I See You (Seeing You #2), page 1
I SEE YOU
Copyright © 2016 by A.P. Hallmark
All Right Reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of very brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
Cover Artist: Jada D’Lee
Editor: Lisa Calell - The Watson Literary Agency
This book was published thanks to free support and training from:
There are two women who have been with me during this process. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart.
Krisztina Farkas, I will never forget the day I met you. Thanks for always being there. When my brain quits; you never do
Stella Katharaki, you started this story with me … I miss you!!
I stare, unblinking, as she walks away. I can feel the sad burden in her heart by the way she’s barely holding her body upright. Her shoulders are heavy, and she’s leaning heavily on Krista for support. I want so desperately to go to her.
My plans to discuss the medical procedure with Joy is thwarted when Emma corners her in the ladies room on the evening of the biggest fundraiser event for The Davis Institute.
She feeds Joy enough lies about infidelity as well as leaking my plans to perform my breakout procedure on her to cure her blindness. It’s the last straw and Joy is resolved to leave me.
At a loss for words, I look around the room only to find everyone's eyes on me so I quietly suggest to Maddie that she get the music started again. As she maneuvers the crowd to speak to the D.J., I ask my parents to help get everyone dancing.
"Jessie, will you help me work the room? I need to make sure our donations don't suffer. We don’t need this making a mess of our purpose."
"You bet, and Matthew," he says quietly, touching my arm, "don't worry. It will all work out." Taking Laura’s arm, he turns and faces the curious crowd.
After making excuses for the events that stopped the party, I spend quality time with our biggest supporters, hoping to mend any fences that may have been broken by the scene that took place here tonight.
Nursing a Chivas, I retreat to a corner of the ballroom, contemplating what this means for Joy and me. My eyes scan the large room, and after several hours of visiting with the guests, I let my parents know that I’m exhausted and going home. Not wanting to talk to anyone tonight, and knowing they have the security passcodes to the front door, I tell them that I’ll see them in the morning.
Leaving the hotel unnoticed, I’m happy to find Nick waiting for me and when he looks behind me, I see the questionable look on his face. No doubt he's curious as to where Joy is, but to his credit, he doesn't say a word. After pouring myself into the backseat, I lay my head back and look around, recalling the beautiful woman I had here with me only a few short hours ago. My eyes involuntarily close to the painful memory of her sad voice when she asked if it was all true. My hand instinctively massages my chest where a dull ache has settled and the torment begins.
As Nick pulls away, dropping me off at the curb, I walk the few short feet to the front door and into the deafening silence of my home. With the soft glow from the light of a small table lamp, I don’t bother with turning on the lights. The heels of my shoes echo around me as I walk across the tiles of the entryway to the living room. Removing my tuxedo jacket, I pull off my bowtie, and throw both on the closest available chair. After unbuttoning my shirt, I impatiently tug the tails out from the waistband of my pants and aimlessly make my way to the bar. Pouring myself a scotch, I drink it down in one shot, and after letting the burn of the liquor pass, I pour another. Standing alone in the silent room, I look into the amber liquid, then raise the rim to my lips and drink the contents quickly. After filling the glass once more, I set it on the coffee table and lay my body flat against the cushions of the couch.
"Is it true, Matthew?"
My hand smacks my forehead when those four words run on a continuous loop in my brain.
"Is it true, Matthew?"
How do I answer that? "Yes, it's true, but …"
How the hell did Emma know? That’s the million-dollar question. Clearly someone that knows told her, but who?
Hiding my eyes in the fold of my arm, I recall the telephone conversation when she called to rub in the fact that Joy walked out on me. It’s laughable that she threatened to destroy me if I don't make her a business partner in charge of hospital administration. It’s obvious she wants to get her hands on the money because as soon as she mentioned the Administrator and if it controlled the CFO position, the alarm went off.
Then it strikes me like lightening. She said she was in New York at the same time I was. She said that she saw me in front of my hotel and was planning to talk to me then, but thought better of it when she saw Jessie and my parents walk out behind me.
Was she following me and how did she know about Joy and the procedure? No one I trusted with that information had let it leak. I’m certain of that.
Knowing that my parents would be home soon, I finish the remaining liquid in my glass and move to make my way upstairs. The thought of sleeping in my bed without Joy brings another round of pain to my chest. Closing my bedroom door, I remove my pants and shirt, leaving them where they fall. Figuring a hot shower might help me sleep, I lean against the tiles, letting the pulse of the hot water massage the back of my neck.
I know what the burn behind my eyes mean when the overwhelming feeling of what I’ve lost hits me hard. She’s gone. She thinks I've betrayed her and worse yet, she thinks I've convinced her friends and my family to lie to her for the sake of my personal gain. The sad thing is that she's right. The minute I asked them not to tell her ... to hold my secret for me … was me betraying her. But I wasn't hiding it from her. Was I?
