A Life Not Left

by Annie

Feedback: Please! I wasn't sure how this would end up...let me know what you think!

Pairing: C/V --oh, and there's a not-so-nice guy mixed in as well. The other guys only make a brief appearance.

Comments: Big, huge thanks to Diana, who not only beta'd this for me after reading it more than enough times, I'm sure...but for also spurring me into adding scenes here and there that I might not otherwise, and for prodding me enough to get this thing written.

This is the follow up to my fic, A Life Not Lost. Although this is a sequel, I think it makes sense even if you haven't read that first one...though it might make better sense if you have :-).

Size: Approx. 115K



He woke groggily, not sure where he was, not truly sure who he was and how was that possible, anyway? How could he not know...

Bright light invaded his vision--too bright. It hurt his eyes, hurt his head.

He tried to think...just needed a minute to think...

A deep voice next to his ear whispering something he couldn’t quite understand, and his eyes peeled opened to slide heavily toward its faint sound.

He blinked, not understanding...couldn’t quite figure out...


Low laughter then, and something touching his arms...his legs...

Wait. What was...

It came to him, first in just small, disjointed fragments and he didn’t quite get what it all meant...and then slamming hard and fast, the realization of who he was and who he was pretending to be rushing into his head so quickly and so forcefully...

Jesus, he couldn’t breathe.

All of it was pounding violently in his head and making him sick, so, so sick, and he closed his eyes against it, wondering if the soft groans he heard were coming from him or someone else but then didn’t care so much once his body let him slide back to a cool darkness...

+ + + + + + +

His mouth was dry--dry as sand--and he licked ineffectually at his lips, sighing when a cup of cool liquid was immediately offered. Warmth from a hand under his neck helped him rise just enough, and he drank deeply, the water silky wet, though not nearly enough there to relieve the dryness.

His body hurt. No, that wasn’t quite right. More like ached--arm and leg muscles stiff and cramping, and his back in need of a really good stretch. He shifted to ease the pressure there and was surprised when he found he couldn’t move.

Panic then--breakneck speed. A frightening comprehension rushing through the dense fog in his head as he realized he couldn’t move because he was tied...tied supine, limbs held secure to the four posts of...


...of a bed. Jesus, he was tied to a bed.

Jesus Christ.

Bishop’s bed.

He choked back a sound, swallowing bile along with his heart and recognizing the reason for his thick confusion and the chalky taste left in his mouth. Drugged, he’d been drugged.

Fingers brushed his hair and the voice--Bishop’s voice--was back and speaking softly. "Easy, Vincent. Take it slow. You’re doing just fine."

He felt the most overwhelming urge to vomit...and, Lord help him. Scream.

This couldn’t be happening.


Awareness was rushing him, rushing much too quickly, his headache increasing tri-fold with the dawning of his situation. Yes, he was tied, that he knew by testing the pull on his limbs. Tight, but not so much so he was left totally immobile, he had some limited movement...some...

Panic again. And nausea. Heavy waves of nausea...oh God...

His eyes watered, a small tear trickled a light path down his cheek, and he shifted against the rolling churn inside his hot stomach. This time, he did throw up, turning his head and panting hard against the sudden painful cramping of his abdomen. A soft towel pressed to his face, catching and wiping off the mess, and Bishop was there again, soothing him with soft words and cleaning him gently.

"Breathe, my boy," he was saying and Vin did try to breathe. "Easy. It’s almost over, almost done."

What was over? Had he been found out? His cover exposed?

A hand brushed over his hair, sweeping it from his face and a cool cloth trailed slowly across his forehead. He realized he was lying on something soft yet rough, a texture under his back that wasn’t uncomfortable, and with that, realized, too, he could feel the material on his own bare skin. Bare skin--bare everywhere. He was wearing nothing.

Bishop pulled at him, lifting his shoulders some and speaking again, but the words seemed to be coming at him from such a long way away. He tried hard to concentrate on what was being told him, sure now that his life was about to depend on the meaning in those faint words and he tried hard to understand them.

A waft of thick, sweet scent washed over him then, clinging to him and he thought surely he would vomit again. Cologne, it was cloying...

"Let’s get this towel out of the way. Get you cleaned up at bit and then..."

He was shaking his head no...protesting the hands touching his body and then they were back, gripping his chin and steering his head to face dark eyes--dark as night eyes that pierced like knives into his own. The hands wrapping his face tightened, long fingers bit painfully into his flesh.

