“I’m afraid it’s too late. I’ve already mailed my attorney.” He was as dispassionate now as he had been when they were together twenty-odd years ago. The sudden rush of how it maddened her then only deepened her sadness now.

“You can’t possibly be serious.”

“Okay...” A trick from before, from the days when they’d argue. For a time it worked to derail her, but she learned fast. After a while she just ignored his noncommittal agreement bullshit.

“What about your kids?” She pressed on, incredulous, stammering, and he was grinning because of it. The smug bastard was enjoying this! “What about… what about ME?” she sputtered at last.

This winged him. The half-grin on his face (and it was smug) cracked a little, and to cover himself, he took a sip of his drink, hurriedly threw a cigarette into his mouth before meeting her gaze again.

“You huh?” He exhaled smoke through his nose like a dragon. It repulsed and excited her all at once. “What about you? We hardly know each other anymore.” He paused a beat. “And I don’t owe you shit.”

“Oh, you’re just being spiteful now, Jer.” She was shaking. “Look, we go back a long way. You’ve really done something for yourself since then. Why give in? What about us? Yeah. That’s what I’m asking. You put me in this amazing book and back in your life and now you’re walking away because you got sick?”

With a word, he botched it all again.