#32 – The Big Day: Part I
- Oliver Jordan hatched a plot to take over Waterford Holdings through foreclosure.
- Kerstin Waterford learned that her boyfriend Frank Denzre had betrayed her family to Oliver Jordan.
- A drunk Kaitlyn Godspeed was driven home by Jason Marshall.
- Olivia Jordan returned to Emerald Heights temporarily from her work in Singapore to attend the Waterford wedding.
- Leticia McKinelle’s ex-husband Oswald Glendale was planning to drug the town.
- Leticia discovered Oswald’s lab and confronted his henchman.
- During the struggle the lab caught fire and Leticia fled.
A barefoot Kerstin Waterford padded quietly down the stairs of Red Terrace. She noted Simpson, the house butler, glance down at her feet and shake his head slightly as she approached the doorway to the family dining room. “Miss Kerstin,” he said, not to her, but by way of an announcement to the occupants of the dining room as she passed through the large arch.
She groaned slightly as she noted that the rest of the family was already seated around the large table, with the exception of Marcus. His customary place was set but unoccupied. She slipped around the head of the table and kissed her father on the cheek before sliding into the position at the table that was historically hers; she sat cross-legged in between the chair’s wide arms.
“Where’s Marcus,” she said, addressing her father rather than her sister.
“It’s our wedding day,” Tish replied from her left, “he can’t see me until the wedding.”
“Oh,” Kerstin replied, “I guess I forgot that. So did he stay in the guest wing last night?”
“He’s eating breakfast in the little dining room,” Lawrence replied.
“So are you living here again, now?” Tish snapped. “Because your room is gone you know.”
Kerstin laughed at the tone, “I noticed that,” she said, without looking at her sister. “No, I just stayed the night last night because…” her voice trailed off as she realized that she didn’t have a good reason beyond ‘because I found out your fiance and my boyfriend were working to destroy out family’. “Because… Daddy asked me to be here for breakfast this morning,” she said and hoped that it sounded convincing. “It’s your big day after all.”
Lawrence smiled and nodded, “that’s right. And after breakfast you girls can go up and start getting into your dresses. Guests will begin arriving at 11.”
“My dress is at my apartment,” Kerstin said flatly.
Lawrence frowned, “I thought all the bridesmaids dresses were here?”
“They are, Daddy,” Kerstin replied as she turned from her father to look at her sister for the first time since sitting down, “but I’m just a guest.”
Kaitlyn Godspeed was ripped from sleep by the sound of the phone booming through her head. She groaned and swore and swatted at the phone several times before her fingers successfully traced out the edges of the receiver. She lifted it to her ear and croaked, “yeah,” into it as best as she could manage.
“Is the Chief available?” The man’s voice asked from the other end of the line.
“What?” She replied.
“Chief Godspeed, is he home?”
“He’s in California,” he replied, “this is his daughter.”
“Oh,” the voice said, “sorry to have bothered you.”
“Yeah,” she said and dropped the receiver to the ground; as she rolled over the light in the room stung her brain. “Oh my God, I’m never drinking again,” she said out loud.
“That would be a good idea,” Jason Marshall said from the other side of her bed.
Lawrence stood in the foyer of Red Terrace and watched as his family dispersed to their various routines and duties for the big day. Kerstin stepped through the door and he caught her eye; with a jerk of his head she moved over to stand beside him. “Are you going to be okay going home alone? I can send Lucas with you, or Simpson, even if you’d prefer.”
Kerstin laughed, “I don’t think Simpson would like that very well, Daddy,” she said. “But I can manage just fine. Like Grandpa said, I’ll probably never see Frank again.” He heard Kerstin sigh and set her jaw in a way that looked like she was trying to contain her emotions.
“I’m sorry, my sweet,” he said and leaned in to kiss Kerstin’s forehead. “But I have to go talk to Marcus…”
Kerstin quirked an eyebrow, “what are you going to say to him?”
Lawrence shook his head, “I haven’t the foggiest idea.” He kissed his daughter quickly on the forehead once more and patted her on the arm, “be back before 11,” he reminded her. He then walked to the bottom of the stairs but was stopped by a voice behind him.
He looked back and watched the housemaid, Esther, holding the door open after giving Kerstin a gracious hug. He smiled at the sight, but the smile was soon replaced when he heard Esther speak, “happy birthday, Miss Kerstin,” she said before swinging shut the large front door.
He cursed under his breath for having forgotten, turned and continued the climb up the stairs.
The small dining room adjoined the upstairs den that Lawrence used as his personal office. He had directed the staff to ask Marcus to stay there after he was finished with breakfast. He knocked before entering and Marcus stood, “Lawrence,” the younger man said.
“Sit,” Lawrence directed. “Please,” he added as an afterthought. “Marcus,” Lawrence said after the young man was seated. “I got some disturbing news yesterday morning and I wanted to address it with you.”
