No Good Deed
Copyright© 2019 by Lumpy
For the next week, things were quiet, which I should have known was a sign. If I was honest with myself, I didn’t even consider it for a second. I just relaxed and, for a few days at least, pretended I was a teenager.
Next Step was progressing, and by the end of the week, they’d started building, which was great but didn’t give us a lot to do. Work was almost on autopilot, with a lot of the staff taking off for Christmas, MilTech was dealing with everything on their Navy contract, with only minimal input from us on the technical specs for the desalination system. Even the plant being built in Papua, New Guinea, was progressing without any hiccups.
I’d checked in with Damion once, which was not easy, as we didn’t want to compromise him, but he didn’t have anything for us. I’d made sure he knew that any snooping he did for us, I didn’t want him to put himself in any danger, so it was taking time. The Judge had done his part and, unless the syndicate came back to him for something, there wasn’t much he could do for us.
So, early Friday evening found me curled up on the couch with Tami, reading a book. Something I hadn’t done since recuperating from the gunshot last year. Tami had fallen asleep at some point. I was starting to drift off myself, enjoying the moment, when my cell phone started to ring. I was a little surprised, since we generally didn’t use our cell phones that much. It wasn’t so much because the cost per minute for them was high, since all the girls agreed I made enough money and they were happy to spend it, but more out of habit. I almost always called the house, and they generally called the house, or my office, if they needed something.
I, however, didn’t bother looking at caller ID on the screen, since the only people who had the number were members of our family or a couple of people at work. We hadn’t really mentioned it to anyone at the school since we were noticeable enough without flaunting money around, too.
All that came together to pull me quickly out of my relaxing Friday afternoon, when a voice I didn’t recognize responded to my ‘hello.’
“Is this Caspian Grey?”
I froze in place, hearing the voice, but said: “Who is this?”
“I’m going to take that as a yes. Mr. Grey, my name is Frances Keen. I would like to meet with you soon, about a possible donation to your charitable foundation.”
Her voice sounded like the classic ‘rich person’ voice, stereotyped in movies and television, with careful pronunciation and diction as she spoke. She didn’t sound young, but I didn’t have enough experience hobnobbing with blue bloods to have any guess of age other than a very subjective ‘old.’
“How did you get this number?” I asked, still more concerned how someone I didn’t know managed to call me than with anything this woman had to offer.
“A friend of yours, named Megan, gave it to me.”
“You know Megan?”
“My granddaughter goes, or rather went, to college with Ms. Beck. She suggested you might be of some help with a problem I have, and indicated you are involved in some way with a charitable organization that could use donations.”
“What kind of problem?”
“I believe this is a conversation that would be better to have, person to person, Mr. Grey. I understand you have some kind of an office there in town. Would you be available to meet in the morning? I can be in your town by, say, ten AM.”
I gave it all of two seconds thought; but, as my interest was piqued, I said, “Uhh, yeah. I’m free, and I can meet you at ten. The address is...”
“I have the address. I will see you then, Mr. Grey. Goodbye.”
With that, she hung up abruptly.
“That was weird,” I said out-loud to no one in particular.
“Whuzat?” Tami said groggily.
“Nothing, baby,” I said, slipping out from underneath her and gently setting her head down on the corner cushion I’d been sitting next to, “just a weird phone call. Go back to sleep.”
I leaned down and kissed her gently on the cheek, getting a sleepy “mmmm” in response, as she curled into a ball and drifted off to sleep. Slipping out of the room, I headed for the kitchen. I found Jawarski with her feet kicked up on another chair, drinking coffee and reading an issue of Cosmo magazine of all things.
“Cosmo?” I asked, looking at the unexpected magazine.
“Mind your own business,” she said with a glare. “Did you want something?”
Since she’d come on board with Carter and declared herself in charge of my personal security, it seemed she was always around. I didn’t mind, really. While it meant getting sneered at and called an idiot on a regular basis, she meant well, and it wasn’t her fault that she hated me.
Alex had begun to test anti-me treatments that were supposed to counter the effects of my presence on the genetically negative people. As far as I was concerned, it didn’t seem to make her disposition to me any better, but Alex assured me that it was working. She made a good point that continued exposure seemed to make the condition progressively worse. Margaret had been a good example of that, and while Jawarski hadn’t become suddenly nice to me, she also hadn’t gone full psycho on me, yet. So there was that.
“Yeah, something weird just happened. A lady I’ve never met named Frances Keen called me on my cell phone, knew a whole lot about me, and asked for a meeting at my office tomorrow morning.”
“She called you on your cell? Aren’t those numbers unlisted?”
“That’s what I thought. She said something about getting my name from Megan, who apparently goes to school with the woman’s granddaughter. She said she wouldn’t tell me what she wanted to talk about, that she wanted to do it face to face. I was about to call Megan, and ask her what this was all about, but I thought you’d want to know.”