"I am a patient man, Vincent. You know this. And I have been exceedingly so with you. But even my patience has its limits. Now, I realize you are suffering somewhat rather ill-effects due to the small degree of...persuasion...I had slipped into your drink. But you need to settle down and relax now and let it pass."

He blinked, hearing the words but not fully registering their meaning as the fog clouding his mind refused to fully lift. His drink? Something in his drink?

"You and I are through playing these sophomoric games, Vincent, though fun they were, I assure you. You are a man possessed of strong body and will, and I find that nothing less than an intriguing, not to mention, tantalizing challenge." A hand drifted down the center of his chest, he could feel the pressure from searching fingers and he shuddered at the touch. "I do so enjoy a clever opponent," Bishop was saying, "but, I am also a man accustomed to getting what I desire. You do understand."

He tried...tried to keep focus. Something was not right here, but his mind was clouding over again and he was lost within its murky haze. He couldn’t see, he couldn’t hear...couldn’t understand...clever opponent...had his cover been blown? or...

What was that voice? Bishop? Bishop was calling to him...


His name, someone calling him...


Bishop? No...shut up...stop...


Hot. He was hot, could feel sweat rolling down his neck and back. Sick.

His name again and he reared back, stomach clenching as another sickening wave of nausea rolled through him, the suddenly close proximity of that voice startling and terrifying. His eyes shot open...or maybe they already were open, he couldn’t be sure...

"What?" he heard himself say, or he thought he'd said. Had he even made a sound?

A hand lightly brushed his shoulder, the touch fleeting but burning like fire through his body. It was hard to keep from screaming.

"Earth to Vin."

"What?" That said out loud this time for sure. He blinked up at the pale blur of face hovering over him.

His vision cleared, and had he the energy, he would’ve jerked in surprise as the familiar surroundings of his office came into sharp focus. He blinked again, his eyes stinging with the sudden clarity. He looked down and placed his hands on the smooth surface of his desk as though it had just suddenly appeared out of nowhere.



"You okay? Vin?"

God, it was JD calling to him. Not Bishop.

His eyes shifted up and relief flooded him that he actually was sitting there in his chair, at his desk, in his office and not at all where he’d thought he was... Not at Bishop's estate. Not going through that hell again. Thank God, not again...


"JD." He said the name softly, barely above a whisper and then said it again, louder as his voice strengthened. "JD." Somehow saying that name anchored him to the here and now, and he remembered with a surge of relief that all the misery with Bishop was over.

Over. It really was over.

He realized JD was still standing there, saying nothing but looking as though he wasn’t going to move anytime soon, looking as though he was waiting for an answer to some question he might have posed and Vin left with no concept of what that question might have been.

"What ya need, JD?" he sighed, not looking up, not sure he could actually manage to do anything for anybody these days and still trying to convince himself that he really was just sitting in his office and not tied, once again, to Bishop’s bed.

"Going to get lunch. That is, Buck ‘n’ I are going to get lunch an’ I just wanted to know if you wanted anything. Maybe you want to come with us, or--"

"Ain’t really hungry, JD." And he really wasn’t. In fact, he wasn’t sure he’d ever have the stomach to eat again. Since he’d been out from under his undercover assignment, he seemed to be existing solely on beer, booze and the leftover cold, greasy pizza currently congealing in his refrigerator, ordered from which ever pizza delivery place he’d had a coupon.

"You’re sure?" Vin nodded, but JD didn’t seem to want to let it go. "We can bring you back something to eat, if ya want us to."

"Geeze, JD," Vin snapped, his annoyance building with JD’s persistence, and this time he did look up, eyes flashing hotly. "I’m pretty sure I said no and meant it."

JD backed up, palms forward in defense. "Okay. Fine." He turned then, catching Buck’s narrowed gaze and motioned to the door, both men silently watching Vin as they exited.

"Sometimes a burden shared is a burden lifted."

Vin’s head whipped up, eyes glaring at the man who’d moved to lean so casually against his desk.

"I got nothin’ needs sharin’, Josiah." Four walls of office suddenly seemed like four walls of prison. He had to get out.

Josiah stood over him for a moment, saying nothing more, much to Vin’s relief, but nodding his head all the same. Vin managed a weak smile and then let go a soft sigh when Josiah turned away, grabbed his coat and, after offering up one last glance to him, headed out the door.

