Sunday, July 26, 2015

Royce The Hunter Series Chapter 12 is ready to read

Chapter 12
Royce was standing outside Curtis’ office the next morning when he got in. Royce had actually thought about going to see Daniel, but he was still slightly pissed off at him. And his mom was in a meeting.
“I need to speak to you,” he said to his brother as soon as he stepped off the elevator. “Kasey isn’t giving me any choice so I need to do something so I have information about the baby.”
Curtis unlocked his door and went inside. He hung up his jacket and checked his messages, completely ignoring him. Finally, Royce snapped. “Damn it, I’m talking to you. Fucking quit screwing around and answer me.”
“Okay,” Curtis started. “You didn’t ask me a single question but barked information to me. Second, that’s a personal issue, not business. And while I did suggest you make a contract with Kasey to ensure your rights, I’ve since changed my mind. Third, I—”
“Did Daniel talk to you? Is that what this is about? I see he’s gathering you all together to make some sort of Anti-Royce Club. Well, I’m not going to marry her. I—”
“Good. I hope to God you don’t.”
That shut him up. He knew he would regret asking, but found he really wanted to know. Before he could ask, Curtis continued.
“We had dinner with Kasey last night. And before you ask, no, we didn’t go behind your back. She asked us. Well, she asked Daniel. Jesse and I went along because we were in his office when she called him.”
“Why? Why did she want to ask Daniel? To get you guys to be more pissed at me?” Royce felt stupid as soon as the words left his mouth.
“Will you just listen to yourself? Christ, Royce, you sound like you’re ten years old and nobody will let you into their club. We had pizza with her. She wouldn’t let us even mention your name or we had to leave.”
That bothered Royce too, but not in the same way. It seemed Kasey was going out of her way to have nothing to do with him. Small wonder, he thought. He was being…well, he realized last night he was being just plain mean to her. “So what did you talk about? Is she…Curtis, do you think she needs… I was going to ask if she needed me, but I think she made it pretty clear she doesn’t. At least not me, she doesn’t.”
Curtis laughed. “That’s the first thing you’ve said in a month that’s true. At least partly true anyway. I think she’ll do well as a single mom. Her mom raised her pretty much on her own while helping care for Kasey’s aunt. And I think Kasey will make a terrific mom.”
Royce looked at his brother and said what he’d realized last night. “She’ll do a better job without me. Don’t say anything,” Royce told him when Curtis started to speak. “I’ve been a complete and total ass with her. No, that’s not true either. I’ve always been an ass.”
“You’re not going to hear me disagree with you,” Curtis said, laughing. “I love you, but damn, man, you’re not nice sometimes.”
“Thanks,” Royce said without heat. “The thing is, she makes me crazy, not because she’s going to have my baby, but because she’s not the least bit impressed by me.”
Royce flushed when Curtis laughed again. “You mean she doesn’t worship the ground you walk on? Well, no wonder she makes you cranky.”
Royce started pacing. “Yesterday I went by to see her and she wouldn’t even let me in her apartment. She made me stand in the hall like…like an unwelcome guest. I suppose I was. And she told me if I came around again, she was going to get a restraining order against me. Nor does she want my money.”
“She probably doesn’t need it. Not now in any case. I gave her the money she had coming to her from her paychecks last night.”
Royce turned to look at him. “What money? I thought I’d already given her that money.” And he’d found out she’d used it to pay off her mother’s hospital bills and her funeral services. Bobbie had told him that yesterday. Apparently Leah had had no insurance before she’d been diagnosed and no one would insure her afterwards.
“She’s on medical leave, injured on the job. I figured you wouldn’t mind if she got her full checks at an average of the hours she’d been working for the past year. Minus the insurance policy, of course.” Curtis handed him a sheet of paper. “I don’t know much about babies, but that should cover most of the costs.”
Royce looked at her weekly hours. She’d averaged seventy-nine hours per week. “She must have been happy about this.” Then he frowned. “No, she was probably pissed off and gave you a hard time for even suggesting that she take it.”
“Pretty much. She said she couldn’t say no about all the overtime, not with White holding the full-time position in front of her like a carrot. She said that every time someone would get hired in, he’d tell her they had more experience or some such bullshit.”
Royce nodded. “I suppose you’ve looked into any others he might have done this to. Was he abusing anyone else?”
“Yes,” he answered softly. “Four others. All women. I’ve contacted two of them, the other two I’m still trying to find. I was going to talk to you today about it. How do you want it handled?”
“The same as with Kasey. Also…give them some sort of bonus. You decide on the amount.” Royce sat back down. “Is she all right?”
Curtis smiled. “She’s wonderful, funny, brilliant. I don’t know when I’ve had so much fun. But she’s also very…no, she’s brutally honest, headstrong, and mouthy. Much like you, in fact. We were talking about it on the way home, how the two of you are the perfect match for each other and think it would be a mistake if you two were to marry. You’d kill each other within a month.”
Royce went to his office a little while later. He had plenty of work to do and several projects he needed to get started. Curtis got him updated on the Benton fire and what was happening there.
The Benton estate, seized because the fire was arson, was going to pay for the building to be replaced once the funds were able to be used by the shareholders. Plus, they were going to add an additional one million dollars in contributions. Neither knew where the funds were coming from, but were pleased with the outcome.
