“You can’t get caught up in this dicey scheme, Becca. He’ll ruin you.”
His eyes were as big as saucers, childlike and pleading.
Tyler was terrified and in way too deep, barely hanging on by a thread from the mess his family created.
I adored and cherished him more than my own life. I had to keep him safe.
I sat at my desk drumming my fingers anxiously against the mahogany. It was ten after eight in the morning, and Mitch was late for our meeting. Nathan sat across from me in one of the black leather chairs, his posture relaxed as he studied me.
“Where is he?” I grumbled, resituating in my chair. “I told him at least three times. I texted, emailed, and called him for Christ’s sake. He could have the decency to keep a schedule!”
I ran my hand through my hair trying to calm my nerves. But it was pointless. I was too furious with my younger brother.
He had some real nerve surrounding the house I built for Becca and myself with RJ bricks, and some huge balls to fill them with fucking cocaine. Feeling more agitated with every passing second he hadn’t walked through the door, I stood and made my way to the photos of Wrigley Field being built that Becca gifted me last Christmas.
“You know he’s never on time. Try to calm down, Tyler.”
“I’m so fucking pissed off at him,” I said through clenched teeth.
Nathan sighed and stood up, the leather squeaking as he did so. He made his way to the opposite side of my office, finding the tumblers of liquor.
I heard the ice from the bucket clank against the tumbler then liquid being poured.
Without taking my eyes from the photos I said, “You do know it’s only a quarter after eight in the morning, right?”
Nathan walked over to my desk, leaning against it as he took a sip of the amber liquid. “Yes, Mother.”
“As if our mother would care,” I chided.
Nathan smirked into his glass. “That’s correct. You know I can’t operate without a little bit of the good stuff.”
I smiled to myself. How do you call someone an alcoholic when they can function better with it in their system? I shook my head then checked my watch again. If Mitch didn’t walk through that door in two minutes, I was going to call him and rip him a new one. I began to pace the room again.
“Tyler, try to relax. Mitch shouldn’t have done that, and we’ll make sure he doesn’t do it again,” Nathan said calmly, setting his drink down on my desk and crossing his arms. “How much overall was hidden?”
I let out a long breath of air. “Each brick I found had at least ten eight balls.”
Nathan’s eyes widened. “How many bricks?”
“Too fucking many.” I ran my hand over my face and began pacing again, but this time behind my desk. I took off my jacket after the third pace and set it over my chair. Why was it so hot in this room?
“What did you do with it all?” Nathan asked.
I stopped dead in my tracks and stared at him. “I left it in the bricks.”
“You left it there?” he asked, sounding puzzled.
I scowled at him. “How the fuck am I supposed to know what to do with that much cocaine?”
Nathan shrugged his shoulders. “Call Chino.”
Anger fueled my body at his words. “We aren’t getting involved with him and his drug scheme. Don’t bring it up again,” I growled.
Nathan rolled his eyes and stood tall from the desk to walk over by me. “Tyler, I hate to say it, but I think it might be his to begin with. You said yourself you didn’t trust Mitch to be around Chino and not give in to his deals.”
“I will break his hands so he can’t smoke that shit ever again if he’s dealing with Chino on our properties.” My face must have been red and the veins in my forehead had to have been popping out because I was so livid with my younger brother.
Just as I was about to say something else, Mitch walked through my office door. He was wearing jeans and a hooded sweatshirt with his work boots, holding a cup of coffee. He had a lazy grin on his face, and I wanted to punch his teeth in when I saw him.
“Sorry I’m late. Ran into traffic problems,” he said while yawning.
I glared at him as Nathan walked over to the side of my desk to grab his drink.
Mitch looked between the two of us, an unsure expression crossing over his face. “So, what’s this meeting about anyway?” He didn’t move to sit down but stood only a few feet in the doorway.
“Sit down,” I said in a dangerously low tone. “We have an urgent matter to discuss.”
Mitch raised his brows and walked further into the room to sit down on one of the black leather chairs. Coffee in one hand, he crossed his ankle so it was on his opposite knee as he relaxed into the chair. I just stared, feeling my heart race in my chest.
“Sit down Tyler,” Nathan said sternly. I clenched my jaw and closed my eyes, attempting to calm down enough to hear Mitch’s side of the story. But it was going to be almost an impossible task for me to handle.
“Tyler,” Nathan said with more force. I rolled my eyes at him then plopped down in my chair, rolling it forward so I was leaning over my desk and facing Mitch. Mitch looked up at Nathan as he stood with his tumbler in hand.
“Are you drinking already?” Mitch asked.
