Deceit Among The Pack

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Chapter 1

CHAPTER 1-NOW WHAT

4 ½ weeks later.

There comes a point in everyone’s life where they wonder how things could get any better. This was definitely NOT one of those times. I don’t know how I’m going to be able to get through these next few weeks without beating someone senseless. Let’s see I need to make a list of everything I have to do. Damn wedding details. If it’s not one thing it’s another.

Okay, so I have my final fitting at two. I need to drop off the checks to the caterer, baker, photographer and DJ by five. I have to get the bridesmaids gifts before Saturday. I need to get Rory and Jesse’s outfits picked up and ready for next Saturday. Oh yeah, I need to finalize the menu for the rehearsal dinner on Friday. Damn, damn, damn. This wedding stuff is starting to be a pain in the butt. Every little girl dreams of her wedding and all I want is for it to hurry up and be over with. I hope that doesn’t mean something bad that I’m not more excited. HMMM…. Maybe I should talk to Hazel later when were alone and have some time. Yeah right, me, have time; that’s a concept that’s not plausible. I also need to make sure everyone remembers to keep changing up the routes they take everywhere for security purposes.

Okay, what’s next? I need to finish packing and finish getting my pack together for the week. This is my week to be on base training the next wave of Secret Service morons. By the end of the week they’re going to hate me. This is the hardest week of training they’ll ever go through in their life, and the best part is they can’t quit or they lose their job. If they don’t pass they lose their job so they have to shut up and take orders from a woman which seems to be most of the men’s biggest pet peeve. That’s why most of the women here are excelling over the men. Some days I love my job more than other days.

Alright, I got my pack together; I got my purse and my date book. Now, all I have to do is run by the kid’s day camp to say bye to them for the week and then I’m good to go.

As I left and said bye to everyone something seemed off. It was almost like they were waiting for me to leave for some reason. I couldn’t seem to place the funny feeling that I had. Maybe it’s just my nerves. I keep getting these strange feelings now since what went down with Jill and the General. I think I’m just being paranoid.

Oh well, if something goes down then they’ll call me and let me know. I installed lots of panic buttons and cameras all over the house so I can look in on what’s going on at all times. In all fairness I should’ve told everyone about the cameras too instead of just the panic buttons but I wanted to be safe just to make sure I didn’t have another incident like before.

Twenty minutes later I was pulling into the driveway of the Rugrats Summer Camp the kids go to and I spotted them immediately. One of the counselors was off to the side yelling at Andrew and Ben about how they need to back off and let Jesse and Rory have some space. I didn’t like that too well. I marched over there and spun that big asshole around surprising him.

I said, “Listen, you behemoth dickhead, they get paid to stay beside my children no matter what they’re doing. If you don’t like that then maybe you need to take it up with me because I can guarantee you one thing, I won’t hesitate to fuck you up and fire you too. Is that clear?”

I was fuming at that point which is unlike me, I’m not usually this angry all the time, and it didn’t help things that this bastard looked at me and started laughing as he turned back to Ben and Andrew and said to them, “You better get business Barbie before she gets herself hurt by stepping to me like that.”

Ben and Andrew looked at him and then to me before taking a couple of steps back and smiling to each other. I smiled at him very calmly while waiting for him to quit laughing. When he finally did, he looked at me with the nastiest look I had ever seen before talking to me.

He said, “Look, Bitch, I don’t know who you think you are but if you don’t get the hell out of my face then you’re going to find out what it’s like to piss off a real man. I’m not one of those men that back away just because you’re a woman or you have more money than I do. I will give you a beating just like I would any man that pisses me off. So why don’t you do yourself a favor, and take that fine ass of yours and go back to your little rich boyfriend.”

I smiled at him and took a step closer right as Jesse looked at him and said, “You shouldn’t have called my mom that bad name. Now she’s gonna smack you in the mouth so you know not to say that to girls anymore.”

The entire time he was saying it he had a smile on his face. It makes me proud to know my son would never say something like that to a woman.

