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Chapter 27

            After leaving Amy at the airport, Dottie takes the cab back to her hotel. Once there, she calls Nick. Time to take the bull by the horns and let him know what she has planned. When he answers the phone, she says, "Hey Handsome, what are you up to?"

            He says, "Missing you. This just isn't fun without you. How are you Baby?"

            She sighs and says, "I'm ok Nick, but we have to talk about something."

            He says, "OK, so talk. I have time before the show starts."

            Dottie sits back on the bed in her room and says, "Amy's on her way back. She'll meet up with you guys tomorrow."

            She can hear Nick's breath quicken. He says, "What's wrong, D? Why is she coming back? What happened at the doctor?"

            Dottie says, "She's fine, there's nothing definite from the doctor. Don't say anything to Brian about it, let Amy talk to him, ok?"

            He says, "I won't. But that doesn't explain why she's coming back. What's wrong?"

            Taking a deep breath, she says, "Nick, I have to face Jake alone."

            He's so quiet on the other end, Dottie thinks the call was dropped. Finally, he says, "Baby, are you sure?"

            To say she was shocked would be an understatement. She says, "Nick, I could say I was sorry a million times for the way I snapped at you yesterday, but it wouldn't be enough. I'm tired of feeling this way. I want to be the woman I was before this all started. I want to be strong for you and be someone you can be proud to be with."

            He says, "Stop right there, Lady. I AM proud to be with you. I was in love with you long before all this shit happened and I will love you like this till the day I die. Don't you ever think you aren't good enough for me."

            Tears sting her eyes and she says, "Nick, I love you so much. I know you're upset with me for sending Amy away but I just have to do this alone."

            He sighs and says, "I'm not upset with you Baby. I'm worried, yes, but not upset. What you said was the truth. We're all trying to protect you and in doing that, we're smothering you. Whatever you decide to do, I'm here for you Baby. If it gets to be too much, will you tell me? Let me or Amy come and be with you?"

            Her lip trembles as she realizes Nick really understands what she's saying. She says, "Don't worry. I'll meet you in LA in 4 days. We have plans you know."

            He chuckles and says, "I know, I made those plans. I miss you, D. Hurry back to me."

            Sitting up and crossing her legs, she says, "I miss you too, Nick. I'll be in LA Friday. My plane lands around 8 am. I put the itinerary in the nightstand drawer if you need it."

            He says, "I know Babe. I found it."

            Closing her eyes, she says, "So you knew Amy would be back earlier?"

            He says, "Yeah. It gave me time to think about things. I get why you're doing this and I'm proud of you. But you have to come back to me D. I can't survive without you."

            Feeling tears sting her eyes, Dottie says, "Nick, where else would I go. I belong with you. I can't imagine where I'd be without you now. That's why this is so important to me. Nick, I have to find myself and I have to do it alone."

            He lowers his voice and says, "I know, D. I love you and if you need me, you know I'm there for you."

            She says, "I know Baby." Hearing voices in the background, she says, "Have a kick ass show Nick. Call me when you come offstage."

            He says, "I will. I love you D. With all I am."

            She sighs and says, "I love you too. Forever."


            When Dottie wakes up the next morning, her stomach is in knots. She thinks about calling Nick, but they were on the phone so late the night before, she doesn't want to wake him.  After showering and getting dressed, she calls Detective Peters and makes arrangements to meet him at the prison.

            When she's face to face with the man that had arrested her over a year earlier, the first thing he says is, "I'm so sorry."

            Sighing, she says, "Don't, please. I'm having a hard enough time holding it together."

            He says, "Ms. Morgan, are you sure you want to do this?"

            Standing up straighter, she says, "Yes, I have to."

            He says, "Then I advise you to leave your purse and cell phone in my car. You won't be allowed to take it in anyway."

            After locking her belongings in the trunk of his car, they make their way inside. He watches her intently, afraid she's going to break down, but the sheer determination on her face tells him she's not giving up until she stops Johnson and his partner from stealing from her friends.

            Once inside the room where she's going to see Jake, her resolve starts to shake. Closing her eyes, she pictures Nick's face and counts to ten. When she opens them, Jake is being escorted into the room.

