Chapters 35, 36, & 37 of “A King’s Trust”, a novel I am publishing online.
Please note some material in these chapters is adult in nature and describes violent encounters.
Nadine Navigates some Difficulties.
When Nadine arrived at the office complex, she got off the elevator and strode right by the firm’s receptionist and through the door leading to the suite of offices where Edmund practiced his craft. She studiously snubbed the secretary. The smile on the secretary’s face was plastic. She had learned to tolerate Nadine’s arrogance. And Nadine, for her part, had taken full advantage of her status as a very important, well-paying client to communicate in every way possible that the buxom little secretary was of no moment to her. None at all.
Nevertheless, Edmund had been alerted about Nadine’s arrival and was waiting at his office door to greet her. He reached for her and she pressed into him, her breasts fully mashed against his chest as his hands went familiarly to her waist. And instead of accepting the buzz like “kiss-kiss” greeting he was offering, she gave him a full kiss on the mouth. She was leaving no room for mistake to those she was sure were peeking that theirs was a special relationship. She was a privileged client.
She broke off the embrace and walked ahead of him into his office like she was the one in charge and he was her plaything for the day. Which, she supposed, was true. Without being invited she sat in the new luxurious leather client chair in front of Edmund’s desk and crossed her legs, giving an extra upward tug on her skirt. She heard him close the door behind her and watched his eyes roam over her body and her legs as he moved behind his desk. It made her feel like she was in control again. the kind of control she liked to have. Her body had always afforded her that control. There was gratification in knowing it still did.
She jumped right in. “Now what is so urgent you want to talk about? I have things to do.”
“As I said, we are at a stalemate legally and I think we need to do something to move this all along.”
“Well, you’re the lawyer. Do you actually have some ideas or are you waiting for me to tell you how to do your job? A job, by the way, I am paying you a lot of money to do.”
His eyes on her legs justified a little bitchiness, she thought to herself.
He held up his hand, palm outward. “Just hold on. What’s got you so riled up today? Maybe we need to retire to the couch, so I can take the edge off.”
She glanced at the couch. They certainly had had a few adventures there. The image of her leaned back in the cushions and him kneeling before her in his suit and suspenders, was a welcome memory. Now that was real control over a man. But, no, not right now. She wasn’t going to be distracted.
“Let’s stay focused here. What’s your plan, Counselor?”
He looked at her. With some longing, she thought. As if his suggestion had taken hold in his own imagination. She wondered if he had the same memory. Or one in which the positions had been changed.
She noted a small almost imperceptible shake of his head as if he was banishing the images from his mind and returning to the business at hand.
“We can’t keep going like this. We have to do something to secure enough company shares to neutralize the other side. Right now, it’s a stalemate. Like I said. But shares are out there. In fact, if they can agree, that Edgar guy, you know, if he gets control of his father’s, Willets shares, then your father’s shares, those which he retained, and now Dylan, they can keep us from getting full control of the company for a long time, maybe forever. And the longer this goes on the more vulnerable we are. The Board of Directors is getting antsy and if they decide to support someone else, maybe even someone from the outside, we are in for one royal battle.”
“Tell me something I don’t know, Lawyer Man.” She twisted slightly in her chair knowing it would result in her skirt edging even higher. She watched his eyes follow the upward journey of her skirt and smiled. She really shouldn’t be doing this. It was distracting him, and this was important business. But she couldn’t help herself. It was too much fun.
He swallowed, did that slight shake of his head again, and looked down at the open file in front of him.
There was long pause then he looked back up into her eyes. There was a frown of concentration on his forehead. No more games. All business. For good reason. To his way of thinking, what he was about to suggest was the equivalent of radical surgery. And while she had, up until now, shown her willingness to take drastic action, it hadn’t been directed explicitly at a family member. This would be different.
He spoke slowly.
“I noticed something in the documents, the legal documents, I’m not sure anyone else has noticed or thought through, at least enough to account for what I want to talk to you about. Probably because we’ve certainly kept them distracted. Going after Lenny’s possessions, the approach of Marcy and her father to Dylan, the, ah, action we took regarding Willets.”
