A Gathering of Clowns
Chapter 16 And What, Ask We, May The Fools Do?
Morris Deans, short, stocky, fifty-ish L.A. head of Archer films, was shown into the library by Chantico.
“Hey, hi there, Morris. Can we getcha’ anything?” Emily asked cordially. Deans had come to Adams Hill to update Emily on the status of their movie, Night Secrets.
“Hey, I’m good Ms. Hawkins…”
“Emily, right. I won’t keep you long, Emily. Just wanted to let you know we’ve sold the streaming rights for Night Secrets to Netflix for three point five million, and a percentage. For every 100 views we, and you, earn a buck twenty-five, so the thing makes money going forward. We are also allowed to produce two hundred thousand DVDs, and market them worldwide, with Archer and your Documart subsidiary splitting profits sixty forty as per our contract. There, any questions?”
Emily smiled; this was not the original nine million, but there was a tax write-off and some cash back and more coming. “I like how this has gone, Morris. I, um, might be looking to get involved again with a project or two.”
“Absolutely Emily, and I will echo what you’ve already been told, you should seriously consider being on the other side of the camera as well. C’mon, don’t tell me you haven’t thought of that?” Morris smiled.
Emily laughed and rose to show the man out, “Well, yeah, okay, maybe I’ve thought about it; just a little.”
They both laughed, and then Deans handed her a check for one million dollars. “So the shortfall is covered, all is good, I’ll be back in touch.”
“Thank you, dig ya’ later.”
She closed the door, and was already thinking of Tad; she needed to see him. Today.
New York City, November 2015 Northwestern Savings Head Office
Stafford Hawkins had been shown into the richly appointed office of Melvin Burke, CEO of Northwestern Savings, who was also the chair of the Living Tree Foundation, an organization with almost seven billion dollars in assets. The head office reflected that, from the lush carpet, to the mahogany panelling to the imported Italian leather chairs.
The tall and very attractive young woman who had shown Hawkins in and offered some lemon Perrier looked as if she had just descended from the cover of Vogue. The lanky American Burke greeted the equally lanky Hawkins warmly.
“You’ve made your decision, Stafford?” he said in an accent that still showed his Boston roots.
“Yes, Melvin I have, and I will begin moving funds into the account your representative opened for me. You understand, I will do this gradually, over the next few months, as I do not wish the money transfer to become known.”
“Understood, Stafford, understood. But the one hundred million is feasible.”
“It is, Melvin, absolutely. I want one of those pods on the shuttle to have my name on it, and your associate said my first instalment would guarantee that?”
“That is correct, sir?”
“And the, uh, launch date, as it were?”
“Approximately one year from now, sir. Things are on schedule and lookin’ good.”
“Excellent.” They raised their Perrier.
Burke smiled. “And your suite is to your liking?”
Hawkins nodded his blond head, “It’s first class, thank you, everything I need.”
Burke smiled more broadly, “And we will be providing a couple of, um, helpers of our own, shall we say, for when you head back to your rooms. They will be waiting and will meet the expectations your assistant outlined for us, I believe.”
It was Hawkins turn to smile, “Thank you, again. I’m certain they will be excellent.”
Now both men smiled together and raised their Perriers once more.
Although Tad was nervous, he agreed to meet Emily at a spot, ‘where they could talk’. If one were watching from the distance, one would have seen some agitation from Tad, and then the man marching back and forth, clearly more agitated. One would have seen Emily, sitting on a bench, calm and under control.
One would, at one point, have seen Tad fall to his knees and pound the ground with his fists, then kneel with his head in his hands, then vigorously shake his head from side to side, while all the while Emily simply sat, and talked.
In the end, one would have seen Emily give Tad an envelope, as he stood staring at her, and she said something to him that ended the conversation. Then they would have seen him walk away, a man in a daze.
Finally, they would have seen Emily light a cigarette and smoke it, clearly in thought. Then they would have seen her head to her car and drive off.
She had a plane to catch.
Today, the three sat in their meeting around Ross’s desk with a certain air of caution apparent. All three had their own thoughts, all three needed to consider their words.
Da Costa opened, “So, what do you both believe is happening?” She said, maintaining control.
