Kasey knew her uncle was mad at her, but she didn’t care. Well, she did, but he loved her. It had been two weeks since Royce had left her and she knew it was time for her to move out. She still had her bandages on, but she was hobbling around pretty well and she didn’t have to have someone feed her at every meal.
“I still think you should wait until you get at least your arm out of the sling. It’s not hurting me having you here.”
Kasey took a deep breath before answering. “I can’t stay here forever. I have to have my own place, my own things again.”
“You could, you know,” he told her softly. “You could stay here forever. I love having you here. And Suzy has been so happy since you moved in. She’ll miss you.”
“I’ll miss her too. And I’ll miss you, but Uncle Jay, I have to leave. I can’t…I don’t…”
“I know, baby.” He hugged her to him before he finished. “I’m so sorry, honey. I wish I would have told him to go home. He shouldn’t have treated you that way.”
She’d told him that Royce and she had had a fight. He’d wanted her to go back to the hospital and she’d thrown him out once and for all. She’d not told them about the sex, and she’d not mentioned that while he wanted to know if they’d stupidly created a baby, he wouldn’t do anything about it. But she did tell them about the check.
The check had been for nearly thirty grand. Ten years of bonuses and back wages. She’d taken the money and paid her mother’s hospital bills and doctor bills and put the rest of it in her mom’s account. She smiled when she thought of her mom’s anger when she’d told her what she’d done with the eight thousand left over.
“You’ll do no such thing. You take that money and spend it on something extravagant for yourself. You’ve worked far too hard to put that money to no good use in a bank.”
“I’m going to get a job that I can work during the day and come home at night. I’m going to work one job, just one, and at the end of the day, be finished with it. When my vacation comes around, I’ll take one, go somewhere fun, and not worry about the other three jobs I have. But best of all, I’ll know that you’ll be taken care of. That you’ll be secure, safe, and have money to fall back on when you don’t feel like going to work.” Kasey held her mom’s hand. “Please let me do this for you. Please. I need to know that you won’t be treated as a subhuman without insurance the next time you get sick. Let me do this for you.” She nodded. Kasey knew she didn’t like it, but she would do it. For her, for them.
The apartment where she’d been living until just over six weeks ago was rented again. Calling it an apartment was like calling Kennedy National Airport a small stopover, but it had been hers. She was grateful to her uncle for getting her things packed up for her and putting them in the garage. She’d been looking for something suitable for several days now and thought she’d found someplace. The work she’d been doing for the college was helping make that dream a reality.
Kasey had been doing some typing when she’d had time before she’d gotten hurt. At three bucks a page to correct term papers and redo them, it had been an easy source of
income. Now it took her a little longer, but the typing was helping to exercise her fingers after being broken and she had been able to put some money aside. She had almost enough to put a deposit on the place and pay some of the utilities. Her uncle was lending her the rest.
The apartment was on the ground floor of an older house. She had a bedroom, small kitchen that spilled out into the dining area, and living room. The bath was large by most standards, but it was clean. There was plenty of hot water, Mr. Rhodes told her, and she’d have a parking place right out front. He reminded her of her uncle and after a few minutes of walking around the place, she decided to take it. It would be her first real place since she’d come back home.
Three days later, she was moving in. Her uncle had asked a bunch of the guards from work to help him set her up and she had more help than she needed. But it was great seeing the gang and she sprung for pizzas and beers when everything was set up and things were put away. Her mom brought her an old kitchen table and chairs and her uncle gave her the couch from his basement. She was smiling happily when they all left. But as soon as the door closed, her face crumbled.
Nights where the hardest. She was lonely even when she’d been staying with her uncle and he would sit and talk to her after he’d come home. He never mentioned work other than to talk about one of the guys and she never asked about the one person she wanted to. Royce and his hurtful words still haunted her.
Two weeks. It had seemed forever ago when he’d told her they’d been stupid. She supposed they had been, but that didn’t make it any less hurtful. She wondered if there would ever be a time when she didn’t feel the ripping pain when she thought of what had been said. Crawling into her bed, she let the tears fall. She had no reason to hide them now, no reason to bury her face in the pillow to hide the hurt. But she did anyway. As she had been doing every night since that night, she cried herself to sleep.