Nadine noticed his careful phrasing about Willets.
Typical lawyer, she thought. Action indeed! We used one of his clients who needed a favor and we got a warrant from a judge who gloried in his country club privileges, but, because of a nasty gambling habit and the debts he had run up was about to find himself teeing off on a run-down local municipal course with a bunch of locals in tennis shoes and tank tops. By mixing it all together, spreading a little cash around, sneaking in the back doors of some other powerful people and manipulating, stirring the mix we had Willet’s eyes dug out and him as a competitor eliminated.
Well, the lawyer could talk around it all he wanted, but Nadine had no illusions about what they had done. Or its effect. They had managed to neutralize Willet’s shares for now. And they would continue spending the money necessary to tie up the probate of Willet’s estate in court and preventing Edgar from gaining control over that block of shares.
“What I noticed was that, well, Dylan’s shares, your brother’s, you know, if something happened to him.” He paused before continuing, “Well, it’s a standard provision, I’m sure old Easley’s clerks got it off a boilerplate, see, in the event of his demise, his shares, Dylan’s, first revert to your father, but, and this is the important part, if your father is not there, if he was to be incapacitated or, you know, dead, his shares and the others are split evenly between the two remaining trustees. That means between you and Regan.”
There was silence for a moment. She was no longer thinking about flashing him and he was no longer peering up her skirt. The implications were obvious and just as portentously not to be uttered out loud. Not even here in the cozy and confidential confines of a lawyer’s office. Was he really suggesting what she thought he was suggesting? It was one thing to get rid of that troublesome old man, Willets, but her own brother? Her Father?
She didn’t say anything. She looked in his eyes. He continued.
“See, there is one other thing: Your father’s will have the same provisions. Neither your father nor your brother has, as far as we can find out, uh, made arrangements for changing those provisions. Not yet. We’ve even distracted old Easley with the ethics complaint to the Bar, but listen, Nadine, someone else is going to notice. Someone, sooner or later, is going to see this, remember it, or something, and change it. If that happens this, ah, opportunity will be lost, maybe forever.”
She waited. Just as he now waited for her to say someting. He had said enough. Certain things could not be explicitly set out, even in a lawyer’s office, especially in a lawyer’s office.
Finally, after a few moments, Nadine broke the silence.
“Well, if anything really happened to my brother or my father, or God forbid to both of them. Like what happened to poor old Willets, it would be tragic, so tragic I don’t know if I could bear it. Just the new burdens to make sure the estates were taken care of, to make sure the business kept running right would be almost too much for me. I would be so, ah, distraught I’m sure I would need help, lots of help. I pray nothing like that ever happens, but if it did I hope I could depend on you to, ah, do all the legal work. And you know the work would be worth a premium, uh, and price would be no object. And we are so close, you and I, I think I would even want to make sure you had an ownership interest, maybe even a block of those shares that would come to Regan and me.”
She stopped. Edmund’s eyes were wide. This was a bonus he wasn’t expecting. An opportunity he had not anticipated. And, further, he felt he had the permission, the instructions he needed to press ahead. It should be simple. The client he used before still needed him, still had his money tied up in a forfeiture action with the government and the fees Edmund would be trading him for his “arrangements” were paltry compared to what would be coming in from King Enterprises. If this worked out.
He smiled at Nadine. “Yes, it would be tragic.”
She stood, walked to the door and locked it. She then walked to the couch, paused to pull off her panties, then sat down, pulled her dress up to her waist and waited. Edmund closed his file and loosening his tie walked from behind his desk and stood before her.