Ross and Downing regarded each other, Ross nodding his head slightly. Downing turned his pale eyes to Da Costa.
“Mr. Hawkins is clearly siphoning funds into some unknown account for some unknown purpose. As Emily, um, Ms. Hawkins has said, since we don’t know for sure if these funds are from Documart or one of its direct subs, we don’t know if the money is being taken, well, inappropriately. The money may in fact be from any of Mr. Hawkins’s other holdings, but since we don’t know what they all are, things are…murky.”
Da Costa considered this. Clearly, Hawkins liked his secret plans; her gut feeling was this money was his to control, but Emily and her aunt had the right to ask the question. She didn’t believe Hawkins would tell them anything, but who knows? “From a legal perspective, what is our position?” She looked at Ross, who was gazing intently at the blank pad of paper on his neat desk.
He looked up, there was, to Carman, something in his eyes. Fear? Maybe Emily was right, and the man had been covering up some nasty business for a long time. Ross spoke, as always, with caution. “Legally, the shareholders have the right to see the financial statements and ask questions arising from these.”
“But it would be Drew who would be held to answer them?” Da Costa interrupted.
Ross smiled, grimaced actually. “Correct…”
“So, Drew here is the one to ask Mr. Hawkins, if there is something to ask…” Da Costa left that hanging, as Downing fidgeted slightly in his chair, Ross grimacing again, adjusting the pad of paper slightly to the left.
“So, you want to come back to my place?” Carman asked as she and Candace walked to her car. It had been a pleasant meal shared together; the restaurant was nice but not high end; they’d had burgers and fries; just a couple of girls out for dinner.
“Um, yeah, uh…” Candace began.
Carman stopped and looked at the girl. “What is it?”
Candace looked uncomfortable for a moment, before saying, “Carman, I really, like really, want to be with you, but do we have to be with your, um, partner. I would, you know, just like to be with you. Don’t get me wrong, Folake is neat and it’s, um, exciting to, you know…”
“Have sex with someone watching?” Carman added for the girl, who was struggling to express herself.
Candace laughed, “Yeah, like that. It is, and it’s cool, but can’t we also, you know, just us?” She smiled, looking quite young.
“How about if we went back to your place? Is that, um, cool; I don’t even know your living arrangements?” Carman chuckled as well.
Apparently Candace’s living arrangements would work well, because five minutes later they were on their way to her modest one-bedroom apartment.
“Mmmmmphff! Ummmph! uuunnng!” Carman cried out and groaned, as well as she could, into her gag, as Folake laced one stroke after another against her naked buttocks, now criss-crossed with welts.
Satisfied with her work, Folake then stepped back and tossed her strap aside, before spreading Carman’s sex apart with both hands and gradually inserting the black dildo into Carman’s wet hole. She began pumping, and within a few seconds had developed a strong rhythm, even grabbing a handful of Carman’s hair as she now slammed her pelvis against the woman’s ass.
Carman actually climaxed first, but Folake kept up her stroke until she too felt the shuddering release. After untying Carman, Folake lay with her, Carman murmuring her apologies, “I am sorry, Mistress, for having sex with another woman without your approval.”
“You are forgiven, my slave.” Folake kissed Carman’s face and throat, then smiled at her. “Now, tell me all about it. I want all the details.”
Carman murmured softly, “Yes, Mistress.”
Friday. Ivy Prendergast looked up as someone approached her station, only to jump at the sight of Emily Hawkins. “Good morning, Ms. Hawkins. I had not heard you would be paying us a visit.”
Emily, sunglasses still in place, nodded, “No worries, Ms., um, Prendergast, right? I like to just show up. Would, uh, Ms. Da Costa be in?”
“Absolutely, Miss, let me just announce you.”
“Great,” Emily called as she headed down the short corridor to Carman’s office. Knocking on the door, she entered, just as Carman was hanging up the call from the front. Emily immediately noticed the very attractive young woman sitting in the chair facing Carman’s desk.
“Hello, Ms. Da Costa, and…”
She looked meaningfully at Candace, who blurted out, “Candace Eiermann, and you, oh my God, you’re Emily Hawkins, I’ve seen you in the news. Oh, wow.” Candace had stood and was now looking a little like a school girl with a crush.
