Will needed to think. He needed to gather the thoughts flying around in his mind. Will was second in command. The only authority that beat his was Kieran’s. That’s why the d–n family hated him so much. Will sat down at one of the tables in the garden. After his authority came the four men that he and Kieran lovingly dubbed the “Four Commanders.” The affairs were split into four groups: money, personnel, P.R., and goods. The house had something similar to an Executive Board. What happened under the Commanders watch was up to them. They had their own ranking system under their own category. Of the four men, three were related to Kieran. Brennan and Fynn were Kieran’s cousins. Nolan was Kieran’s uncle. But Riley, who was in charge of personnel, had worked his way up. Kieran was fond of Riley the most.
They were all supposed to have a meeting soon to discuss the state of affairs. Will wanted them to take the warehouseinto account. After a few minutes of thinking in the garden, Will felt like bashing his head in. He had never tried to run things without Kieran. And where the hell was Murphy? Murphy had taken to following Will around a few years back, so Will began to assign Murphy things to do. Murphy became Will’s unofficial assistant. Where the hell was he now? Will was royally screwed.
His cell phone rang out some random techno beat. The Commanders would frequently call Will for help and instruction. He was surprised how dull they could be. Kieran had told Will once that he had a knack for this. That’s why he was so high in command. Half the time it seemed like common sense to Will though. His phone said Brennan was calling.
“What?” Will answered. He was aggravated and didn’t feel like trying to do everyone else’s job for them. Brennan sensed his foul mood.
“Hey Will, I was just wondering if you could assist me at the docks. New cargo is coming in.”
Will closed his eyes and let his head fall onto the rod-iron table in front of him.
“What is the problem?”
“It’s the Russian cargo.”
Will understood now. The Russians could be tricky little bastards.
“Yeah. I’ll meet you there soon. The usual dock?”
“Okay.” Will hung up the phone. He walked quickly around the house to the spot he had parked his Yamaha bike. The more he thought about it though, the more he convinced himself Brennan should be able to take care of this. The Russians could be tricky; but then again, Brennan was a devious little bastard too- which is why he got to oversee the goods in the first place.
Will put on his helmet and his jacket and got on his bike. The roads in the area were pretty open, since Kieran lived on the outskirts of the city. Once in the city, it was a different story, but Will was headed to the docks. It took him around the city. So the roads weren’t usually blocked up with traffic or aggressive drivers, which could promote speeding. Will had his mind on other matters too, which caused a deadly situation. Hindsight is 20/20. Since it was pretty close to the city, wildlife was usually limited.
It just had to be a d–n cat. When the cat ran straight into Will’s path, he jerked the handle bars to the right from pure reflex. He squeezed his eyes closed and cursed very loudly. Will’s bike headed to the right while Will’s body kept traveling forward. He flew a few hundred feet, hit the ground rolling, and when his speed decreased, his body slid another few feet on the pavement.
When Will opened his eyes, things were fuzzy, like he had a thin layer of cotton taped over his eyes. He blinked a few times and things came into focus. There was a voice that slowly came into focus as well.
“Don’t try to move!”
Will completely ignored the advice. He reached up and touched his face. He should have worn his face mask today. The right side of his face was fine. He reached over to the other side. It burned when he touched it. He winced and pulled his hand away. There was a dull throbbing in his left wrist and pain in his chest when he breathed. Will was on his side. He rolled over to his back.
“Sir, sir…don’t move.”
Will looked into the worried face of a middle-aged woman.
“I’m fine,” he said, trying to sit up. A shooting pain exploded in his chest, sending him right back down to the ground. He gasped in pain.
When the paramedics came, they gave him some gas, which made him blackout during the ride to the hospital. He came to again in a hospital bed. It was similar to before, when everything had been fuzzy. He blinked. His left wrist was wrapped in bandages, and he found that his chest was wrapped too when he looked down his hospital gown. Will also had a pounding headache. Dumbass cat.
A nurse came into the room and checked his I.V.
“Can I go now?” he asked her. She laughed.
“Wow. You area tough one. But…no, you can’t leave. The doctor is concerned that you might have internal bleeding. He wants to keep you here overnight for observation.
“What’s wrong with me?”
“You have a sprained wrist and a few broken ribs, other than that, we don’t know. If you need me for anything, just push that red button.”
She smiled at him and left. At least she was nicer than the last nurse he encountered. He couldn’t blame them for bad moods though; nurses had a right to be pissed off. Crappy hours, whiny patients, not enough pay.
Will’s mouth dropped open in surprise when Kieran, Murphy, and Kieran’s great uncle Gilroy entered the room.
“What are you doing here?” Will asked.
“The hospital called,” Kieran said.
“How did they know who to call?”
At this, Kieran laughed.
“Apparently, friend, you kept asking them to call me.”
“I don’t remember.”
“I told you to be careful on that death-trap bike,” Gilroy grumbled from the corner.
