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My stepbrother, Rogue, was the kind of trouble I couldn’t resist. Rogue was the bad apple of our family. He thrived on the excitement of all the things that we were warned about as kids. Then they made it my job to make this bad boy see the error of his ways. He needed to leave the gambling and womanizing behind. I tried my hardest, but a leopard can’t change his spots. Rogue was a bad boy through and through. I was a good girl until Rogue got under my skin…and into my panties. And instead of helping to keep my stepbrother out of trouble, I got myself into it. I didn’t intend to give Rogue my heart. In the end, he stole it like the bad boy he was. But he gave me something too. The best gift ever. The baby is going to turn my stepbrother from a bad apple to one good enough to eat.
Sometimes, my mom had a way of just winding me up and getting me into trouble. I was one of the top associates at my law firm. On my way to being a partner. I had worked fucking hard to get where I was. I certainly didn’t have the title babysitter written on my forehead. Yet, that was what my mom had roped me into. Babysitting my stepbrother.
So, he should have known better.
The problem was that didn’t stop him from acting like a big kid. He had problems with drugs, gambling and women.
Why women problems?
Because instead of chasing women that were single, ones that he could actually hook up with, he had an addiction to only go after the ones that were taken.
Oh, and they weren’t taken by just a simple jealous partner.
No, he had a death wish by chasing mobsters and policemen’s wives. He always chose the partners that could kill him and get away with it.
His gambling problem would have been manageable if he had money to throw away. But like most gamblers, he didn’t have a dime. Gamblers tend to either borrow money from the wrong crowd or steal, and his drinking made him feel brave to take some of the risks. Mom told me that he had started drinking too much before he was banged up.
Sometimes, I think gamblers are worse than drug addicts. At least with drug addicts, you can blame the drugs for fucking up their minds. They don’t know what they are doing most of the time. When they steal for drugs or just jump in a car and drive, it’s because they’re so damn high.
Now, what was a gambler’s excuse?
I had no idea.
But for some reason, it had now become my problem. Because, I wasn't being asked to defend him. I was asked to live with him. Something I hadn't done since I had left home. I had never lived with anyone and I hated Rogue for making me.
I was standing outside the slammer, wondering where the fuck Rogue was. He was supposed to get out of jail at three. That was the only time I could meet him, as I had an important client meeting and that took priority. I had a home loan to pay and responsibilities, unlike Rogue. The only person he cared about was himself, which was the reason he ended up in jail in the first place.
So, I went inside to ask where he was, only to find out that Kathleen had come to pick him up.
Who the fuck was Kathleen?
Rogue was supposed to be in my care.
If he thought for one minute that I was taking pleasure out of all of this, then he was sadly mistaken. The only thing I wanted to do apart from scream was find him. Tell him that this arrangement was over and get on with the toughest case that I had ever had. I needed to win it. Normally, my cases had a couple of sticky points, but I knew that I could win them.
Well, it was going to be tough.
It didn’t help that William, one of the law firm partners, put my name down for the case. Just because I didn’t sleep with all of the partners. The industry was very much old school. Run by boys who treated women as if they were part of the furniture unless they looked good in a short skirt.
The more I thought about it, the more I didn’t know why I stayed in my job.
I hated it at the best of times. Sometimes, I wondered if it was changing me. Making me more aggressive, nothing like I used to be.
Right now, I was hating everything about my life, including having to babysit my stepbrother. I had a strong suspicion that Kathleen was the parole officer that he was banging. Or rather, was banging prior to him being locked up.
Where was she when he was getting in trouble?
I picked up the phone and called Mom. I felt silly calling her, but she had to know what was going on. I had a feeling that this would be the last day that I would help Rogue. I didn’t need this shit in my life. I had a prestigious client that I was representing at the moment and she was difficult enough.
“Mom, can you believe that he came out already? I told him I would be here at three.”
She sighed as she replied, “You know what Rogue is like. He never listens.”
She had to be kidding me.
The guy just never learned. Everyone in Vegas knew not to mix with the Valentino’s. Rogue borrowed money from them and flirted with the big boss’s wife, in front of him. The Valentino’s weren’t happy with just beating Rogue up. No, they had to teach him a lesson. That meant planting drugs on him and making sure that the Feds found them when they did a house call. He landed in jail for five years mainly because the Feds found him so intoxicated he didn’t know what month it was let, alone what year. Yet, he got out in three for good behavior and due to pleading from my mom. He was staying with me.
“Mom, I really don’t want to do this. He’s with Kathleen.”
There was silence, and I was just about to speak when she said, “Oh, his parole officer.”
As I’d suspected, she was his parole officer.
“Please, Claire, can you just find him and sort it out? I’m going down to the hospital again. Richard’s not responding to his meds.”
Then it all hit home. That was the reason I agreed to do this in the first place. My stepdad, Richard was sick. Real sick and this was his wish. To know that his son would be okay. Not back in jail or running around chasing some skirt.
One last try, Rogue. If there are any more fuck ups, you and I are truly over.
“Mom, I’m going to try and find him. I’ll catch you later.”
“Thank you, please do.”
With her words, she hung up. My mom sounded stressed. I didn’t blame her. To say that since my dad died our relationship had been strained was an understatement. I did promise to help Rogue, so I would try one last time.
Any more problems.
Any more fuck ups.
And it was a promise that I wouldn’t regret breaking.
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