#16 – What’s Past is Past

August 15th, 2011


Cafe OrleansLeticia drummed her fingers on the table.  Generally she wasn’t the most patient person especially when it seemed like she was being stood up.  But Leticia was giving her some slack because of the way that she had completely tuned Sarah out the other day.  Sarah had come into her office very excited about something but Leticia, who was heavily distracted by the death of her father only hours before, hadn’t paid her even the slightest attention.

Most people wouldn’t blame Leticia, after all her father had just died. He’d died after a long battle with cancer and he’d died alone rather than surrounded by his family, all of which weighed heavily on Leticia’s mind.  But Leticia blamed herself.  The fact that she hadn’t been there for her father couldn’t be changed, but not being there for Sarah could be.

And so she sat.

But not patiently; she drummed her fingers again.  “40 minutes,” she said out loud to a woman at an adjoining table who had happened to make eye contact with her.  The woman had proceeded to return her regard to the menu in her hand.  Cafe Orleans was one of Leticia’s favourite spots to go for breakfast, but she preferred breakfast to not be just a spectator sport. She watched as plate after plate, dish after dish, of tasty eggs and pancakes and crepes and croissants passed in front of her.  She could take it no longer.

She stood from the table and made her way to the door.  She pulled her cell phone out of her purse and dialled Sarah’s number; voicemail, again.  “Hey Sarah, it’s Let, just wanted to let you know that I’m leaving Cafe Orleans and heading out.  I have to find a lawyer to help me fight for my Dad’s estate.  I guess I’ll see you at the office later…”

She stuffed the phone back into her purse.

Kerstin paced back and forth along the short hall in her apartment.  She looked at the door as she made the tight loop and headed back toward the bedroom.  Just across the hall was Frank Denzre, the man with whom she’d had a series of awkward moments and the man who she had spent the better part of the morning thinking about.

She had to talk to him at some point.  They lived across the hall from one another.  He had saved her from a nighttime attack on the street that was headed in a dark direction.  She knew there was chemistry between them and she knew herself well enough to know that chemistry, for her, was rare.  She turned as she began another lap.

She stopped in front of the door again.  She heard a noise in the hall.  It sounded like someone in the vicinity of Frank’s door, probably Frank.  Without thinking, without letting herself change her mind (and without thinking about what she would say) she stepped up to the door and pulled it open.

“Wah!” she exclaimed, flinching in surprise, at the man standing in front of her door.  He was looking down the hall rather than at her door.  “Dad?” She said, “what are you doing here?”

Her father continued looking down the hall for a moment and remained silent.  The sound of the elevator at the end of the hall seemed to animate him.  He turned to Kerstin and said, “we just came by to talk to you about what happened the other night.”

Kerstin frowned slightly, “we?”  She repeated in the form of a question.  “Who is we?”

Lawrence turned toward her as his companion stepped up alongside him.

“Mom?”  Kerstin said, reflexively taking a step backward.

Leticia rounded the corner and walked up to the front entrance of Studio M.  She pulled the handle on the door and found it locked, which was strange.  Duncan never locked the door when he was working and she was all but certain that he would be at the building that day.

She frowned.  She had wanted to ask him in person about getting Elizabeth to help with her father’s estate.  Elizabeth was Duncan’s sister and a Duncan’s father had helped Leticia’s own father with legal matters in their past.  So, she was all but certain that her claims to her father’s estate would be in good hands with Elizabeth Marshall.  The trick would be to get Elizabeth to look past the fact that she would be helping Leticia McKinelle-Glendale.

She pulled out her phone and dialled Duncan’s number.  He answered the phone almost immediately, “Duncan,” she said, “I’m just at Studio M and I thought you’d be here, I wanted to talk to you.”  She said.

“Oh,” Duncan replied, “yeah, I’m in the studio…  I was just working on something in the back and had the door locked.  I’ll be right out.”

They hung up the phone and a minute later Duncan appeared from the rear of the building, Leticia smiled at him through the door as he popped the lock and she stepped inside.  Strangely he turned the lock after closing the door behind her.

“I was sorry to hear about your Dad,” Duncan said as he placed his hand on her shoulder.

She smiled that smile that you give when people say such things.  “Thank you,” she replied, “actually, that’s part of the reason why I’m here.” She paused and continued, “it seems there’s a… hitch with the will.  He left everything to Clara.”

Duncan’s eyes widened in surprise, “really?  But… surely your father was in no state to rewrite his will… in his final days.”

She could clearly see he was being tactful but honest; and it was true.  She nodded, “unfortunately the will isn’t from his… his final days,” it was harder to talk about than she thought; especially with the added emotion and stress of the impending battle with Clara Preston over her father’s estate.  “The will she has was written only weeks after they met.”

Duncan shook his head, “that doesn’t make sense.”

“No, it doesn’t.” She replied, “which is why I wanted Elizabeth’s help.  I can’t think of anyone better suited to tackling the job.”  She said, “but I’m not sure whether she’ll do it if I asked her directly… especially after…”

Duncan cut her off, “don’t you ever worry, what’s past is past.  Lizzie has Dad’s respect for your father.  There would be no way that she could say no…  and you’re right,” Duncan added, “there’s no one better suited to protecting your Dad’s estate.”

Leticia added, “there is one other matter.”

Duncan quirked an eyebrow but said nothing; Leticia explained: “Clara’s lawyer is Roland Armitage.”

The P & Q“Just seeing Mom at my place was bad enough, she didn’t even known I’d left Red Terrace, but it was both of them,” Kerstin said exasperatedly, she had been waiting for the crowd to wear down in order to tell Jehua about her divorced parents coming to her apartment that morning.  “I mean, the last time they were together in the same room…  I… I don’t know… planes fell out of the air and the sky went dark, though… that much I remember.”

Jehua laughed and rolled his eyes, “and they wanted you to quit?”

She nodded, “they said that it was too dangerous for me to be working here.  Which, I mean, I tried to explain to them that working here had nothing to do with it.  Y’know?”

“With the attack.”

“We’re not calling it that, remember?”

“Right, the… thing.”  He said in a way that made it clear to her that she was being humoured, “so what did you say?”

She quirked an eyebrow and shook her head, “Uhm…  I’m here, right?  Obviously I told them that I’m not giving up my job here.”  She smiled, “I like it here.”  She could easily see that her saying that had an impact on Jehua.  He seemed relieved or pleased or something by hearing her say that she liked working at the P & Q.

“I was worried when you didn’t show up for your shift of the other night.” He said sounding earnest.

“Yeah, I’m sorry about that,” she said, “but it was… y’know…  I wasn’t thinking about you…” She winced, ”I mean…  about here.”

“I just worried…” He paused briefly, “I just worried that it was like last time.  You just… disappeared.”

Kerstin bit her lip, “no,” she said, “not like that.  Not at all like… last time.”  Every fiber of her being wanted to add an “I’m sorry”, but she didn’t want to welcome further questions from Jehua about their past.

“What’s past is past,” Jehua said sounding half-hearted.

“So,” Kerstin said, not wanting the conversation to end on that note, “really, I think, they were both just trying to convince me to give up my apartment and move home with one of them…  but there was no way that was going to happen, I just moved out of Red…”

“Hey,” Jehua said, interrupting her.  “Isn’t that… uh… the guy from your apartment?”

Kerstin turned around and saw Frank Denzre enter the P & Q.

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