Protecting David-Finding Christopher 9
I was cold and it woke me up but I didn’t open my eyes. I was lying on my stomach with my head shoved under a pillow, shivering. My left hand went searching over the cold sheets for the warm body that I sensed wasn’t there.
I yelled into the pillow my voice heavily muffled and still hoarse from sleep, “Where’dya go? C’mon…I’m fuckin cold!”
Larry’s voice came from over by the windows. “You’re such a baby! Just pull the blankets up. I’m watching the storm.”
I could feel cold air on my back. “Noooo….c’mon, Lar…get back in bed.” Then after I thought about it, “Storm?”
In a few seconds I felt his weight on the bed and then the blankets being pulled up over me and then the warmth of Larry’s naked body as he settled down next to me and his warm leg slid over the back of mine. I twisted sideways and pulled him even tighter against me.
His lips were right next to my ear and his breath was warm on my neck. His hand squeezed the back of my neck and then traveled up into my hair. “It’s raining like a son-of-a-bitch and the temperature is down to like forty.” He stuck his tongue in my ear and I shivered against him.
“If you’re gonna do that you gotta keep your tongue in cause it’s cold when you pull it out.”
He grunted and ran his hot hand slowly down my back. “You sure are high maintenance.”
I turned my head slightly and opened my eyes. Larry’s hair was very dark brown against the white sheets and the ends at the back of his neck were curled and feathered. “You bet and it’s probably gonna get worse.” I stuck my tongue out and caught a few strands of his hair and pulled them into my mouth.
He couldn’t see what I was doing but I guess that he felt it. He said softly, “You’re eating my hair.”
I smiled into his shoulder and mumbled, “A little.”
Larry slowly propped himself up on his elbow.
I said softly, “Where you goin?”
He bent his head and kissed me on my ear and said softly, “Just back here.” As his kiss moved to my back his hand slid down to my butt and then slowly he moved between my legs pushing them gently apart with his own knees.
Larry was rushing around tying his tie and looking for his briefcase, the usual early morning craziness. He had a sheaf of papers in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.
He pointed the papers at me. “I got a guy for you! Last night you said you wanted your own attorney right? I got the perfect guy.” He put the cup down on the nightstand and slipped into his suitcoat. “He’s perfect….but.” I had explained everything that I had done and was thinking of doing about Chris.
I looked at him in the mirror while I tied my own tie and said, “But what?”
“This guy wouldn’t ever be goin to court right? He’d never have to try a case?”
“No…never. I got Stanner for that shit. I want our own in house legal brain. Somebody who can feed me what he thinks the other lawyers should be doing and…….I dunno maybe draw up the occasional contract. What’s the guy’s name?”
I said, “Thune?”
“He works for Holloway, Thorne. I been running into him on different cases. They only let him do research….which is all he wants to do anyway. And frankly that’s all he could do, he’s really really shy, terminally shy. I can’t imagine how he made it through law school.” Larry grinned at me in the mirror. “And I think he’s gay.”
“How can you know that?”
Larry looked at me and tilted his head in an “Awe c’mon” look. “How do you think? I’ve seen him ogling guys.”
“Well he can’t be too shy then.”
“I think he thinks he’s being subtle and believe me he’d never do anything if they ogled back at him. Not a bad looking guy though and kinda a fuckin genius.”
“So why would he want to leave Holloway, Thorne? Do they realize what they’ve got?”
Larry leaned against the bathroom counter. “Yeah…they do. And really they’re trying to make it easy on him.”
“So what’s the big deal?”
“They’re strong litigators…they’re all pitbulls…they don’t really understand Harold, not really. I mean they know him but don’t really get him.” He laughed and shook his head. “I was talking to him about some stuff for one of our clients, one we share with their firm and one of their partners came in to talk to Harold and I thought Harold was gonna pee in his pants….either that or just fall over dead. This partner was giving Harold his cold courtroom stare,” Larry shook his head slowly, “the guy can’t take that but to them it’s just normal, ya know, just what they do. Anyway the guy needs someplace to hide, an office tucked away in a corner and his law books…no stress, not a lot of interaction. But from what you’re saying that’s perfect for you.”
