He sat back down, knowing Dac would pull over soon.
Josie folded her dress and added it to the neat stack she’d created out of her sweater and scarf before she looked up at him. Scooter cursed himself deep down inside, where he hoped it would do some good. He should not have the feelings he had for her. No good could ever come of them. He’d known that for years, and up until recently, he’d been able to keep everything well concealed. Roger Nightingale’s anger over these recent events could be deadly.
Although he doubted the man would go that far—even though the involvement of one of his daughters tipped the scale considerably—Scooter had long ago accepted the fact the man would never consider a grease monkey good enough to marry one of his daughters.
Roger maintained a friendly relationship with everyone in White Bear Lake, but he’d also let it be known his daughters were one step down from royalty, and would be treated as such. Scooter had to agree with that. That’s how he knew he’d forever be out of Josie’s league.
When this was all over, he didn’t doubt the entire family would disassociate themselves from anything that had to do with Scooter and his family. Maize’s hope of her job at the resort growing into something more would be shattered. His mother would no longer be accepted in the Bald Eagle Ladies Aid Society—that, he could live with, but she wouldn’t take it lightly. Even Jonas, as young as he was, would be affected. He’d be shunned. Anyone who went against the Nightingales was looked down upon. Everyone in the entire area knew their livelihoods were due to Roger’s success and the way he expanded his good fortune to include all of their businesses. Their families.
As much as all of that was true, none of it mattered to him, leastwise not as much as never seeing Josie again. That would be hard to live with.
She was looking up at him with those big blue eyes. Not saying a word, just looking at him as if she expected him to have all the answers to her woes. He wished he did. And he hadn’t needed to see those pencil marks she’d now wiped away. They’d proven to him just how adorable she’d be even years from now, when her youth started to wane and age crept up on her. She’d still be beautiful. Still be full of a spark that would keep her and those around her young and kicking up their heels.
Her eyes would never lose their shine. They’d still sparkle and twinkle... Something snapped in his mind then. Her eyes. Blue, not brown. Clyde Odell. The man wanted to take down Francine, and with the backing of J. P. Morgan, he could.
Scooter was in the midst of trying to piece things together when the truck rolled to a complete stop.
Dac’s door opened, and a moment later, the way his head popped up over the high side rails said he stood on the cab’s running board. “How y’all doing back there?”
“Fine.” Scooter stood and helped Josie to her feet before he squeezed between the side rail and his tarp-covered motorcycle so he could ask Dac a question. “You know anywhere around here that has a phone?” He considered whispering, but Dac wouldn’t have been able to hear over the truck’s engine, and keeping Josie from hearing would have been a moot point. She was pressed up against his back, once again making his skin tingle.
“Yeah, there’s a place where I drop loads up the road,” Dac said. “It’s a roadhouse, but I’d never advise eating at it. That’s just their cover.”
“But they have a phone?” Scooter asked.
“Yes, they have a phone,” Dac replied. “Who you gonna call?”
“US Steel,” Scooter half mumbled. He wasn’t sure Clyde would help, but couldn’t come up with anything else. Slapping the wooden rail, he said, “Drive, Dac.”
The man nodded and disappeared. Scooter spun around and took Josie’s arm. “Sit down,” he said. “Dac’s known for missing first gear.”
Just as he’d warned her, the truck coughed and jerked before the wheels turned fast enough to catch up with the engine. The ride grew smoother, but not much considering the rough road.
“Why are you going to call US Steel?” Josie asked.
“Because that’s where Dave’s car is.”
The relief that crossed her face jolted his heart rougher than Dac’s driving shook the truck. So did the way she wrapped her arms around his neck.
“Thank you, Scooter,” she said, her face buried into the front of his shoulder. “Thank you.”
He wasn’t nearly as excited, or relieved, as she seemed to be, yet he didn’t have the heart to tell her his plan didn’t have a whole lot of meat behind it. Grasping her shoulders, he separated them slightly. Her arms were still around his neck, and the idea of kissing her overcame his thoughts for several long seconds. Memories of doing just that had his heart rate climbing and he battled against his good sense like a first class soldier.