Rage filled him at the woman’s lies, his head about to explode as she actually cried and told the reporter that Hawk had brainwashed Sunny into hating her mother. That Lisa couldn’t visit her dying daughter. It was when she began to insult Sunny and make her sound like an ungrateful child who’d abandoned her poor, sick mother, that he finally broke. All his vows not to engage, all his promises to let his PR team handle the media went right out the window.
Jerking open the door to the room, he ignored the womens’ cries for him to come back.
A policeman stood nearby and approached him as Hawk stormed out.
“Mr. DelRay?” the man asked as he worriedly scanned the hall. “Everything okay?”
“I need you to tell security that I’m going outside to make a statement.”
“What? I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
He got to the elevator and slammed the button, ignoring everyone staring at them. “I don’t give a fuck. I’m speaking to the reporters now.”
“But Mr. DelRay—”
The elevator doors slid open and Hawk entered, ignoring the police officer who frantically relayed into his mic that Hawk was coming down.
Before they got to the main floor, the police officer said, “Mr. DelRay, give me five minutes. I’ll have a safe spot ready for you. I don’t think you understand the circus that’s waiting for you out there.”
Not responding, Hawk strode out into the lobby as soon as the doors opened only to find Sergeant Pierce blocking his way with a few more officers.
He was about to shove past them when he looked out the front doors at the barricades holding back a seething mass of people.
No, not people.
“Fuck,” he muttered at the sight of all the lights and cameras pointed in the hospital’s direction.
“Yeah,” Sergeant Pierce repeated, “Fuck. You go out there right now, and I won’t be able to hold them all back. Now, I’m not claimin’ to know the reason you want to go out into that mess, but I’m telling you, people will get hurt if you do. Please, Mr. DelRay, please stay inside for everyone’s safety.”
As much as he wanted to march out there and defend Sunny’s honor, he didn’t want anyone getting trampled. Spotting a familiar reporter wearing her trademark pink jacket in the crowd, an idea came to him. He turned away from the foyer and moved back deeper into the hospital with Sergeant Pierce walking next to him.
“You’re right. How about this? Can you escort one of the reporters and her cameraman through one of the service entrances? Find us someplace private to talk?”
“Sure, but you wanna share why you got this sudden need to talk to a reporter?”
After arranging with the reporter, Kelly Kombs, to meet him inside the hospital to make a statement, he kept his silence. The wait gave him time to think, and he tried to imagine how Sunny would want him to handle the situation. What could he say that wouldn’t just end up making things worse and hurt her further? His anger and pain made him want to lash out, to hurt Lisa and his sister like they’d hurt him, but that wasn’t going to help anything or anyone.
After a few minutes, Sergeant Pierce led him to what looked like someone’s private office, where Kelly and her cameraman awaited him.
He’d become friends with Kelly years ago, back when she’d been an actress and before she’d gone into television. She’d always been good to him, focusing on positive stories and not making shit up just to gain viewers. Brushing off her trademark pink jacket as she stood, she held her hand out to Hawk with a sympathetic look.
“Hi, Hawk. I’m so, so sorry for this whole mess. How is your wife doing?”
He gave her hand a brief shake and a squeeze. “She’s in surgery right now.”
Her camera man kept his lens pointed to the ground as Kelly made a pained noise. “She’s in my prayers. How can I help you? Your text said you have a message you’d like to get out there?”
“Yes. I’m assuming you’ve heard about Sunny’s mother, Lisa, giving an interview? And my sister selling the video from my wedding reception?”
She grimaced. “I have. Your sister is a piece of work. And I’m so sorry that there are unscrupulous people out there that would try to exploit an obviously troubled woman like Lisa. I have no doubt someone paid her well to sit there and say all those terrible things. And I’ve been a reporter long enough to recognize the look of a long-term addict when I see one. Heck, anyone with a brain can see that she is not well. I’ll do whatever I can to help you make this right.”
Some of his anger drained away and he reminded himself again that not everyone in the media was an asshole.