By Karen Singer
Chapter 37 – Part 1 of 2
It was pink shirt day, along with his tie and jacket of course. No, actually it was pink blouse day. No! Not a blouse, it was a shirt! It was just…a damn woman’s shirt. At least that’s how Steve was trying to look at it. It was the best his mind could do for the situation he was in.
Damn witches! Why did they insist on continually playing such perverted games with him? And they never seemed to stop or even back off. And that included crazy Diane who had spent much of the afternoon and evening tied up in his apartment – at her own request. Crazy! But then weren’t all witches crazy? He was sure they were. And they each seemed to prove that to him every single day. Especially crazy Diane.
It had been fun with her though. And for once, he had been in control of her, not the other way around. Damn witch! Even though Diane claimed she wasn’t a witch. He knew better. Maybe she didn’t have the power that Monica had, but she was still one of them. She was still part of their magic – coven!
But as powerful as Monica was, as powerful as they all were, because no doubt the sum of the parts was greater than the individual pieces, Steve still contemplated grabbing one last piece of revenge against all of them. He might not survive it if he did do it, but it would still be a very sweet revenge indeed. And totally worth it! He just had a few things to figure out first – like how to actually do it.
His phone beeped signaling a text message coming in. He checked it and wasn’t the last bit surprised. Why was it usually Carla who asked about pictures of what he was wearing each day? With a shake of his head, he got up from his desk and headed for the men’s room to photograph himself – again.
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Mel stood in the doorway to her husband’s nursery/office combination. He didn’t see her, but she watched him intently. Over the years she’d had several dozen different baby dresses made for him to her specifications. Today he was in another one – red with only bits of white lace trimming. He had a dozen different pairs of little girl Mary Jane shoes as well. Today’s were also red – patent leather. Not that she cared just then, and she was sure he only marginally cared as well – just then.
She stood there watching him, a frown of concern on her face. He was sitting on his rocking horse, rocking back and forth agitatedly. This was not play. His face was screwed up with a look that she knew from long experience meant he was wrestling with a problem – and not one that was most likely in the back of his diapers. She had seen him doing this exact same thing before when he was trying to figure something out for her, so it concerned her, but not greatly.
As odd as her husband was, as odd as their shared lifestyle was, she knew him and trusted him implicitly. She was a lawyer, and a damn good one. But he had an analytical mind that once set on a problem, just didn’t quit. And obviously, he had a problem just then.
“Sissy!” she said as she finally strode into the room. She saw him stop rocking and look at her. “What’s wrong?”
He removed his pacifier and let it dangle from the strap attached to his dress. “Twying to figuwe thumthin out.” He replied.
“What?” she asked with more than a note of kindness in her voice.
“Wuth,” he said, “did a weawy good job wif evewyfing.”
“Ruth told me she’s an engineer, at least she was trained as one. I would expect her to do a good job with everything.”
He nodded. “But I’m wondewing if maybe there ith a bettew way to owganithe what thee hath.”
“A better way to organize what she has? What’s wrong with the way she had it?”
“Noffing. I’m just wondewing if we thouldn’t mofe fingth awound.”
“Move things around.” She had no idea what he was thinking about, but she trusted him and his ability.
“Andrea said you were done with it and it was ready for me. Do you want me to hold off looking at it?”
He looked at her. “Would you mind if you waited juth a wittwe whiwe? Wet me fink some mowe?”
She smiled. “No. Of course not. You know that. Just let me or Andrea know when you think you’re done.”
“Fanks,” he replied. “Oh! One offer fing.”
“Something else? What?”
He went over to his desk and plucked a piece of paper from it. He held it out to Mel. “Pwobabwy not impowtant,” he said, “ethpeciawwy thinth I down’t fink ith pothabwe.”
“What’s not important? And we’re not calling anything impossible yet, even though I already know what that one thing is.”
He nodded and pointed to the paper she was now holding. “Copy,” he said. “Not owiginaw.”
Her eyebrows went up as she looked closely at the document in front of her. It was the signed confession of someone named Steve Harrison who Ruth had also named in the suit. And evidently her husband had noticed what nobody else had so far. “So this is a photocopy?” she said as she examined the paper critically.
“As you said, it’s probably not important, but I’ll take this and ask Ruth about it anyway. Thanks Sissy. And let me know when you have it all ready for me.”
