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Atlas (Billionaire Titans)

By:Alison Ryan

Atlas (Billionaire Titans)
Alison Ryan



"Sorry I'm late," I said, insincerely. I didn't give a damn that I'd made my father wait almost an hour for me to show up. He wasn't used to waiting for anyone. I needed to keep him humble.

"Sure you are, Atlas," my father, Emerson Titan, responded sarcastically. "You do this every month."

I shrugged, "Something came up. What're you gonna do, right?"

He cocked one eyebrow at me. He was very good at that little move and I could tell he wasn't all that mad anyway. My guess is he'd had at least a few cocktails and at least one platter of raw oysters as he waited for me at Old Ebbitt Grill, his favorite place to have lunch in DC. We met here at least once every couple months to catch up on things.

My old man liked to keep a close eye on my brothers and me.

Which is kind of funny being that I'd dwarfed my father in height since the eighth grade. I had at least fifty pounds of muscle on him. People could have easily mistaken me for one of his myriad bodyguards. So it was funny he still thought of himself as my protector.

"Anyway," he started. "I haven't heard from you much lately. How's New York?"

I smiled, taking a long swig of my bourbon and water, "Dad, I haven't lived in New York in like three months. I told you that last time. I'm in San Fran mostly these days. Though I might head to London after Christmas."

Dad chuckled, "You're too fast for me, son. But that's the way to do it. Never stay in one place too long. See the world. Have some adventure." A very cute waitress brought over another stack of raw oysters and Emerson smiled at her as she set them down.

I looked at him, puzzled at his response, "You on something? You're usually trying to convince me to settle down here in DC. What's the deal?"

Emerson shook his head, "I've given up on trying to convince you to do anything, Atlas. You're contrarian to a fault. If I tell you I want something for you, you'll always want the very opposite. So what's a man to do?" Emerson sucked and then swallowed a large oyster. "I've learned to let my sons find out things on their own. With plenty of financial backing, of course."

"You've been good to us, Dad," I had to admit. Plenty of my wealthy friends had real assholes for fathers. I had done alright with mine.

"I know it's not always easy being a Titan," he said. "Especially Atlas. You know, he carried the world on his shoulders."

I rolled my eyes, "Yes, Dad. I'm well aware."

I was my father's oldest son and being that his last name was Titan he thought he was clever naming me Atlas. He also had a fascination with Nordic mythology, so he'd named my younger brother, Odin. We were the only sons of his who shared the same mother. She died of ovarian cancer when I was four and Odin was two. My mother was the one topic my father wouldn't broach or discuss. With anyone.

He'd been married four times, but his heart would always belong to her.

"Well, I like to remind you," he said as he sipped his gin martini. "Your name has predestined you, son. And you've lived up to it, thus far. I'm proud of you."

I was uncomfortable with his sudden demonstrative affections. It must've been all the martinis.

"Yep," I replied. I glanced around the restaurant, desperate to start a new topic. "So what's going on today? You were pretty insistent on the time and place."

Dad smiled, "Well, I have a favor to ask."

I sighed. He'd been attempting to butter me up with all this talk of how proud he was of me. Now it made sense. Not that I doubted it was true, but it wasn't like my father to say these things unless he wanted something.

"What is it?" I asked as the waitress placed another bourbon next to me, quietly swiping the other one away.

"Well, you remember Piper," Dad said. "Maureen's daughter."

"Maureen. Haven't heard you mention her in a long while," I said.

Maureen Kipton. My father married her ten years ago when I was a junior at Georgetown. She was a small-time news anchor at the time, a hot little blonde he'd met at a gala hosted by Titan Enterprises. Maureen was a single mother to her daughter, Piper, who was twelve when her mom married my dad. I hadn't paid much attention to either of them since I was off on my own by then. Their marriage had only lasted a couple of years. Once Maureen was promoted to the bigger leagues of network anchoring, she left my dad in the dust and shipped poor Piper off to boarding school. Now Maureen was one of the big time anchors on NBC, the journalist that always showed up to the latest national disaster or tragic event. I imagined it was hard for my dad to see her face all over the place, not that he would ever admit it.

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 situ