Vin felt another set of eyes upon him. "Whattaya want, Ezra?" he sighed, returning to study the top of his desk and the papers scattered there. He shuffled them into a pile of no apparent order and picked up a pencil, twirling it between the ends of his fingertips and hoping Ezra would just leave him be.

"It is finished, Vin."

The pencil in his hands snapped in two and Vin threw the pieces onto his desk with a surge of disgust. "I know that," he said harshly then stood abruptly, the force sending his chair shooting out from behind him to crash into the wall. He grabbed the leather jacket thrown over the back and turned to leave. A body stepped in front of him, blocking his exit, and for a long moment, the two men stood nose to nose, their eyes locked.

"Move," he growled, more under his breath than aloud, but clearly heard in the complete silence of the nearly empty office.

Ezra held his position for a beat, then shifted aside, his arm moving in a wide sweep. "By all means, Mr. Tanner. Far be it for me to delay whatever path it is in which you’re choosing to self-indulge these days."

Vin rushed aside then, wanting out, wanting away quickly before more questions made him remember things best left to the dark of his nightmares. He didn't want to talk about any of it to anyone. Ever.

A hand grabbed his sleeve and he stopped stiffly, barely resisting the urge to strike. He didn’t turn around.

Ezra’s southern drawl spoke quietly to his back.

"It’s over. You know it IS over, Vin."

The hand dropped away and then he left without a word or glance behind him, because Ezra didn’t know. Didn't know what had happened up there in Bishop's private suite. Suspected, yes, wondered, yes...but didn’t really know.

And would never.

Every touch, every innocent brush of someone’s arm against him sent him reeling back to everything that happened there during that time in Bishop’s suite.

It wasn’t truly over. Not for him.


Lunch had been a too short hour filled with not near enough beer. He'd trudged back to the office and did what paperwork was demanded of him, only too happy to leave at the end of the day and hole himself up in his apartment where he didn't have to deal with anybody--his teammates. Chris.

Chris. What to do about Chris. That was the thought, even more than the unwanted flashes of what Bishop had done to him, that held him during his waking hours.

What they'd started before all this had been incredible. The best thing that ever happened to him...and now...

God, if he couldn't fuck up any good thing ever to come his way.

And he'd fucked it up in a big way.

What he and Chris had seemed like eons ago now--memories and feelings all too distant. Unreachable. Too much had happened since... Too much that made his skin crawl, that angered him, that made him want to shoot somebody. Everybody. Even Chris.

He felt so fucking drained.

And Chris, well... He avoided contact as much as he could these days, but it wasn't easy--fuckin' hardest thing he had to do, in fact--and thing was, every time he looked at Chris he ached inside. Ached for Chris, ached for himself. Ached for what was most probably lost for both of them.

He pulled on his beer. Today had been one fuck up right after the other. Couldn't get his head screwed on straight if his life depended on it.

He'd managed to stay to himself most of the day, that is until Chris called him into his office--and the gut twisting that happened on that little walk about did him in. If he'd had half the chance, he would have bolted for hell and high water.

Chris thought he knew what Vin needed, said he wanted to help. Wanted to talk about this thing between them. Like talking would just make the memory of it all vanish like a puff of smoke. Gone--just like that.

Like talking was ever what he needed.

He rubbed his eyes. Hell, what he needed was someplace that had plenty of whiskey and no familiar faces to watch him drink it. That's what he needed. Something to make him forget what he'd done.

Chris thought he knew what had happened up there--had conjured up his own idea of what went on up in Bishop's bedroom during his undercover term as Bishop's bodyguard turned confidant. But Chris really didn't know for sure, and Vin was just too damned tired to fix whatever those ideas were that Chris had in his head...and what Chris could come up with was probably a milder scenario than what really happened, anyway.

Not that any of it mattered. What was done was done...

Besides, what the hell was there to talk about? How he'd let himself be used? How he'd pretty much just given himself over?

Bishop had used him, though in a way he'd used Bishop--and in the end, the feds got their man no matter Vin Tanner and the Bishop bedroom escapades.

All that fucked up misery for nothing.


Chris wanted an explanation. Wanted things to get back to normal between them--back to whatever it was they had started before all this.

Before Bishop.

God, he was getting drunk. Sitting here all alone in his dark apartment and getting stinkin' drunk.

What was it Chris had said earlier?

"I care about you, Vin."

