#24 – Changes Come in the Morning
- A tragic accident resulted in the death of an unknown Oklahoma man and the near-death of the young passenger.
- Kerstin Waterford was called to Bayview Hospital when Frank Denzre sustained a head injury.
- Sarah Price and Oswald Glendale spent some time together in the woods outside Emerald Heights.
- While in the woods Oswald began to give Sarah mysterious injections.
- Oliver Jordan laid out and began to execute a plan to take over Waterford Holdings.
Chief John Godspeed rapped his knuckle against the corner of the desk; it was a customary action that signaled to anyone who knew him well that he was thinking. “Any ID on the driver of that truck?” He asked, although it had nothing to do with the thoughts that had been rolling around in his head.
“We’re waiting for Oklahoma to come back with info from the VIN.” The officer whose desk he was now leaded against replied.
Godspeed’s knuckle connected with the desk but stayed there for a moment. “There was nothing from the plates?”
“The plates were basically torn apart, it’s amazing we were able to tell they were from Oklahoma.” The officer stated, “And any identification that mighta been on the driver was wrecked in the fire.”
Godspeed made a nasal sound of disappointment. Nothing seemed to be easy these days. “What about the tape from the convenience store?”
“Well now that was quite a shit-show,” the officer replied; he turned away from his paperwork to face the chief directly. “We got the tapes from those kids but not ’til we threatened to arrest ’em. They were… y’know…” he made a gesture with his hands.
Godspeed shook his head to indicate that he didn’t understand.
“Havin’ sex,” the officer replied with a look of disgust on his face. “Right behind the god damned counter. Those two boys… I tell you, if one of them was mine I’d…”
“You’d nothing,” the Chief said flatly. “Don’t make me fire you, Robert.” Godspeed rocked up off the desk and walked away from the officer without speaking another word.
Kerstin Waterford stopped abruptly as she stepped into the Emergency Room at Bayview Hospital. She’d been on autopilot since Gordon had told her that Frank had been brought there for a reason she now couldn’t even remember. She’d stopped not because she hadn’t known where to go, or because something inside the doors had caught her attention, rather she stopped because her autopilot had delivered her to the place that she’d wanted to be; and now it was off.
Now she had to think, and thinking wasn’t coming easily.
She looked back and forth and located the triage desk. She approached it with haste. “I… I’m looking for Frank… Frank Denzre,” she said, far too quickly to have been clear.
“I’m sorry?” The nurse said, “you’re looking for a patient?”
She nodded, “Frank Denzre,” she repeated. “He was brought in about… I don’t know… I think 40 minutes ago.”
The triage nurse did some typing on her computer while she spoke, “are you family?”
Kerstin winced, “sort of. He’s my neighbo… I’m his… we’re… uhm… he’s my girlfriend… no, I mean, I’m his girlfriend.” The scene from the storeroom at the P & Q shot through her mind as she spoke; her stomach lurched and her head ached.
The nurse, who Kerstin didn’t recognize, looked up from her computer screen at her for a long moment before she returned her attention to the system and continued to type. “Okay,” she said simply; no doubt she’d seen the pleading look on Kerstin’s face.
“He’s still in the emergency ward,” she said, “room E8… I can have an orderly take you there.”
“Thank you,” Kerstin said. She turned away from the triage desk and spied Jehua Stanley watching her from across the room.
He approached her and brought his hand to rub her arm as she stood in front of the large double-doors that would give her access to the patient area of the hospital. “Are you going to be alright?” Jehua asked quietly in words that he didn’t string together smoothly.
Kerstin nodded, “yes,” she said, “thank… thank you for driving me…” she turned to face him; she looked up into his face. “I…” she said as tears welled in the corner of her eyes. “I…” she tried again, but was instead interrupted by the sound of her own name. She turned and a young man dressed in scrubs gestured for her to follow.
She looked back and Jehua Stanley and forced a wan smile before she walked through the open doors.
