CHAPTER 11: HOPE, REALISATION AND REUNION
TREEHOUSE - SATURDAY MORNING
It didn't take long to get the house cleared as basically we threw everything away. I took pictures of each room and have uploaded them to the email that I am too afraid of the rejection to send.
"My lig, just send it and tell them to contact me. And I promise to let you know the moment one of them replies."
I rewrite the email and add his address. "Zan will reply pretty quickly but..."
"Then the rest will follow. What you have told me about them it seems that they were quite territorial as kids, just hit send." I look pleadingly at him. "Just hit send my lig."
I hit send and quickly shut down the computer. "I'm going to work, need to recipe test for the Matterson Brunch on Thursday."
He nods and gives me a comforting squeeze. "They will all reply trust me."
LUTHER'S 2ND CONDO - EARLY AFTERNOON
I'm still in shock... I have been effectively disowned by my parents. I called Lynette and she has no idea where they are living either, though I doubt she would tell me if she did. And for them to sell Zee my family home is both sickening and heartbreaking.
"So how was your trip to the Pitts?" Talon asks as I let her in. "Lindsay? Are you okay?"
"Oh it was great, just great. Would you like a coffee or will you be joining me in something stronger?" I snap.
"Okay what's happened?" She follows me into the kitchen and puts her purse on the table. I dump the post on the table and...
"Your fucking stupid cunt of a soon to be ex sister-in-law conned my parents into selling her their house!"
"Same way that cunt managed to con the judges at the trials most likely." Michael interjects. "By paying them enough money..."
"Still not seeing the problem."
"You don't see the problem. The problem Talon is that she has my family home! God alone knows who she's going to move in there. It's a very select area."
"Did your folks say why they were moving?"
"They gave you that note remember." Michael interrupts again and I cringe and glare at him.
"Can I see it?" She asks and I hand it to her and she reads it quietly. "You've tried their numbers..."
"Well obviously she did that!" Michael snaps. "She's not stupid."
She looks at Michael then at me and rolls her eyes and smirks; a gesture I do not appreciate.
"So did you try..."
"She's tried her sister and she doesn't know either or is just not telling, so she can get in..."
"Let people finish what they are saying and then speak." Talon interrupts him sharply. "Did you try to email them? Have you tried the realtor who manages their property portfolio? They would have a telephone number wouldn't they?"
"I, I was going to do that when you arrived."
"Uh huh. So did you get the rest of your business sorted out?"
I smile for the first time since I got back. "Yes Phil Mitcham will be served papers on Monday morning." Michael grins at me. "Once that's done the cases are back on the table."
"Sounds like you should celebrate that at least. Michael you have a tuxedo correct?"
The question throws both of us. "Yes it just needs cleaning."
"Ah I see. We can't have everything. It should be fun though even if you are there."
"What are you talking about?" I sigh in exasperation, not in the mood for this.
"The Pearlman Show at the MoMA. It's this Friday." She pushes the envelopes at me. "These are the invites."
"The what?!" I gasp and snatch them from her, opening mine quickly. "Oh my God! It's from Melody Reichmann! A personal invite from Melody Reichmann! I'm back!" I crow.
Michael scowls and flicks his invite back on the table.
She turns to him. "I would completely understand if you didn't want to come. It doesn't strike me as your kind of thing. All that culture..." He scowls at her again. "But then there's the food..."
"I'll be there." He snaps, stalking out.
"Dammit." I think to myself but paste on a smile.
"Great that makes five of us." Talon grabs her purse. "Now I need to buy a dress for this event, want to come with?"
"Oh yes. Wait you said five, who's the fifth?"
"Grady Holster. You'll like him."
TREEHOUSE - SUNDAY LATE MORNING
I'm holding my lig who is just staring at the emails in silence. There is page after page of suggestions for the house. Zeon surprisingly was the first to answer, followed by Zander, Zephaniah and finally Zeus.
"A mancave? No." She firmly crossed through that suggestion.
"I told you they'd reply." She looks up at me and blinks. "What?"
She clears her throat and quirks her eyebrows. "Okay so I went a little caveman on them. Just a little bit."
"What did you say?"
"I would hold them down whilst you cut their balls off with a spoon."
"Ooh pretty." She giggles and goes back to reading and crossing out.
