“I don’t think that will happen either,” Case said in agreement. “He’s proven himself, so I think we should trust him.”
“I do too.” I trusted that man more than anyone else.
“So, what now?” Case asked. “You guys are going to stay in that apartment until the baby comes?”
“Actually, we are looking at houses today,” I answered. “We want something in the country, something away from the city. I think that’s a better environment to raise a family. Something with a yard.”
“I’m sure Balto will get a place with his own wall and gate, so it’ll also be safer too,” Case said. “Not to mention, quiet.”
“Yeah. I always imagined that’s where I’d raise a family. I didn’t imagine doing that with a man like Balto…but now I can’t picture myself ending up with anyone else.” He was the most honorable criminal I’d ever known. He always told the truth, even if it got him in trouble, and he possessed a lot of gentlemanly qualities.
“He’s a good man,” Case said in agreement. “I know he’ll take care of you.”
“Which is nice because we don’t have to worry about it anymore,” Dirk said before he grabbed a piece of bruschetta from the plate in the center of the table. “It’s like a full-time job.”
Case gave me a slight smile. “It’s not that bad. So, are you still going to be working here?”
“I don’t think so. I’m getting pretty big, and then I want to stay home with the baby. And then I want another one right away…so I think you can officially cut me out.” I’d never truly been a part of the business anyway.
“You can always come back,” Dirk said.
“And we’ll keep giving you your cut,” Case said.
“Absolutely not,” I argued. “I’m not working here anymore, so there’s no reason for me to make an income. You guys are the ones here every day.”
“But Mother and Father left it to all of us,” Dirk countered.
“Well, I’m out,” I said. “I’ve never asked Balto how much money he has, but I don’t think I’m going to need any help financially. And if we get married eventually, it’d really be pointless. So please, cut me out. Maybe one day if the kids are grown up and I’m bored, I’ll come back. But I refuse to be on the payroll for that entire period of time.”
Case gave a slight nod. “I don’t know how much Balto is worth, but I would say it’s at least a few billion.”
I couldn’t even imagine that kind of money. If he really was that rich, where did he keep all his assets? Did he put his money in the bank like normal people? I’d never asked him about money because it seemed weird. I just assumed he had enough to provide for all three of us. But a billion…that was crazy. “Well, if the number is even remotely close to that, I don’t need this money, guys. I appreciate the offer, but I can’t take it.”
Case exchanged a look with Dirk before he turned back to me. “Alright. But the offer is always on the table if you change your mind.”
“I know.” I smiled before I placed my hand on his. “But I’ll come visit all the time.”
“Damn it,” Dirk said with a sigh.
I knew he was joking, so I didn’t take offense to it.
Balto announced his presence with his deep voice, catching all three of us off guard. “Hope I’m not interrupting.”
I turned to look at the man I loved, the man who’d sacrificed everything to be with me. His blue eyes were hypnotic, exotic like a beautiful ocean secluded in a hidden cove, and he was strong like trees that were hundreds of years old. He glanced at my brothers, but his stare was reserved for me.
“Not at all.” I got to my feet and smoothed out my dress before I walked up to him and rose on my tiptoes. I kissed him on the mouth and felt his powerful arms wrap around my middle. “I was just telling my brothers that I won’t be working here anymore.”
“Good.” He kissed my forehead before he released me and walked over to my brothers.
Case stood up and greeted him with a handshake. “Nice to see you, man.”
I eyed my brother in surprise because I never saw him shake hands with anyone. He seemed to have proclaimed peace with Balto permanently.
Balto returned the gesture. “You too.” He shook hands with Dirk as well. “We are going to look at houses today. I found one just a few miles from you. I think she’s going to like it.”
“I am?” I asked, intrigued.
Balto ignored me and continued to speak to Case. “I’m sorry you won’t have your sister around for help anymore.”
“It’s alright,” Case said with a shrug. “She usually complains about everything anyway.”