“With me?” Marcus said, “is there something I can do?”
“It actually concerns what you’ve already done, Marcus,” Lawrence continued, “specifically the information that you gave to Oliver Jordan.”
Marcus swallowed hard but didn’t speak.
Lawrence nodded, “well, I guess that tells me what I needed to know. Frank was telling the truth.”
“Lawrence…” Marcus began, “Mr. Waterford… I…”
Lawrence held up his hand, “frankly, Marcus, I couldn’t care less what you have to say. But listen to me. I am not going to say anything to Tish. I’m not going to say anything to any of the family… but,” he paused and turned to watch the man closely, “you are not going to continue to work for Waterford Holdings.” He noted Marcus reaction, “on Monday you’re going to submit your letter of resignation and you’re going to… I don’t care… call Oliver Jordan.”
Marcus stood and walked toward him, “Jordan already gave me a job,” he said defiantly, “yours.”
Lawrence laughed, “we’ll see,” he said confidently, “oh, and if you get any ideas about backing out of marrying my daughter: don’t bother. Corporate espionage is a very serious crime, Marcus, and I have more than enough evidence to put you away for a very long time.”
Neither man spoke for several moments before Lawrence added, “go. Get out of my office.”
Jason Marshall laughed, “what are you doing? You’re fully clothed,” he said.
She frowned quickly and looked down at herself. She was, indeed, fully clothed. And so was he. In fact he was laying on top of the bed covers that had clearly never been disturbed. She groaned and rubbed her forehead. “You drove me home,” she said.
He nodded, “yeah, you would have ended up sleeping in a ditch if I hadn’t.” He handed her a glass of water and a small white pill. “Here, this’ll help with the throbbing head problem,” he smiled, “what was that phone call?”
“Someone looking for my Dad,” she said, “the station, I think.”
Jason nodded, “probably about the fire.”
“What? What fire?”
“There was a fire downtown last night. Some building burned down and there was a guy inside who died. It was on the morning news.”
Leticia McKinelle knocked feverishly on Kerstin Waterford’s apartment door but there was no answer. There had been no answer for the last twenty minutes during which she had stood there knocking. Two neighbours had come out of their apartments to scowl at her for the disturbance but upon seeing the dishevelled weeping woman standing in the hall they had simply closed their doors in silence.
“Come on, Kerstin,” she said out loud.
The ding of the elevator door caused her to turn; Kerstin stepped out into the hall and fresh tears and sobbing came forth from Leticia as she walked toward her cousin.
“What happened to you?” Kerstin said, her voice filled with awe.
“Oh my God, Kerstin,” she said. “Where have you been?”
“I slept at Red Terrace last night,” Kerstin replied as she unlocked the apartment door and let Leticia pass her.
Leticia crossed the room immediately and crumpled on the couch. It was a moment before Kerstin joined her in the living room. “Did you get my message?” Leticia asked.
Kerstin shook her head, “I… dammit, I forgot my phone at Red Terrace.” She sighed, “no, I didn’t get your message. I take it from your… state… that you had a run-in with Oswald?”
Leticia moaned out loud, “you don’t even know the half of it. Did you hear about the fire downtown last night?”
Kerstin shook her head, “no, I came here right after breakfast. I haven’t heard any news or anything. What does that have to do with anything, anyway?”
Leticia pushed herself up to a sitting position on Kerstin’s couch. “I… followed Oswald to that building and… he was making some sort of drug or something there… and… he was going to use it on the whole town,” she hard to work hard to choke the words out through the sobs. “I set the building on fire. I killed that guy.”
She watched Kerstin stand suddenly and then lower herself slowly back down onto the couch, “you killed Oswald?” She asked.
Leticia shook her head slowly, “no… I… I don’t know who I killed.”
The sight at Red Terrace was one to behold. Lawrence and Lynda Waterford stood to the right of the front door of the grand Georgian manor, Kirk and Eileen Waterford stood opposite them, and the rest of the Waterford family lined up on either side of the doors according to age. Missing from the long line were Lawrence’s two daughters Tish – who was absent by design as the bride – and Kerstin – who was missing for reasons unknown.
The house staff of both Red Terrace and the old family home stood some steps behind the family, similarly flanking the door with men on the right and women on the left.
One by one the limousines arrived, making the circle in the open courtyard. A staff of valets hired specifically for the wedding stepped forward and opened the door for each car and helped the women and aged men from the cars when necessary. The whole thing was highly ritualized affair timed and planned with precision. Many, including his eldest daughter, did not understand Lawrence Waterford’s insistence on adhering to what they contended was an antiquated and unnecessary exercise in pomp and circumstance. For him it was an homage to the long standing traditions of his ancestors who called Emerald Heights their home. Also, it was a chance to show off in front of the rest of the town.
