Jon laid on the cheap hotel comforter, lost in thought. There’d been a time when he believed he was doing real good. But sitting in front of Hollis as he ate his last meal of cold hashbrowns, he hadn’t been sure any of this was worth it. Against his will, his thoughts turned to Amantha and then Daniel. If he and many others hadn’t done their job, Daniel would never have been released. Jon sighed; he guessed he had to take the good with the bad.
His cell rang a shrill tone. He was only moderately surprised to see that it was Amantha, even so late at night.
“I was just thinking about you,” he answered.
“Oh yeah? Good thoughts?” she flirted, but he could tell her heart wasn’t in it.
“How are things there?” he asked, sitting up in bed. “Daniel doing okay?”
“How was Hollis?” she asked instead. “Did you make a dead man’s day with some shitty diner potatoes?”
He sighed. “He told me that he was wired different. As if it wasn’t his fault he killed an old woman because it’s just who he is.”
“People are shit, Jon. They always have been and they always will be.”
“That’s dark. Where are you?”
She paused, and he assumed she was smoking. “In a field out past my apartment building.”
“It’s after midnight. Doing what?”
“Having a smoke. Communing with nature, I don’t know.”
“What’s wrong, Amantha?” he asked, concern coloring his tone. After what just happened to Daniel his fear for her safety certainly hadn’t lessened, and he’d known her long enough to know that something was upsetting her.
“Daggett came to talk to Daniel.”
“What? Why didn’t you call me?”
“Relax, it wasn’t about Daniel’s case. They arrested Bobby Dean for beating the shit out of Daniel out at Hanna’s grave.”
“That’s great, Amantha.” Maybe the tides were finally turning in their favor.
“Well it would’ve been great,” she retorted. “But Daniel thought it would be a swell idea to tell Daggett that it wasn’t Bobby. Maybe they did real brain damage when they nearly friggin’ killed him, I dunno. So I guess that means Bobby is gonna just walk away.”
She paused again for another smoke but Jon didn’t know what to say. It didn’t matter anyway, because apparently the floodgates had opened and Amantha began speaking even faster.
“Nevermind all that time we sat next to him in the hospital thinking he was gonna die. No, all that matters is that Daniel isn’t gonna play games. Jesus friggin’ Christ, Jon, what does he think is gonna happen? Bobby’ll get out and it’s all gonna be sunshine and rainbows? Fat chance of that.”
“He has a lot going on in his mind, Amantha,” Jon tried to reason with her.
“Yeah, well,” she started but broke off.
“Well what?” he prodded. He heard sniffling on the other end of the line.
“Well, so do we all!” she croaked out, her tears constricting her throat.
They sat in silence for a minute, both lost in thought. Amantha tried to regain some composure while Jon tried to think of how to suggest she let go a bit without offending her.
“Maybe you should take a step back for a while,” he gently suggested.
“Have you been talking to my mother?”
“She told me I should move back to Atlanta.”
That surprised him. While he knew Amantha and Janet didn’t have the best relationship, he knew that her mother loved her and it surprised him that she would try to send her away, especially with everything going on.
“She said that?” he asked.
“She sure did,” Amantha said. “Maybe I should. She doesn’t need me here. Daniel sure as hell doesn’t either. He seems pretty damn sure about what he wants to do, no input from me required.”
“He needs you, Amantha. He’s just lost.”
“Sure as shit doesn’t act like it,” she retorted. “I don’t know what to do anymore, Jon,” she confessed.
“I’m gonna fly back the day after tomorrow,” he told her. “Why don’t you sleep on it before you make any decisions?”
“That’s probably a good idea, Jon.” He heard her let out a deep sigh before she added, “I’m gonna head home.”
“Text me when you get home safe.”
“Yes, mother,” she teased. “Thanks for the ear,” she added seriously.
“Any time,” he told her. “I love you.”
“Love you too. I’ll text you in a bit.”
He heard the phone cut out and ran his hand through his hair. Maybe he needed to sleep on all this too.