I laughed. "No, just work us to the bone. The Broward rumors are true. What about at Renfield's? Is she as big of a bitch as everyone says?"

"Depends on the day. Most days she’s okay - just every once in a while it's like WHOA - watch out!" She held the door open for me, and we entered the restaurant. Todd was already there, along with Anton, the Asian intern, and Trevor. They all had beers, and I ordered a Michelob Ultra from the waitress as soon as she passed.

"We got queso and chips coming," Trevor said, pulling out stools for both of us.

"Awesome," I said. Todd seemed to be avoiding my gaze and I shot him a quizzical look. He gave a quick smile and then started asking Trevor something. I shrugged and turned to Jennifer.

"You take the LSATs yet?"

"Once. I did okay, but am taking a review course this summer. You?"

"I took one my sophomore year. Did well enough then, but I'm gonna try an online course first, see how that helps me."

We chatting about menial crap, and kept ordering beers and eating chips. Pretty soon I was well buzzed and needing real food. I flagged down our waitress and ordered a chicken quesadilla, then made my way over to Todd's side of the table. He gave me a quick smile then started studying the saltshakers on the table. I moved in front of him, standing where he couldn’t avoid me.

"What's wrong? Why are you acting so weird?"

"Nothing. I'm not acting weird."

"Yes, you are. You're avoiding me like the plague. You invited me here - if you didn't want me to come, you shouldn't have asked."

"I did want you to come. Then. But.."

"But what?"

"De Luca told me to stay away from you."

I stumbled back, staring at him in surprise. "What?"

He chewed at his bottom lip nervously. "When I got back to the wing today, after talking to you, he called me in his office and told me to stay away from you."

"Did he say why?"

"He didn't allow me to ask any questions. Just told me that fraternizing with coworkers was bad news, and he expected more of me. Told me to stay in our Wing and stay away from the other interns."

"What did you say?" I sputtered.

He looked down. "I asked him if I could still hang out with Trevor, after work. We've been best friends for three years and I told him that. He said Trevor was okay. I really have to go. I shouldn't even be here." He rose despondently and went over to Trevor, placing a hand on his shoulder and whispering something in his ear. I held up my hand. "Todd."

He didn't hear me, so I repeated it louder. "Todd!" That got his attention. He looked up at me quickly, with a beaten look on his face.

"You stay. I'm leaving."

"What? No, I'll just -"

"Stop. It's done. I'm leaving." I reached in my purse, rifled through the side pocket until I found $40, and laid it on the table. "Give that to the waitress, and you guys can have my damn quesadilla." I stomped out of the restaurant, leaving them stunned and staring after me. I stood outside in the warm breeze, seething mad. That prick. I whipped out my phone and tried Olivia, then Becca. No answer from either. Damn. I was too buzzed to drive and didn't know where I was going. I saw a cab approaching and I waved frantically till it turned on its light and pulled over. I got in the back and slammed the door. "Just head north. I'll give you an address in a minute."


I assumed that Brad lived in the North side of town - mansions and manicured lawns seemed to be his thing. I pulled up whitepages.com on my iPhone, but there was no listing for a Brad De Luca. Next I checked the property appraiser's site. That did it. 1244 Olive Line Trail belonged to Bradley De Luca. So did 3 or 4 apartments, but I figured the Olive Line Trail address was his home. According to the Tax Collector, he paid $1.8 million for it 3 years ago. The beauty of the internet, a stalker's f**king dream. I gave the taxi driver the address and quietly steamed in the backseat. Fucking De Luca. Thinks he can decide who I hang out with? The man who doesn't want me, but doesn't want anyone else to have me? I will wring his ridiculously large neck with my own two hands. I ignored my grumbling stomach and flexed my hands in anticipation.


Olive Line Trail was on the north side of downtown, but just barely. We were there within 10 minutes, and I paid the cab driver before thinking. He sped off into the darkness and I stood there, on an oak lined residential street wondering what exactly my plan was. I checked my watch. 7pm. The man might not even be home, though he definitely wasn't still at work. I walked up a pavered drive to a set of double doors. I started to reach for the doorbell, but decided that dramatic was a better approach so I reached forward and pounded the shit out of the door. No one answered. I pounded again, then turned, looking at the empty street, taxi gone. Shit. I heard something from around the side of the house, so I teetered down the front steps and went around. In the back of the house was a large pool, hot tub (big surprise) and big covered porch. Brad was sitting on the back porch in a wicker chair turned to face the house. He had a tennis ball in his hand and was throwing it against the house, letting it bounce back, and catching it. He had a phone to his ear and was talking. I cleared my throat and stood on the steps behind him, my hands on my hips. He tilted his chair and looked over his shoulder, his eyes hardening when they saw me. "Rick, I'm gonna have to call you back." He hung up and stood, turning to face me. He wore a white v-neck tee shirt and workout shorts, tennis shoes on his feet. His neck and back were wet from sweat, and looked like he had just gotten back from a run. "What are you doing here?" He sounded irritated.

"What am I doing here?! What are you doing!"

"I'm at my house."

"I'm not talking about here you idiot! I'm talking about with Todd - with work - with us!"

"There is no us."

"Exactly! You made it very clear that you didn't want a relationship. Yet YOU ran off Bob. Yet YOU told Todd to stay away from me. You are not my father, you are not my boyfriend, you are not my boss. You don't have the right to f**k with my life!"

"Why are you yelling?"

"Because nothing seems to be getting through your skull!"

"Do you like Todd this much? Is this what this is about?"

"I don't like Todd at all! That's not the point. The point is if I did really like Todd, or someone else, I don't need you walking around telling people they can't date me. That's not your place. It's like you don't want me, and you don't want anyone else to have me. That's bullshit."

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