Rays of sunlight streamed through the trees that lined the driveway of the Price family’s estate. The black car rolled tentatively up the intricate cobblestones in a manner that seemed to reflect the feeling of its driver. “You could stay with me,” Oswald Glendale said to the woman seated next to him, “we are meant to be together.”
Sarah pawed at him playfully, “of course we are,” she said, “but I live here.”
She watched him turn and smile at her. “Yes, you do.” He said, then more quietly, “for now.” He reached out and stroked her cheek, “but Sarah… we are going to need to be united in order to face the future.”
She nodded with vigour, “of course,” she said, although she didn’t know what exactly he meant. “I love you,” she cooed.
The car came to a stop in front of the garages that had at one time been carriage houses. “I can’t wait for you to meet my parents,” Sarah said and pushed the car door open.
Oswald reached across the car and grabbed Sarah’s arm before she had a chance to jump from the vehicle. He looked directly at her and said, “you understand, don’t you? Why we need to be careful about how we proceed?”
She nodded, “of course. You need to keep your identity secret for now because of your ex-wife.” She leaned in and kissed him soundly, “and it would seem fishy if you published an article about me while we were… y’know,” she winked and grinned; he chuckled and her smile broadened further at his reaction.
“Oh, they are simple going to love, love, love you!” She said as she stood from within the car.
“If I have anything to do with it, they certainly will.” He said under his breath, “just a second, Love,” he said to Sarah, “I have to get something out of the trunk.”
Oliver Jordan fingered the edge of the top sheet of the dossier that he had just finished reading. His next step would be far and away the most crucial in his bid to take over Waterford Holdings. If it was botched, if the man he needed to contact wasn’t handled properly the entire affair would come undone and Lawrence Waterford would be made aware.
“Well done, Harry,” Oliver said to the man who sat across the desk from him. He trusted Harry Custone and the work that the man did for him.
Harry Custone nodded, “thank you Mr. Jordan.”
“And you’re quite certain of the efficacy of these documents?”
“I did the leg work myself,” Harry asserted. “That information will get the job done, sir. Waterford Holdings is all but yours.”
Oliver raised a hand in caution, “let us not count our chicken, Harry.” Oliver sipped at his coffee, “I’m confident that there will be little that Lawrence Waterford can do once I have purchased his company’s debt other than simply hand the company over to me wholesale… but Lawrence Waterford is no rube. We cannot leave any avenue unconsidered.”
Harry nodded, “yes sir,” he said, “and that’s where the Good Senator comes in.” Harry took a sip of his coffee, “it was easy enough for him to cave in and give up the defence contracts when we… put pressure on him.”
Oliver laughed, “Harry, it’s just us in this room, you needn’t be coy.”
Harry smiled, “fair enough.” She continued, “the Senator is a shitty husband but he does really seem to care for his wife. She was excellent collateral, but I think she is of continued use to us… so my buddies at Ebo haven’t released her yet.”
Oliver nodded, “one day you’ll have to tell me who these buddies are.”
Harry shook his head, “I really don’t think that would be a good idea at all, Mr. Jordan.” He took a long drink from his coffee cup while he maintained eye contact with Oliver; he hoped to drive the point home with his gaze. “But… as I said, the Good Senator may have one more use for us before we’re done with him.”
Oswald could feel the eyes of Victor and Mary Price on him all throughout their impromptu breakfast. Although they had been pleasant enough with their conversation and had seemed to buy the story of his meeting their daughter in Paris, there was something in the long lingering looks that made him feel uncomfortable.
He remained unconcerned, however, of his future with Sarah. Their destiny was decided irrespective of the obstacles placed on them by her family; or anyone else for that matter. She had performed admirably in their rehearsed story and he couldn’t have been more proud of her.
“Imagine meeting right in the middle of the Louvre,” she’d said; she looked at him with a clear and deep fondness. “We were standing on opposite sides of some sculpture, but neither one of us was looking at the sculpture.” She smiled and reached out for his hand, “all I could see was him.”
