"Your father wants to see you," Jimmy told Cam as they sat in the Side Bar having lunch.
He wasn't surprised to see her confused expression. "Why? So he can tell me again how little I mean to him?"
"I don't know. The Federal prosecutor just asked me to relay the message." He sat forward. "Not to take sides here, Cam, but I really *don't* think your father knew that Colby intended to kill you. He claims that Colby intended to kill me and then himself, leaving you to live with what happened."
"He knew Rick better than that," Cam insisted, shaking her head. "He knew that Rick was too possessive of me to ever risk my moving on after he was gone for good. He wanted me to be as dead as he was." She looked around and then lowered her voice. "Jimmy, you don't know what my dad put me through - . I knew how he felt about abortion, but I really thought he'd be able to forgive me - that he'd understand *why* I'd done it. Instead, he told me that he no longer had a daughter, and then ran to Rick to tell him what I'd done."
Since the incident in her father's old hunting cabin, Cam had reversed her earlier attempt to keep secrets from Jimmy. They had talked at length about the events of ten years ago. Jimmy moved to cover her hand with his in an attempt to comfort her from the pain he knew that the memories still caused.
"Even if I could forgive him *that*, if I could forgive him for the last ten years of forwarding Rick's threatening letters and helping him to terrorize me to the point where I was afraid to let anyone close to me," she turned her hand and curled her fingers around his, "there is *no* way that I could ever forgive him for what he tried to help Rick do to you."
Jimmy smiled at her. "Fair enough. I just wanted you to know that the option was there if you wanted to take it. Since you don't, I'll let Raymond know that you're not interested."
"Thank you. I know this isn't easy for you - I'm sure your pollsters have found that your numbers have dropped since all this came out -"
"No, they haven't," he informed her. "In fact, I think they've gone up."
"I guess being a hero still counts for something, then," she noted, glancing up as a young woman approached the table.
"Excuse me. I'm sorry to interrupt -"
"What can we do for you?" Jimmy asked the woman, worried that she might be someone who supported Mark Collier's stance there to take Cam to task.
"My name is Allison Nesbit," she said, extending a business card in Cam's direction. "I'm delighted to see you, Dr. Collier."
Cam took the card and read it. "Allison Nesbit. Family Counseling Center."
Jimmy had heard of the center. "You do good work there, Ms. Nesbit."
"Thank you, Mr. Conlon," Allison said. "We do what we can. But we could do so much more if we had someone like Dr. Collier who could speak to some of the women at the center who desperately need to know what might happen to them if they don't get out of a bad situation."
Cam blinked in surprise. "You want *me* to help out at the Center?"
"I think you could do us - and perhaps yourself - a lot of good, Doctor," she confirmed. "I'm not going to pressure you - but keep the card, and think about it. If you want to talk more, give me a call. Please."
"I'll do that," Cam nodded as Jimmy wished Allison Nesbit goodbye before she left them alone again.
Jimmy held the card out to Cam. "Interesting."
"Yes. I didn't think anyone would be interested in what I might have to say. I mean - I'm not exactly the poster girl for being strong -"
"But your experiences could help others in that situation now," he pointed out. "They could -"
"Learn from my mistakes?" she finished for him, and Jimmy grimaced.
"Something like that. I really think she's right: it could be good for you as well as them." So far, she had refused to consider seeing anyone to discuss what had happened, and Jimmy knew she needed to do just that.
"I'll think about it." Jimmy sat back to resume his meal until she spoke again. "Of course, it *would* help your poll numbers, wouldn't it?" she mused.
Jimmy's eyes locked on her face. "Cam, that thought hadn't occurred to me -"
He saw her eyes search his face before she sighed. "I know. I guess I'm still a little gun-shy. I'm sorry. But I'm right. And you know it."
"Now that you mention it, yes. But I don't want you to do it for me, Cam. If you do it, it should be for *you*."
Cam sighed deeply. "You *do* know that you're too good to be true, don't you, James Conlon?" she asked.
"We'll see if you feel the same way after you've met Gail and heard her horror stories," he said with a grin. "Speaking of which, have you managed to clear your schedule for the weekend?" he asked.
"Are you *sure* this is a good idea?" she wanted to know. "I mean, I'd like to see Jessie again, and I've always wanted to visit New York City, but - the idea of meeting your ex-wife face to face -"
"Trust me, Cam. Gail's bark is worse than her bite."
"Now *there's* something to reassure me," she said, laughing. "I've cleared my schedule. As a matter of fact, I've been giving some serious consideration to going totally into private practice instead of spending so much time at the hospital."
"It would mean that I would work more regular hours - barring emergency surgeries, of course. But it would be more manageable, I think. And the money would be a *little* better."
"It would be nice to have you around a little more," Jimmy admitted. "That's something else we need to talk about," he said.
He looked around. "I think this conversation will be best had in another setting," he decided. "Say, tonight - over dinner?"
"What time will you be home?" she asked, and then, "What is that smile about?"
"I liked hearing you ask that. As though you think of my place as 'home'."
"I suppose I do," she said, realization dawning. "That's what you want to talk about, isn't it?"
"I know we haven't known each other very long, Cam, but - I think we've been through more than most couples have in that time."
"I guess we have."
"And you like my house, right?"
"I *love* that house," she corrected. "And the man who owns it," she continued.
"That's good to hear," he said, sighing as his phone rang. "Like I said - over dinner?"
"Agreed," she said as he opened the phone.
"We have a break on the Harding case," Maureen told him.
"I'm on my way," he assured her. Hanging up, he said, "I should be home around six - if nothing comes up."
"I'll be waiting," she said, lifting her head for a quick kiss before he left, stopping at the bar to pay their bill first.
Cam watched him go with a smile on her face, still wondering how she'd gotten so lucky as to meet James Conlon. As much as she liked to tease him, he wasn't perfect. He tended to be absent minded - he was forever misplacing his reading glasses at the house - and he wasn't very good about picking up after himself. More than once Cam had found his dirty clothes on the floor of the bedroom instead of in the hamper where they belonged.
But if those were his only faults, Cam decided, she'd take them. Because he was also attentive, and caring, and more concerned with how she was feeling than about himself. He was romantic, and one hell of a lover. That last caused her smile to widen as she finished her lunch and headed out of the bar.
"Cam, I'm glad I caught you."
She turned to find Ray Blackwell. "Ray. I thought you'd be in the office -"
"I begged off - I need to talk to you."
"I'm heading back to my office," she told him. "I have an appointment -"
He pulled her to the side of the crowd against the wall of a nearby building. "Jimmy told me that you know that I have a problem," he began.