I asked, “He knows international law?”
Larry laughed. “He knows fucking everything. Knowing isn’t the problem for Harold.”
“When can I meet him?”
Larry sighed heavily. “That’s gonna be the problem, getting him to actually go see you. I gotta figure a way to make him do that.”
“What if I made an appointment and went to see him?”
Larry laughed. “You gotta be kidding! You walk into Holloway, Thorne and fifty lawyers cum in their pants!”
“What on earth are you talking about?”
“Alex, the average guy on the street may not know your name but believe me every attorney in town does. Billable hours! You’re paying Stanner, what, a few million bucks a year, between you and your dad? Believe me they all know that! They’re fucking lawyers. I hate em!” I laughed because they reason Larry hates them is because he’s just as aggressive as they are, maybe more.
“So what can we do? What if you take him to lunch and I just accidentally stop by your table?”
Larry moved behind me and reached around to straighten my tie but ended up kissing the side of my neck. His arms tightened around me while his mouth concentrated on my ear. My head fell back to the side of his, his voice was gritty with sex. “Might work. Fuck, you smell good!”
I laughed and pulled away. “You’re gonna get horny again and we’ll never get outta here!”
Larry looked at himself in the mirror while unconsciously one hand went down and tried to press his rising cock down. He mumbled, “Fucking cocks, there oughta be an on/off switch.” Then he looked at me in the mirror watching him and he laughed at himself shook his head and said, “What can I tell ya?”
Driving in to the office the rain was falling like curtains of water being poured slowly over the land in waves. One minute you’d be in a dry spot watching this curtain of rain moving away and a minute later another wave would hit. I pulled into the underground parking at my building and rode the elevator up. Connie was leaning against the desk of our receptionist waiting for me as I walked in. She cocked her head and grinned.
As we walked towards my office she slipped her arm in mine and said, “You musta done something last night. Lyle from the governor’s office called me twice this morning. Unless Stanner was rattling cages.”
“Who’s Lyle?” I dropped into the chair behind my desk.
Connie sat in the chair in front of my desk and carefully crossed her legs. She was wearing a navy blue suit that looked expensive, her silver gray hair in a Doris Day cut. “Chief of Staff. One of those guys that you can’t figure out why he hasn’t dropped dead of a heart attack. Intense.”
She deepened her voice and did an imitation of the guy. “Connie, what the fuck is goin on? What’s your fuckin boss doin over there? Why all the fuckin pressure?”
She grinned. “I really didn’t do him justice, he was a lot nuttier sounding than that.”
I sat forward. “What pressure, who called him?”
She smiled. “I’m not sure but he was screaming about calls from Europe and Washington. Something about a threat to cancel the building of a factory. He was really pretty incoherent at that stage. Anyway I yelled back at him and told him that was what he could expect if he was gonna fuck with us. I was truly winging it cause I had no idea what you might have done.” She shook her head slowly. “Now he probably thinks that I always talk like a teamster.”
“He said that he wasn’t doing anything to us. I told him that, whatever, but that you were forming this trust thing for the cops and firemen and that we had originally planned to ask the Governor to be there for the public announcement but that since they were fucking with us we were gonna just skip that.”
I laughed because I never would have thought to use the new trust as a political vehicle. “What did say? Did he give a shit?”
She tilted her head and smiled. “Politicians, Alex! He says to me, “Now just wait a fuckin minute, Connie, just wait. Tell me about this trust thing.” And that got me thinking, Alex. This is an election. He may be more interested in the good PR from the trust thing than anything else. We need to play that up. So I just got off the phone with Kattie Muldono from Professional Images. She’s gonna do the PR work on the trust, make it a really big deal.”
“So where are we at with this Lyle guy?”
She arched her back like it was bothering her and then settled again. “Well that was the first call. Then ten minutes before you got here he called again screaming about how he thought we had a deal and how can I double cross him like this. I told him to take the needle outta his arm, that if we had a deal he never made that clear and that if something else had happened I wasn’t aware of it. So then he tells me that the Governor has just gotten off a phone call from the head of the party in Washington who apparently was pissed at him for stirring shit up this close to an election.”
