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“Sanders? Yeah, I know.”

“Well, yes, he's good looking, too, but I meant the other one.”


“No, the one who comes at night.”

“At night!?”

“Yes. The man with those blue eyes. I swear, it's like he's looking straight through me.”

Pretty accurate description. Tate had almost had a panic attack. She hadn't seen Jameson, or heard from him, at all – he had asked her to leave, she had gone. She figured that had been the end of it. He didn't care about her. In fact, it was now painfully obvious that he had never cared about her.

You're such a stupid girl – only you would fall for the devil. Only you would be stupid enough to think he'd fall for you, as well.

Tate hadn't wanted to talk to him. The whole situation made her feel ill. Made her feel like passing out. Jameson. Petrushka. A pool. Everything. She had never been entirely normal, but Jameson had driven her straight to the center of crazy-town and dropped her ass off. How could a human being do that? Punish someone, just for liking him? Talking dirty to her in bed was one thing; hurting her soul was quite another. As slutty and masochistic as she was, even Tate had her limits.

She knew she had to claw her way back to some semblance of normal, so she gathered as much courage as she could – which wasn't much – and waited up for him on her last night in the hospital. It hadn't gone well. She hadn't been able to handle the strange, sad look in his eyes. He wasn't allowed to be sad, not when he was part of the problem. Tate may have driven herself straight into that pool, but Jameson had driven Petrushka between them. He did not get to be sad. She pretty much just broke down in the middle of it all and screamed at him to leave her alone. To get out of her life. To stop existing.

And for the first time ever, Jameson had respected her wishes.

“I will if I want to.”

It was the same old story, all these years later. Only much, much darker. The first time Jameson had said those words to her, she had secretly been delighted at the idea that he would want to see her again. This time around, not so much. It was a whole bevy of emotions, tangled together. He was bad. He was wrong. He was the devil. She never wanted to see him again.

And yet it was a month before Tate stopped hovering over her phone, hoping for his call.

It was so fucked up. Jameson had done something that was so horrible, she still couldn't even wrap her brain around it. Still didn't really understand it, understand why. And Tate knew, she knew, if he could do it once, he could do it again. Most likely would do it again. Had probably enjoyed doing it. Had probably laughed all the way back to his bedroom about it, right along side his gorgeous, fabulous, Ukranian-Danish, supermodel, sex slave, homewrecker-slut-whore-mother-fucker-cunt-shit-fuck. Fuck.

What is wrong with me!?

One good thing did come out of her hospital stay, though. Tate was propped up in her bed one day, trying to gather the courage to rip out her IV so she could make an escape, when a nurse walked into her room. The lady fussed around her, put extra medical tape around the needle and smacked it down hard before standing back by the door.

“You have a very special visitor today,” she had said.

“Who is it?”

“Only my favorite athlete! If you don't mind, I would love an autograph before he leaves. Think you could help me with that?” the nurse had babbled.

Tate had stared at her in shock, her mouth hanging open. The nurse finally just walked away, and two seconds later, Nick Castille walked into the room. The first baseman for the Boston Red Sox. The guy she had slept with in her bar, after having only known him for two hours. Sure, they had become friends before her overdose, gone to dinner a bunch, the movies once or twice, but really, nothing more than that.

Nick had gone looking for Tate at her apartment, and Ellie had told him she was in the hospital, though not why. Tate didn't want him to have anymore delusions about her being a nice, normal girl, so she had laid it all on him. Told him about Jameson, how they had “met”, how they had gotten reacquainted. Told Nick about the night she had spent with him, how she had been upset about Petrushka, how she had used him. Told him about the party – though she did leave out the parts with Dunn and Jameson paying her off. Told Nick about the crazy drive in to town, the Xanax, and the pool. She had wanted to scare him off.

It didn't work. Tate may have been a succubus, but Nick truly was a nice, normal guy. He didn't abandon his friends, and he considered Tatum to be a pretty good friend.

What is wrong with him?

When Tate finally realized she would have to move because she couldn't stand living somewhere Ang had complete access to, Nick offered for her to live with him. She made it very clear that she was in no way interested in a relationship; romantic, sexual, or otherwise. Nick assured her that his intentions were noble and good, and that it was just a place for her to stay, as long as she liked.

He wasn't home much during the weekdays. It was the off season and he spent most of his time at a cabin on Lake Ontario. But during the weekends he always came down to Boston, first thing in the morning on Saturdays. Tatum couldn't cook at all, but he taught her how to make French toast and omelets. Nick was a good old country boy, from Iowa. His momma had raised him right. He took Tate out to dinners, stayed in and watched movies with her, and most importantly, he never, ever, once asked her how she was doing. He never looked at her like she was crazy.

An invaluable gift to Tate, at that point in her life.

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