Twenty minutes later we're in the office sending a reply and end up having to video conference as they argued over who was getting which room.
"For crying out loud it's not as if we are going to be there at the same time! Just stay in it when I'm not there!" Zeus growls.
"But there will be a time when we are all there! So I don't see why you have first dibs on that room! Just because you're the eldest it..." Zeon gripes.
"Why can't you have the other room?" Zander demands.
"You are aware that you three are arguing about the same room!" Zephaniah points out. "There are 3 others!"
"Right... that's it I have had enough!" Zee shouts. "Zeon, you get the blue room. Zander the green one. Zeus the yellow one and Zeph the pink one. And that's final!"
The office goes completely silent as Zee takes a calming breath. "Right let's move onto the..."
"But..." Zeus starts.
"Seriously a spoon!" She hisses and takes another calming breath. "Now about the shared areas and before you ask no you are not getting a fucking mancave!"
Finally after another 90 minutes of back and forth, we have a final decision. They will order their stuff and have it delivered after Baz does the reno and that should take about two weeks.
Zeph sighs and then clears his throat. "Now about him. Got some news. Seems Twatzilla and Wankerboy have put in for misrepresentation and got their invites. Oh and Talon is hellbent on their destruction, because they both used that one word to describe you that she really doesn't like."
"Lovely." She mutters. "Just lovely."
"Okay look, I'm due some holiday." Zeon interrupts. "I'll fly down on the red eye and oversee the works on the BroHouse and..."
"BroHouse?" Zeus repeats. "Hmmm. I like it. I'll be there too."
"Okay, you help Zee with those Copthorne and Taylor guys. Zeph and Zan, stay and keep him occupied. Seems he's lining up more money to get the Zan's part of the company. Hey Zee, what's wrong?"
"Eyelash in my eye, carry on."
"Okay. So there's the little matter of where we stay when we get to the Pitts." Zeus points out.
"I can ask Brian about the loft?" I point out.
"No, Zeon can stay with Matt and Hunter, it's close to the BroHouse...jeez...and Zeus can stay here." Zee states. "But if this is a..."
"It isn't. We- mostly I- fucked up before, it won't happen again. I swear on...grandma's soul it won't happen again."
"Fine." She cuts them off.
"Shut up and hug me."
CAR BACK FROM FIFTH AVENUE
I had an excellent time with Talon. While she does lack a certain amount of couth, she knows how to shop! She spent almost ten grand without batting an eyelash. I do feel a bit jealous of that.
"So you looking forward to Friday?"
"Oh yes, I used to run a gallery in Pittsburgh before Zee interfered in my life. I was very good at it."
"Uh huh, so that would explain the ‘I'm back' comment earlier. Who's this Melody Reichmann anyway?"
"She's a very influential woman in the art world. Get in with her, then you can go anywhere."
"Why were you out with her in the first place?"
I blush slightly. "A small misunderstanding."
"Which was?" She prompts.
"I attended her husband's birthday party at MoMA and made a slight sartorial mistake that she took offence to."
"In other words you wore the wrong thing." She responds slightly smug and I bridle.
"Well Zee wore a tuxedo to a black tie dinner and nobody said a damn word, just because she was the caterer and not the guest."
"Caterer? What do you mean caterer?"
"Yes she and a former friend run E&ZHoD in Pittsburgh. The food is okay I suppose if you like that kind of thing. Oh I must tell Luther about that..."
"Oh don't worry about that. Let me tell him. What was the name again?"
"E&ZHoD. Oh we're here. So we're meeting on Friday for our beauty appointments at 11:00 correct?"
"Yes." As I almost reach the door she calls out to me. "Bring Michael!"
"Good point!" I giggle and manage to compose myself just as Michael opens the door.
"Did you have a good time?" He asks as I put my bags down. "Jesus how much did you spend?!"
"I didn't spend anything, Talon did." I snap. "And even if I did spend my money, what's it to do with you?"
"Nothing. It's just what your folks said..."
"My parents and I will be reconciled. And the art showing is the opportunity I've been waiting for. Now you just need to find yours." I snipe.
"I don't like the way you are..."
Our argument is cut off by the doorbell ringing. I open it only to be faced with Adam White.
