I’m very glad,” Jones continued fervently, sounding like a card-carrying Colin Firth impersonator. “So very glad. You can’t know how glad . . .” He cleared his throat. “I hate to be the bearer of more bad tidings, but your . . . friend was something of a criminal, the way I heard it. He had a price on his head—millions—from some druglord who wanted him dead. Chased him mercilessly, for years. I guess this Jones fellow used to work for him—it’s all very sordid, I’m afraid. And dangerous. He had to be on the move constantly. It was risky just to have a drink with Jones—you might’ve gotten killed in the crossfire. Of course, the big irony here is that the druglord died two weeks before Jones. He never knew it, but he was finally free.”
As he looked at her with those eyes that she’d dreamed about for so many months, Molly understood. Jones was here, now, only because the druglord known as Chai, a dangerous and sadistic bastard who’d spent years hunting him, was finally dead.
“It’s entirely possible that whoever’s taken over business for this druglord,” he continued, “would’ve gone after this Jones, too. Of course, he probably wouldn’t have searched to the ends of the earth for him . . . Although, when dealing with such dangerous types, it pays to be cautious, I suppose.”
“Not that that’s anything Jones needs to worry about,” he added. “Considering he’s left his earthly cares behind. Still, I suspect it’s rather hot where he’s gone.”
Yes, it certainly was hot in Kenya right now. Molly covered her mouth, pretending to sob instead of laugh.
“Shhh,” Helen admonished him, thinking, of course, that he was referring to an unearthly heat. “Don’t say such a thing. She loved him.” She turned back to Molly. “This Jones is the man that you spoke of so many times?”
Molly could see from the expression on Jones’s face that Helen had given her away. She might as well go big with the truth.
She wipes her eyes with a handkerchief that Helen had at the ready, then met his gaze.
“I loved him very much. I’ll always love him,” she told this man who’d traveled halfway around the world for her, who apparently had waited years for it to be safe enough for him to join her, who had actually thought that, once he arrived, she might send him away.
If you don’t want me here—and I don’t blame you if you don’t—just say the word . . .
“He was a good man,” Molly said, “with a good heart.” Her voice shook, because, dear Lord, there were now tears in his eyes, too. “He deserved forgiveness—I’m positive he’s in heaven.”
“I don’t think it’s going to be that easy for him,” he whispered. “It shouldn’t be . . .” He cleared his throat, put his glasses back on. “I’m so sorry to have distressed you, Miss Anderson. And I haven’t even properly introduced myself. Where are my manners?” He held out his hand to her. “Leslie Pollard.”
Even with his glasses on, she could see quite clearly that he’d far rather be kissing her.
But that would have to wait for later, when he came to her tent . . . No, wait, Gina would be there. Molly would have to go to his.
Later, she told him with her eyes, as she reached out and, for the first time in years, touched the hand of the man that she loved.