Chapter 5. What does it mean?
Kathy sat on the edge of the pool after finishing her laps. It had become part of her morning; She got up around 6:30, got her swimming suit on, and then stretched for ten minutes. Then it was 50 laps in the pool. It was not along swim, but it gave her a decent workout. As she sat there, she started to think. They had never finished their talk last night. He was in the middle of saying something when the police officer had pulled them over. What was it he was saying? She could not remember. She thought what would she have said if had asked her why they had never been a couple. She had this talk with her mother several times; she could almost hear her mother’s words, “that man wouldn’t know a good woman if you sat on his lap naked. Girl, you’re just going to have to tell him how you feel.”
She started laughing at the thought of that. Would he know what to do if she sat on his lap naked? She was sure he would know what to do. Nevertheless, how would he react? She was not even sure how she felt about him. He was a good guy and he had never tried to take advantage of the situation. He had made sure that she had food and medicine when she was sick. He had even had a nurse stop by to make sure she was doing better. She knew he gave money to local charities. He was good looking. As she thought about it she started making one of her lists of things she liked and disliked about him. The liked list was rather long. The dislike list was not very long at all. She tried to think if she had ever seen him with another woman. She had not, at least not in the time she had worked for him. “What am I doing?” she thought. I have things to do
Kathy stood, toweled herself off, and then went inside to shower. After showering and getting dressed she checked her schedule for the day. It was Sunday so it was really her day off. Like always she had a couple errands to run. He never knew what day of the week it was. He had told her she had Saturday and Sunday off but she never really did. He would always put something on her schedule. She decided not to do her errands today they could wait until tomorrow. She wanted to do some more digging on Leon and the company he worked for.
She went into the main house and toasted herself a bagel. She had stopped cooking in the pool house shortly after she started cooking for Jake. Kathy sat at the computer and logged in. immediately a message popped up. “Wake me about 10:30 please? Jake.” He did this to her all the time. He would set a system message to ask her to do something for him. She checked the large clock on the wall it was only eight now she had plenty of time before she was to wake him. She started by opening several of the memo files she had scanned the night before. They all seemed very vague. They all had to do with something but they never mentioned what exactly. She found one with a letterhead on it the company was “Abram Mile Ass.” She had never heard of them. She opened up her Internet browser and entered the company name.
She had 100054 hits from her search but luckily, the company was near the bottom of the first page. She read thru the company profile. They were a consulting firm. They seemed to be a very nice consulting firm who consulted companies on Public relations issues and political standings. Odd she did not know there was such a thing. They had two offices one in New York and one in Los Angeles. She printed the information. Then she started searching for funeral homes in Indiana.
Jake came in shortly after she began her second search. He entered quietly and watched her. When she finally realized he was there, it startled her. “What on earth do you think you are doing?” she asked. She was very surprised he was up; normally he would sleep until she woke him.
“Watching you,” he said with a grin.
“Me? Why were you watching me?”
“I don’t know to tell you the truth. When I came to the door you looked so involved in something so I walked in without disturbing you and just stood here watching you.”
“Well ok then. By the way, I found something for you. It should be in the printer. Did you eat something? Are you hungry? I will make you something to eat. Remember we have to go to that barbeque today.” She seemed rattled like she was not sure what to say almost rambling.
“Oh yea I almost forgot. Did you get the cheese for them like we discussed?”
“No” she replied walking from the room. “I thought we could just get it on the way.” She was more composed now as if the fact that she was now back in her professional role had sorted her out somehow.
Jake walked to the printer, lifted the pages from the tray, and began glancing over them. It was a normal company profile. The PR release, a mission statement, and a list of notable clients they had worked for. Abram Mile Ass it seemed was a political consulting firm. They specialized in helping companies with their political agendas, as well as guiding in them in special interest groups both locally and on the national level. The list of companies they had, as clientele was almost a who’s who of the fortune five hundred club. They worked for everyone from Dow Chemicals to Lawrence Livermore laboratories. Some of the names he knew and some he did not. He knew this was the amended list of more important clients. It was there to impress future clients. It was in no way a customer list. Truth be told they had probably worked for subsidiaries of the larger companies. It was a common practice to inflate customers to their highest level to impress investors or future clients. Something didn’t seem right though these companies surely would hire the best of the best for whatever their needs were.
