How To Pleasure A Playboy

By: Talia Hunter

“It’s too damp for you there, you know that. The leaks are so bad, I had to move out of my room and into yours.”

“That’s why you don’t want me home.” Her father narrowed bloodshot eyes at her. “You’re too comfortable without me. Got my bedroom, and all my things. Now you’re hoping I die quickly.”

“That’s not true, Dad.” Lacey’s voice shook. She hated when he went on the attack. He’d had an anger problem for almost as long as she could remember, but his vitriol had gotten worse in the last year or so. Then one of his headaches had been so bad he’d passed out from the pain, and his doctor had discovered the brain tumors. A small, dormant mass in his frontal lobe was what they suspected had caused his personality changes. A larger tumor, buried too deep to operate on, had so far resisted all their efforts to treat it.

“If the roof’s leaking you need to bring all my books here. My columns, too, before the old newsprint gets ruined.”

Lacey glanced around his tiny room at the hospice. As great as the doctors were here, she got why her father wanted to spend his last months at home instead. Compared to the soaring ceilings of the Baxter, this room felt claustrophobic. There wasn’t enough space to store more than three or four of his books at a time.

“I covered up your books, remember? And I’m almost half way done typing your newspaper columns into the computer, so they’ll be saved, no matter what.” She took a breath, hoping her idea would please him. “I was thinking about publishing a book with all the columns you’ve written. Would you like that?”

“Why can’t you talk to the fucking building owner about fixing the roof?” her father snapped. “I want to die in my own bed, not this shit-hole. You want to keep me here so I’m out of your way.”

Lacey squeezed her fists tight. “I went to see him, Dad. And I’ve started a campaign on my blog—”

“Organize a protest.” He wagged his finger at her. “That’s the way to change things. Sitting at home, typing into your computer won’t do any good. Get out there with a sign and make some noise.”

“I’m planning a protest for next week, at Bronson Reyne’s new night club.” She let out her breath, glad to give him one bit of news he might approve of. “Believe me, I’ll stop him. No matter what, I won’t let him pull down your home.”

Her father sighed, his muscles visibly relaxing, and the sight made her own body sag. It was tough when he got so angry, but occasionally she caught glimpses of the man she remembered from when she was a girl. A man who’d all but disappeared after her mother died. The doctor didn’t know how long the mass in his brain had been affecting his personality. She’d always assumed it was her mother’s death that had triggered his terrible moods. To find out it could have been the tumor had been a shock.

“I’ll handle it, Dad. As soon as the place is fixed up, you can come home, okay?”

His nurse shot her a sympathetic smile as she left her father’s room. To them, he was probably just a grumpy, caustic old man, but the anger wasn’t his fault. It was part of his illness, and it killed her that he suffered that way. Before she’d known about the tumors, she’d resented his bad temper. Now she knew how unfair that had been. When her mother died, her father had done his best to look after her while he worked long hours at the low-paying job he’d despised. And she’d repaid him by telling him how much she hated him.

Her phone dinged when she was walking through the Baxter’s sadly decaying lobby. Probably another tweet from Bronson, but she managed to wait until she’d labored up three flights of stairs, wrestled her door open, and dumped her handbag on the coffee table, before she checked it.

Lots of tenants collecting $20k each. @LaceyReporter want to join them? #MoneyTalks #TheBaxter.

Rat bastard. Throwing his money around to get whatever he wanted. Well, some things weren’t for sale. If he thought he could buy her, he’d better think again.

She was considering what reply she should make when her phone rang and Ally’s name flashed on the screen.

“Did you see the number of hits you got on that last blog post?” asked Ally. “Audience numbers are up, and our ad revenue is too.” Her business partner sounded pleased. Ally had married a famous movie star, and Lacey had been afraid she’d lose interest in their blog. But Ally seemed just as determined to make sure Liaison was successful now as when they were both in debt and desperate for money.

Lacey went over to Myrtle’s tank and peered in, making sure her pet was okay. “Bronson’s raised his offer for the tenants to move out. Pretty soon, I might be the only one left.”

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