“You asshole!” Eddie Weir screamed at his brother, Rodney, as they toured the remains of their biggest hotel.
Eddie was taller than Rodney, a few years his junior and dressed sharply in a dark grey suit with a light grey waistcoat underneath.
Rodney watched as Eddie kicked a piece of the rubble. He knelt to retrieve a plaque. It commemorated the opening of the first Weir Hotel in Coldford. Eddie threw it down. His temper then was a fiery as his red hair.
“The official statement is the foundations were faulty. That was according to the Fullertons,” Rodney explained.
Eddie’s nose wrinkled. He had the same Weir rugged complexion but where it was scruffy on Rodney it seemed smoother on the younger brother.
“The Fullerton’s haven’t done anything official in their lives. I’ll be seeing Jake Fullerton when he’s done his time and he’ll be paying for a new fucking rebuild.” Eddie stopped and picked up another bit of commemoration from their hotel.
“So what brought their attention to these so called faulty foundations? I thought you cancelled the work?”
Rodney said nothing but his eyes involuntarily cast towards the Beckingridge Tower. Eddie turned his head. He looked up towards the penthouse. There was a chilling breeze starting to blow at the top of the tower. It would reach the ground soon enough as the heavy clouds continued to pass overhead.
“Liz Beckingridge? You pissed off Liz Beckingridge?” he shoved Rodney causing him to trip over the debris and land on his backside.
As Eddie made to storm away Rodney called after him, “what are you going to do?”
“It looks like I’m going to have to go kiss a dragon’s arse, doesn’t it?” Eddie exclaimed. “You know how temperamental she can be and she’s bat shit!”
The dust kicked up from the wreckage danced in the air like the smoldering ashes left behind by dragon fire.
Rodney, climbed back up onto his feet. “Don’t walk away from me,” he snarled. “This is my hotel remember. I’m the top of the brand not you.”
Eddie stopped. He turned back. “Only because you had the foresight to climb out of mum’s cunt first,” he stated.
“I need your help.”
Eddie reached his arms out. “That much is clear,” he said. “Look what we’re left with thanks to you. You’ve lost your hotel and you’ve lost your fucking mind!”
“The hotel is still here. The brand is still here.”
“Is it though?” Eddie put to him, kicking a pile of rubble towards him. “Good fucking luck with that then because you know what Mr fucking Hot Rod? This isn’t my problem. My hotel is doing good. I’ve got more set up in Tokashima, in Subala and I’m getting a huge one ready in the Great States. You, big brother who seems to know everything, can sit here on your pile of rubble.”
Rodney chased after him. “Wait! I need your help. You have to help me get our hotel standing again.”
“So it’s our hotel now?” Eddie replied. He groaned. “I’m going to take care of it.”
When I first met Ozzy Perry he told me that they had been having some hassle from animal rights activists. They frequently protested outside the zoo. They harassed the zoo keepers. One of the marine biologists were covered in red paint with the claim it was cruel to keep the animals in tanks.
Stoker circus performers were enlisted to chase them off with hoses, attacking the ARC but in an entertaining way that would draw crowds into the zoo. One of the head keepers, Nigel Torne, had been glad to see the ARC had seemed to have dissipated. They were no longer grouped outside the zoo entrance, wearing their T-shirts and waving their placards. Someone had painted a white alligator on the side intended to look like Snowflake. Thorne shook his head. Snowflake was kept better than most other reptiles in captivity. He saw to that personally. If the blasted students knew anything about the animals they were crying about they would know Snowflake was too wild to be allowed to roam free. Thorne had a passion for his work and that passion came from the rush of looking the wildest animals in the eye. The scar that ran down his forehead on to his cheek told the story of the tiger that swiped him. He got her though. His face was bloodied but he got his girl. She quietened down like a real pussy cat after that. The wilder the better was Thorne’s thoughts on the animals in his care. When he was first told about Snowflake he had thought Ozzy had been kidding about the size of her. It was darn the biggest snapper he had ever seen. When they attempted to catch him, understandably Snowflake snapped at them. He had gone through an entire chicken coop by the time they caught up with him and he was setting his sights on some of the locals, resting in the family pool.
“You’re going to get sick with the chlorine, my beauty,” Thorne had warned the alligator.
Snowflake lunged at them, intent on a death roll. Sherry Blaze wasn’t as lucky as the rest of them. She lost a leg, at least part of one.
Snowflake was no easy task and those ARC people didn’t realise they were riling the creature up with their protesting.
