Protecting David-Christopher Grows Up 8
I had just gotten back from a meeting with the guys that my dad sent to Milwaukee to ride herd on the real estate project. Oddly enough, they had offices in a huge building downtown that turned out to be owned my grandfather David. I guess there’s a lot that I don’t know. I really had no clue that David owned stuff here, but I guess it makes sense. There’s a lot of stuff people don’t know regarding what David owns, and he doesn’t talk much about it. We’re also putting the office of the Milwaukee Properties, Corp. there. It’s a company we created to front the trusts that will really own everything, and it will serve as the public relations center and renting office when we get to that point. Most importantly, it kept my name off it.
I sat down at my desk, kicked my shoes off, and pushed my stocking covered feet under the sleeping puppy. He made a little sound, then seemed to wrap himself around my feet.
On my desk was a small stack of reports from Jack, mostly expense reports, consolidated income reports from my trusts, and whatever was happening in our offices to which he wanted me to pay particular attention. The top item was what we had paid out this last month for veterinary services for Michael’s ‘clients.’ We were approaching ten thousand dollars, and he wanted to know what my limit was. In the margin I wrote, “Why not rent a building and hire our own staff?”
I knew Jack wouldn’t care for the idea. It wasn’t that he disliked animals or, for that matter, Michael; it was the unlimited commitment he didn’t care for. But the warm furry counterpoint to that was curled up around my feet. Besides I knew what it felt like to live in the wild.
One of the other items on the list was the money that we had already paid out to our lawyers for what we had come to call ‘The Real Estate Project.’ I’ve got a lot of lawyers in my extended family, so I’m not entirely dismissive of their contributions, but those billable hours sure do add up. Of course, I’d seen over and over again what a really good attorney could accomplish for you, and conversely what damage a bad one can wrought. So I simply put a check next to it indicating I’d seen it.
The next thing was a firm of architects that we’d decided on - another very expensive item; and even more expensive, because we were hiring some very creative people. I mean the thing is if you’re going to build something like this, there’s no point in it being more look-alike buildings.
The next item simply said, “Jeff has two guys on Joe Plankett,” that was the guy that we’d figured was trying to dig up information on us - or more accurately, on me. It’s more than a little creepy to have people skulking around trying to find out stuff about you. It’s like when you think you see a movement out of the corner of your eye; but when you look, there’s nothing there; yet you feel weird about it.
Puppy stirred and I wiggled my toes into his fur, then glanced at the picture on my desk. It showed Nick carrying Puppy through the backyard while the puppy stared up at him adoringly. I knew the feeling, and glanced at his denim-covered crotch in the picture. That caused my crotch to stir, and I wondered how many executives jerked off in their bathrooms at work. In my head, I muttered, “Please, Miss Homby, hold all my calls while I whack off.” I concluded that I couldn’t be the only perv in the business world … but still decided to save it.
I looked over at Nick, who was driving. “You really think you should be taking my advice on clothes?”
He took my hand and wrapped it in his, both rested on the central console of his car as we drove back into the downtown area of the city. “You’ve got good taste, you always look great.”
“That’s because I don’t pick out my own clothes. That English guy does it. Why don’t you just let him do it?”
Nick laughed. “He comes here twice a year, then it takes two months to get the suits. That would drive me crazy. Brooks Brothers’ll be just fine. Besides there’s that great hamburger joint right near them. I’m in the mood for some greasy food.”
I looked out at the city speeding by, sighed, and laid my head back against the seat. “How come we never get out anymore? I like Jeff, but it’s nice to be out just by ourselves.”
He laughed. “Well, then don’t look three cars back.”
I flipped down the visor, looked in the mirror, and there they were; not Jeff, but some guys that worked for him in a black SUV. It was a case of mixed emotions: on the one hand, a little irritated that we weren’t alone, but also a deep sense of safety. In any event, my agreement with Mr. Tam’s organization was that I let them do their job the way they felt they needed to do it.
I laughed. “Yeah, well at least they’re hanging back.” I sighed. “It’s so weird to think that I live this way - and the even weirder thing is it’s beginning to seem normal.”
Nick squeezed my hand. “You haven’t had an exactly normal life. And besides, I’d worry about you, if they weren’t around.”
I turned and grinned at him. “You want something to worry about … worry about my taste in clothes. The only thing I understand is navy blue.”
He pulled my hand up to his mouth and kissed my fingers. “Can’t go wrong with navy blue.”
“I know, but it’s boring; besides, you’d look really hot in like a light gray. I especially like the way your dick looks in lighter colored pants.”
“Oh great! Now I gotta be thinking about you doing that the next time we’re both dressed up and at some meeting or something.”
“Hey, if you were gonna worry about that, you’d be worried all the time because mostly that is what I’m thinking.”
Nick pushed back against the seat, seemed to get a kink out of his neck, and stretched his legs as best he could while driving. “So I’m thinking one plain navy, one navy with a light stripe, one charcoal gray, one Glenn plaid, and just for you, a medium gray.”
