Back home, Jason and Taylor take some time alone. After making love, he reveals how he lost his virginity. At first, she’s disgusted, then she realizes what brought him to that place. Trying to understand, she asks him some questions.
“Why did you break up?”
“Wasn’t meant to last, a relationship like that. It ran its course and I found myself in better circumstances. She helped me find a job and checked up on me from time to time. Eventually, I took a better job and moved to another part of the city. Never completely lost touch. About a year later, I got a letter and a photograph.”
He pulled a faded, dog eared picture from his wallet, handing it to her. A plain, slightly heavy woman with kind eyes gazed at her. She held a bundle of blankets in her arms, smiling proudly.
“My son, Jeffry.” He took the picture back again, tucking it away with a last, lingering appraisal. “He’s seven, nearly eight. I hear from her every Christmas.”
“I had no idea.”
“No one knows but us,” he said quietly. “She didn’t put my name on the birth certificate, but he’s mine. Never been another man in her life but me. First thing I did when I got my inheritance, I set up a trust for him, for college and the like. And I gave his mum enough money that she’d never have to work herself to death to take care of him.”
“That was sweet of you.”
“That’s what a father does. He takes care of his child. He doesn’t drink the money away or piss it away at the race track. He stands up and takes responsibility.”
“Have you ever seen him?”
He shook his head. “I’m a criminal, me. Didn’t want my kid around that. But his mum talks about me, shows him pictures. When he’s older, if he wants to meet me, I’ll be there for him.”
She nodded, understanding without him explaining anymore. Greg spoke from the hallway, tapping again on the door.
“You two coming? Sorry, bad choice of words. Dinner’s ready.”
“We’ll be right out.” Taylor grabbed her weapon and holster from the drawer by the bed. Checking it, she put it in the holster, used the peephole and opened the door. “Sorry.”
“No problem. Knock yourselves out. Don’t mind me, waiting in the hall, starving in more ways than one. Hell, if I were the one in there with you, Taylor, I wouldn’t even come out to eat.”
He walked down the hall ahead of them, shoulders slumped. They followed. At the top of the back stairs, he took his position and they flanked Jason as they went down.
Jason walked into the kitchen, but Taylor held Greg back for a moment.
“I’m sorry, Greg. I really am. I couldn’t help it.”
“No. I get it. I can’t control who falls in love. Because if that was possible, God knows I wouldn’t be in love with you.”
He pushed through the secret door leaving her in stunned silence. Taylor wanted to cry. She felt horrible for what she’d done to Greg, but she had no control over her feelings for Jason. Instead of giving in to her despair, she pushed the door open and tried to smile. Everyone could tell she really didn’t mean it, but they were all gentlemen and none of them would mention it in front of the others.
After they ate, she and Tim were spotting another team on patrol. He took the opportunity to talk to her about the situation.
“I don’t want to tarnish your shiny new romance, Tay. But this is eating Greg up.”
“I know and he won’t talk to me about it.”
“Maybe he’ll talk to me.”
“Do you think he hates me?”
“No, baby. He could never hate you. Greg’s disappointed. Hell, if I weren’t a married man, I’d have been after you myself.”
She smiled, thinking he was kidding. When she realized he wasn’t, she blanched. “I’m not that special, Tim. You know that. I’m a pain in the ass.”
He shrugged, smiling at her. “But a hella hot one, Tay. And you have your sweet moments. I’m glad I love my wife and that she’s hella hot too, or I’d be screwed.”
“Am I doing the right thing?”
“With Jason? Does it feel wrong?”
“Only when Greg looks at me.”
“Don’t let him get to you, baby doll.”
She nodded. They completed their rounds, checking in with the others as scheduled. Making their way back to the house proper, they walked in silence.
“I’m worried about this,” Taylor said before they opened the door. “I’m not sure Jason can pull it off.”
Tim laughed. “He’s the only one I’m sure of. I don’t know if we’re good enough actors. Jason’s entire existence depends on his acting ability. He can get into anywhere and do anything he wants. I never saw anyone so slick.”
Taylor suddenly wondered if that included her. She got very silent. As if he read her thoughts, Tim touched her shoulder.
“The only time that man is real is when he’s with you.”
After dinner, they sat around upstairs and chatted. Greg was a bit sullen to begin with, but finally warmed up and joined in the discussion. Jason was giving them lessons in how to be less Bureau. He lined the three men up, telling them to stand in a row. They all took a similar stance without looking at one another. Jason started to laugh.
© Dellani Oakes
To Purchase Dellani’s Books:
Dellani’s NEWEST! Under the Western Sky http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/under-the-western-sky.htm
Under the Western Sky http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/under-the-western-sky.htm