Picture Perfect 133 

Picture Perfect 133

“You do understand what ‘full disclosure’ means.” His sister’s lawyer was taking papers out of his brief case. “That if you withheld any pertinent financial information the agreement to sever the James Family business would be considered null & void.”

“I withheld nothing.” Dan said.

“Ha!” Linda explained. “As if you didn’t know this block was being rezoned for major redevelopment.”

“Please, Mrs. Tanaka. I can handle this.”

“We signed these agreements, what, almost a year ago now. The development signs didn’t go up until this morning. I am not a … psychic.”

“Dan everyone knows it takes years before those sings go up. They did their research. I know they made an offer to you.”

“Then you know more than I know.” Dan took a deep breath. “How do you know that made an offer?”

“Show him.” Linda said to the lawyer.

He handed Dan a letter from the developers.

“Read it & weep.” She said.

“This is the first time I’ve seen this.” He was folding the letter to put it back in the envelope. “No wonder, it’s address to FairVista, not here. You’re the one who has been withholding.” He took out his loupe & examined it closely. “The postmark is …”

She grabbed it from him. “I don’t give a fuck about the postmark. Serve him the repudiation of the dissolve papers, or whatever they are called.”

“Is that true?” The lawyer asked her. “That you withheld these documents from him?”

“What difference does that make?” She snapped.

“It means,” Dan said, “your claimed won’t stand up in court, sis.”

“He’s right.” The lawyer said. “Clearly you knew about this when you entered the agreement to separate the two business entities.”

“Are you my lawyer or his?” 

Dan took the letter from her. “Linda I’ll look into this now that you’ve brought to my attention.”

Linda glared at him, at her lawyer & stomped out of Dan’s office.

“I …” the lawyer started.

“She’s always been a duplicitous bitch.” Dan said. “I will check into this.”

After the lawyer left Dan faxed the letter to Dell & Strong to follow up on it saying that it had gotten lost in mail that had accumulated while he was out of town. 

He went down to the main floor to see how preparations for the weekend sale were progressing. “Hey boss is it really you?” Ushio joked. “We thought you had gone back to east coast again.”

“Can’t I leave the store for five minutes?” Dan laughed. 

“Abandonment issues.” Len said.

“I wonder what the opposite of that is?” Dan asked. “What if you long to be abandoned?”

….

He was in the back storeroom double-checking the coded price tags on sale items when Robert Warszawa come into the room.

“Scanner to the grindstone.” He said.

“Yeah. Feels good to finally be back to routines.”

“There’s been another one.”

“Where this time?” 

“Charlottetown. More travel photos, discreetly tucked into a book this time.”

“Name of book?”

“Hmmm … I’ll get them to check on that. Have you heard that Janis Hadley has passed away.”

“Yes. Troy called me with that news. I want to say sad news but well, cancer is as deadly as any snake bite.” Dan said. “Too bad there isn’t one to take a bite of the snake of a lawyer Kilpatrick hired.”

“Tell me about it. Soon the fact that you were there will be deemed as inadmissible evidence.” Warszawa shook his head.

“QTel cancelled his circus show. They shelved the episodes already shot, too. He’s suing me for that loss of income.” Dan wiped the dust off his hands on a rag. “That’s enough for one day.” 

“Buy you a drink?” Warszawa offered.

“So you can fill me on Charlottetown? No thanks. Jeremy is picking me up in a hour.” He checked his phone. “It’ll take me at least that long to be presentable.”

They went into the main part of the Depot. 

“Is there anything I need to know about the Charlottetown killing? Or can it wait until after the weekend?”

“It can wait. Just one thing.”

 “What?”

“If Jeremy Moxham isn’t happy with the way you look right now, he’s a fool.” Warszawa laughed.

…..

Dan dried his legs looking at himself in the full length bathroom mirror. He felt he was looking okay for someone who didn’t have time for working out. He sprayed himself with the smokey coconut cologne Jeremy had sent him & opted to go casual in one of the Cape Breton sweatshirts he had picked up on the east coast. Jeans that the hoped would indicate that he wasn’t interesting a fine dining excursion.

