Episode 11: Gun Play
by Sabrina Carol
by Sabrina Carol
|Adrian Zeller in Ten Little Spies.|
Franklin Fairchild slammed the door shut. He stared with open hostility at the man sitting much too comfortably in his office chair.
"Eh, boss man, your five minutes late," Nick Noretti greeted in his usual high spirits. "Wasn't it you who said an agent should always be on time?"
Franklin raised one thick eyebrow. "Firstly, I'm not an agent---"
"Nah, you're just the man who runs the whole operation." Nick interrupted.
"--- And secondly," Franklin continued without pause. "If you value your ass, remove it from my chair."
The dark haired Italian with the savvy smile gracefully hopped up. "Relax, just keeping it warm for you, is all."
Franklin sat his steaming cup of coffee down and took his rightful place behind his large mahogany desk. "You're spreading more sunshine than usual. Hopefully, that means you have good news for me."
"Depends on your idea of good." Nick snickered.
"Get to the point, Noretti."
Nick clapped his hands together. "Right, Dare Ransom." He began pacing the floor in excitement. He wasn't an operative by any stretch of the imagination; but, rather a man for all purpose. Nick was like water; he simply adapted to whatever Franklin needed him for. "I have a nice one for you. Your man, Dare had a busy night. For starters, he rolled in late--- looked as if he knocked back one too many if you asked me. Anyhow, his soon to be ex had been waiting outside for over an hour. The dame worried me at first because she became curious about your little package."
"Tell me she didn't," Franklin rolled his eyes in exasperation.
"Relax," Nick assured him. "She didn't open it. Mr. and Mrs. Ex went inside. About ten minutes later Mrs. Ex came storming out like a tornado."
Franklin slammed a fist on the black lacquered desk. "Get to the damn point already," he ordered in aggravation. "Is he or isn't? And if you say he's not, the good doctor will be."
Nick gave a sly grin and removed an envelope from his back pocket. "Well, when I last peeked in on Ransom his was looking very stiff." He tossed the package to Franklin and waited in anticipation.
Franklin's tense face crumbled and fell on sight of the pictures. "Oh no," he sighed heavily.
"Oh yes," Nick said with a big toothy grin. "Seems to me Agent Kaye has better things she'd rather be doing--- if you catch my drift."
Franklin launched out of his seat and Nick quickly stepped back. Franklin mashed the call button for the front desk. "Melanie, have Dr. Mortez haul his over-paid ass into my office now." He glared at Nick. "You get the hell out."
"I'm going, I'm going," Nick vacated in a hurry.
Franklin closed his weary eyes to the world. It seemed everything was unraveling around him. Every loose-end he tightened gave way to another loose-end. "I will not lose," he vowed. "Not now. Not after all these years."
The office door opened and in walked Dr. Xavier Mortez. Franklin had a natural aversion to the pharmacologist. If it were not for his genius, Franklin would have axed him long ago; but, as things stood, Mortez held a solid hand in his plans. And at this moment Franklin considered him the root to everything that was going wrong.
Franklin zeroed in on him with absolute malice. "Dare Ransom is still alive, and I'm losing control over one of my prized agents. Your excuse had better be brilliant," Franklin pulled the gun from his shoulder holster. "Or the cleaning crew will be scrubbing your brains from the walls tonight."
"Oh great," Melanie muttered, spotting the crack in her thumb nail. Secretarial work was hell on her manicures. She snatched her nail file from a cup holder, and began filing her right thumb. Most of her work day consisted of waiting to do something. She was the phone-girl, the coffee-girl, the file-girl; and, if the day happened to be popping, she was the go-to-girl for when things needed to be done swiftly.
Since her tenure at the Legacy, Melanie had become an important asset to Franklin Fairchild. For such an isolated figure she always managed to have her eyes and ears open to the covert happenings inside the organization. Her keen awareness also made her a valuable source for those who sought to breach the confidential walls of the Legacy. Yes, Melanie had built up quite a nest egg for herself--- and her latest alliance would bring her even greater rewards.
Satisfied with the repair to her thumb nail, Melanie tossed her file onto her desk and got down to business. She pulled her chair in closer, and leaned into the computer. "Okay, now what was that number?" she mumbled to herself. "L-6-8-9-8-3-H 9-1-3-1-6-Q."
Melanie nervously toyed with a strand of golden brown hair. She had a knack for memorizing numbers, letters, any data of sort. Last night in Franklin's office she had only managed three passing glances over an important file FF was planning to give to Kaye Corday. If Melanie's hunch about it having to do with the so called 'Candle Killer' was correct she was about to hit pay dirt.
Melanie's wide grin disappeared when her monitor went blank. "Don't do this to me now," she begged. She sighed in relief when a picture began to download, and a bunch of words flooded the screen. Her almond eyes quickly scanned the information. "All right, what's this all about," she murmured, picking up where she left off. Melanie was tickled pink when she saw Adrian Zeller's picture. Yes! The Gods of fortune were smiling down on her.
But Melanie's glee was short-lived when the information finally sank in. She dug her cell phone from her purse and hit speed dial. "Pick up, pick up," she urged, but there was no answer. Irate, Melanie slammed the phone close. "Adrian, where the hell are you?"
Adrian Zeller hated being in the company of his aunt. The idea of living in the same country, state, or town, much less being in the same room with her made his skin crawl. She had cold dead eyes that looked like death. It was hard for Adrian to imagine her ever as wife and mother when she literally gave him goosebumps. He looked on with avid curiosity while she escorted a satisfied customer out of Zeller Specialty Shoppe. She was almost grandmotherly.
