The next morning, at four seventeen, Downy’s alarm went off and he groaned, rolling out of bed in exhaustion.
“Where you goin’?” I asked half asleep.
He stretched, lifting his arms up high over his head. “To work out.”
His voice was sleep roughened and sexy, making my girly parts flutter slightly.
However, they weren’t excited enough to wake up fully, yet.
Not when we’d gone to sleep at nearly one in the morning.
I didn’t bother asking him why he was working out this early. It was more than obvious that he’d had to do quite a bit of working out to get a body like he had.
He trailed his hand down my exposed leg as he walked past my side of the bed into his closet, causing me to smile.
“Night,” I said before drifting back into sleep.
I woke, once again, for real, around nine in the morning when my alarm went off, alerting me that I had a little over an hour to get my clothes on and get to school.
I’d most likely be late, but that was okay. Today was only a lecture, and I’d listen to the recording for the first half later if I had a need to.
It was when I was showering that I heard a knock on my door.
Well, more like a pound.
Peter started barking furiously, as well as what sounded suspiciously like Mocha.
Why hadn’t she gone with Downy?
Turning off the taps, I threw a towel around me, and then a robe over that.
Slipping my feet into slippers, I walked to the door and looked through the peephole.
My brows lowered as I opened the door to a beautiful woman with long red hair. “Yes?”
She smiled fleetingly at me. “You’re Memphis?”
I nodded. “Yes.”
She wilted visibly. “I…I need a favor from you.”
Turning my head I asked, “Who are you?”
She looked embarrassed for a few moments. “I’m sorry. I’m Downy’s sister, Ridley.”
Downy had a sister? Since when?
Shouldn’t the woman that’d been warming his bed know that he had a sister?
“Uh, yeah. Come on in,” I said, opening my door wide.
Mocha and Peter, curious, walked up to Ridley and licked her hands.
She smiled slightly down at the dogs, but enfolded her arms up, keeping them out of reach.
She looked incredibly uncomfortable, but not more than me standing in my kitchen talking to my lover’s sister, while I was practically naked.
“So, how can I help you, Ridley?” I asked her.
She sighed. “My father and my brother are going at it outside, and he told me to come up here. Said to knock on your door and you’d let me in.”
I nodded. “Yeah, sure you can come in. What’re they fighting about?”
I asked that as I walked around the island in my kitchen and started a pot of coffee.
She followed me, taking a seat at the island, and said, “The land. What they always fight about.”
She sounded tired. Really tired.
“Does this happen often?” I asked in concern.
She nodded. “At least once a week. My father works for Downy’s neighbor, Ronnie Prescott. Prescott wants the land that Downy was given when his father died, and my dad makes it his business to try to convince Downy to sell.”
“Hmm,” I said.
I didn’t really know what to say to that. That seemed kind of trivial to fight over, in my opinion.
At least Downy’s father wasn’t trying to keep track of his every move like mine did.
“Ronnie hates Downy since he looks just like his dad,” Ridley explained.
“Just like your dad? Why would that matter?” I asked, handing her a cup of coffee.
She took it and started dumping the milk and sugar into it the moment I placed it next to her.
“My father isn’t Downy’s father. Downy’s father died when he was fourteen, of an accident at his oil rig,” Ridley explained. “Our mother was seeing Ronnie when she met Alec, Downy’s father.”
I blinked. Wow, like a freakin’ soap opera. The next thing she was going to tell me is that her father is Downy’s father’s brother.
“Mom married my father when Downy was sixteen. Downy and dad never really saw eye to eye, and he went into the army at seventeen; they were really only around each other for less than a year,” Ridley expounded.
“What’s the big deal about the land? Seems like he’d give up if it’s been going on for fourteen years now,” I asked.
I poured my own coffee, using my favorite mug in the world that said, ‘I like big cups and I cannot lie.’
“Ronnie and my mother bought the land when they were together. The judge made them split it down the middle when they broke up. Ronnie’s still bitter about it, and never lets Jackson forget it,” Downy said, surprising not just me, but Ridley as well.
We both gasped and turned to find Downy standing just inside the door, closing it quietly behind him.
“Shit,” I said, slapping my hand against my chest. “You just scared the crap out of me.”
“You should keep your door locked,” he said, coming in and grabbing himself a cup of coffee.
He had on a pair of track pants, a long sleeved gray t-shirt that was soaked all the way down, and a pair of tennis shoes.
He had sunglasses on, as well as a ball cap.
Pairing that with his beard, and he looked breathtaking.
Did I mention sweaty? He was that, too.
“How far did you run? You look like you’ve just lost half your body weight in sweat,” I teased, slipping around the counter and walking straight up to him.
I stopped when my toes met his, contemplating the merits of getting a good hug to how much I wanted to retake my shower.
He saw my indecision, and his eyes twinkled with suppressed laughter.
I went with giving him the hug.
I could retake the shower. Especially if he was in it with me.
He wrapped his arms around me, pulling me in close.
I kept my head off his chest, trying not to grimace when he rubbed his scratchy, covered in sweat, beard on my cheek.
I giggled and pushed away from him, smacking him on the arm. “Yuck,” I giggled.
He winked and turned to his sister, studying her for a few long seconds before he said, “Your father’s waiting for you.”
I noticed how he said ‘your father.’ Obviously, he claimed no relation at all to the man.
Was he close to his sister?
Ridley grimaced. “Yeah, we have to go pick up Jonah from band practice.”
“Jonah?” I asked, raising my brow at Downy.
“Brother,” he muttered to me before turning back to his sister. “Tell him I said hi.”
She nodded and walked towards him, raising up to give him a peck on the cheek.
Downy bent down, allowing the exchange before he opened the door for her and escorted out.
“It was nice to meet you,” I said to Ridley.
She smiled over her shoulder. “I’d love to get to know you a little better.”
I nodded. “Maybe we can do lunch sometime.”
She nodded. “I think that’d be great.”
They left, Downy escorting her back down the stairs while I went to my bathroom, stripped off my towel and robe before pulling out my hair dryer.
I had my hair halfway dry by the time Downy got back, and I could tell he wasn’t happy.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Another fucking dog stolen. One of our neighbors this time. The lady downstairs in 2A,” he snarled, yanking down his uniform that he had hanging up on the back of my bathroom door.
I’d gone and picked up his uniform last night when I’d gotten off work since he was busy, with what I now knew, pulling the missing dog files.
I’d hung it on my side because that’d been where I was at the time.
However, three pairs of my pants and just as many shoes now resided on the floor on his side of the bedroom.
“Alright,” I said, sounding much more worried than I’d intended. “Be careful, okay?”
He nodded as he started to tuck his black polo shirt into the black tactical pants.
When he got to the shoes portion of dressing, he left the room, and when I came out five minutes later ready to head to school, he was gone.
I wouldn’t be admitting that I was upset that he’d left without a word, though.
That was just unheard of for Memphis Tennessee Conner.