CHAPTER 21: THE DIG, THE STING, THE GO FISH & THE OH NO
REXDALE AVENUE, CANADA - SATURDAY MORNING
I look around the bijou little place that we are now living in and want to pinch myself.
First, Zee's - as she's insisted I call her - idea of bijou and mine are totally different. Apparently, there were 2 bedrooms when Lindsay and that ratfink left. Now it has 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, a driveway and an extension.
Secondly, and I still can't believe it, even though I'm walking up the stairs with the tray. Talon is with me. I have to admit to not liking her very much when she moved in but then I noticed the little things. Unlike him it was please and thank you. So when I found out about his other little peccadillo, I felt it was my duty to let her know what was going on. Okay I had an ulterior motive in the fact that she's utterly beautiful and I found him undeserving of her.
The more we got to talking and being friends and conspirators, the more I liked her. And then when I watched her eat that breakfast with undisguised relish, I knew then I more than liked her, never thinking she felt the same way. But here we are.
When I get into the bedroom, I'm surprised to find her sitting up in bed and looking upset. No that's not it. It's more like seriously fucked off.
"What's happened?" Wordlessly she hands me her phone and I look at the screen.
It's then I realise what an objectionable ass he is! He's sent her an email of Luther and his latest concubine with the words meet your replacement as the subject title.
"He's clearly forgotten that he owes me money." She mutters angrily. "And I think it's time he was reminded of that fact."
"No Talon, do not play that card until you have to. There's something to be said for the dignity of silence. He strikes me as the kind of person that thrives on a reaction. Now, have your coffee and let's decide what we are going to do today."
Taking a sip she snuggles, yes snuggles, into my side. "Not leaving here would be nice..."
"What else do we need to do with the house? We've got everything we need?"
"Not here as in the house, I mean here." She says quietly and then looks up at me.
It takes a few seconds for it to sink in. "Oh, I um, well yes, we could do that...but only if you're sure?"
"Ralph I'm sure."
CRAIG TAYLOR'S RESIDENCE
I stare at the document he's sent me transferring the business from me to him for the notional sum of $1.
I'm waiting for a response from his brother with regards to my offer of restitution but so far nothing. According to Luther, he's out of the country in South Africa and won't be back until the end of next week.
I think about Molly but then reason to myself that there's no way those faggots will let her go without so, I start to send the email confirmation to him, when there's a knock on my door.
"Excuse me Mr Taylor?"
"Yes Eva what is it?"
"There's a Mrs Taylor-Finch to see you."
"Who?" I demand confused.
"Your very happily remarried ex-wife is here to see you. I knew if I gave my real name, you wouldn't see me and you don't want this to be a discussion we have in public. And believe me I would have this conversation in public."
I look around his office and think about my own home with Tucker and how much better it is.
"Want to explain this?" I toss the paper in front of him. "So you're a racist as well as a homophone. Lovely."
"That was a misunderstanding! I was intending to destroy the works of your faggot son!"
"Our son Craig. Ours. This was not the Immaculate Conception. You were there!" I snap.
"If that's what you've come to say, I would like you to leave. I've already made my..."
I hold up my hand. "You made the news. Not just in San Francisco, I mean globally. We heard about it in Paris." I smile as he seems to pale. "And here in Pittsburgh when you returned."
"What? What are you talking about?" He stammers.
"I'm talking about this." I pull out my tablet and turn it to face him. "Here you are being confronted by the press at the store and then running like the coward that you are. And here's the press leaving at 2231 but you checked into a hotel at 2314, I do hope you've made that clear on the insurance form that you left the doors wide open."
"Where did you get this?" He demands. "Luth..." Then he clams up.
I settle back in my chair. "So tell me about Mr Schoepen."
"Oh come now Craig. This is a WASP society, nothing goes on without anybody knowing about it. And that reminds me, whatever possessed you to organise a naked waiters dinner? Now that doesn't sit well with your homophobic image does it?"
"Mr Schoepen and I are trying to come to an agreement with regards to the business and that's all you need to know!"
"Well actually no it's not all I need to know. You seem to be forgetting about Molly..."
"I haven't forgotten her, but I'm sure our multi-millionaire son and his multi-millionaire husband will look after her."
"Oh now he's your son? And of course, they will. But the terms of the divorce say that you have to provide for her until she's 21 and she's not for another 2 years. So whatever agreement with him has to stop until she reaches that age or you provide a settlement to nullify that term."
"What?" He is dumbfounded.
"And that figure has to be 5% of the combined amount of you and the business. Now according to the last posted results, Taylor Electronics is worth $15mil and your personal wealth, which surprised me, is $5mil so that makes the settlement amount due to Molly $1mil. Before any transactions can go through."