“Emily lifted up her shades and smiled at the young woman as they executed an awkward fist bump, then turned chuckling to Carman. “You know how to pick ‘em, Ms. Da Costa.”
Carman chuckled in response, “Candace has just started with us, Ms. Hawkins. She is one of the receptionist slash assistants; and she’s just heading back to her cubicle.”
Candace and Carman shared a quick glance and then Candace left, enthusing, “So cool to meet you, really, Ms. Hawkins.”
“Wow, um Emily.” Candace hurried off.
“Nice,” Emily commented, coming to stand behind Carman and placing her hands on her shoulders, Carman focusing on her desk. “We haven’t talked since our, um, session,” Emily whispered into Carman’s hair.
“Yeah, I thought of calling, but I’m kind of leaving things in your court.” Carman replied quietly.
“Yeah, okay, but how are you feeling?”
Carman swivelled around to look up at the other woman, standing with her usual smirk in place.
“I’m thinking I prefer the old Emily and Carman, um, scene.”
“You didn’t…enjoy last time. I think I remember some serious moaning going on?” Emily smirked.
Carman smiled, “Yes, there was that. I’m not saying I don’t become aroused; that would clearly be a lie. I’m just saying I would rather have dinner and drinks with you and go somewhere and make love. No scene. No role play; just us doing, well, it.” She smiled and raised her eyebrows.
“Hmmm,” Emily replied. “Well, I’m here to see Mr. Egg, so we’ll put this deal on hold. Talk soon, kiddo,” She waved her hand as she sauntered off.
“Turn it off,” Tad growled from the couch. He had been laying in the dark until Raisha came in and turned the light on.
“What the fuck’s with you?” she replied, a little annoyed. It was her place, after all.
“I don’t want any lights on.” Tad mumbled.
“Well then go in one of the other fucking rooms. I’ve got shit to do and I need the light.”
Tad got up and slouched off, mumbling under his breath.
Raisha simply shook her head. It was good that soon she would be done with him.
As Emily left Carman’s office and swung past the reception area, across the corridor she could see the first row of four staffers, and sitting there, looking back across at her, was Candace. The young woman smiled a wide smile, almost of wonder. It was clear that meeting the infamous Emily Hawkins meant a lot. Emily smiled back and then winked, before turning at the corner of the wall and seeing Ryland Ross, standing and awaiting her.
“Ms. Hawkins, so very good to see you. Please…” And he stood aside gallantly to allow Emily to pass, before following her in and closing the door. “Now, you needed to see me?” He asked, settling himself behind his desk.
Emily regarded him for a moment; he was always the same, so placid. Maybe today she would shake that a little. “So, Mr. Ross, I’m concerned that money is still movin’ around and you guys aren’t sure about, like, where. That’s weird, doncha’ think?”
Ross rubbed his nose for a moment, “Well, Mr. Downing, er, your uncle, is pursuing that.” He said, unemotionally.
Emily smiled, “But from a legal perspective, what would be your advice?”
Ross paused. “This is where it gets, um, sticky, Ms. Hawkins. I would rather another of our team advise you, my first loyalty being, of course, to your father.”
“Of course,” Emily murmured. “Does that mean you see a conflict here, between my father and me; us? The company?”
“I’m afraid I really couldn’t say, Miss.” Ross murmured again; you could almost see him disappearing behind a cloak of noncommittal.
Emily stifled a chuckle. “Ever been to Wyoming, Mr. Ross?” She asked, quietly.
Ross’s eyes popped open for just a second, before the veil returned, “Um, I believe I have, at some time. That is, may I say, an odd question.” He chuckled, trying to appear nonchalant; it was clear this had rattled him, at least to someone as observant as Emily.
“Yeah, well, that’s why it’s always good to go old-school and snap a few photos, hey, just for…mementos. Now, with cell phones, geez Louise, it’s a breeze.” Emily smiled and Ross made a noise approximating a chuckle, while Emily sat with a small smile on her plump lips.
“Or maybe there’s a news reporter around to help you out with some shots.” She grinned at the man; his smile, meanwhile, had morphed into a grimace. “Like these, for example.” She laid the two photos of Ross from Rock Springs on the desk so he could clearly see them; he handled this shock pretty well, just a very brief intake of breath, but Emily had caught that.