Kathy’s voice came over the intercom, “Jake breakfast. Do you want it down there? Or should I leave it up here?”
He walked to the intercom and said, “I will be right up.” He walked up the stairs for the main house still looking at the papers in his hand.
From the stairs in the basement, a door opened into a mudroom off the kitchen, as he came around the corner to the kitchen he glanced up seeing Kathy carrying two cups of coffee towards the patio. He chuckled as he thought about it. She always tried to get him to eat outside when weather permitted. She had simply said, “well I have to do what I can to get the mushroom out in the sun,” It was another of her subtle ways of keeping him healthy. She had many of these that she thought he did not notice. Sure there were definitely some he did not know of he conceded, after all she was psychology major she surely learned something.
He sat at the table not saying a thing just looking at the papers thinking of the woman across the table from him. He knew she meant the world to him, but he had never told her. They had lived almost as husband and wife for years; at least it seemed like years. Time had a way of slipping away from him in a horrible way. She was gorgeous tremendously, he thought. She was tall, almost six feet. She had long flowing brown blonde hair. She was well proportioned, and very fit. He knew she swam daily, and worked out twice a week at the gym. She was beautiful. He knew he loved her, but he had never told her. The fact was, that he was just to afraid to tell her. It had happened a year or two ago. One moment she was a good-looking housekeeper and the next she was the love of his life, and they had never even kissed. He had talked to Keith about it on several occasions. Keith had been blunt, “Tell her how you feel.” He could not tell her though the risk of losing her was too great. So, he had just left things as they were. There was some relation there and he could not chance loosing it. He had become a better person, no not better, he had become a person through her efforts. Before Kathy was in his life he was just simply a walking computer looking for data to compute.
“Jake? Jake?” she was asking.
“Sorry. Did you say something?”
“Yes. I was asking what was so interesting in the papers.” She asked.
“Oh, did you see the list of clients?”
“Not really I was still kind of trying to figure out what exactly they did. I have never heard of a political consulting firm. I guess there has to be someone to advise companies on politics but I have never heard of one. Have you?”
“No I have not. You are right though someone has to do it. It is just one of those jobs we never think of, like person who monitors the sewage flow. You never hear anyone say they are a “Poop Monitor” for a living.” He laughed. She laughed so hard that her coffee was coming out her nose. She quickly brought her napkin up to her face.
“I guess you are right about that. I have never heard of anyone saying that.”
“I think most companies that do this sort of thing are called Public Relation firms or lobbyist. What I can’t figure out is why a company would stray from the commercial norm.”
“Maybe that’s the reason. They don’t consult on public views but political ones.”
Jake thought about that for a few seconds and the more he thought of it the more it made sense. He started eating his omelet that she had made him, devouring it like a ravenous animal.
“I hope you don’t plan to eat like that at the Whites later.” She said. Jake had a way of forgetting manors and eating just to consume food that drove her crazy.
“It’s just so good I can’t help myself.” He said between a bite of egg and a sip of coffee.
“No it isn’t. You are eating like that for another reason. What is it?”
“Well I just got a thought. You want to go shopping? I need some things and I think I will pick up a bottle of good brandy for Keith.”
“Hmm. I don’t think there is anything else I really have to get done today. Let me finish eating and I will go change. Is that ok?”
“Change? I like you just the way you are.” He said with a grin. She made no response. “Sounds good I want to shower and get dressed too.”
“Good idea. Those floppy shorts you’re wearing should never be seen in public.” She kidded him. He normally wore very loose comfortable shorts around the house. When she had first moved in she had even asked him if he owned a pair of pants.
Jake finished his breakfast first like always. If he wasn’t discussing business over a meal he always seemed to finish first. A habit he claimed to pick up in the army. He sat drinking his coffee reading thru the papers as she ate. When she had finished he simply rose stacked her plate on his and carried the two of them to the house.
She was floored. Today seemed like a twilight moment. She thought for a moment. He had cleared the dishes from a meal maybe four or five times. Then again he was one of those people that just when you knew what he was going to do, he changed it, or was it more than that. She stood and headed to the pool house to get changed.
By the time Kathy had changed and put on some light makeup Jake was back in the computer room, or the dungeon as he liked to call it. He seemed to have 2 speeds fast and faster, one time she had timed him he had showered and dressed in 4 minutes. When she had commented on it he simply replied “life is too short to spend it doing simple things like showering I have other things to do.”
