With her phone to her ear, Nicole paced back and forth behind the sofa in the Kiriakis living room as Brady watched. “Yes, I’d like to make flight reservations. Salem to LaGuardia. Two tickets.”
“Nicole, put down the phone,” Brady urged.
Nicole covered the speaker. “Why? Are we taking the Titan Jet? I thought Sonny was using it.”
“He is. Just put the phone down and come talk to me.”
“Sorry, I’m going to have to call you back. Yes, I know I can make reservations online but your website keeps kicking me out at the seat-choosing screen.” Nicole rolled her eyes as she ended the call. She looked at the home screen of her phone. “Do I look like I don’t know how to use the internet? Idiot.” She slammed her phone onto the coffee table.
Brady patted a spot on the sofa next to him. “Come here. You need to relax.” Nicole sat next to him and he wrapped his arms around her.
“I can’t relax. Your private detective finally confirmed that Chloe’s in New York with her parents. We need to go there and get Holly.”
“We can’t ‘get Holly,’ okay? Chloe still has legal custody of her. That hasn’t changed.”
She pulled out of Brady’s arms. “Why is everyone stating the obvious tonight? I know that too. I just want to try and reason with Chloe. She ran off with Holly without even telling us where she was going. I want her to come back to Salem so I can at least see my baby now and then.”
Brady crooked his finger and Nicole settled back into his arms. “I get that, babe,” he said, kissing the back of her neck. “But we have to be smart about this. Nothing we’ve said to her so far has made a difference. I think we need to take a different approach.”
“I’m open to suggestions.”
Brady gently moved Nicole so he could take his phone out of his pocket. He scrolled through his contacts.
“What are you looking for? What are you doing?” Nicole asked impatiently.
“I’m going to contact someone who might be able to get through to her.”
“Like who? There’s no one else she trusts more than you.”
Brady lifted just his eyes for a moment and gave Nicole a look. “There’s one person.”
He rested his fishing pole against the railing of the dock. The fish weren’t biting today, and that was fine. His only real intention was to shut out the world for an afternoon, same as always.
Leaning his elbows on the wooden railing, he squinted at the stars rising in the darkening sky. Someone once said the sea was an honest mistress. Ernest Hemingway maybe, or maybe he came to that conclusion on his own, because the night sky constantly reminded him that he had no one to share its haunting beauty with.
Philip had done a good job staying out of touch with everyone after being shunted aside by his family with Deimos being placed at the helm of Titan and everyone—Justin, Sonny, Brady— having a seat at the table, except him. He long believed his father had no respect for him, and Victor proved it by parsing out the company with such a meager role for Philip that he may as well have been given a job in the mailroom. So that was the end of that.
Family members tried to get in touch with him over the past seven months, but Philip stayed radio-silent. He went to Hawaii for a while, then spent a little time in the Caribbean, before settling in the Florida Keys while he tried to figure out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. Did he want to start a business from scratch, or buy into an existing business? Or did he want to just bum around until his savings ran out, at which point he would truly be a bum, which his father always seemed to think he was anyway.
He’d been working so hard not to become his father, when one day it hit him. He already was. He’d turned into a lonely, bitter man, exactly like his father was before marrying Maggie. But there was no Maggie in Philip’s future.
He took a drag on the cigarette he was holding between thumb and forefinger. Then he studied it for a long moment. He hadn’t smoked in over ten years, not since being in the service, but he took it up again six months ago, just for something to do.
He flipped his cell phone over and over in his other hand, avoiding rereading the email Brady had sent. Ordinarily, he’d have deleted it, but this time he couldn’t and there was only one reason—the name in the subject line. “Chloe’s making a big mistake,” it said.