They'd never had an entirely normal relationship, anyway. Jameson was more comfortable, in general, treating everyone like they worked for him. That appealed to Sanders' meticulous and cold nature. Their relationship worked for them. They didn't speak a whole lot, and even when they did, they weren't prone to long conversations. But there was a bond that no one could possibly understand. Sanders loved him. Hadn't known it was possible to love a person as much as he loved Jameson Kane.
That's why it killed him to see Jameson so unhappy. Jameson didn't realize he was unhappy, but Sanders could tell. All the women, all the sleeping around, all the debauchery. Something was missing in Jameson's life, that much was clear.
Girls came and went. Some stayed a little longer than others. Most ignored Sanders. He ignored all of them. There was an opera singer from Rio that he had almost considered liking, but before he could make up his mind, she was let go. She hadn't been up to Jameson's speed, anyway. None of them were, when push came to shove.
Then Petrushka Ivanovic entered the picture. How Sanders had hated her. She was the only one who ever truly got under his skin. They would have arguments in Russian – so Jameson couldn't understand what they were saying. She called Sanders a useless, dirty, immigrant who was just leeching off of Jameson. He called her a tasteless, fake, bitch who was just another notch on Jameson's very well marked bedpost. It took a lot longer, but eventually she went away, too. He was very glad.
It wasn't too much longer before Tatum O'Shea came along. Jameson had mentioned her a couple times, usually after many late night drinks. It was obvious that she had been the reason he had run away so many years ago, that she was that “not quite perfect yet” woman. It was also obvious they hadn't known each other well – they hadn't seen each other in over seven years. It was a while before Jameson explained the history to him.
Sanders wasn't sure what to make of Tatum, at first. He had expected just another silly girl. Another woman who thought she could keep up with Jameson, but ultimately wouldn't be able to keep up at all. Or one of those types of women who only wanted Jameson for his status and money.
Not Tatum. She took everything Jameson threw at her and rolled with it. Asked for it. Wanted more of it. And she seemed oblivious to, and uncaring of, the fact that he had more money than God. For a short while, and by mutual agreement, the relationship was purely physical, and she actually seemed to like it that way.
She also completely ignored Sanders' weird, awkward, social habits. He didn't like to talk very much. Tatum liked to talk a lot, and just talked to him anyway. She paid attention to him, spoke to him, asked him how he was, how his day was going. Seemed to look right into him sometimes.
She also touched him – no one ever did that. Sanders usually hated to be touched, and it had bothered him a lot, at first. But Tatum was very persistent. She held his hand, hugged him, tried to tickle him. It almost seemed as if she touched him more just because she knew he didn't like it. She was so comfortable with him, right off the bat. The same way Jameson had been. One day, she even kissed Sanders. It was a joke, a ruse, but something snapped in him. Sanders was twenty years old and had never kissed a girl, and here was a girl, laying one on him. He took the opportunity and kissed her back.
But Sanders wasn't attracted to Tatum, not like that. He could recognize that she was a very, very sexy woman. She was not shy about her body or her sexuality, and she flirted shamelessly with just about anything that moved. He wasn't entirely immune to her charms; he was heterosexual, after all. But for the most part he didn't view her that way. She was something different to him. Something special.
On top of that, it was clear from day one that she was different to Jameson, too. Also something special. No one else would have been able to tell, but Sanders could tell. She made Jameson happy. She made Sanders happy. He grew very attached to her.
When the relationship between Tatum and Jameson started to become strained, she would seek Sanders out. Their bond grew stronger. She would come into his room late at night, play chess with him, talk with him. She never rushed him to talk, just waited for the words to come out. Eventually, they did. She never asked questions, never judged anything he had to say. He fell a little in love with her. Not romantically, not sexually. He didn't know how to explain it. He just loved her.
If necessary, he would probably kill for Jameson Kane.
If asked, he would probably die for Tatum O'Shea.
When the relationship between Jameson and Tatum ended – and it ended badly – Sanders had mourned it. Jameson had been in the wrong. It was the first time he had ever asked Sanders to do things that made him uncomfortable. Things that he found repugnant. He didn't like lying. It all went to hell. He thought Jameson would admit his fault, admit he'd been wrong, then apologize. But Jameson wouldn't. It had shocked Sanders. He held Jameson to a very high standard. It was like hearing his father damn himself to hell. Sanders would have to save him.
Sometimes, Sanders felt like he had to fix everything.
A pounding noise brought Jameson out of unconsciousness. Just blackness. He squinted and stared up at the ceiling. Where the fuck was he? It took him a second to realize he was in his library. It started to come back to him. He had passed out on the leather sofa that was tucked against a wall. He couldn't remember the last time he had even used the sofa, let alone slept on it. Then he remembered that a little over a month ago, he had put the sofa to very good use.