CHAPTER 17: I KEEP ON FALLING…
Through Cracks Both Seen and Unseen...
Nancy left the table to briefly make a call. It was time she set a few things straight with her wayward daughter. God, Lindsay was always such a disappointment! First, it was failing to secure a powerful alliance for the family by marrying Harold Archer’s son, Chance. But she supposed that wasn’t entirely Lindsay’s fault, since the young man had run off with the girl he was cheating on her daughter with; a girl totally unsuitable within their set.
She had devised a scheme that would trap the young man into doing their bidding, and Lindsay had ended up pregnant at the tender age of seventeen. But the problem came when Lindsay had lost the baby. Granted Lynette shouldn’t have pushed Lindsay down a flight of stairs, but it never would have happened had Lindsay not been taunting her sister. By then, Chance had decided that he wasn’t going to kowtow to the wishes of the Archer and Peterson families. Harold eventually bowed down to the young man’s wishes, citing that it was better to have a sure heir for their family’s fortune than to run the risk that the broodmare they’d chosen for Chance would never be able to conceive again. Nancy was furious!
Then there was the whole Rebecca Tucci debacle. There was just no way that Nancy could stomach the fact that Lindsay was licking the young woman’s snatch, no matter how well-to-do it was! Lindsay was meant to birth the next heir of a fortune, not love a woman who would never inherit, based on her gender alone. Nancy arranged for Rebecca to find another young woman and leave her daughter alone. It worked… but it also backfired, when the only male heir of the Tucci family died suddenly in a car crash and Rebecca inherited the hotel chain. Though before Rebecca left on her world tour with the young woman Nancy had set her up with, she went to Lindsay and told her of the deal she’d made with Nancy. And so began the point of Lindsay’s continued rebellion.
There was Donna, a know-nothing, blue-collar bitch from North Carolina who Nancy hated instantly on sight. There was Charles, an asshole from California who reminded Nancy of the free-love era in the 60s. Then she’d brought one of the continued banes of her existence around… Brian Kinney. Nancy could admit that he was handsome even then, and showed great promise to be someone important later in life. However, his lineage left a lot to be desired.
Brian was never ashamed of his humble beginnings as he ought to have been. In fact, he seemed almost proud that he was succeeding on the benevolence of the college through the scholarships he’d been given. It didn’t occur to her that Brian was never given charity, but that he’d worked his ass off for it. It wasn’t until later on that Nancy was informed of just how hard Brian worked, when during the graduation ceremony, she was leafing through the program to find a short bio on him along with the rest of the students. The fact that he’d already had a job lined up with one of the premiere Advertising companies in the United States made her feel like she may have made a huge mistake discounting the young man.
All of those thoughts were dashed when Lynette had leaned over and whispered to her that Brian had drunkenly fucked Lindsay. How many times did she have to tell Lindsay that withholding the goods until a more strategic time was always best? She would have preferred that it happened when Brian was well-established within Ryder, but no matter. Since he chose to ride Lindsay, he would damn well pay for it with marriage. Again, her illusions were shattered as soon as the ceremony was over.
Lindsay had bounded up to her, Ronald, and Lynette, excited to introduce them to her latest find. She introduced them to Melanie Marcus, a Jewish attorney whom Brian used to soften the blow of him not wanting Lindsay. Nancy couldn’t have been more displeased at the low-bred lesbian Lindsay thought to build a life with. Now ten years later, she was still angry, as Melanie and Lindsay now had a baby courtesy of Brian fucking Kinney. Well if this is the life Lindsay chose for herself, she had damn well better take ahold of it!
Tapping her foot impatiently, she waited for the phone to be answered on the other end.
“Mother? How are you? Is everything alright with Daddy?” Lindsay’s dulcet tones rang out over the airwaves.
