Chris jerks up, woken up by the loud noise of his phone ringing. Without looking he picks up, squeezing the bridge of his nose and squeezing his eyes shut. “Anderson.”
“Good morning Mr. Anderson.” Joseph is on the phone, sounding chirpy and very much awake. “I hope I am not disturbing you, but I really need to talk to you.”
Chris grunts, “I was still asleep. I’ve had a few busy days. Give me a second.” He sits up against his headboard and rubs his face with one hand.
“Busy with what,” Mr. Anderson, “playing golf?”
Chris promptly drops his hand and looks offended, “Excuse me?”
“I’m sorry Christopher, I couldn’t help myself. I know you’re a busy man. Doing all kinds of useful things.”
“It’s alright. You should come and see where I live and what I do. Seriously, you would love it here.”
“Maybe I will when my boss gives me a day off.” Simmons is in a teasing mood today.
“What did you want to talk to me about?” Chris asks, going back on topic.
“Right, I just got a phone call from Mr. Verona, he wants to sit down and negotiate again. He says he has something you would be extremely interested in.”
Chris lets out a low growl. “Another early bird. Do you know what he has that should interest me?”
“No, I’m sorry. I asked, but he didn’t want to tell. He only wants to speak with you again.”
“Pff, seriously, that man is annoying.” Then an idea pops up in Chris’ head. It may be the perfect moment to find out where Verona is hiding his father. “When does he want to meet?”
“As soon as possible. Rather yesterday than today.”
“I’ll see what I can do. When I know when I can come, I’ll let you know so you can set up a meeting.”
“Alright. I’ll be expecting your phone call. Oh, by the way, when can I have my PA back? You said she would be out for a while, but I really need her here. And if she’s going to be out for a longer time, I need to know if I have to replace her temporarily.”
“I hope she will be back soon. As soon as the situation is back under control, she’ll be back.”
“Do you care to explain how you both got into that situation together? As far as I know you didn’t know Jolena before you met her here at the office, did you?”
“It’s hard to explain, Joseph. I would love to, but I think it’s better when I see you in person, is that okay with you?”
“Sure. I hope to hear from you soon.”
After a while Chris sits up, moves over to the edge of his bed. He rubs his face but can’t seem to rub the sleep away. He feels broken, devastated. He didn’t sleep much last night. Jolena’s words kept repeating themselves in his mind all night. It’s as if his reason to live has been taken away from him. Jolena was his everything and she doesn’t want to be with him. He doesn’t know what to do now. He can’t force her to stay with him, he has no other option to let her go. He needs to tell her that he will be gone for a few days.
Maybe when he is busy dealing with the bastard Verona, he can stop thinking about her for a while.
When Jolena wakes up that day, she feels like she has a major hangover, although she didn’t drink yesterday. She knows why she feels this way, she couldn’t sleep at all last night. Her heart feels heavy, she’s still doubting if she made the right choice last night. Choosing to go home and leave Christopher seems like a safe choice but leaving him behind is harder than she thought it would be. She saw the hurt in his eyes when she said she wanted to go back home. He did try to hide it, but she saw it anyway. She’s thankful that he doesn’t push her to stay here.
When she walks out of her room to grab some breakfast, she runs into Christopher. “Jolena.” She sees his dark eyes, they look empty, the glint that was always there, is gone. He looks like a mess.
“Good morning, Chris.” She gives him a little smile.
“I wanted to tell you that I’ll be gone for a few days. Business is forcing me back to the city. But I’ll deal with some problems with the rogues at once while I am there. I just wanted you to know, so you know what’s going on.”
“Okay, thank you for informing me.” She continues her walk to the dining hall.
“Jolena,” Chris’ voice stops her in her tracks.
She looks at him over her shoulder, then turns further to fully look at him. “Yes?”
“Are you really leaving me?”
“Christopher,” she sighs, “we talked about this. I explained to you why. I really don’t feel like talking about this right now.”
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have brought that up.” He makes a dismissive gesture with his hand. “Go ahead, have breakfast, I have some work to do.”
While turning away from him, she sighs and walks down the hallway to the stairs to go down. She runs her hand through her hair while going down, her other hand holds on to the railing. She sees Leo coming through the front door and he looks up. “Good morning, Jolena,” he smiles.
She smiles back at him, “good morning.”
Leo frowns, “are you alright? You seem upset.”
Jolena steps down the last step and returns the little hug he is giving her. “I am fine, I just had a difficult chat with your big brother.”
“What has he been up to now?” Leo looks a little worried.
“Nothing really, I made a decision, and he has a hard time dealing with it, I guess.”
He grabs her elbow and pulls her to the side. “Are you leaving?”
Jolena frowns, “why are you asking?”
Leo sighs. “I don’t know because you’re my brother’s mate. His happiness depends on you, mostly. And because he is our Alpha, our leader, I need him to be alright. There are too many people depending on him. He’s already under way too much pressure right now.”
Now Jolena’s frown deepens. She’s getting angry, no one tells her what to do, not even a little boy who’s still wet behind the ears. “Excuse me? Are you saying I can’t leave this place, just because you think Chris can’t live without me? That he can’t function without me? Who are you, my mother? I don’t think so. You don’t get to tell me what I can and cannot do.”
She turns around to walk away, but he halts her by grabbing her hand. “Sorry Jolena, I didn’t mean it that way. I am just worried about him. He’s already having so much on his plate right now. I am not telling you what to do, you need to decide for yourself. But it is true, he won’t be able to function without you. He won’t get over you, he will break, you know.”
Behind them a shadow appears. “Leo, come with me. I need us all together; we have some important matters to discuss.”
They both turn around and see Chris standing there, dark, and tall. If he truly is devastated, he has a good way of hiding it now.