The habitat in Perry Zoo pleased Snowflake at least. The water birds had ceased to feed there. Snowflake had chased them off and now he would be feeling hungry.
“You don’t want to get in the way of a hungry snapper,” Thorne told some young visitors that afternoon. They were mesmerised. They could see Snowflake’s white body looming underneath the swampy waters.
Meat and fish had to be delivered on an almost hourly basis. The Cappy called in specialist veterinarians to take care of his precious pet. Snowflake had a damn good life. Most importantly, he was kept contained. People could marvel at his beauty without being in danger.
The joy of the ARC having moved on was short lived. The keepers of Snowflake’s enclosure came in search of Thorne with some urgency.
“What’s the matter?” He asked.
“It’s Snowflake. He’s gotten out!”
“Where is he?”
“That’s the problem. There’s a hole in the fence. He must have slipped into Coldridge!”
“Blast!” Thorne exclaimed.
Being such an unusual child, Edle Stoker caught Elizabeth’s interest. The scales that had been tattooed onto the infant were fascinating to look at. It was a cruel thing to do to a child. Her sliced tongue too was barbaric.
Elizabeth rarely found herself with sympathy towards others. There were a few vulnerable individuals that garnered her consideration but not many. I wouldn’t say she was selfish as such she just didn’t understand the need to care for others. She cared very little for her fellow man. However, she did take under her wing those she decided were worthy of her affections. Edle was one of those few.
“They’re going to lock you up and throw away the key,” Presley warned her in reference to the debacle with Weir Hotel.
“Let them try,” she snapped. “I wasn’t having Hot Rod thinking he could smirk at me.”
That was her explanation. Not that it did her much good. Presley would be the one to explain her actions to the High Court and she wasn’t making his job any easier. It didn’t take a seasoned legal mind to predict they wouldn’t accept ‘smirking’ as an excuse for tearing down an entire building, one which had stood in the shadow of Beckingridge Tower for many years.
Presley was no stranger to the Beckingridge fire. He had seen them at their worst. At least he thought he had. He had seen them at incredibly low points at least.
Elizabeth had no fear of Rodney Weirs repercussions. Why should she? He had surely learned his lesson. Chick Owen wasn’t likely to involve himself, even if he was a brother for life. He was a shrewd enough man to know if you smirked at a dragon you were going to be doused in flames.
Elizbeth’s concerns lay with Edle, whom she was offering shelter at the Manor. It was a convenience that she happened to match her reptile skin purses.
Edle seemed to like her too. She flicked her tongue the way she had become used to in the circus performances. She grinned at the sound of the laughter it drew from her new keeper. Olivia had been informed of the child’s whereabouts.
“She’s safe and well,” Presley had told her.
“That’s good,” Olivia agreed. “I’ll send someone as soon as I can. Heidi Stoker is in CPD holding at the moment. We’ll have to wait and see what they decide.”
“The Stokers are slippery fish.”
“They are,” Olivia agreed. “My main concern is Edle though.”
“Have you seen what they did to her?” Presley asked.
“I heard,” Olivia confirmed. “As long as someone is keeping her safe for now I’ll send some help as soon as I can. I’ll be honest with you Presley, I don’t feel comfortable with her in Elizabeth’s care.”
Presley gave some thought to the Weir Hotel.
“Neither do I,” he admitted.
Edle was safe with Elizabeth for the time being at least. As it was there were a whole host of people in Coldford who were not so lucky. One such person was Charles ‘Chick’ Owen. Elizabeth had been more interested in the Owen Inc CEO than Edle’s mother. What did circus people matter anyway? Not much by her reckoning. The Cappy? He mattered a great deal because she hadn’t yet forgiven him for the Kick Off riots his frat bros had started at Beckingridge Tower.
“He made such a fuss about that alligator, didn’t he?” She mused.
She didn’t say much more that afternoon but she was contemplating something. In Presley’s experience, that meant trouble.
It all came to light when her brother in law, Hugo, called. Like Ernest’s wife, Hugo could be insufferable. Although they didn’t much get along, when Elizabeth witnessed Owen Media making such a fuss about Chick Owen’s alligator she called on some help.
“Blow the damn thing up,” Elizabeth had requested of the reptile.
Hugo had been outraged. His voiced raised to such an extent Presley could hear his words.
“I’m not going to blow up an alligator. It’s just doing what is natural to it.”
“I told you to take of it,” Elizabeth snapped.