Edmund was thinking, so many women in power now. And they must like this as much as men do. It certainly seemed that way since the last time he was on his knees was not forty-eight hours ago, in front of Judge Ice Queen in her chambers. A pleasant enough pay off. Much of what he had proposed to Nadine had been her idea after all. She had been the one who told him about the other judge’s gambling problem. She had taken a real interest in the case since the first day they appeared in her courtroom. And, after Edmund and her, at her invitation, started secretly carrying their affair, they had discussed the shifting fortunes of King Enterprises a few times. It was always at her instigation. He had wondered about her motivation. Whatever it might be didn’t concern him. He knew better than to ask. There was plenty there for everyone. It had been she who started asking him if he had thought or determined what would happen if someone else, another shareholder, died. Given what he was doing, he hadn’t been able to give a verbal response. He remembered, Ice Queen or not, she had a funny little giggle when he was busy complying with her “special orders”.
As Nadine left Edmund’s office complex, she was all smiles. Even grinned at the snotty receptionist. Especially as she replayed the memory of the little trollop’s boss and what he had being doing not ten minutes ago. She smiled too at her own lewdness. She had stuffed her panties down the side of Edmund’s couch. She left them for someone, who knew who, to discover at some later date. Maybe even today, maybe even by the little snot of a receptionist. It was all so delicious. Made her feel strong. It put an extra bounce in her step.
This promised to be a good day after all. If Edmund is true to form, if his client comes through, then the shares from Dylan, maybe even her father would soon be under her control and any remaining corporate battles would be cakewalks.
As she emerged onto the sidewalk she swung her hips a little more than usual enjoying the eroticism of her situation though she wouldn’t be able to say if it was because she wasn’t wearing panties or whether it was the prospect of finally nailing down control of the company.
She stood at the curb and handed her valet ticket to the handsome young attendant. He gave her his best wide tooth grin and hustled off at a trot to retrieve her Mercedes.
She had pulled out her cell phone to check for messages when a shadow fell across the face of the device. She looked up into the eyes of Edgar. The malevolence in his stare was frightening. Before she could recover and demand to know what he was doing there, he grasped her by the arm, and pressed a handgun to her belly. He pulled her close and whispered.
“You do want to stay still, bitch. It wouldn’t bother me at all to shoot you down like a dog. Right here. I would shoot you in the gut and laugh. You can die lying on the sidewalk. Like my Dad did. You worthless piece of crap, you had him murdered. And it’s payday.”
Beyond her fear, Nadine’s first thought was that this man was big, and he was strong. At the hearings, Nadine had noticed how large Edgar was, but beyond that she hadn’t taken much notice. She did remember someone had said he had been in the military. Her first rational thought was he would know how to use the weapon pressed in her stomach right then.
She was scared, but she determined to summon whatever courage she could muster. She needed to somehow communicate a modicum of defiance. If she had learned nothing else from her father it was to face down your opponents, look your enemies in the eye especially when they had the upper hand. If you were losing anyway, why not chance a bluff. More often than not, you would get something, whatever it was, you would end up in a better place than doing nothing at all.
She actually pushed against the gun with her stomach and raised her face right up into his.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing? Who do you think you are? Let go of my arm or I will scream.”
His response was a cold professional smile. That frightened her even more.
“Go ahead, Nadine. Go ahead. It will be the last thing you hear. I’m beyond caring what happens to me. But you’re not, are you, Nadine?”
She pulled back a little. Most of the bluster she had dredged up just a moment ago fled before the harsh reality of his barely restrained violence.
“Okay, okay. What do you want?”
“I want you to get in the car when it comes up and drive. I will get in the passenger seat. And you are going to act calm and natural and you are going to drive out of here.”
“I will tell you that once we are on the street. But don’t get cute. It won’t bother me one bit to gut shoot you right here. No one is going to be in a position to stop me from killing you. I’ve been in battles, Nadine. Lots of them. I have the advantage and I’m willing to do it. Gut shots hurt. And the hurt lasts a long time while you bleed out. It would give me so much pleasure to see you writhe around on the ground, getting those fancy clothes all wrinkled, dirty and bloody, very bloody. I would love for you to suffer as much pain as my father did.”