“Yes. Now listen—”
“Tell me what you’ve been working on at my house,” I said slowly, cutting off Nathan. My eyes were glued to Mitch.
He gave me a ‘you must be crazy’ look. “What do you mean what have I been working on? I’ve been busting my ass to get that shit done for you in a ridiculous amount of time. You weren’t exactly willing to work within our normal time constraints,” Mitch grumbled. “If something is wrong, I’ll fix it.”
“You’re fucking right you’ll fix it,” I snapped, standing from my seat with my palms spread flat on my desk. “What about the fireplace? What exactly have you been working on with that? Huh?”
Mitch sat back, meeting my glare. “That fireplace is perfect. I laid it myself. Stop being such a prick.”
I clenched my teeth together again, mentally doing all I could to keep my fist from going through his forehead.
“Mitch, stop being an idiot. I saw the RJ bricks,” I growled.
A slow smile crept across his face. “Yeah, I thought they’d be a good touch.”
I jumped from behind my desk so I was in front of Mitch. His eyes were stunned open by my deftness to tackle him. He was lucky Nathan was quick, rushing over to step in front of me.
“Did you really think I wasn’t going to notice them?” I shouted. Nathan had a grasp on my arm.
Mitch stood up, meeting my glare. “Tyler, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I put in a safe box. I figured you’d be happy. Guess I was wrong. What the hell does Becca see in your moody ass anyway?”
The second her name crossed his lips I shoved Nathan to the side, causing him to bump into the wall, nearly knocking down the photos of Wrigley Field. I yanked Mitch across from me and pounded his head into my desk, palming his head with my hand and pinning him in place.
“Jesus, what the fuck, Tyler?!” he shouted as I used my elbow to hold him to my desk. A trickle of blood was spreading across some of my paperwork from Mitch’s lip hitting the desk so forcefully. Even more reason for me to be pissed off at him.
“Don’t ever fucking say her name again, you asshole. Why’d you hide cocaine all over our house?” I yelled in his ear. “Did Chino put you up to it?”
Mitch tried to flail from my grasp, but pure adrenaline was running through my veins. I hated to admit it, but Mitch could do a number on me if we were to get into a fight. He was broader and a touch taller, but with all the rage under my skin, I could hold my own.
“Cooper!” Nathan shouted as he stood tall from being rammed into the wall. Nathan cursed as he straightened his suit jacket. Cooper came through the door and had both hands on my biceps.
I tilted my head backwards, my murderous eyes meeting his. “Cooper, back off,” I growled. “Answer me, Mitch.”
Cooper glanced at Nathan then took a step back.
“It won’t be there for long,” Mitch muffled.
I practically roared as I pulled him back then slammed his head down again.
Cooper was back on me in a nanosecond, pulling me away from Mitch. I shrugged Cooper off and paced the office.
“Damn it, Mitch! I thought we agreed about Chino,” Nathan scolded, adjusting his designer glasses.
“Who the hell said I was working with Chino, huh?” he mumbled through his hand then wiped the blood from his mouth on his sleeve. “You’re a fucking psycho, Tyler!”
I saw red again, my moment of self-control vanishing again as I went to charge him. I grabbed his collar and pushed him against the wall.
“I’m a psycho? Who the hell hides over $100,000 of cocaine in his brother's house? Do you know what kind of danger you brought to MY house by doing that? Indirectly involving MY future wife with your fucking drug deals?”
I felt Cooper’s hands back on me but more forcefully this time. I held my ground though, my forearm firmly placed on Mitch’s neck. “I swear to God, if that shit isn’t out of my house by morning I will crush your face in with my fist so you won’t ever be able to smoke or snort that shit again!”
“That’s ENOUGH, Tyler,” Nathan’s said harshly. He nodded to Cooper, his signal to pull me off Mitch. Nathan took a step between Mitch and me. I was breathing heavy, my chest rising unevenly as Cooper still had a firm grasp on my biceps.
“Future wife? Can’t believe she actually said yes,” Mitch snorted, wiping more blood off his nose.
I tried to leap forward again, but Cooper kept a tight grip on me while Nathan raised his hand in front of me. Cooper had saved me from more than one fight back in college this way.
“I said ENOUGH! If we get any more blood on the carpet I’ll have to have Sawla come and redecorate. I know how well that will go down,” Nathan said with a threatening tone. I rolled my eyes. I couldn’t stand Sawla, but I had my reasons why I stayed away from that crazy bitch.
Nathan turned his stern expression towards Mitch. “Where did you get the cocaine, Mitch?” He held up his finger and clenched his teeth. “And don’t fucking lie to me.”
