Unforgiven, p.6

Unforgiven, page 6

 part  #5 of  Wilde Brothers Series

 

Unforgiven
 


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  Samuel knew by the expression on Ben’s face that he meant every word of what he was saying. For Samuel, the only reason he had come was the promise he’d made, the one thing that had gotten him through the tough times as a kid when their dad left and Logan became the one they looked to to take care of them. That was the only reason he was here now with a brother he absolutely hated.

  ***

  Chapter 12

  Samuel was settled into one of the lodge rooms. He hadn’t thought of bedding, but thankfully Joe and Logan had brought enough sleeping bags for all of them. His room was large, with a window that faced east, a bed with a queen mattress, and a bathroom down the hall. He especially liked the hardwood floors. They weren’t just any hardwood but fir, which was something he didn’t often see anymore. The lodge had been built for quality and longevity. The entire second level looked down into an open great lounge. A huge stone fireplace was the feature of the room, with sofas set up in a U shape around it. Log beams crossed the ceiling, and the place echoed when he walked.

  Joe looked up when he was on the stairs. “Hey, get down here now. Logan’s grilling steaks. How do you want yours?” He had an armload of wood and was feeding a few logs onto the fire. It crackled, and Samuel could feel the warmth it threw off as soon as he stepped off the stairs.

  “Rare, same as always.” He stopped at the bottom and took in Ben, who was lounging on one of the sofas, his feet up on the heavy square wood table. Jake was across from him on another sofa.

  It was uncomfortable, and Samuel stood there, staring down at his brothers in a way that had him feeling for the first time in his life like the odd man out. He shoved his hands in his pockets as he noticed Jake take a swallow of his beer, watching him.

  “How’s Jill?” Jake asked, still holding the bottle between his fingers.

  For a minute, he was tempted to say, “None of your damn business.”

  “Why, what’s going on with Jill?” Ben asked, looking from Samuel to Jake, obviously picking up on something. “What’s up, you two?”

  Logan appeared beside Samuel and handed him an open beer. “Joe, check on the steaks for me,” he said. Joe didn’t say anything as he left out the back.

  “She hasn’t been feeling well,” Samuel said. “She thought it was the flu, went to the doctor. He ordered some tests, but she hasn’t heard back yet. Should probably call and find out,” he said, but he hadn’t thought much more about it, as Jill had seemed fine when he left.

  “When I called, she was sick,” Jake said to Ben. “She dropped the phone and then disconnected. I tried calling again, but she didn’t answer.”

  “Well, I’m pretty sure that was because she didn’t want to talk with you,” Samuel couldn’t help himself from saying.

  He felt Logan’s fingers squeeze his shoulder as the entire room tensed. The way Ben was watching him, he was starting to realize it seemed he had taken a side—Jake’s.

  “Enough, Samuel,” Ben said. “Don’t start that, not again. We’re here now because you two blockheads have decided to allow a woman to come between you, and nobody leaves until this is worked out.” He leaned forward and reached for his beer on the table.

  “Or they beat the crap out of each other,” Joe said as he walked in with a pair of tongs. He jabbed them Samuel’s way. “You were the one responsible for all this. You get cold feet and you’re done with a woman? And you.” He stepped in closer, tapping his tongs together and pointing them Jake’s way. “Pining for a woman who was with your brother, giving her a shoulder to cry on. Of course she was going to fall into you.”

  “I get it, Joe.” Jake was up out of his seat, all six two and solid muscles. He was a big guy, and if he wanted to take a round or two out of Samuel, he could have done it. “You know it’s done with her. I get it. Samuel, she wants you, she’s with you, and yes, what I did was stupid. For the life of me, I wish I could go back, as I’ve found someone now who makes me happy. Chris and I are together. I asked her to marry me,” he added.

  “Hey, congrats,” Ben said, still lounging, flashing that million-dollar smile. “So our little brother is getting married.”

