#5 – Shadows of Things to Come

January 26th, 2011


Jordan Estate

“Trevor!” She called across the void of the foyer.  “Trevor Alexander Thomas Jordan,” she said using his full name for emphasis.  Constance Jordan was hopping mad.  He had been lying for weeks; worse perhaps, he had been lying for weeks and had been lying so well.

Thomasina stepped into the foyer from the dining room and regarded the woman, “Madam,” she spoke in a tone that was half question and half accusation.  “Would you like me to get young Mr. Jordan?”

“Trevor!” She bellowed up the stairs again ignoring the other woman entirely.  “Get down here!”

It was unlike Constance to shout in the house.  In fact she used to severely admonish her two children when they shouted in the halls of the mansion.  Shouting was an outside behaviour.  But this evening an exception would be made.

She gripped the newel post of the large curving stairwell with her left hand and slapped the top of it for emphasis as she spoke, “Trev…” she broke off her call when her son emerged from the western hall and came into her sight.

A gold-coloured gown trailed unattended behind her as she trucked her way up the stairs.  “I just received an interesting phone call,” she began, looking sternly into her son’s eyes.

The youngster didn’t reply, instead he reached for his cell phone and checked an incoming text message.

She fumed, “it was interesting,” she said, “because it seems that you haven’t been honest with me.”

To this he reacted.  She noticed his eyes shoot up from his phone and catch hers.  “Yes, I know,” she said.

“Mom, I can explain,” he began.

She stabbed the air with her finger, “I don’t want to hear it!  This is the last straw, Trevor.”  He opened his mouth to speak but she made a striking motion to indicate that she wasn’t finished.  “You have been given every opportunity to succeed.  You are 25 years old, Trevor; we have been patient with you up until this point, but this is really the last straw.”

“Does Dad…” she cut him off again.

“Does Dad know?  That’s what you’re asking me?  Does Dad know that you dropped out?”  She huffed, “no, he doesn’t know, Trevor.  He doesn’t know because none of us knew, and none of us would have known if it hadn’t been for…  if it wasn’t for the phone call I just received.”

He quirked an eyebrow.  “Phone call from who?”

She sat cross-legged in her new apartment staring at the blank walls.  Kerstin Waterford smiled; she couldn’t have been happier.

Her father had been upset when she had told him that she was leaving Red Terrace.  Once she had found an apartment and signed the lease, however, he had offered to help her furnish it.  He had offered her anything she wanted from the Red Terrace collection but she had declined.  She had opted to take only her bedroom set and the contents of her computer room.

And her books, she couldn’t leave behind her books.

She imagined her sister at that very moment, dancing through the halls of Red Terrace, measuring rooms, and marking walls for destruction, planning her take-over of the space that Kerstin had once occupied.

“Do you think that’s necessary?” Their father, Lawrence, would ask of her requests; Tish would insist that it was.  Lynda, the girls’ step-mother, would make an overture of temperance, not wanting to look too eager in Lawrence’s eyes to have her elder step-daughter out of their home; but the next day Lynda would be shopping with Tish for new furnishings that would effectively erase Kerstin from Red Terrace.

And she didn’t care.

There was no table at which to dine; there was nothing to sit on in the living room except for an office chair.  The windows had no treatments, her closets didn’t have hangers, and her cupboards didn’t have dishes – except for a mug that was perpetually hers and hers alone.

She pushed off against the desk and rolled toward a pile of boxes containing books for which she had no shelves.  On the boxes was her laptop, which was on, open and ready for her input.

She browsed her way to the website for the Emerald Heights daily paper and clicked the link for the Classifieds. Therein, she hoped, would be her future in the form of a forty-words-or-less want ad.

She scanned the listing. An overpowering number of hairdressers, line cooks and truck drivers seemed to be in demand in Emerald Heights and considering her inability with a standard-shift, anything more complicated than a microwave and anything more complicated than shampoo and basic conditioner, she was out of luck. She had begun to think it hopeless as she neared the bottom of the sixth page.  She had begun to think that she wasn’t just being funny when she told Leticia that she had no human skills, when something caught her eye:

WAITRESS – No Experience Required.
Apply in person at the P&Q.
Corner of Third & Daye.

“I can do that!”  She said out loud to the empty space around her in the apartment.  “Marketable human skills are highly overrated.”

“Good evening, Mr. Jordan,” the voice said from the other end of the line.  Oliver couldn’t place it immediately.

“Yes?” He repeated.  He wasn’t accustomed to having to ask things twice.

“I have some information,” the voice replied, again being cagey.