“I’m glad you finally did something smart. I want to hear the call with Megan, but let me make a call first.”
She grabbed wall mounted phone and dialed a number.
“Hey, a woman named Frances Keen called Cas on his cell and asked for a meeting. I ... yeah, that’s what I said. Apparently, she got the number from one of his little friends. We’re going to look into it on this end, but could you work up a background on this Keen woman? I don’t want Cas walking into the meeting without us giving her the once over. Okay, thanks, Carter.”
She hung up and turned to me, “Okay, let’s call your little friend.”
Calling Megan my ‘little friend’ was a little insulting to her, and felt like it was insulting to me, but I let it pass. I’d given up on trying to keep Jawarski from dropping casual insults. Instead, I hit the speaker button on the phone and called Megan’s dorm.
“Hello?” said a voice I didn’t recognize,
“Hi, is Megan there?”
“She should be back in a sec. Who’s this?”
“The great Caspian Grey?”
“Huh?” I asked. “I mean, that is my name. Well, not the great part, but the rest of it.”
“So what’s your deal? From hearing her talk, you’re like, Einstein crossed with Superman.”
“I’m neither of those.”
“Come on. You’re in high school, right? Like a freshman or something at her old school? Why is she ... heeey.”
That last was said faintly from the background, her voice quickly fading out.
“Sorry about that,” Megan’s voice said, cutting in, “We’ve been planning on muzzling Darci, but haven’t found one that can keep her fat trap shut yet.”
I heard what was probably a raspberry being blown at her in the background.
“It’s fine. Although when you come back next week for Christmas, I wanna hear what you’ve been telling people about me.”
“Cas, I haven’t said...”
“I know. I’m teasing you. Listen, the reason I’m calling is ‘cause I got this weird call from a woman named Frances Keen, who said she got my cell number from you.”
“Ohh, yeah. I was planning on calling you today and telling you about that. I’m in some classes with her granddaughter, and I’m kinda friends with her, or I was. She disappeared off campus, and her grandmother showed up last week, interrogating me about what she’d been doing. She seemed nice at first, and really concerned, and so I talked to her a while. She said Celia had gotten involved in some kind of designer drug, and become a train wreck. This was, apparently, a relapse, and they’d tried everything, and nothing has worked, and she was terrified that Celia was going to OD in a gutter, somewhere. I don’t know why I did it, but I said I had a friend who could probably fix Celia, thinking about the blood mixing and how it keeps drugs from taking effect.”
“You shouldn’t have done that,” I said.
“I know. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I realized it was a mistake. But Celia was nice enough when she was sober. I never even saw her high, at least I don’t think I did. And her grandmother was really upset, you know. She asked for your name and information about you, how to get hold of you. I tried to tell it was a stupid idea or that I at least needed to talk to you about it, but she became really insistent. When I still wouldn’t say, she started making threats and, I didn’t know what to do, and...”
The entire explanation came out in a rush, and her voice started to tremble as she spoke halfway through, until the words became unintelligible, coming out as higher pitched mumbles. It was weird actually. Megan had always been super confident and assured of herself, and I couldn’t remember ever hearing her cry.
“Hey, it’s okay. You didn’t do anything wrong. She just knows that I’m involved with a charity, that’s it. We’ll take care of it, from here.”
“Cas, I’m so sorry. I promise I won’t say anything like that again. You know I would never...”
“I know. It’s fine. Really. We haven’t talked in a while, how’s school?”
We spent the next ten minutes catching up, although she tried to apologize several more times. While I wasn’t thrilled she’d given my name out to someone who, from the sounds of it, was going to be a pain in the ass; it wasn’t even in the same league as some of the boneheaded stuff I’d pulled over the last year or so!
“You need to keep your groupies on a tighter leash,” Jawarski said when I hung up.
“That’s not fair. She screwed up, it happens. Tell me you’ve never let something slip or dropped the ball before? She realized she messed up as soon as she said it, and I don’t think we’re going to have to worry about her doing it again.”
Jawarski made a face, but I knew she wouldn’t yell at Megan. When I wasn’t around, she was apparently a really nice person. She just didn’t like to miss an opportunity to give me shit.
“Well, it’s still going to be a pain in the ass.”
“Probably. I assume you’re going to be at the meeting?”
“Yes. I’m also going to ask Jonathan to be there. From Megan’s description, the woman sounds like an entitled battleaxe, and might end up being a problem.”
“Yeah, that’s not a bad idea.”
“Of course it isn’t, I had it. Now get lost. I need to look into this lady, and you annoy me.”
I rolled my eyes, turned, and walked out of the room to rejoin Tami on the couch. I couldn’t do anything about the woman until tomorrow, or at least until we found out more about her. And a nap with Tami sounded like just the thing to pass the evening.
