31. Artist/Aider and Abettor of Fugitives

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Nicky's POV

I take a turn off the paved road and onto a long dirt and gravel one. Though I've only ever been here once before, I know the road lasts for about five miles and is relatively well taken care of. No potholes, no sudden dips or bumps. So long as someone has a vehicle capable of going off-road, they'll be fine.

Ryder stares out the window as we start down the road, the sound of shifting gravel under the tires and trees surrounding us as I drive us further into the forested area.

"Are you sure you know where you're going?" Ryder questions me for like the fiftieth time.

I feel like telling him to get out and he can walk the rest of the way. Tempting, but I don't do it.

"Yes," I reply again.

"So, this Quinn guy's totally okay with you just showing up whenever you feel like it?"

I frown at him when I detect something in his tone. Though, I can't identify exactly what it is.

"Yes . . ." I trail off as he picks his sunglasses up out of the cupholder and slides them over his eyes. "Is there something wrong with that?"

He crosses his arms over his chest. "I didn't say anything."

"Your mouth says one thing, your body language says another," I mutter.

Ryder ignores me and asks another question. "Who is this guy?" He questions. "I mean, I know you said he's a friend but what else?"

I frown at him in confusion. "What else? What do you mean by what else?"

Ryder mutters something under his breath that I don't completely catch. I do catch the words, "incredibly stupid." Gee, thanks.

"In my experience," Ryder says. "The only guys-or girls for that matter-that are okay with someone from the opposite sex showing up uninvited whenever they want, is because they're either a relative or . . ." He trails off.

I wait for him to finish but he doesn't. Though he doesn't have to, because I suddenly understand what he's saying. A wide smile spreads across my face and I bite my lip to try and hide it.

"Or they're what? Lovers?" I suggest innocently. Ryder says nothing but I know I'm right. "Well," I start nonchalantly but slowly add more of a suggestive tone. "Quinn and I have been known to share a bed on occasion."

What he doesn't need to know is that the bed was always being shared in an entirely non-romantic way. Plus, we hardly ever ended up waking in the same bed. We're both restless sleepers, so more often than not one of us would kick the other off in our sleep.

Ryder doesn't need to know this.

I can feel his gaze in the side of my head and I have to continue to bite my lip to keep from falling into a fit of uncontrollable laughter.

Ryder says nothing, though I notice his entire body is tense and his gaze is entirely too focused on the scenery around us once he stops staring at me.

"You're awfully quiet," I comment innocently. "If I didn't know any better, I'd think you were jealous." I notice his cheeks start to turn pink. I struggle to keep my smile to a minimum. "Which of course, is completely ridiculous. Isn't it?"

Ryder blows out a breath. "Yes, completely ridiculous," He agrees. "What do I care who you have relations with?"

"Oh good," I say simply. "Glad we've sorted that out." Though, you should know that I don't believe you for a second and I'm going to bite a hole through my lip if I have to contain my laughter any longer.

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