“I did,” Hugo confirmed. “I set the thing free. I already complained to CPD …”
Elizabeth cut him off before you could continue rabbling on. To Presley she said, “I have to go. I’m going to have to take care of that stupid beast myself.”
One of the park rangers had been attacked. He managed to escape with his life at least. The horse he road was not so lucky. The horse threw him and with a squeal from the animal Snowflake had lunged from a murky pool and dragged it towards his domain.
“If he’s feeding there at least there’s a chance he’ll stay put,” Thorne had said to the ranger. “We’ll be there as soon as we can.”
Ozzy wished the team of wranglers well.
“Chick is still deciding just how far he wants to go with the boys after the stunt with the telescope,” he explained. “He loves Snowflake. Let’s get him back in his home, mate. Let’s get him back before he hurts someone and we have Law Makers all over the place.”
It was easy enough to pick up Snowflake’s trail now that they had an idea of what direction he had gone in. There were pieces of bone he had coughed up. He had had a large meal only recently. His latest attacks were purely through aggression.
‘Blast those activists,’ Thorne grumbled. If only they had actually listened to the keepers.
When they reached the pool the zoo keepers could see a trail leading down into the water. He could see the white body floating beneath the water line. He raised his rifle. Capture and containment was the order of the day but with a monster like Snowflake you couldn’t take any chances.
The keepers spread out. They hooked some meat to a nearby tree taking care to step lightly.
“He’s not going to fancy eating much so we could be here a while,” Thorne warned the others. “We have to try and lure him out though.”
Thorne set himself down for a long wait. Not taking his focus from Snowflake resting under the water. The creature was sluggish now, he would probably be sick. The trail they had followed appeared to show he had been slowing down.
“Let’s get you back home, beauty,” Thorne said out loud.
An explosion ripped from the pool throwing water, mud and pieces of alligator into the air. The keepers were on their feet lest the be covered in the macabre shower. “What lunatic fed the damn snapper explosives!?” Thorne wanted to know.
“What are we going to do about Reggie?” Simon put to Marcus and Jean Luc, seated in the lounge of the Faulds penthouse.
“He needs to get that girl as far away from him as possible,” was Jean Luc’s sentiment.
“I agree but she’s his wife. He married her.”
“There are many reasons to have a marriage annulled,” explained the Luen lawyer.
“I know. If she’s pregnant though …” Simon protested.
Jean Luc raised an eyebrow.
“That I would like to have verified immediately.”
“He likes her,” Simon went on. “I thought I recognised the name – Leona. She’s the girl he met on the island when we were kids. They used to write letters back and forth to each other. Mother thought it was really sweet he had a pen pal. Dad wasn’t too keen but he saw no harm in it. With us not around he’s panicked and it looks like she’s sunk the claws in.”
The two turned to Marcus for his thoughts. He had remained silent through the exchange thus far.
“The girl has to go. I don’t like the influence she’s wielding here,” were his sentiments.
“If you send her away he’s going to go with her,” Simon advised. “He needs to get some help. She’s feeding him up with island drugs. He’s refusing to speak to a proper doctor.”
Marcus raised his hand to hush his brother. Looking over his shoulder Simon could see it was because Leona joined them.
“I heard some voices and I thought I would see if there was something I could do to make ye feel at home.”
“Us feel at home?” Simon began but Marcus hushed him again.
“Join us,” the eldest triplet beckoned. “I would like a word if I may.”
Leona took a seat on the sofa beside Simon who straightened up and leaned forward as he did so. There was space but she chose to sit close to him anyway. He could smell the salty scent of the island from her even though she had been in the city a while by then.
“We’re concerned for Reggie,” Marcus told her.
“I know. He’s so broken but we’re putting the pieces back together.”
“He needs to see a doctor,” Simon grumbled.
“For centuries we’ve treated all kinds of maladies on the island without doctors. The old methods are doing him good.”
“Yeah? Looks like it,” Simon returned sounding vexed.
Marcus gave a warning glare to his brother.
“As effective as old remedies are,” he said, “we would much rather he sought proper medical attention. He has a substance abuse problem and without proper medicine It will only exacerbate the issue.”
Leona looked to Marcus as though she didn’t fully understand at first. Then she smiled.
“I think it’s so sweet that ye still treat him like a baby. He’s content with healing with me. It’s Reggie himself who doesn’t want to see a doctor.”
“He’s not thinking clearly,” Simon snapped.