“Are you ready?” she asked him.
“Sure” he said.
“So, where are we going? Do you have something particular you are shopping for or just killing time?”
“I told you I need some new pants.” With that he rose from his chair and headed to door.
“What car do you want to take? My Toyota?”
He glared at her. He hated the fact that she drove a Toyota and she knew it. ”No. we’ll take the Expedition.”
She grabbed the keys from the rack and headed to the garage. “Want me to drive or would you like to?”
“You drive I want to look through these papers still.”
“Ok fine by me.”
The day had gone almost exactly like she had thought it would. They had spent the morning going from store to store with him looking at things at times insisting she try something on. She had long since stopped arguing with him it had been irritating to her that he did it. Any time he went shopping for things he had to by her stuff. He had explained that before she had come to work for him he would go into some store and find a good looking sales clerk. Then pay her well to spend a few hours helping him shop. So this was much better for the both of them.
It didn’t make her feel any better though. The one time she refused he walked thru the store threatening to buy everything they had in her size. She quickly decided it was easier just go along with him then test his resolve. She wasn’t sure how much he was worth, but there was always thirty thousand or more in the household account.
They had stopped shopped and browsed thru all the normal stores he frequented. He bought several pairs of khaki pants and a few pairs of jeans. Kathy figured she had gotten off easy today. He had only bought her a pair of shoes and a couple sweatshirts. When he was in one of his moods he insisted on buying her very expensive things.
They ate lunch at a small out of the way Geek restaurant. Jake loved little places like this one where he was treated like a king. He knew the owner well, and came at least once or twice a month. They both ordered the house specials Lamb gyros. The day went on very casual with neither mentioning the pages she had printed out all day.
The last two stops where at a very nice import shop where they bought a very nice block of imported cheese. Then a little shop called The Morning Dew. From the outside the shop looked like a rundown place. However once inside you quickly understood the outside was a way of keeping less savory customers out. There were velvet plush couches, wine racks, and a walk in humidor the place specialized in the rare very expensive wines liquors and tobacco.
Jake was well known in this place the clerk smiled as he saw him “good afternoon sir. How can I help you on this fine day?”
“Well I was wondering if that brandy I ordered came in?” Jake asked
“Yes Sir Mr. Hammond. It came in on Wednesday. Let me get it for you how many bottles did you want?” asked the clerk.
“Just one and a bottle of my scotch if you please.”
“Anything you like sir.” The clerk stepped from behind the counter and headed thru a door in the wall to left. Jake not only bought the expensive liquor from the shop but he rented storage from them as well. The storage space held his private collection of rare scotch and brandies as well as a few other fine bottles. The clerk returned in a matter of minutes. “Here we are sir,” the clerk said as he stepped through the door to the back room. “Will there be anything else?” he started cataloging the 2 bottles of liqueur as he spoke.
Jake knew the procedure each bottle taken from the private storage or bought was logged into the book. This provided two things for the store. One a very accurate account of what was sold, and two a chance for the patron to tip the clerks. “That will be everything for today,” Jake said as he took the pen and signed his name to the log slip leaving a handsome tip for the clerk.
When they were back in the truck Kathy asked “why do like that place so much? You can order the same stuff online and have it delivered.”
“Yes I could but then again I would have to keep all that liqueur in my house. I would rather it was somewhere else.”
“Why? You don’t drink very often. In fact the only time I have ever seen you drink it was social. Like someone had taught you it was proper.”
“I enjoy a drink every once in awhile, but I would rather help support local business then horde it ok, let’s talk about something else” they didn’t though they just drove in silence for several minutes until they arrived at the Whites home.
The White’s lived in a nice neighborhood. The homes where all custom built at one time but that had been many years ago. The trees were all grown now with a few sidewalks cracked, and a few more of the houses needing new paint. The White’s home was a lovely two story house with an almost Victorian look to it. It had belonged to a famous umpire before he had decided to retire to south Florida.
Jake and Kathy retrieved the Cheese and brandy from the back of the SUV and headed for the door. Before they could get there Helen White opened the door with a huge smile.
“Jake, Kathy it is so good to see you two. Owe no. What did you bring this time?”
“You know Jake he can’t go anywhere without bringing something.” Kathy replied.
