A/N: Thank yous to Team Spiderward for all you do. xx
Song inspiration for this chapter: “Done.,” The Band Perry
(Playlist for this story can be found on my YouTube channel, if you search for “ghostreader24”)
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. The NHL owns anything that sounds familiar. I’m here having fun.
/ /\ (oo) /\ \
After sliding into my car, I start up the engine and sit for a moment, a little overwhelmed, and contemplate what I should do. I need to make some calls, but who first? I blow out a big breath.
“Calling Edward Cullen.”
It doesn’t take long before he answers.
“Hey, beautiful. This is a surprise.”
“Hey.” My voice shakes, and I blink back the tears. No tears. Not today. I need to focus and not let my emotions get the best of me. Drawing in a deep breath, I depart the parking lot, driving in the direction of Sam’s home.
“Doc? Are you there?”
Maybe I should drive to Edward’s practice instead. One of his hugs would be great right now.
“Where are you?” I wonder.
“I’m just pulling into the parking garage in Frisco. What’s going on? Are you okay?”
No. I can’t go there. I have to end this once and for all. I’m stopped at a traffic light when another driver blows his horn impatiently behind me. I shake my head and make the turn.
“No. No. I’m not okay. Sam wants me out.”
“Did he say that?”
I look around, wondering if I’m going in the right direction. “Essentially. While I was gone, he hired the worst guy from the pool of candidates. I found him in my fucking office when I arrived this morning. Sam—”
“Where are you?”
“On my way to Sam’s home to do this in person. If I can’t find him there, then he’s probably at that stupid country club. This shit has gone on long enough. I—I’m sorry to bother you.”
“Doc, you’re not bothering me. Don’t do anything you’re going to regret.”
There is absolutely nothing, nothing about this I’m going to regret. It’s been a long time coming. This isn’t the time for Edward’s words of positivity or encouragement. And the last thing I need is him trying to talk me out of this.
“I gotta go, Edward,” I say, ending our call before he can continue.
Who is next? I wonder, drumming my thumbs against the steering wheel.
She’s one of the keys to my exit, and it’s time to find out if she’s truly my ride or die.
“Texting Rose McCarty. Ready for message.”
Hopefully the speech to text feature will work today. It’s been hit or miss in the past. “I’m going to call you. Don’t let anyone know it’s me.” I pause. “Send.”
“Sending Rose McCarty text.”
I blow out a few shaky breaths while I wait for Rose’s reply.
“Text from Rose McCarty.”
“Okay. Call me. I’m ready.”
Oh, it’s on. You’ve fucked with me for the last time, Sam Uley, and now I’m going to fuck up your whole world.
“Calling Rose McCarty.”
“Hey, Em. This is a surprise.”
I smile briefly, knowing by this time there will be others trickling into the office. “Rose, I need a favor.”
“Sure, I can pick it up on my way home tonight.”
“You could lose your job for this,” I warn.
“You know that’s not a problem.”
I take a deep breath and blow it out slowly, and my plan starts to formulate. “Don’t let anyone know what you’re doing.”
“Okay,” she agrees.
It takes me a moment to organize my thoughts.
I think I just missed my turn.
“Em, are you still there?”
Taking the next street, I turn around to go back.
“Rose, I need you to download a copy of our appointments calendar and complete patient list, including the archived files. I want to go all the way back to the start of the practice. I need every single name with contact information, but you should do it with Jared’s new login information from my computer. I doubt he has thought to change it yet, and everyone is set up the same way initially. This will be easy for you to remember. So don’t write down anything.”
I hear what sounds like a happy little squeal on her end at my request.
Yeah, it’s going down.
And maybe I can collect Jared as a casualty too.
Eat my fucking chocolate?
I don’t think so. I’ll give Chelsea a temporary pass, but Jared—hell no.
“His login ID will be AD underscore J underscore Cameron and his password will be PASSWORD, all caps.”
She chuckles. “That’s funny.”