Leona turned to him – closing what little distance there was between them even further.
“I heard ye say that before. I don’t think you give my husband enough credit.”
Simon turned to Marcus again. His triplet’s expression warned him to bite his tongue.
At that Leona stood.
“I’ll talk to him,” she offered. “I’ll let him know ye voiced yer concerns to me.”
She departed leaving the tension with the others tighter still.
“We need to get that annulment,” Marcus decided.
“What about Reggie’s baby? They belong here to kick the ball in the park or go to ballet lessons, whatever,” Simon protested.
Before Simon could further dwell on the romanticised idea he had about his niece or nephew they were interrupted by Emmerson. He spoke quietly to Marcus. Marcus appeared concerned. He stood and headed to the balcony that overlooked the park. “What’s wrong?” Simon asked following his brother.
“It’s that damn alligator of Chick Owen’s,” he said. “Someone blew it up.”
“We should be thankful for her getting the club back from auction,” Tawny spoke of Elizabeth Beckingridge. “She did try to help get my arse back too.”
Tabitha still had her same self-confident air, made even more so by the idea that she was immortal. She was sat at her dressing mirror preparing herself for a meeting with Elizabeth Beckingridge.
From behind her Tawny started to brush Tabitha’s hair over her shoulder. They were both considering the part Tabitha played in the Freefall Massacre at Beckingridge Tower.
“Just be nice,” was Tawny’s suggestion. “She won’t be able to resist that gorgeous face of yours.”
Tabitha stared straight ahead and into the mirror. She grinned.
“I’ve got the charm,” she said.
Tawny clutched her head and she kissed it. “You do. We just need to show the dragon woman.” She separated from her niece and started to head towards the door. She pointed back. “On stage in ten minutes,” she said. “Ye better be ready.”
Tabitha began to prepare herself to meet the dragon lady of Beckingridge Tower. Only one outfit would do and that was one of her signature red dresses. She owed a lot to Elizabeth but she knew she still had a lot to gain. Her freedom could be confirmed with a pardon for the deaths of fifty-nine people at Beckingridge Tower. Only the brightest red on her lips would show the sincerity of her words or the determination of her tongue.
She passed through back corridors and onto the Knock Knock Club stage. The lights illuminated in a synchronized beat. Tabitha looked out. The tables were empty but there was a reservation right in the center. That was the table she and the dragon lady would air their differences.
Elizabeth set aside her crocodile skin jacket. She wedged the cigarette between her teeth as she pulled it on in front of her dressing room mirror. She turned to the children.
Baby Vicky was giving her a confused stare. Elizabeth took the cigarette back into her fingers.
“What?” she asked, grasping the lapels of the coat. “Too soon?” She grinned. To Edle she said, “don’t worry. It’s not your mother or anything.”
Edle responded by sticking her tongue out at her. Elizabeth chuckled and stuck her tongue out too.
There was a knock on the door. One of the housekeepers popped her head in.
“Your car is ready Miss Beckingridge,” she said.
“Yes, I’ll be right out,” Elizabeth told her. She approached the girls and kissed them both, waving her smoke away from them. “Now remember what I said, you girls be good for Nanny. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
Elizabeth sat in the same car, in the same seat and watched from the same window she had that night she received a phone call from Ernest to tell her of a massacre at their building. The building named after and given to them by Gramps. The Beckingridge’s were an old money family. They had reigned supreme in Filton for centuries but it wasn’t until Gramps came along that their financial strength became something of note in the city. Under Gramps the offices became a tower, the millions became billions and the Beckingridge name became synonymous with power. In a single evening all of that was wiped out because of one little girl with a grudge. Now the tower was seen as a place of corruption and murder, the billions became a target and the Beckingridge name was synonymous with Freefall Massacre.
“Liz!” Ernest had sobbed down the phone. “Liz, I can still hear them screaming.”
Elizabeth had been on her way from Swantin. Her brother had been keeping her updated as much as he could. She departed from the friend she had been visiting and was making her way back to the manor via City Main.
“Ernest, you need to calm down or you’re going to give yourself a heart attack. I’m on my way.”
“There are people stuck inside the building.” Ernest cried. “I don’t know what is going on!”
Elizabeth could hear an officer beside him. “Mr Beckingridge we need to finish identifying.”
“Liz I can’t look at anymore,” Ernest sobbed. “Can I not just wait until my sister gets here?”
