Logan struggled with a CD rom drive that should be working perfectly but for some reason wasn’t and when the phone rang he pushed the ‘on’ button on his headset with a bit of relief.
“Logan Griffin,” he said, anxious for a break.
“Logan? Josef Kostan here. I need to hire you Logan,” he said without preamble.
“I need you to track Katrina down for me.”
set the drive down with a clatter at that name. He personally would
like to get his hands on her, but thought that Josef already had. “What
the hell happened Josef? She was supposed to be dead by now!”
ran a hand down over his face and grimaced. “She escaped. Went
through a secret passage way and we couldn’t get to her in time. She
had about 3 million dollars tucked away, but we found them and Kostan
Industries just happens to have an account or two with them so for now
they are on hold, but I need you to get that money back to the cleaners
where it belongs and find the bitch. Do you think you can?”
I’ll need her computer so I can track her accounts. Does she have a
personal computer at her home as well? Probably find a lot more on that
because it would be safer to entrust private information to.” Logan
sat back in the chair with a squeak and was already running
possibilities though his mind.
“Yes, we have it; she hasn’t gone
home so we grabbed the computer there for you to look at. They should
be at your sub-level hideaway within a half an hour. Do you need any
They fact that she hadn’t gone home indicated to
Logan that she had other resources available to her. He suggested as
much to Kostan.
“I think so too and we’re running down leads on
that. No doubt she has several other identities tucked away and we have
to find them. My guys are scouring her house as we speak, tearing it
apart in fact.”
“Which means that whatever she had wasn’t at the
house. I assume you’re watching all modes of transportation out of
town? She has to move somewhere and has undoubtedly been in contact
“Yeah, we’ve done all that and Colleen is running down every lead she, or any of the remaining cleaners can think of.”
“Do you really think they’ll help?” Logan asked curiously.
executed three of them who were involved with her plans last night. If
the rest of them are smart they’ll cooperate if they know anything.
Plus, they want their money and they don’t get it until we find
“Okay, I’ll let you know when I find something.”
“This is number one priority Logan. Everything else can wait.”
understand – and if it means anything I agree.” Logan hit the end
button and rolled over to his computer console and started digging.
parked in front of complex three at Golden Horizons Retirement
community and looked around him at the well-manicured lawn and gardens
and spotted Margie sitting outside with some friends at a table in the
deep shade of a large mimosa tree. He smiled when he saw they were
playing cards; Margie was nothing if not a busy bee, always engaged in
some sort of activity.
As he climbed out of his Lexus he grabbed
his treat for her, Ghirardelli chocolates which were her favorite.
Well, if he was going to be honest any chocolate was her favorite, but
she did especially like these.
She saw him walking towards her
and rose to greet him, a small tropical bird, dressed in an orange,
yellow and white sundress with matching necklace and dangling earrings.
She looked bright and not nearly her 84 years of age. She walked with a
spring in her step and leaned up to kiss his cheek and smile at her
“Ben, how wonderful to see you!” she exclaimed as she
wrapped her arm around his as they walked into the building and down to
room 302. She opened her door and led him in and he blinked at how
bright it was in here with the floor-to-ceiling windows unshuttered in
the afternoon sun.
“You look beautiful today! Bright and
cheerful, as always,” he told her as she walked across the room,
partially closing the blinds. Her orange sandals made a clack-clack
sound as she moved and he smiled and shook his head at it all.
get on with you. Don’t try and flatter an old woman young man. I’ve
heard it all before,” she told him, moving to the small kitchen. “Would
you like some iced tea?”
“Yes, I would. It’s a hot one today.”
Ben moved to the living area and saw that she had photo albums out on
the coffee table and sat down, curious about what pictures she had been
Margie brought a tray with two tall glasses of iced
tea and a small plate of sliced lemons into the living room and sat it
down on the coffee table, next to the open photo albums. She handed Ben
a glass and spied the picture that he was looking at so closely. “Ah,
that’s Maeve and Bug; we were close friends back in the day.”
“Bug?” Ben asked; there had to be a story involved in that name.
a nickname of course. He and Herb were in the army together, during
the Korean war. Oh, I know, it wasn’t really a war, but it sure seemed
like it to the men who lost their lives there. Anyway, Bug was a company
clerk and would be the one to tell them it was time to ‘bug out’ or
move camp and so the name stuck with him.”
“Hm. And that was his wife? She’s very pretty.” Maeve was tall, with dark hair that curled softly around her face.
“Yes, she was. Still is actually. She’s Mick St. John’s sister by the way.”
