“David, I swear sometimes I want to throw something at you.”
I looked up laughing at Taylor, she had interrupted my thoughts. “I’m sorry I have a lot on my mind.” Things like Dax texting me and telling me what he had recovered wasn’t good. I hadn’t even said anything to Lucas yet. Not untill I knew the extent, not untill I knew what I was about to have to tell him.
They had just dropped a huge bomb on me at dinner tonight. Taylor was pregnant. It had been unexpected, neither had wanted another child yet Taylor had just found out today for sure. Apparently her low dose birth control was a little too low. Lucas wasn’t thrilled with Taylor’s pregnancy but he was kinda amused by it.
I was happy for them but at the same time I knew it meant that Lucas would be even more protective over Taylor. If Grace even uttered Taylor’s name Lucas would have her snuffed out. Looking over at Chloe in her highchair I knew I wouldn’t let anything bad ever befall her. For Grace’s sake I hope she didn’t have anything on or against Lucas.
Seeing Lucas stand up I took it as my cue that he wanted to talk. I’d eaten dinner enough with them that I knew the signs. Walking in his office I sat down watching as he poured us both a shot of whiskey.
“Lucas Blake,” I started, “look at you, I’d have never thought you’d have two under two.”
He laughed, “technically Chloe will be two well before the baby gets here. But I know.” He took a long drink, “I never thought I’d have this. Never thought I deserved it.” Looking up he looked me straight in my eyes, “any word on Carpenter?”
Taking a drink I nodded, “Dax has the files ready for me. When I leave here I’m going to go get them.”
Lucas nodded, “I want a report in the morning. I’ll be at the club around 10.”
As he leaned back in his chair I could see the stress written all over his face. This was all still new to him. He was used to only worrying about himself. Then Taylor came into his world and somehow changed him. I had a bad feeling about this whole situation. Lucas had always been able to hide or take care of his problems. One day I was afraid he would get in over his head. One day he would get in over all of our heads.
"Can't a man sleep in one day," I kidded with him.
He smiled up at me shrugging. "Ok, you can come in at 10:15." Turning serious he sat his drink down, "unless you find out something tonight I need to know. You find anything out that I need to be made aware of you call me. I don't care what time it is David. You call me."
I nodded, "you know I will."
Lucas stood up to refill his drink nodding at me. I shook my head, "I'm good. I'm about to head out to see Dax. I think Taylor just took Chloe upstairs so I better sneak out while I can."
My entire drive to see Dax I couldn't get Grace's face out of my head. I have had to kill women before but never ones like her. I could count on one hand how many women I had killed. If it came to it I had already planned out how I would do it. Simple. Bullet to the head. Shot through her apartment window. I knew where I would set up. I knew the exits. I was prepared for the worst but hoped for the best.
The moment I walked in and saw the expression on Dax's face I knew the worst was about to hit me. "You have the files ready?"
"Yeah," Dax said handing over the same zip drive I had given him the day before. "It's not good man. Not good at all."
I took a breath, "I'll look over it tonight. I do have time to do that right?"
Dax nodded, "Yeah...yeah I don't think she is ready...I mean...she doesn't know a lot. I think she knows enough. But you decide...I mean I know Lucas wont like it."
Nodding I turned around, "Looks like I'll have a fun night. Get some rest Dax, you look like shit."
Dax snorted as I walked out the door making me laugh at him. He could be a little overdramatic at times. He was brilliant but he tended to get worked up easily.
I had bought Lucas and Taylor's old house but I still stayed at my apartment in the city most nights. Being in the big house made me even more aware of how lonely I was sometimes. I tried to remind myself Lucas had found his one, I would too. I just had to be patient. Wait my turn.
As I approached my apartment door I frowned seeing the light above my door was out. My hair stood on end. Things like lights being out just didn't happen here. Walking closer to my door I put a hand in my jacket where if I had to pull my pistol it was easily accessed.
My first thought was that my apartment had been ransacked but my door was still shut. Reaching up I twisted the light blub bringing everything around me into brilliant bright white light. Strange.