“Ernest?” he could hear Elizabeth’s voice in his ear. “Those families need to be told immediately. It could be another hour before I get there if there’s traffic into Main. What number are you on?”
“Thirty three,” he said. To the policewoman beside him he confirmed, “that’s right, isn’t it? Thirty three?”
Thirty-four. The sheet was pulled back.
“Oh God!” Ernest exclaimed. He bit his knuckle.
“Who is it?” Elizabeth demanded. “Who is number thirty four?”
Elizabeth closed her eyes and shook her head. “I’m on my way.”
She had spoken to John earlier that day. She had been drinking. He had been angry. She told him she never wanted to see him again that he was dead to her. She threw her drink and it smashed at his feet. He had told her she would never see him again and that had been a promise kept. Why had they been fighting? It was so silly really. He had asked her to marry him and she became afraid. She became afraid of losing a little bit of herself. She became so frightened by that idea that she laced her fiery temper with alcohol and forced him to see her as the most horrific woman any man should ever have to look upon. Because she was too selfish to share her life with someone else John went to that party. He was mad at her and now there was never going to be an earthly opportunity to make that up to him because some lunatic was causing a riot in her building and now people were lying dead in her court yard at the foot of Gramps’ statue.
By the time Liz arrived they had gotten close to the end of the carnage.
Number 59. Lynette Fullerton.
“No please! Please! I’m begging you!” Lynette was screaming as she was dragged across the high-ceilinged room of the penthouse.
She was an old woman. She was a cantankerous woman. She was a symbol of all that was going wrong with Coldford.
Tabitha was waiting by the window.
“Thanks for your donation,” she said. “The hungry, the homeless and the weak have some support now thanks to you.”
“You are not going to get away with this,” Lynette promised. “Please just let me go. I’ll do whatever you want.”
Tabitha’s nose wrinkled. She pouted. “I don’t think you have been listening to a single word I’ve said. I am not here to negotiate. You had your chance. I’m not here to play games. I’m here to wipe every last one of you greedy cunts out.”
“Wipe us out? What have I done to you? What am I to you?” Lynette asked.
Tabitha stepped closer to her. Lynette could smell the booze and the smoke of the Knock Knock Club on her.
“You’re in my fucking way,” she said.
Fullerton was heaved from the window. Her body plummeted twenty stories. Her life was snuffed out that night and ever since then the Fullerton fortune has had to be remade.
Click. Reggie was keeping count.
“How many was that?” Tabitha asked.
“Fifty nine,” replied the triplet.
“That’s a shame,” said Tabitha. “I would like to have made it an even sixty.”
She turned back to the table where Joshua Coby was seated. His head was lowered. He was trying to catch his breath.
Watching from the Knock Knock stage Tabitha could still remember the noise of the cheers and laughter that filled the club. It was a very different sound from the Beckingridge Tower but armed with new resources the club floor was filled with displaced families whose homes had been torn down by Fullerton in the name of progress. She was able to shelter girls who had been abused by those who would never see justice, people in too high places like the Owens. There were also those people who became more desperate as the Beckingridge Firm made them poorer and the top of Coldford became richer. Freefall claimed fifty nine lives but they were far outnumbered by the people Tabitha extended help to as a result. Tabitha was sure of that.
“She’ll be here soon,” said Tawny.
Tabitha hopped off the stage and crossed the club floor.
Clifton Lane in the Shanties where the Knock Knock Club lay was a quiet place. It wasn’t a place of booming guns or kingly speeches. It was a place of quiet blades and whispers. Interrupting that quiet was the arrival of the largest Beckingridge limousine in the fleet. Elizabeth had decided quite recently that it was her favorite. She even had the license plate changed to DRA 60N to let everyone know that that was her preferred vehicle. Its length pulling into Clifton Lane almost concealed it in shadow. Tawny and Tabitha were waiting by the door of the club. Elizabeth’s driver, suited in expense, looked out of place in Coldford’s poorest area. He opened the door and his mistress emerged. Elizabeth had a phone clamped to her ear and a cigarette between her lips.
“Stop crying Eddie. Your damn brother shouldn’t have smirked at me. I think I took enough of his shit. Look I’ll call you some other time. I’m about to go into a meeting.”
She closed the call. She followed to alley to the club and stopped at the door. Tabitha noticed a slight gait in her step. When they came face to face Elizabeth raised her sunglasses to the top of her head.
“So, you’re Tabitha?” she said.
“You’re the one they call the dragon lady,” Tabitha replied.