Well don't. Don't care--just makes for misery all around.

"I'll be here when you need me," Chris had said.

He laughed at his apartment walls and finished his beer.

The thought right now of having anyone else's hands on him was enough to make him retch from now 'til tomorrow--even Chris's hands. No, he didn’t need that--didn't need anything.

Weird, really, that he should let this thing with Bishop affect him so. Men had touched him before, and in not so gentle ways. It never bothered him like this. Never made him feel so...

Fuckin' filthy.

Another laugh. As if that wasn't just a joke--feeling like he was some kind of sullied flower. What a fuckin' riot you are, Tanner.

And yet...

Bishop's face was everywhere. Newspapers, magazine covers...the news.

Leering at him. Mocking him.

He set down his beer and turned on the tv--a little mindless entertainment to scare away the dark shadows.

And there he was...

"Millionaire Terrence R. Bishop, shown here in a photo from last year shaking hands with Judge Milton Dwyer, appeared in court today with his team of lawyers against indictments brought down from the state prosecutor's office. No word yet on what amount bail has been set, yet according to sources, it has been--"

Fuck. He switched it off and threw the remote against the wall.

The man was surrounding him, choking him still, like he'd done that night he'd wrapped the belt around his neck and tightened...

Playing with life and death, Bishop had told him then. Pleasure and pain. Control. He'd let up just before Vin had passed out...bringing him off with his mouth at the same time Vin was struggling to pull air into his straining lungs...

He could swear he still detected a faint hint Bishop's nauseating cologne on his skin.

As much as he wanted, he couldn't seem to shake that man from his body.

The first two weeks out there had started fine. He'd come on as bodyguard to Bishop himself and fell into that position easily enough. Didn't have to talk much, just stand at the man's side, wearing a scowl, blending into the wall and listening for anything that might lead to information about his many contacts.


But then, that horrific night happened--drugged to the point of wondering the next morning if any of it had actually happened. He found out soon enough it was all too disgustingly true.

He shook off the thought. He didn't need this. Really didn't want to think on any of that anymore. It was over, just like Ezra had said. Bishop had been arrested.

Dammit, it was over.

He got another beer, pretty much his staple for breakfast, lunch and dinner these days, and popped the top of what turned out to be a bottle of the imported stuff Chris had bought and left at his place a few months ago.

Jeeze, back to Chris. He'd barely looked at the man before almost running from his office today. So much for talking. When he looked at Chris, though... God, the longing for him twisted so deeply inside he was left aching and miserable.

But Chris had questions and he just wasn't prepared to deal with the answers yet--if ever.

Because, deep down, he knew he'd betrayed him.

The next beer went down fast and he sighed. If only the memories could be washed away so easily. Plopping on the couch, he sat and stared at the walls some more. It was cool in his apartment--and dark with the sun slowly setting. Dark and small, like the bedroom he'd occupied in Bishop's estate.

That voice suddenly echoed inside his head as if the man was standing right next to him.

"I trust you're well rested this evening, Vincent."

No! No, God, he didn't want to think on that anymore...didn't want to remember...

"What can I do for you, Mr. Bishop," he'd asked him, wary and already feeling the rise of nausea with the smile Bishop gave him.

Bishop had advanced into the room, his cologne reaching Vin first, washing over him in thick, sweet waves, and then the man reached out to slowly run a finger down the course of Vin's cheek. It made him shudder but he didn't flinch away.

"I'm glad you asked," Bishop responded with words that sent a chill into the corners of Vin's body. "We had such a delightful time the other night, did we not?" He moved forward again, Vin found himself backed to the edge of the bed.

"I just wanted to see how you were feeling." The man stood leaning against the small night table, arms folded, his stance casual. His eyes belied that fact, though--Vin could feel the intensity from the man's stare. "I was concerned, you see. You seemed especially affected by my little concoction that night, and I was wishing you no lasting ill effects."

"You drugged me."

Bishop waved a dismissive hand in the air. "Oh please, Vincent. Drugged is just so tawdry. I rather prefer, enhanced. Believe me, you certainly seemed to enjoy our time together."

He didn't know what to say. "I didn't--we didn't--"

"No, we didn't. Pity, that." Bishop backed off then, moving toward the door. He stood there and continued to stare for the longest time. "You seem tired, Vincent. Get some rest. 'Til later, then, perhaps."

Later the man had said, that one little word implying the stuff nightmares were made of--and it had been a nightmare.

