Status: co-write!

In the Company

Untimely Problems and Surprising Revelations

“Come on Ry, don’t be such a party pooper,” Taylor whined, following me down the hallway toward the break room at work. The boys all wanted to go out to some new club that was opening up, but I knew exactly what that would mean. A bunch of scantily-dressed girls, lots of cheap liquor and I would have a huge mess on my hands.

“Taylor,” I used my best adult-voice on him, hoping it would work, even though I had to look up to look him in the eyes. “Come on, I already told you this like ten times. Besides, Rose and Tyler get back tonight.”

“Well it’s not like we’ll leave them at home,” he huffed, continuing to follow behind me, but reaching out a long arm and opening the door to the break room for me without taking a step in front of me.

“Taylor, please drop it,” I begged, pouring a cup of coffee and taking a sip. The boy was going to give me a headache before he knew it. I already had a tension headache from the whole Brayden thing and worrying about the boys heading off to this club and I just really needed a drink. Something a little stronger than what I was allowed at work… or maybe a lot stronger.

“Okay, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you,” he quickly caved, and immediately made me feel bad. I wasn’t trying to be a bag, but I took my job seriously and I was positive I wouldn’t be able to handle all the guys out at a club like that, especially by myself. And Rose would undoubtedly be exhausted, so it wasn’t fair to her to drag her out to some club to help me watch out for them.

“I’m sorry, I’m really not trying to be bitchy… I just have a headache,” I immediately apologized, and Taylor pulled me in for an unexpected hug.

“I understand, you should’ve just said something,” he told me, before taking the coffee cup out of my hands, much to my dismay. While I’m tall, I was no match for Taylor Hall, and when Brayden, Claude, Max and Patrick walked in I was trying to no avail to get back my coffee mug from him before he poured it down the sink.

“Taylor! Give it back!” I grumped, and saw the look he sent the other guys. I turned to them and pulled my best pout.

“He stole my coffee cup and I have a headache and he won’t give it back,” I hoped for some sympathy, or at least some help, but got neither. Claude immediately moved toward the cupboard while Patrick took my arms and sat me down in a chair.

“Coffee isn’t going to make your head feel better,” he explained, and Claude nodded. “We’ll fix you up, don’t worry.”

Unfortunately I was worried. So I sat and watched with a hawk eye as Patrick and Taylor bumbled around and talked quietly while Brayden, Max, and Claude all sat with me and tried to keep me occupied without being loud or otherwise adding to my headache.

“Here… my mom always made it for me when I had a headache,” he put what appeared to be a cup of tea in front of me, and I sighed before blowing on it and taking a sip. I wasn’t sure what all else was in this, but for tea it was pretty damn good.

“I don’t see how this will help my headache though guys – what I need is a couple extra strength Tylenol,” I admitted, but at the stern look Patrick gave me – yes, Patrick can actually manage a stern look – I continued sipping away at it while he and Taylor sat down.

“Just give it a bit okay? Maybe we should take you home, let you get some rest,” he worried, and soon Claude and Max had taken up his side of the argument.

“Guys, I can’t – I have some more paperwork to do and Deena’s been pretty slack about letting Rose and I leave to be with you guys as it is,” I sighed. A huge paw of a hand was on my back, gently rubbing it, and while I expected it to be Claude’s it turned out to be Brayden’s.

“This is different – you do tons of shit for us. It’s about time you do something for you,” he quietly insisted.

“Exactly. And what you need is to be at home on your couch or in bed and not worrying about anything,” Patrick chimed in. I shook my head, taking another sip of the tea and savoring it.

“I went to the spa when you guys were out shopping or whatever, that’s for me,” I argued, and Claude snorted.

“You fought us tooth and freaking nail on that! I’m sure you just sat there worrying about us the entire time,” unfortunately I couldn’t really argue with him on that one.

“Look, Brayden and I will take you home, make sure you’re all settled in and everything okay? I’m sure you can take some paperwork with you if you’re that worried about it,” Max piped up, and Brayden nodded.

“And Taylor and I can go and pick up Rose and Tyler from the airport,” Patrick added, getting a smirk from Taylor even as he nodded his head.

“So then what do I do?” Claude asked, obviously feeling a little left out.

“You, my good man, are going to find some chick movies for Ry and grab some stuff from the store,” Max informed him, leafing through my notebook for an empty page, and tearing it out as nicely as was possible. He began making a list – I had no idea what was on it because of his chicken-scratch writing, and while I wanted to argue I knew it was pointless. When these boys made up their mind neither hell nor high water was going to change it.

