I'd love any feedback on this beginning. Please still in the early stages so you might find a rough spot or 2 or 3 or 4 Well you know how it is. :)
Title: NUMBER FIFTEEN
It looked like two ordinary friends meeting for lunch. It wasn't.
“Piece of cake.” The man dressed in blue jeans and tee-shirt said.
“I was told you're the best. Don't disappoint me.” The man in the expensive suit replied.
Brad's facial features turned from friendly to rock hard and stern. Leaning into the man's face he warned, “I'd be careful how you say things, that almost sounded like a threat. I don't like threats.”
Two well manicured hands raised with palms facing the other man.
“No, no, I didn't mean it that way.” Both men knew he did. It was a power play and he lost.
Pushing a brown envelope toward Brad, he said, “Here's your money, keep me informed of your progress.”
Brad responded with a not so reassuring, “Sure.”
The well dressed man didn't really believe him, but it was too late now. He stood up and walked away from the table never looking back. So, he missed seeing the woman at the table next to him.
The woman watched the man in the five hundred-dollar suit walk away. Lust filled eyes watched him until he turned the corner walking out of her sight.
One quick glance at the remaining man was enough for her to frown and stand up, toss a twenty-dollar bill down on the table, and walk away from the outside Cafe in the opposite direction of the man who just left. She never knew this was her lucky day. Only pain and suffering would result for any woman who caught either of these men's eyes.
Brad stayed to finish his lunch. But before he took another bite he peered into the brown envelope, handed him only minutes ago. His thumb glided across the top edge of the bills. There were a hundred and fifty of them, each crisp and new. Fifteen thousand dollars he smiled fifteen was always his lucky number. He filled his lungs with the scent, and he decided new one hundred dollars bills have their own wonderful smell.
He tucked the envelope inside the deep pocket of his jacket he returned his attention to his meal. Picking up the last bit of the roast beef on rye smeared with the Cafe's famous mustard sauce he popped it in his mouth. He mind began to form plans. Plans for how he would best carry out his new clients request.
Arthur Reese stepped up out of the subway entrance, and he headed two blocks east to the parking garage. He decided to walk up the ramps instead of using the elevator or steps. Level 3 slot 3E held his car. The car unlocked fifteen feet away as he hit the remote. One quick glance around the level, seeing no one, he opened the driver side door and climbed in. It was not until after he pushed the ignition key into the switch and placed his hands on the steering wheel that he realized he was shaking.
Tears filled his eyes, but they didn't spill. Men don't cry. Not even with what he just did. She was his friend, no, not just his, but his wife's too. Three years they worked together. Now both were being considered for the new vice-president position. It did not matter, he needed this more than she ever did or ever would for that matter. Now nothing could thwart his climb up the corporate ladder.
“Pull yourself together,” he told himself as he rode the elevator at Thurston, Thurston and Peel, to his office on the tenth floor. The elevator sound system was playing 'More, More ,More,' and that was the problem, he wanted more.
Of course, she would be the first person he met as he stepped on to the floor.
“Hey, Arthur, missed you at lunch-- join us tomorrow, Ok? I got to run, Mike has requested my presence.”
“Yea, tomorrow definitely. See ya later.” After a large swallow to dislodge the lump in his throat he walked down the hall to his office, entered and closed the door. The automatic mechanism prevented it from slamming as he intended.
“Sandra, come in, come in. Sit,” Mr. Michael Thurston told her.
He stood next to the office bar.
“I'd love one, but no. Still need to finish the Blair report.”
“That's my girl always looking out for the company's welfare. So, I'll be brief.”
After pouring a scotch, he sat down behind his desk.
“Sandra, I told the Board, why you have decided to turn down the vice-president position. I also explained why you feel that Arthur would be a better fit at this time. I know they didn't like it at fist. But, you have some very compelling reasons why we should promote him first and move you up in a year or two.
