Capture Me Slowly(2)

By: Joya Ryan

The way he enunciated thirty days made me want to punch him all over again.

“Just send the check to my current address and thanks for your help.” Hope he heard my enunciation that time.

I turned to leave. Throwing the door open wide, I paused to say loudly, “By the way, if you want your database to stay up and your applications to stop crashing . . .” With my brightest smile, I glanced at him over my shoulder and added, “Try not downloading so much porn.”

Last thing I saw was his smug turning scarlet in embarrassment. I walked from the building and out into the street.

Yanking my phone from my bag, I walked between two large buildings. The cool evening air held a hint of fall and the only thing I hated was that the change from summer to autumn brought shorter days and darker nights. Pressing the final number of my last resort, the person I had been determined never to call, I held the phone to my ear and kept walking.

“Miller and Associates, this is Benjamin.”

“Hey, Ben. It’s Emma.”

“Hello, Miss Wade.” Though I had met Ben several times over the years, we never really spoke. Since he was my brother Adam’s financial advisor, there was never a need to, but he’d always been pleasant to me. “Forgive me if I missed a call from your brother — ”

“Actually, Ben, I was wondering if we could keep Adam out of this.”

Adam already owned half of Chicago and I didn’t need to worry him with this. He was dealing with a lot of crap, trying to legally adopt his wife’s seven-year-old cousin. Jerry Springer territory, maybe. But they were happy. And aside from Megan and her new husband, Preston, they were the only family I cared about, which was why I had to stay away. Because being near them brought all my drama to their front door. And it was dangerous drama. There was no way I would risk them.

“Ben, I’m in a bind here. I know I’ve never taken money from the trust Adam set up for me, but I — ”

I stopped and checked over my shoulder. The sound of boots barely scraping the sidewalk behind me also stopped.

I felt like I was being followed. Like I had been for the past several months. Like I would continue to be until Mase either caught me, or I testified at the hearing.

Mase James was one of the James brothers, two people who I never wanted to run into again.

Convincing myself it was only paranoia, I returned my attention to Ben and picked up the pace. Only a couple more blocks to Times Square and I could lose the phantom asshole.

Shit. I hated this. Hated that after all this time of taking care of myself, this is what it came to. Cowering at the sound of footsteps in an alley and keeping the only family I had at a distance.

“Is there any way to make a quick transfer of funds into my bank account without Adam knowing?”

“Adam is the executive signer, so I’d have to go through him.”

“But my name is on it too, right? He gave me that money to use if I ever needed it.”

“Well, yes. And it is at your disposal, Miss Wade. There has never been an issue before; if you let me call Adam, I’m sure he’d sign off.”

“I need money now.” I quickened my strides because, paranoia or not, the steps were getting closer. “And Adam can’t know. Is there anything you can do?”

If my brother found out I was tapping into my trust, he’d ask questions. Like why. Not that he’d ever deny me, he was an amazing brother that way. Adopted or otherwise.

Taking advantage of him was something I’d never do. He was the reason I was able to get off of the streets in the first place and go to college. The reason I built a life. A damn good one until now. Almost good enough to block out my first seventeen years.

When I’d left Chicago, I’d given up my full-time job and living in New York off a salary based around craigslist was tough. Not that my sacrifices had mattered. Mase had found me anyway. I spotted him a few weeks ago when I was coming off the subway and the chase began once more. Which was why I had to move. Again. Just for a few weeks, until the hearing.

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