Navy Wife Page 3

"Did you hear me?" Rush asked, his narrowed gaze following her deliberate movements.

"I’ll be out before morning," was the only answer she would give him, and she forced those words to come out as stiffly as starched sheets.

It gave Lindy fleeting satisfaction to witness the surprise in Rush’s eyes. He stared at her almost as if he’d been looking forward to an argument, to sharpening his wits on hers. Apparently he’d thought she would stand up and issue some kind of challenge. Well, Lindy just wasn’t in the mood to put up much of a fight. If he wanted her out, then fine, she’d pack her bags and leave.

Wordlessly she opened the dishwasher and set the glass inside. His eyes followed her suspiciously, apparently disliking her cool compliance. For the first time he looked unsettled, as though it was on the tip of his tongue to suggest that she could stay until morning. But if the thought crossed his mind, that was as far as it went. He said nothing. Lindy supposed he was right. She could see no reason to prolong the inevitable. But damn it all, she’d never felt so helpless and lost in her life. A condemned man walking to the hangman’s noose had as many options as she seemed to have at the moment.

Lindy turned and left the kitchen. She tried to walk away proudly, but her shoulders sagged with abject defeat. She heard the kitchen chair scrape against the floor as Rush stood and followed her.

Standing in the doorway to her bedroom, Rush glanced at his watch. Lindy pulled out her suitcase from under the bed and looked in the direction of her clock radio, noting the late hour.

As though it went against his better judgment, Rush stuck his hand in his uniform pocket and murmured. "Listen, tomorrow morning is soon enough."

"Not for me, it isn’t."

"What do you mean?"

"Never mind," Lindy said with a righteous sigh.

"Lord, how like a woman," Rush murmured to the ceiling, the words tight and controlled. "She tosses a dart at me and then refuses to acknowledge it. What she really wants me to know is that she couldn’t bear to be in the same room with me. Well, honeybunch, the feeling is mutual!"

Some of Lindy’s control slipped at his taunt, and she angrily jerked a blouse off a hanger. "I don’t suppose you stopped to think that I didn’t move in here without an invitation. Steve invited me. I have his letter right here to prove it if you’d take the time to read – "

"Unfortunately Steve didn’t clear this cozy little arrangement with me," he interrupted, "and I have no intention of sharing this place with you or any other female."

"You men think you’re really something, don’t you?" Lindy cried, jerking yet another blouse from a hanger. "You like being in control, dictating whatever you wish on nothing more than a whim."

He looked surprised that she’d revealed any emotion. Good heavens, just what did he expect from her?

Lindy didn’t know, and at this point she simply didn’t care. When she’d finished emptying her closet, she whirled around to face him.

"All along Steve’s been telling me what a great friend you are, a terrific guy. You should meet him, Lindy. I know you’d like him," she said sarcastically, mimicking her brother’s praise. She cast Rush a disparaging look. "Some roommate you turned out to be. I’ll tell you one thing, mister…"

"Spare me, would you?"

"No." Lindy slammed the lid of her suitcase closed. "You’re all alike. Every last one of you is just like Paul."


Her index finger flew at his chest and she heaved back in indignation. "Don’t you dare mention his name to me. Ever!"

"Lady, you brought him up, I didn’t!"

"That was a mistake. But then I seem to be making a lot of those lately."

"Your biggest one was moving in here."

"Tell me about it," she returned with a sneer. "Well, you needn’t worry. I’ll be out of your way in a few minutes." She yanked the suitcase off the bed and reached for her coat, preparing to leave. Boldly she paused and raised her eyes to meet his. With her lips curved upward, she regarded him with open disdain. "Steve is really going to be upset about this."

"I’ll deal with him later." The look he was giving her said that if anyone had a right to be angry, it was him. As though Steve had been the one to let him down.

With a carefully manufactured calm, Lindy stopped at the front door, set down her suitcase and slipped the key to the apartment off her chain.

Rush held out his hand and she pressed it into his waiting palm. Once again he looked as if he wanted to say that she could stay until morning. She didn’t know what stopped him – probably his pride. Men had to have their pride. No doubt he was aware that she’d take delight in throwing the invitation back in his face.

Lindy watched as Rush’s dark eyes narrowed, then she sadly shook her head. For years she’d been hearing Rush’s name exalted. According to Steve, Rush Callaghan was both an officer and a gentleman. In the space of fifteen minutes, Lindy had quickly discovered he was neither.

"Bad judgment must run in the family," she said, more for her own ears than his. "If Steve thinks you’re so wonderful, then my mistake about Paul seems like a minor miscalculation of character." With that she picked up her lone suitcase and pulled open the front door.

Rush’s hand reached out and gripped her shoulder, stopping her. "Family? What exactly do you mean by that?"