"He didn't tell me, Ray," she assured him. "I'm a doctor. There are signs -"
"So he said. Look, Cam. I don't want Jimmy to worry about me. Can you - tell him you were wrong? That it's nothing after all?"
"Ray, I can't do that. Not without an examination."
He shook his head. "Okay. Set me up an appointment - and I'll be there."
"Okay. What would be a good time for you?
"Doesn't matter. As long as I have some notice."
"How about tomorrow morning, then? Say, around - ten?"
He looked thoughtful. "I think I can manage that."
"Then I'll pencil it in when I get back to the office. Would you be alright with my asking Dr. Graham for your records?"
"Okay. I'll give him a call and tell him to expect the request."
"You going to New York with Jimmy this weekend?" he asked, walking toward the curb where her car was parked.
"Yes. Why? Don't you think I should?"
"Are you kidding? I wish I was a fly on the wall when Gail meets you. Just don't let her bully you, okay? She's a good woman, but - still tends to be a little possessive when it comes to Jimmy."
"Thanks for the warning," she said with a nervous laugh, opening the car door. "I'll be in touch."
Cam was in the living room reading the medical file that Dr. Graham had faxed to her office when she heard the front door open and Mrs. Dawson greeting her employer.
"Good evening, Mr. Conlon. Dr. Collier is in the living room and dinner will be ready in ten minutes."
"Thank you, Mrs. Dawson," Jimmy said, and a moment later appeared in the doorway. Cam closed the file and slipped it into her case before moving across the room to him.
"Rough day?" she asked as he put his arms around her and gave her a kiss.
"Not too bad," he told her. "Especially now." Another kiss, and he moved over to the bar, pouring himself a glass of bourbon, then looking at her.
Cam shook her head. "Not right now. Mrs. Dawson has a bottle of wine to go with dinner."
"Ah," he noted, swirling the liquid his glass as he loosened his tie and top collar button. "How was your day?"
"I told the hospital that I'm going into private practice instead of being a staff surgeon," she said. "And I've put some feelers out regarding joining a few existing practices in the area."
"Good for you," he commented, putting his arm around her shoulders and pulling her with him to the sofa.
"I'll have to complete the surgeries that I'm already scheduled to do, but that won't take too long." She hesitated. "I also talked to Ray this afternoon."
Jimmy, who had been sitting with his head back against the sofa, his eyes closed, lifted his head and looked at her. "You did?"
"He has an appointment for me to examine him tomorrow morning. I also asked Neil Graham to send me copies of what he found."
"You do realize that once I see Ray, he'll be a patient, and I won't be able to tell you anything about his condition, right?" she questioned, and immediately saw his frustration. "The only reason I'm telling you about the appointment is that I don't want to keep things from you anymore."
"I know," she told him quietly, her hand flat against his chest as she looked into his worried eyes. "He's your friend and you're concerned. That's admirable. But the most that *I* can do is to suggest he talk to you about what's going on. *If* I find anything serious."
"You're not a cardiologist," Jimmy reminded her.
"No. But I almost was. That's why Neil and I were in school together. I changed specialties when I decided that surgery was more interesting to me. Yes, I could *diagnose* problems, but as a surgeon, I could *fix* the problem if possible. I think I'll be able to get an idea of what Ray might be facing. And if it's too serious, I'll refer him to a local cardiologist for further treatment."
"I don't know why he's being so damn stubborn. I was with him in the emergency room the first time he had an attack."
"He wants me to tell you that it's nothing - just indigestion."
"You're not going to do that, are you?"
"No. And I'll tell Ray as much when I see him tomorrow. But I'll also assure him that whatever he and I discuss is covered under doctor/patient privilege." She saw that he was still unhappy with the turn of events. "You wouldn't tell me about a case that you're working on, would you?"
"No," he admitted in a reluctant tone.
"It's the same thing, really. We're both bound by the ethics of our professions."
"I guess so," he said, leaning down to give her a kiss that tasted of bourbon and something that was essentially Jimmy Conlon.
"Excuse me," Mrs. Dawson said, interrupting them. Jimmy ended the kiss, resting his forehead against Cam's. "Dinner is ready."
"Thank you, Mrs. Dawson," Jimmy said. Extending his arm to her, he grinned. "Shall we?"
Cam took his arm, and they moved in the direction of the dining room as he said, "I meant to tell you, I got a call from Judge Sheffield."
"Isn't he your father's old friend that you told me about? The one who hired you to work for the New York District Attorney's office?"
"Yeah. He's going to be in Indianapolis for a couple of days next week and wants to talk to me about running for AG."
"Really?" Cam questioned, sitting down when he pulled out a chair for her. "Thank you."
Cam shook out her napkin while Jimmy continued. "I'm meeting him for dinner next week. I thought maybe you'd like to join us."
"Well, I'd like for him to meet you. He's as close as I have to a father now. And besides, if I *do* run, I'd like to think that you'd be by my side."
Cam smiled at him. "You know I will be." Mrs. Dawson entered with their meal, and then disappeared back into the kitchen. "What day is this meeting?"
"I'll try to make it."
"That's all I ask."
Cam smiled. "Of course, after this weekend, you might not want me around at all."
"Ray tells me that Gail's a bit - possessive of you still."
"I hadn't noticed."
"You're a man. You wouldn't."
"Ray apparently did."
"Ray's not the man she was married to," Cam pointed out evenly.
"Touché," Jimmy replied, lifting his glass. "Seriously, don't worry about Gail."
"I can't help but worry a little. She's going to be upset enough that Jessie's decided to go to Indiana before she finds out that it's also *my* alma mater."
"She'll just have to deal with it," he said, capturing her hand in his. "Because I hope you're going to be a part of my life and Jessie's for a long time."
Cam only had to perform a perfunctory examination before she sat down to discuss Ray's case with him.
"That look isn't good," he commented.
"That's because the news isn't good," Cam confirmed. "Dr. Graham's conclusions concur with mine, Ray."
"But I'm fine," he insisted. "I feel fine. Most of the time," he added.
"Precisely. And that 'most of the time' will become less and less as things progress. You *have* to find a specialist locally, Ray. Or continue to see Dr. Graham. He's told you what needs to be done. You have to let him do it."
"If I do, then my career -"
"What's more important?" Cam asked, fixing him with her most serious expression. "Your career or your life?"
"Dad! Cam!" Jessica Conlon called out as soon as she saw them get out of their taxi in front of the restaurant.
"Jessie!" her father said, accepting and returning her hug. "This is a surprise. I thought you'd be inside with your mom."
"I told her that I had to visit the 'little girl's room'," Jessie explained. "I thought I'd better warn you before you go inside," she told him, giving Cam a hug as well.