“Alex, it’s pretty clear that the Governor was in the dark on this whole thing. I don’t think that Stanner talked to anyone in his office but rather assumed that he knew how the governor would feel. I explained to Lyle what had happened with Chris and he got so mad I could hear him throwing things in his office. Said those assholes were killing him.”
I groaned and dropped back in my chair. “That fucking, Stanner! If the son-of-a-bitch wasn’t so good at the regular lawyering crap I’d fire him.” I told Connie about Larry’s candidate for an inhouse lawyer.
She shrugged. “Well, he sounds alright and we’ve still got plenty of office space available.”
“So Connie, is this Lyle guy gonna help with Chris?
She stared up at the ceiling for a second and then said carefully, “I think so. Certainly if it was up to Lyle that would happen. He said that he’d talk to the Governor about it. My guess is that it’d be a strictly political decision. A case of what will help the most with the election. The good thing and bad thing about politicians is that their motivation is so clear. In any event I don’t think we’ll have long to wait.”
She leaned forward with her hands on the arms of the chair. “A couple of other things, Alex. Dillon Lee from Mr. Tam’s office is stopping by this morning,” she glanced at her watch, “any second now, to give you an update on Chris. And Billy Howard called. He thinks he’s got a deal on a plane for you if you’re still interested. He gave me a number to call and a name. The number is for Transtell. Ever since those indictments they’ve been selling stuff off, trying to clean up their act and their balance sheet. He says that the pilot is a guy that he went through flight school with, a Mike Beverton, says he’s a good guy.”
“I checked with Joan and she confirmed that she’s paying $7500 a flight hour for charter and that she'd just as soon pay it to us. Said she can absolutely guarantee twenty hours a week.”
I punched the figures into the calculator on my desk. “Shit, Connie! Can those figures be right?”
She laughed and nodded. “Yeah, I did em too. They’re right.”
I shook my head in amazement. “I can’t believe my dad is spending $7500 an hour on anything. This is the guy who thought a hundred bucks for a bike was outrageous.” I laughed. “What’s the freakin plane gonna cost?”
“Billy said anything under fifty would be a steal as long as it was a G550 and hadn’t been used as an airliner. I checked the Krueger et Cie accounts and they are awash in that Japanese money which is costing almost nothing. What the hell are you guys gonna do with all that cash?”
“Put it to work but it’s getting harder and harder to find deals. All the good properties have been sucked up and what’s left you wouldn’t want. Didier says the private equity people are hounding him for real estate. If I was inclined to sell out this’d be the perfect time.”
She grinned at me. “Are you considering it?”
“I don’t feel I can, Connie, even if I wanted to. It’s the business my dad wanted me to be in. I dunno but in a way it’s like I’m doing it for him…..but then I like it too, it just…I dunno, it feels right…kinda stable.”
“Set up a time with this Beverton guy for me to see the plane, preferably today. And when this Lyle guy calls back tell him that we’ll do a real production with this trust and how great the governor is. If he goes our way. Also feel him out about a contribution. You probably gotta be careful with that but if that will help we can do it. I really don’t want to break the law but short of that I’m willing to give him whatever amount of money he needs, however he wants it. But let him set it up.”
As soon as Connie walked out of the office she stuck her head right back in and said, “Mr. Lee just walked in. Want me to sit in on this or do you want privacy?”
I thought about it for a second but it’s not like we were doing anything illiegal, at least no yet. “I’d like you to hear it, Connie.” But then, “If I give you a look though, give us some privacy.”
She said, “I’ll get him and we’ll be right in.”
Dillon Lee was a tall pretty goodlooking Eurasian who supervised Mr. Tam’s better accounts. He was wearing a very dark grey suit with a blue shirt and gold tie. Technically Mei worked for him, at least to the extent that she worked for anyone. It was rumored that he was married to one of Mr. Tam’s other granddaughters but there were so many rumors about Mr. Tam and his organization that you were probably better off just ignoring them all. I had met him many times before.
I stood up and took his extented hand. “Hi Dillon.”
He carried a saddle tan briefcase. “Hi Alex.” He glanced at Connie and smiled. “Flying in here this morning was thrilling, to say the least.”
