“Ronan?” There was a part of her that still didn’t believe his voice would be on the other end of the call. Even though she saw his name, the thought of him had become a memory she no longer allowed herself to have. The time she’d spent with him, however brief, had been so simple, so easy, so unlike her life as it currently was.
Ronan treated her with respect and kindness. With her, he was different–not as gruff and distant as others saw him. She was able to see a gentleness in him, something that allowed her to feel safe in revealing her own vulnerabilities.
“I was surprised to hear from you,” she said quietly.
Ronan sat down on the bed. He hadn’t thought this through. What was he going to tell her? You don’t just call someone and tell them you need them to hang out with you while you die. “Damn..”
“What?” Phyllis furrowed her brow. This made no sense. Ronan left town without so much as a word. No goodbye, no nothing–and now to call her and sit in silence…
“I’m sorry–that wasn’t for you. I meant..ummm…I just needed to check in on you.” He ran his hand across his face, the dull headache from earlier now becoming a throbbing pain he couldn’t ignore.
“You just wanted to check on me? Ronan, what’s going on?”
“Nothing’s going on. I just-its been a while since we talked and I uh…I just wanted to touch base and make sure things were going ok.”
Phyllis sighed. “You obviously weren’t so worried about how I was doing when you left town–you remember…when you just dropped off the face of the earth without so much as a note.”
Ronan closed his eyes. He deserved that. She couldn’t understand why things had to be that way. She’d never understand why he couldn’t allow himself to get close to someone again. She couldn’t fathom how hard it was for him to walk away from a place he’d started to feel at home–no matter how hard he’d fought it–how hard it was to walk away from the family he’d wanted, no matter how much he’d denied it–how much it hurt him to walk away from her–a woman that made him feel things he swore he’d never let himself feel again.
“I’m sorry about that. I didn’t mean to hurt you. That was never my intention. I just..”
“Just what, Ronan? What?”
“I just called to check on you–make sure you’re doing alright…that’s all.”
What’s one more lie. In the end this was the least of the things he’d have to answer for.
“I’m fine. Everything is fine.” She didn’t have time for this. Her life was complicated enough without a man shoveling more bullshit her way. “I’ve got to go…it’s a busy day.” Her tone was sharper than she intended. She missed him–missed the way he made her feel. Her voice softened, “You take care, ok?”
She ended the call and went back to the computer, mentally forbidding herself to spend the day focusing on memories of Ronan.
Ronan sighed–another disaster. The phone rang again and he almost dropped it in his hurry to accept the call.
“I’m so glad you called–listen I know what I said but….”
Ronan sat up straight. He’d taken leave from the department almost two weeks ago. They wouldn’t call him unless there had been a break in a case he had a special interest in. “Chief Wilkins, I didn’t expect to hear from you. I left my medical leave papers for you. Do you need anything else from me?”
“No..that’s not it at all and I’m sorry to disturb you–it’s just I know there was a case you had a personal interest in and there’s been a development.”
Ronan stood, his chest tightening. Not now–he silently commanded. “What’s going on?”
“We got an alert this afternoon. Daisy Carter was spotted at an airport. We’ve got our first decent surveillance footage. There’s no doubt it’s her.”
Ronan relaxed. “That’s great. That means the local guys can probably catch her and bring her in, right?”
“That’s the thing, Ronan. She was boarding a plane…to Genoa City.”
Ronan didn’t even bother with pleasantries. Respecting your superior wasn’t so important when you wouldn’t live long enough to need a reference. He ended the call, shoving the phone in his pocket and clutching his side as he bent down and grabbed his bag from under the bed. Shoving a few articles of clothing inside, he took a deep breath. He might not have much of a life left, but he’d spend it protecting the people he cared about most.