#17 – A Little Game of Telephone

August 19th, 2011


“Leticia, it’s Liz,” said the woman on the phone, “I got your message.  Sorry I couldn’t get back to you until now.  The morning was wicked.”

“Elizabeth,” Leticia said, “it’s good to hear from you.”  She paused, “actually it’s good that you didn’t call before now.  I’ve been in meetings all morning, we’re running a little short handed today and I’ve been dragooned into wearing a very unusual hat…”  She paused and laughed, the first honest laugh she’d had since her father died, “if you can imagine, they asked me to work layout for the next show…  like being an architect makes me qualified to plan a…” she cut herself off, “well, anyhow, it’s been a wild morning.”

Elizabeth Marshall chuckled, “it sounds like it.  Duncan mentioned that you needed a lawyer… terribly sad to hear about your father, by the way.  I’m so sorry.”

Leticia nodded even though the woman couldn’t see her.  “Yes, there will be a memorial service on Friday.”  She didn’t pause for long before continuing, “so I assume that Duncan gave you the particulars?”

“Uhm, a bit,” Elizabeth replied, “This Clara Preston woman has a will that predates your father’s illness that shows her to be the beneficiary of his estate.”

“And…” Leticia spoke to add, but was cut off.

“And her lawyer is my ex-husband and your ex-lover.”

Leticia coughed through a sip of coffee.  Recovering somewhat she managed to choke out, “yep, that about sums it up.”

“I’m in,” the other woman said simply.

The P & QKerstin watched Frank look around the P & Q as he stepped in the door.  She turned back to regard Jehua who had been standing behind the bar talking to her only a second before, he had suddenly found something else to occupy his time.  She sighed.

Frank spied her and began to make the short trip across the establishment toward her.  Reflexively she took a brief moment to straighten her apron and her top; she quirked an eyebrow at him as he approached.  She couldn’t imagine why he had come to talk to her.  She had been certain that when he left her apartment that morning that it would be the end of their relationship.

Relationship?  She surprised herself with that thought.  She’d only known him just more than a week, but already her new, mysterious neighbour had been her savior, her confidant and a buffer between her and her family; not to mention the physical chemistry that existed between them that she couldn’t deny.

“Hey,” he said as he stepped up to her.

“Oh hey,” she said, attempting all of a sudden to seem as though she hadn’t been staring at him the whole time as he walked across the room.  “What’s, y’know, up?”

“Not much,” he replied, “I just thought I’d drop by and see how your shift is going.”

She frowned slightly in spite of herself, “It’s… going.”  She said, “but, seriously, what are you really here for?”

“What do you…”

She cut him off.  “You are here because you’re worried about me,” she said matter-of-factly.


She smiled, “I can make it home all by myself, Frank, I’m not going to get… it’s not going to happen again.”

He turned his head away slightly, “you can’t blame a guy for being worried.”

Kerstin chuckled, “no, I can’t.”  She leaned in and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, “it’s sweet.”  As she pulled back from him her breath caught in her throat.  Jehua Stanley was standing in the doorway of the stock room, staring directly at her.

She caught the look on Frank’s face as he turned to see what she was looking at.  She winced as the two men locked eyes with one another.  She suddenly felt like the cat caught with a feather on its lips.

“Frank,” she said, reaching out for him, attempting to break the stare between the two men.

She jumped when Frank’s phone rang and he immediately pulled it from his pocket.  He eyes turned back toward Jehua, he immediately looked away and turned back toward the stock room.

“I, uh…  I have to take this,” Frank said, seeing Harry Custone’s number appear on his phone.

As Leticia hung up the phone she suddenly felt nervous about having enlisted Elizabeth Marshall to represent her in her case against her father’s widow.  Their history was going to be hard to overcome even for Leticia.  Things had been said between the two women that were hard to take back.

“Dad would want her,” she said to herself, finally.

She glanced up at the clock above the door and realized with some shock that it was nearing five.  “Where the hell is Sarah,” she said, again out loud.

Standing from her office and heading to the main reception desk of Price she leaned over the desk and spoke to the attendant whose name she couldn’t conjure.  “Has Sarah checked in at all today?”

“Sarah who?” The young woman said nonchalantly.

“Sarah Price,” Leticia said with emphasis.

“Oh,” the girl said and immediately straightened herself in her chair.  “No, she hasn’t been in all day.  Do you want her number?”

Leticia’s jaw jutted out; obviously she was no more notable to this girl than the girl was to her.  “I have it, thanks,” she said dryly.

She pulled her cell phone from her pocket and dialled Sarah’s number for the third time since lunch.  Again no answer; but this time was different; instead of getting Sarah’s voicemail she got a deep male voice informing her that the subscriber’s mailbox was full.

“Something’s not right,” she said aloud as she looked around the room.  “Something has happened.”

“Yeah,” the voice on the other end of the phone said.

“It’s Harry calling for an update, how’s it going?”

“Just a sec, man, she’s right beside me,” he said.

Harry Custone waited patiently for the man on the other end of the line to get clear of his mark.  It was only the briefest moment before the voice came back on the phone.  “Yeah, yeah, doing great, man.” The voice reiterated.  “So actually just the other night I had a chance to rummage through stuff while she was in the shower.  She’s got way more info on Waterford than we even thought.”

“Nice,” Harry said. He twisted the half-empty glass in his hand, the clink of the single ice cube against its side made him smile.  “Any good leads?”

“Yeah, a couple: associates of Lawrence’s, partners from the look of it.  I snapped pictures of the pages.”  The voice replied.

“You should send me them so I can pass them on to Mr. Jordan,” Harry said.  His job as the middle man was to orchestrate the details of the project, but it would be up to Oliver to act on the information.  Bringing down Lawrence Waterford and his company was something that was going to take some major moves, and some major cash.

“I think you should send me a little cash,” the voice on the other end of the line stated.

Harry’s hand reflexively left his glass and he raised himself up slightly in the large burgundy chair.  He pushed around a small chunk of ice with his tongue, “that’s not the arrangement, Mr…”

“I don’t care about the arrangement,” the voice said, “I have incurred expenses winning the girl over; I need compensated for those expenses.”

“How much are these expenses?” Harry asked, now sitting fully upright in his chair.

“Oh, let’s say… 20,000$,” the voice said, “that’s a figure that should just about cover it.”

Harry Custone bit straight through the chunk of ice while the hand that had been toying with his drinking glass formed a tight fist that he used to tap on the table at his side.  “In the morning, you’ll have your cash and I’ll have my names,” he said before hanging up the phone.

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