I can see him fighting his options and I put a steadying hand on my knee in the guise of straightening my skirt.
"Fine." He rasps out.
"I'll wire the money to you next..."
"Today as in right this minute. To the same account that you pay Molly's support into."
He glares at me but boots up his computer after fifteen minutes of tense silence, he finally speaks.
"I've done it."
"I'll just wait for confirmation of that. And since it's such a large amount I'm pretty sure the bank will call you to confirm. When they do put it on speaker."
For another ten minutes we sit in tense silence until his cell rings.
"Speaker Craig." I prompt him
"This is the Pittsburgh National Bank, there's been a large amount of money moved from your account, I just wanted to know if you authorised such a payment?"
"Yes I did."
"Can you confirm the account number it went from please?"
"Your date of birth?"
This goes back and forth until they are satisfied.
"Thank you Mr Taylor. You understand that this is necessary for such a large amount."
"Of course, thanks for your diligence. Goodbye." He glares at me. "Right you have the confirmation now..."
"Let me check my bank Craig, just because it's gone from yours doesn't mean it's reached mine."
Another 15 minutes pass and my phone rings. "Jennifer Taylor. Yes. I was expecting that. Thank you. Goodbye."
I stand up and glare at him. "And good riddance to you. I can see myself out."
He calls Eva and she escorts me to the door and once outside, I stop and turn to look at him watching me walk away. I give him a small wave and get into the limo and head back to the Treehouse.
LUTHER NO 2 CONDO
I can't believe she's not replied. It's been almost two hours. She must be using her teeny brain to try and formulate a witty response.
As much fun as I had sending that, I'm still majorly pissed that Grady picked her over me but I don't believe that he said I was the worst sex he's ever had. The way he was groaning makes me think otherwise. Yes he's just humouring her until we can be together.
They all went to dinner last night so I watched movies and got some take-out. I had a bit of a cry because I ordered what we ordered on our first night. Lindsay can enjoy him while she can because a top doesn't let anyone top unless they feel something for them.
TREEHOUSE - LATE AFTERNOON
Typical when I want them to be here they're not! They have been helping the boys move into the BroHouse and there have been some territorial issues.
I swear to God that I am never ever doing this again. Next time they want to help to move they can do this on their own. I thought Faal and Brian were queens about their stuff but this is ridiculous! Who the fuck argues about plugs, let alone labels them!
Menno is feeling a little lonesome as Solly has had to go to the office to work with Adam, Charles and Tobias to go through everything we managed to find out. Ted's been jumping about like a monk on a promise to be working with them. Blake said that he's never felt so used but in a good way!
It's just the Pittsburgh family here now, including my brothers and Menno, as everyone has gone back home. Matt and Hunter have decided to stay another two weeks in South Africa but Faal, Ben and Steve said they had to be back for Thanksgiving.
Lydia and Zeon are a match made in artistic heaven. He's got Uncle Luc's eye for art and they have already got about four shows lined up already and it's only been a week or so.
All I care about is that I have the house...God I love property!
"For the love of fuck, it's a plug! It doesn't matter whose it is! They work the same!" Debs yells. I dash upstairs and find Debs between Zeus and Zeph. "You take this one! And you take that one! Now go plug in your whatever-the-fuck before I wrap these fucking cords round your dicks and hang you out the window!"
Silently they do as they are told while glowering at each other.
"Okay, I think we need a break. Come downstairs with me." I order firmly.
"Why are we downstairs baby girl? We've done here; it's upstairs we need to focus on." Zeus grumbles snagging a bottle of beer from the fridge.
"No we didn't want any; thanks for asking!" Zeph snipes.
"Like I said! Come downstairs with me!"
I open the door between the kitchen and the lounge and lead them down the stairs.
"Zee what is this?" Zander asks. "I thought you said we couldn't get a mancave?"
"I said you couldn't get a mancave, I didn't say I couldn't give you one, and it's not a cave." I switch on the lights. "It's an aquarium."
And for the first time in about 3 hours, there is silence. There are wall to wall fish tanks with every kind of fish imaginable including their favourites.
"Nemo fish!" Zeph gasps. "Oh my God baby girl! When did you do this?"
"Look at the sofa." Zander sighs and takes a seat on the leather 8 seater sofa.
"Look up." I tell them.
"Okay where are they?"
"Where's what?" Justin asks stretching out on the sofa and looking at the ceiling. "Whatever this is we are getting one for the bathroom downstairs."
Zeon is looking around, whilst everyone else is admiring the swirls in the ceiling.
"Mathmos projectors, in the floor. And Justin you'd need about four for that room, I can give you the details later. As for the projectors, the controls are next to the light switches. You will notice that there are Barcaloungers that correspond to the colours on the door knobs of your bedrooms, and nobody can complain about who has what chair as they are all the same."