Elizabeth smiled. “They do if they have good sense.”
She looked into Tabitha’s grey eyes. There was life burning in there. There was rage and there was venom. As Tabitha smiled back at her the gap in her teeth gave her grin a snarl. That would have been the last face that John Cunningham would have seen.
“I don’t want to stand here all day,” said Elizabeth.
She followed the aunt and niece into the club. Tabitha took her seat at the assigned table. Pulling off her leather gloves Elizabeth joined her. She was still watching Tabitha closely, the so-called Boss Lady. She was the one that caused Ernest so much grief. He vomited the very last drops in his stomach that night. Every sheet pulled back was worse than the last.
“Ye want a drink?” asked Tawny as she headed behind the bar.
“No, thank you. I don’t really have much to say.”
David, who had assumed Agnes’ part of the club joined them. He was a little wary of Elizabeth Beckingridge. He took a seat beside Tabitha.
Tabitha’s eyes widened as Elizabeth pulled off her prosthetic leg. Inside that leg had been stored a loaded gun. She clicked, cupped and aimed at Tabitha before either aunt or niece could do anything.
“Wait!” Tawny protested.
“Just stay where you are,” Elizabeth warned her. “This is between me and her.”
Her hand was steady and her finger was ready, Tabitha noted.
“Tell me why I shouldn’t blow your God damn head off right now and burn this club to the ground?”
“Get that gun out of my fucking face …” Tabitha warned.
“Elizabeth!” Tawny urged. She started to rush back from the bar but Elizabeth halted her.
“Stay right there,” she warned. “Or I put a hole in your niece’s head.”
“You don’t have the balls …” Tabitha challenged.
Elizabeth cocked the gun. “Do not tempt me. Having your death on my hands would mean nothing to me. In fact I might get the best night’s sleep I’ve had in years.”
“What do you want?” Tabitha asked.
“Let’s start with fifty nine very sincere, I’m sorrys.”
Tabitha smirked. “Get out of here.”
“Whoah, lady!” David interjected.
Keeping her focus on Tabitha, Elizabeth said, “tell your little boyfriend to keep his mouth shut or I blow his balls off.”
“What do you want?” Tabitha snarled.
“I’m not going anywhere until I get some satisfaction,” Elizabeth stated. “You’re nothing like I expected. You’re not frightening. You’re not smart. You’re just a little girl.” Here she leaned forward, still keeping the gun focused on Tabitha. “I eat little grunts like you for breakfast. You want to try me? Go ahead and try. I’m not scared of you.”
“Elizabeth, what are ye trying here?” Tawny asked. “Get the gun away from them.”
Elizabeth and Tabitha kept their focus on each other.
“Those fifty nine people you murdered? Do you even know their names?” Elizabeth asked.
Tabitha shook her head. “I wasn’t after names. I was there to make a point. People were suffering whilst they danced and laughed. They might as well have been stuffing coins down their throats whilst the rest of the city starved. They were greedy and it was left to me to open their eyes to it. It got your attention though didn’t it?”
Elizabeth’s brow tightened. “That’s the difference. It was the attention of my dear sweet brother you got. I wasn’t the one in charge then. If you were to attack the tower again under my watch you would find it very different. Ernest had to wade through fifty-nine bodies and he was never the same after that.”
Elizabeth sniffed. She called to Tawny behind her. “Will you sit down? You’re causing a shadow behind me and it’s irritating.”
Tawny tentatively took a seat beside Tabitha.
“Can you put the gun away?” David requested.
“Not yet,” Elizabeth stated. “I want to know what you think you even have that would make me consider pardoning you. There were friends among those bodies, good friends. Well there were acquaintances at least and some people I liked having around.”
“As long as I’m here I will do whatever It takes for this area. It’s cunts like you who think they can tread all over us. You funded this club. If you want to help then good. If you don’t I have no issue cutting you up. Make no mistake I can’t fucking stand you. If you were there that night I would have made you number fucking one!”
“Tabitha!” Tawny cried. To Elizabeth she said, “she gets upset. She’s been through a lot.”
Gramps once told Elizabeth that in order to navigate life successfully you needed to learn what he called the people smile. It wasn’t a real smile. It was that expression saved for occasions when negotiating with enemies or keeping your spirits up in public when things were tough. She had scolded herself before for having hidden behind the manor walls for so long. She swore she wouldn’t make that same mistake again even if that meant looking the Boss Lady in the eye.
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