The characteristic white limousine of Oliver Jordan appeared in the courtyard and Lawrence leaned in to his wife and whispered, “here we go.”
“Be nice,” Lynda chided. Lawrence glanced at her quickly before returning his attention to Jordan’s car as the valets opened the two rear doors simultaneously. He hadn’t told Lynda about Marcus’ deceit, or about Oliver Jordan’s intention to take over Waterford Holdings.
Lawrence smiled as the Jordans made their way up the short walk to the front door of Red Terrace. “Mister and Mistress Oliver and Constance Jordan, and their daughter Olivia,” Simpson announced as the trio neared the waiting Waterfords.
“Oliver,” Lynda said as she leaned in and gave the older man a double-kiss; she did likewise with Constance and Olivia.
“Waterford,” Oliver Jordan stated coolly as he clasped the man’s hand.
“Jordan,” Lawrence replied curtly with a nod.
“Isn’t Trevor with you?” One of Ophelia’s twin girls asked rather imprudently for Lawrence’s taste.
“He is coming with his date, dear,” Constance replied as the trio passed through the receiving line and into the house.
“Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?” Lynda asked her husband.
“That’s only the beginning, my love,” Lawrence replied.
“You need to stop with the weeping,” Kerstin chided from the passenger seat of Leticia’s car, “if that make-up runs one more time there won’t be anything I can do. You’re going to be sad-clown in all of the pictures.”
“Do you want me to try to be funny, like you?” Leticia snapped. “I’m sorry, Kerstin, I just don’t know why I’m even going to this thing.”
Kerstin pivoted in her seat, “listen, from what you told me it sounds like it was a total accident. And that guy had a gun and he probably would have killed you if he didn’t slip. You even said he fired it!” She gestured to Leticia, “if you don’t go then people are going to know that something is up.”
“I don’t know how I can go and be happy and not think about the man who died.”
“The bad man who died, Leticia. Bad man. That makes a difference. And he might have died whether you were there or not.”
The car stopped at a corner and Leticia turned to look at her, “do you really believe that?”
Kerstin opened her mouth and it hung there for a moment, “I… I don’t know. But I know that you’re my cousin and I don’t want you to get in trouble for trying to protect the town from Oswald Glendale. I believe what you said about his plan to… I dunno… dose everyone with some drug.”
Leticia shook her head, “I don’t know how it works, but it seems to make people listen to him. Like after I talked to John the first time he was planning to help me convince Sarah that Oswald was dangerous and then, after Oswald gave him this thing, he was totally an Oswald groupie.”
“Creepy. Don’t let him near my drinks tonight, okay?”
“What?” Leticia said absently.
“Oswald, don’t let him near my drinks tonight, okay?”
“Oh my God, Kerstin… he’s going to be there!”
Kerstin frowned, “well yeah, probably, Leticia. He’ll be there with the Prices. They all got invited. Didn’t you think about that?”
“Not really,” Leticia said, “I don’t know if I can do this…”
“A bit, for sure,” she replied. “Did my Mom call?”
Jason shook his head, “not so far, the phone never rang again.”
She flopped down on the couch beside him, “figures.”
“Why do you say that?” Jason asked.
“Today is the big Waterford wedding,” Kaitlyn replied, “she’s probably up there sucking up to the Waterfords and the Jordans and the rest of them.”
“My family got invited to that thing, too,” Jason stated. “Not everyone there is a snob.”
“I know,” she said, “my Dad got invited, too. But just because he’s the police chief.”
“Just your Dad, you didn’t get invited too?”
She chuckled, “technically I got invited too. I mean, to the reception afterward, not to the actual wedding.”
Jason flipped his wrist up and looked at his watch, “that part’s probably over by now anyhow. All that’s left is the reception.”
He was smiling broadly when she turned and looked at him. “No,” she said having obviously read his mind. “Not after last night.”
“Come on!” He said, “when are you going to get another chance to see the inside of Red Terrace?”
“I can buy a magazine and see it any time I want to,” she quipped.
Jason pushed himself up off the couch and held out his hand, “you owe me,” he said plainly.
“What are you talking about?”
“If it wasn’t for me you’d have woke up in a ditch this morning, right? Well, I think that’s worth a trip up to Richie Rich Drive for the evening.”
Kaitlyn groaned, “fine. But I’m not wearing a stupid dress.”
Kerstin Waterford leaned against the wall just inside the main garden doors of Red Terrace while Leticia stood fully in the doorway looking out at the crowd of people who gathered for the reception of Marcus and Tish LeBrandt. “Did she leave?”
“Balls,” Kerstin replied before turning her head and spying her grandmother walking down the hall toward the door; she winced. “Sorry Granny,” she said.
Her grandmother shook her head, “you girls should be out socializing not lurking in a doorway.”