He nodded and smiled, but spoke directly to the senior Prices, “and she was all I could see. By far the greatest objet d’art in the whole building.”
Sarah, improvising Oswald had guessed, leaned in and kissed him on the lips. He briefly glanced at Mary Price and could plainly see that she remained unconvinced. “Oh,” Oswald said after a moment’s contemplation, “we appear to be out of juice.” He gestured to the nearly empty pitcher that sat in front of them.
“Oh, we’ll call Winifred,” Mary said, her eyes still on her mooning daughter.
“Isn’t that the woman who is unpacking Sarah’s things?” Oswald inquired.
“Ah, yes… well…” she paused.
Oswald stood swiftly, “let us get it,” he said; he reached his hand down toward Sarah. “My love?”
“My love,” she said as she took his hand. She giggled and looked at her mother, “isn’t he grand? Or, should I say le grande?”
“The kitchen?” Oswald prompted; he’d picked up the tray on which the pitcher sat.
He followed her into the large, well appointed kitchen. They fetched a matching, pre-squeezed pitcher of juice from the refrigerator and placed it on the tray. Oswald glanced quickly out the window and then asked of Sarah, “is that the swing set that you played with when you were young?”
She smiled, “yes,” she said, “my brother and I used to spend so much time out there… the pool is over there, and there was this one time that Kerstin and I tried to dye the whole thing…”
Oswald had stopped listening to Sarah – in fact it was the third time he had heard this same story – instead he slipped his hand into his pocket and produced a small vial filled with a clear liquid. Quickly and quietly he upended its contents into the pitcher and turned back toward Sarah, “all ready, my love? I think your parents could use a little more juice…”
“Ms. Waterford?” The voice startled Kerstin out of her sleep. She opened her eyes and knuckled them as she regarded the older woman in front of her.
“Yeah?” She inquired. “Has he woke up yet?”
The nurse shook her head slowly, “no, ma’am.” She signed, “we’re going to move him to the private room that you requested.”
“Thank you,” she said as she climbed out of the chair in which she had curled herself up. She stretched as she regarded Frank laying on the bed in front of her.
His head was wrapped in a terrifying white bandage and two tubes ran down his throat carrying she didn’t know what to she didn’t know where. The constant, consistent beep of the heart monitor had been oddly soothing as she dozed off and slept, but now that she was awake and standing beside his bed it was a jarring reminder of that this was a hospital bed in a hospital room.
She followed the bed slowly and silently down the hall as they wheeled him from the temporary room in the emergency ward to a more permanent room deeper within the confines of the hospital. The notion that it was a more permanent room brought the tears back to her eyes.
She was barely paying attention to her steps or the path that they took through the familiar halls of the hospital; she was essentially unaware that they were passing through the pediatric ward of the hospital until she crashed into a man who walked across her path. The purse that had been clutched loosely in her hands ejected its contents across an impossibly large area of the floor.
“I am so… I…” she said, but instead it was choked sob that came out of her mouth.
“Sorry,” the man said, although clearly she had run into him and not the other way around. “I… let me help you.”
She dropped to her knees and began shoving things back into her purse. “I should have watched where I was going,” she said as her head began to clear.
“No problem,” the man said as he delivered the last of the items to her. She bid him thanks and then he walked on. She stood, however, looking around for a hospital bed that was nowhere to be found. Up ahead slightly was a nurses’ station and she walked toward it with the intention to ask for directions to Frank’s new room.
As she approached the station she overheard two nurses speak, “frankly the little man is lucky that he ended up here.”
“But no one still has any idea who he is?”
The first nurse shook her head, “no, the parent who was in the car was dead at the scene. But a friend of mine knows someone in the police department and they said they came from Oklahoma and were looking for directions somewhere in the city when it happened.”
“Really? Wow, that’s…” she stopped and turned to Kerstin. “Can I help you dear?”
