“Good,” I said. “That son of a bitch deserved it.” I put my hands behind my back to keep them from touching his bruised face. “Are you in any trouble?”
“Earl’s probably going to sue me, especially since everyone’s found out who I am,” Chance said. “But don’t worry about it, my lawyers can handle it.”
“Okay, that’s good to know.” I forced a smile for him. It wasn’t that hard to do.
Chance smiled back. “Listen, about this morning –”
I held up a hand to stop him. “I’m still angry at you, and a part of me still wants nothing to do with you, so don’t remind me why.”
I bit my lip and folded my arms across my chest. “Martha told me what happened, and I came right away. Don’t read much more into it.”
Chance nodded and looked over his shoulder at the others now watching us.
“What did Ben mean by what he said? About me sorting things out.”
Chance shook his head. “Ignore him,” he said. “I can handle this.”
“Ashlyn, can we speak to you now?” the Sheriff called us over.
I looked at Chance again, but he was gazing at the Sheriff, his eyes shooting daggers. Whatever it was they had been talking about before I came, it obviously hadn’t sat well with Chance. And from the look on his face, I had a feeling I wouldn’t like it, either.
“You see, Ashlyn, Mr. Greene here has a proposition for you that I think can benefit all parties involved,” the Sheriff explained as I joined them. “Rather than press a bunch of charges and send anybody off to jail.”
“Ashlyn isn’t an involved party,” Chance said.
“I beg to differ,” Ben said, smiling despite the cold look in his eyes.
“I don’t care how you feel about it,” Chance countered. “The answer is no.”
“How about we let Ashlyn decide,” Ben suggested, all but ignoring me. “You see, my dear, it has recently come to our attention that Mr. Ridder here is quite the wealthy man, and is currently undergoing some terrible media attention because of his extensive drug abuse.”
“It’s all bullshit,” the limo driver said.
“Miles,” Chance warned the man, and he briefly looked at him and shook his head. “I got this.”
“Well, true or not, television has its own rules, and I’m sure that Mr. Ridder’s display of violence here will only make things worse. Wouldn’t you agree, Sheriff?”
The Sheriff nodded. Of course he agrees. He’d agree to you screwing his wife if it kept the money coming. I kept my mouth shut.
“Now, Earl is hell-bent on suing given he has multiple broken bones and a nearly-crushed trachea,” Ben said. “I tried to talk him out of it, but he’s determined to make Mr. Ridder pay for the damages inflicted on him.”
Bullshit. I wondered how long I could keep quiet before I burst out in rage.[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
“However, Earl’s agreed to drop all charges,” Ben continued, looking at me intently. “Under one condition.”
> “And what condition is that?” I asked. I already knew the answer, but wanted him to have to say it.
“It doesn’t matter,” Chance said. “She’s not doing it, and I’ll see you in court, Mr. Greene.”
“Oh, don’t be so rash, Mr. Ridder,” Ben chuckled. “Let the young woman decide for herself what she wants to do.”
“What’s the condition?”
Ben looked at me, paused for a few seconds, then said, “That you drop the charges you filed against Earl yesterday.”
I froze, my eyes wide and my mouth dropping like a stone. “The rape charges?” I muttered. “Are you fucking serious?”