Glaring up at him, hot rage colored her face. â€œI donâ€™t need you to take care of me.â€
â€œYou know, Candy; you have real issues. Grab your stuff and letâ€™s go.â€
Pumping her shorter legs as quickly as she could to keep up, she screamed, â€œI have issues? I am perfectly fine, thank you very much!â€
â€œYeah, I know,â€ he tormented her with his tone and opened the back doors to the Suburban. Dropping the bags inside, he slammed them shut and faced her squarely. â€œYou just lost everything you own. Itâ€™s not a crime for you to accept a little help.â€
â€œYeah, and youâ€™re not above suspicion; Iâ€™m still not convinced you didnâ€™t have anything to do with it.â€
â€œFair enough,â€ he walked around to the driverâ€™s side and climbed behind the wheel. After she had buckled herself in, he backed out of the spot. â€œLetâ€™s call a truce; really. Iâ€™ll make you a promise, if youâ€™ll do something for me.â€
â€œHuh,â€ she grunted, â€œOk, letâ€™s hear it.â€
â€œI wonâ€™t ever ask you to go out with me again. Iâ€™m over it, ok?â€ he cut his eyes over at her briefly while he drove on the slick pavement.
â€œSounds good to me,â€ she threw her arms across her chest.
â€œWait, thatâ€™s my part. Your part is, you will accept my help; no complaining. Until you have a new place to live, and your mother and son are both home and healthy.â€
â€œI canâ€™t ask you to do that,â€ she whined.
â€œYou didnâ€™t ask me to, I volunteered. What I want you to do is shut up and let me!â€ his tone had grown loud, and she felt a twinge of fear of him for the second time that day.
â€œBoy, you sure are bossy.â€
â€œIt comes from being an only child,â€ he replied smoothly.
â€œWell, Iâ€™m an only child, too; but you donâ€™t see me running around giving orders like a drill sergeant,â€ she clipped.
Catching the angry pout on her lips in his peripheral vision, he laughed quietly for a moment. â€œDamn, woman. Will there ever be a day weâ€™re not shouting at one another, and at each otherâ€™s throats?â€
â€œWe had lots of those days,â€ she recalled aloud. â€œBut you ruined it.â€
â€œI know; I wanted to go out with you; to get to know you better. But I just took it back, see? So now we can be friends again,â€ he smiled, pulling into the driveway of a huge wooden structure. Hitting the button on the control above his head, the garage door in the back building swung open, and he pulled inside. Killing the engine, he didnâ€™t move, and instead stared straight ahead. â€œI liked it when we were friends, Candy. If thatâ€™s the most you can ever give me, Iâ€™ll take it. But please, donâ€™t shut me out completely.â€