#30 – An Afternoon to Plan
- Oliver Jordan hatched a plot to take over Waterford Holdings by buying its debt.
- Marcus LeBrandt helped Oliver Jordan get the information he needed to take over the company.
- Lawrence Waterford learned of Oliver Jordan’s plan from Frank Denzre.
- Leticia McKinelle discovered that her ex-husband is in a relationship with Sarah Price, one of her best friends.
- Leticia tried to convince Sarah and her family of Oswald’s dangerous nature.
Lawrence paced back and forth along the length of the narrow hall just inside the door of the old family house. Dozens of pictures lined the wood panelled 17th century walls. The gentle creaking of the floorboards told him with certainty that his father was descending toward the main floor.
“Lawrence?” Kirk Waterford said as he reached the bottom of the stairs. “What’s going on? I could hear you tracking around down here from my study.”
“Dad we need to talk,” Lawrence said while drumming the fingers of his right hand on the palm of his left.
Kirk frowned, “of course, son, come on up to the study and we’ll talk there.”
Lawrence shook his head, “no Dad, I’m expecting Kent Armitage to join us here in a few minutes let’s just stay down here.”
“Kent Armitage?” Kirk said, a note of surprise in his voice. “What’s gone on? Is something wrong with the company?”
Lawrence nodded, “yes, Dad, I’m afraid that something is very wrong with the company.”
Kirk gestured for his son to follow him into the main floor parlour which was just off the main hall. Kirk immediately walked to the small cart that stood in the corner of the room, he pointed the to carafe, Lawrence shook his head. Kirk poured himself a drink, “okay, so what’s going on?”
“You know about the Ajax development?” Lawrence began, “the one that’s going to put those 100 units on the old Carter farm land?” Kirk nodded, “in order to get the financing to buy the land and get the government studies done I had to leverage some pretty hefty loans.”
Kirk made a gesture resembling a shrug, “the 40 million. I know about all of this. Didn’t Kent’s people approve that months ago?”
Lawrence nodded, “they did. And everything was proceeding on track…”
Lawrence was interrupted by the sound of the door knocker. He raised his finger to his father, “excuse me,” he said and he dashed from the room toward the front door. “Kent,” he said, opening the door, “come in. I’m just filling my father in one what has happened.”
Kent shook his head, “I’m so sorry Lawrence. Jordan had me over a barrel.”
Tears flowed unrestrained down Leticia McKinelle’s face. Her hands gripped the steering wheel of her car so tightly she hadn’t been able to feel the palms of her hands for an hour. She had lost track of how long she had been parked there, staring at the hedged entrance to the Price estate.
She was shocked, she was enraged, she was terrified for Sarah and the rest of the Price family.
“I know that he’s dangerous,” she said out loud to the empty interior of her car. “I don’t care what he does or what he says… or who believes his lies. I know he’s dangerous.”
She drew in a ragged, sobbing breath. “I know that Oswald’s dangerous,” she repeated. “And I’m going to stop him.”
Kerstin jogged up the steps to Red Terrace’s front door. Her father had called her while she was in the shower and his message had confused her. She pushed through the front door without knocking – something that would annoy both the house staff and her step-mother to no end. As she headed up the stairs toward the upstairs den that she knew her father favoured in the afternoon, she was halted by the sound of her name.
She spun around and spied her cousin, “Anders,” she said with forced cordiality.
“When did you get here?” He asked, his hand resting on the newel post at the bottom of the stairs.
“Just a minute ago,” she said, “I didn’t wait to be announced.”
Anders shook his head in what appeared to be disappointment, “looking for your father?” Kerstin nodded, he continued, “you won’t find him up there. He left about a half hour ago for the old family house to see Grandfather.” He made an obvious show of looking left and right across the broad expanses of the house; as if he were watching something. “I have been making sure that things go off smoothly here.”
Kerstin narrowed her eyes but she forced a smile, “well that’s good of you,” she said sarcastically. “My Dad called me but I missed the call by a few minutes. Do you know what it was about?”
Anders shook his head, “I don’t. I have been busy.”
Kerstin rolled her eyes, “Of course. Maybe I should head over to the old house; he obviously left for there right after he called me.”
