Part 1 of 10
Bithia Wellington Paine was always in a mood. This one was simply blacker than most…
It was nearly spring, yet this Wednesday in early March it was dark by 6 p.m.. Finally parked inside the spacious garage the woman deftly slid the vintage Jaguar XKE’s shifter from first gear into neutral; killed the machine’s powerful eight-cylinder engine, and pulled up the parking brake. A reluctant silence fell. Her head drooped, then rested on the original 1970 wood steering wheel; she considered the close call she’d just had, hardly a stone’s throw from where she sat.
I could have hit that idiot. Who rides a bicycle or whatever that thing was on the street in the dark with no lights? Jeez– She cut herself off mid-thought, realizing Whose name she’d been about to utter contemptuously…even in her own mind. Wiser than many of her kind, Bithia knew Universal Powers of the Higher sort, at least, were never out-of-the-office or off duty.
She hit the button on the old-fashioned hand-held remote and the heavy wooden garage doors behind her started closing, quietly.
“One of these days I’m going to leave this thing running before I do that,” she said aloud as she got out. Her modus operandi meant she should have been relaxing already with her first drink, or a second; had already enjoyed the multi-million-dollar sunset view her killer real-estate instincts, among other darker skills, had provided her and her only child.
Noting the security keypad’s green glow, she shook her head in disbelief. Kirk. When will he take my ‘requests’ seriously? She’d told the seventeen-year-old countless times, she couldn’t afford to leave the crown jewel of Polo Club’s most exclusive neighborhood vulnerable like this. After all this jewel, her jewel, never quit proclaiming her professional acumen. Besides, if a break-in did ever occur the development would instantly lose some of its status as a “mighty rock walled fortress.” Her marketing team’s invented catchphrase promised that, and she needed to deliver, after all, her high-rolling residential clients were also neighbors.
She set the system to “Partially Armed.” Seeing the green turn amber, she slammed the door between the garage and the large laundry room. It didn’t give the satisfaction one of the heavy oak double front doors would, but it would put the kid on notice.
She sniffed the fragrant air. Homemade “Wednesday night pizza” was apparently still baking. “Good,” she said, dropping her keys in a small bowl on the cold marble counter. Only then did she notice the note on a small silver tray. Madam: Shaker full per your text. In bar freezer. Pizza ready upon request. (signed) Marigot.
Bithia’s heels clack-clack-clacked through the large kitchen and towards her bedroom suite, having detoured only once: to stop behind the marble topped bar.
She gripped the freezing cold glass loosely with one hand, leather briefcase-slash-purse in the other. “Kirk,” she called out, halfheartedly, more anxious to just get out of the killer heels and the spandex-free black suit and white blouse. Felt bound as tightly by all of it as she imagined any mummy had ever been wrapped. Chastising her son for his lack of safety awareness could wait. At least until she was barefoot and in yoga gear. Besides, they had an armed guard roving the partially wooded acreage.
Already well past her study, she heard a clunk or a thud; turned instinctively; sloshed some of the dirty Martini on the normally spotless floor.
“Damn.” She looked at the mess, then headed back. She’d failed to notice the open door. No one was supposed to be in there “unsupervised.” Neither her son nor the help.
She stood in the doorway letting her eyes adjust to the darkness within. Seeing her son’s back she simply cleared her throat. He whipped around. When he saw her his hand went to his face and he swiped the back of it across his mouth.
“What are you doing in here? Have you been in my herb drawers?” She reached around the corner and flipped the closest light switch. A low-level illumination came from some of sconces in the cubbyholes without books. Not enough to see clearly anything out of the ordinary on the seventeen-year-old’s face. Other than guilt. “You know you aren’t supposed–”
He rushed towards her and began squeezing past. As if reading his mind she’d dropped her leather briefcase and had a strong grip on him, effectively arresting the attempted escape of a teen boy who stood much taller, and who outweighed her by nearly double.
Now she had a sufficiently close vantage point. Could clearly see the remains of lipstick on his mouth and the matching smudge on the back of his hand.
END Part 1 of 10