CHAPTER 28: COCKTAILS, CLAWS, REVELATIONS & MONSTERS
"The money you gave, not leant, was..." Michael begins.
Talon scoffs. "Trust me, it was a loan. But please continue this train of stupid thought you are voicing out loud." She says with a smirk.
"For us to use in the misrepresentation trial, which has not been heard yet and..."
"Won't be, as you withdrew the suit." Talon looks from one to the other. "So you won't be needing the money, will you? So I want it back by the 20 December, as per the agreement. I do hope you've not been using it for anything frivolous."
She stands up and smooths down her skirt. "Now I'm going to be living in Lu..."
"Luther's in jail, or didn't you hear about that?" Michael crows.
She continues as if he hasn't spoken. "Lucian and Dee's small condo...on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, so I will be close by. Ciao."
"Wait Talon. You do realise that they have frozen all of Luther's assets? This condo will be..."
"This isn't Luther's condo, it's mine. He signed it over to me years ago. Like I said ciao."
"Whatever Bethany said was not true. This is mine and you can remain here...well for now?"
As she walks out, she stops and turns. "Oh and Michael, you try the double lock and deadbolt trick with me, I will have you out in seconds!"
"How did...?" He stammers.
"Oh I know more than you think."
We follow her to the door and watch her drive away before heading back to the lounge.
"I don't know about you two but I need a drink!" Lindsay exclaims and pours herself a large brandy.
"Make mine a whisky." I sink into the sofa.
"Me too." Michael adds and then glares at her when she only hands me a glass.
"Michael you realise what you have to do don't you?" She turns to him. "You have to either return the collectibles or start selling them to make up your share of the loan."
"No! I'm not selling them nor is she fucking having them! I don't care what she or you say!"
"Michael use some common sense for once! How else are you going to come up with the money?!"
"I said no!"
Lindsay and I exchange looks as he stomps off down to his dungeon, part of me wishes the door locks on the outside!
"What are we going to do? About him I mean." I ask her, pulling her into my side.
"I don't know but we have to do something. The one thing that is not happening is that he's not taking me down with him!"
LUCIAN & DEE'S CONDO
There's a saying in domestic circles; never piss off the help. Because of his attitude, his new butler Gerald, when he was arrested couldn't wait to share the news with me. Although he's been keeping me up to speed with the goings on in there since I left. I had to give an employer appraisal for him and was blunt in my honesty, but like I said to Talon he pays very well.
I still can't believe he's in jail. "So how were the gruesome twosome?"
I ask as she stretches out on the sofa and wiggles her toes in my lap. I start to massage her feet.
"Still gruesome, but there's something about Lindsay that's changed a bit. Though Michael seems to be worse. I think I might have to take her out for lunch have some girl-on-girl time to see what's happening."
"Uh huh. Are you hungry?"
"Mmm. I'll do it in a minute. First you need to apply your massage technique to my poor tired mouth...she's been running at Michael and she's in need of succour!"
"With pleasure." I murmur before doing as my lady bids.
SAN FRANCISCO CORRECTIONAL FACILITY - MONDAY MORNING
"But I made restitution to him. And I was..."
"And that absolves you from your crimes how?" My court appointed lawyer interrupts.
"But he said... he said that..."
"Luther Stark. He told..."
"He's in jail. Was arrested last week on various charges, including fraud and corruption. And I see that the discharge of charges was approved by Elias Copthorne..."
"So what of it?"
"He's in jail too. So all his cases are being reviewed and yours was easy enough to overturn. So tell me exactly why you thought this was a good idea and bear in mind that your accomplices have had a lot longer to stew in jail than you."
ADIRONDACK CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, NEW YORK
INTERVIEW ROOM 1 - MONDAY AFTERNOON
I still can't believe Luther has done this to me, that fucker, that absolute fucking fucker!
The door opens and my lawyer finally comes in.
"Sorry Elias, got stuck in traffic and then there was a queue to..."
"Never mind all that bullshit, where's Evelyn?"
He takes a breath. "She's not coming."
"Say that again?" I demand.
"We received this instead. They're divorce papers."
I stare at him in disbelief. "No, Evelyn wouldn't do this to me. She loves me! She's nothing without me!"
"Seems she doesn't share that belief."
I slump back in my seat. "Fucking Luther Stark is going to be destroyed when I get out of here. I need you to call..."
"There is no one to call Elias, don't you understand...?"
