Tate grunted and tucked his face into my chest, burrowing into my body heat and away from the source of disturbance. I snorted and carefully reached over him, grabbing his phone from the table.
The caller I.D. read Tommyboy and I hoped Tate didn' t mind that I was going to politely tell his brother to fuck off.
"Hello?" I mumbled, leaning back into the couch and rubbing Tate' s back.
"Who is this?" An angry hiss came from the other end and my eyes shot open. What the hell?
"This is Tate's boyfriend and he's sleeping. Would you like to leave a message?" I kept my voice even. Don't start trouble Oliver.
"Boyfriend? Tate doesn't have a boyfriend! Who the fuck is this? I swear to God if you hurt my brother I will kill you!" A deep voice raged on the other side. Okay something's going on.
"Tate" I shook his shoulder and he groaned, nuzzling under the blanket. I shook him again, harder this time.
"Uh what?" He pulled the blanket over his head.
"Hold on, he' s awake," I relayed to his brother who yelled another string of pleasant words into the reciever.
"Tate. Now," I growled and yanked the blanket down. "Phone."
"Fuck, what?" He snapped and sat up, pushing me back and straddling my chest. He grabbed the phone like a weapon and brought it to his ear with narrowed eyes. His hair was sticking out everywhere and he balanced a hand against my chest. It took everything I had not to laugh my ass off at the sight.
"Whoever the fuck this is, it had better be good," he hissed and I started to chuckle. He was about as deadly as a squirrel but damn if he wasn' t trying.
He listened and groaned. His face flipped through multiple emotions before settling on attack squirrel again.
"Are you sure Tommy? Yea. Uh huh. What? Oh my God. Does Carly know? Okay. Okay. Yes he is. No you can' t. I' ll take care of this. Oh no you don' t. Swear to God Tommy..." Tate scowled and I rubbed his thighs. He took a deep breath and nodded.
"Yea tell Mom we' ll be there. Eight right? Yea okay. Love you too. Bye." Tate ended the call and threw his phone over the couch.
With both his hands now planted on my chest and his hair hanging down, he looked like some crazed demon. His fingers dug into the hair on my pecs and I grit my teeth.
"I' m in. You call daddy dearest and tell him that I' ll give up any knowledge I have on Da...I mean Alex. He fucks with my family to get back at me and all bets are off."
"Whoa. What?" I sat up and circled his waist.
"You' re gonna love this. So Alex had sold the old Montgomery plant to Goliath industries last fall. After the demo was done and as kind of a favor to me, he recommended my brother' s contracting firm to work on the new mall going in. Plans were made and yadda yadda, they started work on it two months ago. Once the first payment was made to Tommy' s firm, he and his wife Carla put a down payment on their dream home, knowing the other payments over the year would be enough to cover for it. Well this morning, they get a call from Goliath saying that they needed to pack up their tools and equipment and move out. They claimed that their work was unsatisfactory and wasn' t meeting the standards previously agreed upon. So in their contract it states that if the work is not satisfactory..."
"They are free to terminate the contractor and his employees," I finished for him.
"Not even the worst part Oliver. The cheque they sent in for the down payment was stopped by Goliath industries. They lost the house." Tate shook his head in anger.
"Tommy called around to see what the word was from the other contractors he knows and Goliath already is setting up shop with McKenna Construction Group. The same guys working on Alex' s waterfront restoration project. I' m gonna fucking kill him. I swear it Oliver, I' ll do it."
"No. You won' t have to. I' m going to." I pulled him to me and he hugged me tight. "He just made a very big mistake Tate and I promise you he won' t ever do it again."
I drove out of the city and into the older surburban district. Medium sized family homes with decent schools and lots of minivans. Pretty little lawns dotted with potted plants and porch swings eased past us and I began to get nervous. I was meeting Tate' s parents tonight.
After a long call to my father and a few other choice colleagues, I had set in motion the imminent destruction of the Rutovsky empire. Not one member of that clan was safe from me. I now had four investigators working around the clock to gather information. People were being paid under the table for even the smallest of details and Tate' s tablet and laptop were being copied by a secure I.T. Specialist out of the city.
I was exhausted at this point but I kept up a strong front for Tate. He was quiet, stressed out, and seeing his family was definitely what he needed. I didn' t quite understand the concept of it all but his eyes lit up at the mention of his mom and dad.
"Turn right there," Tate pointed to an out of place wooded road at the end of a cookie cutter culdesac. A rustic wooden sign hung on small chains with Raymee painted in cursive. I sighed, what would it have been like to grow up this way? Simple probably and judging by how Tate turned out, not so bad.
I pulled the Mercedes up the drive and was amazed of the house that came into view. A snow white victorian sat on a pristine plot of grass, complete with a full wrap around porch and a semi circle drive.
Four vehicles were parked off to the side and a man was struggling to pull a large bag from the back of his van.
"You can just park here. They won' t try and leave until later." Tate unbuckled his seat belt before I stopped the car.
Fuck it. I stopped the car and got out, not even bothering to try and open the door for Tate. He was already out and walking around to me. My hand was twined with his before I could think.
"Luke!" He called to the man that was now fighting with a baby blue bag.
The man looked up and sighed, "a little help?" He was tall, lean, with bright blue eyes.
"Sure. Luke, this my boyfriend Oliver. Oliver, Luke." He gestured and began working to pull the bag from the tangle of baby equipment in the back.
"Nice to meet you Luke," I put out a hand and was met with strong calloused fingers.
"Yea you too man. So boyfriend huh?" Luke ran a hand through his shaggy blonde hair.
"Uh huh," Tate grunted, planting his foot against the van, tugging on a strap coming from the trunk's abyss.
"Anyone met him yet?" Luke grinned and glanced over at me.
"Nope. Well Tommy sorta did but he was plastered so it didn't count." Tate tugged again and fell flat on his ass with the world's largest diaper bag spilled on his chest.
Luke bent over laughing and I crouched in a panic next to Tate, "Are you alright?"
Tate groaned and laughed, "yea I'm fine." He picked up a bottle of lotion and chucked it at Luke's head. I hauled him to his feet and he dusted off his jeans. He looked even younger in his jeans and army style jacket, the dark blue brightening his eyes.
"What?" He glanced up, brushing dirt off his backside, then bending to help Luke with the items on the ground.
"Nothing. So should I be worried?" I raised a brow and put a container of cheerios in the bag.
"Let' s just say meeting this family for the first time is an experience," Luke snorted but obviously was fine with it all.
"Right. So you' re the brother in law then?"
"Yep. Got hitched to Sadie four years ago. Two kids and a house later, here we are," he patted the evil bag and stood up.
"Sadie' s the oldest and the loudest. Watch yourself man," Luke patted my shoulder and began walking into the house laughing.
"What did you get me into?" I growled at Tate but he just winked.
"Don' t worry, they' ll love you. It' s just dinner. It' s not like i' ve never brought friends with me before."
"But i' m not some friend, now am I?" I yanked him behind the van and pressed myself into him. "Am I?" I whispered and kissed him.
"No, you' re not," he whimpered and ran a hand through the hair at my neck.
"Tate!" A woman' s voice shouted and he stiffened. "Next time you make out with your boyfriend, do it inside of the vehicle if you don' t want everyone watching." A door slammed behind me and I turned slowly and looked up. From the front picture window three women were laughing madly. The angle of the house did indeed hide nothing from their view. Great Oliver. Nice first impression.
"Sorry," I murmured and Tate groaned.
"Well I guess it's time then. You ready? " Tate smiled up me.