She didn’t say anything. She saw her car being pulled up to the curb by the handsome young lad who had retrieved it. Edgar moved so he was behind her and nudged her to walk toward the other side of the car. With one hand he opened the passenger door and waited for her to walk around the rear of the car to get in the driver’s side. The young man walked with her and looked curious and mystified when she got in without saying anything. Edgar thought he must be waiting for a tip. Well, not today, Sonny boy. Edgar got in the passenger side and held the gun inside his jacket and with a nod of his head signaled to Nadine to drive away from the curb. She did so. The handsome young man stood in the middle of the driveway looking after her, apparently still trying to fathom his lack of a tip.
At the light leading from the large circular driveway onto the passing avenue, Edgar told her to turn to right. She did.
“Now when you get to it, take the 405 on ramp, south bound.”
They were silent as they inched forward in the traffic. They hit two red lights. Other cars maneuvered over into their lane to position themselves for emerging on the highway. She held back and let them cut her off and Edgar said nothing, seemingly patient and unhurried. Once she got passed the last stop light and entered the onramp she accelerated onto the highway. She kept well under the speed limit and stayed in the right lane. She was desperately trying to think of a way out of her predicament. He told her to move over to the middle lane and keep up with traffic. He said they had a way to go.
“Where are we going?”
“We are going for a visit. A family reunion of sorts. It’s time you and your brother, your brother Regan, and me got together. Our families were always close. We used to play together, as kids, remember?”
Nadine had no memory of ever playing with Edgar. Maybe they had. Maybe just Regan did. If she had been part of it, she must not have found it very remarkable.
“How do you know where he is? He was supposed to be at company headquarters.”
“He’s not. He had a little party last night. You know the kind of parties he likes don’t you, Nadine? Well, this party was with a friend of mine. They will be waiting our arrival. But we have plenty of time. So just relax and drive.”
She glanced over and saw he had the gun resting in his lap. A short time ago, she felt so in control. That had all evaporated in smoke. She searched her mind for options. Could she use money, sex, to get Edgar on her side? Anything. He had a gun on her and said he would use it. She was willing to do anything to stop him from hurting her. Was there any promise she could make? Was there anyway she could make him trust her?
She glanced at the gun again. Somehow, she didn’t believe any inducements she could offer would turn Edgar away from whatever he had planned for her. And Regan.
Twenty minutes later Edgar directed her to take the Hollywood Boulevard turnoff. Once she got off the freeway, she drove through the surface streets, frequently stopping at traffic lights. None stayed green long enough to allow more than four cars to pass through the intersection.
Finally, he said “take the next right.” She caught a green light and turned. She looked up at the road sign. Laval Street, 2300 block. She repeated the number to herself. She needed to remember that.
He told her to slow down. He pointed and said “there, turn in there.” She drove into an underground garage at an apartment building. The driveway descended steeply. There was a gate at the bottom of the ramp. When she came to a stop, she looked over at him as if to say “okay, now what.” His free hand disappeared inside his coat and seemed to press a button on a device in his breast pocket. The gate started rolling upward. Once it locked in place she edged the Mercedes into the tight garage. The gate rolled slowly down behind them.
There were a few other cars parked in random slots. At the very end there was an open space beside an elevator. He waved at it with his gun hand and she pulled in the slot. She turned off the car. He told her to give him the keys which she did. He then told her to stay put and got out of the passenger’s side. He walked quickly around the car and pulled open her door. Without being told to, she swung her legs around to get out. Unthinking she spread her legs for leverage to stand in the cramped space. She saw him looking. He had seen. And she actually felt herself blushing. She had always got a kick out of flashing some man unexpectedly. But not this time. It made her feel vulnerable. Ashamed. She felt like a little girl being caught at being not just naughty, but worse. There was nothing erotic about it this time. She saw that he actually sneered. Shame. And unusual feeling for her.
At the elevator, he produced a card key and slid it in the slot to the side of the elevator and the doors opened. She turned to him and he roughly slapped her face. She hadn’t expected to be hit, and it shocked her. It stung like hell. And then he back handed her. Knocking her off her feet. He grabbed the front of her jacket and literally drug her on the elevator. The suddenness of the violence, the hard slaps, stunned her. She had never been hit like that. Her eyes were watering, and her cheeks stung. Despite everything that had happened since he accosted her outside Edmund’s office building she had not expected to get beat up. It never occurred to her that she would actually have physical force used on her. Suddenly, violence was no longer an abstract concept; something that happen to other people. The pain in her jaw was real and it was happening to her.
