The Forgotten Daughter - Page 18

Scooter didn’t need to know any of that. Josie headed for the door as he pulled it closed, and she grabbed the knob before the door shut.

“You can leave, Scooter.” Josie knew he wouldn’t leave just because she told him to. “Please go tell my sisters I’ll be right there. I don’t want them looking for me.”

“I’ll wait,” he said. “Deliver you to the dance floor myself.”

“That won’t be necessary,” she said.

“It won’t be necessary for me to put that dress back on you, either,” he said staunchly, “but if you don’t hurry up, I will.”

“Hurry up, Josie,” Gloria said. “I’ll keep Scooter company while you change.”

That was exactly what she didn’t want to happen. She didn’t need Scooter learning more than he already knew about her Tuesday adventures. He’d never understand.

“Are you waiting for help?” he asked.

“No,” she snapped.

“Then get dressed.”

Josie slammed the door. Maybe he and Gloria should pair up and leave her completely out of things. It had gotten to be more than she’d bargained for lately.

Her anger melted away like the swan-shaped ice sculpture near the fountain. The ice had yielded to the sun before Twyla and Forrest’s wedding, and now Josie had to yield, too, to the truth that things had only become more than she’d bargained for because of her.

The rules were that she passed out condoms and brought back any bits of information she gathered. However, when one of Francine’s girls had told Josie about the warehouse, she’d had to investigate. One of the guards had seen her sneaking around and had given chase. Afraid her little car couldn’t outrun his larger one, she’d taken the road that led directly past the police station, hoping an officer would see her speeding by.

One had.

She’d been arrested.

And she’d called Scooter to come and get her.

Chapter Four

Scooter hadn’t been lying. Her sisters had been looking for her, and the expression on her father’s face said he wasn’t impressed.

“I’m sorry, Daddy,” she said, rushing up to where he stood next to the piano. Other instruments had been set up, too. Swallowing, she added, “There were things I had to see to.”

“Like what?” Norma Rose asked. “We looked everywhere for you.”

“There were some issues with one of the cabins.” Josie felt her insides sinking again with the number of lies she’d told lately.

“We have maintenance people for that,” her father said.

“It’s all settled now,” Scooter said. Giving her father a nod, he started to step away.

“Not so fast, there, son,” her father said. “Josie needs a dance partner.” With that, her father stepped forward and called for the crowd’s attention.

“I have fireworks to set off,” Scooter said to her. “You’re going to have to find yourself another partner.”

That would have suited Josie just fine, however, she didn’t need her father’s fury. “And irritate my father further?” she snapped. “Not on your life. We’ll bow out of the contest in plenty of time for you to set off the fireworks.”

His eyes narrowed. “And plenty of time for you to still sneak away?”

“No,” she snapped. Then, because there hadn’t been time earlier, not with the way he’d dragged her from the cabin to the dance floor, she asked, “What did you and Gloria talk about?”

His glower grew darker. “Let’s just say we have an understanding.”

“That neither of you will tell my father what the other knows,” she concluded. Her father would be furious. “Maybe I’ll tell him about both of you.”

“Go ahead,” Scooter said. “It’s what I’ve wanted all along.” Snapping his fingers, he added, “He’ll put a stop to your shenanigans that fast.”

“They aren’t shenanigans,” she insisted.

He grabbed her hand. “Whatever they are, you aren’t doing them tonight. You’re going to be glued to my side like chrome on a bumper.”

Josie didn’t have time to respond. The moment music filled the air, people ran to snag an inch on the dance floor. Scooter shouldered their way into the very center, and there he held her so close she could barely breathe, let alone dance. Being this close to him increased her anger.

“Good grief, Scooter.” She pushed at his shoulders with both hands. “You’re smothering me.”

“It’s not me. We’re packed in here tighter than whiskey bottles in a crate.”