Nancy knew that there was absolutely no real question there. Lindsay couldn’t care less if she was dead and stinking, let alone calling because something was wrong, as long as the money kept flowing. She decided to answer Lindsay in the same manner. “Everything is fine, dear. Well unless you have trouble with your friend having lunch with your nemesis for Brian’s attention. Apparently, according to the gossip of my lunch companions, Justin Taylor won his civil cases today. Brian did as well. So now there shouldn’t be any reason for Melanie’s continued chuminess with them, correct?”
“I… I hadn’t heard that it was all over and done with.”
“You should have been there.”
“I was, but I was thrown out.”
Nancy shook her head. The damn girl would never learn. “Lindsay, once again you have proven yourself a disappointment. We Petersons are not to be thrown out of places, but are to command our places within them.”
“Not so easy to do, Mother, when Melanie’s cronies were all too unjustifiably happy to remind me of a restraining order that Justin has against me.”
“Yes, well what does that have to do with Brian and Melanie? She is your wife- for lack of a better term- and you should be where she is in order to control the situation to your liking. However, I have a different problem now.”
“Well what is it?”
“Whatever she’s said to Ronald before he’d come back from their table in the company of Ryder and Vance now has him answering me in monotonic syllables and we both know that cannot be good for me. If it isn’t good for me, it’s not going to be good for you, either.”
“What the hell do you expect me to do, Mother? I don’t even know what was said.”
“I think it’s time that Melanie remember her place when dealing with the Peterson women, don’t you? You’re not the only mother that baby has. Now that she’s finished with the case, there shouldn’t be any reason that she can’t have all the responsibility that has fallen to you. Isn’t that right, dear? You know, you did look a little run down the last time I saw you. Perhaps a few days away will help her to remember what she is supposed to be doing as opposed to doing what she wants to do. It’s always worked for your father, so therefore it should work on the man you married.”
“I’ll make the arrangements. Tell Lynette I’ll be staying with her for a few days.”
“No, I will not do that! This is your mess, Lindsay. It’s time you learn to clean up after yourself. Besides, we will be the first people Melanie calls when she can’t find you. God, where is your brain?!”
“Sorry, mother. It must be that sleep deprivation and all that has suddenly addled my wits.”
“See that it’s cured soon. I would start at the bank first,” she tells her, laughing as she disconnected the call.
Whatever that bitch said to Ronald, which now had him looking pensive, would be dealt with in due time. But in the meantime, Nancy would have her revenge on Melanie by using her insipid daughter. Hopefully, Melanie would be too busy with Lindsay’s machinations to meddle in other people’s affairs the way she had clearly done to Nancy this afternoon. Turnabout is fair play!
In and out of Mother’s Good Graces…
Lindsay hung up from the phone call with Nancy, feeling more anxious than ever. Could Melanie be trying to leave her? Granted, in the last few months, even she’d questioned her own behavior at times. She should have understood that Melanie’s ever-growing caseload was a way to support her… oh and Gus. But she just couldn’t stomach Melanie taking on Justin’s case. It put her too close in proximity to Brian, who had recently taken it into his head that there was an area of his life Lindsay was not allowed to invade. It was not to be borne!
And so she she had tried her best to make Melanie choose between herself and a man she couldn’t stand. But somewhere along the way, she’d forgotten that this was about Justin. But fuck it! He needed to pay too, for ruining her heteronormative fantasies every single time she saw him and Brian together. Brian may have downplayed Justin’s role in his life, but she, like the rest of them except perhaps Michael, was not blind.
Well, now that the trials were over, everything should return to normal, beginning with Melanie remembering her responsibilities to her… and Gus. The first step in doing that was reminding Melanie of her place in the grand scheme of Lindsay’s life, as a provider. Granted, Mel’s paychecks paid the bills, but it also meant being a built-in babysitter for the times Lindsay needed a break. She shouldn’t have to pay Dusty and Marie for keeping Gus when she had a perfectly good helpmate in Melanie. It’s time Melanie remembered that!