"I understand that I am Elias Copthorne. I want to know when I get out of here?!"
"What the fuck do you mean I don't?"
"The evidence is compelling. And you're deemed too much of a flight risk to be let out on your own recognisance..."
"Don't spout the fucking law to me! I'm a fucking judge!"
"You were a judge; you are now a criminal! I suggest you remember that I can walk out of here any time and a court appointed lawyer can represent you!"
"What am I looking at realistically, 3-5...?"
"More like 10-15 and that's with a deal."
INTERVIEW ROOM 2 - SAME TIME
"Oh no I won't!" I snarl at her. "I am Luther Stark! I don't do jail time."
"I think you'll find you do. Especially with that fucking stupid attitude of yours. You need to tell me everything you have on Elias Copthorne because believe me he's going to be doing exactly the same and he has more of a chance of a deal than you do Mr Stark!"
"Now you listen to me..."
"No! You listen to me! I can walk out of here right now, no problem. Can you say the same?"
"My family, I mean my boys..."
"Came to New York to tell you to fuck off. Now let's start with how you and Elias Copthorne first decided to do business together."
CRUISE SHIP - JUST OFF THE COAST OF FLORIDA
"He'd have gotten it by now and be so furious."
"Yeah." Bethany agrees. "Champagne? Cocktails? Or both?"
"Both. Definitely both!" I laugh.
E&ZHoD - MONDAY LATE AFTERNOON
What a fucking week it has been. Despite everything that has happened with her family, we've been busier than ever. It was a shame that Guy Tackler Smith had an appointment and had to cancel but it was a blessing in disguise as Lydia was ill and wouldn't have been able to go.
"I'll be right with you!" I call out when I hear the door open.
I know that voice! I almost scream his name but he waves at me to be quiet. Thankfully, Emmy Lou is walking Miss Scarlett and Rhett, or they would've given it away with their special bark and his shrieking. He points to the kitchen and I nod as soon as he is through the door, I start counting and I barely make it to three before I hear her scream.
"Matt! Get your ass over here now!"
I look at my gorgeous and happy son and surreptitiously check him over and I spot it. Yes! Faal owes me $50, I knew it! I know the island is beautiful and they've never been but I also know my boy. But I shall keep quiet because like me he doesn't like the showiness, just gets on with it and tells people afterwards.
"So where's Hunter?" I ask looking behind him.
"Gone to say hi to his dad first." He sits down after snagging a fresh vegetable roll. "So what the fuck happened with Luther?"
I hide my smile and regale him with everything. This is big news financially. He's desperate to get out of jail so needs to make his bail money and I've told my brothers to leave that with me. They don't understand but know better than to argue with me when it comes to business...and this is almost business related.
CARNEGIE MELLON COLLEGE - CAR PARK
Fuck! I curse as I drop my papers. I'm rushing because I have to be home on time to FaceTime with Hunter. I can't believe he's been gone this long and I miss him terribly.
"Need some help there mister?"
My head whips up and I almost burst into tears. "Hunter! Oh Hunter! When did you get back?!"
"Dad...can't...breathe." He croaks.
"Sorry!" I check him over, he looks like great. "South Africa agrees with you I see."
"The weather didn't hurt but it was nice to get away. You look fantastic! Steve and Taylor agree with you."
"You have no id...where's Matt?"
"Gone to see his folks. He's picking Zee up first so can we grab Steve and Taylor and we take you all to dinner? Say about seven or is that too late for Taylor?"
"It will be too late for her. Let me call Debs to see if she can look after her till we get back...."
"Don't tell her I'm back want the first night to be just us!" Hunter hisses.
I nod. "Hey Debs. Look, I know it's short notice but I booked a surprise dinner for Steve and me, but they've bumped us to seven and...oh great you're a lifesaver. Thanks."
My boy! My boy is finally home! I was almost at the point of getting the plane and flying to get them! Ben has just called and they have a booking at The Twisted Frenchman, which I am looking forward to.
"Okay so when we go to New York on Friday, the first thing we do is go to his condo. It should be released by then."
"What do you want to do with that...oh you wouldn't?" I laugh.
"Oh yes I fucking would, correction you would!" She grins back. "We need a base in New York and that is perfect. Well it will be once it's reno'd and we've removed every last trace of him."
"What about the penthouse in Jersey?"
"Oh grabbing that too." She winds her arms round me and kisses my neck. "But that is just for us. I've always liked Jersey."
"Come on let's get ready."