“She’s lurking,” Kerstin said poking her thumb at Leticia, “I’m full on hiding.”
Eileen Waterford continued on past the girls and after she was far enough away Leticia stabbed Kerstin in the rib with a finger. “Ow,” Kerstin exclaimed.
“Well that’s what you get for calling me a lurker, you know she really believes that kind of stuff.”
A smile spread across Kerstin’s face, “yes, yes I do.”
Leticia looked out the door and into the crowd, “oh, Olivia, Kerstin would love to talk to you…” she said, far too softly for anyone to have heard, but by way of example to Kerstin of the power that she had to plunge the other woman into her own personal hell.
“I actually know you wouldn’t do that because you hate her too,” Kerstin said.
“Maybe I don’t anymore,” Leticia said, “it’s been years since I’ve seen her. And I did hire her brother to seduce my father’s widow so we’re, like, family or something.” She shook her head, “oh my God, I actually did do that… what is going on with my life?”
Kerstin laughed in spite of herself. “I can’t believe you just said you were like family with a Jordan.”
“I know, I need a drink.”
“Oh, good idea. Get me one while you’re out there.”
“What?” Leticia asked.
“I’m not going out there.” Kerstin stated.
“Are you kidding me? I’m not going alone, Kerstin. Oswald is out there somewhere with Sarah and the rest of the Prices. Do you even know what they think of me? When I was up at the estate I acted like a complete head case.”
Kerstin sighed, “fine. Where’s Olivia?”
“Crap. I lost her.”
The man nodded but continued to look through the reception crowd. “I’m fine, I just got some bad news this morning.”
Sarah made a sad face, “I’m sorry, my darling.”
“I am too, it is going to force me to change my plans quite a lot,” Oswald replied, still looking at the crowd rather than Sarah.
“Are you sure you don’t want to dance?”
Oswald turned and looked at Sarah with a stern frown on his face, “yes, Sarah, I’m sure. Now will you please stop talking…” He stood and scanned the faces in the crowd again.
“I… I’m sorry,” Sarah said, sounding hurt.
Oswald looked down at her. He took her chin in his hand, “I’m sorry, my love,” he said softly, “I didn’t mean to snap at you. It has just been a stressful day.”
“Do you want to go?”
Oswald shook his head, “no, I have unfinished business to deal with,” he said, “and I think I might be able to deal with it tonight.”
He looked back out across the crowd and spied Leticia McKinelle walking toward the bar. He looked at Sarah, smiled and said, “actually, I think that dance sounds like a great idea.”
“Booze,” Kerstin replied.
“You are the most unhelpful person I know.”
“Wow, you are hostile today,” Kerstin replied, “okay, I’ll have a White Russian.”
“Hold off on the judgment there, heh?” Kerstin quipped, “I’m keeping the Oswald vigil, you get the drinks. We’re a team, you know. Wah!” Kerstin squealed as she turned her head and flinched reflexively by throwing her hands in front of her face.
“Kerstin Waterford,” Olivia Jordan said as she walked up to the bar.
“I let my guard down for one friggin’ minute,” Kerstin whispered to Leticia, “oh, Olivia,” Kerstin said while mentally flipping a coin to decide whether to use the muscles in her mouth to smile, or to use the muscles in her finger to properly greet Olivia Jordan. She smiled. “I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to talk before now. Are you back in Emerald Heights to stay or just taking a break from pulling bread out of Asian children’s mouths?”
“I’m visiting; just here for this and Daddy’s fundraiser next weekend” Olivia replied, “how about you? Are you still enjoying being the little rich girl with a pauper’s heart that you think is so cute? I heard you had some man trouble recently.”
Kerstin took a quick step forward and balled her fists at her side. Leticia spoke her name which caused her to rock back on her heel but she continued to stare down Olivia, “what do you know about that?”
“Just that Daddy says that Southeast Asia isn’t the only place that Jordan Enterprises is expanding,” she smiled and scrunched up her nose. “You know it was inevitable, Kerstin. There’s nothing that you or anyone else can do to stop my family from getting what we want. Your sister had the right idea, you should learn from her… marry now and get rid of the name Waterford while it still has a little value left in it.”
“Screw you,” Kerstin said and turned away from Olivia. “Give me that drink,” she said to Leticia, who obliged. She brought it to her lips and then stopped.
“Hey, Olivia,” Kerstin said turning back to face the woman, “did you know it’s an open bar?”
She threw the drink in the other woman’s face.Tags:Constance Jordan, Eileen Waterford, Jason Marshall, Kaitlyn Godspeed, Kerstin Waterford, Kirk Waterford, Lawrence Waterford, Leticia McKinelle-Glendale, Lynda Waterford, Oliver Jordan, Olivia Jordan, Oswald Glendale, Sarah Price, Tish Waterford