Anders scoffed, “he and Grandfather would be talking about the business, Kerstin. What could they possibly need with you?”
Kerstin quirked an eyebrow, “well I don’t know. But he did call me, Anders.” She began to make her way back down the stairs. “I’m sure that he didn’t call to have me come over here and pretend to oversee the wedding setup… you seem to have that well under control.”
Kirk Waterford tossed back the contents of his drink and slammed the heavy-based glass down on the writing desk. “So that son of a bitch is finally making an honest to God play for Waterford, heh? We’ll see about that.”
Lawrence shook his head, “I don’t see what you can do, Dad. He’s bought up all our debt…”
“…and I’ve put out some requests on Waterford’s behalf, sir.” Kent added. “But Jordan’s got someone putting the squeeze on any banker who even considers lending to you. Even Pam McKinelle said she couldn’t do it. Someone told her boss that their charter would be revoked.”
“Listen boys,” Kirk said, “never count a Waterford out.” He walked over to the two younger men and clapped them on the shoulders. “Or an Armitage for that matter.” He grinned, “this isn’t the first time Oliver Jordan has tried to take over Waterford. He hasn’t beat me yet.”
He stepped back and turned to leave the room. Lawrence spoke, “Dad, where are you going? We need to figure out how we can save the company.”
“I’ve got to see an old… friend. Give my apologies to your mother and the rest, I won’t be back for dinner.”
They heard the sound of the front door clicking closed and Kent turned to Lawrence, “you don’t think he’s going to kill Oliver Jordan, do you?”
Lawrence laughed. “No,” he said. “Well, probably not. My father has been battling Oliver Jordan for forty years. If anyone knows how to put a stop to one of his schemes it’s my Dad.”
“What are you going to do about your daughter’s fiance?”
Lawrence shook his head, “I don’t know what I’m going to tell the girls yet; Marcus has basically been a member of this family for years, and as for the other one…”
“The other one who? And the girls? Both of them?” Kent asked, his brow furrowed. “What does Kerstin have to do with any of thing?”
“Oh Kerstin? Nothing. But it was her boyfriend Frank Denzre who told me what Jordan was planning. He was working for Jordan, too.”
She watched him turn his car down an alley from which there was no exit. She pulled her car to the side of the street and waited. It was only a minute before Oswald emerged and dashed for the front entrance of the building.
The tears were gone now; replaced by an audible, seething anger. She had left him behind in California when she had fled back to Emerald Heights. She had ended that chapter of her life. What business did he have coming to her home town? “He has nothing here,” she whispered to herself. “He wouldn’t even know that Emerald Heights existed if it wasn’t for me.”
Her fists were clenching and unclenching involuntarily as she watched him enter the building. She waited a moment before she popped open the car door and made her way to the side of the building.
There were no security cameras that she could see, but still she thought caution to be prudent. She slid along the wall, down the alley, to a window that was perched just above her head. She quickly found a crate that would give her the extra reach she needed in order to see inside.
As she lifted her head above the sill of the window she gasped out loud. It was a lab; some sort of medical facility. She couldn’t identify the pieces but she was sure that they were being used for something evil.
She jerked her head back as she saw Oswald appear in the room. She raised her head high enough to be able to watch without being seen as another man joined Oswald. The two were talking, but about what she couldn’t hear. She reached a hand up and pushed on the window pane slightly but it wouldn’t budge. She cursed under her breath.
She looked around and spied what appeared to be a vent a few feet away. She jumped down from her crate and placed her ear at the vent.
“How many guests will be there?” She heard a man’s voice ask.
“Virtually the whole town,” Oswald replied, “is the concentration going to be high enough?”
“I can’t say for certain,” the man replied, “if there’s anyone who’s resistant like the brother was then you might have a problem.”
Oswald chuckled, “I really don’t need them all to be affected, just enough to keep my ex-wife’s stories from ruining things with Sarah.”
Leticia winced. The unknown man spoke, “is she really worth going to all this trouble?”
She heard a loud smack that sounded like Oswald had struck the other man. “She is perfect. Perfect,” he repeated. “And now that she’s mine I will never lose her… nothing is too much trouble for Sarah, do you understand? I will never lose her again.”
