Falling for Red

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Chapter 28: Disaster Control

My eyes widen and my heart aches as he looks down at me with vulnerability shining clearly in his expression, “please Red, don’t...” I smile a watery grimace. My family need me and I cannot abandon the reason I’m still alive.

His eyelids droop and I take in a baited breath, watching him closely I notice the tensing of his jaw and the straining of his knuckles. But, before I can plead with him further he replies, “Dyson will accompany you down, don’t worry about packing I’ll have Marisa settle it.” I pull back, shocked. I’ve never known Red to cave so easily. Then he continues, “I may be selfish, Julia... but I refuse to allow that to get between us. You want to go home, fine. However, you’ll have a security detail.”

I open my mouth to refuse his absurdity and he presses his finger against my lips, “but-

“Don’t argue the matter, baby. This is the only way I’ll let you go.” He presses a chaste kiss to my forehead before moving to stand up. Red shifts us from the floor to a standing position, he directs me to my room, “grab what you need for the night, the rest will be sent down the next morning.”

Slowly I nod. Red leans against the door frame after fiddling with his phone, while I systematically shift though my room, grabbing overnight clothes and my toiletries. Within a few minutes, I’ve a backpack packed and am following my boss down to his car. As we arrive I notice Red’s head of security, Dyson. He is situated beside a sleek grey vehicle. I stop and turn to Red, releasing instantly that this is where we say goodbye.

Red nods at Dyson and he gives us privacy by slipping inside the vehicle. Red takes my bag and places it in the boot before closing it with a thud and returning to my side. He takes hold of my waist and pulls my body to his. “Stay safe, Julia. I’ll head down after clearing the mess up here.”

“It’s strange,” I mutter.

He raises an eyebrow, “what is?”

“You. Letting me go so easily,” I hated saying it. But I’d just declared my undying love for him and here he was easily sending me off, surely that should cause caution. Especially since I’d come to find read every bit possessive. What has changed?

He laughs, humourlessly. “Easy. Fuck babe, nothing about this is easy. But I’d rather you out of the city, something’s off and I intend to find out what. You’ll be safer out of the public eye.” My nerves settle and I smile, of course. The insecurities fizzle away as I lay my head against Red’s chest, breathing in his scent I press a kiss to his heart. “Be safe, baby.” He returns the kiss, hugging my form tightly.

Finally, we release each other. “Don’t do anything stupid. Don’t get hurt, Red.” I narrow my gaze.

“Yes, ma’am.” He opens the passenger door for me and presses one last kiss against my jaw, “always, baby. You’re mine.” He whispers in my ear, before stepping back and closing the door. My heart skips a beat and through the dark tinted glass I keep my eyes on Red, Dyson pulls away from the curb.

The silent ride is short of three hours. As we enter the small town of Ainos, the streets are empty and the town centre dead. Light from lamp posts leads us to my childhood home. Dyson parks behind my father’s Toyota, I step out into the cold night and quietly Dyson shadows my movements. I grab my bag before he can and lead us up to the porch of the small double-story house.

Standing up on the bench beside the front door, I reach up and feel around for the house’s spare key. Grabbing onto a small box, I yank it down. Dyson helps me down and looks at my hands confused, I open the box and pull out the small piece of metal. Keying the front door, I push through into the dark entry.

Automatically my fingers find the light switch and bath the small area with light. Walking into the living room, I follow it through to the dining area and kitchen. reaching into the fridge I grab two bottles of water, handing one to Dyson, I move back through the house and towards the staircase. Silently, we head up. “You can stay in my brother’s room,” I mutter.

“That’s alright ma’am, I can use the couch downstairs,” Dyson immediately responds.

I turn on my heel and stop in front of my brother’s room, “my name is Julia, Dyson. Please don’t, just use the room.” I open the door and step inside, instantly my brother’s familiar scent invades my nose. I look around and find everything exactly how he’d left it when he moved out into one of the small units in town. Nodding at Dyson, he releases a sigh but never the less enters the room.

“Ma’a-”

I cut him off, “Julia.” I say my name firmly, before continuing, “bathroom’s down the hall on the left, my room is opposite this one and my parents on the right.” I step back towards the door. “Goodnight, Dyson. Breakfast will be at seven.” I take hold of the door handle and close off the room behind me.

Unable to move further, I remain stationed in the dark hallway. It had been years since I’d been in this house, been in my room. Rolling my lower lip between my teeth, I finally push through into my room. Flicking the light switch, I take in the untouched room. Everything down to the colour of my bedsheets remains the same. Sighing, I realise just how lonely my parents are.

Ignoring the building guilt in my chest, I drop my bag on the queen-sized bed and shift through it. Pulling out my toothbrush, I head down to the bathroom.

