“Ben told me that they were just scratching an itch and I told him to scratch it with someone else. He promised me that that weekend would be the last time, that they’d call it off when they got back. I wanted to warn you about marrying her but I knew that you wouldn’t have listened to me.”
“I wouldn’t have,” Ryan agreed. He and Chad had been at odds long before the accident.
Chad dropped his eyes. “My fault. I was a useless father and terrible role model. I played with women and didn’t take them seriously. Ben followed my example.” He walked back to his desk, poured coffee into his own cup and sipped. “Anyway, to come back to the documentary... I knew that asking you to make that film would’ve been cruel so I made damn sure that the project got scuttled.”
Ryan wished he could clear the cobwebs from his head. “By asking for that ridiculous fee.”
“Yeah. I knew that you didn’t have the cash, that you wouldn’t borrow the money to do it and that you wouldn’t ask anyone else to narrate it.” Chad shrugged. “That being said, I still have the script and if you ever want to take on the project, I’ll narrate it, for free.”
Ryan slid down the door frame to sink to his haunches. “God.” He looked up. “I came to ask you for a hundred million and I end up feeling totally floored.”
Chad rubbed the back of his neck. “Neither you nor your mother deserved any of the pain I put you through. I’ve been trying to find a way to say I’m sorry for years.” His jaw set and he looked like the stubborn, selfish man whom Ryan was used to. “And if I have to spend a hundred million to do it then I will.” He grabbed the stack of papers, flipped to the end page and reached for a pen. Ryan watched, astounded, as he dashed his signature across the page.
“Don’t you have to talk to your partners?” Ryan asked.
“I’m the only investor,” Chad said, quickly initialing the pages.
Well, okay, then. “Don’t you think your lawyers should read the contract or, at the very least, that you should?” Ryan asked as he stood up, now feeling slightly bemused. He was still trying to work through the fact that his father had been trying to protect him from further hurt, that Chad seemed to want a relationship with him, that it seemed as if his father had, to some measure, changed.
“No, no lawyers. We’ll settle this now and before you leave town I’ll do a direct deposit into your account for half of the cash. I’ll need some time to get you the other half. A week, maybe. Besides, if you take me for a hundred million then it’s no less than what I deserve for being the worst father in the world.”
Ryan picked his jaw up from the floor. “Chad, hell... I don’t know what to say.”
“Say that you’ll consider me for a part in the movie...any part,” Chad retorted, as quick as lightning.
Ryan had to laugh and felt strangely relieved knowing that his father hadn’t undergone a total personality change.
“I’ll consider it.”
Chad lifted his head and flashed him a smile. “That’s my boy.”
In all honesty, Jaci was proud of her heart. It had been kicked, battered, punched, stabbed and pretty much broken but it still worked...sort of, kind of. It still pumped blood around her body but, on the downside, it still craved Ryan, missed him with every beat.
This was the height of folly because his silence over the past ten days had just reinforced her belief that he’d been playing with her, possibly playing her. If he felt anything for her, apart from sex, he would’ve contacted her long before this, but he hadn’t and that was that.
Ryan aside, she had other problems to deal with. Her career as a screenwriter was on the skids and there was absolutely nothing she could do about that. Before she’d left Starfish the office rumors had been flying, and even if she took only 5 percent of what was being said as truth, then she knew that there was more chance of the world ending this month than there was of Blown Away reaching the moviegoing public. And with that went her big break, her career as a screenwriter. She would have to start again with another script and see if her agent could get lucky a second time around. She wasn’t holding her breath...
Being the scriptwriter for a blockbuster like Blown Away—and it would have been a blockbuster, of that she had no doubt—would have got her noticed and she would have been on her way to the success that she’d always craved.