            When he sees Dottie, he has the grace to lower his eyes and look ashamed. When he sits down, he looks back to her and says, "Why are you here?"

            Taking a seat across from him, with Detective Peters behind her shoulder, she says, "Jake, why? Why did you do it?"

            Turning away, he says, "You wouldn't understand."

            She says, "It was Glenna, wasn't it? She made you do this."

            When his head snaps back to her, Dottie knows she has it right. Glenna used Jake to get to the money. Now she just has to make sure Jake understands what's at stake.

            Jake says, "I don't know what you're talking about."

            Dottie says, "Jake, I'm not stupid. You were sleeping with her while she was married to Brian. You think I couldn't hear you through the door?" She really didn't, but she knew she'd have to bluff Jake into revealing what he knew.

            Closing his eyes, he says, "You didn't...why didn't you tell Brian?"

            Sighing quietly, she says, "I didn't know for sure. Not until you just admitted it. Jake, Glenna is using you to get to the money you took from the group. She's been stealing from Brian for years and still is."

            He says, "What do you mean using me?"

            Detective Peters steps in and says, "We know she's been here to visit you. What's she doing, asking you how to access the money? She wants the account numbers to protect it from being given back to the group, right?" When he doesn't say anything, Detective Peters says, "Mr. Johnson, if she gets that money, by the time you get out of here, she'll be long gone with it. Unless..."

            Looking up, Jake says, "Unless what?"

            "If you are willing to help us, the DA has agreed to a plea bargain to reduce your sentence. What you stole pales in comparison to what she's done to Mr. Littrell and is trying to do to the group now. She used them just like she's using you now."

            Jake's lawyer, who had been standing quietly in the corner listening steps forward and says, "Will you give me a minute to talk to my client?"

            Detective Peters walks to the door but Dottie doesn't move. When Jake meets her eyes, she says, "Why Jake? Why did you do that to me?"

            Looking up at his lawyer, he says, "They don't have to leave. I'll tell them what they want to know."

            He says, "Jake, you need to know what they are offering."

            Jake says, "I know what they are offering. A chance for me to get this bitch off my back and get out of here quicker." Turning to Dottie, he says, "It was Glenna's idea. She had been throwing herself at Carter for almost a year but he never took the hint. He only had eyes for you. I tried telling her you two were only friends, but she insisted you were the reason he wouldn't take the bait. Then after she split with Brian, she said I had to set you up because they were closing in. I was scared."

            Dottie is speechless. When she finally finds her voice, she says, "All of this because she wanted Nick?"

            He says, "Yeah. Apparently Carter has a rep and she wanted to find out if it was true."

            Detective Peters says, "Mr. Johnson, are you willing to testify against her?  And help us recover the money?"

            He says, "Yes, anything."

            His lawyer steps forward again and says, "Mr. Johnson, you need to think about this..."

            He says, "I have. Dammit, I'm not a crook. She stole the money, not me. I just helped her set up Dottie." Turning to Dottie he says, "For what it's worth, I'm sorry."

            Dottie says, "Jake, I don't know if I can ever forgive you for what I went through. But when I worked for you I always thought that you were hard working and honorable. If you do the right thing now, I'll testify for you myself to get you out. I'm tired of living in the past and I'm really tired of the people I love getting hurt."

            Turning to Detective Peters, he says, "What do you want to know?"

            After making his statement, Detective Peters leads Dottie outside. Once they are beside his car, she falls apart. She sits on the ground and cries, holding her knees to her chest. When she finally calms down, he says, "Ms. Morgan, are you ok?"

            She hiccups and says, "Yes...no...I don't know. Actually hearing him say it...knowing he intentionally led everyone to believe I..."

            He says, "Ms. Morgan, you've done a brave thing today. You should be proud of that. We have enough to arrest the former Mrs. Littrell and put her away for a long time. Your friends will get their money back and you can go on with your life."

                Dottie sighs and thinks of Nick. Her life is with him. Now that this is almost over, it's time she focused on making Nick happy. And she knows just what to do to get started.

Chapter End Notes:

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