Connie said, “The wind.”
He nodded. “And the rain. We’ve got a good pilot.” He shook his head. “But sometimes I wonder.”
He half stood and handed me some papers across my desk. “We’ve got eight people working on the boy’s detail. The figures are all listed, Alex. Roughly a grand a day per man.” He glanced up at me like he thought that I might object.
He pointed at the papers he had just handed me. “In there you’ve got the name of the people he’s staying with and their address. I printed out a Google map, it’s there too. His name’s Presler…Daniel Presler…wife is ah….Hariet. As you can tell from the map they live in a decent…well, working class area. Nothing wrong with it though. Actually, when we saw that last night we figured we were going to have it easy. Basically just sit and watch the house.”
He smiled. “I was at home in Chicago and my wife and I had just gone out to dinner when I got a call. The Preslers left the house with Christopher about seven and went to The Lord’s Path Church.” He dug into his briefcase and came up with a DVD and asked, “That a DVD player over there?”
Connie got up, took the DVD and went over and put it in the player. Seconds later we were watching the inside of a packed church, the lighting yellow and not nearly bright enough but you could still see what was going on. Dillon walked over to the TV pulled out a pen and pointed to a boy on the screen who was just ahead of the camera and in between an overweight man and woman.
He paused the DVD. “This is Christopher. One of our guys, Fred, was right behind them. We had rigged him up earlier with a camera in case we wanted him to go to the door of their house and record whatever was going on in the background when someone opened the door. Never had the chance to use that but it worked for this.”
“Now this next part is the troubling part.” He hit play again and the man woman and boy continued on up to the front of the church. The camera man stopped before then, obviously because he had to but Christopher and his foster parents went right up to the altar and waited. Finally a man dressed in robes came out of a doorway at the side of the building and walked towards them. Even though we could only see the back of his head and part of the side of Chris’s face it was obvious that he didn’t want anything to do with the minister and he tried breaking away but the two adults grabbed him by his upper arms and held him. He was twisting his body trying to break free when the man approached and then bent and spoke to him. My stomach muscles were getting tighter and tighter while I watched Chris clearly terrified and being subdued by the two adults.
Dillon stop the player and walked back to his seat. “That’s really the end of it. They just walked back and sat down for the service and then left. Came right home afterwards. We followed them the whole way.”
I said, “Dillon, I want….”
He jumped in. “Already are, Alex. We’ll get everything that exists on all of them. Most of it’ll be on computers and we’ll do that from Chicago but we’ll also put a few agents on the street. Gimme a day or two.”
I looked at Connie who looked very upset by the video. I said quietly, “Connie, could you give us a moment?”
She looked at both of us and then got up and left, closing the door softly behind her. Dillon had been staring down at his hands waiting for the door to close. Then he looked up at me and waited.
“Dillon, I don’t want that minister touching Christopher and I want to know what’s being said in that house.”
He shrugged. “Alex, the house is easy…the other is harder, not impossible but harder. How far do you want us to go?”
I groaned. “Damned if I know! How about this? What if…if they ever go to that church again you have a guy there that could stop anything from happening. Just physically interrupt it? We’re beginning to put a lot of pressure on the governor and it’s beginning to look like it’s working. We might need to protect him for only a few more days.”
Dillon stood up and held out his hand. “Alex, why not just leave it up to us? We’ve done all of this before and you’ll get a better result than trying to micro-manage it from outside.”
I sighed. “Okay…but I want to know what’s happening. Have your guys call me. But if somehow we get surprised and this guy goes after Chris…put him in the hospital. Arms, legs…I don’t care but break something...and do it fucking slowly.”
After Dillon left Connie came back in and handed me a sheet of paper. “There’s where the plane’s at. You can see it any time today. Beverton said he’d be around the hangar all day.”
I folded the paper and shoved it in my pocket. “I’ll go now. You call that Lyle guy and tell em what Dillon told us. Tell him that if Chris gets hurt while we’re waiting for them to take their heads outta their asses they’re gonna have a major problem on their hands cause if that happens I’m gonna be funding their opposition.”