Outside the floor length window to my left the nose of traffic down far below mixed together with yelling street venders and the mechanics of the air conditioning on full blast blowing stone cold air. Sitting behind my desk I kept an ear on the TV showing the daily news. The female shifter reporter is going on about some random car accident that has recently happened within the last few days a town or so over in another state. She has saying that it was just a stupid drunk driver who died on impact, while the two other boys in the flipped care are badly injured. One may be in critical condition when the force of the other car hit his side of the car. Overloaded with yawning, tiredness and many shots of coffee I zoom over the pile high of work files that has unsuspectedly risen over the last few days when I was away on a small get away vacation.
Now I am paying the price by pulling an all-nighter to get it done in one go. But it hasn`t gone according to plan because now that it is morning and I haven`t even made a dent in the over flowing case files lying around in my office. Huffing in pain I slam the pen on the desk, ran a hand through my unkempt hair, and stood up to stretch my poor aching muscles. Licking at my dry lips I can still taste the sweet coffee drops and the leftover sea food from yesterday’s late night dinner from the take out restaurant on the see front five minutes down the road. Slowly stumbling to the window I flick off the birthday cake crumbles sitting under my fingernails uncomfortably. My pain in the arse brother Orlando dropped the cake off late last night half wasted in which I was surprised in how he got back to his friends at the reception without tripping over flat on his backside.
Sighing I unroll my sleeves regretting it because of all the wrinkles in them. I can`t go out looking like this to go see my clients today; it won`t make a very good first impression. Being a part of a European Lynx pack it will be quicker to ask someone to get me a new clean shirt if they are passing by the building on the way to work. However I can suffer through another day in this shirt and hopefully I am able to actually go home and have a shower and get some clean clothes on. The staff and I cannot afford to look unprofessional because it loses clients to our competion over the other side of town. That means no money to pay staff for them to keep a roof over their heads, food in their stomach and to keep their families safe from the harsh world of what we call reality.
“Well look what we`ve got here an over tired wild cat in its natural habitat in the cage of an office.” A boyish voice said.
Jumping by the sudden sound of the voice I turn in the direction of one of my younger twin brothers Orlando. Smiling wearily at him I waved him in as I made my way to the couch in the far corner of the room. Flopping down onto the sofa with a large thump huffing at Orlando who is currently laughing at me the closer he gets to me.
“What am I going to do Orlando? Everyone in the pack is starting to lose that last bit of hope I promised to even be able to find him.” I said.
“I know big brother I miss him just as much as you. I haven`t even met him yet and that goes the same for Oliver. He is one of us so he should be fine where ever he is healthy and strong maybe even with his mate fingers crossed. “
“But what if he isn`t brother? How can we help then if we don`t even know where he is at this moment in time?”
Slapping me upside the head my brother sat down in the armchair closest to the window sighing in pain and sadness. If mother and father saw the two of us now sitting here sulking and wasting our time the two of them would have gutted like a fish just to put us back together again so the next day just to do it all over again. It would go on until we would learn our lesson good and proper. Together we sat in perfect silence listening to the movement of the traffic and the many countless beating hearts beating in a rhythm on the office floor and in the rest of the building. I`m not sure what happened next but my eyes began to drop off to sleep. Just as I did so I heard a soft goodnight by my brother and the light click of the door closing. Nevertheless my dreamless sleep didn`t stop me from seeing my brother`s face as a small young child before he disappeared. He was laughing in my face yelling how useless I was and that I was the one that deserved to be taken away not him. This fragment of my imagination grew more intense and darker by the second the closer it got up into face screaming.
I screamed myself awake from the dream sweat dripping down my face and onto the collar of my white shirt. Some staff members that mingled close to my office rushed in. Panic is set in their faces as they are frantically searching the office for anyone that may have broken in or be in danger. In a few short minutes I explained to them that it was just a nightmare and promised that it won`t happening again anytime soon in the office when pulling an all-nighter. Sceptical glances thrown my way before they all walk off and out of thin air my two younger brothers strides through the open doors of the elevator. Each of them is wearing black and white suits and their hair is jelled back. In so together the two of them wrapped themselves around me for a hung like vines that just never seem to want to go away.
“Come on brother let`s blow this joint and go and get drunk out of our arses down at the local biker bar on the high street.” Oliver said.
“Dude its nine thirty in the morning so we aren`t going to get ourselves pissed faced. Anyway the local biker bar on the high street is closed at the moment for major renovations after it was set alight six months ago.” I replied pulling the two of them off of me.
“Then we will go find another bat that isn`t closed for renovations and get shit faced there instead.” Interrupted Orlando helping himself to the chocolate in a small bowl sitting on desk hidden away behind the mile high piles of case files.
“Boys you`ve barely turned eighteen we can`t go and get drunk every time you feel like it.”
“You do exactly that though my lovely dear brother, so why can`t we just do the same?” Oliver said thumping his brother on the head for stuffing his face full.
A knock on the office door startled me which has forced me to become stern, agitated, and more rigged. Oliver and Orlando moved themselves over to the sofa I previously slept on talking to each other in quiet hushed tones. Beckoning the person I straightened up and to look professional as possible for my PA and the couple walking behind him clutching each other.
“I`m sorry sir to bother you at this early hour but these clients are desperate and also adamant to see you as soon as possible.” My PA said before striding out of the door.
“Please the two of you can sit down on the armchairs in from of my desk while I show my brothers out of the door and into the elevator. Boys come along now I think it’s time for the two of you to be heading off home around about now to get to your own jobs I should hope.”
