The Forgotten Daughter - Page 86

Chapter Nineteen

It was very late by the time the rain ended. Scooter didn’t bother checking the clock. No matter what the dial said, he was taking Josie home. He’d made mistakes in his life, but that didn’t mean he had to keep making them. Having her snuggled up to his back, with her arms wrapped tightly around his waist as he dodged puddles on the road, didn’t help his resolve.

He’d seen the taillights ahead of them, and wasn’t surprised when he saw Roger walking across the parking lot. Or Gloria. They’d arrived at the Plantation shortly before he’d left. Before it had started to rain. Before he’d found Josie at his station. Before—

“It looks like you two made up,” Roger said.

Scooter had pulled up next to the main doors of the resort and cut the engine.

Josie giggled next to his ear as she climbed off the motorcycle.

Scooter set the stand beneath the motorcycle and climbed off. “Josie was at my station when I got there,” he said, nervously trying to explain what he was doing bringing her home so late. “I had to wait for the rain to end before bringing her home.”

“We waited, too,” Roger said. “That was a real cloud buster. You have any hail at your place?”

Scooter had no idea if it had hailed or not. “Won’t know if there was any damage until daylight,” he said, trying to answer indirectly.

“It was the size of grapes in town,” Roger said as he moved forward and wrapped his arms around his daughter. “How you doing, Josie-girl?”

Smiling, she nodded. “Good. Wonderful, actually.”

Stepping back, Roger gestured toward the door. “You two come into my office,” he said. “So we can talk.”

“I’ll say my good-nights here,” Gloria said, leading the way through the double doors. “It’s been a long day.”

There was no tension in the air, or underlying message in Gloria’s tone, which had Scooter hoping she and Roger had settled things between them. The man had not been impressed that Gloria had involved Josie in her scheme. Scooter experienced a slight punch to his gut as he wondered what Roger would think of Josie’s desire to buy a house in Duluth. He’d help her with that, just as he’d said, whether her father approved or not.

A tiny smile appeared on her lips and her eyes softened much like they had earlier, back in his bed, as she looped her arm through his while saying good-night to Gloria.

Side by side, he and Josie entered Roger’s office.

Taking off the coat he’d insisted she borrow, Josie draped it over the back of a chair before she sat. “You were wrong, Daddy.”

Scooter glanced between her and her father as he took a seat in the other chair.

Roger had already sat down. Elbows on his desk, he tapped the tips of his fingers together. “About what?”

“Not being very good with broken hearts.”

The gaze she sent his way had heat rising to Scooter’s neck.

Turning back to her father, she said, “You knew exactly what you were doing.”

Roger laughed. “I was young and in love once, too, you know.”

Scooter wasn’t sure what the two of them were talking about, but had an inkling it involved him.

Leaning back in his chair, Roger then asked him, “Did she tell you about the house in Duluth she wants to buy?”

“Yes,” he answered.

“What do you think about that?”

Scooter reached over and squeezed Josie’s hand. “That if anyone can make a difference for those girls, it’ll be Josie.”

Roger nodded, but then lifted a brow. “There will be no shenanigans this time. No pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes.”

Scooter looked her way, bracing himself for her reaction. “I won’t have to, Daddy,” she told her father while looking at him. “Scooter will know all about it from the very beginning.”

“That’s how it should be,” Roger said. “Gloria’s interested in helping you. So is Karen Reynolds. She’s moving to Duluth on Monday, when Clyde goes back up there.”

“She is?” Josie asked. “Isn’t she still married to Galen?”

Roger shrugged. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way, Josie-girl. Nothing is going to stop Karen this time, and I say good for her. Good for them. Karen wants to talk with you before she leaves. She said she’ll look at some property there and Clyde says he’ll have two large donation checks for you when the time comes. One from US Steel and one from J. P. Morgan.”

“Really?” Josie asked. “That’s awfully nice of them.”

“If not for you and Scooter, he’d have had a harder time convincing the police to raid Francine’s warehouse.” Roger turned to him then. “Speaking of US Steel, they own a lot of trucks, use a lot of fuel. Clyde thinks you should consider opening a station or two in Duluth. I’m interested in financing them if you do.”