Oh yeah, it’s about time for you to get ready for some HOT SEXIN’ in the next episode! I know, what a tease, right? You won’t be disappointed, I promise 🙂
It was like something out of a movie, Peter thought, staring at the shrink-wrapped package. One thousand brand new hundred dollar bills, weighing about 2.2 pounds – he’d looked it up. He thought about the scene in “Breaking Bad” where Skyler reveals the enormous pile of cash she’d hidden in storage. And even that pile was “only” $80 million in drug money, about a third of Peter’s fortune.
His Security team called before they escorted Cody up from the lobby, and Peter steeled himself for the encounter. He just wanted to get it over with, get Cody in and out of there and never see him again.
“Hey, lover!” Cody said, his eyes shining with avarice and something else. “Give me a hug!”
Peter complied, barely. “It’s over on the table.”
Cody looked over Peter’s shoulder and whistled. “That’s some brick, man.”
“You’re awfully chipper for a man whose life is in danger.”
Cody blinked. “Yeah, right. Well, not any more, right?” He went to the money like a moth to a flame. “Thanks, man.” He picked it up, held it up like an idol, hypnotized by its power.
“I have some appointments now, so…”
“Right,” Cody said distantly. Peter saw him looking out the window, eyes glazing over as the wheels turned in his head. “So, hey, I’ve got this really amazing business opportunity, I could get you in on the ground floor. It would only cost you another hundred grand, and it’s a sure thing, I swear.”
Peter’s heart sank. How could I not have known, that this wouldn’t be the end? How could I have been so stupid as to think a measly hundred grand would buy him off?
Because you didn’t want to know. You didn’t want to think beyond this, same as always. You could never think beyond these times, every time you gave Cody what he wanted just so he’d leave you in peace for a day, an hour. And you know, too, don’t you, that he’s not in danger? That the whole thing was just a ruse to get your money?
“I’m not interested.”
Cody shrugged, the cash in hand enough for now. “Okay, man. I’ll call you and we’ll talk about it some more later. Now give me another hug!”
“No,” Peter said, stunning himself.
Cody’s eyes darkened, and Peter could see the rage, cold and murderous, flaring in there. Cody, his will denied, his bottomless need unsated, a thing terrible to behold. But you have the money now. He can’t hurt you. He needs to come back again and again. He won’t kill the goose who’s going to lay him these golden eggs forever and ever…
“Fine. Be a dick.” Cody wagged a finger at him. “That money’s changing you already, Peter, and not in a good way.” Then he was gone in a cloud of smug self-righteousness.
Peter drifted to the fully-stocked bar, ready to numb the pain of the encounter, but one thing stayed his hand. Matt was coming later this morning.
His breakfast came, presented with a flourish. Peter sat at the dining room table, shifting awkwardly as he watched the room service waiter plate his eggs and sausage from the chafing dish. It was weird being the one waited on like this, when he’d waited tables himself in school not so long ago.
But at least he knew from that experience how to tip. That had been the reason for the other, smaller pile of cash he’d requested from Plant – if you signed the bill and put the tip on there, the waiter gets it in his paycheck, taxed. If you leave “no tip” on the bill and hand him cash, well, thank you sir, much appreciated.
Something was amiss that he only noticed as the waiter was leaving. “Um…”
“I don’t have all the papers this morning.” Every day the hotel brought him a stack of newspapers, but this morning only the Times and Wall Street Journal were laid out for him. “No tabloids.”
The waiter hesitated. “Yes, sir. The concierge thought you might not want to see those this morning.”
The waiter thought a moment. Like most of the staff, he’d seen plenty of new money, seen how insecure it made people, how they thought being rich meant they needed to abuse the help the way they’d been abused when they were down and out. And like most of the staff, he liked Peter, who always said thank you, which was as important as the tip, if not more so. He’d been told not to say anything, but he’d also been trained to know that good service meant breaking the rules sometimes.
“It appears that some relatives, or alleged relatives, of yours have come out in the tabloids. I imagine they expect a piece of the prize, sir.”
“Shit,” Peter said, putting a hand to his forehead. “Okay. I’ll look it up online.” It occurred to him. “You weren’t supposed to tell me, were you?”
“Well, thank you. I’d hate to go out and see it on a kiosk and find out that way.”
“My sentiments exactly, sir.”
Peter fired up the new MacBook Pro he’d had delivered yesterday. The Post would be the worst offender, he knew, so he went straight to their site.
TRAILER TRASH TRAGEDY! Peter Rabe abandons family! Destitute Aunt speaks EXCLUSIVELY to the POST!
“Oh, shit,” he said aloud. The picture of his mother’s sister on the cover was anything but flattering. But then again, forty five years of hard living ensured you’d never be photogenic. Charla’s sour face, papery and wrinkled from thirty years of smoking, her hard eyes, her pinched mouth, her black hair showing its iron grey roots…
“I helped raise that boy,” Charla Dean told the POST. “And I’ve got four kids a my own to feed. We ain’t heard nothin’ from him. I been callin and callin and he don’t answer.”
Dammit, Peter thought. Somewhere in the bottomless pile of voice mails was his aunt’s message. You lying bitch, he thought with a surge of rage. You left us to starve, you left Mom to die, you wouldn’t even go to the goddamn grocery store for her, you were so busy chasing your latest piece of white trash manflesh.
He had to go through the voice mails, the emails, make sure there wasn’t anyone else out there he’d have to deal with. He opened his gmail and started whisking through it.
Then something caught his eye. He laughed. He laughed some more, until the laughs turned into hysterical sobs.
How many times had he and Katie cracked wise about those spam emails from “Adrian and Gillian Bayford who are award telegramming their money to you for return this reply for detail”? And the damn thing was, they were real people, UK lottery winners, their names hijacked by spammers.
Now there it was in his inbox. “URGENT ALERT Pater Rabies is for making you millionaire with giving gift of $1.000.000 reply chop chop by click here on Dropbox link.”
I’m a joke. A spambot. I’ve got rabies.
Then Security called and let him know Matt was here. “Okay,” he said, and he was still wiping his eyes when he opened the door.
Matt’s smile faded when he saw Peter’s tears. Matt didn’t ask for hugs, Peter thought as Matt wrapped his big strong arms around him. He just gave them.
“I can’t stand it. I can’t take any more. I can’t.”
“I know,” Matt said. “Let’s go. Pack your bag. Or not, screw it, we’ll have them send you some clothes.”
Matt grinned. “We’re going away for a while. Far away.”
“Peter. How would you like to go to a 90 acre tropical island with no Internet, no cell phone service, no bridge to dry land, no servants, no…”
“Yes,” Peter said, flinging his arms around Matt. “Yes.”