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Ruth’s phone rang and she checked the caller ID. Her attorney! Melissa! She answered it, but she needed to be careful about talking openly where someone might hear her. “Hello?” she said cautiously.
“Ruth, this is Melissa,”
“Oh hi Mom,” Ruth replied happily. “What’s up?”
Mom? But Mel quickly figured out that Ruth wasn’t in a position to speak. “Ruth can you call me back when you get the chance?”
“Sure, you bet, Mom,” Ruth replied. “I’ll take care of it for you.”
“Good,” Mel replied. “Talk to you later.”
“Bye Mom,” Ruth said into her phone before hanging up. She turned as the company president’s secretary entered the conference room. “Now who did you say was going to be here this afternoon?” she asked.
Twenty minutes later, Ruth called Mel back from a place where nobody could hear her speaking.
“Hi Ruth. Thanks for getting back to me,” Mel told her.
“No problem. Sorry about earlier. The company owner’s secretary was a bit too close.”
“No problem. And if she was around, then it’s best that you didn’t say anything else.”
“So what can I do for you?”
“That confession letter you gave me…” Mel started.
“Yes? What about it?”
“It’s not the original. My husband noticed it earlier today.”
“Your husband! Him?”
“Don’t knock him. He’s brilliant!”
“Could have fooled me,” Ruth muttered.
“Ruth, I still don’t know if it will help, but is there any way you can get me the original instead?”
Ruth thought about that. “I’m not sure. I’ll have to let you know.”
“That’s fine, even if you don’t. To be honest, the one thing that it would help with, is the one thing that I still think is the least likely to happen.”
But Ruth knew what that one thing was, and it was still important to her. Very close to the importance of ten million dollars. “I’ll…do what I can,” she promised.
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Later that evening, Ruth knocked on Monica’s apartment door. Monica answered only moments later.
“Ruth!” Monica exclaimed, surprised to see her there. “What brings you here? You didn’t tell me you were coming.”
“No, I didn’t,” Ruth replied, a seriousness in her voice that immediately concerned Monica.
Monica stood back a bit. “Come on in Ruth.”
Ruth entered the small apartment and looked around. It looked as spotless as the last time she had been there. But then, Monica didn’t have a husband and a couple of young kids running around to constantly keep her place messed up. “Monica,” she started, “do you still have that confession that Steve signed?”
“The confession? Uh…absolutely! Why?”
But Ruth wasn’t about to tell her why. “Can I see it?”
Monica headed into her bedroom. Ruth followed. In her bedroom, Monica dug around in one of her dresser drawers moving things aside. She pulled out a folded piece of paper and handed it to Ruth. “Here it is. What’s wrong?”
Ruth examined the paper. There was no doubt that it was the original. She folded it again. “I need this,” she said as she turned and headed for the door.
“Ruth?” Monica said with some alarm.
Ruth didn’t stop. “I’ll bring you something in return tomorrow.”
“Ruth! I need that!”
“No! I need it more right now.” She hurried toward the door with Monica right on her heels,
“Ruth!” Monica said, trying to get the woman to stop.
Ruth reached the door, opened it, and finally stopped. Only then did she turn around. “I need this!” she said. “It’s important! Just don’t ask why. I’ll bring it back to you tomorrow.” She started out the door, but again she stopped and turned. “Monica, I’m not a witch anymore. I’m out. Finished! And you should do the same. I recommend you stop playing with Steve now. Leave him alone.”
Before Monica could ask her anything, she turned and hurried as fast as she could for her car.
Monica was left wondering what was going on. She was surprised that Ruth no longer wanted to be part of their little group to annoy Steve. That was fine. But what else was going on. And Ruth’s warning to leave Steve alone now? Why? She watched as Ruth’s car drove quickly out of sight. What the heck was going on?
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Diane’s phone rang. “Hello?”
“Diane? This is Steve.”
“I know, dummy! My phone told me that!”
“What do you need? Me to come over for a bit?”
“Uh…no. Not really. I was wondering something else.”
“Uh…the shoes I have to wear tomorrow?”
Diane giggled. “Yes?”
“Can I wear the ones I wore last week?”
Diane’s giggling became an outright laugh. “Oh heaven’s no! We bought you those booties to wear. And I already know all the ladies are looking forward to seeing you in them.”
It was absolutely not the answer that Steve wanted to hear. Damn those witches! All of them! Including crazy Diane.
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