“It was a d–n cat.”
Murphy and Kieran both laughed. Kieran pushed his chair over next to Will’s bed.
“How do you feel?”
“Like I got thrown off a motorcycle.”
“Where were you going anyway?” Murphy injected.
“To help Brennan with some cargo. He must still be waiting!” Will said, trying to sit up. His ribs sent searing pain up and down his abdomen. He winced and fell back again.
“Will,” Kieran said. “It’s eight o clock at night. Brennan had his cargo in at noon.”
“Shit,” Will said softly. “Did it go smoothly?”
“Well, Brennan called me half an hour after he talked to you,” Kieran explained. “He told me he talked to you, but you never showed up. The exchange went smoothly, but Brennan said it would’ve helped if you were there. The hospital didn’t call until around five. So we ate dinner then got over here.”
“I’m sorry,” Will said. He was apologizing for worrying Kieran. He could see the effects of worry on Kieran’s face. Neither of them could address it directly though.
So Kieran just waved the apology away.
“The nurse told us you should stay overnight,” Kieran continued.
“Yeah. Sucks.” Will paused for a moment. “Could you do me a favor?” Kieran nodded in response, so Will continued. “Could you bring me a change of clothes tomorrow? Apparently my other clothes got torn up in the accident.”
* * *
Riley was surprised when Kieran called a meeting after Will’s accident. He thought the boss would need a day or two to re-coop from the shock. But Kieran called the meeting for the very next day. Riley blamed Brennan for the accident. If that dumbass was competent enough to do his own job, Will never would have been involved. Brennan and Fynn probably just played grab-ass all day. At least Nolan had connections. But that was to be expected, since he was older than all of them, probably older than all of them put together. Riley was always surprised to see how ancient some of the O’Meara relatives could be.
He was also surprised because Kieran didn’t talk much, and Will usually ran the meetings. Perhaps Murphy was finally going to grow a pair and be a temp. for Will. Riley liked Will. Will was genuine, and also had to fight for his place in the family. Riley, like Will, always got shit for being an outsider.
Riley was a good judge of character. He had to be. He wouldn’t have made it this far if he was a bad judge of character. He understood that he was a little rough around the edges, but it was also a characteristic that made him good at his job. He rarely got attached to the men he recruited. Riley had to stay objective in order to make the right decisions. But perhaps his roughness also had its downsides. Maybe that’s why he had trouble getting a girl. And if his mom didn’t stop complaining about his lifeless love life, he was going to snap and throw himself on a bridge yelling his mom’s name and sticking out his middle fingers.
He was going to bring one of the two men he was actually fond of in his work to the meeting; his assistant, Winchester. Riley doubted his name was actually Winchester, but he always felt weirdly uncomfortable whenever the subject was broached. So he just accepted Winchester. The meetings were always held in the O’Meara family mansion. He pulled his car into the driveway with Win in the front seat.
“For some reason, coming to this house always makes me uncomfortable,” Riley said, trying to navigate the driveway.
“I know what you mean. There are always workers around the house.”
“It’s like a d–n plantation.”
Win laughed. Riley parked the car next to rose bushes.
“Is this an acceptable parking spot?” Winchester asked.
“I’ve decided to make it one.”
The two men walked up to the door, which opened before they even reached it. Riley was slightly creeped out. A small, sturdy older woman led them to the meeting room. Riley had been in the room countless times for countless hours, but he still could spend hours wandering around the house and never find it. The woman led them to the door, and nodded to them. Riley entered, noting how it never changed. It had a conference sized table in the middle, with huge comfortable chairs all around it. Neither ends of the table had chairs, and only one end was ever occupied by Kieran. They all had their own spots to sit at too.
Brennan and Fynn were already present, and Fynn had brought along his right hand man. Riley said hello to the three men, shaking their hands firmly. Riley always felt like everything had to be a pissing contest with these guys.
Pretty soon, Nolan and his assistant, a blond haired woman joined them as well. Riley could tell the blond was a hard-hitting P.R. rep. Her handshake was even harder than Nolan’s. Murphy joined them. And finally Kieran joined them with a woman in tow.
Riley’s mouth fell open, as did everyone else’s mouth at the table. It was Madden. Madden was Kieran’s ex-girlfriend. She had dark red hair, green eyes, beautiful skin, and a full mouth. But the woman was a battle-ax. Riley shuddered.
“ Oh shit,” Riley groaned to Win.
He thought back to about a year ago, when they almost got into a war with one of their suppliers. During an emergency meeting, Madden was brought in. She got to business with hard negotiations and tempting offers. She played every card correctly in order to avoid the war and ease bad relations. And even after she was done, Madden ripped every person in the room to shreds with her sharp tongue. Every man in the room except Kieran left without his manhood intact.
“Does everyone remember Madden?” Kieran asked them, taking his place at the head of the table. Their groans made her laugh. Riley guessed Madden would be Will’s temp.