The place was surprisingly tidy when we got home. Turns out that mom had it cleaned once a week while we were away. As much as I loved South Africa, it is so good to be home. Luckily we had the facilities to keep up with work and school so we're not behind but when I heard what happened to Luther, I knew it was time to come home and support mom.
"Are you sure you didn't tell mom we'd be coming home last night?" Hunter asks from inside the fridge
"We have a very full fridge of deliciousness. Oh what's this bread...Matt we don't have time."
He bats my hands away and I pout. "We can do it in the shower?" I suggest.
"Okay!" He races up the stairs with me in hot pursuit.
This is interminable! I just wish they would say it and have done. Time to move things along methinks.
"So what's with the chain?" I ask Matt, who almost chokes on his water.
"Huh?" He hedges.
"I said, what's with the chain? You hate things around your neck other than a tie. You won't even wear a round necked jumper. And when you went to that fancy dress party as Ne-Yo you refused to wear the chains but now you are sporting a chain, so what's on the end of it?"
The table goes silent and we all look at him and then Hunter, who is starting to go red.
"Oh fuck!" Steve breathes. "You haven't? You didn't?"
"What haven't they? What didn't they?" Faal ask, who can be remarkably dense sometimes.
"Engaged or married?" I keep the stern expression on my face by digging into my palms.
"Married." Hunter declares taking Matt's hand.
"Holy fuck! Holy fucking fuck!" Faal exclaims. "Really!"
"Really." Matt replies quietly. "I know you're mad mom but..."
"Of course I'm fucking mad!" I hiss at him, again the table goes quiet. "I haven't been the island in ages you little shit and you get married over there, do Oupa and Ouma know?"
"No, it was just us and Memphis and Diana and the pastor."
"Lydia is going to kill you!" I grin at Hunter.
"You have to have a blessing." Ben decrees.
"Absolutely. Now get on with it!" I demand.
"Get on with what?" Hunter asks warily.
"It is proper form to ask for the person's hand in marriage from their..."
"Oh! Uh Mr and Mrs Ugerstacht, I love your son very much and would respectfully ask for your permission to marry him."
Faal looks at me with tears in his eyes. "What do you think?"
"Hmm, do you think he will make him happy? Do you think he will love him above all else?"
"Yes, I think he will."
"Then yes Hunter, we give you our retrospective permission to marry my son."
"Mr and Mr Bruckner-Smart, I love your son so much and can't imagine a day without him. I respectfully and hopefully ask for your permission to marry him."
Ben is trying to comforting a sobbing Steve, who I suspect wasn't expecting to be asked.
"Permission granted." He manages to croak out.
We hear another sob and turn to the waiter, who's dabbing his eyes. "Sorry but that was just so lovely!"
We all wipe our eyes and compose ourselves. "By the way, you're telling your grandmothers!"
"Oh fuck really! Can't you do it?"
"No!" Faal and I say together.
ADIRONDACK CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, NEW YORK
INTERVIEW ROOM 1 - THURSDAY AFTERNOON
I had ordered my lawyer to sell everything so I can make bail and today's the day. She comes in and sits down.
"So when am I getting out of here?"
"Again you're not." She holds up a hand to forestall me. "With everything, we've managed to sell we've only raised $3.8mil and..."
"My condo was worth more than that alone!" I snap.
"That was all that they were willing to offer for the Condo and the property in Jersey."
"Who is they?"
I slump in my seat then brighten. "What about the cars? They are worth at least $2mil market value. You can sell them."
"Mr Stark, it would be unwise to spend all your money on bail when you have my fees to consider. The trial when it starts will be lengthy and in the end you will be jailed. Stay here, it saves you money and I shall accept the offers on the table from the Ugerstachts. See you next week."
"Fine." I stand up to leave scowling at her then freeze. "Wait who did you say made the offers?"
"Ugerstacht. Hugo and Martha Ugerstacht..." I sigh with relief. "...and their son Faal."
And then it finally hits me. I won't be leaving here for a very long time.
It's been a tense few days. Brian's been busy at Kinnetic finally landing that company after four presentations and two dinners. I've got a show to prepare for as well as try to run the stores I have now acquired. This is the first time in days we're alone.
"Oh that's cold!"
I squeal as he rubs the glass of Beam across my naked stomach before dribbling some onto my chest and licking it off slowly. My nipples are left aching and hard in the most delicious way.