He didn't know exactly how it had happened again, couldn't be sure, though most likely the bottle of water he'd downed before turning in that night had been filled with whatever stuff it was Bishop had given him the first time.

Stop it--stop thinking about it.

He closed his eyes, listening to the sounds of life outside his apartment's window that reassured him he really was at home. He wasn't at Bishop's anymore--he was home. Alone.

He didn't have to relive this day after day...

Yet somehow, Bishop was still with him. Inside his head.

After Bishop had left his room, he'd warily fallen into a light sleep, or so he'd thought. Somewhere during the middle of the night, he'd awakened again--and Bishop was there.

The man was stroking his hair...

"There, Vincent. Wake up slowly."

The words sounded as if in a dream. Everything seemed unreal.


He couldn't think past the fog in his brain...or the hands on him. Touching him...

"Ahh, I must say this time I seemed to have perfected the mix. You're not feeling as ill, are you?"

No, not again.

Bishop was speaking on and on as he fiddled with something in his hands. "I'm glad you're feeling better this time, it will be much more enjoyable for both of us without that nausea you had the other night, don't you agree?" His hands ran over his chest. Vin shivered. "You really are stunning, Vincent, but then, I'm sure you've been told this before. How lucky I am you've come to my employ."

He felt ill. Bishop was smiling at him. "And possessing intelligence, as well--a nice surprise from the others I've hired. I've noticed you, you know, and I find you---intriguing. And I haven't been intrigued by anyone in oh, so long. You're a complex man, Vincent. You could go very far in my organization if you are interested." The man's hands cupped his face, he closed his eyes.

"You'd like that, wouldn't you? To perhaps gain a seat at my right hand? We could work very closely together, Vincent. You and I..."

A tongue ran down his bare flesh, he moaned with disgust.

"Like that, my dear boy? I thought you might." Again the man leaned over him, he felt hands probe him everywhere. Something bit down sharply on his nipple and he twisted away, tried to push away but his hands were bound above his head.

And then something entered him.

"No," he groaned.

"Relax, Vincent." Bishop was leaning over him, whispering. "It will hurt less if you just relax."

Whatever was in him wouldn't ease up, it filled him. Hurt him.

"I had these especially made, do you like my little toys?"

Eyes tight shut, he felt ill. What the hell was the man doing? He twisted again against the soft bindings wrapped around his wrists and ankles. God, leave him alone!

"They cost a pretty penny, I can tell you that," Bishop was going on, "but definitely worth the extra I paid. I've been told nothing quite feels the same ever again..."

"Stop!" Please just stop.

Words whispered in his ear. "But I'm glad to share them with you...and you look so incredible this way, you know. You do make for a visually pleasing partner, Vincent."


"Please...more? Oh well, if you insist. I just knew you'd enjoy this."

He screamed then, sure his insides were torn apart, but something pressed to his mouth and his voice was muffled and then tightening around his neck and he couldn't breathe...Jesus... No...

How long had it gone on? Minutes? Hours? Bishop rattling on about how much he'd come to like Vin, how far he might go were he to learn what Bishop could teach.

He'd gain so much inside information...but at what price?

He awoke again later that night, alone in his bed, in his room in Bishop's house, the taste of sand in his mouth and too many visions of himself tied to that bed in his head. Words came at him from everywhere and he rolled to his side, ready to vomit.

He grabbed the bottle of water he'd placed on the nightstand, then reconsidered as he looked at it closer. Most likely still filled with whatever it was Bishop had given him. Given him for the second time.

And the worst of it was--his body had betrayed him. He'd given Bishop the satisfaction he'd been seeking, and Bishop had just grinned with delight.

God, he hadn't wanted that...

He groaned out loud with the memory of that betrayal.

A truck horn blasted loudly somewhere...


Fleeting moment of panic as confusion filled him and then he realized, he was home.


The walls of his apartment came into view and he leaned forward, head in trembling hands. He was losing his mind--and that man was still invading his body.


Breakfast was Tylenol washed down with coffee, two bites of overcooked scrambled egg, and the bitter realization that Bishop might very well be with him for the rest of his days.

He opened the newspaper. The man's face was there, grinning at him. He threw it in the trash.

Would this ever be over? He downed the coffee, half-considered and then rejected having a beer before work, and took off in his Jeep.

And then he saw him.


Stopped at a red light, and there in the car next to him--that face. Nodding his way. Grinning...

