“Stop,” he shouts, the sound of his shoes hitting the pavement coming faster. “Just stop for a minute.”
Quickening my stride, I keep my eyes on my car, as I rifle through my purse for my keys and call out, “Stop following me.”
Where the hell are my keys? Pushing back a swell of anger-fueled anxiety, I keep searching. My fingertips brush against the metal ring. I clasp onto it, pulling them out, just as a large hand wraps around my bicep and I’m jerked to a halt. I yelp, and stumble, rocking on my heels, and dropping the keys. Another hand settles on my hip, steading me.
Then, I’m pulled around to face Jason. His eyes flicker over my face a few times, doing what looks like a silent assessment, and whatever he sees makes him draw his lips tight and his brow dip in a frown. “Are you okay?”
Am I okay? I laugh. I don’t even know how to answer that question. I probably should be. I know that. I’ve waited a year for this chance, to have someone like him help me, but right now, after the exchange in the bar, with his hand locked around my arm and another on my hip, I don’t feel okay. Not even a little.
“Yes, I’m good,” I stammer, taking a hasty step back, yanking myself free of his grasp. “Everything’s just fine.”
He doesn’t look reassured by my answer. Actually, he looks a little annoyed. He arches a questioning brow and folds his arms over his chest.
I stand there, hesitating, contemplating whether or not I should turn around and run. My car isn’t far. Another twenty, maybe thirty steps. Will he chase me again if I do it?
“Can I go now?” I ask, not ready or wanting to endure another chase.
He shakes his head slowly. “If you want to make a lie believable, you gotta weave it with the truth.”
My brow furrows, confused by the comment. “What?”
“Two truths and a lie, babe,” he says. “Makes the lie harder to pick up on.”
Is this guy for real? He looks it, serious, a little brooding. He’s watching me, waiting for … I don’t even know.
“Okay, fine.” I throw up my hands, exasperated, and sigh, long and loud. “I’m fine, just in a hurry to find a hotel and grab a shower.” I bend down and snag up my keys; then, I meet his eyes. “Better?”
He laughs under his breath, but there is not a stitch of humor in the sound. “Yeah, but I’d rather you didn’t bother with the lie.”
I scoff. “Well, I’d rather you didn’t chase me through a parking lot.”