Authors: Jessica Gibson
“I don’t know, Jack, what is talking again really going to do? It’s just going to make it worse for both of us.”
“Please, Caroline, just one more time. I just want to talk, nothing else.”
“Let me call you back. I need to think about it,” Caroline said apprehensively.
“Ok, call me anytime. I’ll have my phone with me all day.”
After Jack hung up, Caroline thought about the situation with Sabine and wondered if Jack could fit into their plans. She called for Jilly, who appeared a few seconds later.
“What’s up?” Jilly asked.
“So, Jack just called. He wants to meet up for dinner so we can talk. I don’t really want to talk with him, but this could be good for our plan, right?”
“I don’t want to make you talk with him just so we can trap Sabine, Caroline. We can figure something else out.”
“Jill, this fits perfectly with the plan. Plus, I can hopefully get the divorce papers signed while I’m at it.”
“I don’t know. Let me go talk to Will and I’ll get back to you.” Jilly stood up and left Caroline alone with her thoughts.
Thirty minutes later, they were all gathered around the dining room table eating lunch.
“Ok, Caroline, what do you want to do?” William asked.
“I think going to dinner with Jack is our best bet. I’ll call him and set it up after lunch. Do you think Sabine is going to go for it?”
“Honestly, yes. She wants you for a reason; so she’ll jump at the chance to get you alone. We’ll be around, but you won’t see us. We’ll know if you are in trouble, though. Set it up for some time after it gets fully dark, so we will have more options for staking out the place. Try not to be nervous, just act normal. We don’t want to throw her off,” William said.
They finished eating in relative silence, all of them lost in their own thoughts. After lunch, Caroline went into her room and called Jack to set up the dinner. She didn’t care for how eager he sounded when she agreed to meet. They decided to have dinner at 7:30 at a little place in the village. She felt uneasy about the whole situation, meeting Jack and wondering what Sabine wanted from her.
Nikolai and William were sitting out on the patio talking strategy. “I think we should just grab her as soon as we see her,” Nikolai said.
“Nik, I know how you feel, I would be crazy if anything happened to Jill; but we need her to lead us to Katya. If we just grab her, she’ll never tell us what we need to know.” Nikolai jumped to his feet and went over to the railing, gripping it tightly.
“I feel so helpless, Will. I have to do something. I can’t just sit here.” William was silent for a moment.
“This is a horrible situation but I think you’re doing all there is to do right now, Nik. Now, I have something I think I should discuss with you. Patrick is getting stronger; he was able to get to Jill from within his tomb. We strengthened the wards twice before leaving town, but I know they won’t hold for much longer than a week, two at the most. We need to find a more permanent solution for him, especially now that Mary is added to the equation.” William scrubbed his hands over his face and sat back in his chair. Nikolai walked back and sat down.
“That is a difficult task. I’m not sure if there even is a permanent solution for him, Will. He’ll never stop trying to escape. And now that he knows Mary is out there, he’ll only get worse.”
“I know that, Nik, but what can I do?”
“I wish I had the answer, Will,” Nikolai said softly.
Jilly was nervous; her stomach twisted in knots. “I don’t know how comfortable I am with this plan, Will. I hate the idea of Caroline being bait.”
“Jill, we’ve been over this. There’s nothing else we can do. This is our only shot at finding Katya. Caroline is willing; so you either need to jump on board or stay here.” William shot her a dangerous look and left her standing alone in her room. She was shocked by the harshness of his words, but she also knew he was worried for Katya. She geared herself up for the task and walked out to meet the others.
Caroline was dressed modestly in a sweater and jeans. She carried an oversized purse, so she could hide a few protective charms that Jilly had made for her. She said goodbye to the others, hurried out the door and into the hall. She knew that they would be following soon; but she felt very alone. She pulled her purse snugly into her side and made her way to the elevators. As the doors were closing, she heard the click of the door down the hall opening and Jilly’s voice as she started walking. She pressed the button for the lobby and said a quick prayer as the elevator began its descent. Less than a minute later, she was off and walking toward the front of the lobby. A shiver danced down her spine; she had a vague feeling that someone was watching her, but she couldn’t see anyone when she looked.