He did a double take, heart racing, sweat gathering on his forehead...

Couldn't be him. Oh God, it couldn't be him!

And it wasn't. Of course it wasn't him--couldn't possibly be him. The man was in jail, his eyes were just playing tricks on him. That was all. Lord God, he really was losing his mind.

By the time he got to work he was coiled tight, ready to snap at anyone coming near him. Buck had tried--offering up his hearty morning greeting as Vin walked in the office. Vin pointedly ignored him.

"Mornin' to you, too, Vin," Buck had then grumbled.

"I got work to do," he'd replied, hearing the bite to his words yet not caring. He registered the looks the others gave one another over his head but didn't care much about that, either. Let 'em wonder. Wasn't any of their or anyone else's business.

He just wanted to be left alone.

And luckily after that, the others seemed to know to keep their distance. Fortunately, too, Chris had been out of the office all morning. Vin threw himself into paperwork, talking to no one until the clock's hands moved to noon and he grabbed his jacket and left without a word.

The elevator doors opened onto the lobby and Vin stormed out, plowing immediately into another body as he rushed forward from the small confines. Hands grabbed at his shoulders to steady against him and he struck out hard in quick reflex, shoving the other body away at the same time reeling backward himself.


He looked up, eyes wide as he faced the hardening gaze of his boss. Chris.

It was an agonizingly slow, cold beat in time. People jostled around them, he had sense of others passing by, but he couldn’t stop looking at Chris.

They said nothing--no words. No nothing. Not even blinking, he was sure, and then he felt somehow suffocated just by Chris just standing there staring at him.

It was unnerving.

Vin knew Chris wanted to know what happened, wanted him to offer up explanation as to why he had done what he had done, and just what it was that went on behind the closed doors of Bishop’s suite.

But Jesus--how could he talk about what he could barely stand to remember?

The initial debriefings after the arrest of Bishop had been fairly routine. Any information Vin had learned had been catalogued, but with Bishop's accountant singing out loudly against his boss, it really wasn't necessary. What he'd learned hadn't meant squat in the end.

All for nothing.

The issue of the suspected private encounters between him and Bishop hadn't been mentioned like Chris had assured him they would not. Hopefully never would. But he knew between Ezra and Chris, they had to wonder. Were wondering.

Fuck 'em. He wasn't about to delve into any of that.

For half a second Vin feared Chris was going to press him right there in the lobby of the federal building. He had that look, that demanding, concerned 'I want answers and I want them now' look, and Vin couldn't take it much more. So before the man could muster up the words to ask, Vin turned to walk away.

"You’re leaving?" Chris asked.

"Yeah," Vin answered with a soft mumble, not turning. "Gonna get lunch."


Vin felt his shoulders stiffen, knew Chris saw their tightening as well but couldn't help bristle at what that tone implied. Yes alone. About all the company he could manage these days--and that just barely as being alone with his thoughts sent knots twisting into his stomach.

He turned back, not meeting Chris's eyes. "Just getting lunch, Chris." Lunch--double shot of whiskey with a beer chaser.

He sounded wary and not just a little irritated, knew it and wished to God he could stop, but the thing was, he really did just want to be left alone. Alone. Alone with his misery--at least until he could sort this shit out in his head.

Chris's eyes appraised him, he wondered what the man saw. For himself, he knew he looked like hell--eyes red-rimmed, remaining that way every day since the job had ended.

He'd been drinking too much, too often--hadn't been sleeping, knew it was written all over his face as well, but with sleep came dreams. And with the dreams came nightmares. And in nightmares was Bishop.

But he couldn't tell Chris this--couldn't say it out loud.

"Just lunch?" Chris said softly.

He was a fine hair away from spewing his anger. He knew what Chris was thinking...that he was falling apart. That he wasn't dealing with whatever it was that happened, and Lord, maybe he wasn't, but it was all just something he wanted to forget, and if he started talking to Chris, it would come hurtling back at rapid speed, and that was the last thing he wanted to deal with.

Could barely deal with the snippets of memory that kept coming at him out of nowhere--what the hell would happen to him if he had to purposely recount every one of those nights from hell?

He wanted to forget.

Just forget. Obliterate it from memory.

God, he couldn't stand himself.

"Lunch. It's what I said," he all but growled. His eyes shifted toward the door and he left without saying another word.

He just needed away.

He just needed a drink.


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