That's when I saw her step from the shadows, "Mr. Rodriguez."
Grace Carpenter was at my door. What did she want? Could she possibly know what I had done? Did she have hidden camera's in her office that I had missed?
"May I help you," I said stepping to the side.
She pushed up her glasses and for some odd reason I found that sexy as hell. "I was hoping to have a word with you."
Nodding I wondered if I should just invite her in and take her out now. She was at my door so whatever was on these zip drives wouldn't be good. Unlocking my door I held it open, "come in."
She looked around before hesitantly walking in. "I have a driver outside waiting for me. He knows if I'm not back in a certain amount of time to call the police."
I frowned trying my best to act confused, "why would you need the police? You are the one at my door."
As I shut the door Grace turned, "I'm not stupid Mr. Rodriguez. I just want to know why you protect him. Does he have something on you? You do realize when he goes down you will too."
I laughed, "I'm sorry Ms..."
She tilted her head at me, "Grace. Grace Carpenter. And just so we are clear I know you have been following me."
I nodded, "is it a crime to follow a pretty lady around?"
Grace blushed, "Stop dodging the question."
I laughed, "ok, so who exactly am I supossed to be protecting?"
Sighing Grace once again pushed up her glasses, "you are well aware I'm researching Mr. Blake. Please stop playing stupid with me."
I nodded, "then you would know Lucas and I were in a foster home together. He is the closest thing to a brother I will ever have. I guess I do protect him. Taylor can be hard on him sometimes."
Grace shook her head, "I could offer you protection in repayment of your information."
This made me laugh, laugh harder than I had in a long time. "You want to offer me protection from Taylor?" I knew damn well that wasn't what she was talking about but the anger that crossed her face amused me far more that it should.
"Look Mr Rodriguez," she said angrily, "I know he will try and come after me but I have friends too. Stop following me around or those friends will come and see you."
Her bluff of her friends, aka the police, didn't phase me. "Is there a reason you are at my door tonight Grace or did you just want a close up of me. I mean you don't have to use Lucas as an excuse to come see me."
Grace's face blossomed red, "I came to warn you to keep your distance from me. I'm not coming after you so stay away from me."
She turned to go out the door so I followed behind her pausing in my doorway. "Grace," I called.
She turned around not moving as I walked closer to her. She held her ground out of sheer stubbornness I'm sure. I leaned down tilting her head up and kissing her lips lightly. "Yet." Seeing the confusion cross her face I put my lips close to her ear, "you aren't coming for me yet."
Her eyes grew big as she jerked out of my grasp and made a bee line for the elevator. Grace was indeed a little foolish, she should have known better than to show up at my door. I could have easily killed her tonight but I still wanted to see what was on the zip drive.
Entering my apartment I locked the door pulling my computer up and opening the files one by one. My stomach seemed to drop a little more with each file. While she didn't have anything concrete she had enough. It was clear we had a mole. She knew things she shouldn't. She had pictures of not only Lucas but of Taylor and Chloe. She had researched Taylor. She knew about Cody and Chase, suspected Lucas of killing them. She had a whole list of people she suspected Lucas had taken a hit out on or killed himself.
She had been following Taylor's every move. She knew where she grocery shopped, what days she took Chloe to the park, she knew way more than she should. That alone made it clear Lucas would issue a hit. Even though she didn't have the pieces to connect the dots she was messing in the wrong part of Lucas's life. I had no doubt whoever was feeding her information would eventually guide her to connect the dots.
Pulling out my phone I called Lucas. I gave him a brief run down of what was on the zip drives. His words didn't suprise me, his tone didn't suprise me. His voice was cold when he simply said, "take her out." There was no other words necessary, no instructions needed. He never rushed me, he knew I would have a plan in place.
As I hung up I thought again of Grace. The way she looked pushing her glasses up. The way her face blushed. The softness of her lips on mine.
Walking to the kitchen I poured a glass of scotch. I'd never second thought a hit. Why was I starting now. She was a threat to my family. Taking a long sip I walked to look out my window at the city below. Tonight was going to be a long night.