Freeing the second latch right in front, he sprang the hood, releasing a sweet, hot breath that was clean oil and fresh gas combined.
Bitty leaned in and seemed to taken an inhale. „That smells nice.”
Annnnnnnnnnnnnd that was pretty much when he fell in love with the kid.
Zsadist inclined his head low, his yellow eyes glowing. “My condolences for your loss. And welcome
to our home—which you should now call yours, too.”
Bitty leaned her head to the side and regarded the Brother. “I like you. You’re nice.”
“You have the strangest eyes,” Bitty whispered. “They’re beautiful.”
“Thank you.” The angel inclined his head. “I’m always here, Bitty. You need something, you come find
me, and it’s yours. I think you’ll find that true about a lot of the folks here.”
Looking across her desk, Mary reached out and picked up a photograph of Bitty from two weeks before, when the little girl had been taking selfies with Rhage’s phone. Bit was making a crazy face, her dark hair back–brushed until she looked like something out of an eighties glam metal band.
And in fact, Lassiter was over on the left, doing his best Nikki Sixx impression.
„And so this big fat guy in a red velvet suit comes down the chimney?” the girl said.
„Yes. He leaves presents under the tree, and in the morning, everyone opens their stockings and packages. You eat too much at four in the afternoon. Watch football and fall asleep. Wake up at nine o'clock. Feel peckish. Eat more. Go to bed and pass out.”
„Oh, that is Father's kind of holiday!”
“Is this really your car?”
Rhage blinked. And had to take a moment to make sure he’d heard the question right. “Ah, yes. Yes, this car is mine.”
Bitty walked over to the hood and extended her small hand to the GTO’s shiny, smooth body. “It’s so pretty.”
Rhage looked at Mary—who seemed equally flummoxed.
“The, ah, the paint job is custom.”
“What does that mean?”
“It was specially made just for her.”
Bitty glanced up at him in surprise. “It’s a girl?”
“Oh, yeah. Sexy—I mean, hot—er, good muscle cars are always girls. It’s ’cuz you gotta take care of ’em like they deserve.”
“I was hoping…” The girl glanced back at where the house had been. “I was hoping that I could bring some of my old clothes and books to my uncle’s. I don’t want to be a burden on him. I don’t want to get sent away.”
Rhage made a small coughing sound. “So I’ll go out and buy you what you want. Anything you need to take with you, I got it.”
“Mary, I want you to promise me something.”
Looking over at her, he found it difficult to speak, and he had to clear his throat. “If we… if you and I end up with Bitty? If we take her in as our own, I want you to promise…” The center of his chest began to burn. “If I die, you have to stay here with her. You can’t leave her behind, okay? If I go, you stay. I won’t have that little girl losing another full set of parents. Not gonna happen.”
Mary put her hand to her mouth and closed her eyes, lowering her head.
“I’ll wait for you,” he said hoarsely. “If I die, I’ll wait for you in the Fade just like everyone else does. Hell, I’ll watch over the two of you from the clouds. I’ll be an angel to you both. But you …you have to stay with her.”
Vigyázat! Felnőtt tartalom.
“Rhage. Stop it. She’s going to probably want to date someone at some point—”
“Over his fucking dead body anyone is touching my daughter—”
“Rhage, okay, three-part yoga breath.” She petted his shoulder like she was soothing a lion. “It’s perfectly normal for little girls to grow up and want to get mated to—”
“Nope. She’s not dating. Ever.”