#29 – The Morning Before
- Tish Waterford and Marcus LeBrandt were engaged.
- Oliver Jordan infiltrated Waterford Holdings and managed to purchase Lawrence Waterford’s debt with the intention to ruin him through foreclosure.
- Leticia McKinelle‘s ex-husband Oswald Glendale came to Emerald Heights and fell in love with Sarah Price.
- Duncan Marshall was arrested for the murder of Californian fashion designer Claudio Breza.
- Leticia’s father Richard died and left his estate to his young widow Clara; to the exclusion of his children.
- Leticia, feeling that the will is a fake, enlisted Trevor Jordan to help prove that the will is fraudulent.
- Frank Denzre began dating Kerstin Waterford.
“I can’t believe the big day is here already,” Lawrence Waterford said as he watched the myriad workers moving through the gardens at Red Terrace.
“Tish’s wedding, it just seems like yesterday that the engagement was announced,” he said to his wife.
“It has been six months, Lawrence. And, you do know that the wedding is tomorrow, right?”
He chuckled, “yes I do, Lynda. But it’s less than 24 hours away… and… listen, I’m being a father here, can you just let me have this moment?”
Lynda smiled back at him and leaned her head on his shoulder. “Yes dear,” she said quietly.
He drew in a deep breath and straightened himself. “I’m not wild about Oliver Jordan coming to this thing.”
“Oh Lawrence, not this again,” she signed. “It’s a town function, that’s how it works. They invite us to their events and we invite them to ours… you would miss the Hallowe’en fundraiser the Jordans put on every year if they didn’t invite you.”
Lawrence frowned and turned to his wife, “when we go to the Hallowe’en thing we always leave a check for ten grand… what do you think the chance is that Jordan is going to do the same tomorrow?”
Lynda chuckled, “I wouldn’t hold my breath, but you know what I mean. It’s a matter of being civil. You two are the most powerful men in Emerald Heights, you have to be able to be in the same room as one another without it coming to fisticuffs.”
“I could take him,” Lawrence stated grinning.
“He’s in his sixties, dear, yes, you could probably take him,” Lynda shook her head.
“Probably? What’s this probably?”
“Okay, you could absolutely take him, my love.”
“Damn right.” Lawrence stated giving a curt nod of his head.
Frank Denzre watched Marcus LeBrandt look over his shoulder twice as he approached. “Hey man,” he said jovially as he sat down at the small round table.
“Jordan’s man Custone said we weren’t supposed to meet in public,” Marcus said conspiratorially.
Frank quirked an eyebrow, “you’re marrying my girlfriend’s sister tomorrow… we’re gonna run into each other from time to time.”
Marcus laughed, “your girlfriend? Seriously? She’s not your girlfriend, bud, you were paid to hook up with her.”
Frank set his jaw, and glanced across the room, for the first time feeling self-conscious about being seen with Marcus, “I was paid to get access to her apartment and get information about Waterford – which she didn’t have, by the way,” Frank stated, “but… I like her…” he shook his head, “why am I explaining myself to you?”
“Dunno, you’re the one who called me,” Marcus said flatly.
“Are you going through with it?”
“Marrying Tish? Why wouldn’t I?”
Frank’s brow furrowed slightly, “because you gave Oliver Jordan the information he needed in order to take her father’s company away from him.”
“Yeah, and what does that have to do with anything? She’ll still be a Waterford and I’ll be the head of Waterford Holdings when it’s all said and done. Sounds like a couple great reasons to marry her to me.”
Leticia drove up the driveway at the Price estate and pulled her car to a stop next to one that she recognized as John Price‘s. She smiled, happy to know that she would have an ally in her crusade to save her friend Sarah from the clutches of her psychotic ex-husband.
She smoothed the folds of her dress as she stood, looking up at the large portico that made up the front of the Price home. She always felt underdressed when she visited the Prices, though she suspected that everyone did when they visited the homes of internationally famous fashion designers; especially when they bought their clothes off the rack.
