Over Us, Over You Page 2


(Present Day)

Seattle, Washington


TWO DAYS LATER, I LISTENED to the sound of raindrops tap dancing against a taxi’s roof as rounds of thunder roared in the distance. I was grateful that the driver wasn’t interested in holding a conversation during this trip, as the only thing I would be able to say is, “I just want to get to the airport. Please.”

I looked out the windows as he steered the car through the twisting roads of Washington’s mountains, as he sped through familiar lanes I hoped to never see again.

An upcoming sign to my left read, SEATAC Airport, 15 miles.

I pulled my phone from my bag and sent a text message to Kelly.

ME: Heading to the airport. See you in San Fran in four to six weeks.

Her response was immediate.

KELLY: Be safe! Make sure your brother is okay with me joining you there.

I sighed and stared at my brother’s name on my contact list again. Today it was: Big Brother (Just Get It Over With!)

I still couldn’t do it. I needed to wait a few more minutes.

Instead of making the call, I scrolled through all my contacts and deleted every associate I’d made in this city.

By the time I was done, there were only five contacts left in my phone: Rockville Prison (Dad), a twenty-four-hour hotline for “Girls Who Grew Up without Their Mothers,” my brother, Kelly, and “My Chum.” The latter was a number I hadn’t called in years, but my heart ached at the thought of ever deleting it. 

“Which airline are you taking, Miss?” The cab driver’s eyes met mine in the rearview mirror as we approached the airport.

“None. Can you take me to the private terminal, please?”

“Right.” He laughed, nearly snorting. “I couldn’t drop you off there if I wanted to, sweetheart. I’d need an exclusive access pass with the name of the private plane’s owner and ID number. We’re both big dreamers, I see.”

“I have an access pass.” I pulled out the silver card my brother had given me years ago and handed it to him. “Private terminal, please.”

As he glanced at the name on the card, his eyes widened. He sat up a bit straighter in his seat and cleared his throat. “Right away, Miss.”

He proudly handed my access card to the security team when we arrived at the tower that stood in front of the private terminal. Then he steered his cab to the sleek, black glass building at the end of the access road.

Without saying a word, he helped me out of the car and took my suitcases out of the trunk. I didn’t mention the fact that he didn’t help me at all when I first hailed his cab.

I handed him the last of my money—a single, twenty-dollar bill, and he smiled before rushing back to his car.

Stepping inside the private terminal, I rolled my luggage to the lone seating area and pulled out my phone. I took a deep breath and finally called Jonathan.

“Yes, Hayley?” he answered on the first ring, as usual.

“Hey, Jonathan. How are you?”

“Decent. Did you receive the latest sPhone prototype in the mail last month?”

“I did.”

“Well, what did you think of it?”

Nothing, I had to pawn it ... “Well, it was great, but—” I couldn't bring myself to tell him the truth. "I dropped it the first day, and it broke."

“I knew the glass on that one was too goddamn thin,” he said. “I’ll send you another one after we fix some other issues.”

“Looking forward to it.”

“I’m sure.” There was a smile in his voice. “I’m not used to you calling me first these days. Is something wrong?”

Everything is wrong. “No.”

“You just called to randomly ask how I was doing?”

“Yeah, I guess.”


An awkward silence stretched over the line, and I knew the longer it took me to get the words out, the more concerned he would be.

“Wait,” I said. “I called because I need to ask you something important.”

“I’m listening.”

“Does your confidante, Greg, still fly down to Seattle at the end of every month for a weekend getaway?”

“Yes, he does. He insists on it since he claims I’m a demanding boss. Why?”

“Well, um,” I said, my voice cracking. “I was wondering if I could fly back with him today and live in San Fran with you for a while to get back on my feet.”

“Come again?” The light tone of his voice was gone. “What did you just say?”

“I asked you if I could fly to San Fran, to stay.” I wiped away tears as they fell. “I need to leave Seattle and start over.”

