Chapter Sixteen

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Jay walked with brisk steps through the hospital lobby. He heard Dr. Michael Edelman's name on the intercom system, announcing that his presence was needed in the ER. But this time, his heart didn't race with jealousy. Instead, a peaceful feeling filled him as he walked through the main doors of St. Ignatius and out into the California sunshine. What he'd anticipated to be extremely tense and awkward ended up being rational thoughts and sincere apologies. He pulled his cell from his pocket and called Rob.

"Abby and I are dying over here. How'd it go?" Rob asked.

"Better than I ever imagined." He said with relief. 

"What happened?"

"Well he spoke to a group of therapy patients. I sat and listened to his whole speech. It wasn't long--about ten minutes. He shared his successes and his failures. He's incredible. The man has such courage. Everyone I met in fact--enormous courage. He was candid. At times it was painful. When he was done, he made the rounds, you know, giving a few minutes of time to everyone. Then, he and I sat alone in an empty office and talked."

"What did he say?"

"We just talked about all the events that happened that night. He talked about the choices he's made and how it's affected his life. He's moved on in a lot of ways, but he still has a lot of regrets."

"Don't we all." Rob added. "Are you glad you went?"

"Absolutely. I needed the closure." Jay sighed. "And so did he."

"Are you gonna make your flight?"

"With time to spare." He conferred with a check of his watch.

"I don't know how you managed to pull this off. You flew home, bought two different companies, met with this guy, and now you're off to surprise Claire."

"I'm telling you, where Claire is concerned, I just can't miss."

*****

She was flat exhausted when she finally arrived at the landmark hotel in the heart of Manhattan. She'd enjoyed cocktails in the bar and dined at Astor Court in years past but never had she been an overnight guest. And though she knew she'd be offered every conceivable luxury during her week long stay, the luxury wouldn't truly begin until Jay joined her at the end of the week.

She crossed the lobby, surprised to find a short line of weary travelers waiting to check-in. A bell captain came to her aid, taking her luggage and placing it on a nearby rolling cart. Her cell phone began to buzz and she searched the bottom of her purse trying to locate it. By the time she pulled it free, her voicemail had picked up. She quickly checked the call log to find that she'd missed a call from Lucy. She hadn't spoken with her since the day before her father's arrival in London...and she hoped that everything was alright.

Mental note: Call Lucy the minute I get settled in my room.

"Good evening." A slightly built gentleman motioned her to the counter with a warm smile. "Welcome to the St. Regis."

"Good evening." Claire smiled back.

"Name?" He inquired.

"It's Jordan--Claire Jordan." She spoke softly and leaned against the counter.

"Thank you." His fingers clicked across the keyboard. "I'm sorry, Ma'am, but I don't have a reservation under that name. Might it have been made under another name?" He questioned.

"It's possible." Claire answered, confused and slightly embarrassed. "Try Avery." She suggested. "Jay Avery."

"Certainly." He nodded, continuing to type. But after a moment, he shook his head and frowned. 

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