Woods hadn’t left me alone since my blackout yesterday. I knew he had work to do. I also had work to do, but he was keeping me by his side at home. Every time I mentioned going into the office, he did something to distract me. Oral sex on the kitchen counter had been his first tactic, and it worked. I had forgotten about anything but the way he made me feel.
Then he’d caught me sneaking off to take a shower when he was on a work-related phone call. I mentioned that we needed to get ready, and then he’d taken me against the shower wall. After he cut the water off and carried me to bed, we’d made love again.
Now he was outside on the phone again. I knew he was dealing with work from home and it only proved my point that I was hindering him. My weakness was a weight on him, but I wanted to help him. When he opened the door and stepped inside, I started to tell him that we should really go to work. I was going to fight off any sexual advances he tried to use to keep me there.
“That was Vince. I have two board members in my office that my mother contacted about some things she knows nothing about. I need to go into work to deal with them. I should be back in two hours max,” he said before the door closed behind him.
He wasn’t going to let me go. “I could go to work, too. There are things I didn’t get done yesterday.”
“No. I’ve got to concentrate on this meeting, and knowing you’re there will distract me. I’ll be worried about you. Just stay here and I promise I’ll come right back.”
He pressed a kiss to my lips before walking to the bedroom to get dressed. I stood there and let his words sink in. He was taking my job away. He was going to keep me here again. He was afraid of my being at work and having one of my episodes.
I had been working so hard to be tough. To ease his worries. One bad day and he had me in a glass box again. This wasn’t fair. I wanted to live. I loved being close to him and having a purpose, knowing I was helping him. Staying here all the time was lonely. I couldn’t do this again.
He walked out of the bedroom dressed in a suit and smiled at me. “We’ll eat at that Italian place you love in Seaside tonight,” he told me, as if that made this all okay.
Instead of telling him how I felt, I just nodded and kissed him back, then watched him leave. I didn’t fight back. I just let him decide what I was going to do. This wasn’t tough. Blaire wouldn’t have let Rush do this. She would have fought back. She would have turned Alabama badass on him and gotten her way.
I had to show Woods that I could do this. I’d had one slipup but I was bigger than that. I could keep working. He needed me there. I was helping him. I was good at it.
I went to the bedroom and got ready for work.
Facing Woods while he was in a meeting wasn’t a wise decision. Instead, I finished the work I hadn’t completed yesterday. I managed to schedule a stand-in golf pro, ordered new golf carts to replace two of our older ones, and met with the manager of the golf course, Darla, about using new vendors for snacks and adding some new beers.
It was three hours before I had a chance to meet with Woods. He hadn’t called me yet so he wasn’t even aware that he had gone over his two hours. Either he was still in a meeting or he was so swamped with work he had lost track of time.
Vince smiled at me with relief in his face when I walked off the elevator. “Miss Della, I’m so glad you’re back today. You’ve been missed.”
I needed to go ahead and deal with this thing with Vince. “Thank you,” I said, stopping at his desk. “About yesterday, Vince, I’m sorry you saw me like that. I’m very thankful you went and got Woods for me. I have those episodes sometimes and I work hard to control them, but I didn’t do a good job yesterday.”
He held up his hand to stop me. “I don’t need an explanation. If you need me I’m here. Don’t you concern yourself with what I saw. That’s between us and only us.”
Tears stung my eyes and I only managed to nod. I glanced at the closed door to Woods’s office. “Is he in there?”
Vince shook his head. “No, he left about fifteen minutes ago. He said he’d be back in thirty minutes for a conference call he’s expecting.”
Crap. Was I going to miss him? “Okay, thanks, Vince.”
I went back to the elevator and changed my mind. I’d take the stairs. Woods normally took the stairs. I might miss him if I took the elevator.
The moment the door to the stairs closed behind me, I heard Woods’s voice from below. Stopping, I considered going back into the office. I didn’t want to eavesdrop.
“I don’t know how you’ve dealt with the crazy as long as you have.” Jace’s voice stopped me from leaving, as did his words. I froze with my hand on the door.
“It was what I had to do. I couldn’t just let her be alone. But it’s affecting my work. At least when Angelina was here she helped.” Woods’s words were like cold water being poured over my head.
“You need to keep your ass away from her insane shit. You have a corporation to run. Dropping what you need to do to deal with one of her batshit crazy episodes isn’t fair. You need to fix this problem.” Jace’s words made the numbness in my heart start to spread.
“I can’t. How the hell do I do that?” Woods said in a frustrated growl.
I’d heard enough. I had to get away. I had to leave. I couldn’t breathe. The darkness was closing in again, and this time I wasn’t going to be here for everyone to witness it.
I forced a smile at Vince when I walked back out of the stairwell and headed for the elevator. He didn’t ask and I didn’t explain. I just kept my focus on the elevator doors. They opened and I stepped inside. Taking deep breaths, I fought off the darkness. I would not do this here. My craziness was affecting his work. No, no! I would stay focused.
When the doors opened, I stepped out and walked straight to the parking lot. When I reached my car I got inside and reached for my phone.
“Tripp,” I said when he answered.
“I need you to come get me. It’s time I left,” I replied.
He was silent.
“Trust me. I will tell you after you get here. Don’t tell Woods. Just come get me. It’s past time I left.”
“What did he do?”
I let out a heavy sigh and grasped at the strength I hoped was inside me. “He wants out. My issues are too much for him. He just doesn’t know how to tell me. Please, it’s time I left. I want to live my life now.”
“I’ll be there by lunch tomorrow. I just have my bike.”
“I’ll pack light,” I replied.
“You can ship everything else. I’ll text you an address.”
“You’re sure about this?”
“Yes,” I replied.