“Ahh,” Mr. Yakamora says quietly, steepling his fingers in front of him. “All right.” He snaps his fingers on his right hand, and the waitress who had been taking his order comes over, setting a bottle of sake on the table along with two glasses. “I propose a toast.” He pours the alcohol into one glass, handing it to me before pouring his own and setting the bottle down. “To space and time and the women who transcend it,” he says.
We hold our glasses towards each other before taking a drink.
“Yes,” I sleepily mumble into the phone after I finally get it to my ear.
“Sir, Chloe is in the hospital,” Ricket says, and I sit up.
“What do you mean ‘Chloe’s in the hospital’?” I turn on the light. “Is she okay?” I ask, getting out of bed and going over to my suitcase, where I begin tossing all of my belongings inside.
“Shit.” He takes a deep breath. “Duane was keeping an eye on her in the bar and noticed that she’d started acting strange. She went to the restroom and he followed her, so when she didn’t reappear after a few minutes, he went in and found her unconscious on the floor of one of the stalls. Right now, we’re waiting for the doctor to tell us what’s going on.”
“What the fuck happened?” I growl, powering up my computer. I need to get in touch with my pilot to ready the jet. I need to get to Chloe.
“We’re not sure. I’m pulling the video from the bar as we speak.”
“Stay with her until I get there. Do not let her out of your sight,” I command.
“Will do, sir,” he replies immediately.
“The jet will be in the air within the hour. If you hear anything, let me know right away,” I tell him while texting my pilot.
“You have my word,” he says.
I hang up and go to my suitcase to pull out a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, getting dressed quickly before zipping up my bag. Then I pull my phone out and head down to the lobby of the hotel. As soon as I reach the front entrance, I call Wesly and quickly let him know that I’m on my way back to the US and I will be calling Mr. Yakamora. I’ll need to explain that I had to leave Japan immediately and any business we need to discuss can be taken care of via conference call.
I won’t be leaving Chloe again, even if I have to handcuff her to me.
“Can I take your coat?” the flight attendant asks.
I hand it to her and pull out my phone from my pocket when it begins to ring. “Yes?”
“Sir, I wanted to give you an update. The doctor has her on an IV, and they are running a few more tests, but they believe she was drugged with Zolpide and she had an allergic reaction to it.”
“Who the fuck was close enough to her to drug her?” I demand.
“Sir, I’m not sure,” Ricket says quietly.
“Can I speak with her?”
“She hasn’t woken up yet,” he says almost under his breath, and a ball of hot rage fills my chest.
“Call me the moment she wakes up,” I hiss, running a shaky hand through my hair, “and for fuck’s sake, find out what the fuck happened!” I shout, clicking off the phone.
By the time we land in New York, my anxiety level has tripled. Chloe still hasn’t woken up and there is no evidence on the tapes showing that anyone had the opportunity to drug her.
It takes an hour to make it from the private airstrip in Westchester to the hospital in downtown Manhattan, where Chloe is. As soon as I pull up outside of the hospital, Ricket is there to meet my town car. Without a word, I follow him into the hospital, and as soon as I step off the elevator, my hackles rise. Maxine is standing in the hall with a man I have never seen before.
“What are you doing here?” I ask her as soon as I get within speaking distance.
Her head turns towards me and she smiles. “I thought it would be best if I met you here,” she says quietly and starts to reach out her hand to touch me.
I instantly pull away. “You thought wrong. You can go,” I tell her, taking a step towards Chloe’s room, but the man who was standing with her steps in front of me, blocking my path. “I suggest you move aside,” I tell him.
“Do you now?” he asks and steps in front of me again when I try to move around him.
If I weren’t exhausted from traveling and worrying, I would lay the kid out, but as it stands, he may be able to get one over on me.
“Sir, this is Chloe’s boyfriend,” Maxine says from beside me, and I turn to look at her then back at him.
“The only man in Chloe’s life is me. Now get the fuck out of my way,” I bark.
He opens his mouth and begins to speak, but one of my men steps in, wrapping his hand around the guy’s arm. He starts to struggle but quickly stops when my man leans down and says something to him.
I turn towards Chloe’s room then stop and look over my shoulder. “Bernard.”
My bodyguard stops and turns to look at me as well as the guy. “Yes, boss?” he asks, looking back at me.
“I want to know everything about him, and make sure he understands he is not allowed to even breathe the same air as Chloe again,” I tell him.
He lifts his chin and starts to lead the guy away.
“Now, you,” I say, turning towards Maxine before heading into Chloe’s room. “If I find out you’ve somehow had a hand in all this shit, you will pray I end you.”
“Nolan,” she whispers, and I shake my head.
“Get out, now,” I snarl.
She jumps slightly before quickly turning and walking away. I take a breath and stretch my neck before stepping into the room where Chloe is.
The TV is on, blue light casting a glow around the room. My eyes go to the bed, and I take my angel in before stepping towards her. The blankets are tucked around her, her hands at her sides. Her eyes are closed, her dark lashes lying over her cheekbones. Her hair is up, and I can tell she styled it by the way the curls are still holding in her normally straight hair. I walk towards her and see that one of her hands has an IV attached. It feels like it takes forever to make it the ten steps to her side. My hand instantly goes to her face, and my fingers travel down her jaw when I see a large bruise there.
“Jesus, Angel. What the fuck happened?” I whisper, looking her over. I can’t believe this happened to her. I slip off my shoes and climb into the bed with her, being careful not to move her too much as I wrap myself around her.
“Nolan,” Chloe says as I feel her fingers travel though my hair.