The End of Me
Page 29

 Tara Brown

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I folded my arms, “What? He knew I was coming back? He bought this?” Was I that predicable? “What is he fucking psychic?”
She shrugged, “Sometimes I think he is.”
I pursed my lips, “You sure it was for me?”
She sighed, “Does it look like it belongs to me?”
She pressed her lips together and nodded, “Yeah, dumbass.”
I looked down at the tags I’d removed and winced, “He’s gonna know I took the tags off.”
She pulled back the curtain, “You owe me ten bucks and a new pair of Christian Louboutin ankle boots.”
“Fair enough,” I muttered and walked out of the room to the seats out front. I almost sat in a different one, but I remembered I was the one who was angry. I needed a reason. I sat down and looked at the plate of prawns and sauce in front of me. My stomach gurgled. I rubbed it and picked up a prawn by its tail. I dragged it through the still warm sauce and moaned when I took the first bite. “This is good, Roxy.”
She grinned as she passed me, “You like it?”
I nodded, “Wow.”
She winked and walked to the front of the plane.
I ignored his existence and enjoyed my meal, as I broke off a piece of bread and dragged it through the sauce on the plate. The crusty bread was still warm. I moaned again.
She cleared it and placed a plate of seared white fish, with a creamy sauce and roasted vegetables. The sauce was a lime and cilantro.
“When was the last time you ate a proper meal?” he finally spoke.
I shrugged and drank from my wine glass. I knew when it was, but I wasn’t in the mood to admit the last thing I’d eaten was picks and nibbles of random foods. I wished I’d eaten the entire fruit salad at Fritz’s.
I hoped they were okay.
I glanced at my clutch on the table. I would need to call when we landed.
“You need to take better care of yourself.”
I looked at him, “I need the stability back in my life. I need you and the CI, and CIA, and James to leave me alone. I was eating regularly before. I was drinking water and eating five meals a day and going to yoga. Now I’m hopping on planes and eating food from convenience stores, and I still don’t know that my kids and mom are safe, or if my husband is really dead.”
He looked at me, “I knew you would look nice in that outfit.”
I shook my head and turned back to my plate of food, gulping back the last of my second glass of wine.
“Why are you angry with me? You think I caused all of this?”
Giving him my death stare and then letting it slide into indifference, I shrugged, “I don’t know what to believe. There are too many versions of you to possibly know.”
He smirked, “You know me; you just don’t want to admit you like what you see.”
I laughed and turned back to my dinner. We landed just after Roxy cleared our food.
I hugged her as I left the plane, “I’ll get you those shoes.”
She pinched, “You better not, but I want my ten bucks.”
I laughed and kissed her cheek, “Another magnificent meal. I don’t even know how you can get the fish so perfect on a plane.”
She rolled her eyes, “You flatter and then I have to make sure it’s out of the park next time too.” I could see her eyeballing Servario nervously. He was stoic. I decided that should be his new name.
I shook my head, “I doubt that will be an issue,” and followed Steve.
His broad shoulders and thick back made me wonder how he stayed so fit. He seemed pretty lazy. He was probably one of those guys who stayed fit, no matter what they did.
We walked to the SUV waiting for us. I had noticed we weren’t back in Boston. We flew into San Diego.
My stomach was a ball of nerves. I looked a Servario, “I thought we were going home.”
He gave me a blank look, “When did I say that?”
“I need to call my cat sitter and get her to drop by and feed the cat. I’ve been gone for days.”
He watched my face for a second, “Fine. Make it fast and speaker phone.”
I pulled out the cellphone he gave me and dialed her, praying Coop traced my calls. I wanted him close in case this was a huge mistake and I needed an evac.
“Hello?” she answered on the first ring.
“Beth, how are you? It’s, Evie.”
“Evie, how are you doing? Are you okay?” she sounded sad still.
I rolled my eyes, “I’m fine.”
“How are the kids?”
I nodded, “They’re good. Sad, but good. Anyway, the reason for my call is I need you to stop over and check on Ralph and make sure he’s okay. I’m in San Diego for a couple days. We’re in San Diego. We decided to take a trip and I forgot, in all the chaos, to call you.”
“Yes, of course. I’ll see him once a day and check on the house.”
I glanced at Servario, “That should be great. You have a key still, right?”
“Yes I do. Have a great trip out west!”
I smiled, forgetting what I was doing, “Thanks sweetie. Say hello to your mom.” I hung up the phone and shook my head, “So weird. Her world is normal and mine is destroyed,” I muttered, before I could stop myself.