  “No, I’m not getting married,” Jake said. “Chris said there’s too much uncertainty, and that was one of the reasons I called Jill, to find out the paternity of the baby now. We all need to know who the father is, Samuel or me. If it’s you, Samuel, I’m done and out of the picture for good. Chris and I can move on with our life together. But if it’s mine…” He didn’t say anything else.

  “If it’s yours, what, Jake? Say it,” Samuel said. He wanted to know how much of a prick his brother was going to be about this baby—Jill’s baby.

  “Stop it,” Logan said. He stepped in front of Samuel and then glanced Jake’s way. “Joe, steaks ready?”

  Joe appeared a lot more clean cut than he used to be. His short dark hair was freshly cut, and he wore nice clean jeans and a new T-shirt. “Yeah, just shut off the grill. The steaks are resting. Grab some beers, and let’s plate up.”

  Samuel waited for a minute, about to follow everyone into the large dining area with the long table and benches, but Logan rested his hand on Samuel’s shoulder to move him along.

  “Come on,” he said.

  Samuel didn’t miss the look of concern. It was so big brotherly of Logan, as if he’d appointed himself his overseer, so he started walking and glanced back, seeing that Ben was doing the same with Jake.

  ***

  Chapter 13

  Samuel could hear his phone ringing from somewhere in the house. It had to be in his jacket, which he’d left in that massive living room. He put down his fork and knife and left the half-eaten steak and baked potato on his plate. He almost smiled at the realization that if one of the women were here, a salad or vegetable of some kind would have been made and the men forced to eat it. But this was truly a Wilde brothers weekend away, the guys eating as they liked to eat.

  He slid around and stood up. “Let me grab that.”

  Logan had been sitting beside him. He didn’t say anything but gave him a look that said loud and clear that there wasn’t a chance he was leaving.

  He could hear them talking as he hurried out and found his jacket. The phone had stopped ringing. He saw then that he had two voicemails, so he pressed the phone to his ear.

  “Samuel Wilde, this is Doctor Watts. I’m calling about Jill Robertson. I’ve left a few messages and haven’t been able to reach her. We have this number for an emergency contact. If you could have her call me, we really need to reach her.” The doctor then left his number.

  Samuel listened to the next message, which was also from the doctor’s office. He called the number the doctor had left, and it was answered by his answering service. “This is Samuel Wilde,” he said. “Doctor Watts called me and left two messages, as he’s trying to get a hold of my girlfriend, Jill Robertson.”

  “Can I have your number? I’ll page the doctor.”

  Samuel rattled off the number and hung up, realizing as he turned around that Ben was behind him, arms crossed over his dark sweater.

  “What’s going on?” he asked.

  “I don’t know, but Jill’s doctor left two messages. I’m not sure what’s going on—” His cell phone rang then. “Hello?” He wondered if he sounded as worried as he felt.

  “Samuel, Doctor Watts here. Is Jill with you?” The doctor sounded unusually urgent.

  “No, I left her at home. I’m actually away with my brothers. What’s going on?”

  “My office has been trying to reach Jill, but she hasn’t been answering. We’ve left several messages, and it’s rather urgent we get a hold of her.”

  “What’s going on?” Now he was starting to panic.

  “Can’t really discuss it with you over the phone without the mother’s consent.”

  “Seriously? Jill is pregnant with my kid, but you’re telling me you can’t tell me.” He glanced up to see Logan and Joe step into the room, Jake behind them.

 
Look, all I can say is we need to get Jill into the hospital now. Is there another phone number where I can reach her?”

  He glanced at his watch. It was late, after seven. She could be sleeping, or maybe she had her earbuds in, listening to music, and couldn’t hear the phone. That had to be it. The problem was that he was so far away he couldn’t just go home and check. “Her work number. Did you try her office? I can’t see how she’d be there, though. She was working from home. Maybe she didn’t hear the phone.” He was rubbing his head, frustrated.

  “We tried her work and left a message. Spoke with the receptionist there earlier. They said Jill hadn’t been in.”

  “I’m going to have someone go over to my place and check. She could be working, maybe didn’t hear the phone. I’ll call you back.” He hung up the phone and turned, as Logan was now in his face.

  “What’s going on?”