He takes a swig of Beam and slowly lowers his mouth before allowing it to trickle into mine. I swallow quickly and stutter out a moan as his hand works my cock languorously. I can feel his erection pressing into my hip and leaking.
"Turn over." He mumbles before kissing me deeply.
A gentle nudge has me turning over on the soft blanket and hot kisses rain down my spine. He sucks gently on each cheek.
"Brian no..." I protest trying to squirm away from his questing mouth.
"Still." He orders. "Still so beautiful. Mine... always mine."
I almost scream when he pours the Beam between my cheeks and then gently parts them, chuckling.
"Beams and Bubble Butt. Don't mind if I do." He pushes a cushion under my hips and blows on my pucker.
"Oh." I moan as his tongue then swipes me from tailbone to balls.
Soon I'm writhing as his tongue spears me again and again, working on my tender tissues combining the heat of his tongue with the coldness of the ice cube. He sucks slowly in and out of me.
"Gnnnh! Ah!" I try to crawl away for some respite but he holds me firmly, but gently.
He whispers in my ear and as I raise myself onto my hands and knees, he sinks into me pushing me back down and starts to thrust. With my ass slightly raised his thrusts seem more powerful, deeper and hotter.
"Oh fuck! This is a gr-great position." He growls.
"Uh! Uh! Ah! Yes! Mmm s-sogoodsogood!" I babble and try to push back but he swats my hip.
"St-stay still. Fuck I have got to try this!"
The sound of skin slapping on skin and our groans of pleasure fill the air and soon I'm chanting his name and trying to wiggle away from what I know is going to be the most intense orgasm for a while.
"Ohmygod! Oh too....fuck! Fuck! Fuck!"
My orgasm rips through me and he holds my hips still so I ride it through and seconds later he roars his release which triggers my second orgasm as I'm going through the aftershocks of the first.
"Brian oh God Brian! Please oh fuck please!"
My whole body is trembling as wave after wave of pleasure seems endless. My mouth opens in a soundless scream then he gasps and thrusts hard before coming again.
"Justin! Justin!" He yells.
We slump down and smile tiredly at each other.
"We've never done a double-double before." He flops onto his back, inhaling deeply.
That was the last thing I heard before I fell asleep.
PLANE TO NEW YORK - FRIDAY MORNING
Everyone and I mean everyone is here! Thomas and Zeon had commandeered the bedroom as they've never done it on a plane before. We've managed to get Lydia here by getting Hunter to invite her under the guise of meeting with Justin's agent. And Cara thinks we are planning an event at the Galerie LeLong.
"Now or never." I tell Matt.
Hunter looks worried. "Can you tell Lydia about her party first, then we tell grandmom Jen and Aunt Debs?"
"Fine but straight after or I will and tell them that you don't want a blessing..."
"You wouldn't!" Matt hisses.
"Yes, I would. Get ready."
I stand up and call for quiet by whistling loudly causing wincing. "Sorry about that, but a couple of things need to be hashed out before we get to New York...Lydia what time is your meeting with Justin's agent?"
"I'm not sure Hun..."
"You see, we need to sort the timings out so we can get to Guy Tackler Smith's house for your dinner at seven."
It takes a few minutes for it to sink in before Lydia, the ice queen of the art world, bursts into tears.
"You monsters, you absolute horrors! You're not serious, are you?" She whimpers dabbing her eyes.
"Yep. Happy birthday sweetheart. We have presents but you don't get those until your actual birthday, which I believe is Sunday."
She gets up and swamps me in a bone crushing hug. "Taking hugging lessons from Debs I see. Seriously ribs!"
I look at Matt.
"Since we have everyone's attention. Hunter and I got married and we'll be having a blessing nearer Christmas." He says quickly and sits back down.
The first person to speak, surprisingly, is Carl. "Did you know?"
"Not until they came back." Ben answers.
"But that was Tuesday." Jennifer strides to their seats.
"Tuesday?" I look at Matt and shake my head.
"Actually we got back on Monday but wanted to tell our parents first and..."
"Again we are only finding out about this now!" I can hear the hurt in her voice.
"Jen." Carl's the voice of reason. "Come on. Matt and Hunter did it the way that was right for them as you would do too, right?"
"And they are going to let their grandmothers organise the blessing, right?" He looks at them.
"Absolutely." Hunter nods. "Please don't be mad. He asked and I said yes and like grandpa said, this was right for us."
"Come here you little shits!" Debs demands. "At least tell me you have fucking rings?!"
