“Medjine. I was expecting Medjine.”
“Another chat about the campaign?”
In a foul mood, I don’t bother giving a real answer. I make a humming noise and finish sliding into the pants I’ll be wearing today.
“How about we meet for lunch? I’d like to talk. It’s important.”
“Between the campaign and my current case load, I don’t have much free time. Maybe another day.”
“Are yousurethere isn’t anything you want to tell me?” he presses, with that probing quality to his voice he used when I was a teenager. “I realize things haven’t been the greatest between us lately. But it was very important to your mother that our family remain intact no matter what. Blood comes before everything else, Delphi.”
“Is that why she forgave you when you cheated on her?” I snipe before I can censor myself.
He inhales a deep, slow breath that’s audible over the phone. My own heart ticks faster as I almost rush to apologize.
An apology is what’s expected of me—it would be the correct reaction his perfect daughter would give. The prim and proper Delphine Rose Adams he’s raised, who always behaves herself and never steps out of line.
The Delphine who wears her mask at every moment, because she can’t possibly let it slip away.
The urge to say sorry rises up inside me until I clench my jaw and squash it. I’m not sorry. I don’t apologize because I meant what I said. I don’t care how many years it’s been—I’ve never forgiven him for what he did.
He broke up our happy family. He shattered my illusion of him as my hero. The deep love I thought I had witnessed between my parents all my life.
“Delphi, I understand why you feel the way you do,” he says after a long pause. “You have every right to be hurt about that. But… you have to move on. Your mother wouldn’t want you to hold that resentment in your heart. She would want us to be close. We’re all we have left.”
Emotion wells up inside my chest at the mention of Mom. I shake my head and squeeze shut my eyes. “Please, I can’t think about her right now. I have to go to work.”
I hang up on him feeling disjointed and erratic. Somehow, I manage to pull myself together enough to make it downstairs where my driver waits on me. The car ride into city hall is a blur. I walk into my office questioning what I’m doing and what’s happening.
How yet again my life feels like it’s crumbling all around me.
AndstillSalvatore hasn’t had the decency to fucking call. I grit my teeth to keep from showing my anger and hurt.
“Bad night?” Medjine asks. She breezes into my office with her folder full of statistical reports on my campaign. “Listen, we really have to talk, Delphine. Your numbers aren’t looking good and haven’t for a while—”
“I don’t care.”
She stutters in her steps toward my office sofa. “Excuse me, you don’t care about… what exactly?”
“Anything you have to say about my campaign. I… I don’t care.” I take a deeper breath, teetering on the edge between pretending and being real. The latter significantly harder, but I’ve kept the charade up long enough. “Medjine, I appreciate your insight. I thank you for all the hard work you’ve done for my campaign. But I don’t give a fuck about it.”
Her jaw falls open and she sputters, “You can’t be serious. The election is in two months.”
“If voters want me as their DA, then they’ll vote for me regardless. I’m done with the charades. I’m done with the forced campaign events to raise donations. I’m through with mingling with the elite to win their endorsements. I’m over the metrics and stats and the optics of how it looks when I wear my hair natural versus straight, and how the public feels about me and my pants suits! I’mdone!”
For the second time this morning, I’ve left someone speechless. I’ve shown them a side of me that’s too real.
Medjine blinks and stares at me, incapable of thinking up a response. A rarity for her considering she’s a communications and public relations expert. She clutches her binder full of metrics tighter against her chest and then nods.
“Okay,” she says simply. “Well, it’s been… a great experience working with you. It seems you have some personal stuff that’s been piling up, and that you’ve refrained from sharing with me. It’s a shame, because you had a real chance at winning the position. Polk is as corrupt as they come, and you would’ve really made a difference. Good luck, Delphine.”
On that note, Medjine leaves.