“He wants to what?” I ask Aiden to clarify what he just told me over the phone. Ryan is being released tomorrow from the rehab facility downtown. Ryan and Aiden had a heart to heart and cleared the air between them. I always focus on the good, the good in our situation is everyone who was involved in this mess; we all seem to realize that life is short. We are lucky to be alive, healthy, and we all love one another. Ryan and Aiden will never let anything come between them again; none of us will ever hold on to small things any longer. I can’t wait until he gets home, and we ask him about changing his last name.
“He wants to move into your house with Jana and her roommate Sara. Sara is a senior at State and is in the Physical Therapy Program.”
“Okay, so I did hear you correctly. Uh, what did you say?”
“I told him that it is your decision, Willow. We’ve only been back in our house a week. I told him you seem to be handling being back there, okay, but we are taking things slow.”
I take in the sight of our bedroom. Aiden loves this house. He has had all the flooring replaced throughout the downstairs, and I picked out the paint colors. We have painted all of the walls and bought all new furniture so the house would look and feel different.
He has cameras placed all around the property. The house is so secure now; it’s almost like living in Fort Knox. “I love our home, and I’m doing fine. Tell him it is okay with me if you think it’s a good idea. What did Margaret have to say about this?”
He sighs down the phone line, “She wasn’t happy. How did you do today at the house by yourself?”
“Good and I wasn’t by myself, Jill’s been here all day. It’s funny that she needed to change her workday this week.” I smile, sweet Aiden wouldn’t let me stay home by myself today. Our therapist, really, my therapist suggested spending time alone during the daylight hours. It’s been ten weeks since all of our daily lives have changed, and I’ve been working really hard to get back some semblance of normalcy.
“I couldn’t tell her no, she needed to switch days. I’m glad you had a good day, baby.”
I sigh, “I’m glad she was here. I feel okay, safe, but I’m glad she was somewhere in the house in case I had a freakout.”
“Any panic attacks today?”
“No, I think the antidepressants have kicked in. I’m on day three without one.”
“Good, baby, I promise we’ll get through this. Has Detective Williams called?”
“No, I haven’t talked to him today, have, have you?” I feel restless when I hear his name. I start to sweat. Why can’t we find this crazy man? Chris White can’t disappear off the face of the planet. Once we find him, I’m hoping to be able to breathe and sleep easier once more. What if he comes back or has hurt more people or is planning on it? “I need him found Aiden. I, I need this to be over.”
“I know, sweetheart, we will find him. We’ll get Ryan home and settled and protected in your house when he’s released. Drew and Elliot will be on summer break soon, and we’ll get to see and spend some time with them. Let’s focus on what we have and can control, baby, let the police do their job. Lamar and I have guys looking for him too, we’ll find him. I promise I won’t rest until I do. Let’s get back to focusing on Ryan’s improvements and the boys spending time with us this summer, okay? Are you with me?”
I blow out a breath and calm myself down, “Yes, I’m with you.”
“Good, now, are you good with being home by yourself? Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear, tell me the truth. Do you need me to come home?”
I wipe my sweaty palms on my jeans and walk into the kitchen for water. It’s after three in the afternoon, “I can make it to five, I’m good. Will you run with me when you get home?”
I hated running inside today, but it was raining, and Aiden pitched a fit, about safety and falling on my, completely healed right side. He finally started letting me run outside in the morning again with him. We also have another man who runs behind us. I have to admit, I feel safer when he has someone from a security agency run with us in the morning.
“Yes, I’ll be home in an hour, one more meeting, then we’ll go for a run.”
“Thank you. I think I’ll busy myself with baking desserts. Jill already prepared a few meals but no sweets. I’ll bake something special for tonight.”
“I’ll bake something special for tonight.”
My hand rubs my stomach. I shake my head, “Okay, baby. I’m looking forward to it. I’ll see you shortly.”
“Okay, Aiden, I love you.”
“Love you too, sweetheart,” I disconnect. Damn, Willow, needs to find another hobby other than baking. Mom never baked, I thought I didn’t have a sweet tooth. That’s just one more thing that Willow has brought out from inside of me. I’m going to have to increase my workouts if she keeps up with this baking therapy.
I pull into Lamar’s firm parking garage and park my Porsche. I see Glassman’s car parked a row over from mine; I laugh, the fucker is going to be surprised when I walk into this meeting. He’ll be surprised like he was when I agreed, along with Sandra, to assist with the case but let Lamar’s firm take on most of the workload.
Glassman thinks he broke me down, and he thinks I’m done with work, and my focus is only on Willow. It is, of course, he just doesn’t know that I started on this case before him. I know everything there is to know about Wendle Plastics Bottle Company and even more about the owners.
I exit the elevator on the fifteenth floor, and everyone is talking outside of the conference room. Everyone but Gus Wendle, I don’t see that fucker here yet.
Glassman looks up, and his brows rise. He walks over, “Aiden, my boy. How’s Willow doing? I’m surprised to see you here, is Sandra with you?”
“No, I just left her office, she knows I’m here. I’m certain she’ll be in touch with you shortly.” I offer him my hand, “John, you were right about the case, we should have taken it on earlier. I know Lamar has done his work, and the Wendle’s, I have no doubt, will forever be changed for the better of society when this case is over.” I smile.
The asshole chuckles, “Aiden, I’m glad to hear you say that, maybe once you get over this hiatus bullshit, we can talk about bigger things. Maybe move the firm into other areas.”
I laugh, “Maybe, John, we’ll see.”
The elevator opens, and Gus Wendle walks into the waiting area. Lamar is on it, “Gentleman, I see everyone is here. Please take a seat in the conference room, help yourself to coffee, and be seated.”
Everyone enters the conference room. Glassman smacks me on my back, “Glad you changed your mind.” He strides past me into the room. I smirk. We’ll see if he still feels that way in a few minutes.