“I know. Sam’s an idiot with tech stuff. If you have any issues, use your cellphone to call me back, but I don’t anticipate you will. When the screen pops up on the computer for downloading those, there will be an extra box you’ll need to check for anything archived. I know we have appointments scheduled out past six months. Some for a year in advance. Download the calendar and patient list on two separate thumb drives. I want two physical copies of each. I’ll give one to Jason for safekeeping. Also send those files to my private email. Do you have it?”
“I know it.”
“Great. Start making calls to today’s appointments, giving them an option to reschedule. I’m not coming back. Once you’ve gone through those, then complete the downloads. You’ll have the most recent changes and put the thumb drives on you somewhere for safekeeping. Then let Jared know if there’s anyone left, and he can see those patients today. I’ll call you back on the office line next. Don’t let anyone else answer it.”
“Okay. I’ll take care of everything.”
“I love you, Rose. I can’t thank you enough for this.”
“I love you too. See you tonight, Em.”
I disconnect our call, knowing at one time Sam monitored and recorded all calls because he wanted to cut down on personal use. I don’t think he’s still doing it, but I need to use caution in case he still is.
“Call Uley Dental.”
“Calling Uley Family Dental.”
“Good morning, Uley Family Dental, this is Rose.”
“Hello, Rose. This is Bella. Unfortunately, I’m not going to be back in the office today. I have a family emergency that needs my immediate attention. Please let Dr. Cameron know. I’m positive he will be able to handle today’s appointments.”
“Sure thing. I’ll let him know. Take care, Bella.”
It’s difficult to suppress my building excitement at what I’m about to do, but I remain calm, keeping my voice steady. “Thanks.”
After ending the call with Rose and putting everything at the office in motion, I know it wouldn’t hurt for me to touch base with someone else.
“Calling Jason Scott.”
“Jason Scott’s office, this is Deidre. How can I help?”
“Hi, Deidre. This is Bella. Is he available?”
“Dr. Swan, how are you doing?”
“Well, I’ve been better.”
“Mondays, right?” She laughs.
“You have no idea.”
“Can you hold for a moment? I’ll check if he’s available.”
There’s only a short pause before she returns to the line. “Here he is, Dr. Swan.”
“Good morning, Bella. I’m late for a meeting, but what can I do for you?” Jason asks.
I look around at everyone going about their everyday business and wonder if anyone is getting ready to release a wrecking ball through their entire day like me. Doubtful.
“I thought you should know I’m not staying at Sam’s practice another day. Effective today, I’m quitting, dismantling what I built, and taking every fucking piece with me. One patient at a time.”
“Oh, good heavens. Are you sure that’s what you want?”
I nod, but of course, he can’t see me. “Yeah. I’m positive. He hired another Paul while I was gone—Jared Cameron. I’m through with all of them and on my way to tender my resignation in person. Before I lose my shit, I need to know what my options are beyond Sam’s practice?”
“Bella, you haven’t done anything yet, have you?”
“Uh . . .” Rose is actually doing it. “Noooo. But I’m getting ready to give Sam one of the biggest fuck yous he’s ever experienced in his life.”
I’m going to come at him from every direction.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“I think it’s a great idea.” I laugh. “We’re going to agree to disagree on this one.”
“Where are you? Come to the office. I’ll cancel my meeting. We’ll sit down and make a rational plan.”
“We already did the rational approach, and Sam rejected it, if you recall. I won’t forget that either. Now, I’m returning the favor.”
Jason groans. “As your lawyer and possibly your one phone call, I don’t like the sound of that.”
“You don’t have to like it. Jason, what are my options?”
“Please don’t tell me you’ve taken the patient list.”
“Okay, I won’t tell you that.” I chuckle. “You make it sound like I’m taking something that isn’t mine. You know my back hurts from the way I’ve been carrying the entire practice for years. I’m not throwing away my hard work. I also don’t have any binding contracts promising my loyalty to Sam or non-competing agreements. What’s he going to do? Sue me for breach of a contract that doesn’t exist? I don’t think so. Shame on him for that. The gloves are off. Those patients are mine. I’ll give them a choice, but it’s not my fault when they choose to leave his practice.”
“Oh, Bella. This is incredibly unprofessional.”
