Chapter Five:


We hurt those we love.

He waited in the dark just one more moment. Watching. Breathing. Remembering.

Two flights and a long car ride in this unending rain blowing off the Atlantic like the sweat of a fighter refusing to go down. This stretch of road was like something out of fairy tale or a perfume commercial. God knows Josh knew enough about those things since they were his life. Snapshots of the stylish and sensuous. Yet most of the time they were simple fantasy, not some backdrop to a Hallmark card burning away into floating fragments.

There was this hesitation clinging to him like some kind of denim jacket. He couldn’t take it off no matter how hard he tried.

This could be bad.

Even worse than how he had left things. This beautiful—no, beyond beautiful, more like singular perfection—woman doused with tears and snot looking up at him with quivering lips. So desperate. Clinging to his leg like a prisoner. Declaring everything and more and begging. Literally begging in every way possible.

It took a certain type of man to leave a woman like that behind. Josh Worth was exactly that kind.

So what the hell am I doing here?

Guilt? Love? A combo of both?

The mansion was lit up like it was expecting guests or at least some reality TV show crew to be showing up any moment. Even though it was a little after two in the morning in Miami, Josh knew those lights never went off until the sun replaced them.

Bright lights big city.

He was old enough to remember watching Rico and Tubbs on the television. He was seven or eight years old but his non-existent parents didn’t care. Turn it on and let him go. So he loved Miami Vice. Josh simply didn’t ever expect or want to find himself in some episode.

Another breath. Okay. It was fine everything was fine this was no big deal. He’d been in that house before. Plenty of times. He knew the security codes and which door to open. He knew the rooms well and the beds inside them. He also knew the man who owned the house, the guy he’d never met, the one he’d been an idiot to ignore like someone out of the shot holding up a light or a prop.

Morales. The last name that everybody called him by. It wasn’t just a rumor anymore but pretty much a proven fact. Morales sold drugs and lots of them and this was one of his many houses and Carmella was one of his many women. So what was the big deal?

And why again am I here?

Josh didn’t need long to answer that question. He knew. He knew enough, at least.

“You don’t have a soul.”

Carmella’s last words before he left. He had walked out and driven off and heard the words follow him like the clinking cans on the back of a car belonging to newlyweds. He hadn’t thought of turning around that night. Not even once.

He was back. To apologize and to make things right.

Josh had been the one to reach out, to text, and to text again, and to keep it up until she finally answered.

Saturday night at 2. I’ll be here. Alone.

So Josh had arrived. Alone. He felt this warm gust of apprehension. Not because of Morales. No. He’d never gotten worried about him.

Josh simply didn’t know what Carmella might say.

Then again, he didn’t know what he was going to tell her either.

The most terrifying thing would be to tell her the truth.