“This is the fifth time you disappear without telling anyone. Is it…serious?” Phillip Heart asked, jabbing a finger in my direction across his desk.
“It’s not a vacation, if that’s what you’re getting at,” I replied. The issue with having five brothers was one of them was always getting in my business.
“You know damn well I’m talking about a woman.”
“No shit. But when have I ever been serious about a woman?” I knew exactly who he’d throw in my face. One fuck-up and no one in this family would ever let me live it down. Before he could talk, I said, “Don’t bother answering that. High school does not count. I chase after only one thing now.” Outdoing you.
“Just checking. Never know when you’re going to run off and get married,” Phillip scoffed.
“We didn’t get married,” I clarified. There were two reasons for that. First of all, we were barely sixteen, and secondly, because Phillip caught wind of what I was doing and told our parents. My father tracked my ass down and practically dragged me back home. I was pissed back then, but I learned that the saying “Out of sight, out of mind,” was accurate. I can’t even recall her name. Hell, I don’t remember any of their names.
“And we’re all glad you didn’t. It would’ve been a huge mistake.”
“Chalk it up to being young and…”
“In love,” Phillip jumped in.
I shook my head. “Stupid. Trust me, Phillip. My head is clear. I know exactly what I want.”
Phillip laughed. “I’ve heard that before from Kenneth and Jerry. We both know how that ended. It’s starting to look like you might be following in their footsteps.”
I chuckled. “It’s not contagious. And trust me, there’s no room in my life for that type of commitment,” I said.
“If it’s not a woman that has you so secretive, what is it, then?” Phillip asked.
“Business,” I stated flatly.
“What kind of business?”
I glared at him across his desk. “My business. Which means, none of yours. But if you want, I’m willing to hear what your next endeavor entails.”
“Point taken,” he replied, no longer laughing. “I hope you know that I only ask because…”
“Don’t get soft on me, Phillip. You and I are cut from the same cloth. We see it. We want it. We get it. If you want to worry, worry about anyone who stands in my way,” I said.
“That big of a deal?” he asked. I nodded. “Here in Boston?”
“If you think asking questions is going to get you answers, you’ve forgotten who you’re dealing with.” Even as kids, Phillip and I were the most stubborn. Part of me wanted to let him know what I’ve been working on, but if he let it slip to the others, I’d be opening myself up to a lot of unwanted opinions.
“I’m here if you change your mind,” he said.
I got up to leave Phillip’s office and said, “Same here. But for now, I’ve got a chopper waiting for me. I’ll see you in a few days.”
I was able to keep the family in the dark by renting a charter instead of using the family jet or chopper. The less they know right now, the better.
It was a move none of them had made yet. There was a chance I was making a mistake, but my gut never let me down. I see it as an opportunity. Buy it. Build it. And sell it for a fucking huge profit. There was just one damn place that had refused every offer I made, even when they were above the asking price. But rumor had it the owner was no longer with us. Time was of the essence – I needed to get there before anyone else snatched it up.
I had a few hours to kill on my flight to Bermoose, New Hampshire. For once, I could close my eyes and relax on the way. Nothing had been announced about who the new owner was, but whoever it was, they had to be easier to negotiate with than Carl Worth.
We made good time on the flight, and once on the ground I hopped in a rental and headed directly for The Treasured Chest. I planned on making this trip short and successful. When I arrived at the club, the doors were locked. At that time of day, they should’ve been open for business and full of patrons.
I smiled. This was a good sign. It was very possible I could lowball the offer and be back in Boston late tonight. All I needed to know was who had inherited this place. The courthouse had closed for the day, but there was a diner I’d eaten at several times. The food was great, but the waitress is a nonstop chatterer. With any luck, The Treasured Chest would be a hot topic there tonight. If not, I’d make it one.
As soon as I walked into the diner, the cheery redhead spotted me. “Welcome back, Mr. Heart. Are you here on business or pleasure?” she asked.