I looked over at him, glanced down at his crotch and smiled. “If security wasn’t three cars back, I’d blow you right now.”
Nick was stripped down to his underwear, and I was handing suits to him in the dressing room. The salesman was standing back watching us, clicking a ballpoint pen and looking like he wanted to say something, but didn’t think he should. I guess, because I’d given him the idea that we knew what we were doing.
Nick took the next suit from me, then stared at me for a moment and whispered, “I can do this myself, Mom. C’mon, Chris, let the guy earn his commission.”
I looked at the guy and muttered, “Sorry. I’m gonna go check out the shirts and ties and stuff.”
I walked into the main part of the store just as Matt Rainer, one of the huge security guys, was coming through the door while talking on his phone ... this didn’t look good.
Matt came over to me while seeming to try and block any view of me from the front of the store. He closed his phone, shoved an earpiece into his ear, and whispered to me, “Cory is in the area, and we know that he’s shopped for clothes at this store in the past.”
I stammered, “Wha…?”
“There’s at least a good chance that he’s coming here, and we’d feel better if you were in the SUV. For one thing, he’s never actually seen you in Milwaukee, at least that we know of, and we’d like to keep it that way.”
Every instinct in me and every muscle twitch said to go, but there was something else happening too; and as I inhaled, I began to realize that it was anger.
I shook my head. “We’ll stay. With everything we’re beginning to do in this city, he’ll figure it out eventually. If he wants to shop; well, it’s not illegal, but like Jeff always says, ‘tighten up.’” Matt is 6’4” tall, built like a football player, and like with all these guys, the testosterone is running hot and heavy. Mr. Tam’s people are the best I’ve seen, and they never seem to lose focus.
I looked up at him, smiled and said, “Don’t start anything unless there’s no other way; he’s a lawyer, and we’d be in court forever.”
Matt said softly, “I won’t start anything, but remember: he attacked you and there was a police report filed. All of which is a reason for you to take precautions with him. The cops would see it that way, too.”
“Okay, I got you. Frankly, the thing I’m more worried about is Nick coming out here while he’s here and starting something with him.”
Matt said, “You want me to talk to Nick and warn him?”
I shook my head. “Hopefully, this will all turn out to be nothing.”
And in the end, while it didn’t turn out to be nothing - it didn’t turn out to be much. Like I knew he would, Cory showed up because … well, it’s almost like a magnetic pull, isn’t it? The guy you want least to show up does. But he walked in the door, spotted me almost instantly, froze, glanced quickly at Matt, then turned around and walked out. No change of expression, no word, no sound, just turned around and walked out.
I looked up at Matt. “Well, I guess he remembers me.”
Twenty minutes later, and after I’d bought two sweaters and a winter coat that I didn’t really need, Nick came out of the fitting room looking happy.
He said, “Well, that was easy. I gotta pick’em up in a week.” Then he looked at Matt before turning and looking at me.
He said softly, “Okay, what happened?”
I shook my head and said, “Nothing really. Cory walked in, saw me, and left.”
He stared at me and tilted his head slightly. “The guy that attacked you?” His voice had an edge to it that I’d never really heard before, and he seemed to get bigger. “You should have come and got me.”
I looked at him for a moment and said, “That would have been a mistake for about ten reasons. Number one, you’d have gone after him. Number two, you’re the president of a major local bank. Number three, we would have had a huge media problem, when I really don’t need one.” I sighed. “I’m not sure there’s actually ten, but those are enough. Besides,” I pointed at Matt, who was standing there like a mountain, “you don’t think he could handle it?”
He glared at me for a moment, then sighed and laughed. “Yeah, those are good reasons.”
Our house looked like a bomb had hit it. Although, to be fair, it was a lot better than it was last week. The new brickwork was done, and the new second story and the roof were all in place. It was mostly just the inside that was a wreck.
Nick and I had just opened a wooden crate that had arrived earlier in the day.
Nick cut the strapping around the package inside of the wooden crate and moved the foam wrap off of the painting.
He whispered, “Holy fuck.”
I whispered, “For sure.”
The Sargent watercolor that we told Eli we wanted was staring back at us, almost like it dared us to touch it. It seemed to dance with life, almost like it had been asleep and was beginning to stir. The boat that was at its center seemed to move with the waves as the crew did their work.
The puppy came over, looked in the box, sniffed the air, then sat down on my foot … clearly not impressed.
Nick said, “Are we really supposed to have this? I mean it doesn’t seem like this should be out of the museum.”
“I guess. I’m sure we paid for it, but I can see what you mean. How could someone paint this?”
Nick shook his head. “I dunno.” He gently extracted it from the crate. Then he looked at me and laughed. “Does security know we got this?”
I nodded. “They know everything.”
He laughed again, and put his hand on my leg. “Well, that’s a little scary.”
“No, I mean … well, you know, not the sex stuff, but stuff like this, they get a heads up from Denver, and they keep an eye on it.”
He looked around the torn apart room. “What are we gonna do with it?”
“Just put it in our closet. Eli isn’t gonna like anyplace we try to put it, so we might as well just let her do it when everything is done.”