Leticia stood bolt upright. “Again?” she whispered to herself. She placed her ear back against the vent.
The voices were quieter this time. “I’ll try to have as many vials as you need ready for you by the morning,” she thought the unknown man said, “and then you can just mix them with something communal. Like in a punch bowl…”
“Miss Kerstin, please,” the woman said, “you don’t have to do that.”
Kerstin laughed, “Esther I think I can help you put out a few dinner plates.”
“Mr. Simpson wouldn’t be very happy about it.”
“Let me deal with Simpson,” Kerstin said, referring to the house butler who was a stickler for propriety. “I’d like to see him dress me down in the middle of Red Terrace.” Esther giggled. “I have missed you, and the rest of the house staff.”
“That’s nice of you to say,” Esther replied. “We have missed you, too.”
The two women made eye contact and Kerstin grinned broadly, “I forget, do the forks go on the left?”
“Yes,” Esther replied.
“Kerstin!” the volume of the voice almost caused her to toss the entire tray of forks across the room.
She spun on her heel. “Aunt Ophelia,” she stated.
“What are you doing in here?” She said looking with great scorn at Esther, “shouldn’t you be in the sitting room with the rest of the family until dinner is called?”
“I was just helping to set the table,” Kerstin replied. She felt like a kid caught with her hand in the candy dish. Ophelia was her father’s older sister, the middle child of Kirk and Eileen Waterford. She was also the most prolific breeder among her generation of Waterfords with five children. Two boys and three girls, including a set of twins. They outnumbered the rest of the Waterford grandchild put together.
“Have you taken up employment here at the house, then?” Ophelia asked, though not really. She continued to move toward Kerstin and the tray of forks.
“No, but I was just catching up with Esther and I wanted to…”
“Kerstin!” she actually flinched at the sound of her name being called out a second time. When her father noted her reaction he continued, “what’s the matter?”
She smiled, “nothing Daddy,” she said as she carefully eyed her aunt. “I was just helping Esther set the table.”
Lawrence smiled and shook his head at his daughter, “you don’t have to do that, Kerstin.”
“I know, Daddy, Esther told me that, but I wanted to catch up… and you know me, I can’t just sit back and watch someone else work,” the words were directed at her aunt as much as at her father.
“Does that mean you’re staying for dinner?” Lawrence asked. Kerstin nodded; Lawrence continued, “that’s excellent.” He turned to Esther, “My father won’t be with us for dinner tonight, but mother will still be dining with us. So the family house staff will be here as well. Can you let Simpson know?” Esther nodded and left the room immediately, no doubt happy to escape the Waterford family drama in the room.
“Where is father going to be?” Ophelia inquired finally turning to regard her brother.
“He had business to attend to this evening. Don’t you worry about it,” Lawrence said. He gestured for Ophelia to leave the dining room, “the rest of the family is probably missing your presence in the sitting room, sister.” She turned back toward Kerstin and then looked at Lawrence again, “Kerstin, if you’d be good enough to join us? When you’re finished here, that is,” he said as he looked Ophelia straight in the eye.
Kerstin smiled broadly; “yes, sir,” she replied, “nice talking to you aunt Ophelia,” she added as the woman scowled at her over her shoulder.
Kirk stepped out of the vehicle and made his way to the front door. He tugged at the edge of his suit jacket before pressing the doorbell button. The evening had begun to encroach on Emerald Heights and he could see the light come in the hall that lead to the entrance before the door itself was opened.
The man in the doorway started slightly at the sight of him. It had been many years since they’d spoken, many years since they’d seen eye to eye. But a mutual adversary makes a strong ally.
“Kirk Waterford,” the man announced, “would you believe I’ve been expecting you?” He gestured for Kirk to enter.
Kirk chuckled slightly as he stepped inside, “as a matter of fact, Chuck, I wouldn’t believe anything else.”
Tags:Anders Waterford, Kent Armitage, Kerstin Waterford, Kirk Waterford, Lawrence Waterford, Leticia McKinelle-Glendale, Oswald Glendale, Senator Charles Taylor