Grabbing her purse, she ran out the door and got in the car. It wasn’t until she was halfway down the street that she remembered she’d left a sleeping Gus inside the house alone. Making an immediate u-turn, nearly causing an accident along the way, she stormed up to the house and snatched Gus from his bassinet, mumbling about the unfairness of it all. Melanie was going to pay for all of Lindsay’s traumas... beginning with the bank, and then again when she came home tonight, which would surely happen when Mel found that she was only left with twenty dollars to live upon.
In and out of Sense and Sanity…
Ted rushed back to the table in awe of what he’d just heard. Now he could understand where Lindsay got her avaricious ways. He’d never fully taken a liking to the conniving bitch, but he respected Mel’s choice. Too bad Lindsay and Michael couldn’t do the same for the man they deemed as their ‘best friend.’
“Teddy, what’s the matter?” Emmett asked. “You look exhausted and aggravated by turns. Did Wertschafter call or something?” It was no secret that Ted’s former boss took every opportunity to call him, to ask him something about an account he had worked on while subtly requesting his return to the staid office. Even though Kinnetik wasn’t fully launched as of yet, Ted was enjoying his much-needed time off and the individual accounts he’d been working on since his departure from the accounting firm was announced.
“Or something,” Ted muttered as he caught his breath. Looking over to Mel, he said, “I just overheard a conversation that Nancy Peterson was having. Mel, you need to get to the bank as soon as possible.”
“What? Why?” she asked, genuinely puzzled by what he was saying. She was enjoying talking business with everyone at the table and further learning what Justin’s plans were. There was never a doubt in her mind that the young man was intelligent, but his business acumen was on par with George and Brian’s. It was truly a sight to behold.
“Nancy was advising Lindsay to get to the bank to…”
“Oh, I see. WASP Revenge 101,” Justin cut in.
“Pardon?” Mel asked.
“WASP Revenge,” Jennifer repeated. “When you want to show your partner just who’s in charge, remove all money from the account and make sure that they have to come to you for it.”
“She wouldn’t do that! Would she?”
Brian looked at Mel then. “She’s been your partner for almost ten years and you don’t know?”
“Fuck!” Mel exclaimed.
George’s eyebrows raised. “Do you bank with First National Bank and Trust of Pittsburgh?” At Melanie’s affirmative nod, he smiled. “I have an idea. Melanie, you see that lady in the red pantsuit over there? Let’s go speak to her. Ted, you come along, too.”
As they made their way over to the table on the other side of the room, their progress did not go unnoticed, but surprised. Nancy had grossly miscalculated in her instructions to Lindsay when she should have approached Aurora Kelly, as they were doing now.
Arriving at the table, George made the introductions.
“Aurora, pleasure to see you here.”
“And you as well, George. Now that the unpleasantness of your ex-wife’s presence has been taken care of, I decided to get out of the office at lunchtime for a change. It’s one thing to have to abide her during business functions; another thing entirely to have to endure her presence during the week. You understand, I’m sure.”
George chuckled. “More than you know. Virginia is definitely an acquired taste and I’ve had more than my fair share of her flavor over the years. But the reason for this impromptu visit is that my friends have a unique problem that requires your immediate attention.”
“Please sit and tell me what is going on.” Once they were settled in, she asked, “So can you tell me how unique the problem is and how I may be able to help?”
George once again smiled. “WASP Revenge 101.”
“But that’s impossible, George, since we took care of that for you before your divorce was finalized.”
“That’s true, but I need you to do it again. Can you call the bank for Melanie here? It seems that she’s been involved with the exiled Peterson chit for nearing on ten years and said chit is trying to do the same thing to Mel on the orders of Nancy.”
“Oh really? You know, I never did like that woman nor her offspring. I mean Lynette isn’t and was never so bad as Lindsay was. At least Lynette was always honest in her motives, whereas Lindsay, well… she presents this innocence while stabbing people in the back. So what do you need me to do?”
Ted cleared his throat. “Well, Ms. Kelly, we were hoping that as president of the bank that you somehow have the power to forestall any transaction request to withdraw immediate funds.”