She stayed on the floor of the elevator. She scooted back in the corner. Afraid to move even though her legs were askew, and her body twisted at an awkward painful angle. Edgar punched the buttons on the wall hard. He was angry, and all his movements were tense, harsh and forceful. She didn’t want to be hit again like that. Ever. She again searched her mind for any inducement she might offer that would prevent it from reoccurring.
The look in his eyes convinced her there was nothing she could do to persuade him. She would have to find another way out of this. She pulled her legs underneath her and pushing against the wall for leverage, rose to her feet. Her knees were shaky. She felt weak like she might fall any moment. And she could still feel the hot stinging on her cheeks where he had hit her and then back handed her. She pressed back in the corner as far from him as she could physically get.
The bell on the elevator pinged and the doors opened. He looked at her and without being told and not wanting to be hit, she moved quickly through the doors into the hallway. She wondered why they had not encountered anyone else since entering the building. The parking garage had at least a dozen cars and there were a lot of apartments in the building, yet Edgar was seemingly unconcerned about meeting anyone else coming on the elevator or encountering them in the hallway when the doors opened.
He pushed her forward. When they turned the corner at the end of the hallway she saw standing in front of the last door on the left a man in a uniform. It wasn’t military. It was more like a security guard. Incongruously she thought his hat with its visor made him look like a taxi driver.
The uniformed man watched them approach. And when Edgar shoved her from behind to hurry her along, she saw him smile. She knew then he was working with Edgar. Maybe the whole security of the building was in Edgar’s control. It might be controlled by his military buddies. That would explain a lot.
At the door Edgar grabbed her by the neck of her blouse and pulled her backward. The guard moved right up to her and pressed his face almost against hers.
“Is this one that had your Pop killed?”
“None other. This is she.”
“Looks like a bitch. Nice rack though. And laughing he reached up and grabbed the top of her blouse and ripped downward sending buttons flying. He then reached up and grabbed her left breast and twisted hard. She yelled out in pain which caused both men to laugh. It made her think of being a woman in a war zone, a place where there was no law. She thought these men must have done this before. It was just too easy for them, too familiar. Had there been other women this had happened? Women, maybe young girls, who had been unprotected and over whom these soldiers had complete physical control. Had the women been the enemy, or had they been friendly, at first trusting the soldiers, believing they had been sent there to protect them?
“Check out the other part,” she heard Edgar behind her say and he shoved her face against the wall. She felt a hand run up her skirt from behind and force itself between her legs and heard them both whoop and laugh again. The guard said, “Well, my ‘o my, we got us one here to play with. Another one.” He buried his fingers roughly in her. It hurt, and she bit her mouth to keep from crying out again. Her cries just seemed to encourage them. Again, she felt actual shame. She heard the door lock being disengaged in the apartment. The door opened. Standing there was a slightly built young man, holding a knife.
“What the hell you guys doing out here. You’ll wake up the whole dam building.”
“No worries, partner,” said the one in uniform. “You can’t hear nothing on the other floors from here and we the only ones on this level.”
The slight blonde young man waved toward the interior of the apartment and stepped back for them to enter. The guard had taken over the manhandling from Edgar and pushed Nadine through the door. She felt one of her breasts moving freely having come loose from her bra. The garment must have been torn apart during her mashing.
Two other people were in the apartment. One laying on the couch and another tied to a kitchen chair.
“Nadine, Nadine, please,” the plea was coming from the figure in the chair.
She heard the voice of her brother, but his face was unrecognizable. He had been beat severely and he was having difficulty breathing, even pronouncing her name.
“Nadine, help me, please,” he said.
Even as scared as she was, she was incensed. “What did you assholes do to him?” she turned to her captors. Fully expecting someone to back hand her. No one did. The guard laughed again.
