"Yes, but it was an accident. The officer came up from behind him and I’m sure he thought it was another student jumping on him. Wren didn’t see who it was until after he’d struck the officer."
Bill narrowed his sharp gaze on her. "You willing to testify to that?"
"Good," he said with a smile. She could tell that Bill was going to get Wren out of trouble. Thank goodness.
"So who is this kid that he got you out at dinnertime to spring him?" Mr. Givry asked.
Her lawyer continued to frown, as did Marguerite.
"Should I know that name?" her lawyer asked.
"Tigarian Technologies," Dr. Alexander explained. "He was the only child to Aristotle Tigarian and the sole heir to their entire international empire."
Marguerite gaped at that. Tigarian Technologies was second only to Microsoft in the corporate world. "Why does he work as a busboy?"
Julian gave her a pointed look. "Why does the daughter of a prominent senator go to Tulane and not Princeton, Harvard, or Yale?"
"I like New Orleans."
"And Wren has no interest in running his father’s company," Bill said. "He’d rather leave it to the management in charge."
Still it didn’t make any sense to her. Wren didn’t live like a wealthy man. He lived like a vagrant.
Bill looked past her shoulder, then scowled. "Hey!" he shouted. "Take the damn cuffs off the man. There’s no need in embarrassing him. He’s not a criminal."
The police officers with Wren gave Bill a sinister smirk. "Yeah, right, you didn’t see the way he tore through those bikers. This ‘kid’ could give Mike Tyson a run for his money."
Marguerite’s heart pounded as she saw Wren. He had a black eye, and his lip was swollen. The police officer gave a vicious turn of the cuff before he opened it. Wren looked up as if he sensed her presence and pinned her with a gimlet stare.
A tremor of heat went through her. There was something so unsettling about him, and at the same time a part of her was drawn to him even against her common sense.
Bill cast a murderous glare at the officers. "Look at him. Has he seen a doctor?"
"He didn’t want no doctor."
Bill shook his head. "You okay, Wren?"
Wren nodded as he rubbed his wrists.
Marguerite crossed the distance between them, grateful that he was out of danger.
"Are you sure you’re all right?" she asked, brushing the hair away from his face so that she could inspect the damage they’d done to his eye.
He nuzzled her hand ever so slightly before he nodded. "I’m okay. What are you doing here?"
"I was trying to bail you out."
He looked surprised by that. "Really?"
He gave her a hesitant smile.
"You want me to call Carson?" Bill asked.
Wren shook his head.
"You want me to give you a ride home?" she asked Wren.
By the look on the men’s faces, she could tell they were as stunned by his acceptance as she was.
Bill cleared his throat. "You sure you don’t want me to take you back?"
Wren shook his head and it was then she realized the only person he’d spoken to so far had been her.
As Marguerite fished her keys from her purse, she saw the outside door open. To her complete shock, Blaine and two of the other frat boys who’d attacked Wren were being led inside the building in handcuffs.
"This is ridiculous!" Blaine was snarling. "My lawyer will have all of your badges for this. Do you hear me!" He froze as he saw Mr. Givry beside her. "Tom! Get me out of this."
His expression concerned, her lawyer went over to Blaine and told him to calm down.
"What are the charges?" Mr. Givry asked the officers.
It was Bill who answered. "Oh, let’s see, assault, battery, fighting words, slander, offensive touching, public drunkenness, trespassing, hate crime, and anything else I can think of to toss at him."
Mr. Givry gave Bill an irritated glare. "You’re pressing the charges?"
Bill gave him what could only be called a shit-eating grin. "Yep. I swore out that warrant as soon as I got off the phone with Wren. You should counsel your client to be careful who he insults and attacks. Not only did he attack Wren on campus, but also last night at the local bar Sanctuary, where I have plenty of eyewitnesses who will gladly testify to his belligerent and drunken behavior. Ever heard the expression ‘never pull a tiger by the tail’ ? Well, by the time I get through with your client, he and his family will be lucky to have a toothpick left to call their own."
"You’ve got to be kidding me," Blaine snarled.
Mr. Givry sighed. "No, Blaine, he’s not. I’ll go call your father and-"
"There’s no hurry," Bill said in an emotionless tone. "I can assure you the lot of them will be spending the night in jail."
Mr. Givry gave him a stern frown. "You can’t do that, Bill. They’re good boys, from good families."
"So is Wren and it’s already done. Maybe next time, they’ll think twice before they make assumptions about someone." Bill opened his briefcase and pulled out a piece of paper, which he handed to Mr. Givry. "I’ve also sworn out a restraining order that will be served to your client when he leaves here. If he comes near my client again, he’s going to seriously regret it."
Bill looked back at Blaine. "While we’re at it, if I were you, I’d warn him that if he insists on pressing charges against my client, he will be implicating Ms. Goudeau in the wrongdoing, since she was the host at Tulane for Wren. We wouldn’t want to impugn the good senator’s daughter now, would we?"
Blaine rushed at Wren, only to have the police pull him back. "I’ll get you for this, you prick."
"Shut up, Blaine!" Mr. Givry snapped. "You’re already in enough trouble."
Bill added a speculative look at Blaine, who was being dragged toward a small hallway. "We’ll be adding threat to do bodily harm to those charges as well."
The police hauled Blaine and his friends off.
Mr. Givry looked disgusted. "You’re not going to make this easy on me, are you, Bill?"
"Not at all. You’ll definitely be earning your keep on this case."
Mr. Givry let out a tired sigh. "All right. I’ll call you in the morning and see what we can work out."