"It's so restful in here." Carl sighs.
"So Usez, unless you're going to move from Ohio, Zeon and Thomas are going to live here permanently, agreed?"
He just nods. "No I want you to verbalize that they are going to live here and you won't have a problem with it."
"Absolutely not." He wanders round checking each tank.
"So we can go now and leave you to finish moving in?" Faal asks.
"Yeah, I guess we did need a bit of a time out." Zeph concedes.
"A bit?!" Debs snorts.
"Holy fuck ZayZay! Ohmygod...ohmygod...!" Zeus gasps and then grabs me into a hug.
"Usez! Can't breathe!" I protest.
"What's she done?" Debs asks.
"Oh my God! Mom, momma look!" Jenny squeals. "Aunt Zee are those...octopus?"
"Yep, two of them. Octopi are very territorial, hence the separate tanks." I jerk my head towards the door. "We're going to go and maybe see you guys tomorrow?"
They nod and continue to inspect the tanks.
"Justin!" Brian hisses jolting him out of his daydream.
"Well, they say they are bringing take-out and should be here in 10 minutes. Shall we wait or open the champagne?"
"Open the champagne of course, what a silly question!" Millie laughs. "Now where are the glasses?"
"Top cupboard, might as well set for them too."
"Where are they taking out from?" Harold asks.
"Kaya. Caribbean place, they do great burgers. Naturally she's ordered the entire menu."
He looks sceptical. "Harold one burger is not going to harm you. If anything it's the booze you have to worry about." I smile at him.
I hear the crunch on the drive, heralding the arrival of the coach; followed by door slamming and chattering. Jenny and Hank are the first ones in.
"Grandmom Jen, where were you? Oh my God you have got to see what Aunt Zee did with the BroHouse!" She kisses my cheek and then notices Millie and Harold. "Oh hello, who are you?"
"I'm Millicent and this is my husband Harold. You're Jenny, Jen has told us so much about you."
"And she's told us lots about you. You're going to kick Lindsay's artistic ass aren't you or is that Melody?"
"That's Melody but I'm going to be doing some ass kicking too." Millie grins at her.
"Good." Jenny grins back.
Soon everyone is in and Harold never having met everyone before is soon swept into the family as only they can!
They start to regale us with the traumas of house moves while decanting food and pouring bubbles.
"So Jen where were you?" Debs asks.
"Getting a million dollars in support for Molly from Craig." I nibble on a fry as the room goes still.
"What? Uh honey how did you do that?" Tucker asks worriedly.
"I went to see him today." I nibble on another fry but the warning look from Brian has me chewing quickly.
"And I told him that I knew about his business transaction, the dinner, and his talks with Schoepen. I said there was a clause in the support agreement that Molly had to be supported by him until she was 21 or he paid an amount to nullify that agreement."
Brian winces. "You told him about Schoepen..."
"Yes but I said it was a WASP society grapevine, he's not going to connect it to us."
"Hang on how did you know about? Oh never mind." Zee sighs
"And I showed him the footage that Thomas gave me of the looting of his store. And if you're wondering why it's not hit the news it appears your dad has been interfering again."
"Fuck." Faal grumbles.
"Tell Ted." Brian orders Blake and he nods heading to the office to make the call.
"Mom?" Justin looks at me and then at Millie and Harold. "So whose idea was this?"
"Mine! Well ours." Millie confesses gleefully. "We were talking about her woes over mani-pedis and I thought no way is he getting away with that. He's a desperate business man and after some finessing from Harold she went in and rocked it like a boss!"
There is stunned silence before Millie starts to blush.
"What? Isn't it like a boss? Have I got that wrong?"
Emmy Lou pulls her into a hug. "No my darling you didn't, it was the fist pump that threw us!"
"Spoken to Ted. He's going to call us back." Blake tells us. "Thank God he's not back until Monday, as it seems everything is falling into place. My ass needs a rest after Friday."
"But mom I don't understand why you've not invoked that before?"
"What sweetheart?" I ask sipping my wine
"The null...there is no nullifying clause is there?"
"Nope!" I grin. "And it's too late for him to do anything about it! Tell them why Harold."
"Because the support would still be due, so by paying it now he's honouring the agreement, albeit reluctantly! And, of course, being the astute business man that I am, I told her to record every word."
My day can't get any worse! First, I get conned out of a million dollars by my ex. Then I have Luther breathing down my neck to send the papers back. Then I get an email from his brother rejecting my offer of restitution; he says he's going to sue me privately as is the gallery for loss of income. And now the insurance company is looking into my claim!