Two more hours and I’m done. Done with The Full Circle. Done with my job, my friends and my past. I’m walking away from the women and children I’ve wronged to do the right thing for all of them. I don’t belong here. I was a fool to think that I could make a new start with the people I’ve hurt.
“So where are you going?” Trent asks as he walks behind the bar.
I hadn’t told him I was leaving. The runt must have opened her big mouth. She overheard me talking to the movers this morning. My kid is as sneaky as I was at her age. Trent has his hands full with her and with Maggie pregnant, he better hope for a boy.
“I was going to tell you. Your kid really needs to mind her own business.” Grumbling over the kid isn’t new. The last thing I need is a kid ratting me out.
“Biologically she’s yours.” Trent reminds me of my mistake again. “She takes after you.”
I’ve been bitching about Zoe since Adrienne dropped her on our doorstep. Granted she was hoping for Trent to take them in, not for him to take her to court to take her meal ticket away. It was the right thing to do, Trent knew that when he made the decision. That’s who he is, Prince fucking Charming.
The guy has it all now. The woman he wants, and he scored a beauty with Blondie, my kid and his own on the way. His business is the biggest hit on the west coast, and he’s got a new bar opening up north thanks to Harper. The guy can’t go wrong.
“So where are you going this time?” He saddles up to the bar next to me, and pours us both a drink.
“East, as far as I get. Somewhere no one knows me.” It’s all he’s going to get. I don’t need him trying to talk me out of it. I definitely don’t want him coming after me. Trent would do that. He’d track me down and talk me into coming back. That isn’t possible now.
And that’s my fault.
“You could go help Harper. He’s still filling positions.” The offer is a good one but not one I’d accept.
Harper has been gone for six months. He took Lily and shacked up in his new place thanks to Trent. I had an offer from Trent, from Mitch even Blondie tried to get me to go with them. I considered it and rejected it just as fast. I agreed to stick until Trent got a replacement for me. Tink was already here and was put in place.
A few changes in personnel, replacing Harper and Lily, adding another bartender and server. And my time here is up.
“I’m going east.” I reiterate my plan. I’m not going to sway this time.
Trent nods, drinking his whiskey. Silently contemplating this news. “Zoe is going to miss you. Maggie too.”
“It’s below you to use women and children as a ploy to bring me back. I’m going. It’s better for everyone.” He understands who I’m talking about. I screwed up. I know it, he knows it, Emerly knows it.
“Have you talked to her?” Yeah, he understands it.
Emerly has kept her distance from The Full Circle, from Trent, from Cole and especially from me. She was in a helluva situation and has kept her head held high throughout it all. Even when I tried to ruin her friendship with Cole. Jealousy is a bitch.
“No, I’m not going to. I told her months ago I was leaving. She didn’t want me then, she won’t want me now. It’s better this way.” Drinking down the rest of the whiskey I set my empty glass on the bar. “I’ll see you around.”
“Jer!” Trent stopped me as I started to go. “Take care of yourself.”
Giving him a curt nod, I turn to head for the door. “I always do.”
Walking away, I head down the stairs and across the busy main floor. The bar is standing room only. The bartenders are swamped but not in the weeds yet. All the tables are full and there’s a waiting line out the door. Trent will be just fine without me.
Weaving my way through the bodies, I try to get through the door just as a little redhead falls at my feet. “What the fuck?”
Kneeling down, I grip hold of her elbows and lift her to her feet. Yanking her arms out of hold my cheek is suddenly flaming with heat from the slap she laid on me.
“Don’t touch me!” Those bright green eyes send daggers my way. “Just leave me alone!”
“Greer? What the hell?” Reaching for her again, I don’t allow her to get away this time.
Dragging her through the busy club, I take her to the back hall where no one can overhear us. Once in the much quieter hall, she pushes me away from her. Wrapping her arms around her waist, she holds herself as if she’s wounded.
“Don’t touch me!” She repeats her order.
“That’s not what you said last time I saw you.” Wrong thing for me to say. Receiving another slap across my face. She’s really starting to piss me off. “Fine, I won’t touch you! What’s your problem, Greer?”
“Who’s Greer?” She frowns at me as if she doesn’t know who I am. She doesn’t even know her name. How is that?
“You are. And you know me.” I remind her, earning a vehement denial from her. “Greer, you know me.”
“No! I don’t. And I’m not Greer!” Her denial has complicated red flags all over it.
“Okay so who are you?” She wants to play this game, fine! I can play just as well as she can.
“I don’t know! Okay! I don’t know!” Jerking away from me, she begins to pace up and down the hall. A nervous habit I’ve seen her do many times.
I should go. I should just agree that I don’t know her and let her get back to what she was doing. I have to load up my car and get going. I don’t want to be on the road all night. It’s going to take a while before I stop as it is.
Why should I show her any compassion? It’s not that I'm a caring person. I’m a dick, and proud of it. No strings, no tears. It’s the way I like it.
It doesn’t matter that she looks like she’s been on the streets for a week. And thinking about that I take a good long look at her. Her hair is a knotted tangled mess, her eyes are bloodshot and swollen. Her clothes are dirty and she’s missing a shoe. What the hell happened to her?
“I have to get out of here. I have to go!” She mutters as she paces back to me. “I’m putting everyone in this place in danger! Don’t you understand? I have to get away from you.” She’s not making any sense. She’s in trouble, she’s always been in trouble. At least as long as I have known her.
“You ran to me, baby. I just tried to help.” Why did I try to help? She doesn’t want me helping her and I don’t want to help her. But she’s in trouble and I owe her that much.
“I don’t know you!” Insisting that fact again really has me confused and worried.
How did she forget who she is? What trouble is she in? This isn’t the woman I remember. Not even close. She was a high society brat. Never a hair out of place or a wrinkle in her clothes. She has a memory like a steel trap. But she doesn’t remember me.
But I know her. Taking hold of her shoulders I stop her and make her face me. “Your name is Greer Adams. You were my wife.”