“If you snap at me one more time I’m going to knock the shit out of you. I’m fucking sick to death of having you bite my head off every time I open my mouth.”
Royce looked at Curtis and counted to ten. He knew he’d been snappy, but if one more person asked him what his problem was he was going to scream. He was fine, damn it. Fucking wonderful. “I’m not snapping at you,” he said between clenched teeth. “I’m trying to make a point. If we don’t get this contract signed then the rest of the projects in that area will fall apart. It’s because of this one building that we can’t move on the others.”
“I know that. But short of going into Klingner’s office and demanding that he sign off on it, there isn’t a hell of a lot I can do. The man is giving up his entire business, one his father’s father started. He can’t just let it go without some thought.”
“Then he fucking should have been a better businessman.” Royce took another deep breath before continuing. “Look, I’m having a bad morning and I—”
“You’ve been having a lot of bad mornings and at the risk of getting my head bit off again, what the hell is wrong with you?” Curtis closed the file, apparently finished discussing it. “Does this have anything to do with that little officer?”
Why did he have to mention Kasey? It wasn’t as if he didn’t think of her on his own several hundred times a day. He wanted to snarl at his brother to leave it alone, but he knew that if he didn’t talk to someone soon he was going to have a breakdown or one or all of his family was going to hire a hit man and take him out.
“If I tell you something, can you keep it to yourself? I mean not even tell Mom? I’m serious.”
Curtis got up and opened the door to his office. Royce heard him tell Bobbie to hold his calls and not to disturb them until they said. She agreed. Royce knew he’d been snapping at her too and wondered why she hadn’t poisoned his coffee yet.
“All right,” he said when he sat back down. “Tell me what has you so bitchy that you’d take it out on all of us. Does it have to do with Miss York?”
“Yes.” Royce got up to pace. “She and I had sex.” He didn’t say more because frankly, he wasn’t sure how to proceed.
“And that’s bad how? She’s a pretty little thing. She seems to have more than the normal brain cells in her head that you normally date. And the prettiest gray eyes I’ve ever seen. Was the sex that good or that bad? Don’t tell me you couldn’t get it up around her. Oh, Royce…no wonder you’re pissy.”
“That’s not it, you fucking asshole. I didn’t use protection. And she isn’t on the pill.” Royce might have laughed at his brother’s expression at his announcement if he’d been in the mood to find anything funny.
“When? Is she pregnant? Has she, Christ, Royce, is she demanding that you marry her? I can certainly help you out with any kind of arrangements you want to make. I would suggest a pre-nup before you marry—”
“I’m not marrying her. And I don’t know if she’s pregnant or not. She said she’d let me know. But I already told her I wasn’t going to marry her.” That sounded just as bad now as it had when he’d told Kasey. “Marrying for the sake of a kid is no way I want to go through the rest of my life. She understands that.”
“I see.” Royce looked at Curtis when he spoke. “Actually, no, I don’t. You play you pay, buddy. Unless, of course, she tricked you. Did she? If so, I can see where you’d not want to attach yourself to her, but you know what Mom is going to say. Once she beats the shit out of you anyway. She’s been preaching safe sex to us since before we knew what sex even was.”
“She didn’t trick me. I… Damn it, Curtis, I fucking don’t want a kid. I don’t want a wife, and I certainly don’t like this waiting. I want to call her up and demand that she tell me. I’ve been making myself and everyone around me nuts and for two weeks. I can’t take it anymore.”
Curtis sat there for several minutes while Royce watched him. He could see his brother’s wheels turning. Of all of them, Curtis was by far the most analytical when it came to problem solving. “She probably has a doctor’s appointment soon from the incident here. Let me make a few calls and see if we can get a test done without her knowing it. That way you’ll have your answer and she’ll be none the wiser.”
“Is that even legal?” Curtis shrugged. “Then don’t do it. I won’t have you getting into trouble over my mistake. I’ll get my answer and then everything will be all right. I’ll know she’s not pregnant soon and then get on with my life.”
“Do you really think it’ll be that easy? You think she’s not pregnant?”
