Atlas (Billionaire Titans)(2)By: Alison Ryan
Dad had always held a soft spot for Piper. He’d paid her tuition in school, bought her a car when she got into American University, and been the father she’d never had in many ways. Dad never had a daughter and I think he liked to think of Piper as the closest thing he’d probably ever get to one.
“Well, I don’t speak to Maureen much, but I keep an eye on Piper. Just like I do all my children,” he said, his voice getting serious. “And I’m worried about her. She’s just getting out of a very toxic relationship, trying to move out of her apartment, and start a new life here in DC. Her mother is of no help being that she’s so absorbed with her own career trajectory and Piper has been left to emotionally fend for herself in many ways.”
Dad looked up at me, “Her boyfriend was abusive. She hasn’t come out and said it, but I’ve had my people on him and on her for a while now. Piper has finally had enough but her ex doesn’t want to let her go easily.”
“Look, I’m sorry about that, but what the hell does that have to do with me?” I asked. “I don’t even know Piper. I haven’t seen her since she was in high school.”
Dad shook his head, “You’re an intimidating presence. With a certain set of skills that even all my money could never buy. You’re a man who could protect her, better than I can, better than any of my best men can. She just needs a safe place to stay for a while. With someone I trust, implicitly.”
I narrowed my eyes at him, “This is way too much to ask of me. I’m not a fucking babysitter. Why don’t you just fly her off to some new city and help her start again a couple thousand miles from this douchebag?”
Dad sighed, “He’s not your typical asshole, Atlas. Her ex-boyfriend is a US congressman. And he has means of finding her. It’s been a very ugly break up, Atlas. I wouldn’t ask this of you if it wasn’t serious.”
This was ridiculous. I didn’t want to get involved in anything dramatic. I’d had enough crazy shit happen in my past, I didn’t need to add to the resume of fucked up things I’d dealt with in the last few years. Besides, it just seemed like an overreaction to a simple situation. Break ups happen. They’re usually terrible, that’s the name of the break up game. This congressman with the busted ego would get over this in a month or so. He’d find some other version of Piper and be on his merry way. I didn’t understand why I needed to get involved.
But my father also rarely asked anything of me. He was one of the richest men in the United States yet he’d never been that guy who set expectations on my brothers and me. Despite the kind of corruption and cold familial relationships that run rampant among the one percent, our family had always been different. I was lucky to be his son and if he was really insistent on me doing this for him, well, fuck it. I would do it.
“Fine,” I said. “What does this entail? And how long will it be? Believe it or not, I do have my own life happening outside of this city.”
All I wanted to do was sleep.
It was almost impossible to get any in my current situation. But that’s what happens when your ex-boyfriend is an egomaniacal psychopath. When you dare to break up with him, he makes your life hell.
I looked through the clothes spilling out of my suitcase. I was supposed to meet my ex-stepdad for lunch so he could help me figure out what the hell I should do about the pickle I was in.
I winced as I bent down to pick up a pair of shorts. I had fresh bruises on my back from the last, and final, beating. I’d known then that if I didn’t leave, I would probably end up dead, eventually. And with my ex being who he was, he could make it look like it was an accident. Or just another random DC murder.
To say I was terrified was putting it mildly.
I’d graduated from American University four months prior. At a party that night I’d met him. I had no idea his political ties, he was just a big smile and a suit, but he was relentless in his pursuit of me. Now, I know this probably should have been a red flag. The first month was okay, but it soon turned ugly and I saw no way out.
I still wasn’t sure how this could end well for me. He’d made it clear what he was capable of.