"Warn us?" Cam questioned, suddenly nervous again. During the flight, Jimmy had continued to reassure her that Gail wasn't going to cause any problems. But Jessie's words sent all of that reassurance flying back to Indy.
"Mom knows about you," Jessie confided.
"Jessie," Jimmy sighed, moving them all to an area near and to one side of the front doors and immediately she held up both hands.
"I didn't tell her, Dad," she insisted. "I think she heard about what happened and figured it out on her own."
"How do you know that she knows?" Cam wondered. "Has she - said something?"
"Does asking me about you count?" she replied.
"I knew my coming was a bad idea," Cam told Jimmy.
"No, it was the right idea. Especially now. If you hadn't come, it would have been worse."
"Defiantly worse," Jessie agreed.
"You'd better get back in there before she goes looking for you," her father said. "We'll be right behind you."
Cam fidgeted with the wrap she was wearing as the girl returned to the restaurant. "Jimmy, maybe I should go back to the hotel and -"
He put his hands on her shoulders, then moved one to lift her chin. "Where's the woman who said just the other day that she could face anything?"
"Anything except a jealous ex-wife," Cam corrected, unable to keep from smiling as she looked at his hazel eyes.
"I'll be with you every moment. But I think you'll be fine, Cam. The only thing you have to remember is that I love you. Nothing else matters."
She dipped her head to kiss his thumb. "I'll remember that," she promised. Taking a deep breath, she squared her shoulders, noticing the flare of approval on Jimmy's face. "Let's go."
Gail Conlon was a petite, dark haired woman with equally dark eyes. If Cam thought to herself that the hair color was probably due to a bottle of dye, she quickly squashed it. After all, Jimmy's dark hair *was* natural. She knew that for a fact after practically living with him over the last few weeks.
"Dr. Collier," Gail said once the two of them had been properly introduced, her expression neutral.
The restaurant was a small, family owned Italian place, Jimmy had told her, that he'd frequented for many years when he'd lived in the city. That much was evident when a wiry little man with curling gray hair came from the kitchen shortly after their arrival to greet them profusely.
"Jimmy!" he exclaimed, causing Jimmy to stand an accept the man's effusive embrace. "It has been too long, my friend. Are you back in New York, I hope?"
"Just here for a quick visit, Vittorio," Jimmy informed him, laughing. He turned to indicate Cam. "This is Cameron Collier. She's a friend."
Cam saw Vittorio glance toward Gail before he took her hand and bowed over it. "Such a lovely young lady," he declared. "You are a very lucky man, Jimmy," he said, "to be surrounded by such beauty."
"I agree," Jimmy said.
"I will bring my best wine for you," Vittorio decided. "And I will tell Genie to make sure she prepares her very best for you to eat."
Jimmy sat down again, shaking his head. "Genie is his wife," he told Cam.
"Eugenie, actually," Gail corrected. "She's a very good cook."
"Mom, she's a trained chef," Jessie corrected in turn. "There are at least six other restaurants in town that have tried to hire her away from Vittorio. But she stays because she loves him," she finished with a dreamy look. "Isn't that just incredibly romantic?"
"Love can be overrated," Gail noted, and Cam glanced in her direction.
"Sometimes," Cam agreed. "But sometimes it can be the most glorious thing in the world. When you find the one person you were meant to be with."
"Most people aren't that lucky," Gail reminded her.
"It's a good thing that I am, then, isn't it?" Cam replied, and suddenly realized that she'd said the words out loud. For one horrible moment, she thought she'd made a huge mistake - but suddenly Gail smiled.
"Yes. I think it is. Tell me - Cameron?"
"Cam is what most people call me."
"Cam, then. Are you somehow responsible for Jessie's decision not to attend Boston College this fall and instead go to Indiana State?"
Cam's eyes widened, as did Jimmy's and Jessie's. "Uh -"
"No, Mom, she's not the only reason I'm going," Jessie answered. "I want to spend some time with Dad. How did you know -?"
"Harriet Beakman called a few days ago to tell me that you'd withdrawn your application," Gail explained.
"Harriet works in the registrar's office at BC," Jimmy explained to Cam. "She went to college with Gail and me."
"Oh. How did you find out about IUPUI?" Cam questioned.
"I found some literature about it in Jessie's room," Gail said.
"You went through my stuff?"
"I'm your mother, dear. I have a right to know what you're doing."
Jimmy placed a hand on Jessie's arm to disarm the girl's anger. "Gail, you didn't say a word -"
"Another friend showed me a photograph in the paper - you're still known here in New York, Jimmy. It's still news when you make a public appearance, especially when it's with the governor and he's giving you a citation for doing such a good job. Then Jessie's cell phone calls over the week made me realize that something was going on. I made some calls myself and found out what I needed to know."
They were interrupted by Vittorio returning with the promised wine, which he insisted that Jimmy taste before he poured it for the adults in the group.
"We were going to tell you, Gail," Jimmy said after the restaurateur had gone. "That's why we came for a visit this weekend."
"But as usual, I'm the last to know," Gail pointed out. "We agreed to discuss things, Jimmy, when they pertain to our daughter. But you haven't changed. You're still as high handed as ever, aren't you?" She fixed Cam with a dark glare. "I'm sure you've noticed it."
"Then he hasn't shown you that side of himself yet. He's very good at it. Nothing overt. No arm twisting. Just that charming smile and self assurance and that's all it usually takes. *I* was lucky enough to finally see through it to the ambition underneath."
"Ambition's not a bad thing," Cam told her. "What's wrong with Jimmy wanting to become Attorney General or even Governor?" she asked. "He *is* good at what he does. Don't you think that he deserves recognition for that?" She saw Jimmy relax in his chair as she spoke. "I don't see why you're angry that Jessie wants to spend some time with her father for a change. They're close. As they should be. There's nothing wrong with that, either. I don't think Jimmy's high handed at all. He's charming, and uses that charm to get what he wants if it's important enough. But I don't believe that he would ever try to force someone to do something just because he wanted it done."
"You're not really that naive are you?" Gail snorted, shaking her head as she picked up her glass to take a drink.
"Can we not argue about this here?" Jimmy asked in a quiet voice, and Cam realized that others in the small dining area were glancing in the direction of their table.
"We're not arguing," Gail said. "We're having a discussion."
"Then can we *discuss* it later?" he amended.
"Obviously, there's nothing *to* discuss," Gail replied. "The decision has - as usual - already been made without regard for what *I* might want." She reached to grab her handbag. "I'm not hungry after all."
"Mom," Jessie said, shaking her head.
But she didn't respond to the attempts to calm her. "I'm sure you'll see that Jessie gets home safely after dinner, Jimmy. Enjoy your dinner," she said, and left the restaurant without a backward look.
