” Miranda whipped her head around, trying to figure out why Suzie simply stood in the door looking dejected while Drew pulled out a suitcase and started putting clothes into it. “I mean except for Vin and that didn’t even happen here.”
“As long as what, Drew?”
Drew crossed the room, skirting around Miranda to put his hands on Suzie’s shoulders. He held her at arms length, but with a look of such tenderness it made Miranda’s chest twist up uncomfortably. “As long as I’m here, you will be vulnerable to the people I’m investigating.”
Suzie’s lower lip wobbled as though she was about to cry. She tried to look brave and ended up looking appealing as all Hell. Miranda would have bet if she hadn’t been in the room Drew would have kissed Suzie. A real kiss, not like that stolen thing Miranda had done with Drew in the hospital. Suzie nodded agreement that Drew would have to go.
Every so often in Miranda’s life there would come a moment of unusual clarity. It felt as if the world took a step back and came to a stop just so Miranda could make a decision. Now was one of those moments.
Drew and Suzie were in love.
If Drew moved out, Miranda could pretend they weren’t in love, but it wouldn’t change the fact. If Drew stayed, then Miranda would have her nose rubbed in what she had planned – and could now never have – every time she looked at either one. Drew would never treat Miranda like he treated Suzie.
Before he was shot, Vin had said something important to Miranda. Now his words echoed in her head. “If we’re all supposed to be one big family, then who is the Daddy, Miranda? Is it me or is it Drew? Because if Suzie is the mommy, then you can’t have the daddy.”
The imp raised her head. All Miranda had to do was keep her mouth shut and Drew would move out. He and Suzie were both being so stupidly noble about it. And if Drew moved out, then Miranda could just keep doing her thing, not to mention making them both feel horrible which would only serve them right for blowing her off so many times.
If she kept Drew from moving out, then Miranda would have to be stupidly noble too. She’d have to admit she didn’t really love Drew. Not in a serious way. And she’d have to quit going after him.
Miranda looked at her Jimmy Choo shoes, and the world napped back into place. It was decision time.