“I disagree. It’s a business decision. It’s time I do what’s best for me . . . and part of that plan is keeping my patients. Should I start a new practice?” I wonder.
“Considering your finances, I would advise against it. Construction would take six to eight months, even if it were somewhere established. You’ll spend at least five months setting up credentialing for insurance providers. You would be out of work for as long, I suspect. You could use the equity in the townhouse.”
“Fuck. I can’t do that. I’m not touching my home.”
“Change your mind yet?”
“No. I need another option. What about another practice?”
“That’s probably your best option financially.”
I turn on my blinker when I see the entrance ahead. “Okay, I need to think about who I know, and I’ll call you back later. Maybe we can hash out a new plan and approach someone. I gotta go. Thanks, Jason.”
I disconnect our call and pull up to the gatehouse at the entrance of Sam’s gated community.
After lowering my window, I smile at the guard on duty. “Hello, I’m here to see Dr. Sam Uley.”
For a moment, I wonder if I’ve thought this out carefully enough. Should I give my name or use another that would more likely be on his list?
I have nothing to lose today.
“Dr. Bella Swan.”
He looks over his clipboard. “I’m sorry, Dr. Swan, but you’re not on the Uley’s list.”
Of course, I’m not—six years, and I’m still not on his fucking list.
“Can you call Emily for me, please?”
“Sure thing. Give me a minute.” He nods and makes the call. “Mrs. Uley? I have a Dr. Swan at the gate asking for Dr. Uley. Okay.” Turning toward my direction, he offers me the phone. “She would like to speak with you.”
“Is everything okay?”
No, but it will be.
“Emily, I need to speak with Sam.”
“I’m sorry, Bella. He isn’t here and already left for the club.”
Of course he did.
“I believe he’s meeting Paul.”
The mention of Paul fans my flames.
“Sorry, but I’m late and getting ready to take the kids to school. Do you want to catch up with him there?”
I could probably talk my way in on my own, but her help would make everything easier. Hopefully, it doesn’t tip him off to my arrival. I’m determined to keep the upper hand here.
“That would be great.”
“Okay, I’ll call over there for you. Just give them your name at the gate, and there’s parking at the pro shop. You can ask someone there, and they will be able to help you locate him.”
“Thanks, Emily.” I hand the phone back to the guard and look at the still unopened gated entrance. “I’ll need to turn around.”
He points. “You can make a U-turn at the first left. It’s before the gate.”
Once I’m turned around and on my way to Sam’s country club, another idea occurs to me and I wonder how much I can lean on a new friendship.
Time to find out.
“Calling Tanya Denali.”
“Badass? Is that really you?”
“Yes.” I look at the clock on the dash. “I’m sorry. It’s early there isn’t it? Did I wake you?”
“No, I’m up and in my home studio, doing a little work. Bella, I must admit, this is a surprise. I never expected to hear from you so soon.”
I chuckle. “It’s been a morning and I need a favor. I’m hoping you can help.”
“Why do I like the sound of that? Who are we going after?”
“Do you know anyone at Whispering Oaks Country Club here in Dallas? Like someone in charge of membership or rules. Or maybe one of the more affluent senior members who would have a lot of pull.”
“Actually, I do. What do you need?”
“I want a membership revoked. Any chance you can help me with that?” I smile, because I’m going to take away his precious country club membership too.
“Well, this sounds juicy for a Monday. I can make a couple calls. Who is the member?”
“Dr. Sam Uley. U-L-E-Y.”
“You know, in a perfect world . . . he wouldn’t be able to attain another membership anywhere around Dallas. Or maybe even Texas. I’m not sure how far we can push it.”
“Damn. You want to freeze him out?”
I think for a minute, passing the tall wrought iron fence protecting manicured fairways and greens off to my right. It reeks of elitism, but my fight is more about the men—one in particular—hiding cowardly behind its gates with zero accountability. It’s Sam’s little playground, and I’m not surprised he made plans with Paul this morning. If he isn’t already, I have no doubt Jared will be included in his boys’ club next.