"I knew this was a mistake," Cam sighed, fingering the silverware in front of her.
But Jimmy grabbed her hand. "No, it wasn't. Gail just needs time to work through this."
"Dad, she's had a couple days at least. If she saw that photo -"
"I wish that photo had never been taken," Cam whispered, recalling that it had been *that* photo which had sent a madman after her and almost cost Jimmy his life. Jimmy's fingers squeezed hers, and she looked up to see his eyes filled with understanding.
"I'm not," Jimmy reassured her. "Because it was the catalyst to your opening up again." To his daughter, he said, "You know your mom, Jessie. She's not good with change. It takes her awhile to adapt to it. Once she's done that, she'll be fine."
"I hope you're right," Cam said. "I'm sorry, Jessie."
"Hey, it's not your fault that my mom's being a real -" she stopped before she finished the statement, grabbing her glass and taking a sip of her soft drink, probably aware that her father was giving her a warning look.
Vittorio came from the kitchen, giving Jimmy a knowing look of his own. "Your - ex wife, she will be returning?"
"I doubt it, Vittorio," Jimmy said. "I hope it's not too late to cancel her order?"
"Not to worry, Mr. Conlon," he said. "Vittorio will make everything right."
When they returned to the two room suite that Jimmy always used on his visits to New York, Cam collapsed onto the sofa. "Well, that went well, don't you think?"
"Sure it did - after Gail stormed out."
"Has she always been like that?" Cam wondered, watching as Jimmy removed his jacket and tie before coming to sit beside her.
"For the most part. Gail's a nester. Likes everything just so. No changes, no surprises. I never really paid much attention to it until she realized that my running for office would create more changes than she wanted to deal with."
"I guess my being a part of your life is another of those changes," Cam guessed, ducking her head when Jimmy lifted his arm to put around her shoulders and pulled her close.
"Yeah. I guess so."
"You really think she'll get used to the idea?"
"She doesn't really have a choice. Either she gets used to it or she doesn't. It won't make any difference since you're going to be a part of my life for a long time."
Cam cuddled against him. "She really does think you're high handed, doesn't she?" She smiled when she felt his chest rise and fall as he sighed.
"I guess so. Do you think I am?"
"You could be - but I think it's more determination than high handedness. Did you really not discuss things with her when you and she were still married?"
"We discussed things. Things that had to do with the family. She always knew that I wanted to pursue a political career when I finished law school and got some experience. But I suppose she just never thought it would happen."
"And when you told her that the possibly was good that it might, she couldn't accept it," Cam realized.
"I guess not." He pulled her even closer. "You're not worried that I'll run roughshod over you like she thinks I did her?"
"No," Cam said, tilting her head back to look at him. "Because I've never seen any sign of you doing that. I mean, *I* had to ask you out the first time, remember?"
"Only because I was nervous in the presence of such a beautiful, sexy woman," he reminded her.
Cam smiled, sliding her arms around his neck. "You silver tongued devil," she sighed, and laughed softly at the leering grin her words brought to his handsome face before he lowered his lips to hers . . .
After breakfast in bed, which Cam declared to be wholly decadent and something that she could 'get used to too easily', Jimmy and Jessie took her on a whirlwind tour of the City. Jessie confirmed that her mother had been in bed when she'd returned home the previous evening - and that she had already gone out when Jessie had awakened that morning.
"Out?" Jimmy had questioned, but Jessie had shrugged.
"Don't ask me, Dad. The note she left just said that she had 'Things to take care of'."
"Maybe we should try to find her?" Cam suggested.
"No," Jessie said quickly. "She's fine. She's probably at one of her committee meetings or something like that."
Jimmy was thoughtful. "The Museum committee meets on Saturday morning, don't they?"
"That's most likely it," Jessie confirmed, linking her arm through Cam's. "Let's go. I want to show Cam everything. Where shall we start?"
"Without sounding like a tourist, how about the top of the Empire State Building?" Cam suggested, and laughed when they both groaned in response to her suggestion.
"Next time, we'll spend more time," Jimmy was saying when they returned to the hotel to change for dinner. "There's so much more you need to see."
"I feel like I've seen the entire world!" declared Cam.
"But Dad's right," Jessie said. "There's so much more!"
The three of them started across the lobby, only to stop when a familiar figure rose from one of the chairs. They all stopped. "Gail," Jimmy said. "This is a surprise."
Cam couldn't help but notice that he physically placed himself between her and his former wife. "I've been waiting for awhile," Gail said. "I think we need to talk."
"Jessie, would you stay with Cam," Jimmy begin, but Cam cut him off.
"She's talking to me, Jimmy." Gail's dark eyes had been on her from the moment the older woman had risen gracefully from the chair.
"What? Gail -"
"It's okay, Jimmy," Cam reassured him, her hand on his chest. "Why don't you and Jessie go out for a little while? Gail's right. She and I *do* need to talk."
Jessie tugged at her father's arm. "Come on, Dad. Let's make ourselves scarce."
Cam waited until they were back on the sidewalk before she turned to Gail, waving toward the elevator. "Why don't we do this upstairs?" she suggested.
"That's a good idea," Gail agreed, leading the way.
They were quiet during the ride up to the sixth floor. Cam used her key card to open the door and ushered Gail inside. Gail moved around the room before ending at the window that overlooked the street below.
Feeling more or less comfortable in the somewhat familiar surroundings, Cam went to the bar. "Would you like something to drink?" she offered.
"Some wine, perhaps?" Gail answered.
"White or red?"
Cam poured two glasses and carried one of them over to the window. "Here."
"Thank you." Gail took the glass, but didn't drink any of it. "I supposed you're curious about why I wanted to talk to you after last night."
"I suppose I am," Cam admitted. "After the way you left the restaurant, I never expected to see you again, much less to - talk."
Gail turned to look at her. "Before we start, I have one question: Are you in love with Jimmy?"
Cam answered without hesitation. "Yes. I've never met anyone like him. I'm pretty sure that you know about what happened to me ten years ago -"
"I found out when I did some research," Gail confessed.
"I suppose that you think I'm a - terrible person for doing what I did -"
"Why don't you tell me *why* you did it before I make the decision?"
"I was young, stupid. Working seventeen hours a day. I was with a man that my father liked - someone who seemed at first to care about me - and by the time I realized that he was a possessive bastard, I was terrified of trying to leave him. He threatened to kill me if I ever tried. I really didn't have anyone that I could talk to. My father wasn't willing to listen. He thought that Rick was a good guy. I guess I was so tired that I missed a pill. Maybe more. I'd come home, fall into bed and be lucky - or unlucky to remember when Rick -" Cam forced herself to continue past the embarrassment. But something told her that she needed to get this woman on her side. "When I realized that I was pregnant, Rick had just left bruises on my arm from shaking me during an argument. I don't even remember what we argued about. By then, there didn't have to be a reason, I think. I'm sure that you and most people think that my first thought was about how a baby would impact my career."
