Willow & Aiden After Forty

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Chapter 38

I patiently listen as Howard, Lamar’s partner goes on and on about the public relations campaign to help rid them of negative publicity. They are ahead of the game. The world has yet to learn how many EPA violations the Wendle’s plant has broken and bent. They are preparing for the announcement to be made public. I smile, so am I, I’m preparing for several announcements to be made public.

“Howard, Lamar, if you need anything else, my team is available for you,” Glassman says. He smiles and points his chin to me. “We also have Aiden’s team now open to working with you, and we all know they are seasoned and used to the long hours this case needs.”

“John, I don’t think I offered my assistance or my team’s.”

His brows raise, “I apologize. I thought your presence at this meeting was to get on board, offer assistance.”

“I never said that, John.” I stand from my seat at the long table. I make sure I look every single person in the eye. I start with Lamar and his team of four junior associates.

I nod at Howard. Lamar has filled him in, and the crazy fucker is about to go up against Sandra. But at least he’s fair, and I respect him a hell of a lot after this bullshit.

I smile to John, to Gerald, and finally, to Gus. “I won’t be offering my assistance for this case. As of,” I look at my watch, “five minutes ago, I no longer am a partner at Aukerman, Glassman, and Markley. My name will be removed.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” John’s face is red.

“Let me rephrase my statement so you understand what’s going on here. I’m out, John.”

Gerald stands and pounds his fist on the table. “Howard, this is bullshit. What the fuck is he in here for, this is a private meeting. I demand he gets the hell out of here.” He swings his eyes to me, “I’ll have your license for this!”

I widen my stance, preparing to put the last of my father’s sins to bed. “I don’t think you will, Gerald. How’s the business been since my old man passed? I see you’ve found someone else to help you with cleaning all of that money?”

I raise my brows, and he starts to talk, but I don’t give a rat’s ass what he has to say. I already know everything. “Settle down and sit down, Gerald. I know you gave that a rest a long while ago. You could have redeemed yourself, you know, but I guess the temptation was too great when John approached you.”

“What the fuck?”

“Shut the fuck up, Glassman! I know, Howard knows, Lamar knows, fucking Sandra knows along with her pals at the FBI. Did you think I didn’t know you ran in similar circles with my father before I became a partner? I knew, but I didn’t care, John, because you were clean. A fucking pompous asshole, but clean. Three years it’s been going on under my nose, it stops today. I’m sure Sandra is still in the office waiting to speak to you. She has some questions for you about her latest case.”

“I’ll fucking take you down with me, you son of a bitch,” he growls.

My laughter can be heard throughout the office. “Go ahead and try John. I welcome having a little bit of work while I’m lying on a beach somewhere.”

Gerald again pounds his fist on the table. “I don’t know what the fuck you are talking about, my first dealing with Glassman was when Gus recommended him. Gus, what else have you fucked up? I should have sent your ass away years ago. What has he done? Like you, I had a good father but he was a man with questionable ethics, Aiden, when it came to business. I finished that shit when he passed. My son is responsible, and I’ll not let him destroy what I’ve clawed and created and cleaned up for my family.”

We stare at one another. He nods, “I’m not your enemy Aiden. I liked your father, hell, he was one of my ole man’s closest friends. But I’m also not my father.” He looks at Gus and shakes his head, “You’re done. Your mother will no longer protect you.” Walking to the door, he looks at Howard, then Lamar, “Whatever he’s responsible for, it’s him and him alone. The company has terminated his employment, and we will hold him fully responsible.”

“Bullshit,” Gus says. “Right, we’ll see, I’ll see you at home, daddy.” He sneers, this motherfucker is either so fucking mentally insane or fried in the brain from drugs.

“Shut up, Gus, not another word!” Glassman yells.

I sneer and walk over to Gus, “Yeah, Gus, not another word out of you. Listen to your counsel, he’s giving you good advice. He’s intelligent enough to know that I never make my move until I know I have everything I need for a victory.”

I pull the fucker up and out of his chair. I hear the scrape of other chairs, people ready to pull me off this drugged up fucker. “I’m going to ask you one-time fucker, do you know Chris White? Did you try to fuck with me, and what is mine?” I don’t give him a chance to answer. I do what I’ve been waiting to do, I punch his face and pin him to the ground.

I shove Lamar off me, “Aiden, I told you he had nothing to do with Willow man, he’s responsible for a lot of shit but not that.”

I lift his back off the floor by his shirt and slam him back down hard, knocking his head against the carpeted floor. “You better hope, you fucked up privileged son of a bitch, you better hope you had nothing to do with Willow because if you did, prison wouldn’t be your punishment.” I slam my forehead into his nose, stand quickly, and shrug Lamar off me.

I look at Glassman, “You better hope for yourself too, that this piece of shit didn’t bring trouble to my door, John or your fate will be worse than his.”

I calm myself down on the drive home, it’s over, well a part of it is over. I’m finished with the firm. I’m finished working long hours for a reward that is satisfying but nowhere as sweet, caring, loving, sexy and satisfying, and rewarding as Willow. I’ve been preparing to go out and search for something, some kind of happiness outside of work and I didn’t even have to leave the park outside my door to find it.

I blow out a breath. We need to find Chris White and move on with our lives. I call Detective Williams, “Any news?” I ask as soon as he answers his cell phone.

“Yeah, are you at home?”

“No, I’ll be there in five minutes, have you found him?”

“He’s dead. He was found this morning in upstate Michigan. I’ll meet you and Willow at your house. We have more questions, and we need to ask Willow to confirm some things. I assume you won’t bring her into the department, so I’m on my way. I see you in twenty.” He disconnects.

He’s dead. The fucker is dead. I pull onto my street and into my driveway. Jesus, he’s gone, for the love of God, let this end for Willow. Let all of this messed up shit come to an end and let us create a life around family, love, and no more goddamn tragedies.

I walk into the house, and the smell of peanut butter wafts to my nose. I smile, I should have never told her I love peanut butter. She’s going to make me fat.

She beams as soon as she spots me, “Hi, I’ve made it an hour without Jill. I sent her home early because I knew you were due home soon. How did your meeting go?”

I grab her and smash her to me. I kiss her head and smell her being, “He’s dead, Willow. They found him this morning.”

She looks up from my chest with tears in her pretty green eyes, “He…he’s dead?”

I nod and kiss her lips softly, “He’s dead. Detective Williams is on his way to tell us the news. It’s over, baby. It’s all over.”

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