Ben almost dropped his glass at those words. “He had a sister? Still has a sister?”
she looks a bit like him in that picture don’t you think? She was 8
years younger than Mick I think, born in 1930. Hard times back then; it
was so hard for families to make ends meet but she was a blessing,
always a blessing.”
“What happened to her?”
“She lives a
few miles from here and I still talk to her occasionally. She very
lively and spry and still has her own home. Bug is dead though, but it
doesn’t get to her too much. She and I both learned that you have to
just go on when your loved ones go.”
“Including Mick?” he asked, and then thought maybe he shouldn’t have when he saw sadness darken her eyes briefly.
Mick. It’s so hard when you just don’t know what happened. When he
met that woman he changed, drastically. It was like he was hypnotized
by her. Oh, I never saw him again after he told me he was marrying her,
but neither did his family much. They hated Coraline Duvall; she just
seemed to take over his life.” Margie took a sip of her tea as the
memories rolled over her.
“Do you think she was black-mailing
him or something?” His behavior sounded strange at best. He’d walked
away from everyone and everything he held dear apparently.
don’t know about that, but something sure changed him. His family all
attended the wedding and she was so superior acting they all said.
Maeve took a snapshot of them and that woman screamed at her, in front
of everyone. She told everyone that they were not allowed to take any
pictures and Mick just went along with it. It darn near broke his
mother’s heart. I don’t know what all the fuss was about anyway because
the picture didn’t come out; it was all blurry.”
“What happened to it?” Ben asked, curious.
it still exists Maeve probably has it. Mick came out okay and parts of
her dress too but her face is just a huge blur. The woman was very
strange if you ask me, as were her family.”
“Did the St. Johns ever meet any of them? Did they come to the wedding?”
they didn’t. But Mr. St. John hired a private investigator to talk to
them in France after she and Mick disappeared. Such a sight that hotel
room was they say. So sad.”
“What did the investigator find
out?” he asked her. He almost hated to probe any further but he needed
every bit of information that he could get.
Margie frowned for a
moment, as if flipping through the memories until she found what she was
looking for. “They talked to a brother I think, a tall dark man who
had a coal black eye. Said his name was Lance I believe but there were
several brother’s there if I remember correctly. Very odd family
apparently; they claimed to not know that she had gotten married and
hadn’t seen her in some time.”
“Do you think Maeve would speak to me? I wouldn’t take up much of her time.”
call her soon and ask her; Benjamin, she really doesn’t like talking
about it all though. You must understand, that was a really hard time
for their family.”
“I understand and if she’ll talk with me I will only ask a few questions. I wouldn’t want to cause her any pain.”
nodded and they switched the conversation to other things, his job and
his father’s hopes for him to run for office in the future, something he
was not interested in. An hour later it was time for him to go and as
she walked him to the door she felt sad. She loved his visits and
didn’t see him often enough. And he always had questions about Mick and
those questions always stirred up memories that hurt.
door he kissed her softly wrinkled cheek and held her close for a moment
in a warm hug. Margie watched him walk down the hallway, his steps
rapid and light on the tiled hallway. When he rounded the corner to
head outside she closed the door and spied the box of chocolates on the
table! Lordy, she’d forgotten all about them. It didn’t take her long
to open the box and pop a piece of heaven into her mouth.
When life gets hard, chocolate was the remedy. She firmly believed that!
called Robbi and waited impatiently while the call connected. When
Robbi answered she let out a sigh of relief. But the relief didn’t last
long when she heard Robbi’s voice.
“Robbi, what’s wrong?” Beth was bristling with anxiety because she knew that something was wrong, really wrong.
“Hi Bethy. I’m okay, just really uncomfortable. I am so ready for this baby to be born. How are you?”
doubted what Robbi said but she also didn’t want to upset her anymore
so they chatted about other things; Kevin getting the nursery ready and
what the baby would wear home for the hospital. The more they talked
the worse Beth’s anxiety got until by the time they got off she was
close to panic. As she said goodbye Mick watched her carefully, aware
that something was terribly wrong.
“I can’t explain it Mick; it’s just this feeling I have.”
was quiet for a moment, thinking about Beth’s instincts and how good
they usually were. “Okay baby, close your eyes for a moment and picture
Robbi in your mind. Just focus on her and breathe deeply.”
“Breathe? Why?” she asked curious, since they didn’t need to.