"Most women do these days," Gail remarked.
"I didn't. My first thought was that the baby would tie me to Rick and make it impossible for me to ever get away from him short of his killing me in one of his drunken rages. I couldn't let that happen - anymore than I could have brought a child into that environment. It was later, when I told the only friend I had about the baby that she reminded me that I'd never be able to continue my career if I interrupted it to have a baby then. Once I was out, Rick would have found a way to keep me from going back to finish."
"I'm sorry," Gail said, surprising Cam, who looked up at her. "I didn't know the whole story."
"Oh, there's more. My father disowned me when he found out what I'd done. And then he called Rick to tell *him* what I'd done. Rick found me at my friend's place and would have killed me if my friend hadn't called the police. When he heard the sirens, he took off. By the time he was arrested he'd put a bomb in the car of the doctor who performed the abortion and killed him."
"And your father kept in touch with him," Gail finished, shaking her head. "I can't understand how a man could do that -"
"Neither does Jimmy," Cam said. "He was lucky to have had a father who supported him in whatever he did."
"Jimmy's always been lucky. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, brains, good looks, enough charm and self-confidence to last a lifetime, and more money at his disposal than most people will see in three lifetimes. But where most people born into that are selfish bastards who don't care about those around them, Jimmy isn't like that. His parents raised him in a way that kept him in touch with the 'common man' and taught him to give back to the community."
"The things you accused Jimmy of last night, Gail - I know what living with someone who's really like that is like. And Jimmy isn't. Yes, he's determined and focused. He's too charming for his own good and does sometimes use that charm to get what he wants. But he's a good man over and above everything else."
"I know," Gail said. "I was - out of line last night. I think Jimmy's determination is one of the things that attracted me to him. Has he ever told you about that?"
"No," Cam said, moving to sit down. She was relieved when Gail took one of the other chairs.
"He was in law school. My father was one of his professors. He and Kyle Mitchell were pretty good friends - until they met me. Kyle asked me out first - but he stood me up. Jimmy was there in his place, explaining that Kyle had to rewrite his paper for moot court that was due the next day. Seems that somehow it was 'accidentally' deleted from Kyle's computer."
"Jimmy?" Cam asked, surprised.
Gail laughed. "He didn't tell me about it until we'd been married for a few years. By then, I didn't really care."
"Then you *were* happy together."
Gail smiled. "Oh, yes. Deliriously so. We were married six months after that first date. A year later, Jessie was born. Of course, his having a trust fund to pay expenses while he was in law school helped. Kept me from having to go out and wait tables or whatever while he was finishing law school. Then he started working in the Manhattan DA's office. You're right: he *is* a good man. If a little fixated on his goals these days."
"A career in politics. But - you knew that he wanted to do that when you married him."
"I know. I thought he'd forget about it. He's such a good attorney. I thought he'd spend some time in the DA's office and then move into private practice like his father. But that didn't happen. And when his father died, he seemed even more determined to pursue his dream."
"You couldn't handle that."
"I'm not cut out for a life in the spotlight. I like my life as it is. I've lived in New York all of my life. I don't want to leave it. I hate talking to reporters. So I told Jimmy that if he really wanted to do this, he'd have to do it without me. I never really thought that he'd choose the career over me."
"You're still in love with him," Cam realized.
"Does it show? And do you blame me?" They both smiled at her questions. "But I know it's over. I knew it the moment I saw you and him together in that photograph. The way he was looking at you told me what I needed to know."
"I said earlier that Jimmy was unlike anyone I'd ever met. After Rick went to prison, and I started getting those letters from him thanks to my father's assistance, I was afraid to let myself get too serious about another man. So I'd see them a couple of times, and then let them know it was over. But Jimmy refused to let me do that. The few times I tried to put distance between us, I'd find him waiting for me after I left the hospital, or at my apartment. I trusted him so quickly - and trust wasn't something that came easily for me."
"I envy his relationship with Jessie. My dad and I were close when I was younger - after my mother died, it was just the two of us. Until I decided to go into med school. I guess that's when it started. He didn't like the idea of women working. My entire life, I'd dreamt of becoming a doctor and working with him."
Gail shook her head, her expression sad. "I'm sorry that you've had to bring all this up again to satisfy my curiosity, Cam."
"It's okay. I'm getting used to talking about it. I lived in the shadows for too long, terrified of every one of them that moved. With Jimmy's help and support, I'm learning to talk about what I went through in the hope that other young women will have the strength not to have to go through it themselves."
"I'll tell you that I'm not really comfortable with the idea of abortion - too many times women treat a baby as something disposable for the sake of their career. But in the situation that you found yourself in - I think you made the right decision."
Cam inhaled and exhaled with relief. "I'm glad."
"You don't have a problem with Jimmy's plans for his future?"
"I did at first, when Rick was still in prison. And I was right: he saw that photograph of us and that's what caused him to - well -" Gail nodded in understanding. "But now - no, I don't. I'll support him as much as I possibly can."
"Better you than me," Gail told her, draining her glass.
"Want a refill?" Cam offered.
"Why not? As long as we're getting along so well." Cam took the glass and rose to her feet, heading back to the bar.
"Since we are - we haven't discussed Jessie's decision to go to IUPUI." She returned to give the glass back to Gail, looking carefully to see if she might have disrupted the truce.
"I can't really do anything about it," Gail admitted. "Jessie's almost 18. And her father obviously supports her decision."
"I really didn't intend to steer her in that direction, Gail," Cam said. "We were talking about colleges in Indiana - and IUPUI came up in the discussion. One thing led to another and I agreed to take her around, show her the place when she asked."
"She really should spend some time with Jimmy," Gail sighed. "She's missed him since he moved there. Of all the faults I tend to find in him, I have to admit that he's always been a wonderful father. The day she was born, he was there - even though it meant he had to leave court during an important case, risking being censured by the judge." She smiled at the memory. "Luckily, the judge had a soft spot for devoted fathers and let it slide. And until he moved to Indianapolis, he never missed a recital or game or parent-teacher meeting unless it was totally unavoidable."
"No wonder Jessie adores him," Cam noted. "It must have been hard for her - when you two split up."
