Colton made sure to take Renee’s hand whenever he could, to touch her arm, her shoulder. He didn’t want to, but he knew Mr. White was watching him closely.
Renee was asking them about their trip when her phone rang. She excused herself, leaving Colton alone with her parents.
“So, what is it you do?” Mrs. White asked.
“I own Savage Enterprises.” He explained. “We make plastic parts for other industries.”
“Cars and the like?” Mr. White asked.
Colton nodded. “Savage E. Is a private company. I also hold majority shares in a few other ventures, that are publicly traded.”
“And you are Spanish.”
“I was born here. My mother was Spanish and my father American.”
Mr. White nodded. “From the East Coast?”
He laughed. “I can hear it in your vowels.”
Colton smiled. “My teachers hated it. I can’t roll my ‘r’ s right, either.”
Renee returned. Colton frowned at her. She was smiling brightly, plopping down next to him on the couch.
“Who was that?” Her mother asked.
“Oh, just Stephen.” She answered with a shrug. “He’d heard what happened. So, you went up Mammoth Falls?”
Colton scowled at her. She met his eye for an instant, her smile faltering. Colton let it be. For now.
“Who is he?” He demanded the instant he shut the door on her parents.
Renee frowned at him. “Who?”
She went red. “Nobody.”
“Who?” he insisted, moving to block the doorway back to the living room. “Your boyfriend?”
She glared up at him. “That’s none of your business.”
“Yes it is.” He snapped, his head aching. Again. He needed to call his doctor. “You said you didn’t have a boyfriend.”
“I never said that.”
He gaped at her. “Why didn’t you tell me, then?” He took a deep breath, lowering his voice. “Renee, do you have a boyfriend? A fiance? Anything?”
“No.” She said firmly. “Stephen and I haven’t been together for a while. He was just worried about me.”
“What did he say that upset you?”
She frowned at him. “What?”
“When you came back in, you were angry. Don’t deny it!” he snapped before she could say anything. “What did he say?”
She thought for a moment, just watching him. Finally, “He hasn’t quite accepted that I ended it.”
Colton groaned, rubbing his temples. “I have a headache.” He muttered to no one in particular.
“Come on.” She took his arm and dragged him into the kitchen. “Drink some water. You’re probably dehydrated.”
He sipped at the glass she gave him.
“What happened?” he asked.
“What do you mean?”
“Between you and him. Stephen.” He scowled.
Renee paid very careful attention to folding a towel just so. “It just didn’t work out.”
She glared at him. “That is none of your business.” She said, her voice hard. “Take some Tylenol or something and go to bed early.” She left. He listened to her stomp up the stairs and slam her door shut.
The glass shattered against the stone back splash, sending water everywhere.
Rosa looked in from the utility room. Colton stormed out, his head still aching.