Just when I thought this man had pissed me off as bad as he could he turned around and started yelling at Jesse. “Listen, you little…”

I snapped then. I kicked him in the balls and as he dropped he was about level with me so I head butted him in the nose. He started screaming that I broke his nose and I grabbed him by the chin.

I said to him, “You listen you pompous asshole; you think you’re a man just because you hit women. You’re not a man, you’re a pansy ass little boy pretending to be a man. You may be big, but honey, size doesn’t matter. Isn’t that easy enough for you to see? I mean, hell, you’re on your knees in front of me right now. And as far as me taking my ass back to my rich boyfriend, well, I don’t need him, his money, or his connections to be able to take your ass out. I have my own money and connections, not to mention the fact that I’m more than capable of taking care of myself physically. Wouldn’t you agree?”

All he did was glare at me. After about five minutes of him staring at me he finally realized that I wasn’t going to back down. He finally shook his head yes so I let him up. He got to a standing position after a few seconds then went back to glaring at me. I heard someone coming up behind me so I turned around just in time to see the camp director rushing towards us with a panicked look on her face.

She looked to me first and said, “Ms. Harvey is everything okay here? What happened here? Why is Mr. Phillips bleeding?”

My response seemed to baffle her for a second. “Well, apparently Skippy here seems to think that Rory and Jesse’s bodyguards should leave them alone and let them do things on their own and when I confronted him about it he told me to ‘take my fine ass back to my rich little boyfriend’. Afterwards he started to call my son something because Jesse told him that he shouldn’t have called me a bitch, so I dropped him.”

She just stood there looking at him with her mouth open for what seemed like forever, then she started speaking in such a high pitched voice; I think out of fear. “John, what were you thinking? Do you know who she is? Ms. Harvey is the one that owns this camp and signs all of your paychecks. She’s also a General in the Army and the person that runs all of Mr. Winters’ businesses.”

The look on his face was priceless. He looked so scared after a couple of minutes that I think something must have registered with him. He looked at me and asked, “You’re Rain Harvey, as in the leader of the Military Police force that…” He stopped short there looking at everyone else before looking back at me waiting for an answer.

“Yes, that’s me.” I replied.

His response was a short “Fuck me” then he took a step back before apologizing repetitively for the next few minutes. I told Mrs. Eldridge that I was going to talk to Mr. Phillips for a few minutes before saying bye to my children. He honestly looked a little scared, and to be honest, I enjoyed that more than I should have.

Mr. Phillips and I walked away and went to the dock before we started talking. I started the conversation. “So, tell me Mr. Phillips, what is it you know about the unit of MP’s I run.”

He looked almost regretful of saying anything before he replied. “Well I know that you guys aren’t just Military Police. I know you do black ops missions around the world. I know you’re in charge of the entire operation and you only recruit the best of the best. You have a higher standard for all of your people and you were almost assassinated a few months ago. Your people dabble in multiple different career fields in the military and I tried getting into the program multiple different times but kept getting rejected. Does that sum it all up?”

I looked at him trying to figure out who he knew that was talking about things that they shouldn’t be before answering him. When I did all he could do was flounder around trying to find an answer. “You’ve barely started to skim the surface Mr. Phillips. Now, tell me, who in my unit has been talking about things they shouldn’t have.”

He stuttered incoherently. “Uh…um….well, you see……there was this guy I knew.” When I started glaring at him he finally broke. “My brother was in your unit. I haven’t heard from him in almost five months. I think he was your number six man. His name was Robert.”

Suddenly, I felt the earth shift from beneath me. It was the other shoe I had been waiting on to drop. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Wait a second here. I had to check to make sure that what I was hearing was right.

“Hold on here, Mr. Phillips. You’re telling me that Robert was your brother. As in you guys had the same parents?” I asked. He looked a little stunned by my confusion but answered quickly.

“Yes, Ms. Harvey that is what I’m saying. We had the same father but different mothers. Why do you look like you’ve just been kicked in the stomach? What is it you know that I don’t?” He asked starting to look more scared than confused now.