"Hey Lindsay, Michael. Nice place. You've been served." He slaps the papers in my hand and then turns and leaves grinning.
"What the fuck for now?!" I shout after him.
"Defamation of character! You weren't misrepresented, you lost. Big difference...huge!"
LUTHER STARK'S CONDO
As much as I love shopping, getting from Fifth Avenue to here in rush hour is a bitch. I head upstairs toeing off my shoes as I go. I head to the office to go see my man and check how his day has been.
I was about to knock when Ralph, the butler, grabs my hand and put his finger to his lips.
"Honey, I told you when this thing with Zaden is over and she's properly cowed and I'm back where I belong that you and I will be together. Talon and I will be on the outs soon enough. No, I'm no longer seeing Xanthe either. She's moved to Paris and good riddance to her, and neither of them hold a candle to you. Look how about this... I'll come see you tonight."
Now I know I'm a cheater and I hurt Zeph terribly but I was faithful to Luther. Ralph indicates I should follow and I find myself in the kitchen. He pours me a drink and smiles kindly at me.
"I'm sorry Miss Talon." He hands me a tissue. "Save your tears my dear; he's not worth it."
"Not worth it."
"No. And you won't be the last."
He pauses and checks the door. "She doesn't deserve what he and those interlopers are trying to do. She's a good person. She's just better and he can't stand it. The other problem with him is that he covets too much and thinks if he throws enough money at it he can get it."
"And he did, didn't he; with me?"
His silence says everything, I get up and finish off my drink. "Thanks Ralph."
"Hey baby. Did you enjoy your day?"
Talon smiles at me and drops a soft kiss on my lips. "More than you will ever know. Now, darling, how about we have a nice meal and catch up with each other?"
"Oh sorry baby. Got to go to meeting with Zander about the shares. It will run late, so don't wait up!"
"Oh okay. I'll see you in the morning then?"
"Of course love you." I kiss her softly and head out. I take my coat from Ralph without a word and head on out.
RALPH, THE BUTLER
I head to the office and she gives me a sad smile. "Just flat out lied to me. I can handle anything but being lied to."
"Miss Talon, do what he's doing, look after yourself. And the first thing we need to look at is your jewellery."
"Oh yes your jewellery." I smile at her. "I'm not just a good butler you know."
E&ZHoD - TUESDAY MORNING
Wow this is some place. When Talon called Zeph and told him about it, I knew I had to have a look. Zeus told me about the Feeley Party and how he tasted the ribs. We haven't had them in years.
"Anybody here?" I call out.
"One minute sir! Just bear with me." A voice calls out. "I'm so sorry sir, Cara just went to get some lunch. I'll be right with you! Please take a seat."
I settle down and the TV kicks on and shows their past events and my stomach gives a growl. Suddenly the door opens and a very pretty woman comes in and smiles then groans.
"You're Zeon right? You have to be; you have the same smile." She puts her lunch on reception.
"Um, you have lunch and you work in a place like this?" I query.
"Unfortunately, we can't sample the wares. I'm Cara."
"Zeon as you guessed."
"I'm so sorry! Oh you're back! Okay I'll leave you to it."
"No sweets come back. You need to meet this guy..."
The guy comes back and hold out a floured hand and immediately pulls it back wiping it on his apron.
"Oh my God." I breathe.
"Zeon, you're he...okay what's going on?" Zee asks.
"Thomas!" "Zebadiah!" We say at the same time
"Thomas? Is this? This can't be!" Emmy squeals.
"What?!" Cara and Zee demand.
"Zebadiah. Oh God where did you go? When I found out he was lying I flew back but you'd gone."
"Italy. I went to Italy to head up the European IT arm of Feeley. Oh God Thomas, I've missed you so much!"
"HEY!" I bellow. "Confused sister and events planner here!"
"This is Thomas, the love of your Zeon- or as he knows him Zebadiah's- life! They met in San Fran! You see he, Zeon, had an ex that wanted him to be with him. So the guy lied about him cheating on Thomas with him and split them up and then by the time Thomas found out it was too late because...wait...need-to-breathe...Zeon then moved to Italy and..."
"Emmy can you be quiet?!" Cara cries out. "You're ruining the moment here!"
"What are you talking...oh!"