"I think she hoped we'd get back together for awhile. Then Jimmy moved away, and I think she figured out that it wasn't going to happen." She turned that dark brown gaze on Cam again. "I think that was another reason that I resented you when I first found out about you. As long as there wasn't someone else in his life, I might stand a chance. But the moment I really looked at the picture - and then when I saw you together, I knew that Jimmy had found someone else. Someone that could support him in a way that I can't. So I'm happy for him. But a word of warning - if you ever mess up - I'll be waiting."
Cam lifted her glass in a salute. "Understood. But I don't intend to mess this up. I spent too many years looking for someone like him to do that."
They were laughing - and on their third glass of wine - when the door to the suite opened to admit Jimmy and Jessie. Father and daughter stood still, watching them carefully.
"Everything okay?" Jimmy asked, and Cam heard the slight nervous undercurrent at the idea of her and Gail exchanging stories.
"Everything's just fine, Jimmy," Gail answered. "And I want to apologize to you and to Jessie for last night. I was out of line. If you want to go to college in Indianapolis, Jessie, then you should."
Jessie's eyes were wide. "You really mean that, Mom?" she asked.
"I do." She stood up and took Jessie's hands. "Your happiness is the most important thing. I think it's a good idea for you to spend some time with your father for awhile. I know you've missed him - and that he's missed you. I can always come visit."
"Of course you can," Jessie said. "Anytime." They embraced and Jimmy moved to Cam as she stood up as well.
Putting his arm around her, he whispered in her ear, "What did you do?"
"Nothing. We just - talked," she answered with a smile, resting her head on his shoulder.
Gail ended the hug. "I want to make up for my inexcusable actions last night," she told them. "Dinner's on me - Why don't you call Vittorio and see if he can get us a table, Jimmy?"
"You don't have to do this, Gail -"
"I want to," she said. "I think we need to start over."
"I'll make the call, then," he said, going to the phone.
They returned to Indianapolis on Sunday evening after spending the rest of the weekend with Jimmy showing Cam around the lesser known parts of the city. They were both tired, but felt good about the weekend's events.
That evening, Cam came from the bathroom to see Jimmy just finishing tying his tie before reaching for his jacket. He glanced toward her, and she turned around. "Do I look okay?" she wanted to know.
"You look great," he told her, coming over to take her hands in his. "Relax, Cam. He's going to love you as much as I do."
"Well, according to Gail, he *tolerated* her in your life and supposedly celebrated when you told him about the divorce."
"Gail was exaggerating," Jimmy said. "The Judge liked her well enough."
"He just thought she was holding you back," Cam guessed.
Jimmy chuckled softly. "Something like that."
"Sounds like he had big plans for you even then. Didn't you say that he has a son?"
Jimmy nodded. "Billy. He's a lobbyist in DC."
"Why hasn't 'the Judge' steered him toward a political career?"
"He's a lobbyist," Jimmy repeated. "That's close enough for Billy, I guess."
"You really think he'll like me?"
"I *know* he will. Look, I didn't tell you this before, but - he specifically asked to meet you while he's in town, Cam."
Cam's eyes widened with concern. "He did?"
"Yeah. Apparently he's heard about you and wants to meet you."
"To find out if I'm good material for a politician's wife, no doubt."
"Probably," Jimmy agreed, then gave her a grin. "I'm teasing. More likely he just wants to make sure you're good enough for his godson."
Cam laughed at his teasing, then sobered. "What about my - past?"
He sighed. "Cam, we've gone over this -"
"I still worry that it could be a problem for you. Especially considering your earlier comments on the subject -"
"My thoughts on the subject have changed. Because of you. So stop worrying and just enjoy yourself. Judge Sheffield is a nice guy. Believe me, if you were able to charm Gail, the Judge won't stand a chance."
After fifteen minutes, Cam finally relaxed. Judge Sheffield seemed sincerely fond of Jimmy - and Jimmy of him. They regaled her with stories of Jimmy's youth and early career in the New York DA's office until her cell phone rang.
Apologizing, Cam opened it after glancing at the screen. "It's the hospital," she told Jimmy. "Dr. Collier."
"Cam, it's Beth Gray. Mr. Gaspar's blood pressure has dropped."
After clarifying the details, Cam gave Jimmy an apologetic glance as she said, "Okay, I'll be right there. Get a team ready. It sounds like we'll have to go back in."
Cam hung up. "Sorry," she said. "I need to go take care of a patient."
"I understand, Cam," Sheffield said. "One of the hazards of being a doctor, being on call."
He and Jimmy both rose to their feet as she stood and gathered her purse. "I'll see you at home later," Jimmy said, giving her a kiss. "You can take the car -"
"No, I'll grab a taxi," she said. "It was nice to meet you, Judge," she said.
"The pleasure was mine, Cam," he assured her, taking her hand in his. "I'm sure we'll meet again. And I look forward to it."
Another glance at Jimmy showed that she was right: the Judge really had accepted her as a part of his protégé's life. "Next time, you'll have to come to dinner at the house," she said. "And I'll make sure it's a night when I won't have to rush off." She gave them both a smile as she left the restaurant.
Jimmy was already in bed when she returned to the house around midnight. She undressed quietly and took a quick shower before lifting the covers and joining him. He roused to pull her close to his side, burying his face in her hair. "How'd it go?" he asked.
"I had to open him up again," she answered. "He sprang a leak and was bleeding internally. But I got it taken care of this time."
"Mmmm," he murmured.
"I didn't expect you to be home yet," she observed. "Thought you and the Judge would still be out reliving the old days."
"Got home around midnight," he said. "He likes you."
"Uh huh. Told me not to let you get away."
Cam snuggled closer, putting her arms around him. "No chance of that."
"He also thinks that I should seriously consider making a run for AG," he continued.
"Really?" She yawned. "Sorry. It's been a long day."
"That's okay. I'm tired, too. We can talk tomorrow." Raising up, he gave her a kiss. "Night."
When the phone rang, Cam groaned in protest, waking as Jimmy finally answered.
She peered at the clock beside the bed, finding that it was almost 5 a.m. before closing her eyes again as Jimmy continued to talk.
"What? . . . I'll be right there - what was the address again?" Something in his voice troubled her. It wasn't the first time he'd gotten an early morning call about a crime, but this time seemed different for some reason.
When he got out of bed, she asked, "Jimmy, what's wrong?"
"I have to go out," he said, grabbing a pair of jeans and a shirt out of the closet.
"Yeah." He slipped into a pair of shoes and leaned over to give her a kiss. "Go back to sleep. I'll call you."
"'Kay," she said, but she didn't get back to sleep. She could tell something important had happened, and though she tried to dose off again, her sleep was interrupted almost an hour later when she heard Jimmy's car pull back into the drive.
