Reckless Abandon (November Blue, #2)
Author:Randall, Andrea

“You are,” he whispers.

 

“Which one?” I ask as my eyelids close up shop.

 

If he has a response, I don’t hear it before I drift off. There won’t be any nightmares here.

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

“Good Morning, Ember. I’m glad you’re back.” My boss’s smile is sweet as she settles into her desk, motioning me to sit.

 

“Thanks, Carrie, I really appreciated the week off ...” I trail off and briefly knot my hands before taking a cleansing breath.

 

“If you need more time -”

 

“No, it’s really OK. It was just...a lot. But I do appreciate the week to collect myself.” I tuck some hair behind my ear before I continue. “I suppose we should talk about the dissolution of the relationship between B-Mr. Cavanaugh and myself.” I’ve practiced saying his name without crying nearly a hundred times over the last few days, but that doesn’t stop the burn from hissing against my cheeks.

 

“It won’t be necessary.” Condolences rake Carrie’s face. While she’s my boss, she’s also a woman—she gets it.

 

I pull my eyebrows in, rendered speechless.

 

Carrie takes a deep breath before continuing. “Mr. Cavanaugh sent me an email accepting full responsibility for everything that happened. He expressed his apologies and assured me that he would be handing the day-to-day operations of DROP over to David Bryson. He will remain a benefactor and handle behind-the-scenes duties. Further, he’s asked that we still consider the collaboration.”

 

Mini bombs titled “too much information at once” fire inside my brain.

 

“It’s summer now,” Carrie continues, “we have interns ready to go in whatever capacity I see fit. I can have one work with Monica on the DROP project—”

 

I stop her with my hand and a head shake. “No. Absolutely not. This collaboration is too important to leave to interns. DROP is a fantastic organization. Had I played by the very specific rules known to everyone on the planet— including myself—I wouldn’t be in this position. I’m an adult and this is my job.”

 

I think I just pulled off sounding composed.

 

“Who does DROP have in place for Grants and Community Ed?” I ask, trying to erase Bo’s blackmailers from my memory.

 

“DROP’s legal team will handle finances for a while, and David will work on the community piece with Rachel Cavanaugh. They’d like to get together ASAP to design a plan to move forward.”

 

Rachel’s name sounds like music to my years and feels like a kick to the head all at the same time. She’s certainly aware of the details of the blackmail. Bill Holder and Tristan MacMillian had “compromising” photos of Rachel during the time of her life she was using drugs. I have no idea—and don’t want to know—what the pictures entailed, but they were damaging enough that Bo didn’t want them released. Bill and Tristan blackmailed him for enough money that Bo took his time paying them back. For reasons I don’t understand, he employed them at DROP, and things seemed to unfold from there.

 

I’m not sure if Rae knows how much I know, or if she knows I know anything at all. I’ve ignored the few phone calls from a number Adrian tells me is hers. I haven’t been ready to face her. It hadn’t occurred to me that with school out for the summer, Rachel would be more active with DROP.

 

“Ember, are you OK?” Carrie reels me back to the present.

 

“Yes. Rachel’s great. I met her in Concord. You’re really going to like her.” I allow my feelings for Rachel to show in a smile.

 

“Good. Well, go get settled back into your office and I’ll get in touch with you later about meeting with Rachel and David.”

 

I breeze past Monica’s office and shut the door to mine before reorienting myself.

 

“Em?” Monica knocks and talks at the same time.

 

“Yeah, come in.”

 

“How’d it go with Carrie?” She plunks in a chair and slides a latte in my direction.

 

“Fine. I told her I was still one hundred percent committed to the collaboration, and—”

 

“Pardon?” She cuts me off with judgmental eyebrows.

 

“Monica, it’s my job. Period. Bo and I shouldn’t have gotten involved with each other and neither organization should have to suffer because of it. Stop looking at me like that.”

 

“OK, well, I need to show you something.” Monica produces a sheet of paper and sets it on my desk.

 

“What is this?” I ask as I pick it up.

 

“It’s the email ...” She freezes and waits for my reaction.

 

“Why the hell do you have it?”

 

“He sent it on Friday. Based on his tone, Carrie thought that you might not be coming back. Of course she wouldn’t show it to me, even if I’d asked ...”

 

“But ...”

 

“But Tim owed me a favor after I hooked him up with Callie, so ...”

 

I chuckle a little. “Nice. Taking advantage of our IT guy.”

 

“Well...go on and read it.”

 

I stare at her for about five seconds before scrolling my eyes down to the email.

 

 

 

From: Spencer Cavanaugh, Founder, DROP

 

To: Carrie Roberts, Director, The Hope Foundation

 

Subject: Collaboration