As much as I hate to agree with you. Our new client being from that part of the world, would find it, shall we just say uncomfortable dealing with a woman. And we need that contract. The Board, however, has decided to give you a bonus. You will receive adequate compensation, for your sacrifice, as if you had the position.
“Why, thank you. I know you had a hand in that. I appreciate it.” she wanted to sing out, hurray. She sat perfectly still and responded professionally as well. She did not expect the bonus.
By the way, this conversation is to be kept confidential, even from Arthur. No one is to know until the yearly Board meeting next month, OK.”
Standing and shaking Mike's hand she agreed to his terms and left.
He followed his prey for two days. She was a beauty. Maybe thirty years old and reddish brown hair draped to her shoulders and curled at the ends. Blue-eyes that sparkled, and she smiled all the time.
The only problem he could tell was her roommate. He did not need someone reporting his target missing too soon.
So, the third day he followed the roommate. She met her boyfriend for lunch. Taking a seat at the next table he listened to their conversation.
“If I don't get away soon, I will tell my jerk of a boss off. Then I can kiss my job goodbye. Oh, Meg, what am I going to do?” Carl whined.
“Sweetie, if I had the money we could take that trip the Mexico like we planned. I'm so sorry I had to fix that stupid car's motor and use what we saved.”
“I know, I'm sounding selfish. You had no choice and we both agreed the trip could wait. I just didn't know Bob would move his new office to my floor. It wasn't so bad when I didn't have him in my face everyday.”
The waitress interrupted the conversation as she delivered the food.
“Let's see, tuna melt for the lady. And I believe sir, the chile and grilled cheese sandwich belongs to you.”
Carl reached for the plate said, “Right you are. I did forget to ask for extra pickles could you please bring some.”
“Sure thing, enjoy your meal.”
Brad stood up. Moving in front of the cash register once there he pulled out his wallet and paid his bill. First with a smile, then whistling he left the restaurant.
“Roommate taken care of,” he said it more for himself even though he said it aloud.
The messenger service's young man stopped at the front desk of Townsend Amalgamated Inc.
“I have a special package for Carl Westland,” he said.
“I'll take it, just leave it here,” The receptionist answered.
“Sorry, sweetcakes, no can do.”
The woman he was addressing rolled her eyes. It was obvious she hated it when these men used terms like honey, babe and this jerks 'sweetcakes.'
“And why not? I'll see that he gets it.”
“Sorry, client paid extra for delivery before 3pm. And I must witness his signature.”
Turning to face her computer, placing her fingers on the key board she began typing. After finding the information she needed she informed the guy.
“Third floor, elevator over there.” Pointing him in the right direction.
“Thanks sweetcakes.” He turned and began to move in the direction she pointed.
He stopped short and looked back.
“You need an escort. A security guard will be here in a moment.”
From behind her desk a door opened and the tallest man he ever seen stepped into the reception area.
“Phil, take this man to the third floor he needs to see Carl Westland. Thanks.”
“No problems, Sharon, no problem at all.”
The delivery guy saw guards before but never an armed guard in the day time in an office as swanky as this one.
“Ok, buddy, let's go”
Together the two men stepped into the elevator.
Carl was just stepping out of the boss's office. When the sweet young female intern told him he has visitors at the front desk. Following the swaying piece of tail in front of him to the third floor lobby.
“Are you looking for me,” he asked the guard.
The guard nodded his head toward the other man and said, “He is.”
The delivery man spoke up. “I have a package here, this one I need to witness you signing for.”
“It's not a summons for court is it,” Carl asked chuckling.
“Don't think so,” he replied back.
Carl scribbled his name on the dotted line and was handed the small package. He was about to dismiss the two men, when he heard.
“Mr. Westland, you need to open it here in front of me. I have verbal instructions to tell you as well.”
Now very curious about the envelope in his hand. He pulled the little tap ripping open the seal. Pulling the items inside out he saw two tickets and a letter. He scanned the letter contents quickly.