She made her way to the front door and pressed the doorbell; the tune it played was a piece that had been written specifically for the Prices and it showed. Their family had a characteristic up-beat, good-natured quality that she often envied.
Winifred, the long-time housekeeper of the Price family answered the door with her usual cheerfulness. She gestured for Leticia to enter and asked if she was expected. “No,” Leticia replied, “I just popped in to talk to John.”
“Very good, Ma’am,” the woman replied. “I’ll fetch him presently.”
Leticia nodded and watched the older woman walk the short distance across the foyer and open a door that she knew lead into the great room. As soon as the door was opened she could hear the sounds of laughter and reverie coming from within. Her immediately reaction was to smile at the sound of people having fun, but as the laughter hung in the air she was able to pick out three distinctly male laughs: Victor Price’s, John Price’s and her ex-husband Oswald Glendale’s.
Her heart began to sink and a sense of dread began to wash over her.
Before she had a chance to react she heard the laughter halt. A moment later John Price, followed closely by Winifred, who scooted off to parts unknown, exited the great room and walk toward her. “Leticia, what a pleasure,” he said and leaned in to hug her.
Caught off guard she hugged him back half-heartedly. “John,” she said, “is there somewhere that we can talk?”
“Absolutely, come in, the whole family is here.” He said gesturing toward the great room.
“No, I mean, I’d rather talk alone. About what we discussed a few weeks ago. About… Oswald.” She said, trying to convey, without using all the words, what she meant.
“Oh that? That was nothing,” he said waving his hand in the air, “now come in and have a drink.”
She grab him by the sleeve. “What are you talking about?” She looked at him directly, “John, I told you that he tried to operate on me. He wanted to change my face!”
John smiled, “Leticia, I talked to him about it and he said that it was just a big misunderstanding. That you blew the whole thing out of proportion. He really is a great guy.”
“John! You have to listen to me! He is dangerous and he is going to hurt your sister!” Leticia said having not realized that she had begun to raise her voice.
Victor Price appeared at the doorway of the great room, “is everything okay here? John? Leticia? What’s going on?” The rest of the Price family and Oswald were soon standing in the foyer of the Price estate as well.
“I came to warn you…” Leticia said, “all of you. About him,” she said as he pointed an accusing finger at her ex-husband. “He’s lying to all of you… he’s got you tricked somehow. You’ve all got to believe me! It’s not… he’s not who he says he is… he tried to… he was going to…” She began to cry. She turned and ran out of the Price house, hopped into her car and sped down the driveway.
Mary looked at Oswald, “I wonder what’s gotten into her?”
Oswald turned to Mary Price and shrugged, “this is exactly what happened when we got divorced. She just couldn’t take it. Obviously the strain of her father’s death is having the same effect.”
“Such a shame, she seemed so put together,” John Price said and shook his head. He clapped Oswald on the shoulder, “now, let’s say we get back to the story you were telling, eh brother?”
John Godspeed, Chief-on-leave of the Emerald Heights Police Department and current evidentiary expert for the Duncan Marshall defence team, rubbed his neck as he twisted his head left then right. He had been pouring over the reports and details of the murder of Claudio Breza for what seemed like weeks.
He didn’t like what he found. The Los Angeles detectives had done a good job of ferreting out the details of the case and documenting them in their reports. The prosecution’s case was fairly straight-forward and, from his own experience, would be an easy sell to a jury.
He pushed himself back from the table and stood. He took the papers that had become spread across the table’s surface and placed them back in the evidence box and snapped the lid back on it. He took a quick glance at the cold grey walls before hefting the box under his right arm and making his way out into the officers’ bullpen.
He pulled out his phone and dialled Elizabeth Marshall. “Ms. Marshall,” he said when she acknowledged the call with a cordial ‘hello’.
“John, I told you to call me Liz,” she replied.
“Fair enough,” he said, “I’ve just finished going over the primary evidence from the police reports. I’ve been through every single document twice and I’m going to request a few copies of some things that I want to look at more closely.” He sighed, “there’s a lot of evidence here that doesn’t look good for Duncan.”
