Sunday, August 2, 2015

Royce The Hunter Series Chapter 13 is ready to read

Chapter 13
“Are you even listening to anything I’m saying to you?” Royce looked over at his brother. “You’re not, are you? Damn it, I’ve been talking to you for seven minutes and you’ve been—”
“You timed me? You actually know it was seven minutes. Who does that?” Royce watched Curtis flush. “You didn’t. Then how did you even come up with seven minutes?”
“I was guessing. And like you care. Where were you just now or do I even want to know?”
Now it was Royce’s turn to flush. “I wasn’t anywhere. Now, what was this you were saying about the last quarter? I’m listening now, so let’s get this meeting finished.”
Royce felt himself drifting off again ten minutes later. His brother apparently noticed it too. “Okay, tell me what the hell is going on with you. I’m not going to waste any more of my time if you’re going to be in la-la land the entire time.”
“Kasey won’t tell me anything.” Christ, he sounded ten. “I tried calling her about when the appointment is and she won’t answer her phone.”
“I hate to sound like a broken record here, but again, why do you care? She’s a grown woman who knows how to take care of herself. I’m sure she’ll do fine by the kid too. You’ve made it perfectly clear to her and everyone else who’ll listen to you that you aren’t interested in her or the baby. So either move on or change the way you act.”
But he did care. Not that she hadn’t made it easy for him not to; he was beginning to care very much. He looked over at his brother. Did he want to open that can of worms with him? Yes, he decided that he did.
“I want to start over with her. I know that it sounds lame, but I want to take her out, maybe go to a movie or something. I don’t…I haven’t a clue how to do that. I’m afraid that I’ve pretty much made it so she won’t ever speak to me again.” He looked over at Curtis, wondering if he thought this was funny. “I don’t even know when her birthday is.”
“January tenth, I saw it on her application. Why? I mean, if it’s the baby, I can probably persuade her to let you have visitation rights. If she keeps it. And before you blow up about that, she’s only looking at all her options, not making any decision just yet.”
Royce got up and started pacing the room. “I don’t have any real concrete reasons. She has a smart mouth that both irritates and intrigues me. She’s very beautiful, though that isn’t all of it. She’s headstrong and smart, she is passionate and funny. I actually find myself wondering if the kid will have her temperament and hope that it does.”
Curtis cleared his throat before he spoke. “Are you in love with her, Royce? Or is this just a case of having something that’s been denied you?”
Royce nodded. He understood what his brother was asking. “I’m not in love with her. I like her, I understand her…well, most of the time. She makes me think of things I’d never… Are you aware that her mother raised her without any support from Kasey’s dad?”
Royce had called a private investigator and had a thorough search made on the entire family. Jason York and Susan York included. He’d found out a great deal, more than he’d ever thought about the little family.
“Yes. Her father is making demands on her. He wants whatever insurance policy money that Kasey had from her mom’s death. He seems to think his daughter is holding out on him.”
Royce hadn’t known that. “Is he threatening her?” Curtis nodded. “Will he hurt her, you think? I’m sure you’ve done something about it, right?”
“No. She won’t let me. And believe me, I tired. I had someone watching her place up until she had the guy arrested for a peeping tom. Then the next night she pulled a gun on the next guy. Scared the shit out of him too. I had an ex-Navy Seal in my office telling me how scary it was to have this little bit of a thing holding a gun to his head and his nuts. He said she even fired the gun at his groin and told him that next time the gun would be loaded.”
Royce laughed. It wasn’t really funny, but he could see her doing that. Curtis reached into his briefcase, pulled out a file, and threw it on the desk.
“That’s her medical record from the doctor she’s seeing. If you tell her I gave them to you she’ll stop the information. If you even hint that I’m helping you, I’ll make your life not worth living.”
Royce opened the file and looked up at his brother. “You’ll help me? You’ll help me try and make it up to her?”
Curtis stood and took his case with him. “For now anyway. I like this girl. I didn’t want to, but I do. She’s agreed to let me go to her next doctor’s appointment. They were going to do an ultrasound, but she can’t afford it. And before you claim that you’ll pay for it for her, I think you really should rethink that. She’s very…proud, and anyway, I don’t think she’d take the money from you. I’m guessing you have about two weeks to try and see if you can convince her you want to be there too.”
After Curtis left Royce started reading the file. He was on the second page when he started making notes. Not notes like he normally did when he decided he found something he wanted, but notes on things he wanted to remember. Things like her birthday and her age. He made notes about the schools she’d gone to and the awards she’d won. The colleges she’d attended and what her grades were like. He’d even made notes on the type of places she’d visited and a mental note to ask Curtis how he’d found out. By the time he was finished, he had a better understanding of her. Not a lot, but enough to maybe get him on her better side. He picked up the phone and started on “Plan Kasey.”
“Hello, I’d like to order some daisies to be delivered.” And the first thing he had to do was grovel.
The knock at the door startled her from a nap. She’d been working on a term paper for someone and it had been so boring that she’d fallen asleep correcting it. She had no idea what the paper was supposed to be about. Something about hamburger, of all things, and what medicinal properties it had. She hoped this person failed
She opened her door to a bunch of daisies. Not just the run of the mill white ones, but brilliantly-colored ones too. Also baby’s breath and greenery wrapped up in a large ribbon and a big vase.
“Miss York?” the man holding the flowers asked her. Her squeal of delight made him laugh. She’d never received flowers before and was so excited she grabbed them out of his hands before she even acknowledged him.
“Yes, that’s me,” she finally told him. “Oh aren’t they lovely, all happy and colorful? Who are they from?”
