Wherein Fogg visits the Casino and meets Dolly.
"Come on inside and let's get you settled." I led the way, saw to taking off our shoes and coats, and gave him the same short tour that I'd given Melissa yesterday.
"This is a nice place," he said, looking at the ceiling. "Really well put together."
I stared at the ceiling and it looked like... a ceiling. Leave it to Tony to ignore the decorations and go right to the structure around us. "I should just start calling you Bob Villa."
He laughed. "I can't help it."
With an amused shake of my head, I took him into Conrad's hall and found him an empty room, pointing out everything he needed to know then excusing myself.
I left him to put his things away and went to the bar. From the quiet, it was obvious that neither Conrad nor Daddy and company were here, so I figured I might as well settle in and get ready for them. Times like these made me wish I'd never given up using coke, as much pain and loss as the stuff had caused. I felt the siren's call of the little vial in my room, and it seemed like a really good idea right now. Rod was right, I thought morosely, I couldn't deal with this on my own.
I poured myself a stiff drink and downed it quickly, then refilled the glass. I preferred a good wine over liquor but right now I needed something more. The burn settled quickly in my stomach and I started to relax. I opened the glass doors and stepped out onto the snow-packed deck, taking the bottle with me. The cold burned into me, but I ignored it. I left the lights off and silently closed the door behind me.
The hot tub dominated the deck. I longed to just climb in and soak.
Stepping out to the exterior rail, my bare feet crunched in the snow. I stared into the darkness and just let the cold numb my feet. Sipping my drink, I cleared a spot on the rail and set the bottle down. It seemed impossible, but the snow was falling even harder now.
Even though I could only see the tops of some of the closest trees, they were right at the level of the deck. The ground behind the chalet sloped down steeply for a good ways.
I felt the heat leaching from me and refilled my glass. I knew I should go back inside, but the part of me that didn't care seemed to be in control of my muscles and I stayed there shivering in the snow. Setting my glass down beside the bottle, I cleared a wider area of the rail and climbed up to sit on it, with my legs dangling into the darkness below.
Here, I was alone. Not that I'd been any other way for very long. I emptied my glass and tried to refill it, but my numb fingers couldn't hold the glass and it dropped into the abyss in front of me. It was gone, as if it had never been.
Staring down, I felt a moment of vertigo and gripped the rail below me. I marveled at how easy that had been. One moment and the glass was gone. It was probably tumbling down the steep slope, unless it had smashed into a tree. I wondered if that would hurt much. Or for long.
My dark ruminations stopped when the door to the house opened behind me. "Regan?" Tony asked.
I thought about just pushing off. A few seconds and it would be over. They could bury me with my mother and no one would care, except for my friends.
Thinking of Gina, I rejected the thought of jumping and cursed my lack of resolve as he walked up behind me.
"It looks like a long way down."
"It is," I assured him.
"Then let me help you back onto the deck. I don't want you to fall." He took the bottle from my hand and set it on the rail, pulling me back onto the deck with absolutely no effort. Standing me up in front of him, he eyed me critically. "And it's too cold out here for you to be out without a jacket or shoes. Come inside and we'll sit in front of the fireplace."
"I don't want to go in," I said petulantly. "I want to stay out here."
"If we stay out here, we need to be warmer," he said reasonably. "Let's step inside and get our coats and shoes."
So, he didn't trust me alone out here. He must have sensed something in my voice. This man was far more perceptive than I cared for right now.
"Let's get in the hot tub," I