Mitch took a few deep breaths, his eyes staring intently at Nathan. “It’s a side job. It doesn’t have anything to do with the company.”
“Bullshit,” I sneered, shrugging from Cooper’s hold. Mitch’s glare turned to me, eyes turning hard. I shook my head at him and wandered back behind my desk. “How many side jobs do you have with Chino, Mitch?”
“It’s none of your business,” he said arrogantly.
I turned and slammed my hands on my desk. “It is my business! It’s all over my fucking house!”
Mitch winced and turned his head towards the floor.
Nathan flashed a look my way then looked back at Mitch, his demeanor calmer. “How many Mitch?”
“You don’t need to worry about it,” Mitch murmured.
Nathan and Mitch stared at each other for a moment before Nathan spoke. “Get it off Tyler’s property. And if there’s any hidden anywhere near a Conklin building, it better be gone by .”
Mitch scowled at Nathan with a clenched jaw then brought his eyes to me. My chest was still erratically rising up and down with anger. Mitch did a subtle nod then bumped Nathan’s shoulder as he walked out the door. Cooper raised his brow as Mitch left then gave me a nod as he turned to follow Mitch out of my office, closing the door behind him.
“Way to stay calm,” Nathan chastised. I clenched my jaw and plopped down in my chair, running my hands through my hair. Nathan let out a slight laugh as he went to find his tumbler of liquid.
“How much do you think he’s helped Chino hide?” I asked Nathan.
“I’m not sure. But we’re going to have to find out. I wonder if RJ knows.”
“Of course RJ knows,” I snorted. “He probably put Mitch up to it.”
Nathan sighed. “You don’t know that.”
I leaned back in my chair, crossing my arms. “I know enough. RJ is the most money-hungry man on the planet. If Mitch could easily hide $100,000 throughout my house, just think what damage he could do on a commercial site.”
Nathan walked over to the window holding his nearly empty glass to his lips. “We’re just going to have to believe he will get rid of it.”
“Nathan, he isn’t going to get rid of it,” I practically shouted.
“Have a little faith. I told him to do it. Unlike you, he listens to me… most of the time.”
I snorted and put my hands on my face. If Mitch were hiding drugs on Conklin properties, it would make our business complicated and far more corrupt than any other multi-million dollar company.
“So she said yes?” Nathan said calmly, trying to lighten the conversation.
I ran my hands along my face as I nodded my head. “Yes.”
He turned and smiled at me. “Set a date?”
I blew out air, not really in the mood to discuss wedding plans. “Um… Becca was thinking October.”
Nathan laughed. “How are you going to plan a wedding in six months?”
I furrowed my brows at him. “She wants a small wedding.”
“You’re not going to get away with that. Have you met Missy Stine? Have you met our mother?” He laughed.
“Mother will not have a say,” I said through clenched teeth. I wasn’t going to let her cause havoc on Becca; she was going to have to deal with enough from her own mother.
“Whatever you say. Becca will accept her help.”
I rolled my eyes and ticked my jaw. Nathan was right. Becca actually liked my crazy, hair-brained mother. But Becca wanted a small wedding, and Mary Conklin didn’t do small.
Nathan finished his drink and set it on the table next to the other tumblers. “Don’t worry about this ordeal with Mitch. It’ll get taken care of, okay?” I took a deep breath and stared at my screen saver of Becca and me kissing at Christmas. “I mean it Tyler. Don’t dwell on this.”
I know why Nathan wanted me to forget about it. The entire scheme was something he was still on the fence about. Nathan had one too many of the same genes as RJ, and the money was way too tempting. We could make this a billion dollar company Chino said at our last meeting. I couldn’t help but notice Nathan’s and RJ’s eyes widen for a slight second. I had to be the one to say the firm no first then Nathan and RJ reluctantly agreed.
“I’m finally happy Nathan. I don’t want any more bombs to explode,” I sighed.
He gave me a soft smile, his gentle blue eyes exuding happiness for me. “Nothing is going to explode, Tyler.” I looked up from my desk, giving him a wry smile, worried gun powder was hiding everywhere in my life, just waiting for a match to fall.
Lost- Michael Buble'
You & I- One Direction
Tears in Heaven- Eric Clapton
She looks so perfect- 5 seconds of summer
It Ends Tonight- All American Rejects
Always on My Mind- Michael Buble'
Marry You- Bruno Mars
Close Your Eyes- Michael Buble
Wild Wild Love- Pitbull and G.R.L.
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1wrikm3
About the Author
Mother of two, wonder wife, after school art/pottery instructor, self proclaimed runner, and Indie Romance Novel junkie!