After the door had slammed shut behind them, Damon’s vision flashed red. He smashed a garden gnome sitting by the front step with his heel, then charged at Hackett’s car and kicked the wheel well, leaving dents in the metal with his steel-toed boots.
Behind him, Miranda yelled, “Stop it, Damon! Stop!” before attempting to take his arm to pull him away. He grabbed hold of her wrists and spun her around, throwing her back against the car and holding her pinned.
“You’re not going to breathe a word of what happened in there,” he hissed. “Not. One. Word.”
“Why?” she asked, her chest heaving. “We can use it to our advantage. She attacked you! We can request a psych eval, and question her competency as a mother. If you want to make their lives miserable, then this is the best way to do it!”
“You’ll only humiliate us in the process.” Damon’s eyes pierced as he leaned closer to Miranda to whisper, “She was retaliating against me.”
“What do you mean?” Her eyes grew wide, and she tried to pull her hands away from Damon’s grip, but he held her firmly in place.
“I had her like this.” Damon grasped the hair at the back of Miranda’s head, holding her so their noses almost touched. “And I kissed her.” Then he let Miranda go and turned away, staring down at his hand. “I didn’t mean to rip her fucking hair out, but I didn’t expect her to push me away. That bastard saw it, too, so if we make any noise about what Alice did, he’s going to counter with sexual assault.”
“Get in my car,” Miranda said firmly as she pointed to her vehicle. “We’ll discuss it in there.” Her eyes darted to Gertie’s house, frowning when she saw one of the curtains move. Damon’s gaze followed hers, and without another word he stomped to Miranda’s car to sit in the passenger seat. It wasn’t until after Miranda had started the engine and pulled away from the curb that she exploded, “What the hell were you thinking?!”
“I don’t know,” Damon muttered sullenly.
“What do you mean you don’t know?” Miranda’s voice grew shrill. “After all of the steps we’ve taken to put you on solid ground, you went and sexually assaulted her? You told me that you wanted a chance to speak with her alone to smooth things over, and I trusted you!”
“No, we are going to talk. I won’t let this rest until you tell me why you did it. Go ahead and say it, I’m all ears.” Miranda suddenly braked and pulled off to the side of the road, putting the car into ‘park’ so she could turn and glare at Damon with her arms folded. “C’mon. Why?”
“She was mine!” He suddenly smashed both of his fists down onto the dashboard.
“Don’t you dare hurt my car,” Miranda said coldly. “And it doesn’t matter who you think she belongs to, legally speaking she’s married to the warden. You got that? Based on your performance today, I think it would be a good idea to never let you near her again.”
Damon buried his face in his hands, then ran his fingers through his hair to the back of his head and looked up at the ceiling of the car. “I’m fucking going to pieces. This was a bad idea.”
“No … I think we can salvage the situation.” Miranda drummed her fingers on the steering wheel. “You got caught up in your emotions because you’re still in love with her, and you didn’t realize that your advances were unwanted.”
“That’s a load of bullshit.”
“Only if we can’t convince anyone else of it. Just say that you thought she was coming on to you because she said a few suggestive things – it’s not like there was anyone around to prove otherwise.”
The corners of Damon’s mouth twitched into a sly grin as he said, “Damn. You might be more evil than I am.”
“I’m a winner, that’s all.” Miranda pulled back out onto the road to resume driving.
“Come back to my motel room with me. I need to blow off some steam.”
“Pardon me?” She bristled as her head snapped around, her eyes narrowing suspiciously before she looked back to the road.
“Oh, uh – not like that. I just need some company right now,” Damon answered, staring out the window as he sullenly added, “You’re the only person I can talk to.”
Miranda unconsciously chewed on her lip as she thought, then slowly answered, “I guess that I can spare a little bit of time.”
“Between seeing my kid for the first time and what happened with Alice, I feel like I could explode. Normally I’d get high, but …” Damon turned towards Miranda, a mischievous expression playing on his lips. “I’m supposed to be rehabilitating.”
“Ha! I saw more of that baby than you did. Do you seriously expect me to believe that you actually care about your daughter?”
“I do care,” he muttered. “It’s just that she’s a baby, and I ain’t exactly lactating at the moment.”
“You could have held her for awhile, or done something to show interest.”
“Nah. Alice would never let me touch her.” Damon was silent as they pulled into the parking lot at the motel, but before Miranda turned off the engine he began, “So, were you and the warden …” he trailed off.
“Why do you ask?” Miranda asked defensively.
“The way you talked to him sounded like you had a history, and I thought I saw something in his expression when he looked at you, like a sort of sadness.”
“Ha!” Miranda snorted. “You’re definitely lying about that. Are you trying to make me feel better?”
Damon placed his hand over his heart. “I solemnly swear to you that I’m not lying.”
“Since you asked, yes, we were together – for a good long while, too. But he hates my guts now, because I’m a fucking baby murderer. Does that answer your question?”
“Hey.” He reached over to touch Miranda’s shoulder and give it a small squeeze. “You can tell me about it.”
“Basil has all of these stupid idealistic notions, so when I told him I was pregnant he got it into his head that we should get married and have a family. But he never once considered what I needed or wanted; he just assumed that I’d give up my entire life and everything I worked for because of an accident. Well, I didn’t play along with what he wanted, so he threw me out. I was stuck in hotel rooms with all of my things in storage for a couple of weeks before I was able to find an apartment.”
“Sounds like a total dick.”
“He’s a self-righteous control freak.” Miranda clenched the steering wheel tighter for a moment, her knuckles turning white before she relaxed. “We had our moments, though. Honestly, if I had a chance at fixing him, I would take him back. There were times when he was incredibly thoughtful and charming, and he made me feel special.”
“I think that you’d be better off moving on.”
Miranda rolled her eyes. “You’re going to say that too, huh?”
“Because it’s true. You’re too smart and beautiful to be hung up on a loser who’s married. Get yourself someone even better.”
She tsked in response. “I don’t need a man. I’m happy with everything I have.”
“Maybe.” He touched her chin with his fingers and slowly turned her to face him. “But I think that sometimes you get lonely in the middle of the night.” Damon then opened the car door and jumped out, motioning for Miranda to follow.
She let out a heady breath as she closed her eyes and brushed a strand of hair behind her ear, then exited her car as well. Damon grinned widely as he led her up to a motorcycle, and patted the handlebars as he said, “Miranda, it’s about time you met my pride and joy. This is my woman, my baby, and my freedom, all rolled up into one.”
“It’s shiny.” She shrugged.
Damon hopped on, straddling the motorcycle as he kicked the starter and the motor roared to life, then idled with a loud purr. “Let’s go for a ride.”
“Oh, no, no,” Miranda protested. “Motorcycles really aren’t my scene.”
“It’ll be fine.” He patted the seat behind him. “Just make sure you hold on tight.”
“I’m serious. I have no interest at all in riding around on a death trap.” She folded her arms stubbornly.
“But don’t you ever feel like being rebellious? I promise that I’ll drive slow and avoid traffic.”
Miranda hesitated, then caved. “Fine.” She climbed on behind Damon and wrapped her arms around his waist. “Don’t you have any helmets or anything?”
“Nope!” He laughed as he took off, the tires squealing slightly as he made a sharp turn and sped off down the road. Miranda shrieked and clung onto him for dear life.