“That was bound to happen, John.” She said, “he doesn’t have an alibi for the time of the murders, so all they were bound to find was traces of him all over the house and no way for him to account for his whereabouts.”
Godspeed hoisted the box up onto the counter of the evidence locker and rapt gently on the side of the window. “What does he say about it?” Godspeed inquired.
“He says that after he found out that his flight was going to be delayed that he went to get drunk at a bar,” Elizabeth replied.
“Can anyone there provide him with an alibi?” Godspeed asked.
“No so far,” she stated. “I’ve canvassed the bar a couple of times looking for witnesses who might have seen him and so far no one recognizes my brother.”
Godspeed shook his head. “For check-in,” he said as the evidence attendant appeared in front of him. “John Godspeed, Marshall defence team,” it felt strange to him to not refer to himself as the Chief of Police, but he was certain that a small-town Chief would be scoffed at in the big city; plus, he was technically on leave. “Sorry, Liz, I was just checking the evidence back in to the locker.” The attendant returned moments later and slid a clipboard in front of him; he signed dutifully before turning and walking down the hallway. “What about someone at the airline?” Godspeed inquired.
“He never made it to the airport,” Elizabeth stated, “he learned about the delay from an automated call.”
“Damn,” Godspeed breathed, “it’s going to be hard to argue the case for a man without an alibi.”
“Don’t I know it,” she said.
Trevor listened at the door to the sobs coming from within. He tapped lightly on the door and heard her feeble attempts to choke them back. “Yes?” She said quietly; although a full throated scream would have sounded quiet through the heavy wooden door.
He clicked the latch and pushed the door inward, “Clara, my darling,” he said breezing across the room. “Don’t be sad,” he reached down and swept a tear away from her eye.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “it’s just that… I was thinking about this big house and Rich… Richard and missing him.”
Trevor’s face didn’t change but he was definitely taken aback; her profession of feelings for the dead man surprised him. He had been certain that the Widow McKinelle had been nothing but a gold digger searching for a free fortune. He had thought that they’d had that trait in common. “He was suffering,” Trevor said in an attempt to sound comforting, “now he’s at peace.”
He ran his fingers through her hair. She sobbed again. “There, there,” he said, pulling her up slightly and laying her head in his lap. “Trevor’s here, my sweet,” he cooed. “Everything is going to be okay.”
She wept softly and fresh tears wet her eyes. “Can you get me one of my pills?”
“Of course,” Trevor said and slipped into the en suite bathroom. He made the noise of opening and closing the medicine cabinet while slipping his hands into his pockets and pulling out a plastic bag of little white pills. He stepped back into the room, pill in hand, and filled a glass from the carafe on the trolley that customarily sat in the corner of the room.
She eagerly took the pill from him and, without hesitation, tossed her head back and swallowed the pill.
“There,” he said to her, leaning down and kissing the side of her face, “you’ll be feeling better in no time at all.”
“Frank?” Lawrence Waterford said with some surprise as he entered the drawing room of Red Terrace. The visit had been unexpected and unannounced and when a member of the house staff had told him that a “Mr. Denzre” was waiting to speak with him it took him a few moments to realize who they’d meant.
“Mr. Waterford I apologize for showing up without calling first,” Frank said, taking a few steps toward Lawrence.
“No, no,” Lawrence said, sensing the urgency in the young man’s voice, “and call me Lawrence.”
“Mr. Waterford, I’d rather you hear me out before you say that,” Frank said.
“What’s going on? Is something wrong with Kerstin?”
Frank shook his head, “nothing at all. She’s at home… at her apartment, I mean.” He turned and walked back toward the drawing room’s large desk. Lawrence watched him pick up a leather attache case.
“Then I don’t understand. Are you still coming to the wedding?” Lawrence inquired.
“That’s sort of what this is about, sir,” Frank said, pulling a folder from the attache case.