“It just helps, trust me.”
closed her eyes and imagined Robbi in her home. She saw her sitting in
the recliner, feet up since they were so swollen. Her face was swollen
and red as well, blotchy looking too. She was wearing a rust colored
tee shirt that said, ‘Yes sir, that’s my baby’ with an arrow pointing to
her baby bump. Beth tried to follow the thoughts and saw Robbi crying
at the hospital, with Kevin by her side. There was something wrong with
the baby, the cord was around his neck and they were doing an emergency
c-section. Her eyes popped open and she let out a cry, the pain of it
all overwhelming her.
Mick was at her side instantly, holding her close. “What’s wrong Beth?”
– I saw her Mick,” she said, telling him exactly what she saw. “It was
horrible, she was in so much pain and they were both so scared. But I
saw her Mick, sitting in the chair at their house, with that tee shirt.”
you know if Robbi has a camera on her computer? Maybe you two could
Skype; that way you would both get to see the other and you might relax a
bit. Let’s call her back and ask, okay?”
Beth nodded, trying to
get control of her emotions before she spoke to Robbi again. She was
sure it was just an imaginary image, but it would be good to see Robbi.
She hit redial on her phone and it rang a few times before Kevin picked
“Kevin? I was calling to speak to Robbi again. Mick had an
idea and we thought we’d find out if it would work.” She explained to
Kevin about the Skype idea and he loved it.
“Yes, we have a camera on the computer. I often Skype in to work.”
Beth put the call on speaker phone and the three of them discussed details. Finally Beth asked where Robbi was.
went in to change her tee shirt. She spilled some Egg Drop soup on
it,” he said with a giggle. “It’s hard to miss that belly!”
An eerie feeling came over Beth and she had to ask. “What shirt was she wearing Kevin?”
“It’s one her mom gave her, it says ‘Yes sir, that’s my baby’ on it. It’s one of her favorites.”
looked at Mick, panic showing clearly in her eyes. The men talked
about the Skype project and when Robbi got back she joined in the
conversation happily, eager to try to the new idea. They planned a call
for the next evening and when they ended the call Beth burst into
Mick was speechless as he contemplated what this meant.
I’m home!” Logan declared as he walked into the house in his best
imitation of Ricky Ricardo. He sat his overnight bag on the couch and
headed to the den to place the bag carrying his laptop and Katrina’s on
the desk. He went into the kitchen and wrapped his arms around Audie,
his pet name for her and leaned down to seal their lips in a warm kiss.
“Um, delicious!” he declared, licking his lips. “What are you making for your dinner?”
salad,” she told him, stirring it all together. She pulled a croissant
out and sliced it open before piling it high with the salad. When that
was done she grabbed a glass and poured his dinner into it and then
carried it and her plate to the table. Logan joined her and they both
enjoyed their separate meals for a moment.
Logan told her about working for Josef and that he was having problems with Katrina’s computer.
has a separately partitioned hard drive, password protected and it also
has a bug in it- I think if you try to break into it it will wipe
“Wow, she must have had some really knowledgeable help
with that. I’ve got that code breaker program on my computer; we could
piggy back the laptop to it and see what we get.”
“That’s what I
hoped you’d say and just another one of the many reasons why I love
you.” He took another drink of his dinner and then a deep breath; he
was afraid to broach the next subject but it had to be done. No, he wanted it to be done!
wanted to live with her. Things were good now, but he spent his nights
here with her and then went to his place in the morning and caught a
few hours freezer time and then worked. This place wasn’t big enough to
hide the freezer anywhere and his place, well, the upstairs was nice
but he wanted something that was just theirs. He explained all that to
her and carefully watched her face for her reaction.
“You want to
live with me Logan?” she asked, almost afraid she had misunderstood.
She wanted that very badly and couldn’t believe that he had brought it
up first. She bit her lip and looked at the chicken salad sandwich that
she held mid-air as she prepared to take a bite.
In truth he
wanted to marry her, but one step at a time. Forever was a long time
and when she really found out what a complete and total geek he was she
might change her mind. He looked into her beautiful brown eyes and
smiled before he spoke.
“Yes, I want to live with you. This
place isn’t big enough though Audie and my place, well it won’t do
either. I thought maybe we’d talk to Clark and see if he could build us
a place, somewhere that we plan together – a place that would be all
She burst into tears at his words; he’d evidently put a
lot of thought into it and that made her so happy. One look at his face
and she realized that he was reading the tears incorrectly; he thought
she was unhappy. Men!
“Logan, I’m crying because I’m so happy!