“Oh, we are just having us a party. You like parties, don’t you Nadine. We have one of your best party mates here too. See?” and he pointed to the figure on the couch.
There was no binding on the person. The body wasn’t moving. She looked a second time at the face and stifled a scream. It was Crabtree. She had been stripped and beaten. She might be dead, she might just be unconscious. She couldn’t tell. Nadine wondered what had been done to her.
The young blonde man pulled a chair next to Regan. He nodded to Nadine and said, “have a seat,” and pulled her over.
Nadine sat down, holding her blouse together with her two hands and pressing her knees together. The man with the knife walked over to the couch. He looked curiously at the prostrate body of Crabtree. The other two men followed him. They were talking in low tones. Nadine realized no one had tied her to the chair. This was the moment. The one her Father talked about. Who she strangely wished was here, perhaps even to protect her like a father is supposed to. This was the chance he said was usually there if you looked for it. The moment passes quickly he had said and you have to act. She looked around for something anything to help her.
There it was on a counter five steps away, another knife, smaller, slender, but sharp, like a stiletto. And in their fun in messing with her no one had paid attention to locking the door. It had even not been pushed all the way shut.
There was no thought for Regan or anyone else right them. Nadine wanted to survive. She let go of her blouse. To hell with her tits. She sprang out of the chair, leaped across the distance to the counter and grabbed the knife. She swung it wildly and planted the blade in the middle of the back of the closest one, the young blond guy. It sunk in and she felt bone, probably his spine. She left the handle in and pushed him against the other two and as luck would have it they were right next to a coffee table and both fell over it. She a turned and sprinted the ten steps to the door, flung it open and ran as fast as she could down around the corner. She could hear the yelling as they struggled to get up and chase her. The guy she had stabbed was screaming his head off in pain. She made it to the elevator and hit the down button. Thankfully, it immediately opened. She jumped on.
Her mind worked fast, fast. She must think. She knew the garage was a trap. She hit the button for the second floor. The elevator descended with a swoosh. It opened, and she ran down the hall looking for the stair way entrance. She found the door and slung it opened. She ran down the flight of stairs through the door and, as she had hoped, found herself in the lobby of the apartment building.
She saw the big windows and the two front doors. And sprinted toward them. For the first time, she realized her shoes were gone. Of course, how else could she have run so fast. But she had no memory of where they were. A startled older man was just about to enter from the courtyard. Nadine sprinted by him. She felt her breasts flopping, both now loose from the useless bra.
In her peripheral vision she saw the boulevard to her right and headed there. She stopped running when she got to the street. She pulled her blouse together and moved toward a hedge next to one of the adjacent buildings. She squeezed behind it, feeling her skin being scratched. Behind the bush, she was well hidden. She gulped for breath and waited. She had to figure a way out of this. For the first time she thought of Regan, still back in the apartment. And Crabtree. She still didn’t know if Crabtree was alive. For that matter, she realized, she didn’t really know if Regan was alive at this point. Would they have left him alive after she had managed to get away? Police. She should find a policeman. But what would that bring? Maybe rescue Regan and Crabtree but the rest of it might get out then, including Willets. And what they had done to him. What she had arranged.
No. she needed to call Edmund. She needed a phone. Get back on the street she told herself. Find a phone. Somewhere. She found the buttons on her jacket were still intact. She pulled the front together. And buttoned it. She pushed herself out the other side of the hedge. Unconsciously she tried to smooth her hair a little. She must look a fright. But probably no worse than some of the other denizens, the ever-growing “homeless” population, that plied these streets. She started walking. Very aware of her bare feet, she kept close to the buildings and ignored the stares of the other pedestrians. Then at the corner. She saw it. A small store. She needed a phone. How? Well, there are plenty of men around here. Walking by on the street. She had escaped. She was starting to feel strong again. And she knew, even in this condition, beat up, looking like hell, she could get what she needed off one of these men.
For more writing by Phil Cline, or to read earlier chapters, visit philcline.com