Raising his hand to the guard, all excited said, “I won two tickets to Mexico, I can't believe it.”
“The tickets must be used within the next seven days or they will be forfeited. The tickets are to an exclusive resort in Veracruz. All expenses are paid. The only funds you need are for tips and trinkets you decide to buy. There I'm done. Oh, will you be accepting the terms?”
“Hell, yes I will be accepting the terms.”
Shaking his hand as if he was personally responsible.
“Thank you, thank you, the timing couldn't have been better.”
“Easiest and the happiest way to make two hundred dollars. Gee thanks mister.”
“No, Thank you. My friend needed this time off and he'd never would have let my pay for it, even as a loan. This way, he and his girlfriend can go and I can feel good because I did something nice for them.”
He folded the two crisp bills and slipped them into the delivery guy's shirt pocket. Shook his hand, turned, and walked down the steps to the subway.
Recalling the pieces in his mind. Room mate out of way. No way to trace delivery guy if any one tries. Need to check what flight Carl books and then carry out assignment. Brad left the subway at the very next stop. He despised the way the tunnels smelled.
The neighbors heard the screams. Two girls jumped and yelled with excitement when Meg told Sandra about Mexico.
“We're going shopping, Come' on. Your first new bathing suit is on me. I'm so happy for you. Oh, and I'm so jealous too.” Hugging her roommate and friend since high school. The dancing and squealing began in earnest all over again.
“Just think, in a few nights I will be sleeping in a foreign country.” Meg said as they went out the door.
As Meg dreamed of laying in the sun in Mexico. Carl dreamed of how he was going to propose to Meg in Mexico. Sandra tossed and turned. Brad lay awake finalizing his moves tomorrow and the thing he'd soon be doing. The thoughts left him with a boner, they always did. This one would not quit leaving him no choice be to give himself the relief he needed. Groaning as he relieved his discomfort into the tee shirt he wore yesterday.
For most New Yorker's today was a perfect May day. Sunny and warm, a let's get outside and enjoy the weather day. What started off as a prefect day, for one person will not end as a prefect day.
He picked the spot. It would happen at the intersection of Stillmore Road and Valley Lane.
She would need to stop at the stop sign there before turning onto Valley Lane. It was Tuesday and today was her night to get off early. He could expect her between five and five-thirty.
Just in case ,she was early he already was kneeling in the bushes and watching the road. When two vehicles came and did not bother to stop, he wished for a moment he was a police officer and could dispense tickets.
The quietness agreed with him. When no more vehicle came the bird began to chirp to each other again. Ten minutes later not having moved a muscle, he heard a car as it sped up the road toward the stop sign. It gave no indication it intended to stop either. The squealing brakes surprised him. He thought maybe the driver did not know the road and the stop sign surprised him.
The cry of pain from an animal made him stand up. The fool driver had hit a dog and sped away. What kind of low-life hurts an animal and not stop to help it. There in the middle of the road a golden-haired dog lay dying. The poor dog's body jerked around a few times and flipped over dead. Before he could do anything another car came up the road. He ducked. It was her's.
He placed the rifle and aimed. The sound of brakes squealing again filled the air as she slammed her brakes on. He heard the thump as she rolled over the dog's body.
Through the rifle's scope he watched her stop the car and get out. She walked back to the dog in the middle of the road. She went over and touched him. Brad could hear her start to cry.
“Oh, doggy I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to hit you.”
She apparently thought she was the one that killed the dog. She picked the dog up and stroked its head. She begged the dog's forgiveness. Struggling to stand with her burden she walked to the car's passenger door and finally opened it. She placed the dog on the seat. When she stood back up she was his.
The cross line of the scope was dead center. He had his shot. She sniffled. She still was crying. His finger cautiously let go of the trigger and he lowered the weapon. Moments later her blue car turned right and moved down Stillmore Road out of sight.