“What is this you’re showing me, Ms. Hawkins?” he asked, innocently.
Emily couldn’t hold this in any longer and she guffawed at that, “Wow Ross-the-boss, you’re good, that you are. It’s you, ya’ can’t hide that famous egg dome of yours.” Emily smirked, but Ross held his ground.
“I’m, um, not the only human with, eh, a head like, well, that.” He said mildly.
“Aren’t you interested in what’s s’posed to be happenin’ in these shots, Rossy?” Emily persisted.
“Well, since it doesn’t concern me, why should I care,” he said, as nonchalantly as possible.
Emily just grinned and nodded her head. “Well, ya’ see, (she tapped her finger tips on one photo) this here’s Sheriff Tobias Martin of Sweetwater County, the man to call when ya’ find, oh, say, a body. See?”
Ross continued to hold firm, the weird grin plastered on his mug.
“And on this particular night, well, Lordy, Lordy it was hot times in Rock Springs, baby, ‘cuz they did find a real dead body, in this motel, doncha’ know?”
Ross looked at Emily, maintaining his placid outward calm, while inside his guts were churning.
“Now, Sheriff Tobias, he has a fine memory. He recalls you, sir, and the generous dough you gave him. I know that, Ross-boy ‘cuz I paid the man a visit.” She now showed a photo she had been given when she saw Martin the day earlier. She had broken him down very quickly with threats and then bought his support with cash of her own.
On the night in question, he had had his deputy snap a photo of Ross handing him the fat envelope. He wasn’t sure what he would do with it; it was just an idea he had. Emily happily took the photo off his hands. “See, Mr. Egg, that’s you fer shure. There’s also the affidavit Martin had you sign about finding the body, and then didn’t destroy, like he said he would. Tut tut, such dishonesty,” she smirked.
Ross at this point just sat; he wasn’t going to admit anything, so silence was the golden rule. “Now, here’s where it gets extra special interestin’, Ross my man. It said in the report that the body was of an unidentified man, right?”
Ross just blinked, looking owl-like. “But we know the truth, don’t we, kid? We know that dead man was Alex Vargas, who you had been searching for (she placed three different copies of the info sheets Ross had sent out, complete with the Documart phone and email, on his desk) and we know that ‘cause Sheriff Tobias doesn’t like to throw stuff away. Especially wallets.
Now, good ol’ Sheriff Tobias also has this good ol’ gamblin’ problem, combined with the fact he likes the ladies and he’s done gone through all that cash you gave him; long ago; and he was real interested in some new cash, and so he gave me…stuff.” She grinned.
“Looky here.” Emily now took a worn, brown leather wallet out of her bag and placed it on Ross’s desk. She then slipped a card out of the wallet and read it, “Says here it belongs to one Alexander Vargas. It is of course, his S.I.N. card. So, what’s the scoop?” She looked at Ross, her blue green eyes bright.
Ross sat for a moment, not even rubbing his nose, just sort of frozen, before he spoke, “So, what do you want, Ms. Hawkins?” He said quietly, blinking his eyes.
Emily looked back and smiled.
Emily had invited Carman and Candace over for a drink after they got off work. Carman was a little uncomfortable with this, but Candace was very enthusiastic. They had had a look around the house (except for the third floor) and now sat in the living room, having their refreshments. Emily and Candace were drinking Tequila, complete with salt and lime.
“Not for me, girls, I’ll stick to wine.” Carman commented, feeling more relaxed now. After a while, Chantico came in with a large plate of Nachos covered in everything, and the women realized they were hungry and dug in. Emily invited Chantico to join them and the party got merry as they drank and made short work of the platter.
“We should relax in our hot tub,” Emily now suggested.
Carman looked at her, “I didn’t know you had one of those. Why didn’t I know that?”
Emily shrugged, she was feeling good. “Guess it just never came up, sweet Carman.” Emily teased, leaning over and kissing her full on the mouth, then announcing, “C’mon, gals, follow me.”
