"Here." I hand the tissue to Bay, and she pats her eyes, likely mimicking what her mother does for her.
When she's finished, I toss it in the trash and sit on the nearby sofa. Bay isn't particularly chatty tonight. Is it because of what happened at the apartment?
Did she witness what transpired between Hannah and her fiancé?
I swallow the lump in my throat.
Did he lay a finger on Bay?
She doesn't appear physically unwell. Emotionally, I can't say.
"Which truck is your favorite?" I ask as she slams the fire engine into the police cruiser.
That's my girl, causing chaos.
My stomach tenses at my inward admission and thoughts, my girl. She is my daughter. I crouch down, and she hands me the police cruiser.
Not my first choice, but I'm not going to argue with Bay. I don't want to see her cry again, and at least the last time wasn't my doing.
"Thanks." I force a smile.
"Sit," she orders and points at the ground.
I flop onto my ass unceremoniously as I join her on the floor. Bay plows her fire engine into my police cruiser.
"Daddy says we have to move."
"Daddy?" I repeat, confused by her remark. She lifts the fire engine into the air as though it were capable of flight and drops it to the ground.
"I don't want to move to Cannon."
Cannon? Where the fuck is that? Does Hannah want to move? Is she planning on taking Bay?
The study is warm, and the air feels sucked right out of my lungs. I can't pretend to sit here and play any longer. "Stay here," I demand and place the police cruiser on the floor beside Bay.
I stand and hurry out of the room, closing the pocket door. I breeze past Nikita. "Stay outside the study, and make sure Bay doesn’t leave." I point down the hall at the closed door to the study.
"Will do," he says and heads in the direction of where I just came from. I head to the stairwell and take the steps two at a time.
I suspect Hannah is in the empty bedroom next to Madisyn, but there are quite a few unoccupied rooms on the second floor and a half dozen more on the third.
The bedroom is shut, but I can hear muffled voices on the opposite side. I give a hefty knock before yanking the door open.
Hannah is seated on the bed, and Madisyn is next to her. Hannah's been crying. Her eyes are red and swollen, and she wipes the last remnants of tears away as though she could hide her pain from me.
"I asked you to keep an eye on Bay," Hannah says. She glances past me. Is she expecting that I brought her upstairs?
"She's in the study with a handful of toys. She's fine. I have Nikita keeping an eye on the door if she wanders out looking for you."
Hannah presses her lips together and nods. She exhales a heavy breath through her nose, and I think she might be done crying.
"Bay mentioned that you're moving."
She tugs her bottom lip between her teeth, gnawing nervously—her gaze glances to Madisyn.
"Would you like me to give you both a minute?" Madisyn asks Hannah.
Hannah's shoulders slouch, her hands are nestled in her lap. "Yeah, if you would. Can you check on Bay?"
"Of course, I'll keep her company." Madisyn hugs Hannah before climbing off the edge of the bed and stalking past me as she heads for the door. "She's vulnerable. Don't you dare hurt her," Madisyn threatens in my ear on her way out of the room.
I wouldn’t dream of it. She's not the one who deserves my wrath.
That asshole of a fiancé, I hope I can refer to him as her ex-fiancé. He doesn't deserve her.
Madisyn quietly exits the bedroom and closes the door behind herself, leaving us alone.
"Where the hell is Cannon?" I ask, folding my arms across my chest. Is she planning on skipping town to get away from that bastard?
Her brow tightens, and her nose crinkles at my question. "What?"
It's almost cute if I weren't growing irritated that she's considering leaving New York and has no intention of telling me the truth. "I had to hear it from Bay that you're moving."
Hannah's eyes light up as she understands what I'm asking. "The Cayman Islands."
"No, I mean I don't want to." Hannah drops her head into her hands, her face down toward her lap. "Mark insists that we're moving to the Caymans when we get married."
"You're still planning on marrying him?"
I sit next to Hannah on the bed, my legs brushing against hers as the bed dips.
"No, but I haven't exactly broken it off with him yet, either. I snuck out with Bay when he went to take a shower." Her voice cracks, and I wrap my arm around her shoulders.
Instantly, she leans her head into my shoulder and emits a sharp gasp like she's trying not to cry. "Whatever you need, I'm here."
I want to pound that asshole's head into the pavement, but I don't imagine Hannah will appreciate the gesture. Although it might be worth her disapproving stare, I don't want to frighten her.
"Thank you," Hannah says and emits a heavy sigh.
She rests a hand on my thigh, and my cock twitches in my trousers. Just one touch, and my body responds, eager to please her, but that isn't what she wants or needs from me. I rest my hand on hers, resting her palm back on her lap.
It's the adrenaline and her scent pumping hormones into the air. I clear my throat and stand, needing to clear my head before I do something stupid, like kiss her.
That's the last thing she wants from me. "You've done well raising Bay," I say, attempting to change the subject.
Her gaze rises to meet my heated stare.