“It would take me entirely too long to get to the bank to prevent Lindsay from leaving all but a dollar in the joint account, Ms. Kelly,” Mel interjected. She couldn’t deny that her heart was aching at the knowledge that Lindsay would try this. She had trusted the woman implicitly for many years, but the woman she knew was becoming a veritable stranger to her due to her actions of late.
“How much of your paycheck goes into that account?” Aurora asked.
“About ninety percent of it. Five percent goes into the trust fund for Gus, and the other five goes into my personal account.”
“Our son, whom we had with Brian Kinney. Originally, I didn’t want Brian as the father of our son, but that has been proven to be a mistake on my part.”
“Are you listed on the support and the trust fund accounts as well?”
Taking out her cell phone, she placed a call. “Quinn, it’s Aurora. We have another situation like George’s. Yes, this time it involves a Peterson. Can you freeze any automatic withdrawals or movement of money from any account with the name Melanie Marcus? And hurry! From the information I was just given, Lindsay Peterson- you remember her don’t you?- will be there any moment to act on charming Nancy’s advice.”
Daniel Quinn was one of the few people Aurora trusted implicitly when she was away from the bank. It wasn’t just his affinity for numbers, but his unfailing loyalty to her and the business. “I’ll see that it gets done, which should be in a few minutes. I have to work quickly, because guess who is currently at the teller’s window arguing with her. Just a few more finishing touches and it will be all good. Of course, I will have the absolute pleasure of telling little Miss Avarice a word she obviously has never heard enough… NO! And by the sounds of it, I should contact Ronald Peterson, too just in case. I mean if Nancy has advised Lindsay to do this then…”
“No doubt she’s thinking of doing it herself. He’s here at the club now, so I may just go over to speak with him personally. I don’t think Nancy will be expecting me to do so since I’m sitting here talking to George, Melanie, and Ted.”
“One and the same. How did you know?”
“I’ve always liked and trusted him. I’m glad he finally got out from under Werschafter’s Accounting. It was stifling him. Sometimes, having someone ignorant and boorish to answer to isn’t worth the paper they print a paycheck on. It’s why I left. Tell him to stop by and see his old mentor sometime. I think he and I have a lot to talk about, especially now that two of his clients have come into vast sums of money.”
“I’ll definitely pass along your message.”
“I have to go. The police are arresting Little Miss Entitled in the lobby. This should be interesting.”
“I’ll get the details from you later, Quinn. Text me when it’s finished.”
“Have fun!” Aurora giggled and disconnected the call. “Quinn is one of those types of people that just hates the entitled.”
“He hates WASP?” Melanie asked, shocked.
“No, just those few who think that they can run roughshod over everyone because of birthright, or lack thereof. He dislikes those who uses their privilege to make others miserable.”
“So in other words, someone not to be messed with.”
“Exactly. By the way Ted, Daniel said to call him. I have a feeling that he wants to talk to you about Brian and Justin’s newfound wealth and the options for them. We both know that you are good on your own, but having Daniel in your corner would be genius. He only takes on the special and truly deserving now that he’s Vice President. Speaking of which, I’d better go pull Ron’s coattail. For all we know, Nancy started trying to hold his money for hostage the minute she got off the phone with her daughter,” Aurora said, getting up. “Melanie, for what it worth, I sincerely hope that things work out for you. No one deserves what they were trying to do, especially not someone who defended a young man whose only real crime was to fall in love with Brian Kinney. And upon acquaintance of the man in question, who could blame him?”
As she moved off to seek her quarry, George turned to his two companions. “Do you feel better now that you’ve actually defended yourself, Melanie?”
She looked pensive for a moment, but then smiled. “Indeed, I do, George. Indeed, I do.”
Entitled Thoughts and Thoughtless Actions
Alighting from the car, Lindsay ran into the empty lobby of First National Bank and Trust of Pittsburgh. The empty lobby was fortuitous since Gus was still asleep in the car and she needed to complete her business before he woke up screaming.
“Yes, I wonder if you could help me… Amy.” she said as she went up to the teller.