Why should Sam or any of them be allowed access to this privileged life at my expense? I’m the one making all of this possible. Sam barely works one day a week and even that is questionable. It’s more like once or twice a month. I never thought that was what I was getting into when I started working for him, but six years later, that’s my reality. And it’s been that way for too long. Today, my part in this whole situation is coming to an end.
“Yeah. I believe that’s exactly what I want.”
“Okay. I’ll see what I can do.”
“Thank you, Tanya.”
“I promise, I’ll be in touch.”
When I make the final turn and approach the gate of Whispering Oaks Country Club, I give my name to the guard, and I’m given entry so quickly it would make your head spin. After I pull into a spot across from the pro shop, I remove my purse from my messenger bag and tuck my phone inside.
As I approach the building, I look around for him, only spotting Sam’s BMW in a parking spot next to another car. The bell above the door announces my arrival, and the young woman at the desk smiles when her eyes meet mine.
“Good morning. Welcome to Whispering Oaks. Can I help you?”
It hasn’t been a good morning, but I suspect it’s about to get better.
I approach the counter. “Hello. I’m looking for Dr. Sam Uley.”
Her smile falls slightly at his mention, and I wonder what that could mean.
When she doesn’t share his whereabouts, I do a little guessing. “I was told he has a tee time this morning.”
“Dr. Uley is scheduled to tee off at eleven.”
As I suspected, she doesn’t need to check any computer reservation. He’s a regular. And so is she.
“In three hours?”
She shrugs and seems unwilling to share anything else. I reach inside my purse and unzip a compartment where I keep cash, pulling a bill from my emergency stash. I slide the folded, one-hundred dollar bill across the counter to her, keeping two fingers on top of it.
“Just between us.” I do my best to reassure her.
I’m not sure if it’s a promise I can keep, but I’ll ask for forgiveness later if necessary. Her eyes shift from mine to the bill and back, then she nods.
“Are you his . . . wife?”
I chuckle. “No.”
The thought of being his “work wife” makes me cringe, but if he’s treating Emily the way he’s treating me, I’m even more pissed.
“Let’s call me . . . an employee here to tender my resignation, because I can’t wait another fucking minute.”
Her smile grows and her eyes dance with something else. “He’s out on the practice greens with his pro, working on . . . putting. You can see them from the window over there.”
I remove my fingers from the bill that she slips into a back pocket.
The woman follows as I move past the displays of golf shirts and golfing supplies to look out the window. I’m not sure what I expected, but it isn’t what my eyes focus on. If I thought the universe was giving me a shove in a new direction this morning, then the scene before me is beyond that. I look up at her, and she gives me an uneasy smile, watching when I remove my phone from my purse.
“You didn’t see anything,” I say.
“I never do,” she whispers.
I turn my phone toward the window and start recording. This isn’t my fight, but a little insurance policy won’t hurt. Jason won’t be happy with my obtaining this video, but I couldn’t give a shit. I know we’ll use it as leverage, if we need it. It’s worth every penny, and I suspect Emily has no idea.
“He never wears a wedding ring when he’s here, but I’ve seen him with one,” my new friend shares.
I nod; I never guessed Sam’s pro would be a woman. The flirty couple smile and laugh. They’re obviously comfortable with one another, but my breath catches when he grabs her ass, then kisses her.
“Is she married?” I wonder.
“No. He keeps telling her that he’s leaving his wife, but of course—”
“He never does,” I finish her thought.
“How long has this been going on? Do you know?”
“Two years. They—they have a kid.”
My eyes flash to hers, mine undoubtedly filled with shock.
“She’s my roommate. He’s always at our place on Tuesday nights.”
That’s when we keep evening hours at the office.
And he’s never there.
Now, I know why.
“I take care of their kid when they want time alone.”
I hate to ask this, but I want to know everything I can get out of her. “Are you sure it’s his?”
“Yeah. He demanded a test, but he never gives her any money to help with the kid, which pisses me off. I heard he also has something going on with one of the servers in the main dining room at the restaurant in the clubhouse. But I don’t know that for certain. The rumor is that they got caught in the men’s sauna recently. She was docked pay, and he was given a pat on the back. Sound familiar?”