"Steve Kyle, my brother. You know, the man who pays half the rent for this place? The one who wrote and claimed I was welcome to live here until I found a job?"

His fingers closed painfully over her shoulder and his eyes simmered with impatient anger. "Why the hell didn’t you say you were Steve’s sister?" He reached for her suitcase, stripped it from her hands and jerked her back inside the apartment. Rush slammed the door shut after her and studied her as though seeing her for the first time.

"Don’t tell me you didn’t know!" she shouted back. "Just who the hell did you think I was?" The answer to that was all too obvious and a heated flash of bright color invaded her neck and cheeks. "Oh, honestly, that’s… disgusting."

Rush raked his fingers through his hair in an agitated movement and walked a few steps past her before turning around to confront her once more. "Listen, I didn’t know. Honest."

"Does this mean I’m welcome to spend the night in my own brother’s apartment?"

He let that taunt pass. "Yes, of course."

"How generous of you."

Rush picked up the suitcase and carried it back into Steve’s bedroom, his jerky movements revealing both his chagrin and his anger. Lindy followed him, no longer sure what to make of this man. She knew Steve’s invitation had been a spur of the moment thing. The two men easily could have gotten their wires crossed. From experience Lindy knew how letters could get held up in the military, and it was likely that Rush hadn’t known she was planning on moving in. Still that didn’t excuse his arrogant attitude toward her.

Lindy was two steps behind the man who Steve claimed was his best friend. Rush set the suitcase back on top of the mattress and hesitated before turning around to face her once more.

"I apologize. Okay?"

She answered him with an abrupt nod. His apology was followed by a short, uneasy silence. Lindy didn’t know what to say. After a tense moment, she murmured. "I think the entire incident is best forgotten."

"Good." Rush buried his hands in his pockets, looking as uncomfortable as Lindy felt. "Of course you’re welcome to stay in the apartment as long as you like. I’m hoping to be out of here by the end of the week."

"I thought you’d already left. I mean…"

Apparently he knew what she meant. "I had, but there were some mechanical difficulties and the Mitchell is back in the shipyard for repairs."

"For a week?" After nearly drowning in love and concern from her parents, Lindy had been looking forward to living alone. Well, so much for that – at least for now.

"Possibly longer, but don’t worry about it. You’re welcome to stay," Rush murmured, still looking uncomfortable.

Lindy guessed that he didn’t often make apologies. "Thanks, but I have no intention of burdening you any longer than necessary. As soon as I’ve found a job, I’ll be on my way."

"‘Night," Rush said abruptly, taking a step in retreat.

"Good night," Lindy returned with a weak, dispirited smile.

Rush walked out of the room and Lindy closed it in his wake and leaned against the frame. Her mind was whirling. She knew even before she climbed between the sheets that she wasn’t likely to sleep any time soon. Rest, like contentment, had been a fleeting commodity these past few weeks.

Rush smelled fresh coffee when he woke the next morning. With some reluctance, he climbed out of bed and dressed. He’d made a heel of himself and he wasn’t eager to face Steve’s sister with his head throbbing and his mouth tasting like something floating in a skid-row gutter. After he’d left Lindy the night before, he’d tried to sleep, given up an hour later and gone back to drink the rest of the six-pack of beer and watch television. Now he was suffering the consequences of his folly.

He sat for a moment on the edge of his bed, his head in his hands. For years he’d heard stories about his friend’s younger sister. How intelligent she was, how clever, how pretty. Steve was more than fond of his sister. He adored her and now Rush had gone and insulted her, and in the process maligned his best friend. He should have realized that Steve wasn’t fool enough to set a woman up in their apartment. Hell, Steve was still so much in love with his ex-wife that he couldn’t see straight.

Damn it all, Rush mused, irritated with himself. He shouldn’t have downed those first two beers. If his head had been clearer, he might have recognized her name.

Rush frowned. He vaguely recalled Steve telling him about some fancy job with a large insurance company that was supposed to be waiting for Lindy once she graduated from college. Come to think of it, he thought Steve had said she was engaged to be married this summer, as well. He wondered what she was doing in Seattle, but after their poor beginning he wasn’t about to drill her about her job or problems with her fiancé.

Lindy sat at the kitchen table with the morning newspaper spread out in front of her. She chose to ignore Rush. As far as she was concerned the man had all the sensitivity of a woman-hating Neanderthal. Okay, so they were going to be sharing the apartment for a while. A week, he’d said. She could last that long if he could.

Rush walked over to the coffeepot, poured himself a cup, then muttered something that sounded faintly like a growl. Lindy supposed that was his own prehistoric version of "good morning." She responded in kind.

"What was that?" he demanded.


"That disgusting little noise you just made."

"I was just wishing you a good morning."

Read Daily Updated Light Novel, Web Novel, Chinese Novel, Japanese And Korean Novel Online: NovelFull
Prev page Next page