“Listen, I don’t know who this is, but unless you’re going to cough it up and stop wasting my time,” Oliver was getting heated, “get off my line.”

He was just about to hang up the line when the voice spoke words that immediately drew his attention and changed his tone.  “Senator Taylor is lying to you.”

“What?”  Oliver said, his composure wavering for a moment.  “Go on,” he bade.

“Taylor is playing you for a fool.” The voice continued, “he is taking your money and telling your secrets to your competitors.”

Jordan frowned.  That didn’t sound like Charles Taylor.  “What makes you think so.”

“Proof, Mr. Jordan, I have proof.”  The voice said after a dramatic pause.  “He tried to get Lockheed those contracts you were bidding on.  You know… the fighter plane.”

Oliver bristled.  This person knew that the Senator was on his payroll, knew about Jordan Enterprises failed bid for the contract and apparently knew that the Senator was screwing him.  “Why would he do that?”

“Don’t be naive, Mr. Jordan,” the voice chastised and Oliver seethed, he almost responded but the voice continued, “he’s trying to hedge his bets.  Lockheed is shopping for a new base of operations with the rising taxes in Maryland.  Taylor is courting them.”

“Why are you telling me this?”  Oliver asked.

“This is the freebie Mr. Jordan, “the voice replied, “if you want to know any more you’ll have to meet me in person – with cash.”

Duncan and Cassie Marshall were seated at what he become their customary table at Cafe Orleans; not because of some decision made on their part, or to their knowledge some decision made on the part of the staff at Cafe Orleans, but it certainly seemed so.  Cassie traced the now familiar line etched into the tabletop by some unknown mishap from years before.  She smiled at the scar that made the table unique among its fellows; it is how she knew that it was their table.

Duncan’s mind seemed to be on other things, he had been on edge for weeks, months even.  At it appeared that he was becoming more secretive with her again.

When they first got the news that she couldn’t conceive it had affected them both a great deal.  They had sought counselling in order to deal with the news and its impact on their lives, but Duncan’s participation had never been consistent.  He had withdrawn from her after the news.

She had tried to remain optimistic.  She had tried to talk to him about adoption, but he seemed disinterested.  He avoided the subject when it was brought up, avoided her when she pressed him on the idea.  She had even approached an agency at one point.

“I am not ready to give up!” He had exclaimed when she told him about speaking with an adoption counsellor.

“That’s not what adoption is, Duncan,” she pleaded.  “But we have tried everything else.  You want a family, I want a family.  We need to face the reality.”

He had stormed out of the apartment at that point and hadn’t returned for two days.  When he finally came home and she asked he had told her that he had slept at the office.  He hadn’t and to this day she didn’t know where he had been.

“Cass?” He asked, jarring her from her memory.

“Sorry?” She said, having not heard a word from him in minutes.

“I asked how your meal was,” he repeated.

“Uh…  good, you know I love anything that Carlos cooks.”  She said, forcing herself to smile.

He wasn’t buying it.  Dinner was one of the easiest times and ways to figure out if Cassandra Marshall was in a fair state of mind.  Food, for her, was love.  It was a rapturous experience.  She marvelled in sauces and glorified technique.  She was a caterer by trade by was a culinary Epicurean at heart.

Their dinner conversation had been stilted and infrequent.  He was ruminating over the conversation he’d had with detective Burgess and the subsequent voice-mail message that told him that the good detective was not through with him.

The detective had come at him with questions about an old associate Claudio Breza and his wife Anita.  Duncan had known the Brezas when he lived in Los Angeles.  If he was honest with himself he would have to admit that the Brezas were more than associates.  Without Claudio he wouldn’t have made the name for himself that he had managed.

Without Anita, well, without Anita I would have spent many more lonely nights in Los Angeles, he remembered.  He smiled slyly in his memory.  God she was hot in bed.

“What’s on your mind?”  Cassie asked seeing the smile play across his face.  “Sweetheart, what’s going on with you tonight?”

“Nothing,” he answered back, “I’ve just got a lot on my mind.”

“Well, would it be too much to ask that I be foremost on your mind tonight?”

Duncan smiled, more in an effort to reassure Cassie than from joy. “Sorry, love, I’ve been.”

The familiar ringing of his cell phone interrupted him. He glanced at the screen, then at his wife. “Sorry, I’ve got to take this call. I’ll be right back.”

Cassie’s eye narrowed, but she nodded. She knew that it was useless to argue.  He’d take the call anyway, and she’d just get herself worked up.  At the very least, she wished, he could have taken the call at the table.  This secretiveness just fuelled her suspicions.

It was all happening just like last time.

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