"We do." Matt gasps, when he is let out of her bosom.
"Well let's see them!"
They take the chains out and show the rings. We had said we didn't want to see them before the family, so we at least shared that.
"I know they're not much but..."
"Diamond District?" Faal asks.
"Absolutely." I hold up my hand in face of his protests. "You pick we pay. End of."
"So we're going to be in Portland for Christmas then?" Ted asks.
"Well Tobias and Darius have set a date. They want to get married on the 22nd December and we're all invited."
"Excuse me!" Jenny shouts, silencing us again. "And just who is going to be your best man and best girl at this shindig?"
"Why you and Gus of course!"
"Might not feel like it." Jenny huffs before launching herself into Hunter's arms. "Please can I wear a suit?!"
"Brian, looks like we're on shopping duty too." Faal calls out.
"It will be a pleasure but first, this is Lydia's weekend."
What in fresh hell, as Talon would say, has gone on in here? There is a layer of dust everywhere and the kitchen floor feels tacky. This will not do.
The front door opens and Michael comes in. "Ralph, isn't it?"
"Here you can put these away."
He goes to hand me the shopping but I step back letting it fall to the floor and judging by the rapidly spreading puddle and smell, there was whisky in there.
"What the hell did you do that for?" He demands. "Clean that up and..."
"I'm not here to work for the likes of you. I'm here to pick up Miss Talon." I interrupt him tersely.
"For the likes of me? You're nothing but the help! And why would you be here to pick up Talon?" He spits viciously.
"This is true but this help has more money in his 401K than you do I suspect. And..."
"Ralph!" Lindsay calls out in surprise as she comes through the door with Talon. "What are you..."
"Careful! Michael dropped his groceries." I stop her from stepping in the mess, whilst he glowers at me.
"Oh Michael." She sighs. "You have to clean that up before the marble gets stained."
"Quickly Michael!" Talon orders.
He marches to the kitchen and reluctantly cleans up the mess as we head to the lounge.
"So what are you doing here?" Lindsay asks.
"Picking up Miss Talon." Talon frowns at me but I wink at her and she stays silent. "With Master Luther indisposed Miss Talon kindly retained my services."
"Indisposed? Is that what you call going to jail?" Grady's voice interrupts us. "Not that I'm complaining but... why is Michael scrubbing the floor?"
He kisses Lindsay hello and does the same for Talon. "He dropped his shopping." I reply.
"No I didn't; he did!" Michael snarks sulkily. "He seems to forget his position in life."
"Which is not to work for you." Lindsay snaps. "Sorry Ralph."
The look he gives Lindsay is chilling and he stomps out of the room. I watch him head upstairs.
"Excuse me, may I use the facilities?" I ask.
"Sure, upstairs second on the right." Lindsay tells me.
As I head towards the bathroom and I spot Michael inside. He's muttering to himself and jabbing repeatedly at something in his hand, before closing putting the box back in the cabinet.
He comes out smiling but is brought up short when he sees me.
"What are you doing up here?"
"Bathroom." I reply.
"Oh, okay. Well use this one, it's Lindsay's and Grady's. I don't want you anywhere near my bathroom."
I shudder at the horrible thought! He stalks off downstairs with a sneer and I close the door firmly.
I was just about to leave when I spot something glinting on the floor, I pick it up and it's a pin and then a horrifying thought crosses my mind, I open the cabinet and quickly find the box of condoms and run my fingers over a few packets and I feel them...pin pricks.
I grab one condom and head back downstairs and straight to the lounge. "Are you ready Miss Talon? You have the decorator coming at four."
Talon frowns but gets up. "Okay. I'll see you guys next week then."
Michael rolls his eyes as Lindsay and Grady walk us to the door.
CAR TO LUCIAN & DEE'S SMALL CONDO
"Why on earth did you say you worked for me for? I'm not ashamed of our..."
"I can explain my darling. But first how is Lindsay? I mean, how is her relationship with Michael?"
"Well she says she's been putting her resume out but nobody is getting back to her saying it's the Reichmann influence and Michael is behaving like a jealous teenager because she and Grady are official. Not sure if it's a relationship in the true sense of the word but they seem happy enough why?"
I hand her the condom packet. "Feel it."
"What's wrong with it? It feels bumpy."
"Pin pricks. I'm not sure if this is collusion but I saw Michael putting holes in every condom in the box in their bathroom."
"Fuck." She breathes. "Now what do we do?"