Bill put his hand on Wren’s shoulder, then jerked it back as Wren literally growled at him. "Sorry," he said. "I’ll, um… I’ll call you later."
Kyrian and Julian paused.
"You sure you wouldn’t rather we take you home?" Kyrian asked Wren.
Wren shook his head.
"All right, then. Stay out of trouble."
Marguerite indicated the door with a tilt of her head. "You ready to go?"
He nodded. And as they headed out, she noticed that he was rubbing at his injured shoulder. "Do you need to go to the hospital?"
"No, I just need to rest for a while."
"Are you sure?"
"Positive. Just take me home, okay?"
She led him to her Mercedes, which was parked under a streetlight. "I didn’t know you were related to Tigerian Technologies."
He stared at her over the top of her car. "Does it matter?"
"Then why should I talk about it?"
He had a point with that. "Why do you live in New Orleans if the company is based out of New York?"
He shrugged. "I don’t like New York. Too many people. Too much noise. Too cold in the winter. I don’t like being cold."
She supposed that made sense. Offering him a smile, she got into the car and waited for him to join her. He quickly sat down, slammed the door, and buckled himself in.
"Did they feed you while you were in there?" she asked. "Would you like to stop somewhere on the way back and get something to eat?"
"What would you like?"
"I don’t care. I’ll eat anything not Tylenol or chocolate."
"That’s a strange list."
"Not to me."
Okay… he was an odd man.
Marguerite headed out of the parking lot while Wren pulled his things out of the manilla envelope that the police had given him. "Was it bad in there?"
He paused to look up at her. "It certainly wasn’t the highlight of my life."
She smiled at his sarcasm. "What happened to cause the jail fight?"
He slid his wallet into his pocket. "They thought it would be fun to knock around the ‘kid’ and show off their manhood. I thought it would be fun to knock a couple of them unconscious."
Well, she could understand that. He did have a unique take on things. "Do you always get into fights like this?"
"No," he said in a low tone as he snapped his Timex onto his arm. "I don’t like to fight. I’d rather be left alone. But if someone else starts it…"
"You finish it."
He nodded. "My father used to say that it’s not enough to just beat an attacker off. You have to hurt them enough that they’ll know not to tangle with you anymore. Or preferably, kill them."
"Sounds like our fathers have a lot in common."
Wren didn’t comment. Instead, he gestured toward the left. "McDonald’s would be good."
She wrinkled her nose at the thought. "You really eat there?"
"It’s good stuff."
She cringed at the thought. She’d only seen their food in commercials and had never really considered trying it out for herself. "I don’t know about that. I’m not sure I like the idea of fast food." But she pulled in and got in line at the drive-thru.
Wren gave her a suspicious look. "Don’t tell me you’ve never eaten here."
"Where do you eat then?"
"Restaurants or at the campus meal hall." She pulled around to the speaker and lowered her window. "This is so weird, to get food like this."
He grinned at her before he leaned over her lap and answered the woman who had asked what they wanted. "I’ll have twelve Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fish, three Double Quarter Pounders with Cheese, four apple pies, six large fries, and a large vanilla shake." He looked at her. "You want something?"
She arched both brows as she stared at him and his unbelievably large order. "You’re not seriously going to eat all that by yourself, are you?"
He looked stricken by her words. "Am I doing something wrong?"
"No," she said quickly. "Not if you’re hungry. I’ve just never seen anyone eat like that before."
He gave her a confused frown. "I do it all the time."
"And you stay so thin? I’d be bigger than a house."
"Would you like anything else?" the voice asked over the intercom.
She glanced over the menu. "I’ll have a cheeseburger meal with a Coke."
Marguerite’s eyes actually widened at the total before the server told them to drive around. Who knew fast food could be so expensive?
Wren pulled out his wallet and handed Marguerite the money to pay for it. He sat back in his seat and watched the way the light played in her dark hair. She was so beautiful to him.
While they waited, he reached out to touch her cheek with the back of his fingers. The softness of her skin amazed him. It also made him hard and aching for her.
She turned her head to smile at him. The expression hit him like a sledgehammer and left him oddly dazed. She cocked her head as if studying him in turn. "How do you get your hair to do that?"
"I don’t know. You just kind of twist it and it holds."
"How do you wash it?"
He shrugged. "Same as anyone else. You put shampoo on it and run water through it."
Frowning, she reached out to touch a strand. She smiled and wrinkled her nose. "It feels so strange. Kind of like wool." She dropped her hand and pulled up to the window.
Wren sat quietly as he thought about her words. He’d started wearing the dreadlocks to keep other people away from him, and it’d worked. Most people curled their lips in repugnance and immediately cut him a wide berth, which was fine by him. He’d never really liked being touched. But he wouldn’t mind Maggie stroking his hair.
She handed him the change, then his food. Wren opened a Big Mac and took care to eat it like a human, but it was really hard. His kind only ate every three to four days, and he was extremely hungry. In truth, this wasn’t enough food. It was only enough to tide him over until he could get back to Sanctuary and eat the rest of what he needed.
He picked up a fry and offered it to her.
Smiling, she took it from his hand and ate it.
Wren watched her closely. She had no idea what a feat that had been for him. His kind didn’t share food with anyone or anything when they were hungry. They would fight to the death for a tiny morsel. Yet he wanted to take care of her. It was such a peculiar feeling.
If he didn’t know better, he’d think she was his mate. But Katagaria didn’t mate to humans. It wasn’t possible.
Marguerite drove through the congested streets as she watched Wren from the corner of her eye. He didn’t speak as he ate. But then, he didn’t speak much anyway.