He took the ring out of the safe. Would wearing it be too much of a signal to Jeremy? Whenever he contemplated Jeremy’s proposal the same reservations went though his mind. Was he ready to have his tax level change even more than Cold East had changed it? Did he want to move into any of Jeremy’s many condos. 

Getting back into the Depot work routine was satisfying. He didn’t miss having cameras on him all he time. Being seen in public with Jeremy was to be in the pubic eye. He’d had enough of that already. People still called out to him ‘Back To you John’ when he was shopping for groceries. At first he was amused now he found it embarrassing.

His cell buzzed, It was a text from Jeremy.

“Outside.”

“Be right down.” He texted back.

He pulled on his denim jacket & went out by the backstairs so he didn’t have to re-lock the front of the store.

Dan got into the car.

Jeremy took one look him. “Is this a hamburger of a pizza look?”

“Burger.” 

“I know the perfect spot.”

“The perfect spot is one where nobody recognizes either of us.” Dan joked.

“So it’s like that is it. Then I really do know the perfect spot.” Jeremy spoke into his phone. “Two burgers with the works, fries, for pick up.”

There a pause a ding. “Ready in ten Mr. Moxham.”

“We’ll pick them up & eat right in the car. Or if you want we can go back to my place.”

“Which one?” Dan asked.

“You have a preference?” Jeremy said. “I was thinking the usual. Or we could come back to your place?”

“My place!” Dan pictured the untidy mess of his Depot apartment.

“Just kidding. Frank Place it is. You like the view.”

………

After they had eaten Jeremy pulled Dan to couch.

“Have you decided yet?” He asked.

“What do you see us doing?” Dan said. “Beside chairing charity functions.”

“Travel. Lots of travel.”

“But I have a business to run Jeremy.”

“You won’t have to worry about work.” 

“What makes you think I’d stop working for you?” Dan pushed Jeremy away from him. “You do realize I have a life that I frankly enjoy.”

“I’m sure we could work something out once we’re married.”

“It’s not simple.” Dan walked to the expansive window. “What do you see us doing in bed? What sex fantasy do you have beyond us kissing. Are we even naked in those fantasies.”

“We’d do what guys do.”

“You have had sex with another man. Haven’t you?”

“Sex, I guess, but …. not what I’d call making love.”

“So you are a top or a bottom? In your fantasy I mean.”

“Dan I don’t know what to tell you. I thought that would be something we’d discover together.”

“Oh you want me to be teacher, the dom, as it were?”

“I … I suppose so. I know you’ve had more experience than me.”

“Have I?So you want me to quit my job, marry you & then take you through intimacy 101?”

“No! I want you in my life.”

“On your terms. What about my terms? We both more more to think about before I can make a decision to take that step. It’s time for me to go. We have a huge sale starting tomorrow. I need a good night’s sleep”

……..

In the morning Dan looked at the noisy lineup outside the store & wished he’d had a good night’s sleep. Sandy was waiting at the front door for his signal to open.

“We’re as ready as we’re going to be.” Dan said as he nodded to her.

He was grateful for the crush of customers that kept his mind off Jeremy.

“Hey boss someone wants you on the land line.” Ushio shouted to him.

“Mr. James, this is Hawthorn Developments. We’re interesting in adding your property to our plan to revitalize that corner. Our representative will be by this afternoon with our offer.”

Whoever it was hung up before Dan could respond. 

The rest of the morning was like a boxing day sale. Shelves & displays were restocked as fast as possible. He longed for lull to sit for a few minutes but as soon as a dozen people were out of the store another dozen were squeezing in. 

At 3 when things were a little less frantic he signalled Sandy that he going up to his office for bathroom break. 

He sat his desk glancing at the readout of the days’ sales, so far, when he was buzzed from the floor.

“Boss.” It was Ushio. “A lady is coming to the office to see you. She says it is most important.”

Fuck! He’d forgotten all about the Hawthorn representative. There a knock at the door.

“Come in.”

The woman who entered looked exactly like the one in his Dad’s smutty pictures. He expected her to open her trench coat to reveal a corset.

“Mr. James. I’m Darla Brooks. I believe you have some photos of my mother Peggy Brooks.”

 – the end –

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