Page 7

Well, I certainly solved that little problem.

She had gotten drunk to deal with the party. She had taken the Xanax to numb the hurt. She had been completely wasted when Dunn offered to sleep with her. She admitted to saying yes, but he had knocked her into the mirror and then held her down. She had regretted it before it had even started. Of all the things that happened that night, Tate said it was the thing she wished she could take back the most. Jameson paying her off and kicking her out; drunk driving twenty miles in to town; floating in a pool high on Xanax; well, that had all just been icing on the cake.

I should have killed him. Killed him, kicked everyone out, and just gone to bed with her.

Sanders had reported the Bentley stolen in hopes of finding her, maybe stopping her, before she could crash or something. He had a police scanner in his room, and it wasn't long before he heard a response to a 9-1-1 call where the cop mentioned a Bentley. Then Ang's name was put through for a background check. Bingo.

Tate couldn't say why she went to the pool, because she couldn't remember. Almost everything after she'd gotten in the car was a blank. She hadn't tried to drown herself. When Ang had found her, she'd been floating, holding onto her bottle of Jack Daniel's, barely clinging to consciousness. But not suicidal, she insisted. She had never once said anything about wanting to die, to anyone. She swore up and down that she hadn't tried to kill herself.

Jameson didn't need convincing. Tatum O'Shea, the woman he knew, would never give up so easily. That would be the worst kind of cheating, and she wasn't a cheater. Besides, their game wasn't over yet, he had more hands to play. She wouldn't ever check out like that. She was too strong. And she certainly couldn't leave him alone in the world.

Not until he said so.

“So when are you coming home?” Jameson asked as he strode down a hospital hallway, almost a week later.

“I am not going to work for you,” Sanders replied, walking next to him. Jameson snorted.

“I didn't ask when you were coming back to work. I asked when you were coming home,” he stressed as they got on an elevator. Sanders looked uncomfortable.

“I didn't have any plans to come home,” he replied.

“You're going to live at that hotel forever?” Jameson asked. Sanders glanced at him. “Oh, yes. I've known every move you've made since you left. Who do you think pays those credit card bills, hmmm?”

“I could get another job after -,”

“Don't be fucking stupid. Stay in the hotel, come home, I don't care. I just need to know one thing,” Jameson started as the elevator doors slid open, revealing their floor.

“And what is that, sir?” Sanders asked. Jameson got out onto the floor, then turned back to stare at Sanders. It was strange, to have been in someone's life for so long, but to not know them as well as someone who had only been there for a couple months. Jameson didn't like the feeling.

“Are we okay?” he asked in a straight forward voice. Sanders blinked a couple times, the question clearly making him even more uncomfortable.

“I'm not sure. You ..., you disappointed me, sir,” he answered. Jameson nodded.

“I know. I should have listened to you.”

“But you didn't. I have only ever tried to steer you right.”

“I know. And I'm very sorry.”

Sanders looked completely shocked, and Jameson felt it would be best to catch the man off guard while he had the chance. He grabbed Sanders by the arm and yanked him forward, into a hug. It was awkward for a moment, then Sanders relaxed. Leaned into him. Until Tatum, Jameson had been the only person to ever really hug Sanders. For two very un-affectionate men, sometimes it was very natural between them. Jameson was the closest thing Sanders had to a father.

Sometimes, Jameson lost sight of that.

“I appreciate that, sir,” Sanders mumbled against his chest. Jameson laughed.

“Good. Now. Do you think she'll accept my apology?” he asked. Sanders pulled away, made a production of straightening out his suit.

“Honestly? No. She doesn't want anything to do with you,” Sanders replied.

“We'll see about that; she doesn't have much of an option, not while she's stuck in here,” Jameson laughed. Sanders shook his head.

“She's getting released tomorrow.”

“What?”

“Tomorrow. She's been declared mentally stable and her throat doesn't hurt anymore. They have no reason to keep her anymore. She wants to go home,” Sanders explained.

Home? But I haven't cleaned up the library yet ...

“But I thought I -,”

“If you are going to apologize, I suggest you do it tonight,” Sanders interrupted, and then he reached out and hit a button, causing the elevator doors to slide shut.

Jameson was left at a loss. Of course, he'd known this day would come, but he'd thought he would have just a little bit more time.

Jameson Kane always had more time.

As he walked to her room, he prepped himself with the realization that she probably knew he was coming, was maybe even waiting. Sanders didn't pull any punches for Jameson, but there was no doubt he would have prepared Tatum. Jameson had thought his little midnight visits were a secret, but now he doubted it. She had probably known the whole time.

“May I come in?” he asked, once he got to the doorway.

Tate was laying flat on her bed, but he could tell she was awake. She took a deep breath, let it out as a sigh. He held very still, waiting for her voice. It felt like it had been a lot longer than a week since he had last heard it.

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