“Jack.” Billy hurried down the hall as he saw his brother headed to his office.
Jack stopped, turning around to face him. “I’m gonna fire that guard,” he said, his voice void of any pleasantry. “This isn’t your company. You have no business being here. Kindly leave before I have you thrown out.” He turned, resuming his walk towards his doorway.
“Jack, wait…please. It’s about Phyllis.”
He gripped the door handle hard, rage welling up inside him. The mere mention of her name coming from his lips–his mind went to the dark places. He thought of the many other times he’d whispered her names, in her arms, at the cabin. His stomach lurched, the thoughts making him physically ill.
Jack spun around, his crystal blue eyes now icy and harsh. “Don’t you dare come in here and say her name!” He took a breath, realizing his emotions betrayed his vulnerability. “Any issues you have with Phyllis you need to take up with Phyllis. She’s not my problem, not my concern…not anymore.”
“I would love to do that, Jack, but Phyllis isn’t here.”
The expression was only visible for a fraction of a second, but it was unmistakeable. The concern that flashed in Jack’s eyes mirrored his own.
“Maybe she’s taking a day off,” Jack mumbled, quickly looking away.
“You know that’s not it Jack…and you know she’s always the first one here. Making herself indispensable here is her MO. That’s what she does.”
“And I’ll tell you what I’ve told her. She’s wasting her time. Why don’t you find her a place at Brash and Sassy. That way you two can work and play together.”
“Damn it, Jack…I’m telling you..something is really wrong here. I know it.”
Jack stared at him, his eyes unfeeling. “Because you have that connection, right?” His voice dripped with disdain.
Billy sighed. He was wasting his breath and his time–time he could spend trying to find Phyllis. “Forget it.”
As he heard the door slam, he turned, walking over to the table, pouring water into a glass and taking a sip. Billy’s voice echoed in his head. Jack sighed. She was not his problem.
He sat quietly in the chair, watching her. She was on the couch, her legs curled up towards her chest, her arms pulled in tight against her. She’d tried to talk to him several more times before he’d screamed at her again, his harsh response finally driving her to walk away and sit down, turning away from him. He remembered how bad he’d felt when he realized she was crying, how he’d had to stop himself from walking over to her, from trying to comfort her.
She was his chance to save his son. That was it. That was all she was. That was all she could ever be.
He stood, walking over to the kitchen. The coffeemaker sat on the countertop and, as he reached up to the cabinet to look for the filters, the box fell from the shelf and hit the floor. Curtis bent down, grabbing them quickly as if speed could erase the sound. He stood straight, looking towards the couch where Phyllis began to stir.
She sat up, turning towards the kitchen, his eyes still red from the night before.
“Sorry,” he said quietly, “I didn’t mean to wake you. I was gonna make some coffee. Do you want some?”
“No,” Phyllis said quickly, turning back around. She’d resolved herself to stop this as she lay there last night–alone with her own thoughts. Who shows kindness to a man that holds them captive? To a man that points a gun at them?
“What about some breakfast?” He asked. He needed to do this, to make an effort, to try and remind her and himself that he wasn’t completely heartless. He walked across the room, holding the gun down by his side. He looked at her, “I’m no chef, but I could whip up some eggs…maybe some toast?”
“Stop it,” Phyllis snapped. “Stop pretending that this is some kind of damn joke. This isn’t funny. You’ve got a gun. You’re threatening me. This isn’t a movie. You aren’t going to win me over by showing me a glimpse into your tortured soul.”
Curtis sighed. “Look, I know you think I’m here for purely selfish reasons. I know you think this is about money, but it’s not. I swear it’s not.”
“I’d ask you what it was about, but you scream at me anytime I try to, so I’m done, Curtis–ok? I’m done. Call whoever you’re gonna call. Ask for whatever you’re gonna ask for. I just want this to be over.”
He nodded, turning back towards the kitchen. He couldn’t argue that. He needed it to be over too.
“There’s just one more thing you should know…” Phyllis stood, walking into the kitchen, banishing her fear and trepidation, forcing herself to stand eye to eye and look at him. “You can demand money from my family and they’ll pay you, but you’ll pay too. I promise you. I won’t rest until you pay for this.”
Jack looked up as his secretary stepped into his office, “Yes?”
“A fax just came in for you.”
He could tell by her expression that something was off.
She held the paper out to him and waited for his response.
Jack’s eyes widened as he read the message. He looked up, his expression not entirely concerned. “Call Billy Abbott. Get him up here now.”
Jack jumped at the sound of his office door being jerked open. Billy barreled in, his chest heaving.
“What is it? What’s wrong? Is it Phyllis?” His heart pounded, horrible scenarios playing out in his head.
Jack thrust the paper towards him. “This some kind of joke to you?”
Billy read the words, his heart sinking with every word. The moisture left his mouth, reality sinking in. “Where did you get this?”
Jack glared at him. “Like you don’t know.”
“What? You think I did this?Why would I do this?”
“To make a point? To show me I still care? To try and make me forgive her? I figure you’re so hopelessly in love with her, you’re willing to do whatever she asked.”
Billy took a deep breath, trying desperately to keep his composure. The thought of Phyllis being somewhere, of her being in danger while he stood there arguing with his brother. “Jack, I swear I had nothing to do with this, but now that I know, now that Im here…I can help you. Let me help you. We’ve got to call the number.”
Jack shook his head, his eyes cold and completely devoid of all compassion, “We’re not calling anyone.”