  “The doctor is trying to get a hold of Jill. Something’s wrong. He wants her at the hospital. I knew I shouldn’t have left. I knew it.”

  “Is there a problem with the baby?” It was Jake, stepping around Ben and Joe, now appearing as worried as Samuel felt.

  “Something, I don’t know,” Samuel said. “He wouldn’t really say, as Jill’s just my girlfriend. She has to give her consent for the doctor to talk to me, and she hasn’t done that yet.”

  “I don’t understand. I thought you flew to Vegas and got married,” Jake said, and Ben was frowning, looking to him and then Logan for answers.

  “No, they’re not married,” Logan said. “Jill wouldn’t go through with it.” Everyone was looking at him then.

  “What?” Ben said.

  “She knew I was upset that no one in my family had showed for our wedding. She believed she was responsible and worried I’d hate her.”

  “It’s more than that, Samuel,” Logan said. “It’s partly because of your relationship with your brothers that she loves you. She has no intention of marrying you until you sort this out. She’s right, too.”

  He couldn’t believe Logan knew so much. “You seem to know a lot about this, Logan. I’m not really liking this too much.”

  “Jill phoned me, Samuel,” he said. “She needs you to make things right with Jake. She’s very upset that she’s the reason you’re divided from your family. She can’t live with that.”

  “So is that the reason I’m here, that you called this little reunion, because Jill called you?”

  Logan crossed his arms and took a deep breath, his chest rising as if he needed to tell Samuel something he hadn’t planned on. “She surprised me,” he said. “It took a lot of guts on her part to pick up the phone to call me, to reach out for help. Any woman doing that and thinking of your relationship with your brothers and how important it is…that says a lot about a woman to me. I may have been wrong about her. She didn’t try to make excuses about what she’d done with Jake and you. She’s carrying her part of this triangle.”

  “You know what, Logan? At some point we’ll maybe have a conversation about that, but right now I need to find Jill,” Samuel said. He was already dialing as he talked to Logan. The phone was ringing, and he waited until his voice came on the voicemail. “Jill, this is Samuel. Pick up.” He waited for a second, nothing. He finally hung up. “Damn it. She’s not answering.”

  “What’s wrong?” Jake asked again, stepping around Ben.

  “Jill’s not answering the phone.” He was already dialing her cell phone, but it too went right to voicemail. “Shit! Of all the times, Logan, to call this emergency family meeting. Jill hasn’t been feeling well, and we were just at the doctor’s. He ran some tests. Sounds like whatever has turned up is enough that he’s worried. Crap, what if something happened to her?”

  He was thinking of who else he could call. He didn’t really know anyone in the building, and then he thought of who was close enough. He started walking as he dialed. It rang only once.

  “This is Erin.” She sounded distracted.

  “Erin, this is Samuel.”

  “Hey, Samuel. Just how stupid are you, dumping this case—or should I say thank you? I’ve got to tell you, Rob was pretty pissed at you, as Mrs. Stowles didn’t want to deal with anyone other than you. With what she was paying this firm, this could end up costing you big as the golden boy you are…”

  He pulled the phone from his ear, as Erin was going on and on. He knew Rob was mad. It had been a stupid move, telling Rob he had to go because of a family emergency. Even he knew that as far as the partners were concerned, emergencies only happened when you weren’t in the middle of a big case, especially when you were only an associate.

  “Erin, stop. That’s not why I’m calling. I need you to go over to my place and knock on the door. Jill isn’t answering the phone, and I can’t get a hold of her. I need you to get her to call me.”

  “Seriously, Samuel? Give the girl a break. Maybe she doesn’t want to talk to you. Have you thought of that?”

  He jammed his fingers in his hair and pulled. “Erin, this is serious. I’m not there, and there’s a problem. The doctor is trying to get a hold of her. I’m starting to get worried that something happened with her, to her. Can you please, please just go there?” He had to grit his teeth so as not to yell at her over the phone.

