“Bird Dog does not fit me.”
“Back in the day, you were always chasing my secrets to tell mom and dad. Now you chase property for the Knight hotels. It fits. Drink your damn coffee.”
I sip the white mocha with approval. “This is the only reason you get to come in.” I back up and head toward the living room, claiming my big olive-colored chair that accents my cream-colored couch. “Especially since you made me go alone last night.”
“Randall was there,” he says, shutting the door.
“Randall,” I say. “Really? You think that brought me comfort? He acted like my grief was an inconvenience.”
“He was just trying to get you out of your own head.” He sits on the other olive chair across from me and sets his cup on the glass coffee table, the muscles in his arms drawing my attention again.
My brow furrows. He might not have been running, but he was doing something. “Are you living at the gym, or what? Because you haven’t been living at the office, like usual, which isn’t a bad thing. Just an observation.”
“We each deal with things how we deal with things. And I have my shit together. Shit’s getting done.” He leans forward and rests his elbows on his knees. “I shouldn’t have let you go alone last night. I don’t know why an award for dad fucked with my head so badly.”
I burn to talk to him about all I know and all I’ve discovered, but my brother is a good man. I don’t believe that he’s involved in anything I’ve discovered. The question is, do I destroy him by telling him the truth about our father, or do I destroy him by staying silent and risking some of it biting him in the ass? Right now he has plausible deniability to all things in that accordion file and journal.
“Was it really bad?” he asks.
“Of course it was really bad, but Randall made it worse than it had to be. I can’t believe dad made him his executor and not you.”
His jaw clenches. “Neither can I, but I do have a soft spot for you and he knew that. Randall—”
“Wants control for the rest of my life. That won’t happen. You know that, right? I know you’re close to him, but he’s not for me.”
“I know that, but dad hoped—”
“I know what he hoped and he gave him control to try to force me to marry Randall. I’ll walk away from everything before I do that.”
“I know you will.” He reaches into his pocket and sets a check on the table. “That’s to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
“What is this?” I set my cup down and grab the check, opening it to read a seven-figure sum. I tear it up. “I’m not taking that.”
“Fuck, sis, I’m low on checks. I’ll just wire it to you.”
“I’m not taking your money.”
“It’s our money. Dad—I loved him, but he fucked you over on this. I’m not doing the same.”
My heart squeezes. “I’m not taking your money.”
“It’s our money. That’s just how it is. I’m going to tell Randall to release any funds the will allows him to release to you.”
“That’s nothing,” I say. “Nothing for another seven years and only if Randall signs off.”
“I’m going to make him sign it the fuck over to me.”
“You can’t do that,” I remind him. “I read the fine print. Did you?”
“No, but you’ve got to be kidding me. That can’t be right. He can’t release you?”
“Nope. Dad knew you’d make him hand over my trust, so he ensured you can’t.”
He curses. “What the hell was he thinking?”
“It doesn’t matter. My trip to Germany will be my sanity. I need a break from Randall.”
“I’ll rein him in,” he promises. “And I’m going with you tonight.”
My brow furrows. “Tonight?”
“The fireman’s charity event.”
“That’s tonight? Oh God, Chance. I can’t do more Marion Roger tonight. Do I really need to go?”
“I need to saddle back up and I know it. Saddle up with me because every fucking time someone tells me they’re sorry for my loss, I will slit my wrist.”
“Don’t say that,” I chide, knotting up just hearing him say such a thing.
“You know I wouldn’t off myself. That’s not me.”
“We just lost dad,” I remind him. “You haven’t exactly been yourself.”
He draws a deep breath and exhales. “Look. Sis. I get it. I’ve checked out but I’m back.”
“I am. I was never really all that checked out. Taking over the entire Knight operation for dad comes with a price. I’m wearing a target on my chest and I needed some time to assess a few things dad handled on his own before I interacted with a number of people. I have my plan. I’m ready to move forward.”
“Why didn’t you just tell me that?”
“Because I didn’t want to make it worse for you. I wanted you to grieve in peace, even if I couldn’t.” His cellphone rings and he grabs it from his pocket. “That’s Randall. I’m meeting him for coffee to review some work. I’ll be back Monday morning, and everyone will know it.” He picks up his coffee and stands up. “Go back to bed. It’s early.”