“I don’t understand,” Lawrence said, “there’s something wrong with the wedding?”
Frank shook his head, “not exactly the wedding, Mr. Waterford, but… the groom.”
“I don’t understand, Frank, you’d better start explaining.”
Lawrence watched as Frank sat in the lounge and proceeded to lay papers out on the large coffee table. He recognized some of the papers with Waterford letterhead as memos and invoices for Waterford Holdings work and correspondence. “What is all this?” He asked lowering himself onto the lounge alongside Frank Denzre.
“This, Mr. Waterford, is all the information that Marcus gave to Oliver Jordan about your business and your business partners.” He turned to face the other man, “he gave it to him, sir, so that Jordan could buy up your debt and foreclose on Waterford Holdings.”
If it was possible to be stunned without being at all surprised then that was exactly what Lawrence was feeling in that very moment. “And how did you come upon this information?” Lawrence asked as he watched Frank Denzre very closely.
Frank’s eyes closed and his head lowered ever so slightly before he looked directly at Lawrence Waterford, “because I was working for Oliver Jordan, too.”
John Godspeed weaved his way through the LAPD officers’ bullpen on his way to the desk of detective Kevin Burgess who was making copies of the reports that he had requested. He was tired and stiff from his long day of sitting in the evidence room and reading and scrutinizing the long array of documents that had been in the evidence box. He wanted nothing more than to just get the copies of the files and head back to his hotel room to turn on the TV and relax.
“John,” detective Burgess greeted him warmly.
Godspeed reached out and received the detectives hand it shook it cordially.
“I’ve got your papers all right here,” he said gesturing to a file laying on the desk. “I just need to get you to sign this document that says that you’re taking the documents out and basically what’s in them. Standard fare, I’m sure you’re used to.”
Godspeed nodded, “I don’t think it matters whether you’re in a big city or a small town the bureaucracy has found its way in.” He took the pen, glanced at the page, and signed. As he started to stretch back up his back creaked audibly. “Oh,” he groaned and lowered himself back down. “Can I?” He asked from his stooped over position while he gestured at Burgess’ chair.
“By all means,” Kevin Burgess replied, adding, “those chairs downstairs aren’t the most comfortable.”
“Comes with the territory, I think,” Godspeed replied. “I’ll be fine. It’s just a spasm. At my age you get used to them.” He raised his arms out over the desk and turned side to side trying to work the pain out of his back as was his custom. In so doing he knocked over a picture on the detective’s desk. “Sorry,” he said and righted the picture.
It was a picture of a man and a woman standing a small child, “your family?”
“My parents,” Burgess replied picking up the frame photograph.
“Your father was an officer?”
Burgess nodded, “yep, 15 years. He was shot and killed in the line a year after this picture was taken. Christopher and Mariella.” He said, gesturing to the pair in the photograph. “They’re both gone now.”
“You look like your father,” Godspeed observed.
Burgess nodded and smiled, “thank you, Chief.”
“How is the lab setup going?” Oswald inquired into the phone.
A man’s voice replied, “not bad, I’ve pretty much got everything set up since the last time you were here.”
“Very good,” Oswald stated. “I need more of the Formula 7 Primer.”
“You just got four vials the other day,” the male voice replied.
“The brother was resistant,” he replied.
“Very resistant if it took four vials,” the voice mused. “How much do you need?”
Oswald contemplated, “how much can you have for me by tomorrow morning?”
“Probably eight or ten vials.”
“That’s not nearly enough, I need more. Fifteen at least,” Oswald stated.
“What could you possibly need that much for unless you’re planning to dose an entire town?” When Oswald didn’t reply the man continued, “are you planning to dose an entire town?”
Oswald smirked, “not the entire town.”Tags:Chief John Godspeed, Clara Preston-McKinelle, Elizabeth Marshall, Frank Denzre, John Price, Kevin Burgess, Lawrence Waterford, Leticia McKinelle-Glendale, Lynda Waterford, Marcus LeBrant, Mary Price, Oswald Glendale, Victor Price