After a few minutes, she realized that he wasn't going to come upstairs, and got out of bed to find her robe and put it on. Tying the belt, she went down the stairs, finding Jimmy sitting on the sofa, his head resting in his hands. Worried, she moved to sit down beside him, her hand on his back. "Jimmy, what's wrong?"
He lifted his head. "The Judge is dead," he told her in a gruff voice that told her how much he was struggling to maintain control.
"Oh my God. What happened?"
"He - uh - he and parted at the restaurant after dinner. I offered to take him back to his hotel, but he wanted to - walk back. Apparently he stopped into a - a bar and as he was leaving some thugs grabbed him, robbed him and killed him. They dumped his body in an alley and left him there." She heard the slight hesitation, but dismissed it as a sign of his pain at losing someone so important to him.
"I'm so sorry, Jimmy. Did they catch who did it?"
"No, but they have some leads. I called Billy. He's taking care of telling Delores and then he's catching a flight to Indy."
"His mother won't be coming out?"
"She doesn't fly anymore," Jimmy said. "Not since 9-11, anyway. Probably best that she doesn't, though. I'm not sure that I could face her right now."
"It wasn't your fault, Jimmy," Cam insisted.
"I should have insisted on driving him back to the hotel," he said, standing up and moving across the room.
"You had no way of knowing that this was going to happen," she insisted in return, watching as he stood at the window, hands in his pockets. This was one of those times that Gail had mentioned - when he was focused on a case to the exclusion of everything else.
"No, but he might not have been - in the area where he was killed if I had," he said, then shook his head.
Cam heard the pause again, and this time frowned, moving to stand close to him. The sun was just starting to rise, bathing them both in its warmth. "Jimmy, is there something else? Something you're not telling me?" she asked, touching his arm.
"I can't," he said. "Not until I've talked to Billy." He looked at her, then pulled her into his arms, resting his head against hers. Cam felt his deep, shuddering sigh. "I'm sorry, honey. I don't want to shut you out, but -"
"I understand. Just remember that I'm here if you need someone to lean on - or to just hold you."
"I will," he promised.
"I wish there was something I could do to help."
His arms tightened around her. "You're doing it."
Cam had just said goodbye to her first patient that morning when her cell phone rang. Glancing at the screen, she wasn't surprised to see that it was Jessie. Opening it, she answered, "Hi, Jessie."
"Cam, I just heard what happened to the Judge. How's Dad?"
"Have you talked to him?"
"I called. He was busy with the case. He *said* he was okay, but - he didn't sound okay to me."
"He's putting up a good front, but the Judge's death was a shock. He's working through it in his own way: by finding out who killed him and getting justice."
"Do you think I should come out there?"
"No. I'm sure that he'd love to see you, but he'd prefer you stay home and study. The end of the year's coming up quickly."
"I know. Hard to believe that it's only a month until graduation."
"Not that long." Jenny came into her office with another file, but Cam indicated that she should just drop it on the desk. "Why don't you go visit the Judge's wife?" Cam suggested. "That might help, too."
"I guess I could. Mom talked to Aunt Delores today, and I think she's going to visit this afternoon. I'll go with."
"Good. I think the Judge's son is due in this afternoon."
"Uncle Billy," Jessie confirmed. "Yeah. Poor guy. Look, take care of Dad, okay? I know he was close to the Judge."
"You know I will, Jessie."
"I have to get to class. Later."
"Later," Cam agreed. Sighing, she hung up the phone and opened the file that Jenny had brought in.
Over the next several days, Cam could only stand by and offer moral support as Jimmy dealt with the arrest of the two men who had killed the Judge. He'd told her about his concern that Billy was getting too involved in the investigation and case, and confirmed that he'd talked to his oldest friend, asking him to back off, to let Jimmy's people do their jobs.
When Jimmy came home in more sullen mood than usual, Cam greeted him with a comforting embrace as always, prepared for him to remain withdrawn.
But tonight, he held her tighter, lengthening the hug. Surprised, she looked up at him. "Jimmy? What's wrong?"
He drew a deep, shuddering breath before answering. "I might as well tell you. It'll be all over the news once the new witness list is released."
"New witness? You found someone who saw the murder?"
"She didn't see the murder, but she saw them grab the Judge off the street."
He nodded, pulling away to turn toward the living room. Cam followed, watching as he poured a glass of scotch.
"So a hooker saw him being mugged," Cam said. "What's the problem in that? Unless he had been *with* the hooker -" Cam suggested slowly as a possible reason came to her.
But Jimmy shook his head, sitting down heavily. "No. If he had, I might not have kept her off the list -"
Cam sat down beside him, covering his hand with hers. "Then what's wrong, Jimmy?" she asked in a soft voice.
He lifted his head to look at her. "She saw the Judge as he was leaving a bar on Calvert Street - the Deer Hunter," he said.
"Oh," Cam replied, understanding the implication. She'd lived in Indy for her entire life. She knew what kind of bar it was. "You didn't know?"
"No. Billy knew. And so did his mother, but they kept it quiet."
"And now they can't," she guessed.
"No. I tried to keep it out of the investigation, but I'm going to have call her, and the defense will ask her about it."
"You kept it out - Jimmy - that's not like you."
"I know," he said, standing up and moving across the room to run a hand across the back of his neck. "Annabeth pointed that out to me. Said that it had been the wrong thing to do. Thing is - she was right. I should have been doing my job instead of trying to protect the Judge's reputation."
"What did Billy have to say when you told him that you were going to call the witness?"
"He wasn't happy," Jimmy explained. "He left to go call Delores and tell her about it."
"I'm sorry for them, but if it means that the Judge's killers will be convicted, won't it be worth any embarrassment that this might cause them?"
Jimmy nodded. "Yes. In the long run. But the Judge had a history of being tough on gays - he was a conservative politically. Something like this -"
"Are you worried that it could impact *you* in some way?"
"Me?" She could tell that he hadn't considered the idea.
"Well, he was your mentor. You and he were close - some people who might not want you to run could try to use that against you -" she slid her arms around him. "Of course, *I* know that you're not gay, but -"
"You know, that idea hadn't crossed my mind."
"You're slipping," she teased gently, taking the glass from his hand.
"I guess so," he agreed. "You don't seriously think that people would think that I might be gay just because the Judge -"
Cam kissed his chin. "If they do, then you'll have me around to assure them you are definitely *not* gay."
"I knew there was a reason why I keep you around," Jimmy observed, pulling her even closer to him.
"Aha. Now the truth comes out," she gibed gently. "I'm a blind."
"Never," Jimmy assured her. "You're my rock. The only thing that's keeping me sane at the moment."
"You say *such* sweet things," Cam sighed. "How am I supposed to resist such flowery turns of phrase?"
