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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

          She thought he'd never leave.  There was absolutely nothing wrong with an afternoon romp.  Unless perhaps,  Cassie's thought, your partner didn't understand the meaning of the word "afternoon". It was well after 7 pm, and she practically had to push Teddy out the front door.  Maybe it was the miserable weather, or maybe, God forbid, he was getting much too attached.  Either way, he seemed terribly reluctant to make his way back to his house, and leave her to her own affairs.  He'd even hinted around that they should share a quiet little dinner, which of course in his mind meant Cassie should get up and prepare it, knowing full well a restaurant was out of the question.

          There was no way that was going to happen.  She had business to take care of this evening, starting with the envelope the priest had dropped off a few hours earlier.  She watched Ted walk the two blocks to his car in the pouring rain, and developed a momentary stab of guilt that she hadn't offered him something to eat, or at least an umbrella to take with.  But the fleeting guilt didn't linger long.  It was probably best that he he should find her rather obnoxious.  It would make it easier on him when she disappeared without a backward glance. Teddy had been fun to have around, and because of his position as Sheriff, she had an inside track on the workings of the town.  But with Lizzie, and the half million gone, she needed a new plan of action, and a quick exit from Dollyville.  Ted was just a casualty of tough business.

          She grabbed the envelope off the table and spread the stacks of cash on her bed, dividing it in even piles of $200.  She reasoned that the $4000 should at least get her through the next three weeks if she remained sensible with her money.  Most things she could charge, but the electronic paper trail that she'd leave made her nervous.  It couldn't be helped for things like plane tickets and hotel reservations, but for most of the day to day expenses, including the PI she'd hire to track down Lizzie, she'd use the cash.  She stuffed the stacks of bills into a small cosmetic case and shoved it in the armoire. That finished, Cassie grabbed her laptop and got down to the question of where she should head next.  The west coast was out...too expensive and too few opportunities for what she had in mind.  She certainly couldn't return to New Orleans, not after the way she left things there.  Maybe Florida, although the humidity was a killer this time of the year.

         Before she could settle on a destination, the land phone rang again, just as it had several times in the last few hours.  She knew who it was, and let her answering machine pick it up. "Hi.  You've reached the number for Cassandra McKreedy, of Fickleman and Fines, Account Services.  I'm not able to take your call right now.  Please leave a message, and I'll return your call as soon as possible.  Thank you. BEEP"

        "Hello?  Ms. McKreedy?  Are you there?  This is Tessa Peppers again.  I really need for you to call me back.  I'm having a problem withdrawing money from my late husband's memorial fund, and those damn bank people are telling me the account is empty.  We both know that's absurd.  I trusted you with my accounts, and I expect you to fix this nonsense immediately.  Call me right now at 563-8871."

          Cassie deleted the messages, and turned back to her laptop.  Tampa, Florida was sounding just about perfect right now.  All she had to do was take that first crucial step out the front door.

Copyright 2012 Victoria Rocus

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