“Since when do you live in Seattle, Hayley? Last time we talked, which was weeks ago, you were living in Memphis. You’ve been there since you supposedly hate the West Coast.”

“I guess I didn’t hate it that much.” My voice was a whisper.

“You told me you were finishing your master’s in business while looking into specialty schools,” he said, his voice tight.

“Is that part true?”


“So, I’ll assume you transferred schools behind my back. If you move here, will you still have all your course credits?”

“I doubt it.”

“Well, why not?”

“Because I dropped out of business school over a year ago.”

“What?” He sucked in a breath. “When the hell were you going to tell me this? And where the hell has the thousands in tuition money been going all this goddamn time?”

“Jonathan, please.” I swallowed. “Can we not do this today? I promise I’ll tell you everything, but right now I’m asking for your help, not your judgment.”

He let out a long sigh. “How long will it take you to get to the airport?”

“I’m already here.”

“Are you in the private terminal?”


“Fine.” The sound of papers shuffling in the background came over the line. "Greg probably won't arrive at the terminal until later tonight, but you don't have to wait for him. Head over to the window bay, and I'll make a call so that you can fly out now."

“I take it you’ll be waiting for me when I arrive?”

“Luckily for you, I won’t be,” he said. “I’m on a working vacation with my girlfriend this week, and I think I need a few days to calm down after hearing this shit. I’ll have a driver there to meet you, though.” He paused. “You’re not in any financial trouble, are you?”

“Not anymore.” I wiped away more tears. “I just need to find where I belong all over again. My business partner, Kelly, will need to come along, too. She’ll be coming to San Fran to join me in a month or so. If you could, can you help her, too?”

“I can.”

“Thank you, Jonathan.”

“Don’t thank me until I’ve seen you in person and gotten the whole damn story. Are there any other random ass requests or last-minute lies you want to clear up?”

I let out a breath. “You’re mad at me?”

“No, I’m far from mad at you, Hayley. I’m fucking livid.” He paused. “But I still love you. You should’ve told me about this a long time ago, though. You know I don’t appreciate secrets.”

“I know. I love you.”

“Love you more. Call me when you land.”

He waited for me to end the call, and I walked over to the window bay as he instructed. Before I could make it all the way there, a man in a navy-blue suit appeared and grabbed the handle of my suitcase.

“Miss Statham, I'm Nathaniel Matthews,” he said. "I'm going to be your pilot today. Should we take off now, or are we waiting for someone else?"

“It’s just me.”

“Great. Follow me, please.” He smiled and led me outside.

The second I stepped onto the tarmac, a man in a black suit rushed over to me with an umbrella and held it over my head. He matched me step for step as we walked across the wet road, all the way up the private jet’s silver staircase.

I settled into the first seat, tracing my fingers along the cursive “Statham” that was etched into the wooden hand-rest.

“Hello, Miss Statham.” A flight attendant set a bowl of strawberries in front of me. “I’ll be here and at your service whenever you need me.”

“Thank you.” I wiped away another tear and leaned back, waiting for this chapter of my life to reach its last page.

As the pilot called to the control tower for permission to take off, my phone buzzed in my pocket. An email from Jonathan.




I think it’ll be good to have you home with me. I’ve booked a suite at the Four Seasons for you this week, and I’ll have a permanent residence set up for you and your friend by next week.

I won’t ask any questions at this moment, but I will need complete and utter honesty from you when I do. Are we clear?

Also, since you’ll be in town this week, I need you to go to an art auction party for me and bid on a few paintings. I’ll send details in a couple of hours.



PS—Corey is still in San Fran. I’m sure he’ll be happy to see you again.



My eyes focused on the last line of his email as the plane ascended into the sky, and my heart beat a traitorous rhythm I hadn’t felt in years. Corey being in San Francisco changed everything about this new arrangement, and I knew I needed to try like hell to avoid him for as long as possible.

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