This couple stood awkwardly by the door not daring to keep their head held up high and look me in the eye. A bit rude I must say but I can let it slide for the moment upon our first meeting and such. Oliver and Orlando shoot up from their seats on the sofa and skittishly speed walking out of the office door. Far away from ear shot the two of them are rambling on about the couple in my office being tiger shifters. Guiding them into the elevator I hushed their continuous rambling, kissed their foreheads, and pressed the ground floor button. Watching the two boys disappear behind the large metal elevator doors, I sighed not worried in the slightest about the two of them getting home but question what they are saying about the couple sitting in my office being tiger shifters. Speed walking into the office I lightly closed the door and lent against it for a few seconds. Neither one of the couple turned my way as I swiftly walked to my seat and took it upon myself to remove the piles of files onto the floor out of the way but far enough that they couldn`t be knocked over any time soon.
“So what can I do for the two of you on this fine lovely day?” I uttered first my hands clasped together in front of me on the desk.
“We wanted you to investigate a certain car crash our sons got into. We – well I – believe that it was no accident. Here is what we have found out already in the last few hours since it has happened late yesterday afternoon.” The woman said handling over the case file.
“First things first I know that the two of you are high ranked tiger shifters within your pack or herd so there is no need to act as if though the two of you are poor weak little humans. To be honest it doesn`t really suit you alpha I thought you would have been better than this.” I said.
As if they have been told off by their head teacher for doing something wrong and inappropriate the two of them straightened their backs, held their heads high, and also beard their teeth at me in a hissing and very hostile manner.
“Oh hush now my dears. I was just stating the most obvious fact here lingering in the room for everyone to see.Secondly now the size of the file that you have given me I expect you have lingering in the back of your mind. Here is what is suggest the two of you should go and see your son`s while they are in the hospital to see the full proper extent of their injuries. Then when they are fully healed I want the two of you to give me a call and set up a meeting for me to be able to meet your son`s in person and get their versions of the car crash. By then such things as medical records, police statements, and many other pieces of evidence will be available to access via the two of you I would hope. When they have been given to me I will look through them as quickly as possible and see what I can find and put together in due time. Do I make myself clear?”
Our small meeting soon came to a close when the two tiger shifters nodded and scurried out of the room quietly whispering to each other. Chuckling to myself I kicked my feet onto the desk and rested my hands of the back of my head in a very smartass cocky manner. The idea of another nap before my mid-morning snack of jelly and ice cream brought on a wave of tiredness and a long unappetizing yawn. Thinking back to the shifter couple I wondered if they clearly knew that I was a powerful shifter compared to other shifters such as themselves. Obviously neither of them seemed to care enough about that only traveling out of their way to seek the best help possible for their two sons in the hospital. My own parents would have done the same if they weren`t so preoccupied with spending with last few days looking and trying to hunt down our missing baby/older brother.
Somehow they just one day when I was eleven years old and the twins were barely toddlers the two of them up a left without any sort of explanation. But anyways instead of lingering on old crappy memories I flick through the shifters case file and not much information has been put in that is basic stuff that the police officers may already know about. A low knock on the door alerted me to see my younger brother`s standing at the office door each holding a brown paper bag with a burger log on the front of it. Slightly concerned I waved them in a trying to rub the sleepiness of out the corners of my eyes.
“Hey big brother Oliver and I have brought you some burgers and chips for lunch.” Orlando says dumping the fast food bag onto the open file sitting in the middle of the desk.
“Orlando it`s only ten o’clock in the morning so I don`t and won`t be eating those delicious calorie counting burgers and chips.” I replied moving the open case file onto the other mounting case files sitting on the floor.
“Romulus it`s two thirty in the afternoon not ten o’clock in the morning. I think you have drinking too much coffee and with the lack of sleep you must have either fallen asleep or you brother dear are just hallucinating.” Oliver interrupts.
“Yeah most probably nevertheless now I must think about it that clock up there on the wall needs the battery changed to start back up again.”
“We also came here to show you these photo`s we were able to get our hands on while the two of us were out having a little nosey in and about the local police station today. They seem to be very laxed in there because we were able to walk in and out again without a care in the world and not a police car siren chasing us all the way here.” Oliver said handing a large file worth of photos.
Curious about these photos I put to one side my fast food lunch and flicked through the first five or six photos laying on the top of the pile. Instantly I am able to recognise the boy in the photo as one of the brothers in the car crash accident yesterday afternoon. However what caught my eye is the boy I recognise has the same brightly coloured forest green eyes and inky black hair as my father. The facial features of his so called ‘brother’ are completely different to this green eyed boy. Wheels in my head start to turn and formulate the differences and the similarities between this young boy and the twin and I. Sat in front of me the twins are watching me think silently in my seat staring at the photos presently scattered across the desk. Personally I didn`t want to believe it but the boy in these car accident photos is my missing bother second oldest in our small family of three.
A few weeks went by and the ‘parents’ of my missing brother came back with their son who is wrapped up in bandages and a cast on his left leg. The three of them came by several times during these last few weeks passed by. In which bothered me a hell of a lot more than it did when the twins barrelled their way into my office to tell me that out brother is in critical condition and may never be able to see properly. Listening carefully in on the meeting together with the tiger shifter parents and son I jotted down as many notes as possible in the time frame that we had. Oliver and Orlando agreed that I should be the one to go visit out brother to that local hospital and introduce myself. The day got closer and the twins soon realised that they are going to be missing out on having some time with their older brother and then proceeded to beg and plead with me to go until I left the house this morning. My palms are sweaty areas I park the car and stride into the reception of the hospital.
“Excuse me where is Rocco Donegan`s room?” I asked at the reception desk.
“It is room 113 on the second floor hun. Visiting hours are almost over you have an hour at the most.” The man behind the desk replied back tapping away on his computer keyboard.
“Thank you very much sir.”
Rushing up the stairs two at a time I skid to a halt in front of his room 113. The door is partly open allowing me to enter quietly and stare at him for a while before I say anything to him.