  She must have picked up on his frustration—and he was really, really frustrated. She stopped and said, “Okay, I can hear that you’re upset about this and really worried. Yes, of course I’ll go over, but I don’t know Jill. Who should I say I am so she doesn’t think I’m some kook showing up like a crazy person?”

  “Just tell her I’ve been trying to call her, and so has the doctor. There’s a problem and she needs to call the doctor and then call me. Please stay there with her and make sure she calls me so I know what the hell is going on. The doctor wants her in the hospital. Do you understand?” He was running his hand over his head.

  “Okay, give me your address. But you owe me, Samuel. You owe me big.”

  He breathed a little easier, a little more relieved, as he rattled off his address and then hung up. When he turned back to his brothers, he saw that they too had finally gotten the urgency of the situation.

  ***

  Chapter 14

  Jill really wasn’t feeling well, and as she took in the Stay and Save motel room with two double beds, she wanted nothing more than to have a shower and climb under the covers. She’d just spent the last hour in and out of the bathroom, puking her guts out. The only saving grace was that she’d finished her report and emailed it in before Samuel left. She really needed to evaluate what she was doing, but she also needed to feel better before she could make a decision that could affect her life, the rest of it, and the baby’s.

  After everything that had happened between her and Samuel, she couldn’t live like this anymore, feeling like the bad guy. She could only be with him if he wanted her, loved her completely as much as she loved him. And the baby—she needed to call the doctor. She should have heard back from him already. After all, he’d said he would rush the tests.

  She sat down on the edge of the bed and fished her phone from her purse on the other. The voicemail was full. She frowned when she heard Samuel’s urgent message. He sounded worried, demanding she pick up. Then there was the doctor’s office, asking her to call, that it was important—and a second one from the doctor. When she listened to the time, she realized the doctor had called yesterday and left the second message earlier today, and Samuel just a few minutes ago. She ran her hand over her face, pressing her thumb and forefinger into her brow as she felt a wave of dizziness hit her again.

  Her hand was shaking as she dialed the doctor’s number, but it was the answering service that came on. “Is Doctor Watts there? He asked for me to call him back. This is Jill Robertson.” She was really fighting the wave of nausea, swallowing back the bile, feeling awfully warm. The person on the other end said something, but she couldn’t make it out. “Excuse me? I didn’t understand that.”

  “
This is the answering service. I’ll page the doctor and have him call you.”

  She puffed her cheeks out and started toward the bathroom. “Have him call my cell,” she said, and she didn’t wait for the woman to respond. She dropped the phone, raced into the bathroom again, and vomited.

  ***

  Chapter 15

  “I told you I can drive myself.”

  “Just shut up, already,” Ben said, driving his Range Rover with Samuel shoved in the back beside Jake. Joe was following, driving Samuel’s car, and Logan rode shotgun.

  “You’re not driving, Samuel, so enough about it,” Logan said. “You’re half out of your mind with worry, and we have a lot to settle, so just sit there and enjoy the ride.” Then he said something to Ben that Samuel couldn’t make out.

  He’d not said a word to Jake, not one on one, but being stuck in the back with his brother as if they were two years old wasn’t something he appreciated. He could have said “Screw you” to Logan, Ben, and even Joe and gone his own way, but there really was something about Logan and all his brothers coming together like this that meant something to him—something he really couldn’t name.

  “So tell me again, Samuel, what the doctor said.” Jake was pushing again.

  “You know what, Jake? I really have had about enough of you asking about my girl. She’s no business of yours, so just butt out.”

  “Enough!” Ben yelled from the front. He slammed his foot on the brake, skidding the tires on the highway, pulling to the shoulder, and stopping. He turned to the back, jabbing his finger Samuel’s way. “Stop it. You don’t get to have the corner on caring for Jill. You fucked up, you idiot, when you got cold feet and said goodbye in the worst way. And you”—he jabbed his finger Jake’s way—“have been in love with Jill from the day Samuel found her. I knew it, saw it, and said nothing. But you moved in on her, and she fell into you because you made things easy for her. She realized, though, that she had made a mistake, but by then, well, shit happens, and your relationship is in the shitter.

 
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