Kerstin nodded, “yes, I was following Frank Denzre who was being moved to a perma… to a different room. I lost sight of the nurse and I wanted to know what room that would be.”
The nurse looked at her computer screen for a few moments then pointed and said, “down that way, two floors up. Room 416.”
Kerstin nodded and turned down the hallway.
“So, as I was saying,” the nurse continued as Kerstin walked away, “he was lucky he ended up here. I don’t think that the parents knew he had Wilson’s disease.”
Kerstin’s feet crossed one another and she nearly fell over. As she straightened herself back up and turned toward the nurses station she noticed that both women now stood and were looking at her. “I’m sorry,” she said , “did you say that boy from the car accident has Wilson’s disease?”
“Oliver,” the man said as he reached out to clasp Oliver waiting hand. “It’s been far too long.”
Oliver chuckled, “it’s funny, I was just thinking the same thing. We so rarely do business with each other, Kent.” He gestured to the chair on the other side of the desk, “but I think we should change all that.”
The man sat and Oliver flipped open the cigar box at the corner of his desk. He reached it toward the man, “the best in the world.” Kent took one and rolled it in his fingers before smelling the length of it.
“Oh, that’s very nice,” he said as he patted his chest, “I don’t have a light.”
Oliver smiled and sat himself. “Well we haven’t done any business yet, the cigar is for after that, you see.”
Kent grinned, “well don’t hold me in suspense, Jordan, what did you bring me up here for?”
Oliver leaned forward and opened the dossier in front of himself. “I want to buy out your investment in Waterford Holdings debt. All of it.”
Oliver smiled at the smooth reaction that the other man had to the suggestion. He was impressed that he didn’t exclaim or flinch. Oliver hadn’t been sure how he was going to react. The financials of Waterford Holdings were kept quite secret. Lawrence Waterford rejected every proposal to take his company public and worked with private investors in order to do his business. Kent rolled the cigar back and forth in his fingers again before he tossed it on the desk, “you’ve got some balls, Oliver,” he said slowly, “you know how far back I go with Lawrence, you can’t honestly expect me to sell him out… especially to you.”
Oliver smiled, “actually, I can.” He said simply. “I’m going to offer you 5 percent over the value of the investments today. There’s no way that Lawrence would be able to guarantee that on this latest scheme… you will be lucky to make even money.”
“Not interested.” Kent said flatly. “I don’t know what your game is, Jordan; Waterford’s business is good for you.”
Oliver Jordan nodded, “oh, yes, Emerald Heights needs residential development. But why should I control the job market or the housing market when I can control both?”
Kent frowned and stood, “well you’re not going to get at Waterford through me or Armitage Capital, you son of a bitch; you can go right to hell.”
Oliver laughed openly and spun the dossier around on the desk, “actually, Kent, I’m going to get at Waterford directly through you. And… well, now I’m going to do it at 60 cents on the dollar.” He stood and leaned over the desk slightly, he beckoned Kent to read the document sitting on the desk, “unless you want this on the front page of the Times? The public doesn’t look kindly on war heroes who really weren’t, Kent.”
Kent sunk slowly into the chair behind him as he read the document in his hand. “You’re a real bastard, you know that, Jordan? What did my son ever do to you?”
Oliver smiled, “to me? Not a damned thing. But,” he said as he pulled a stack of pre-written contracts out of the drawer of his desk, “for me, on the other hand, he’s done quite a lot by being a liar and a fraud – and being really bad at covering his tracks about it.” He withdrew a cigar from of the box for himself and snipped off the end. “I still need your signature before we can celebrate this deal, Kent.”
Oliver lit the end of the cigar and puffed deeply, “I do not know why I waited so long to do business with you.”Tags:Bayview Hospital, Chief John Godspeed, Frank Denzre, Kent Armitage, Kerstin Waterford, Oliver Jordan, Oswald Glendale, Sarah Price