My answer added more confusion to the mix though, making that emotion more dominant than the fear now. “Mr. Phillips I need you to tell me everything Robert has ever told you about me, my unit, the people in it or anything else pertaining to anything in his life from the past seven years when he first enlisted.”

He answered slowly but the entire time he was looking at me questioningly. “Ms. Harvey, I swear the only things he told me was what I knew about what your unit did and that I needed to stop being so guarded with my rules because most women were more dangerous than men. The ones that looked dainty and girlie were the most deadly and that I shouldn’t hesitate to knock one around if I needed to because they would be more than willing to do so to me. He said he was doing a dangerous mission to help out his old high school girlfriend and that he had to do a lot of things that he never wanted to do including beating a woman that he really cared about. He said this woman was going to hurt Jill if he didn’t hurt her first. Now, can you please tell me what’s going on?”

I was still standing there looking like I had seen a ghost trying to figure out what I was going to say and how I was going to tell this man that I had killed his brother to save his niece and nephew that he now knows but didn’t know they existed and still doesn’t know they’re related to him. I started to speak when my voice caught because I heard Jesse walking up behind me. I looked down at him wondering what all he had heard when he smiled at me and reached up and grabbed my hand. Ben, Andrew and Rory were coming up behind us slowly also.

Jesse looked up at me and said, “I’ll tell him Mommy.” Then he looked at Mr. Phillips and said, “Mr. Phillips, Robert was our Daddy. He was bad though and he died a few months ago. I’m sorry for your loss, but now you know you have us. We’re family.”

Jesse smiled at him his most sincere smile and I looked at my now five year old son and wondered how I got so lucky having such a beautiful intelligent little man. I noticed Mr. Phillips starting to move towards Jesse out of the corner of my eye so I briskly moved between them as Ben did the same.

Mr. Phillips stopped and looked at us quickly before noticing what it was we were thinking. He started apologizing almost immediately before telling us he was just going to hug the kids. “I’m sorry I startled you. I wasn’t going to hurt the kids I was just going to hug them. As far as I knew, Robert was the only family I had left and we didn’t really talk a whole lot because he was always gone. We were never very close growing up. He never told me he had kids. Were you two married? Were you still together? How did he die? When did he die?”

His questions were coming so quickly I couldn’t answer them all and I wasn’t ready to answer them in front of the children. Not to mention I was already running late for my dress fitting.

I said, “Mr. Phillips, obviously there are a lot of things we need to talk about. Unfortunately, I have about a hundred things to do today that I am now running late for so I can’t have this conversation at the moment, and I would prefer not to have it in front of the kids anyway. I work on base all week starting tonight so we can have this conversation next Monday if that’s a good day for you.”

He looked almost wounded when I gave him my response. He replied desperately when I started to walk away, “Ms. Harvey, please! You can’t imagine what it’s been like for me. He was the only family I had left, as I said; I never knew what was happening. I’m happy to know I have more family now and I’m more sorry than you can possibly imagine about the way things started out with our meeting, but that’s something I can’t take back. Please, don’t make me wait a week to find out what happened to my brother. I’ll go crazy waiting that long. Please. Is there any time sooner we can meet?”

I looked at my watch knowing I needed to check out his background before I agreed to anything. So, I compromised. I told him, “Give me your phone number. I’ll try to make some time one of these evenings and I’ll give you a call when I get things rearranged.”

He quickly wrote down his number on the back of one of my cards I gave him and kept thanking me. He was following me back to my SUV saying he would be waiting for my call and apologizing for what happened earlier. Right before getting into the car I stopped and said bye to the kids. I told them I loved them and as I was hugging Jesse I whispered in his ear not to go around Mr. Phillips without Ben or Andrew until I told him it was ok. He smiled at me knowing what I meant. I swear, that kid was smarter than most adults I knew. I gave Ben and Andrew a look then looked at Mr. Phillips and immediately they knew what I expected from them as well.