Adrian shrugged and muttered to himself. "I suppose what little warmth is left in that brittle old carcass somehow makes it through the pores of her liver spots."
"You idiot!" Dagmar Krause whirled on him the second the customer had gone.
Adrian almost jumped out of his black Armani suit. "What, I didn't say anything," he declared, fairly certain the old bat couldn't have possible heard from that distance.
Dagmar marched towards him wagging one crooked finger. "I warned you to avoid Franklin Fairchild at all cost. The less pronounced your presence the less likely he is to suspect you." She moaned as if in physical pain. "But what more can I expect from Zelia Cheklov's child."
Adrian felt the sharpened knife of her words nearly emasculate him on the spot. An agitated nerve on the right side of his face began to twitch repeatedly. In the short period of time, Adrian knew his aunt he had become very acquainted with her venomous tongue. He would give anything to remove her claws from his ribs, but, alas, Dagmar was the only one who knew how to handle his father. She was also important because she was the last of the underground rebels who fought against the Legacy. Her knowledge of Franklin Fairchild was golden. Unfortunately for Adrian, he still needed the viper on his side.
"I fear we must move quickly now," Dagmar drawled in her heavy accent. "If I seek to ever extract revenge on that devil it must be now."
"You seem to forget this isn't simply about you," Adrian located his backbone and spoke up. "This is also about doing unto Fairchild what he has done to Ezekiel. But more importantly, finding the daughter Fairchild stole from my mother and father."
Tired and an hour late for work, Dyan Ransom trudged through the back door of Zeller Specialty Shoppe. She shrugged out of her navy trench and hooked it on the rack next to Dagmar's. An unlady-like yawn escaped her lips as she rubbed the remaining sleep from her eyes. She barely got any rest last night. Instead she tossed and turned with constant worries about Allison, Kaye, and even her estranged husband, Dare.
Dyan caught a glimpse of herself in a dusty, ornate mirror sitting on a shelf. She wiped the glass clean with the sleeve of her red sweater, and took a good long look at her reflection. She felt like hell and it showed in her face. Her violet eyes seemed darker than usual, and were rimmed with heavy bags. Her skin was paler and lines beyond her maturity were beginning to show.
Dyan pulled a 'Scarlett O'Hara' and pinched her cheeks. Two rosy buds promptly bloomed. She still looked like crap, but it was better than nothing. Beginning to feel the heat from the radiator, Dyan pushed up her sleeves and started towards the front of the store. She partially opened the storeroom door when she heard the clear sound of Adrian Zeller's voice.
What the heck is he doing here?
Sure he owned the Shoppe, but Adrian was one of those bosses who made it a point to never drop by. Dyan reluctantly opened the door all the way only to again close it partway. She had never seen Dagmar so angry. In fact she had never seen the elder woman mad, period. An amused smirk played on Dyan's lips. Leave it to, Adrian. . .
Dagmar's rounded chin smugly tilted upwards. "35 years long, and now you choose to scrape your pride up from the floor. Ha! Do kind to remember I am the one who managed to secretly invade the Legacy. I am the one who has plotted to use Franklin's own wicked scheme against him. I am the one who says when and where to strike. And I say leave that damn Dyan Ransom out of this!
Adrian rubbed at the blond stubble lining his jaw. "At first I was inclined to agree with you," he nodded. "But after yesterday --- the way she raided Fairchild's office with such familiarity. She's a civilian with plenty of access to the Legacy. I'm certain there is more to Mrs. Ransom than we realize."
"Possibly so," his aunt agreed. "Still, time is of the essence. You haven't it to be playing mind games with her."
The loud ring of a cell phone filled the store.
"That would be mine," Dagmar sniffed and reached for her purse behind the counter. "Hello," she answered. Her withered face went through a series of expressions before settling for one of anger. "It will be taken care of." She pressed the phone off. "We have a serious problem thanks to your stupidity. Ms. Peel discovered Fairchild has placed a spy by the name of Kaye Corday after you."
Adrian looked genuinely surprised. "Did you say spy? A spy named Kaye Corday?"
"Yes, you moron," she insulted. "I'm standing three inches away from you and you still can't follow correctly. You really are your mother's child."
Adrian didn't know what came over him. He had never attacked a woman in his life; and, he didn't want to start with an elderly one. But he had more than his stomach full of disparaging remarks, especially about his mother.
Dagmar's soulless eyes widened in shock when his fingers enclosed her throat.
"In my lifetime I have only loved one woman--- my mother," He spoke with trembling fury. "I will not stand for one more slur against her, or I will snap your neck in two."
Her wrinkled lips turned upwards into a sickening smile. "Yes, that's it. Now take that murderous rage you're feeling and go slaughter Kaye Corday." She patted his right hip to feel the hard steel beside it. "The little gift I gave you ought to do the trick."
Adrian pulled his hand away. "I'll be back later."
"Don't bother," she said. "I'm going up to the mansion. It seems our guest, Ethan Fairchild has arrived. In fact, we have a full house."
Adrian didn't say anything, but continued to the door.
"Adrian," Dagmar called after him. "Aren't you forgetting something?"
He halted at the door. "And what would that be?
"Kaye Corday's home address. How else do you expect to find her you stupid fool?"
The old woman's hearty crackle echoed in his ears. His once mighty shoulders began a downward slide. He opened the door and walked out into the cold morning light. It was just another day in the life of Adrian Zeller.
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