So they all trooped behind Emily to a room just off the kitchen and right beside her father’s elevator. It wasn’t a huge room but the tub itself fit eight comfortably. They had just crowded into the room when Emily stripped off her clothes in a flash, and with a suggestive wiggle of her lovely ass, climbed into the tub, followed by Chantico, then Candace and then Carman.
Chantico had brought both bottles and glasses and soon everyone had another drink. It was clear that Candace was feeling no pain. Before long, she and Emily had begun deep kissing and Carman found Chantico snuggling up to her. Things progressed nicely from there. Everyone eventually paired up with everyone and at around midnight all four women were lying side by side on Emily’s bed, before Chantico excused herself and went to join Melanie.
Carman considered, then decided to head home, and after several minutes of goodbye kisses with both women, she was able to make her exit, leaving Candace with Emily.
“This is, like, unreal,” Candace murmured to Emily, as the two lay naked and pressed closely together.
“Why’s that?” Emily murmured.
Candace giggled. “I’ve had like, a major crush on you, like, for two years. When I saw you hang with Alhambra at the Emmys, I googled you and printed off your picture. But back then I was hanging with a group; there was no, like, boyfriend girlfriend thing, we all hung together and had sex with like, whoever. It was totally like bad ass, but I still used to, you know, fantasize about you a lot; geez, that’s crazy hey? And now I’m lying beside you. Mmmmmm, this is fucking unreal and also un-be-live-able. Geez, I’ve eaten your pussy.” Candace sat up and thrust her arms into the air, “I’ve eaten Emily Hawkins’s pussy. Geez…”
Emily laughed and pulled the girl back down to her. “You’re not, like, going to Instagram-this or tweet anything, are you Candy-girl?” Emily smiled.
Candace chuckled. “No, nope, no way. I’m not going to do anything to fuck this over, except whatever you want. I’m totally your bitch.” The two shared a kiss; long, slow, ending with Emily taking Candace’s fat lower lip and tugging it.
“You’re going to let me crash tonight, aren’t you, Emily?” Candace whispered.
Emily snickered, “You’re kidding, right? You think I’m going to let you leave.” They caressed and kissed some more, before Emily asked quietly, “You like Carman though, don’t you?”
Candace replied easily, “I like her, like really, really like her. I’m not lyin’. But that doesn’t mean I can’t hook with you, right? Carman has, like, a lover, so there’s that…”
“Yeah, I know. That kinda’ sucks, but it’s the way it is. C’mon, let’s brush our teeth; then if we drift off, it’s cool.”
Ryland Ross had treated himself to an extra-long bath and massage session tonight; he needed it. “You arrrre verrry tense, Mr. Rrrross.” Ida had lectured in her strong accent, before she pounded him like pie dough.
And now he sat in his darkened room, his cat Jackson on his knee and a rare glass of scotch in his hand; Ross didn’t drink much at all. Damn! He said to himself. Damn. Damn. Damn. He had really got himself into a pickle this time.
The first payment on that pickle had been paid this afternoon in the form of information that Ms. Hawkins wasn’t aware of, and would keep her quiet, for a while at least.
The information was that Mr. Hawkins had been in contact with a company that put people into a nitrogen frozen sleep with the intention of reviving them down the road; something he himself had only found out this week. (That was most likely where all the missing money was going, although it had to be more than that.)
And Hawkins had done this…because he was dying.
Emily moved gently off the bed, as Candace snored very quietly beside her. She gazed for a moment at the wonderful, young body. Fuck she’s beautiful, Emily pondered, and from her that was something.
She moved quietly to the window and then out to her more spacious than common Juliet balcony, large enough for her to stand comfortably and look at the night sky.
So, Daddy-dearest was fading away; that was outstanding; but it didn’t really change her plans. Nope, the wheels were in motion, and now she just needed to stay focused, and stop him from spending all the cash.
And she had been right; her father had ended her mother’s life; although exactly how was still unclear. A drug injection of some kind; who knows? She tiptoed back into her room and found her cigarettes; she would smoke out on her balcony.
She wondered what her father was doing over in his room, on the other side of the house. Was he sitting in his tub, counting money? She laughed at that image, blowing smoke out into space. It drifted off slowly, there being little breeze tonight.
Smoke, she pondered. Smoke and lies.
Was that all life ever was?
(End of Chapter 16)