I’ve got money from Mom and Dad’s estate that is just sitting there and
if we sell this place there should be plenty of money for whatever we
want.” She knew that he didn’t have much; all it took was one look at
the dismal basement of his to understand that.
“Whoa, wait a
minute, I mean that sounds good, but I’ve got money to contribute too.
My parents estate left me pretty well off; I mean, I live in that
basement and don’t really have much overhead, so the money is just
sitting in the bank. I’m not rich, but I’ve got money too Audie.”
she was surprised by his words she did her best not to show it. He
lived like he didn’t have two nickels to rub together and here he was
telling her he had money socked away too. It surprised her but didn’t
really matter in the end. They would put their money together to build a
house, their home. She got up and carried the plate and glass to the
sink and rinsed them before tucking both of them into the dishwasher.
“Okay then Logan, we pool our money and build our home. I can’t wait!”
that she got out the cat food and poured it into the boy’s dishes
because she knew that they would be in and wanting their dinner before
too long. At the rattling of the sack first Plato, followed by Travis
came through the kitty door. They were the best of buddies now and she
knew that Plato would really miss Travis when Mick and Beth got home
from Seattle. She leaned against the counter and watched them both eat
their dinner with a smile on her face.
“So, you uh, want me to
call Clark tomorrow and see about getting together to discuss the
house?” he asked, shyly watching her. He felt self-conscious for some
reason but decided it was because they had taken a huge step forward and
he was so excited about it.
Life was so much better than he ever
thought it could be. Suddenly, forever seemed pretty cool too, as long
as he had Audie by his side.
hung up the phone after talking to Beth for the past 15 minutes. His
internal bullshit bells were clanging like a runaway claxon. She was
lying; he didn’t know why but she was definitely lying about why she was
in Seattle, if that is where she really was. He ran a hand through his
hair and dragged it down his face, exasperated with the situation. He
picked up his beer and tipped it up, only to realize the bottle was
empty. He sat it down on the table beside the chair and debated about
whether or not to get another one but Beth was still on his mind so he
forgot about it.
He needed to pay a visit to Lani tomorrow and
see what she had to say. That was a whole different proposition thought
because Lani was a master at hiding things. Oh, she had her tells but
Lani would carry secrets to her death he knew. What the hell was the
big deal anyway? So Beth and Mick decided they needed a little alone
time? They were newlyweds, it was to be expected. They had concocted
this elaborate story for whose benefit anyway? Ben’s? What did her
parents know he wondered?
And he had to ask himself why the hell
it mattered to him so much anyway? Mick would never hurt her that much
was for sure. Did someone else hurt her? Is that what they are
hiding, why she had to get away from family and friends? Had she been?
Was she? He intended to find out.
A trip to Seattle suddenly seemed like a great idea.
and Audrey were working with the computers, trying to get into the hard
drive on Katrina’s computer when Travis jumped up onto Logan’s lap and
rubbed his head against his chest, wanting to be petted. Plato, not to
be outdone launched himself onto Logan’s lap as well, waiting for his
Logan chuckled as both hands petted a cat. This was
such a difference from when he thought Travis hated him. The kitty used
every opportunity to get some attention and Logan decided he liked it.
he still thought that Travis had overly large fangs, but he had decided
that it was just an individual thing with cats, like ears or tails.
Some were bigger than others – Travis had well-endowed fangs, that’s
The code breaker program was running with Audrey closely
monitoring it. Suddenly a small beep signaled success and she grinned
at him triumphantly. “Got it. We’re in Logan!”
He leaned over
both cats and kissed her, excited to see what they found. There was
information about several other identities, in different cities and two
more bank accounts. After the code breaker gained them access to the
accounts they looked at the current activity on each account. One, in
Switzerland had been emptied this morning; about 25,000 dollars had been
in it. The second one was in the Cayman Islands like some of the
others that had been found but this one held almost 3 million dollars.
She had accessed the account this morning as well, but didn’t take out
any money. Obviously this was her reserve.
“Should we change her password?” Audrey asked.
let’s do it. Something very random, that isn’t easily broken. And
hey, here are her secret questions, let’s change them too.”
set to work and soon the task was done. They looked at one another
with satisfied smiles and giggles. “I’d better call Josef and let him
know what we found,” he told her, watching her stroke Plato’s back. Her
fingers combed through the sleek brown fur and there was something very
sexy about it. He leaned over the cats and kissed her again, longer
this time and felt her melt against him, to the protests of the cats.
“Mm, that was nice,” she murmured.
“Yes, it was. Maybe I can call Josef later…”
To be continued…