Franco clasped my shoulder as Frederick came over from the bar with three mugs of icy beer. You need your strength. For her. Your brain will work better with fuel.
I love you, I sob. She gives me a smile that looks a bit watery too before stuffing a wad of napkins in my hand.Here, clean yourself up. I’ll go get you another cinnamon twist, how does that sound?
Can I get extra icing on it? I ask, knowing that I sound like a child asking for sprinkles. But the baby needs some sugar right now…who am I to deny her?Rose throws her shoulders back and straightens her cardigan. Damn straight you can, even if I have to resort to extreme measures to make it happen.When she opens her purse, I blurt out in alarm, Please don’t use your gun!
Every head in the coffee shop turns in our direction. She rolls her eyes at me before pulling a twenty-dollar bill from her wallet. I meant a bribe, big mouth, but thanks for the attention. I look good today so I might as well own it. With a toss of her red hair, she walks toward the counter, looking like equal parts sinner and saint. And she comes back with enough icing to add ten pounds to my butt. Best. Friend. Ever.Monique is taking Cassie to Colorado, Aidan says as we stand on the rooftop of Quinn Software. I’ve no desire to smoke today, but he’s burning through enough for both of us. This is it, I think. What I always knew it would come to. Monique has been far too accommodating since assuming responsibility for Cassie. Aidan has continued to visit as usual with no arguments from the other woman. She’s been like some fucking Girl Scout—which I knew couldn’t possibly last.
For how long? I ask as I mull his words.
She says just for a week to see how she does. You know I told you that she’s been spending the weekends with Monique at her apartment and doing fine. I guess her doctor thinks this would be good for her. You know, be out for a bit longer since she’s adjusted so well. Monique says her father’s health isn’t good and he can’t travel here yet so he wants her to bring Cassie there for a few days. Some kind of big family reunion.I threw a look over my shoulder. My body suffered a sick roll. Tess shuffled, her eyes downcast in her own drugged-up world.
I wanted nothing more than to smash through the fog and apologise. I wanted to beg for forgiveness for putting her through this.I had to believe I was helping, because right now it felt like I was making it worse.
Tess didn’t make a sound as I dragged her through the dark-shrouded house. I ignored the rich decor of the twelve bedrooms, five bathroom home that’d been designed by myself and an architectural team. Sitting pride of place on a cliff overlooking the sea, it was part of the subdivision I’d participated in a few years ago. It was also the house that granted one sex slave in return for the bribery of Tenerife planning officials.It was empty. Fully furnished and staged as a show home to encourage cashed-up rich f**ks to buy into the twenty-plus complex.