I shake my head. “Unfortunately, yes. Why is either of you here feeding into all of this?”
“Flexible hours and the money is decent. I’m a college student. So both of those are a plus. I also don’t want to leave her here alone. I keep telling her to end it, that he’s scum, but she refuses to listen. She loves him and doesn’t want to believe the rumor, but I think he will always have someone else. He’s that type. You’re not going to get her fired, are you? She needs this job.”
“No. I’m not.” Only Sam is in my crosshairs, but unfortunately, she is another casualty of Sam’s insatiable greed.
With a heavy sigh, the reality hits that he has not only been cheating me for years, but also cheating on everyone around him. I stop my recording and realize I should send this to someone in case something happens to my phone. I tap the screen and forward copies of the video to Edward, Rose, and Jason. Once they’re marked as delivered, I return my phone to my purse and reach for another bill.
“Thank you. You’ve been incredibly helpful.”
Her eyes shift to the folded bill I hold up in my hand.
“Anything else I should know?” I wonder.
A hint of a smile tugs at the corners of her lips. “He has his own golf cart.”
“And his clubs—all but the putter—are sitting on the back of it just outside the door. The set is very expensive.”
“Of course it is.”
“It would be a shame if they were relocated to some place . . . wet. Like say, below the surface of a lake. We happen to have one not far from here. It could be a very therapeutic exercise for someone who has been wronged.”
“I see your point. It’s a good one.” I nod and a hint of a smile tugs at my lips. “Maybe a great one.”
She tilts her head. “Do you need a caddie?”
My smile soon mirrors hers, and I glance down at my professional attire. “You know, I’m not exactly dressed for it, but I think I do. Are there any available?”
She grabs a sign that says “Will return in fifteen minutes” and sits it on the countertop. “I think it’s a good time to take my break.”
I hold out the bill in my hand. “Let’s go.”
After pocketing the money, my new friend drives Sam’s golf cart. At her brilliant advice, we park out of view of the clubhouse, along one of the nearby cart paths. She hands me club after club, giving me it’s name and estimated cost. I lose track of the total at one point, but I practice my swing. It feels incredible when each one slips from my grip, making a satisfying plunge when it finds its way to its new home below the lake’s surface. When there’s only one left—Sam’s precious driver—worth seventeen-hundred dollars, I stop, ready to wrap it around his neck, and offer to drive back.
“Are you sure?”
“I’m positive. I believe I saw his car in the parking lot, and I’ve got a couple of keys to return.” I notice a new scorecard and pencil secured to the dash. “This is helpful. I was looking for something to write my letter.”
She giggles, watching as I write two words, “I QUIT,” across the blank scorecard in big bold letters, going over each letter repeatedly.
“There. Perfect.” I add my signature and today’s date. After removing my phone from my purse on the seat, I snap a pic and send it to Jason.
I type, “It’s official,” and attach the photo, then press send before returning my phone to my purse between us.
“What do you do? Are you a hygienist in his office or something?” she asks.
I grab my keychain from inside my purse, remove the building and office keys from the ring, then slide them into my pocket.
“No. I’m not a hygienist, but a dentist. And today is the day when Dr. Uley stops taking advantage of me. I’m out.”
I grin. “Yeah, go me.”
/ /\ (oo) /\ \
After driving the golf cart back to the pro shop, I pause near the entrance. “You better get back to work. I think we’ve used up your fifteen minutes, but if you ever need a job, I’m sure I can find you something better than this. I suspect I will be starting a new adventure soon. I’m Dr. Bella Swan.”
She smiles. “Well, Dr. Bella, I may take you up on your offer one day. Thank you. I’m Mary, and it’s been a pleasure to meet you. I’ll watch from inside. Good luck.”
“Enjoy the show and thanks. You’ve been extremely helpful.”
With a grin and laugh, I wave to my caddie, bypass the cart parking area, then drive straight into the back corner of Sam’s parked car.
“Whoops.” I giggle, hoping that I left a mark.