Fighting off the emotions of the evening, a single guttural sob escapes and my face drops into the palms of my hands. Feeling the uncomfortable coolness of the water, I dry myself, and sluggishly crawl into bed. When her lingering scent on the bedding overpowers my senses, I have the impulse to change the sheets. Instead, I gather her pillow in my arms and bury my face in it, inhaling deeply, knowing that this could quite possibly be the last time I smell her scent again.
The following morning, I discover that my bed is nearly destroyed after a night of fitful sleep. My mind churned the whole night and nothing would quiet it down. All I saw was Joy's sad, golden eyes. Her beautiful golden eyes and that same question running over and over in my mind … "Is it true, Matthew?"
Resigning myself to the fact that I won't be able to get back to sleep, I get up and search my closet for a hooded sweatshirt and a pair of shorts. After tying on a pair of running shoes, I go downstairs to find my parents sitting at the breakfast bar.
"Morning," I mumble when I pass them to get a bottle of water out of the refrigerator
"How are you this morning, dear?" my mother inquires. I know she doesn't want to get too inquisitive, but she's concerned about me … it’s her nature.
"I've been better." Avoiding their eyes, I slip the bottle of water into the deep pocket of my shorts and take the cup of coffee my mother is holding out for me. Spying the morning newspaper lying on the counter, I snap it up. There it is, plain as day, Joy, at the ball, broken and on her knees with her arms outstretched searching for her purse.
Another picture depict
"I know you're worried about her, Matthew, but your father and I have news to share with you. We received an email from our broker last night that said she had a medical conglomerate purchase both of our practices. The deal should be finalized in a few weeks," my mother hesitantly informs me without the fanfare it deserves. "I know the timing’s bad, but it can't be helped." I hold my hand up to her to let her know that it's all right.
"We didn't expect it to sell this soon," Dad says, following mom's hesitance. "We're going to go house hunting today, and were wondering if you would want to come with us. We could use your expertise on the best neighborhoods around here."
Looking at them, I realize then that they are only trying to keep my mind busy, so I agree to help them with their search.
"Sure. Let me go for a run and when I get back, we'll go over the list." I see the concern on my mom's face, and I place my arm around her shoulder.
"I'll be okay, Mom. I just need to fix this thing with Joy." I kiss her cheek, nod at my dad, and then turn to leave through the front door. I immediately notice that something is missing — Conrad. He was an excellent running partner.
Once I warm up and get into the rhythm of my jog, I again go through the conversation I had with Emma last night. Knowing that no one here even speaks to her, I quickly think of Carol. Did she know? I'm fairly certain she didn't, but she does seem to be involved somehow. No one at the hospital knew but Jessie, and he would never say anything.
I also find Carol’s behavior odd last night as well. The way she kept asking me to dance in front of Joy. Even when I told her that I wouldn’t be dancing with anyone other than Joy, she asked again even interrupting Joy and I. Her drunken flirtatious innuendos were not only brazen, but unprofessional. I wonder why she hung around with Emma in the first place? How do they know each other?
Stopping to take a drink of water, I start up again, thinking that the only other people that know, outside those that I trust, are the delegation from New York.
And it’s then it hits me.
Emma was in New York at the same time I was. She knows they had granted the approval for funding, providing I met certain qualifications. She also knew that qualification was Joy. She got to someone in the delegation. But who? The only people that were at the meeting were Dr. Fisher, Dr. Adams, Dr. Lawrence and Dr. Stewart. I know it wasn't Fisher; he would never compromise his integrity or his position. Adams and Fisher are in a long-term relationship, so I doubt she would jeopardize that by leaking information. It had to have been Lawrence or Stewart. Turning, I hurry and start running toward home determined to get to the bottom of this.
As soon as I enter the front door, my parents are shouting at each other from their upstairs bedroom. That's strange; they never fight.
"Do you think it's okay that he kept that information from her?" Mother yells, slamming a drawer.
"No, Lillian, you know I don't," my father replies.
"Then why in the hell did you not tell me that fucking tramp propositioned my husband?"
"Because I knew you would react just like you are right now. I didn't think it was necessary to upset you. Especially when you and I both know that I would never take her up on that disgusting offer," Dad explains, defending his decision.
"Maybe you aren't as stupid as I thought, Leland, because if you had told me, I would have ripped those balloons out of that chest of hers and shoved them up your ass."
I had to stifle a laugh at that one.
"Now, Lillian, baby, you know you wouldn't do that. You know you love my ass, and there's no need for you to enhance perfection with implants." Once my mother giggles, I know everything is going to be all right with them. My dad always did know how to cool off her hot temper.
