Daily Prompt: Tend (Ashely’s Story)

via Daily Prompt: Tend

Riley stared at his sister as she knelt in the rooftop garden. “I never figured you for someone who would garden.”

Ashley looked up and smiled. “I didn’t either, but it’s a nice distraction from work.”

He didn’t say anything but moved closer to sit on a stool nearby. “We still going to dinner?”

“Yep, in a few minutes. I want to tend to my garden while the sun is still shining. Reservations are for 6. We have time.”

“Reservations? Where are we going?”

“There’s a place around the corner. They get real busy. Figured it was best to make reservations, even on an off night.”

“Oh, ok.” He watched as Ashley dug out a weed for a few minutes. Bored with the silence, he got up and started to pace up and down the row. “So, why did you move out?”

“I couldn’t keep living with you and dad.”

“Why not?”

She didn’t answer for a moment, as she pruned a tomato plant. Done, she looked to Riley and waited until he was facing her. Once he was looking in her eyes, she asked her own question. “Are you aware that dad lets you get away with things you’re not supposed to get away with?”

He frowned. “That’s not true.”

“Last week, the Tut’s place. The Messengers took care of things, the Agency went in and things went missing. That vase you sold three days ago, where did you get it?”

He reeled back as if slapped. “Come on, Ashley, what the hell is this? An inquisition?”

“If this were an inquisition, we wouldn’t be in a garden.” She stood and faced her brother. “There are things that need to change, Riley. Things you need to change. It’s time you started to tend to your own garden and get things straightened out.”

He stared at her, the frown still prominent on his face. A moment later, the frown melted and understanding lit up his eyes. “Is this about when I used to tease you when we were kids?”

Her eyes opened wide in surprise, but then she shook her head. He had always been dense. “No, Riley. This is about your life now. About the things that have gone missing from places where your team goes. It’s about the money you have tucked away in an offshore account that you think no one has found. Get things in order, Riley. Stop overstepping your bounds.”

He looked at her, perplexed. “Am I your target?”

“Assignment, yeah.” She looked at him coldly. “I asked for this, Riley. I wanted to be the one to talk to you. You’re my brother. I love you. I’m telling you, you need to change, or things may go badly. Listen to what I’m saying, and all will be good. Straighten out.”

He frowned again. “This is bullshit. I’m going home.”

Riley turned and left. Ashley hung her head as he slammed the rooftop access door closed. She sighed deeply. He wasn’t going to change. She looked at her watch. It was time to get ready. She was meeting her dad at the restaurant at 6. Had Riley been amicable to talking, she would have brought him along as a surprise. Captain Renald didn’t know she had a meeting with Riley.

Ashley hoped she could talk to her dad and get him to change his attitude toward his oldest. Riley’s life depended on it.

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