Chapter Twenty

“You know I don’t need a babysitter Jonathan.  Besides, don’t you have work to do?” Marah knew her family meant well but she was tired of the constant hovering.  It was like they expected her to fall apart the second she was alone.  That wasn’t going to happen.  Tony and her had been done for six years.  Despite the hope that had sprung up after that showdown with Romeo he had shut her out at the hospital.  He spoke of love one minute then was ice-cold the next.  She didn’t want to go down that road again.

Jonathan didn’t even look up from the magazine he was reading, “Nope.  Josh gave me the day off.”

Marah couldn’t take it anymore, she took her pillow and launched it at Jonathan’s head, “Just leave me alone Jonathan!  I’m not going to break down because he doesn’t want me.”

Jonathan looked amused, which just infuriated Marah further.  “About time you got angry.  So you want to talk about it?”

“What’s to talk about?  We were over long before he left town.  I’m grateful that he saved my life and that Romeo Jones will forever be another bad memory but that’s it.  No use going back when it doesn’t change anything.”

Jonathan put down the magazine and looked her in the eye, “You thinking about going back to Paris?”

Marah didn’t want to.  According to Romeo even her best friend there was no friend at all.  But the alternative was worse.  There was no way she could live in the same town as Tony.  She had tried it before and it broke her heart.  She couldn’t do it again. “Might as well.  I have a line that I haven’t even started working on.  Even though I need a vacation to recuperate from this one!”

“You don’t want to give him a chance to maybe explain?  You’ve been waiting six years to get some closure.  Him being back changed all that.  Maybe he has a reason for acting so strange.”

Marah huffed, “One minute he was talking about love and the next he was shutting me out.  No, me and Tony Santos are officially done.  And I refuse to put my life on hold for him.  Not anymore.”

Jonathan just looked at her before getting up, “Alright I’m going to get out of your hair.  I have to take Sarah to dance since Bill and Lizzie are still out-of-town.  I’ll see you later tonight.”

She had gotten her wish, she was alone.  She called the airline and booked a ticket on the next plane to Paris.  In less than twelve hours she would be an ocean away from it all.  Despite all the promises she made to herself the tears that came to her eyes could not be contained.  She sat back against her pillow and let them fall. “Damn you Tony Santos”.

***

“What the hell is your problem?”

Of all the damn people Tony expected Marah’s boyfriend, husband, or whatever in the hell he was would have been dead last on the list.  And Tony really didn’t want to have this conversation.  “Look I don’t even know who you are or what you want so why don’t you just go.”

The stranger just moved further into the room. “Not until you get your head out of your ass.  Did you know that she is planning on going back to Paris?  Probably calling the airline as we speak.”

Tony felt like throwing something.  To come so close only to loose in the end was the story of his life.  “Why should I care?”

The man actually looked like he was going to punch him.  “You are an idiot you know that?  Right now Marah is miserable.  She tries to hide it but she wears her heart on her sleeve.  That and she threw a pillow at me earlier.  And for all your bravado I know you hate being without her too.  So what gives?”

“Why do you care?  You have her!  I would fight you for her and trust me I would win.  I am only half alive without her in my life.  But there are kids involved.  I know what it’s like growing up without a father.  I couldn’t do that to your kids.”

The man looked like he’s been pole-axed, “What in the hell are you talking about?  I have Marah?  Kids?  I think you got some things confused man.”

“Just go.  I’m not going to give you any trouble.  Just. Go.”  When the man just laughed Tony felt like getting out of the bed and knocking him senseless, hurt shoulder or not.

“I’m going to give you a break considering what you’ve gone through, and because you’re injured.  Because trust me, I am sorely tempted to beat the shit out of you and be done with it.  But instead maybe I should introduce myself.”  The man stepped closer to the bed and stared at him angrily,  “Name’s Jonathan Randall so no I don’t ‘have Marah’ she’s my sister.  And those kids you saw?  One is her brother and the other is her niece.  Last time I checked Marah came back because even after six years she couldn’t get over you.  Though I have no clue why.  You were ready to give her up like some kind of martyr.  Like I said, you’re an idiot.”

Tony felt like all the air had been sucked out of the room.  He had gotten it so wrong…and probably kissed his last chance goodbye.  He laughed bitterly, isn’t this what Danny had told him for years?  What Rafael had told him?  That he never stops to think before reacting.  Seems six years hadn’t changed anything.  “I got everything wrong.”

“Yeah you did.  Question is what you are going to do about it.”

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