No, Royce thought. She’d be pregnant and he’d be in court trying to fight his way out of any demands she had been dreaming up. “I don’t know, but just in case, I want you to draw up some papers telling her that I’m not going to be a part of the kid’s life if she stays out of mine. I’ll pay her whatever is reasonable for support, but that’s it.”
Curtis nodded. “And Mom?”
That, Royce had no clue. “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.”
Feeling better than he had in a week, after Curtis left Royce sat down to go over some of the things he’d been putting off. By five o’clock, he’d managed to get four projects completed and two more started. He was very proud of himself. It was nearly six o’clock when he left his office and he was home by six-thirty. Home to his new house.
The house was lovely. Huge, but very well made. The furnishings had been sold; he’d not had the same tastes as Benton and was having two of the bedrooms converted into an office on the second floor. The kitchen had been remolded recently so, when he’d moved in, he’d been able to cook for himself. He was enjoying the ability to play around in the kitchen again.
The house was a three-story colonial that had been built of brick. The front of the façade had been sandblasted of the white paint some years ago and the dark color meshed well with the four large white columns that graced the front. The double doors, oak and very old, opened into a large entrance hall that opened to a long, curving staircase that led to the upper floors.
Seven bedrooms filled the second floor with five baths. The halls were knotty pine and wide with indirect lighting along the floors. The stairs leading up to the third level were also curved and oak and spilled out into a room alight with skylights everywhere. Royce had been using the room as a large office/gym until the office on the first floor was ready. He had no idea what he was going to do with the room once he moved his things out of it, but it was a really nice room.
The master suite was on the main level. There was a fireplace in the bath and in the main room. His mom had told him that the two rooms off from the suite were a nursery and a maid’s room. He hadn’t been in either of them since he’d moved in. Royce cringed whenever he thought of his mom hinting about using those two rooms.
The kitchen and living room, the two rooms where he spent the most time, were the most furnished. He had gotten a living room suite that he wanted, complete with overstuffed chairs and a big screen television, and the kitchen was perfect.
He was standing in front of the refrigerator when his phone rang. He frowned when he realized who it was. “I’m not happy with you, young man.”
Royce straightened up when his mother spoke.
“Why? What did you hear?” If Curtis told her what he swore he wouldn’t, Royce was going to kill him.
“Why didn’t you tell me that Miss York quit working for us? I think after all we’ve been through with her you’d at least let me know when she decided to move on.”
That was news to Royce too. “I didn’t know. When did she quit?”
“She told human resources this morning. I probably wouldn’t have found about it then if I hadn’t been in the lunch room when one of the guards happened by. He told me that she had another job and that she had moved into her own place.”
Royce slammed the door closed. Damn her. She had no right to move on when he was so fucking miserable that he was barking at everyone. He realized his mom was still speaking.
“I can understand that she’d want to not be in that office again. Poor girl probably has nightmares just thinking about it. But to up and quit without letting us find her something else. Well, I have to tell you I feel slightly miffed. And you say you didn’t know either? I thought the two of you had gotten close.”
Closer than she thought, he wanted to tell her, but didn’t. “Do you know where she moved to? I’d like to make sure it’s a better place than she was in before. That place was a dump.”
“No. All he told me was that he’d been to her house just over the weekend, that a bunch of the guards had helped her move her things in. He said it was a nice place. Small but nice. He didn’t know what she was doing for a job, though. He said that he guessed she was going to go to work for some company downtown.”
Royce was going to find out. Just as soon as he hung up from this call, he was going to be making a few of his own. The woman had made him suffer long enough. He was finished waiting on her.
After telling his mom he’d let her know what he found out he called Daniel. Daniel said he’d need until tomorrow, but he’d get back to him. He wondered why he didn’t ask why, but his phone was beeping again and he hung up.
“Mr. Hunter, it’s Herman Gordon with the fire department. There’s a fire at the old Benton warehouse. We were wondering if you could come down and help us out?”
Stay Tune for Next Week Chapter Eight
Books In the series
THE HUNTERS -
1 ROYCE – http://smarturl.it/royce
2 CURTIS – http://smarturl.it/curtis
3 JESSE – http://smarturl.it/jessethehunters
4 DANIEL- http://smarturl.it/danielthehunters
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