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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
© 2017 Jordan Silver
First eBook edition: January 2017
“Sir, we’ve got a situation.” I barely spared the man who entered the room a glance before going back to what I was doing.
“What kind of situation?” I read the second line of the report I’d been trying to get through, for the thousandth time. This guy should get a job as a sleep therapist. What the fuck am I reading?
“It’s uh your uh…” I knew what he was going to say before he said it. I glared up at him already knowing I wasn’t going to like what came out of his mouth next. “Spit it out.”
“It’s your ward sir.” Uh-huh, of course it is.
“What about her?” If she got suspended from school again I’ll tan her ass for sure this time.
“She kinda sorta disappeared.” I was out of my chair so fast it flipped over and ended up across the room behind me. Everything that could possibly go wrong went through my head in a few short seconds. Alexandra!
My enemies… I held onto the desk to calm myself. Only she had the power to make me this weak. Please… I started one of many prayers I’ve said in the past how many years since my little darling hit puberty.
Once a well-behaved and utterly adorable child, she’s now become a hoyden. A pain in the ass that has been making my life a living hell these past few months, and tying me up in knots every chance she gets. I couldn’t think about that now, every time I did, I gave myself a headache.
She’s been with me since the age of ten or eleven. That’s when a plane crash destroyed what was left of her family. Her dad, rest his soul, was an old high school and college buddy. One, who’d been as close as any brother. It was for that reason that I wasn’t completely surprised when the lawyer called with the news that I was to be her new guardian.
I wasn’t shocked but it couldn’t have come at a worst time. I was just getting into the groove of the business world. Not that it had been that hard. The company had been in the family for at least five generations, and by the time I took the reins we were doing pretty well for ourselves. I just needed to bring us into the twenty-first century.
Don had liked living life in the fast lane. That’s how he’d ended up with a kid at the ripe old age of fifteen. That shit would’ve scared the hell out of me at that age, but not him. He approached fatherhood the way he did everything else, like it was something to be conquered.
His parents hadn’t been too pleased and there had been a strain in the relationship for a time, but they’d taken care of the young girl who’d given birth to their granddaughter.
When Don was old enough, he’d taken his daughter since her mom had fallen into a life of drugs and prostitution. She’d expected to have a life with Don, one that would’ve changed her status drastically. Don had been out for a good time.
He couldn’t love her, but he adored his little girl. I think that’s where we both started thinking of her as a doll. We were young and stupid, what the hell did we know? But she was our doll and I guess we treated her like one. Now she’s making my ass pay for past sins.
After college, I buckled down and started looking at life through different eyes. It was time to put my youth behind me and start the journey into adulthood. My own father who’d always despaired of my friendship with the free spirited Don had drilled it into my head every chance he got that life was about more than having a good time.
So while I was learning the ins and outs of the family firm, Don was jumping off of cliffs and skydiving; anything to get that rush he was always chasing. His old man hadn’t been ready to let go of the reins and Don had spent his time with his young wife gallivanting around the globe getting into whatever he could find to keep his adrenaline going. I’d joined them a time or two, but I got my rush from closing new deals. It was in my blood.
So there I was, twenty-five barely, and the world at my feet. Then she came along and I had to switch gears. We already knew each other, but it had been a while since I last saw her. I remember the well of love and sadness I felt for the little angel I’d always called my doll even after she’d grown out of the toddler stage.
Those first few days we clung to each other in grief and I remember how assertive she was even then. How she’d climb into my lap and wrap her little arms around my neck and kiss my cheek before placing her head on my shoulder. She always seemed to know when I was grieving the hardest back then.
After the grief was spent and reality crept back in, I realized I was in deep shit. She wasn’t a doll after all; she was a living, breathing thing that needed care and lots of attention. I was ready to jump out the fucking window by week two because I was terrified that I would mess shit up.
I’d look at her little face looking up at me so hopefully. Just knowing that I was going to fix whatever it was that was bothering her at the time. My heart would melt into a puddle and I would reaffirm the promise I’d made myself, that I was going to do everything in my power to make her life a good one. Not just for her dad, but also for the little being I’d held for the first time when she was just a few minutes old.
Mom had stepped in and been a big help since I didn’t know the first thing about raising a little girl, especially one who’d been so hurt and afraid when she came to me. She’d pitched in and done mostly everything back then, but I’d drawn the line at letting my little Alex go home with her.
She was my responsibility, and I owed it to my old friend to watch over her the way he’d asked. Plus having her was like having a part of my old buddy with me always. But it hadn’t been easy.
I remember the many nights I spent sitting at her bedside holding her hand or when that didn’t work because the nightmare was too forceful, then I’d have to climb in and hold her to give her comfort. That had gone on for a solid two years I think, until it dwindled down to once every so often. Those tears used to break my heart.