“For the lovely lady we have her favorite imported cheese, and for the old fart I have a new brandy, well in truth a very old brandy. It is almost as old as he acts.” Jake said as he chuckled.
Helen greeted them both with hug then took the cheese. “Well the old fart as you call him is in the den. This cheese will go great with some summer sausage I was laying out.”
“Anything I can do to help you out Helen?” Kathy asked.
“Sure you can come keep me company,” she replied as the two headed off to the kitchen.
Jake with brandy in hand headed for the den to right of the entry way. The door was open as he approached he saw Keith was on the phone. So he lingered near the door for a few seconds as he finished his call.
Placing the phone back on the receiver he said, “Jake how are you? It has been far too long. You keeping busy I guess.”
“Very busy, and it hasn’t been that long has it?” Jake asked.
“What you got there?”
“Ah you don’t miss a thing do you?”
“Only the uniform my friend only the uniform.” Keith mused.
“Well, this is supposed to be a very fine Napoleon brandy. Let’s say we find out.”
“Sounds good to me” Keith replied as Jake crossed the room and handed him the bottle. Keith walked to the bar and placed the bottle in the brandy warmer Jake had given him for his last birthday.
“Hey do you know where that laptop came from by any chance?”
“Yea, from a guy back east. Why?”
“Well I think it might have been stolen.”
“Really, I doubt it the guy runs a real nice pawn shop. What makes you think it was stolen?”
“Well there were a few things really. There were records in it that seemed to be accessed every day. Then out of the blue it stopped. Although, there were still appointments for later that month and for the rest of the year.”
“So some guy went belly up big deal happens all the time.”
“No biggy was just asking. Hey could find out if this guy has any of the other stuff that went with the laptop. Specifically CD’s and stuff?”
“Well there is a really weird database that has me perplexed. Seems they were using some kind of multi drive access to help encrypt it. As if that wasn’t enough, I think they kept a big part, well the key part on a CD.”
“Hmm. Well I can ask the guy. Why you so interested?”
“Just want to look into some of the competitions stuff is all. You know how other folks are handling some things. Come on it’s a database mystery. Need I say more?” Both men laughed.
“I will give the guy a call tomorrow. That soon enough for you?”
“Yea that will be fine.”
“Now tell me have you talked with Kathy yet?” he asked as the warmer let off a low chime.
“Sure I talk to her every day.” Jake responded with a grin as he headed to join Keith at the bar.
“You know what I mean. Have you really talked to her? Have you told her how you feel about her?” Keith asked handing Jake a snifter of the brandy.
Taking the glass he walked towards the door not saying anything for a moment. He sniffed the brandy, took a slow sip then said “No I haven’t. We were almost there the other night when I got a ticket.”
“A ticket? You got a ticket?”
“Yea I got pinched the other night doing 85 in a 65 zone. The CHP was cool though. He only wrote it as a 78,” he walked back and sat on the leather couch near the window.
“Go on, what were you talking about?” Keith urged him.
“Well we were at Tony Wu’s the other night and he said we made a good looking couple.”
“You do,” interrupted Keith.
“Do you want to hear this or not?”
“Please go on.”
“Anyway, Tony said we made a good looking couple I said we weren’t a couple. To which she said simply why not?” He took a deep pull from the brandy.
“And what? That was it.”
“See you both have it on your mind. You both have deep feelings for each other. So what is holding you back man. Tell her how you feel. Better yet just take her on a cruise and ask that girl to marry you.”
“Are you insane? Or did you just take stupid pills? I can’t just ask her to marry me.”
“You ever heard the old saying ‘Can’t is a slugger too lazy to try’”
“yea, yea, yea. I am not sure I can take the chance though Keith. If it didn’t all work out things would become too weird between us and she would leave. I would be so lost without her.”
“Did you hear what you just said? She would leave, not she would quit. Man take the chance, if you could even call it a chance, that girl is crazy about you. Have you had sex with her yet?”
“What No Flippin way!”
“Easy, I was just asking. You do need to talk to her though.”
“I know. I know.”
“How long have I known you Jake?”
“What, eight or nine years I guess.”
“In all that time I have never known you to be a coward. I saw you face combat without even blinking. Now you chicken out when it comes to a lady. How sad man.”
“Yea, yea yea. But this is far more important than getting shot mate.”