I told Mr. Phillips, “I know you just found out that Jesse and Rory are your niece and nephew but I would prefer if you not try to be alone with them or talk to them without Ben or Andrew until you and I have our talk. Understood?”

He quickly shook his head though he did look like I had just slapped him in the face. He mumbled that he didn’t have a chance of that happening anyway because Ben and Andrew were stuck on them like glue before they knew he was related to them so he can imagine how much tighter that glue would be now that they know he’s their uncle. We all laughed but it gave me a deeper appreciation for the bodyguards.

I left and had to speed through downtown Atlanta, as much as possible, to get to the Bridal Shop without being to ungodly late. When I got there Madison, Berdina and Katie were getting the final touches of their dresses done. Madison instantaneously knew something was wrong when she saw me and came down to talk to me before I got to the others. I told her I would tell her after we left. She nodded knowing it had to be something important. We picked and bought the bridesmaids shoes and mine as well as leaving with our dresses.

My wedding gown was beautiful. I had to hand it to Madison. She was very good at picking something that looked expensive and accentuated me very nicely.

I almost hit the ceiling when we were ringing everything up, however. I insisted on paying for the bridesmaid’s dresses and shoes since they were going to be expensive. We couldn’t exactly go with something cheaper. It was going to be an enormous event with a lot of influential people there and everyone had to be looking their absolute best. Between three bridesmaid’s dresses, my dress, Rory’s flower girl dress and all of our shoes the total was just over nineteen thousand dollars. My dress was the majority of it at almost fifteen thousand.

I looked at Madison and stammered out, “My God, Madison. There better be some diamonds on the dress for it to be that much.”

She laughed and said I needed to learn to be girlier. It was a name brand dress, that I had especially made to look like Belle’s dress from Beauty and the Beast with the exception of being white with yellow in it, and wasn’t going to be cheap but since it wasn’t my money that I was using I should just be happy that I have a beautiful gown to pass down to Rory for when she gets married. I had to admit, looking at it like that did make me a little less stressed. Damn, how was I going to tell Logan how much I had spent there? I’ll just blurt it out. Yep. That’s exactly what I’ll do. Not that he’ll care either way honestly.

Once we left, Madison and I said good-bye to Berdina and Katie and we headed out to do the rest of the wedding errands before going to the base for the week while they ran the dresses home and Katie could get dropped off while the guys got picked up so they could head to base themselves. In the car I told Madison about what had happened at the camp and the entire time she sat there looking at me with her mouth opened and pale. Almost a mirror reflection of how I felt on the inside.

She asked, “What did you do?”

I told her I wasn’t sure what the hell I was going to tell him but I knew he deserved to know the truth. If he really was Robert’s brother someone needed to mourn for him other than his children. I explained I wasn’t really sure how I was going to get through everything though when she suggested that she be there when I tell him I was grateful. I was more than lucky to have her there with me. She has always been a good friend to me and I was even more appreciative of that these past few months.

We ended up finishing everything sooner than expected so we headed to base to get things ready for the Secret Service morons that we were going to have to work with again this week. It will be this groups third week with me and they still act like newbies. When we got there the base was quiet. I looked at Madison walking beside me and we both rolled our eyes. We dropped our bags by the doors to the mess hall before going in. As Madison opened the door I yelled out for the idiots to come join us because if they were going to try to snipe us they needed better hiding spots other than the tree, top of the building and behind the bush.

Jojo and Christiaan started laughing hysterically when I finished what I was saying. They were sitting at the table just inside the mess hall doors and heard all sorts of cussing and groaning of the three men as they were coming in. One walked up to me and asked how we knew they were where they were and trying to snipe us.