She was searching for a card when he told her he didn’t know but could she please sign? Taking the little clipboard and the flower-looking pen, she scribbled her name. She put the flowers down without finding a card when she went to find her purse.
“The tip has been taken care of,” he told her when she tried to hand him five dollars. “You have a good day.”
After closing the door and locking it, she pulled the little envelope out that was buried deep within the over three dozen blooms and read it. She was still sitting there holding the card when her phone rang.
“You like them?” Royce asked her. She looked at the card again. “Kasey? Are you there?”
“You sent me flowers. Why?” She flushed when he laughed. “I mean, they’re lovely, my favorite actually, but I don’t understand the message.”
“I wanted you to know that I was thinking of you, that’s all. You like them then? I’m glad. The lady at the flower shop was sort of cranky about getting them to you today.”
“Were you demanding? That always puts my back up. Maybe you should try asking instead of demanding. It might get you more help than hindrance.” He laughed again and she found herself smiling. He had a great laugh and she wondered why he was— “What’s happened? You’re not usually in this good a mood when you talk to me. You’re up to something. Spill it.”
“I’m not up… I guess I deserved that. I just wanted to send you some pretty flowers. And the first thing I thought of was daisies. And the reason I called is I have a favor to ask you.”
“See, I knew it. I haven’t made up my mind on the baby yet. So if that’s all you called about then—”
“That’s not it either.” He sighed heavily. “I need a date tomorrow night and I was hoping you’d agree to go with me. It’s a charity function…some sort of art show that the committee I’m on is throwing to kick off the new art gallery.”
She still didn’t believe that there wasn’t something else so she didn’t agree just yet. “Who’s the artist and what’s the media? And what’s the dress code?”
“Media? You mean the type of art? Let me see…I just had the invitation… It says here ‘come and help us celebrate the grand opening of the Hunter Art Group. Buy and appreciate the work of renowned artisan Paul Gleason. Mr. Gleason and his collection of raku fired stoneware and his fine work in porcelain will kick off…’ Christ, this sounds like something my mother would set up.”
She laughed at his tone and wondered if he had any idea about this before today. “I’m sure it sounds like fun. Isn’t there anyone else you’d rather take and bore to tears?”
“No. It’s black tie. I’m sure they don’t expect you to wear a tie…though that might be kind of fun, but I’ll pay for your dress. And before you get yourself in a twist about it, I can take it off my taxes. I’ll call is a business expense.”
She wanted to go. She’d actually heard of Paul Gleason and his work. In college he’d been a visiting artist and she’d had to work that night and missed his lecture. She was nearly ready to say yes when he spoke again.
“Daniel and Curtis will be there. I think my other brother Jesse will as well. I don’t know if they’ll have dates, but they have to come too.” She heard someone speaking. “Okay, Daniel and Curtis have no date, Jesse has two, and my mom will be there.”
His mom. She was probably still pissed at her. Well, if she did keep the baby, she would probably have to play nice with his family so she thought she should start now. She didn’t particularly want to go with Royce, but with the others there she thought she might have a fairly good time. “All right, I’ll go with you, but I’m not your date. I’m just your…escort. And not the hourly type either. I want to see Mr. Gleason’s work and that’s all.”
She heard him take a deep breath. “Great. I’ll…how will you get a dress and me pay for it? If you want me to go with you to help pick it out then—”
“I’m quite capable of purchasing a dress, Mr. Hunter. But I will let you send a car to pick me up. I have a car, but I’m sure it isn’t what the hoity-toity people you hang around with are used to.”
“All right then. I’ll have a car at your house at four-thirty. My brothers and I are meeting for dinner at Muddy Misers. That way if this thing runs late, we won’t be starving to death afterwards. The dress. I can leave my credit card with Bobbie Noel. She said you know her.”
She wasn’t sure what else to say to him so she simply hung up. Now what? She really didn’t have a clue how to buy a dress. She pulled up images of exhibits on her computer and realized she was in over her head. After waiting one hour, she called Bobbie.
“I was wondering if I could ask you a favor. I need some help buying a dress for that art thingy with Mr. Hunter and I didn’t want him to know I don’t have a clue what to do.”
“If you’ll hold for one moment I’ll get that information for you. It has been a hectic afternoon and I’m straightening out some last minute things with my boss before I leave for the day. Could I meet with you at say…six-thirty?”
“He’s there, isn’t he? Okay, you’ll meet me at my house then? Or my uncle’s? Either is fine by me.”
“Hummm, how about yours? I can see to that and anything else you may need while I’m there.”
“All right. I’ll see you then.” Kasey hung up smiling. She really liked Bobbie and was happy for her friendship. She also thought that she was sweet on her uncle and neither of them seemed inclined to do anything about it. She thought maybe she’d do a little matchmaking while she was at it.
At seven o’clock that night Kasey was looking at dresses. She decided that this was perhaps the stupidest thing she’d ever done. She hated that this thing was going to cost a
fortune and they hadn’t even found a dress yet. She was just going through yet another line of dresses when she saw it.
The dress was beautiful. Not just beautiful, but sinfully so. It was a black silk sleeveless gown that she knew would fit her. She glanced at the size as she pulled it from the line of dresses and realized that it was going to be too large, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed. She hung it on the hook to see the whole effect when Bobbie came up behind her.
“Oh, my dear, that’s it. Please tell me that you plan to try that one on. It’ll make Royce drool all night.”
She didn’t comment on Royce drooling. “It’s very…sexy, isn’t it? I mean, it’s not too much? Or I guess too little, is it?” Kasey turned to look at Bobbie when she laughed.
“That’s the point, sweetheart. Try it on. If it doesn’t look good on you then we’ll keep looking. But I don’t think we’ll need to. I’m going to go over here to find some shoes to go with it.”

Stay Tune for Next Week Chapter 14

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