John looked at Alicia’s face and her arm sling. She felt slightly self-conscious but schooled her features to remain calm. He didn’t look very sad when he spoke about Janice. “I was sorry to hear you got hurt, and Janice’s death is a tragedy.”
“Did you know her?” Alicia wondered. Janice was exactly his type, wild and free with her favors.
He shrugged. “She came in the bar a few times with dates. Mostly, she hung out in Morehead.”
Alicia nodded. “Yes, that’s where we’ve been going lately.”
“And the billiard hall. We love it there,” Jasmine stated, giving him the evil eye. None of Alicia’s family and friends would go to his place out of loyalty to Alicia. He knew it, too. Ray had been vocal in h
is dislike for John. So had Noah, Adam, and Liam. He had lost a lot of good customers and he knew it.
John looked angry for a moment, but then he wiped it from his face and replaced it with a polite look. “So I’ve heard. I heard you couldn’t remember anything that happened to you. Is that true?”
Alicia nodded. Her bandage on her forehead had been removed, but she had a large cut that was visible. Many people had looked like they didn’t believe she had really lost her memory. Why would she make that up? She wanted to remember, but she always got a headache, like now. “I guess I hit my head too hard. It might come back to me. It might not.”
Jasmine looked out the window and smiled with glee. “Must be the day for visitors. Here comes our good friend Tony.”
Alicia saw Tony crossing the street and heading toward the store. He was in uniform and he looked good. Alicia felt her body heat up as she became excited. She couldn’t help but smile as she remembered their conversation last night. John looked angry again when he noticed her looking at Tony, but she was not going to hide how she felt about Tony. She was in love with Tony and she was not sure it would ever go away. Their talk last night had helped her to let go of a lot of her anger and hurt feelings. She was feeling hopeful again.
“I better go. I’m expecting a delivery. I’ll see you around, Alicia,” John told her awkwardly as the bell above the door jingled. Alicia gave him a polite smile. She didn’t like John at all and he knew it. She had been blunt with him. Why he had come, she had no idea.
The two men passed each other. Alicia saw the hard glare Tony gave John and was happy when John walked faster out the door. Tony knew all about what John had done to her. She had cried on his shoulder many times.
“Tony. What a surprise.” Alicia could hear the genuine affection in Jasmine’s voice. She was close to both brothers and spent a lot of time with them. Alicia envied her closeness to Tony. She’d thought she was finally beginning to make a dent in his armor. Then she spotted him with Dee and it had taken her by surprise. It had devastated her.
Alicia fixed her hair quickly when Tony gave Jasmine a hug, then Kate. Her hair was clean and brushed, at least. She hated wearing loose sweatpants and a loose T-shirt. There was no point in putting on make-up since her cheek was swollen and yellow from the fading bruises.
“So, did you come to visit me? How sweet.” Jasmine teased him.
Kate laughed at her niece. “Quit giving Tony a hard time, darling. I bet he is here to check up on Alicia.”
Tony agreed with Kate and walked up to Alicia. He looked at her fading bruises. He carefully brushed her bangs out of the way. “How are you this morning?”
Alicia smiled gently. She wished they were alone so she could tell him she only dreamed of him after they spoke last night. “I’m good. I slept well.”
He smiled with satisfaction at that statement. He knew what she was saying.
“What are you girls up to?” he asked, looking around the store. It was early and there were no customers yet.
“Looking at bridal magazines. Want to join us?” Jasmine asked with an innocent smile. She loved teasing him because he always looked so serious. “We were about to look at white frilly dresses and tuxedos. You can help us vote.”
Tony groaned. “I’d rather be held over hot coals.”
“You do know you have to wear a tuxedo for my wedding. You are giving me away,” Jasmine reminded him.
“Fine. Pick one out for me and I will wear it,” he mumbled, looking resigned. He turned back to Alicia. “So what was John doing here? Was he bothering you? I’d be glad to have a talk with him.”
“He was just being nosey,” Alicia replied, wishing she could tell if Tony was jealous. Maybe they should set up John and Dee, she thought evilly.
He grunted but dropped the subject. “You feeling okay? No pain?”
“The wonder of pain pills,” Alicia informed him. “I miss working, though. Any idea who shot at me?”
“Lots of guesses and no proof,” Tony said, standing close to her stool. He was tall that so she had to look up at him. She could smell his cologne. It reminded her of fresh soap and rain. “Noah is giving it his all, though. He is working with Green County’s and Morehead’s sheriffs. We’ll figure it out. Your job is to get better.”
“I know you all will find him. I just hope it’s soon.” Alicia sighed. “Janice deserves justice. I dread the thought of facing all of her family at the funeral. Her mom has already grilled me, wanting details. I told her I couldn’t remember. She looked at me as if I was lying.”
Tony patted her shoulder gently. “Just don’t go to the funeral. Your family is going. They can say you are still not well.”