Author Note: This is the first rewrite additions to Saving My Heart. I'm increasing the story to more novel size and discovered some areas that needed some additions. One is that Jessica doesn't just give up. In the rewrites, she says it's not over and leaves during the wake instead of apologizing. I figured she wouldn't just give up. So, let me know what you think. In one week, I'll be pitching the longer novel edition to a Harlequin editor. So cross your fingers for me. -Marilyn

Chapter 26


PETER

I had the limo take us back to my apartment. It had been such a long day. All I wanted to do was spend the night making love to her. I didn't want to tell her how the company was deteriorating, how my Dad and I were bracing it up with new projects to boister the investors. The Ohio project would be my deciding factor. My Dad had died just too soon. We hadn't put some of the financing into place to make all the new ventures into other cities secure.

Of course, I was wondering if the stress from everything had caused his heart attack. He'd always pushed himself so much. I tried to forget the worries about tomorrow as I held Julie in my arms. I buried my face in her hair, taking in her scent. I could smell the ginger shampoo she used, making me remember just the few nights ago we'd been together in that hotel room in Ohio. It had almost been a week. It seemed like a decade.

"What's wrong?" She stroked my face as she layed next to me on the bed.

"So much has happened. I don't even know where to start."

"Start with us. We'll go from there."

"It's just I can't get out of my head what we need to do tomorrow. Everything is a muddle."

Julie took a deep breath. "All right. Let's sort through it out loud. Tomorrow there is a meeting scheduled with the trustees."

"Yes, and they have to officially vote for me to take over for my father."

"And they're going to. Why wouldn't they?"

I shook my head. "It's not that simple. I have to prove myself first. I've got to make this Ohio project come through and pay off."

She bit her bottom lip for a sec. "In other words, you have to prove yourself." I nodded, and she continued. "And the mansion in Ohio was the start?"

"That was part of it. Father was grooming me to take over the company, but just not this soon. He said it would take time for people to except a change over."

"Well, sometimes shit happens, right? You'll just have to go in and let them know, you've got it all under control."

"I hope so." I felt like I was floating far away. I didn't know what to hold onto. "He didn't prepare me for any of this."

She turned my head to her. "Sometimes we wish longer with someone we love. But fate decides sometimes we have to make due with what we get from them in the time we have. Think of all the things your father already taught you. He's probably been teaching you how to take over the company all this time. Right?"

"So, now it's time. You will tell the trustees that you can do it. Make them feel your confidence in taking over for your father. He has readied you for this. In fact, I'm sure you can think of something that he has given you again and again to be ready. You know what that is?"

"What?" I was at a loss for where she was going. I could feel the tears building in my eyes.

"You have the same love for preserving buildings that he does. And he proved you can make a profit it at it. I've seen how the Ohio projects are projected to do. We can use that tomorrow to build the confidence of the trustees. You know what they'll see when you look at you?"

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