After asking the door attendant to hail a cab for her, she waited by the door until it pulled up and the door was open. She tipped the attendant and leaped into the cab. She gave the driver the address and leaned back into the seat with a sigh. “So far so good,” she said under her breath. Twenty minutes later, the cab pulled up to the restaurant. She paid the driver and got out. She scanned the area quickly and dashed for the door. Jack was already there and a huge smile spread across his face when he saw her.
“You look beautiful, Caroline. Thank you for agreeing to dinner, tonight.”
“Save it, Jack, I’m not interested in flattery. I’m just here for the papers. Have you signed them, yet?” He looked at his feet for a moment.
“No, I haven’t signed them, yet; but I brought them with me. If I can’t convince you to give me another chance tonight, I’ll sign them before you leave.” The server came over and took their drink orders. Jack ordered a beer and Caroline stuck with water. She wanted to have her wits about her in case things went south.
“I honestly don’t know what you could possibly say that would convince me to stay with you, Jack. I’ve made up my mind and I’m sick of this crap you keep pulling,” Caroline spat out. They were both silent for a moment. Jack was looking at Caroline; but she was looking out the window, unwilling to meet his gaze.
“Caroline, the bottom line is that I still love you and I’m not ready to give up on us. I don’t understand how you can just walk away from us.”
“Look, Jack, I’m not just giving up and walking away. I was in this marriage 100% up until I found out you had been cheating. I will not go back to that; there is nothing left for us. I’m finished.” The server came back with their drinks and asked if they were ready to order. Jack looked at Caroline and she nodded.
“I’ll just have the cobb salad with ranch dressing instead of the blue cheese,” Caroline said.
“I’ll have the grilled chicken with a side of potatoes,” Jack said and the server left to put in their orders. “I half expected you to leave before we even ordered,” Jack said dryly.
“I thought about it; but I said that I would have dinner and that’s what I’m going to do. It would make things easier if you would just sign the papers now, and we can part on good terms when we’re done eating. I could make this a lot more difficult for you, Jack. I’ve been really good about all of this.”
“Is that a threat?” he asked, his fingers twisting his napkin violently.
“No, it’s not a threat. It’s what I intend to do if you don’t sign. I’m just laying all my cards on the table. If that hurts or offends you, then I’m sorry. I’m done with being nice, Jack. I’ve given you nice for too many years and look where it got us.” They were interrupted by the server bringing their food to the table. They both ate silently for a few minutes, each of them trying to gather their own thoughts.
“I hadn’t realized how much I really hurt you, Caroline,” Jack said softly.
“It’s not about hurt anymore, Jack, I just need to move on and start over. I can’t live halfway anymore, I need to have a whole life that’s all my own. Can you understand that?”
He looked at her with tears in his eyes and reached under the table for his briefcase. He pulled out the divorce papers and signed them immediately.
“For what it’s worth, I really am sorry and I do love you,” he said as he handed her the papers. She stood up, put the papers in her purse and turned to him.
“I know, Jack, I loved you too. I hope you have a nice life and that you can find happiness, again.” She kissed his cheek and walked out into the night..
Caroline decided to walk for a few blocks before hailing a cab. She was too keyed up and she figured the walk would do her good. She had almost forgotten to be nervous when Sabine stepped out of the shadows in front of her.
“Hello, Caroline, having a nice night out with the hubby?” she asked, wickedly.
“Sabine, I can’t say I’m surprised to see you. Why don’t we cut to the chase and you tell me what you want from me,” Caroline replied, icily.
“Oh, but that wouldn’t be as fun now, would it? Why don’t we walk for a bit?”
“No, I don’t think I really want to walk with you. I’m not in the mood for games, tonight. Just tell me what you want and be done with it,” Caroline said with more force than either of them expected.
“Well, well, well, little witchy has a temper. It wasn’t a request, Caroline, don’t try my patience.” The look on Sabine’s face was enough to make Caroline do what she asked.