Excerpt from #FINISHLINE
“What’s wrong?” he demanded the second I opened the door.
“Nothing,” I said and motioned for him to come in.
He pulled off his Oakleys and slid one earpiece beneath the neck of his dark-blue T-shirt so they were out of his hands and stepped into the apartment.
His eyes searched out his brother, wanting to be sure all was well.
“He isn’t here,” I said and shut the door.
Lorhaven turned. “Where is he?”
“Meeting,” I replied.
“Why aren’t you there?” He scrutinized.
“Because I didn’t need to be.” I cleared my throat. “And, I, ah, wanted to talk to you. Alone.”
His eyes narrowed suspiciously. “Why?”
Arrow’s big brother was an asshole. It wasn’t anything new to me, and his constant suspicious demeanor didn’t offend me like it used to. I understood his extreme overprotective nature when it came to Arrow (and Joey). I even respected it.
There was a time when I doubted we would ever get along. Hell, sometimes I still doubted it. But ever since the day I raced across the track to pull Arrow out of a multicar pile-up, things were different between me and Lorhaven.
He welcomed me to the family that day, and since then, he’d backed up his handshake with actions. Arrow and I hung out with him and Joey regularly, something I knew meant a lot to A. To me, too.
Joey was my first and only real friend since Matt died. The months we’d spent not really speaking had hurt. To have her friendship back along with a new one in Lorhaven gave me the sense of family I’d deprived myself of for so long.
“There’s something I want to ask you,” I said. He made a sound, sort of an agreement, and shrugged out of the jacket to fling it over the back of the couch. “You called me down here because you want to ask me a question?”
“It’s not something I could do over the phone.”
He folded his arms over his chest and regarded me in a way that would probably make a lesser man piss his pants. Lorhaven didn’t intimidate me. He never did, and he never would.
But, uh, yeah… I was anxious right now. “I know how close you are to A.” I began. “He told me you’re more like a dad to him than The Fucker ever was.”
Lorhaven’s arms dropped to his sides. “He told you that?”
I nodded. “Yeah. And honestly, I’m fucking grateful to you for that.”
Shock widened his very dark eyes. I committed the look to memory as I smothered a smile. I’d likely not see that look on his face ever again.
My voice dropped. “I think you were the one thing that stood between Arrow and total shutdown a few years ago.”
“Until you came along,” he replied, gruff.
“Thank you for everything you did for him, for everything you do. I know you already know how much he appreciates you, but now you know I do, too.”
“He’s my family,” he said, like it was all he needed to say.
I half smiled.
“As touching as this is…” Lorhaven studied me. “Why do I get the feeling you want something?”
“Because I do.” I took a deep breath. “I want Arrow.”
He made a sound. “Pretty sure you already got that.”
I shook my head once. “I want to marry him.”
Lorhaven jolted like someone tossed a bucket of ice water over his head. “You wanna what?”
“I’m gonna ask Arrow to marry me, but before I do, I’d like your permission.”