I must have needed more rest then I thought because when a hand pushed on my shoulder, waking me up, the sun had gone down and the only light was coming from the hallway. Tami, was still asleep, her head resting on my stomach.
“Hey,” Zoe’s voice came from above me, “It’s still early, but how about you two move upstairs so Vicki, Emily and I can join you?”
“Where is everyone else?” I asked, wiping the sleep from my eyes.
While the house wasn’t small by any measure, we had so many people living here now that it was unusual for it to be so quiet before the middle of the night.
“Judy has some kind of Christmas performance thing for school, and Tina, Mom and Mrs. Hollabrand went to see her.”
“Aww, man. How did I miss that? I would’a gone and supported her if I’d known about it.”
“I don’t think she thought it was a big deal. It’s some class-wide performance thing, and she only mentioned it tonight. They decided to let you and Tami sleep.”
“Did they take...”
“One of Carter’s guys went with them. They’ll be fine.”
“Okay. I guess since I apparently have a meeting in the morning, let’s go ahead and call it a night. Hey,” I said, shaking Tami. “Wake up sleepy head.”
“When did it get dark?” Tami said sitting up.
“The normal time. You’re just being a bum today and sleeping all afternoon.”
“Don’t blame me. You’re always doing a million things. If I get the chance to curl up and sleep with you, I’m gonna take it.”
“That was our plan, too,” Vicki said, standing behind Zoe and giving Tami a smirk.
“Goodie,” she said, hopping up.
Laughing, I followed the girls up the stairs to our room.
“Hey, Tami, you know your sister is in some kind of school thing tonight, right?”
“Yeah, she told me yesterday, but she said she’s just in the background and didn’t care if anyone went. She said if it wasn’t required, she would’a bailed on it.”
I shrugged and headed into our room.
“Okay, so let’s get changed for bed, and do this cuddling thing,” I said.
“It’s so cute when he thinks he’s in charge,” Emily said coming around me, grabbing my ass for good measure as she passed.
“Sweetie,” Zoe said, as she and Emily each grabbed a hand and led me to the bed, “‘cuddle’ is a euphemism.”
I was pulled out of a blissful sleep sometime later, with the early light coming in through the windows. Tami was tucked into one side and Emily the other. Vicki and Zoe had both passed out hard and were still wrapped up in the same position they’d fallen asleep in.
It took me a second to get my bearings, when the pounding on the door that had woken me up started again.
“Get up,” Jawarski said in her cop voice through the door.
“Go away,” Emily mumbled sleepily.
“She wouldn’t be yelling if it wasn’t important. Go back to sleep, and I’ll see what she wants.”
I pulled myself out from between Tami and Emily, who rolled together each in part of the spot I had vacated. While all of the girls loved each other, both physically and emotionally, as a side effect of mating with me, Tami and Emily weren’t as close as Emily was with either Zoe or Vicki or as Tami was with Zoe or Vicki. They got along fine, just didn’t spend a lot of alone time together. Seeing them cuddle together now, arms and legs intertwining, made my heart warm, and I spent a second looking down at them until Jawarski pounded on the door again.
“Okay, I’m coming. Keep it down, the girls are sleeping,” I said through the door as I pulled on underwear and a robe.
It might have been meaningless now, considering the racket Jawarski had made, but I quietly left the room, pulling the door silently closed behind me.
“What?” I asked, a little snippier then I intended.
“We might have a problem. This Keen woman is a bigger deal than your phone call led me to believe. She has serious money, and already has a team of investigators looking into you, your company, and Next Step.”
“She apparently comes from old money. Her family got rich back at the turn of the last century and managed to make it through the depression with her fortune more or less intact.”
“Okay, that means her offer to give funding to Next Step is serious. I don’t see the problem.”
“You heard the part about her having investigators looking into you, right? How could that not be a problem?”
“What do you think they’re going to find? Some records somewhere that says ‘this teenager is secretly a genetic freak with the ability to mind control people who come in contact with his blood?’”
“I thought you said it wasn’t mind control.”
“I was being hyperbolic. There’s nothing to find. I’m a kid who came into some money and lucked into owning part of a company. Am I weird? Sure, and that’s what she’s going to find. She’s not going to start thinking there’s a deeper conspiracy there. People don’t normally jump to considering the impossible. You dealt with me a bunch before you came into the know, did you guess the truth?”
“Well, I guessed the weird part.”
“We could use this money. For one, the company can only fund so much; for another, it’d be nice to point to some outside sources of funding. I’ve been thinking of mentioning to the girls to start looking for outside donors already.”
“And how, exactly, are you going to explain this ‘miracle’ cure for addiction?”
I started down the stairs, away from the bedroom door, since this was turning out to be a longer conversation that I had originally expected.