Page 36 of Tobias

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“You’re doing it,” said Hiro. “Be there for her. It took a long time for Winter to trust me, Tobias. It seemed like forever, but I had to allow it to be at her own pace. She’ll recover, brother. We’re all here to make sure of it and help you.”

“I know that,” he said, shaking his head. “I just don’t understand how her father allowed this to happen. I mean, after the first time, wouldn’t you have quit?”

“Maybe he couldn’t,” said Miguel. They all turned to see the older man in the top row with Doug. He stood, staring at the men he’d known for decades. “In the family business, you are not allowed to just leave or quit. You must request it, and it’s rarely granted. Usually, you have to give something in return. A limb. A child.”

“Jesus, this is fucked up,” said JB.

“It is,” said Hex, “but we’re in the business of fixing fucked up, and that’s what we’re going to do. Jean? You and the team head up to NutriHealth. Find a way to get inside and see what they’re really doing. Pigsty? You boys need to get every detail of the financials for Mackenzie and Quinn. Sly?”

“Got her.”


“You were going to say find the sister. I have her. She’s on the phone.” Hex nodded for him to place her on the video screen. She looked a great deal like Gail. Her strawberry-blonde hair was shorter, cut in a severe bob at her chin. Her eyes looked more green than blue, and the fine lines around her eyes and mouth told them she was older.

“Phoebe, this is our team,” said Sly. “Thank you for agreeing to speak with us.”

“I won’t tell you where I am. I won’t!” she said defiantly.

“No need,” said Sly, shaking his head. No need because he already knew. She was in the South of France at a small villa on the coast.

“Why didn’t you tell your sister?” asked Tobias. She stared at him, then shook her head.

“Are you her new plaything?” she asked.

“Don’t insult your sister that way, and damn sure don’t insult me. She was fucking brutalized. Raped, sodomized, beaten, and left so that she could endure more. Why would you put her through that?”

“Because I had to do it!” she yelled. She looked behind her, shaking her head. “I had to do it. I wasn’t given a choice. Ever. Six times I had to go with him and his men. Six. The first time, I was only nineteen. I was a virgin. Boy, they really enjoyed that.

“It was two years later that they came again. This time, I was engaged. My poor fiancé didn’t understand, and I couldn’t explain it to him. Amy took my place the next time because they returned for me just two weeks later. I wasn’t even fully healed. I guess I was lucky that she actually enjoyed some of it. Not all.”

“She and your brother were killed, as well as the boys,” said Tobias. She looked off to the side, nibbling on her lip, and nodded.

“I thought so. I couldn’t reach them.”

“So, you tried to reach them but not your sister,” frowned Wes. She stared at the screen, seeing all the angry faces.

“You don’t get it. We didn’t have a choice. Dad knew that Gail would never agree to do this for the family, so he didn’t tell her. Now, she’s fucked everything up. Quinn is after us, and we’re all in hiding.”

“Yea, you look like you’re really suffering, lady,” said Nathan.

“You know what? Judge me all you want. Gail played the field. Daddy’s little baby, she got to do whatever the fuck she wanted. She wasn’t forced to starve herself to death for a fucking crown. She wasn’t forced to marry someone Mom approved of. She got to do whatever, and whoever, she wanted.”

“As was her right as an adult in America,” said Tobias. “You pimped your sister out to save yourselves and your fucking money.”

“She’ll get over it,” she said, staring at the camera. “We all do.”

“Where are your parents?” asked Luke.

“I don’t know. That’s the truth.”

“You better think hard on that response, sweetheart,” said Hex. “You’re currently in a lovely little village in Farinette-Plage, just off Rue Farret. Your husband, Arthur, is currently playing with your son and daughter. I believe they’re six and eight years old.”

Her skin visibly blanched as she stared at the screen.

“If you think Quinn is the devil, you haven’t met us,” said Rory, staring into the lens.

“M-my father’s health isn’t good. They decided to stay stateside. Right now, they’re hiding out in the house that belonged to Arthur’s grandmother in Newport, Rhode Island. It’s been on the market but hasn’t sold.”

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