“Hell if I know,” Max confessed both to himself and Ice. Casey wouldn’t forgive him easily, and he was still unsure how much of himself he was willing to give to Casey.
* * *
It took two months before Jackal admitted he was unable to find Casey. Max was sitting on the couch when Jackal told him. His father had been just as unsuccessful finding out any information on her.
“She’s closed all her accounts, hasn’t asked for any references. I couldn’t find her brother Cole, either. I started searching for him when Casey tried to snitch us out. Seems like neither of them want to be found.”
Mason quit playing pool, listening to their conversation. Max studied the man who used to be married to Renee.
“No. Sounds like she doesn’t want to be found. How long you going to keep acting like a pussy? I like Casey, but even I can see she doesn’t want anything to do with you.” Mason bent over, making his shot.
“I think he’s right. She gave the bank her resignation a month before she disappeared. Casey was planning on leaving before the brothers told her you were trying to fuck her over.” Jackal grabbed Crush as she passed. “Maybe it’s time you moved on, brother.”
Max reached up, taking Crush’s hand and tugging her down onto his lap. Her arms circled his shoulders. It didn’t feel the same as when Casey had touched him, but Jackal was right: it was time he moved on and forgot about Casey.
“Want me to keep looking?”
“No. Leave it alone. The best thing about pussy is that they’re all alike.” He had always been able to replace a woman. Casey would be no different. Hell, he had only wanted to tell her goodbye, anyway.
After not fucking a woman for two months, he consoled himself with the feel of Crush under his hands. Some goodbyes weren’t said with words but actions, and Casey had said goodbye two months ago. Now it was time to say his.
“Hey, trouble,” Max greeted Vida, Colton’s wife, as he placed a hand on Maxie’s back, pushing her farther into the tattoo shop. He had picked her up at the dance studio next to the tattoo shop Colton owned.
“Hi, Max.” Vida smiled up at him from behind the desk. “What brings you in today? Another tattoo?”
“No.” He laughed good-naturedly. “I wanted to stop by and pick up the book of sketches Colton made for me. He said you finally decided which headboard you want me to make.”
“I’m so excited! I really like the ones in the furniture store, but Colton wanted one out of a different wood. He drew up a beautiful design.”
“It will be when Max gets finished with it,” Colton said, coming into the room from the back of the store. “Come on out back and I’ll show you. Maxie can hang out with Vida.”
Max followed Colton to the back to study the drawings.
“I like it. It’s going to take me a few weeks to make it, though.” The brother had an eye for detail that was going to take longer to complete.
“No problem. It will be worth it when it’s done. Go on back out front with Vida, and I’ll make some copies for you.”
“Okay.” Max left.
As he approached the doorway, he heard Maxie and Vida talking. Maxie had gotten to know Vida when she attended picnics or birthday parties.
“I really miss her. I could talk to her.”
Max stopped, listening to the conversation. He knew Maxie was talking about Casey. Every time his daughter had mentioned her, he had changed the subject, telling her Casey had moved away.
“I can see how you would miss her. I’m sure Casey misses you, too. I didn’t know her very well, but she was a nice person,” Vida told her.
“You met Casey?” Max’s curiosity had him stepping into the room.
Vida glanced toward him. “I saw you two together at the concert, and Colton told me you were seeing each other.” Max guessed that wasn’t all Colton had discussed about them.
Sensing he wasn’t happy with Colton, Vida explained, “I asked him about Casey. It had been a long time since I had seen her.”
“How did you know her?” Max casually leaned across the desk, crossing his arms over his chest.
“Sawyer and I both know Casey.”
Max was surprised they knew each other. Queen City was large.
“She stayed for a while in an apartment building that we lived in. Well, Casey and her brother, Cole.”
“You knew Cole, too?”
“Not very well. She and Cole kept to themselves. When we were out on the playground, Sawyer, Callie, and I would try to play with them, but they usually just stuck together. She lived down the hall from us. My mother and I could hear the arguments coming from there. Usually, they would go outside and play until the fighting stopped.” Vida stood, going to the coffee pot in the corner to pour herself a cup before facing him again. She brushed her long dark hair from her face with a trembling hand.