"True, but, Leland, you know how I feel about secrets between us. Look what it's doing to Matthew and Joy." My father acknowledges her statement. "Do you think they'll be okay?" Mom asks sadly.
"I don't know. She's hurt and angry and that’s a deadly combination," Dad replies. "I hope they work it out. He loves her, hon. I think he would have married her."
"I think you're right. I wonder if there's anything I can do to help."
Lord, I hope they don't think about interfering. Then again, my mother has a calming way of explaining things. I think it's from years of explaining medical conditions to children.
When I hear them coming down the hall, I rush to the door and slam it shut, appearing as if I just got home rather than eavesdropping.
"Oh, Matthew, you're back. I have my list right here. Are you ready to look at it?" Mom says, waving the paper at me.
"Let me shower first? I also need to make an important phone call. Give me thirty minutes," I say before running up the stairs, taking two at a time.
Once I'm showered and dressed, I quickly run downstairs to my office to call Jennifer. Finding her business card under the scattered papers on my desk, I dial her cell number, only to get her voicemail informing me she's out of the office until Tuesday.
"Jennifer, it's Matthew Davis. I need to talk to you right away. Please call me at your earliest possible convenience. It's … important. Thanks."
Disappointed that she wasn't available, I hope and pray that she calls back soon. Making my way to the kitchen, I sit down to discuss the list of homes mom has selected and point out the most favorable neighborhoods. There are two homes in the same neighborhood as mine, and we decide to look at those first.
After driving around for the biggest part of the day looking at houses, the thought of Emma sitting in front of Joy's house hits me.
"Mom, Dad, do you mind going with me to the police station to get the restraining order application started before we go to the office?"
"Not at all, son. I was wondering when you were going to get around to that," Dad replies in a serious tone. I know I've been remiss in getting this done, but after last night, I've had it.
We go to the station first to file a report for harassment and stalking, but they advise me that I will have to wait until Monday to go to the court to file an application for the Protection Order. After leaving the station, we head over to the office, passing Joy's apartment building first. I slow the car to see if I can get a glimpse of her but her curtains are closed. It saddens me that she's probably in there alone, knowing that those most important in her life have betrayed her.
When I show my parents the ninth floor that will house their new practice, they fall in love with the space. Following behind them, I listen while they amicably discuss design and equipment placement. I’m envious of what my parents have together and was certain Joy and I would have that.
Since their practice requires two operating rooms, one for each of them, we discuss a possible redesign of the surgery center.
"You know, I've been considering the possibility of purchasing the office building next door. It's been on the market for too long. Perhaps we can turn it into our surgery and recovery center, leaving this building for office and educational space." After making my suggestions known, they are on board with the idea.
"I'll check with the members of the foundation to see what they think. Perhaps we can see about other funding as well. Although I don't like to take out loans, I may have to do that for this project." As I listen to some other suggestions they have, it reminds me that I haven't even spoken to Joy about these plans. I didn't really get the opportunity. Dad just told me a few days ago that he and mom were moving h
"Dr. Davis, Dr. Montgomery, Carol is here for her appointment," Krista announces over the speakerphone.
"Give us five minutes, Krista," I reply, looking at Jessie.
"As I was saying, I have no doubt that the picture in the newspaper of Joy on the floor came from Carol's cell phone. I've already spoken with HR; they know my thoughts and have agreed with my decision."
"I think you're right, bro. I'll sit back and let you handle this. I won't say a word." I nod in agreement. Looking up when I hear a knock on the door, Krista escorts Carol into the room. I fight the need to roll my eyes when I see her in a tight black sweater and black leggings with over-the-knee black boots. She's dressed more for a nightclub than a Head Nurse with an appointment with her employer. I don’t care if it’s her day off or not.
"Have a seat," I instruct, motioning toward the one chair facing Jessie and me.
"That's Dr. Davis," Jesse corrects her.
"Dr. Davis," she corrects with a smirk, "if this is about the other night …"
"Yes, it is about the other night. First, I would like you to explain your behavior toward me in front of Ms. Johnson."
"What? Do you mean when I asked you to dance? I didn't know there was a problem with that. I mean is that a disciplinary offence? Is it in the employee handbook?" she asks derogatorily.
"Is this how you want to play this game, Carol? Pretending not to know what I'm talking about?" I demand, sitting forward in my seat. "I'm talking about your improper behavior toward your employer and his girlfriend."
"Is that what this is about? Did she complain about me? You're reprimanding an employee because the girlfriend is mad at you? And you’re questioning my professionalism?"
"Dr. Montgomery, would you go out and get Krista for me?" Jessie gets up from his seat and asks Krista to come in.