"You're not supposed to resist at all," Jimmy replied, lowering his lips to hers just as Mrs. Dawson appeared to announce dinner.
At dinner the night John Cooke, Jr. was convicted of murdering Judge Robert Sheffield, Cam asked, "So, are you still determined to go for the death penalty?"
"Yeah." He looked at her. "I know that you don't believe in the death penalty, Cam -"
Cam shrugged. "I'm not the one sitting on the jury. How I feel doesn't affect the outcome one way or the other. I don't envy Annabeth having to argue the case, though."
"Annabeth's not going to argue it," Jimmy said. "I am."
"She doesn't think that she can argue for the death penalty in this case. So I took her off it and decided to do it myself."
"You're sure that he deserves it? From what I've seen in the report of the trial, he's borderline MR."
"Which doesn't absolve him of the crime," Jimmy reminded her. "He admitted killing, Bob, Cam. And a jury agrees with him. He's guilty. He claims to know what he did - and that it was wrong."
She heard the finality in his tone and changed the subject. Sometimes it was easier to retreat than to force the issue. There were simply some things that she and Jimmy would never agree on - and this happened to be one of them.
Cam had to make a trip to Chicago to make a motivational speech at their local Family Help Center on the day that Jimmy was scheduled to begin arguments in John Cooke Jr.'s penalty phase, and called him after the speech to see how things went.
"I'm not sure he's responsible, Cam," Jimmy told her after asking how her speech had gone.
"Why do you think so?"
"I don't know. But something doesn't feel right." He chuckled softly. "I was telling Annabeth the other day that we don't follow 'feelings' in this office."
"Maybe you should," Cam suggested. "Jimmy, if you think something's wrong, then you owe it to everyone - even the Judge's memory - to find out what that is and make it right. Just from the short time I spent with him, I know he would want justice, not vengeance."
"I'm not sure where to look," Jimmy sighed.
"You know, I always thought that the beginning was the best place to look for something important."
"I guess I could retrace the investigation. Maybe we missed something." She heard him moving, then heard a second voice. "Annabeth just came in. I'll call you later."
"Good luck. And I love you."
"I love you, too, honey," he replied.
A storm blew into the Windy City just as her flight was about to take off, stranding her at O'Hare. Standing in the terminal, she called Jimmy to let him know that she would be delayed.
"Let me know when you take off," he said. "I'll be there to meet you."
"You don't have to -"
"I want to."
She sensed something in his voice. "What's wrong, Jimmy?" she asked.
"Cooke wasn't responsible," he told her. "It was Simmons who tortured the judge. Then he goaded Cooke into killing him when he begged for death."
"I, uh - took the death penalty off the table. Roberta agreed to life without parole."
"I'm glad you stayed the course and found the truth. I had faith that you would."
"Tell Billy that."
"He wasn't happy, I take it?"
"No. I think I've lost a friend."
"Once he has time to think about it, I'm sure he'll realize that you did the right thing. Have you talked to his mother?"
"Yeah. I called her after the sentencing. She wasn't pleased, but she understood why I made the decision."
"I wish I was there to hold you," Cam said, lowering her voice to keep the other stranded passengers from overhearing.
"So do I. Tell you what - if you're not too tired when you get in, we'll have a late dinner."
"Sounds good to me. What will you do until I call?"
"I don't know. Maybe go to the Side Bar - have a few drinks."
"Not alone. Get Ray or Ed to go with you."
"They've both already gone for the day," he told her. "I think Annabeth's the only one left in the office."
"Then ask her to have a drink."
"Okay, I will. What will you do until your flight leaves?"
"Get a few minutes sleep," Cam told him.
"Don't miss your flight."
"Don't worry. I won't. I love you."
"Love you," he replied.
Cam saw him the moment she came out of the passenger area. He stood - as always - head and shoulders above almost everyone else. He was waving to get her attention, and she could tell that he was tired.
When they reached each other, Cam put her arms around him, noticing the envious looks of the two flight attendants that passed them. "I missed you," he said at last, cupping the back of her head in his palm.
"I wasn't gone a day," she said.
"Seemed like two," he declared, giving her a long kiss that earned them more than one whistle and someone brushing past muttering something about 'getting a room'.
It caused them to break apart, laughing, and they turned toward the exit. "I like that idea," Jimmy told her. "I hope your heart wasn't set on dining out."
"Not really. Why?"
"I asked Mrs. Dawson to make something and leave it in the oven for us to eat when we got home. I'd rather spend the evening alone with you." He flagged down the first taxi in the queue, then opened the door for her. Giving the driver his address, he sat back. "Do you mind?"
"Mind? Spending time alone with you? Never." She snuggled against him. "I'm sorry about Billy."
"I don't think I'd ever seen him that angry," he said after a deep sigh.
"He'll come around. Just give him some time. Did you tell him that the Judge wanted you to run for AG?" she asked.
"No. But I'm not sure about doing it now, Cam."
"After what happened -"
"It wasn't your fault."
"That's what Annabeth said. She also said that I'd make good AG - for a 'carpetbagger'."
Cam laughed. "She's right."
"I'll have you know, that I'm *not* a 'carpetbagger'," he insisted. "I was born in Indiana-"
"But you didn't grow up here. That's the difference. However - I'm not sure that it would make a huge difference to most people. Especially when you have life-long natives like Annabeth and myself who are out there stumping for you."
"Stumping?" Jimmy questioned, and Cam saw the laughter in his eyes.
"Face it, Jim, honey, you are going to have almost every female vote in the state - you'll win by a landslide."
Jimmy lifted a hand to her cheek. "The only female vote I care about is yours."
"Oh, you won that months ago," she assured him. "You'd be surprised how many of the women I spoke with today asked me about you."
She nodded. "They kept wanting to know about the 'hunk' I had been with in so many newspaper photos lately."
"Hunk? They called me a 'hunk'?"
"Well, you are a hunk," she insisted, putting her arms around his neck. "Every woman's dream."
"Not every woman, surely," Jimmy countered.
"The intelligent ones, anyway," she replied as the cab came to a stop outside of the front gates of the house. Taking out his remote, Jimmy opened them, then got out the money to pay the driver.
"Thanks," he told the man, who nodded understandingly as he looked at Cam before driving back down the circular drive to the gate. Jimmy gave him long enough to go through before closing the gates again while Cam used her key to open the front door.
Inside, he dropped her briefcase onto the marble floor and pulled her into his arms. "Are you hungry?" he asked.
"Only for you," was her answer, already working to unfasten the buttons of his shirt.
"Good. Because I need you, Cam. Now."
She gave him a kiss and then took his hand to lead him up the stairs to the bedroom . . .