“Come on Ry, let’s get you home,” Brayden whispered, gently helping me up from my chair and leading me back to my office to get my things before we headed toward my apartment with Max.

-----

‘Patrick and Taylor are going to meet you guys at the airport – I have a bad headache and they’re making me stay at home. See you soon! Hope you had an awesome weekend! – Ry’

I fired off the text to my best friend, hoping she wouldn’t be upset. I’d tried to insist that I’d be fine to go to the airport and pick up Rose, but Brayden had surprisingly been the one to put his foot down. As quiet as Brayden seemed to be I really didn’t want to mess with him – I was positive he could haul some serious ass, especially with having an older brother and all. I slid my phone back into the pocket of my hoodie as I made my way back out to the living room, a pair of baggy sweatpants and the sweatshirt on in place of my heels, skirt and blouse.

“Guys! You didn’t have to do all this,” I exclaimed, seeing what they’d done. Claude had returned from wherever Max had sent him, and the three of them were sitting in the living room.
The lights were off, the curtains shut and just some soft light from the kitchen flooded into the living room. A steaming cup of whatever kind of tea Max and Pat had made for me at work was waiting for me on the coffee table, along with a Tylenol, and a pile of blankets at the end of the couch – also obviously for me – awaited.

“Come on, you take care of us a lot, it’s about time we return the favor,” Claude insisted. Brayden and Max nodded, and as I sat down on the couch Brayden quickly tucked the blanket around me and adjusted the pillow that they’d found in the closet until he was sure I was comfortable.

“Keep sipping,” Max gently pushed the mug of tea into my hands, and after a small sip to wet my lips I swallowed the Tylenol before curling back down into my blankets. I had to admit, this was really nice.

“Thank you guys,” I sighed, feeling my eyelids already becoming heavy.

“No problem Ry,” they chorused before I fell asleep.

-----

“Hey, Ry – wake up,” I buried my face into my pillow, making a slightly argumentative sound in my throat as I did so. There was a soft chuckle from beside me, and I froze at the deep, male voice. I turned my head and opened an eye, then felt all the tension seep from my body when Brayden’s familiar blue eyes were looking back at me.

“Do I have to?” I asked, and he chuckled again before nodding.

“Yeah, we made some soup – figured you might be hungry,” he explained, and my eyes widened.

“It’s supper time already?” another small smile and a nod from Brayden. “I’m sorry – you guys should have woke me up earlier, Rose is probably back and I still need to—”

“You don’t need to do anything. The rest of the guys are taking Tyler and Rose out for dinner, so you don’t have to deal with a bunch of noise. And you aren’t touching that paperwork until I know for sure your head isn’t hurting anymore,” Brayden informed me, his tone letting me know he meant business. With a sigh I caved and nodded, and watched the slight tension line between his brows disappear as he helped me up. I sat down in my chair, and jumped when Brayden wrapped my blanket around my shoulders before getting me a bowl of soup and putting it down in front of me. Once he’d got himself a bowl and had fixed it up with crackers we started to eat.

“Um, where’s my phone?” I asked, and got a scrutinizing look. “I want to see if Rose and Tyler got in all right – see how they’re doing.”

My explanation satisfied him, and Brayden went and retrieved my cell from wherever he had stashed it. I quickly turned it on – well as quickly as an iPhone will turn on – and let my phone spaz out while it received all of its missed messages and calls.

Once it had stopped vibrating I quickly fired off a text to Rose, and set my phone down on the table as I began to slowly eat the chicken noodle soup. Brayden was quiet, and when I looked up saw he was all but picking at his food.

‘Yeah, we got in like an hour ago – we all just got our food. How you feeling?’ was Rose’s quick reply. I answered that I was doing better, that Brayden had woken me up and that we were having something to eat as well. With that I put my cell down and concentrated on getting my soup down, not having noticed earlier that my stomach was uneasy.

“Ry, you’re looking pale,” Brayden’s statement reached my ears and I nodded, pushing a few noodles around the bottom of the bowl.

“Yeah, my stomach’s not so hot right now,” I sighed, and before I knew it or could object Brayden had picked me up and was carrying me back to the couch. He sat me down and sat next to me, swinging my legs up over his knees and tucking the blankets in around me.

“You’ve probably caught that flu that’s going around,” he mumbled, more to himself than to me as he adjusted and got us comfortable. His long arms were wrapped around me, holding me tight against his warm body, and I had to admit I liked the feeling. Brayden made me feel safe, as scary as the thought was.
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Hey everybody!!

So, I hope y'all are enjoying this chapter!! Let us know what you think!!

PS - I apologize for the lame title... I struggle with those... :S