Chapter 18

Kenyatta hovered near Dawn's desk. She minimized the Word document on her computer screen and glanced at the antsy teenager. "Yes?"

"Nikolas isn't here."

She inhaled a quick breath. "No, he isn't." Thank God.

"He said he'd be here today," the young man said, almost accusingly.

Dawn had noticed the boy's growing attachment to the Russian prince. She wondered if Nikolas knew how important he'd become to Kenyatta's life. Male role models were few, and willingly or not, Nikolas had assumed the part. She didn't appreciate his using CSF to get to her and even more than that, she didn't like the mistrust that darkened Kenyatta's eyes each moment that passed and Nikolas wasn't there.

"He's usually here, right?" she said, trying to placate him. "Maybe something came up."

"Yeah, something better," Kenyatta said, harshly. "Lata for this."

He stormed from the office before she could stop him.

"What was all that about?" Keesha asked from across the room. "Want me to go after him?"

Dawn shook her head. "Let him go. He's upset. Nikolas told him he'd be here. As you can see…"

Keesha reached for the coffee. "Want some?"

"No thanks. Caffeine is the last thing I need."

"Me, too," Keesha agreed, "but I'll give it up tomorrow."

The women shared a laugh. After Keesha added sugar and cream, she moved to Dawn's desk where she perched on the edge.

"You okay?"

"I was just peachy until a certain someone became a volunteer," Dawn said.

"I noticed."

Dawn continued, Keesha's statement not fully registering. "He has no idea what CSF means to the community. He comes in, gets things stirred up and then pulls a no show. Spoiled, arrogant…"

"Wow." Keesha pronounced the word slowly. "This isn't about Kenyatta Williams. Do you wanna talk?"

Dawn swallowed hard. She hadn't intended to reveal that much. Her relationship with Stefan remained solid. Nikolas' ability to get under her skin had all but disappeared. Until now. What the hell was her problem? Get it together, Jensen.

"I don't know if I should," Dawn said.

Keesha held her coffee mug with both hands. "You can trust me."

"I do, but…" Dawn looked around the office. It was just the two of them. AJ was at a council meeting and everyone else had left for the day. But still, Dawn felt exposed. She lightly traced the diamond heart pendant necklace, a surprise gift from Stefan.

"I'm prying." Keesha stood and began to move from the desk.

"No, wait. I'd like to talk, but I'm scared."

"I know the feeling." Keesha moved to a chair. "What are you afraid of?"

Dawn gave her a long look. The guarded expression on the other woman's face mirrored what Dawn felt in her soul. Under attack and unprepared.

"Of saying it out loud. Of making it real." Dawn gave a half smile. "You?"

"The same."

"I have a job I love, a good man who loves me, and now, life has thrown me a curve ball," Dawn confessed. "I think I know what I want, but then the 'what ifs' creep in. I'm afraid I'm on the verge of making a huge mistake."

"Yeah," Keesha murmured. "And I'm afraid that I already made it. One thing's for sure, you can never turn back the clock. You have to live with the consequences. Make sure you can do that before you make any life altering decisions."

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