He said nothing. When the truck stopped, the door was opened. I climbed out, ignoring everything around me. I was overcome with the strangest feeling I’d had since my husband died/ran away.
I was lost.
He grabbed my hand and pulled me in a door. I caught a warm breeze, loaded with the smell of the ocean and frowned, “Are we at the beach?”
He pulled me inside and closed the door. He looked at me, “Don’t try anything. They will hurt you, if you try to leave.” He pressed his lips against my forehead and walked away.
“Where are you going?” I asked, like I had a right to know.
He waved, “Out for the night,” and vanished down a long wide corridor. I looked around at the splendor. Everything of his was beautiful. My home was amazing and in all the right areas, whereas his was all luxury. Luxury I was completely alone in and not in the mood to enjoy.
I turned and walked into the large sitting area off the front room. A bottle of Apothic was already opened and poured into the carafe next to the empty bottle.
I poured a glass, sighing.
The walls were covered in art. It was rich and warm Spanish-styled home. It suited the sexy version of him I wanted to see again.
I slumped into a leather, burnt-orange sofa and drank.
“Out for the night?” I muttered and pulled out my phone, tapping it against my palm.
My head game of being the one who was pissed off, didn’t work. He didn’t come crawling and beg to know why or brought me flowers. Of course seeing it now, the reason for James’ constant worry about my moods was obvious. He had a guilty conscience.
I stood and grabbed the carafe and walked down the other hallway. I clicked on light switches, only to discover an array of stunning rooms. Finally, I reached a room with a large fireplace and fabric couches. I curled up on one with my wine and dialed 9-1-1.
Luce answered, “Hey?” She looked worried.
I put a finger to my lips, “Hey.”
She frowned, “You okay?”
I nodded, “Yeah. I just need answers. Did Fitz get away?”
She cocked an eyebrow, “Yeah. He woke us up and dragged us to some safe house. We stayed for two hours, then got in a helicopter, and then a private jet. He dropped us in Boston.”
I felt confusion all over my face, “Jet?”
She nodded, “Yeah. Jet.”
In the background I heard Coop yelling. The phone went crazy and then refocused on his face.
He looked savage, “What did I say, Evie?”
“I need answers, Coop.”
He made a face, “Don’t give me that shit. Fitz filled in a lot of blanks. We were getting somewhere. You fucking bailed, because you wanted to see him again and don’t bullshit me.”
I shook my head, “No, I swear. Fitz was never going to tell us anything useful. What more do we know? We know what the Burrow is and that’s it. We don’t know where it is, or who’s there, or what to do with the information. We still don’t have any resources.” I sighed and looked down shaking my head. His sentence hit my ears, “Wait, what? Did you say jet? Where the hell did Fitz get a jet?”
Coop’s look matched mine, “He hasn’t always had that?”
I snorted, “Uh no. The buyout for people like us is about half the value of a pension.”
He paused, “Weird. He seemed pretty comfy in it. The pilot knew him.”
I wriggled my nose, “Was the pilot gay?”
Coop scoffed, “How the hell should I know?”
I rolled my eyes, “Ask Luce.”
He turned, “Yo, was that pilot gay?”
I could hear her response, “Almost as gay as you.”
He frowned.
I ignored their banter and replied, “He might be dating the owner. Gay people hire gay people, so they don’t get fired for being gay.”
He frowned harder, “Gays don’t get fired for being gay, it’s not the fifties, Evie.”
I raised my eyebrows, “Coop, a teacher got fired in Idaho last week, because her dead mother’s obituary had her partner’s name in it. She’s a lesbian.”
His jaw dropped, “Are you for real?”
I nodded.
“That’s sick. Okay, but back to brass tax. I’m coming to get you.”
I winked, “This is what’s wrong with the world. Stay close; I’ll let you know when I’m ready to get picked up.”
He scowled, “Try not to have too much fun.”
I laughed, “I think you need to head back to Sweden for the week. You seem tense.”
He flipped me the bird and I pressed it off.
I dropped the phone and looked around the room. The huge wall-mounted TV looked like something I would be able to use, without too many problems. Of course, I had to search high and low for the remote. It took me twenty minutes to turn it on. I couldn’t get sound but I watched the picture. It was Casablanca. It was at the part where she walks into the bar and sees the piano player. I almost tear up, as I see her ask him to play the song they liked. Seeing the anger and the way Bogart storms across the bar to stop Sam from playing the song, makes me think of Servario.