Once I’m set for bed, I make sure to set my alarm. Slipping under the covers, I turn to look out the large window-seated opening. It doesn’t take long for my eyelids to shutter and before I know it, I’m drifting off.

A loud screech, had me jolting in my bed. I hear the distress in my mother’s scream and robotically dash for the door, unconscious of my current state. Opening my room door, I find my father coming up the stairs with a bat as my mother follows behind him. “Wow!” I step into the hallway, shocked.

My parents halt. Dad clenches his hands around the bat, while my mother’s panicked gaze flickers over to Benedict’s room. “Get away from there, Julia!” My mother whispers.

“What’s going on?” I question.

My father raises a hand and eggs me over towards them, “there’s someone in there,” he nods towards my brother’s room.

I laugh. “He’s my... friend, Dad. You don’t need the bat.” I then continue, “I asked him to come down with me, moral support... you know,” the lie slips off my tongue.

My parents eye the room suspiciously, finally, dad lowers the bat and slumps against the wall. My mother runs a hand down her nightie and copies my father’s actions. “Bring him down for breakfast, it’ll be done in twenty.” Mum turns and descends.

Breakfast, least to say, was uncomfortable. It was clear that my parents felt Dyson was far more suitable than the brutish CEO they’d met the night before.

Clearing my throat, I grab my plate and take it to the kitchen. Quickly washing the item, I head back out to the main room. “I’ll head into town to check in with Benedict, then the firm and bank.” I grab my phone without waiting for my parent’s response. Dyson is quick on his feet, almost relieved to be leaving the somewhat match-making breakfast.

Dyson leads the way to the car outside. We slip inside and he drives us into town, with few directions. We arrive outside the small hospital; it doesn’t take long to park. Within minutes, we speak with the nurses station and find our way to my brother’s room.

Stepping into the small hospital room, I spot Benedict easily. He turns to face us, with a spoon held in the air, quickly his expression crafts into a glare. I move further into the room. “The fuck you doing here?” He mumbles, lowering the cutlery.

“Joining a circus,” I reply sarcastically.

He pouts for a moment before pushing the table away from his bed, he opens his arms and I immediately go to him. “It’s good to see you, sis. Seriously, though. You shouldn’t have come back, you know what mum and dad are like,” he sighs.

“You’re sick, Benedict, that’s all I care about.” I press a kiss to his temple, “now... what’s this I hear about you stopping treatment?” I shift back and cross my arms, giving him a pointed look.

The next few hours are spent catching up on everything we’d missed during the years apart. Turns out, Benedict’s been undergoing a lot more than I’d assumed. Aside from his physical health, his mental is taking a toll. The family business is running on cents, after Benedict had gone out of commission, our father had let go of staff, to help finance the medical bills. It seemed my family needed me.

I finish up with my brother, before promising to be back tomorrow. Then Dyson and I head to the bank before closing in on the firm. The three-story building had seen better days, frowning at the structure I decide to take on the responsibility of cleaning up the mess consuming my family. Starting with Benedict, if I can just get him to agree to take further treatment, I can then focus on the business...

**

Before I know it, two weeks have past and I’m quickly becoming the primary manager of my father’s business. It had taken a solid week of pleading with Benedict before the damn stubborn man agreed to undergo more treatment; the next step is to get him to agree to a surgery. Easier said than done when the donor is my mother. But, for now, he is stable and this has allowed me to focus on working with the bank to get this company back up and running.

So far, I’ve been able to get the firm back on its feet. Re-hiring those who were let off and adding a couple more additions. All I needed to do now was to turn the balance into a profit. That, however, can wait for tomorrow. Feeling exhausted, I decide it’s time for some food and then sleep. Long sleep.

Cracking my neck, I lean back in my chair and eye Dyson as he taps away on his laptop in the lounge area of my temporary office. He seems to be in a fuss about something? Standing up, I shut down my computer, grab my bag and head in his direction.

“What’s wrong?” I question.

He frowns, looking down at a video, “this just came through.” Dyson points to the screen. The video is of my office back at the company; this spikes my curiosity. Sitting down on the sofa beside him, I lean in and take a closer look. “Everything seems normal, and then there’s a cut in the video and then this,” he freezes on the overlooking windows.

At first, I don’t notice anything except for the view, but then I narrow my gaze. He plays around with the image before a figure come’s to view. “I know him-” I mutter just as Dyson’s phone blares through the room.

“What’s the situation?” he questions. All of a sudden Dyson is on his feet, he tightens his hold on the small device. “He’s gone? What the fuck do you mean he’s gone missing. People don’t just vanish! Find him, now. I’m on my way back.” He ends the call and I grab onto his wrist before he can leave.

Swallowing hard, I feel my stomach drop, “what happened?”

“Red’s missing, Julia...”

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