After backing up and ramming the golf cart into his car a few more times to make sure there is some damage, I remove the two keys from my pocket. Slipping from the driver’s seat, I carve the word “CHEAT” in large letters into the trunk. Next, I drag the building key along the passenger’s side of Sam’s car, digging into the surface, and just as I finish that side is when he arrives on the scene.
“Bella? This is a surprise.” His smile fades quickly.
His brow furrows. “What are you doing here? Why aren’t you at the office?”
I chuckle. “Yeah, why wouldn’t I be at the office? Bella is always at the office, like a dependable workhorse.” Tossing the building key at him when I pass by where he’s standing, I stroll down the other side of his car with the office key, continuing to scratch the pristine surface.
His eyes widen when he notices the marks. “What—what are you doing to my car?”
“Your car? That’s what you’re worried about? This car should be the least of your concerns. Trust me.” I laugh, toss the office key at him, and hear its ping when it lands at his feet.
He huffs and vows, “You’re going to pay for this.”
“Oh, I’ve paid for this, and everything else in your life.” I move around to the back of the golf cart and remove the last club, pointing it at him.
“What are you doing with that? Hand it to me, Bella. Now!” Sam demands as his face fills with anger.
“No can do, boss. You see, I met your new hire this morning—Jared the Jerk. It was quite the surprise to find him sitting at my desk. Can you imagine? I suppose you can’t when you’re never there. After talking with him, it seems obvious the best way to improve upon my position at Uley Family Dental isn’t in the office—silly me, but here on the golf course. It works for all of you. So, I had a lesson this morning and used your clubs. To my surprise, it was quite enjoyable, but not something that will be part of my short or long term future plans.”
“It’s my practice. I can do whatever I wish. I owe you nothing!” He snarls with a menacing tone.
“Right. You’ve made certain of that, haven’t you?” I reach inside the golf cart and snatch the scorecard from it’s secured spot. “You’ve been using and cheating me for years, asshole. And it ends today. I’m here to tender my resignation.” It crumples in my hand, then I hurl it, hitting him in the middle of his chest. “There you go. I quit!”
He bends down to pick up the scorecard from the ground and flattens it.
“If I could, I would wrap this club around your neck. Suffocate you like what you’ve been doing to my career. I think it’s time for a little demonstration of my new skills.” I point his precious driver at him. “I hope you’re happy. You win! Isn’t that what this game is always about?”
Lifting the club in the air over my head, I doubt I can break it, but if I can render it unusable, then I’ll call it a success. I whirl the club around and strike it against the back of his car, landing a satisfying blow.
“Bella!” He gasps.
“You fucking win! How does it feel?”
I land another, making a dent in the trunk.
And another, clipping the back window and causing it to crack.
“Is it glorious? Everything you hoped it would be?”
I back up a little, and the next hit shatters a taillight, sending shards of red plastic to the ground.
“Congratulations! You’re finally rid of Doctor Bella fucking Swan!”
I’m preparing to land another strike when the club is yanked from my hands. I spin around ready to tear into whoever took it. But I’m confused when I see Edward with his hands up and James holding the club.
“Hey, it’s me.” He nods.
“What are you doing here?” I wonder, panting and almost out of breath.
“I’m taking you home.”
I shake my head adamantly. “I’m not through here.”
“But maybe you should be,” Edward suggests.
My eyes follow James when he returns the club to the golf bag on the back of the cart and reaches inside, grabbing my purse.
“This yours, Doc?” James asks.
I nod, turning back to Sam. “I played by your rules for six fucking years. Not anymore. We’re. Finished.”
“Come on, Doc. Let’s go home.” Edward wraps an arm around my waist, guiding me toward my car.
“And maybe stop talking,” James adds. My eyes narrow and he holds up his hands. “Or not.”
Pausing our departure, I return my focus to my former boss. “Enjoy your Bella fucking bomb.” I jab my finger toward Sam. “You just detonated it.”
“No one is going to hire you, Bella!” he shouts, then has the nerve to laugh at me. “And you’re going to pay for this damage!”
When I turn and lunge toward where Sam is standing, Edward tightens his hold and prevents my advancement.
I fire back. “Send my lawyer a fucking bill, if you’ve got the balls! We could use a laugh. You’re. Done!”