Her text comes back, and I go blank. I want to kick my own ass. She must know the truth. I call her and message her repeatedly, trying to defend myself, but it’s not working. I won’t give up. Not until I take my last breath.
“Tommy, where is it? Don’t fucking lie to me again.” I’m down at his office in downtown Chicago, leaning over his expensive desk. It’s a trip I didn’t have time to make, but he refuses to return my calls. I have to be in the lab soon.
“I don’t know. Maybe my mother sold them.” I want to climb over his desk and pound his fat head in. I may have always been little compared to them, but I’ve never been above fighting dirty.
“Bullshit. The books were in her will. You’re an asshole, and I know you or David did something with them. They were in the special case.”
“I don’t know, Miracle.” He smirks because he hates me, and I hate my real name.
“Don’t call me that.”
“I can’t help your parents have shitty taste in names. Here.” He hands me an envelope with a cashier’s check for three hundred thousand dollars. I stand there with my mouth gaping open. “Now get out of my office. You have your part of the money from the sale that ends our relationship.”
“The sale of what?” I narrow my brows. The book wasn’t worth that much, but if it’s that he’s going to pay.
“The estate. Duh. Where the fuck have you been? The lawyer sent you several emails.”
“I didn’t sign off on anything.”
“It was handled by our attorneys per the agreement in the will. The owner is renovating it as we speak. You didn’t talk to him?”
“I only spoke to two workers.”
“Well, the owner of the company renovating is the owner of the house. Benedict Carrington is the name on the bill of sale. You need to check your emails and stop hanging around the slums of the city.” I flush with anger and embarrassment. My chest hurts. He’s the owner of my old home. I can’t believe that he didn’t say a word about it.
“You’re evil, Mr. Jackass.” I storm out of his office. I’m too angry to see straight, so I try to walk it off. I have to work in an hour and processing all of the evidence correctly takes concentration. Right now I can’t focus. All I see is red. We’ve spoken twice and messaged each other, and not once did he say that he bought the house.
And like that my phone chimes with a text from Ben. Good morning, beautiful. I blush even though, I’m pissed off. I can’t control the smile that crosses my face despite wanting to punch him in the nuts.
I reply as I go to my car. Lose my number. Seconds later, my phone is ringing, and just as it stops—it starts again. I drive into the lot for work and mentally prepare myself. I look and see I have two messages from him.
I play the first one: Mira, I’m sorry. I was going to tell you about the house, but…I didn’t know how to bring it up without you walking away. I’m not letting this go, so go to work, but we’re going to talk about this later.
As I’m preparing to exit my car, I freeze and decide to play the other one: I really am sorry, Mira. From the first second I saw you…I knew you were special to me. I don’t know how to say this, and it should be said in person, but I’m crazy about you. You’re funny, smart, and stubborn. I don’t think the last one is good in this case, but I just need to see you.
I don’t respond. I have important work to do.
Fuck. She refuses to answer my calls. I can’t let her get away this easily. I knew from the first time I met her that she was the one.
“Boss, I have something for you.” She hands me a print out of a page. I look at the recent auction. “I have the number. Do you want me to call them?”
“No. I’ll handle it.” She gave me the number, and I dialed it without a moment to waste.
“Holden Antiques, Leonardo speaking. How may I assist you today?”
“I am calling about the lot #HA2214553.”
“Ah yes, the Austen masterpiece. It already has several bids on it. The auction closes in one week.”
“Yes. I would halt the auction. I believe the books are stolen.”
“I’m a concerned friend of the true owner.”
“I assure you that the books have been authenticated with a letter from the lawyer of the family selling them.”
“According to your page, the family name is Richmond. If they are the one in the same, they have been bequeathed in a will to a family member who has threatened to sue for them.”