The case against White wasn’t finished because of the additional information from Kasey and the other women. Curtis said they were opening themselves up for a little
backlash, but he thought it would be all right. The firm contacting the women instead of the other way around would make them look better. Royce said he was worried less about image at this point and more about making things right. Curtis agreed.
Curtis also gave him some advice. “If you want to be a part of your child’s life, then I suggest you man up and shut up. She doesn’t need you, or any of us for that matter. But she does need a friend. When we had dinner last night, she let it slip that she’s lonely, that she doesn’t have anyone she can just call. The three of us, Daniel, Jesse, and I, all volunteered. You could be on that list too.”
Royce wanted that, he thought, but before he could say so Curtis continued. “But if you hurt her, drive her away, or even make her shed one more tear, we’ve decided we will hunt you down and hurt you in ways you can’t even imagine.”
Now Royce sat at his desk over an hour later. His screen had gone black and the pen he’d been holding had stained the blotter beneath it. He had to toss away four sheets of otherwise blank paper to hide what he’d done while he’d been deep in thought. Taking a deep breath, he picked up the phone before he changed his mind and dialed her cell phone.
“Kasey, it’s Royce Hunter. Please don’t hang up. I’d like to talk to you please.”
She closed her eyes. She didn’t think he knew how to simply talk. Bark, give commands, but not talk.
“All right,” she answered him finally. “But you piss me off again and I’m hanging up.”
“Okay, I understand. I wanted…I want…shit, Kasey, I’m an ass and I’m sorry. For everything.”
Kasey looked at the phone then put it back to her ear. “Okay, who is this and what have you done with Royce, the real Royce Hunter? You know, the one who snaps orders and demands results.” She was only half kidding, but he apparently took her seriously. She could hear the shame in his voice.
“I deserved that. And more. I’ve been a royal pain in the ass since I met you. My secretary is barely civil to me, my brothers have threatened to have me murdered, and my own mother is ready to have me kidnapped and taken to another country never to be heard from again.”
That pissed her off. “And I suppose that’s my fault too. Look, if you called me up so you could make nice with your friends and family, that is so not my problem. I have—”
“Christ, will you take it down a notch? I didn’t say it was your fault, damn it. I was just telling you that… Hell, I don’t know. I just wanted you to know you’re not the only one I’ve made mad lately.”
She nearly laughed at his beaten tone. But she wasn’t ready to forgive and forget just yet. If she ever would be ready. “Why did you have sex with me that night?” The question was out before she could sensor it. He was quiet for so long she didn’t think he’d answer. But when he did, she wasn’t sure how to deal with it.
“Honestly? I’m not sure. I wanted you. When you stopped me in the lobby that morning I thought you’d be fun—someone to have some dinner with and maybe, if I was lucky, a good lay.”
“Gee thanks. I’m trying to do my job and you’re only impressed with my bust size and a piece of my ass.”
“You know, I just realized I’ve never even seen your breasts. Never touched my mouth to your lovely flesh. I want to do that right now, Kasey, very much so.”
The silence was profound. Kasey wasn’t sure if she wanted to laugh or brain him. “Perhaps we should move on to something else,” she said to him. “I don’t even know why you called.”
He didn’t say anything for several seconds and she was sure he was going to go back to the subject of her breasts, but he didn’t. She listened to him as he told her the rules she was going to have to follow and she had no idea why she thought he’d written them down. She decided to test her theory.
“What was number four again?” Like she cared, but it was the last one she’d written down when he started reciting them.
“Number four? Oh, let’s see…oh, you’re going to have a checking account that I will provide—”
“You did write them out. What did you do, sit at your desk all morning and make up this list of things you wanted to dictate to me and thought that I’d just simply do them?”
“Yes. And why wouldn’t I? It’s just as much my responsibility as it is yours. And that being said—”
“Yes,” she snapped at him. “That being said, I’m not your responsibility. You’ll either back off or I swear I’ll bean you the next time I—don’t you have anything else to do other than drive me crazy? Some old peoples’ home to foreclose on or something?”
“I do not foreclose on things, especially not retirement homes. Why won’t you ever let me finish a sentence? You are forever cutting me off when I’m trying to—”
“You never try to do anything. You simply put out your demands then sit back while other people hop to it. And if you said anything that I wanted to hear, then maybe I’d listen to you.” She sat up straighter in her chair before continuing. “If and when hell were to freeze over then maybe, just maybe, I’d come to you for help. But until then…fuck the hell off.” She closed her phone up and laid it on the table. She was so tempted to throw it at the wall and watch with great satisfaction when it shattered, but knew that she’d be the one to clean it up and then she’d have to replace it. She picked up her mug. The temptation to destroy it was nearly overwhelming. Instead, she put it down and burst into tears. She was contemplating screaming when her house phone rang.
“Miss York, it’s Doctor Miles’ office. We wanted to confirm your appointment for tomorrow.”
Kasey laid her head on the table and listened to the woman tell her what she’d need to bring, all the while wondering if she was going to be delivering in prison or not. Murdering Royce Hunter was becoming more and more tempting every day.

Stay Tune for Next Week Chapter 13

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