“I’ll try. What can I do for you, Miss…”
“Peterson. Lindsay Peterson. I share an account with my partner, Melanie Marcus, and would like this amount of money moved from the joint account and the support account to my personal account immediately, please. Also, I would like to change the access codes on my son’s trust fund account.”
“Is there a specific reason why? The system will ask about the trust fund account, which is standard procedure for the system we use. The support account requires the signature of at least one other person or a notarized statement, so unfortunately, I can’t do anything without another party here or their agreement in writing. So that leaves the joint account. Are you sure you want to leave the joint account you hold with Ms. Marcus with just twenty dollars in it?”
“Absolutely, Amy. If you could take care of these things immediately, I would greatly appreciate it. I’m in a bit of a hurry.” She was pissed upon hearing that there couldn’t be anything done to the other accounts, as they had the most money in them. Brian and Melanie had some fucking nerve implementing that without her consent, which she never would have given. She was going to have a tersely-worded conversation with each of them when she was through here.
“Sure, ma’am.” The teller began to type the name on the account. Seeing the flashing red flag on the account, she tried again, thinking that she may have transposed a number. But when the flashing continued, and after double checking the digits again, she knew that there wasn’t a typo, but that the account was indeed frozen. “I’m sorry, Ms. Peterson, but there seems to be some sort of hold on your account.”
“What? What the hell do you mean? What type of hold?” Lindsay’s voice began to escalate, causing the small amount of patrons in the building to look at her with apathy.
“Hold on, Ms. Peterson,” Amy advised, typing into the computer for more information. “It seems that Mr. Quinn would have a better understanding of what’s going on with your account. Let me go get him.”
“Yes, do that immediately!” Lindsay ordered, as she stood there with her arms crossed and her foot tapping. She so was lost in thought, imagining all sorts of scenarios that she failed to notice when two police officers entered the building.
“Is the owner of a blue 2000 Toyota Camry in the building?”
“Yes, I’m Lindsay Peterson. Is there a problem with my car, Officer?”
“Yeah, there is. Ms. Peterson, we are placing you under arrest for child endangerment. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to an…”
“What?! What the hell are you doing?! I didn’t… oh fuck!”
“So you didn’t leave a child in the car seat of the vehicle you stated as your own, which was locked and non-ventilated?”
“But I was only supposed to be a moment…”
“We were called fifteen minutes ago. So continuing… you have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be provided for you. Do you understand these rights as I have read them to you?”
“Good then, Officer Martinez, will you please do the honors. I’ll meet you at the hospital after I get statements from the witness and the bank officers in here. The ambulance is already on their way to Alleghany with the minor child.”
“But…” Lindsay tried again, only to be silenced by a stern look.
“What part of remaining silent was not clear? You are in enough trouble as it is, ma’am… so SHUT UP!”
“I don’t appreciate your tone, Officer…”
“Moran. And I don’t like neglectful mothers or entitled people, so neither one of us is bound to be appreciative in the other’s presence today. Now, Martinez, if you please…”
The screechings and wailings of Lindsay could still be heard even after she alighted from the building in police custody. As for Quinn, he went back to his office with a huge smile.
Through Blissful Ignorance and Abject Idiocy
Mel looked down at her cell phone again, which had been ringing off the hook during the meeting with Aurora. It wasn’t a number that she recognized so figured that it was another telemarketer of some sort that Lindsay had once again directed to her phone with some great deal. And she would have continued with that thought if Brian wasn’t on his phone looking murderous and scared by turns.
Arriving back at their table, they all looked to Justin, who also had the same looks upon his face. “What’s happened now?” Ted asked.
“Lindsay’s been arrested. She’s on the phone, pleading with Brian now.”
“Arrested? What for?” Melanie asked, genuinely fearing the answer. True, Lindsay had been unstable for the past few months, but never to the point where she questioned her sanity.
“Child endangerment. She left Gus in the car while she was in the fucking bank,” Brian answered through gritted teeth. “I’m going to fucking kill her!”