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“It took a lot of trouble to get you here. The least you could do is smile, baby girl.”

~3~

Before Jameson even left the hospital, he'd had a plan. She had said she wanted him to go away. To leave. To be gone.

But she never once said anything about not seeing him again. He considered that a loophole.

Sanders was waiting outside, as Jameson had expected. He would have known that it wouldn't end well. Jameson strode past him, heading straight for the parking lot. Sanders followed behind.

“Are you alright?” he asked. Jameson nodded.

“Of course. She asked me to leave. I left,” he replied.

“That's it?”

“There were a few more curse words, some screaming, but yes, that's pretty much it.”

“And you're just going to go?”

“What other choice do I have?” Jameson asked, glancing down at the other man.

“You could fight for her,” Sanders pointed out. Jameson laughed.

“Let's not get radical. Besides, you and I both know that wouldn't work. She wants me gone, so I'm going to go. I'm going to head back to Europe,” he said. Sanders narrowed his eyes.

“With her?” he practically hissed. Jameson shook his head.

“No, Pet's already gone, I kicked her out that night. I'm not going to Berlin. I was thinking Spain. We haven't done Spain in a long time. Sunshine is good for the soul,” Jameson explained.

“I am not going to Spain with you,” Sanders said quickly. Jameson laughed.

“Of course not. I need you here,” he replied.

“I won't work for you.”

“I'm not hiring you. But I will need you to do me some favors,” he told him. Sanders stopped walking.

“Last time you asked me to do something for you, someone very close to us almost died,” he reminded him. Jameson's smile vanished and he turned to face him.

“I am very aware of what I have done, I don't need you reminding me. Listen. I am going to Spain. I am going to be gone for a while. But when I call – and I will call – you have to promise me that you will do everything in your power to fulfill my wishes,” Jameson said. Sanders shook his head.

“No, I won't risk her -,” he started to argue, when Jameson held up his hand.

“Just trust me, Sanders. Surely one mistake won't erase a lifetime of you trusting me,” Jameson snapped.

“Seven years is hardly a lifetime.”

Jameson felt as if he had been slapped. He stepped up close to Sanders. So close, he had to tilt his head straight down to look at him.

“There is nothing in this world you could do that would make me stop trusting you. After everything we've been through, I thought the feeling was mutual,” Jameson growled.

Sanders stared at him for a moment and then sighed, his eyes sliding to the ground. Jameson let out a breath he had been holding and stepped away. That had actually made him nervous for a moment.

“I can only promise to do what you want if I deem it appropriate,” Sanders amended the promise. Jameson nodded.

“I can live with that,” he agreed. He started to walk away, then turned around. “Oh! I need one more favor.”

“Oh god. What is it?”

“I was wondering if you could call ahead and see to having the boat put in the water and prepped to sail,” Jameson told him. Sanders' eyebrows shot up.

“The boat, sir?”

“The boat.”

“The boat?” he clarified. Jameson smiled.

“The boat.”

He had never been pale, but Jameson Kane normally had fair skin. Tate had always liked it because it set off his intense blue eyes and thick black hair. Made him look sharp, like his edges would cut when put to skin. When not at home, he was always immaculately dressed, whether they were going out to eat, or shop, or take in a movie. Always clean shaven – five o'clock shadow was only seen in the wee hours of the morning, before it was scraped away.

Seeing him again, but now with a deep tan, dressed casually wearing shorts and a light t-shirt, his jaw covered in at least a few days worth of stubble, was too much. Seeing him, period, was too much.

He was always too much.

Tate felt like she was going to faint, so she sat down heavily on the cement dock. Sanders dropped the bags and immediately knelt down next to her. He was saying something, but she couldn't hear anything. She had her hands pressed against either side of her face and she was trying to remember how to breathe. A pair of feet came in to her vision.

He owns a pair of sandals!?

A short argument broke out over her.

“Go inside.”

“No, I'm not going to -,”

“Go inside. Take her bags.”

“What if -,”

“You promised. Remember?”

There was some grumbling, but Sanders stood up. Grabbed the bag that she had dropped and their suitcases. He rolled away, and she watched his feet disappear onto the gangplank. Tate still couldn't look up. Not even when she realized that Jameson was slowly squatting down, directly in front of her. She was sitting lotus-style, and his hands came to rest gently on her knees.

Her body temperature immediately shot up past 100 degrees.

“Is this real?” she whispered.

“Yes. Are you alright?” he asked. She shuddered.

“You planned this? You and Sanders?” she asked.

“I planned this, a long time ago. Sanders just helped me execute it,” Jameson explained.

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