I looked over at Madison and told her to explain while I got a drink. She laughed and said, “Firstly, you need to control your breathing. Secondly, you have to stop shaking because when you do you shake your surroundings. Thirdly, turn the volume of your ear piece down. We could hear it twenty feet away. Lastly, if you’re going to hide somewhere to try to snipe someone off, you need to slow down, think about what you’re doing, control your breathing, take into account the wind and your surroundings, know your target and just trust yourself. You’re the one taking the shot. You are the one pulling the trigger. If you’re going to take a bullet for someone, or at least make them think you are, then you should be able to take the shot too. When someone’s life is in your hands you don’t have time to hesitate or second guess yourself. You don’t have the option of being scared. If you miss, then you miss, you just reload and try to get in a second shot before they see where you are and take a shot at you. It’s kill or be killed. Hunt or be hunted. Oh, and pick better hiding spots than the obvious ones that are the normal ones since those will be the first places people check, and you are supposed to be the best aren’t you?”

One guy just looked at Madison for a second before he decided to pull out his smart ass attitude. “I’m in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest and most accurate shot in the world. What is it you think you’re going to teach me about sniping that I don’t already know?”

Madison, Christiaan and Jojo started to stand up and say something to the jackass when I stopped them. “So, you think you’re the best in the world sniping things correct?” He shook his head yes while Cobra, Ghost and Striker just smiled. I continued, “And you don’t think you need to be here because you know how to do your job and there’s nothing we can teach you. Is that right?”

He belts out, “Hell yeah, that’s right.”

I kept on with what my team knew was coming. “Okay then, Ace, I’ll make you a deal. You pick five of your boys and the six of you will fight me. If you win then you can teach us what you know. You can get your sniper rifle and we’ll have a competition. You versus Madison here since you think she can’t teach you anything. Your record holds out at hitting a target at two and a half miles away so well put a target that far and one at five. Five miles is Madison’s furthest distance.”

They started laughing and one pipes up, “Well if you’re the best at everything what’s your distance?”

I smiled and told him six miles. They all lost their smirks quickly. I think they were trying to decide if I was playing with them or serious. Ace quickly agreed to my terms with the exception that if he wins then they get to go home for the week and I sign off saying they don’t need to be trained by me because they’re better than my team and I are. I agreed to his terms knowing the stress or his arrogance was going to mess him up more than he could see coming.

Jojo set up his targets at two and half miles away, and five miles, then they took their positions. I asked if he wanted any practice shots and he quickly scoffed about how he didn’t need to practice because he’s already the best. I told him to shoot when he was ready after Jojo gave me the all clear that he was out of the way.

He shot and hit on the outside of the target at the two and a half mile mark but completely missed the five mile mark. Next, Madison got into position and when I told her she shot both shots in rapid succession. Jojo brought back the targets because Ace couldn’t believe what he was seeing through his binoculars. Ace even made sure he watched Jojo the entire way up to make sure he didn’t switch the targets.

Once Jojo was up there he handed me the targets and I pinned them up on the wall. Ace dropped onto his knee when he saw the targets. Madison hit dead center on both bulls’ eyes.

Afterward, we moved onto the fight. Ace picked five of his boys that he thought would be able to take me out quickly. I told him it was going to be a one minute timer on the clock for this fight. He smiled and told his friends I didn’t want to get my ass beat for too long so I set the timer.

I said, “Yep. That’s exactly right. That’s why I set the time on the fight. Now, are you sure you want to do this. Okay, just don’t get mad when you get hurt. Jojo, when you’re ready.”

When he said go they started coming at me one by one but when they all started getting laid out they all started coming at me at once. After about forty five seconds they were all on the ground rolling around in pain and/or bleeding. My hair was still in place and I was still looking at them. I told them we still had fifteen seconds left but no one seemed to want to continue so Jojo whistled to stop the fight.

I walked over to Ace and squatted down before talking to him. “Now that we got past all of this childish shit of who’s tougher than whom and who knows more can we please get back to the training? Are you ready to shut the hell up and listen to girls?”

When he shook his head yes, I said great. I told Jojo and Christiaan to get them up and get them to their bays for the night while Madison and I went to ours so I could get my things ready for the week.

I THINK ALL PHASES OF ONE’S CAREER ARE SERIOUS IF YOU TAKE IT SERIOUSLY NO MATTER IF YOU’RE DOING HIGH PROFILE DRAMATIC PIECES OR NOT-BILL MURRAY

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