Cassiopeia, Part 11.

Cassiopeia quickly approached our group, her eyes clouded in confusion and alarm as she observed her mother pointing at her father. “What is this?” she asked when she reached me. “Elliott, why didn’t you tell me you were coming here? The house was empty. I thought he had taken all of you. I—” Her voice trailed off. I had an idea what she had come to Jupiter’s office to do but refused to give it any further thought. We were all desperate right now, all willing to do anything to save the people we loved.

I drew her toward me, softly kissing her on the forehead. “I had to do something. I had to.”

“He will kill you,” she whispered.

“The jury is still out on that,” I replied softly, smiling at her.

“I hate to interrupt you lovebirds but everyone in this room now has a target on their back,” Jupiter boomed.

We both looked up. I saw something flash in Jupiter’s eyes, something imperceptible, as he rested his attention on his daughter. It quickly disappeared and was replaced by his usual cold glower. “Glad you could stop by, my dear,” he said to Cassiopeia. “Your mother is presently blackmailing me. She claims I’ll never see you again if I don’t remove my policies and let you all go. Ineffectual. I knew where you were when you removed your microphone and disappeared. I knew where all of you were. But I waited because you always come to your senses. You always do the right thing. It’s sad that I’ll have to lose you, that all these other people will lose their lives, too.”

“My God, Zachary, you’re a monster,” Laura said.

Cassiopeia approached the platform toward her father, her features now covered in rage. I gently pulled her back. If anything was going to happen to any of us, she would be my side, next to me. “This has gone on too long,” I said. “Spall, please.”

Nodding, Spall pushed open the door to the private entrance.

She seemed to glide into the room.

Tall, stately, brimming with authority. This time, I saw an emotion on his face that was undeniable and likely the first time any of us had witnessed said emotion when it came to Zachary Jupiter: fear.  

Hannah Jupiter held up her hand when Jupiter opened his mouth to speak. “First, call off Waylon.” She had a commanding voice of her own, not a roar, but no less powerful with its deep, husky tone.

We watched her husband acquiesce without hesitation, pressing the button the phone again and dismissing the enforcer. Had he ever done anything without hesitation, I wondered, other than destroying the lives of the people that worked for him?

“You’ve been having innocent people hurt for engaging in less damaging behavior than you,” Hannah Jupiter said. “I suspected as much for some time, but when Timothy reached out to me, I confirmed things for myself. I have people that work for me, too.”

I watched Jupiter squirm. The man squirmed.

“Rebuking you for bringing other women into our lives affected only you and I,” Hannah continued. “Learning that you were punishing other people for your sins was revolting. The anti-fraternization policy is over.”  

Her words rang in my ears, throughout the office, and seemed to echo within every corner. I looked at Cassiopeia, whose eyes were trained on Hannah.  

“You will right these wrongs, Zachary. Start now. Say what needs to be said.”

“Hannah—”

“Zachary, if I have to ask again, I will release all of this information to the press to your lasting ruination. Say what needs to be said.”

Jupiter glared at me, Spall, Laura, and lastly, Cassiopeia. “None of you will be harmed.” He seemed to be speaking directly, and only, to his daughter. “You’re all free to go.”

Hannah rested her eyes on Cassiopeia. “I heard everything outside the private entrance. He’s your father.” It wasn’t a question. It didn’t need to be.

Cassiopeia nodded.

“I was told the business needed to grow,” Hannah said, looking back at Jupiter. “That having children wasn’t in the cards for us. And there you are.”

“There are more of us,” Cassiopeia replied. “Many right here on this floor.”

Hannah’s head turned sharply toward Jupiter.

He didn’t look at her.

We left them like this.

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