***author’s note: Another chapter relatively soon, who am I? Hehe, enjoy~
warning: there’s some slightly suggestive photos and language.***
SECOND HALF RECAPS
9:57 p.m. | Gus’s House
Kim and Gus continue the drive to his house in silence. Kim was sure he was going to provide an explanation along the way: say he made a mistake, or that he had something he wanted to show her. But no; aside from the hum of the car engine and breeze coming in through her passenger seat window, their drive is otherwise quiet. Gus pulls into his driveway and lets go of her hand, something Kim can’t help but feel disappointed at as she was very much enjoying the sensation. She follows Gus out of the car, and to her surprise, sees him extending his arm towards her again. Her blush quickly drains from her face when she notices he’s standing by the stairs, it was a gesture of courtesy, surely. “I can handle the stairs myself, thank you.” Kim says more curtly than intended as she makes her way up.
What am I doing here? She thinks. The moment allows herself to get distracted, Kim stumbles, and Gus is at her side, hands on her waist to prevent her from falling. “See.” He says with a grin once she turns to look at him, “You should’ve taken my arm when I offered it.” “Oh, shut up.” Kim says as her cheeks turn pink in embarrassment. She accepts his help this time, and leans on him the rest of the way up. When they reach his door, Gus turns to look at her, and the seriousness in his expression catches Kim off guard. His smirk from moments ago nowhere to be seen. “Kim, there’s something I need to tell you.” “Okay.” She says encouragingly. “I-” He pauses to run a hand through his hair. “The last thing I want to do is blindside you, but I’m tired of keeping my distance, afraid that what I’ll say will push you away.” Kim’s head was spinning; surely Gus wasn’t going to say those weighted words she never expected him to. “I have feelings for you, Kimberly.”
Kim could no longer feel her face, but figured her mouth was agape. “It doesn’t take a genius to piece together that’s why I get so angry whenever I feel like I can’t do anything to take your pain away, or why I feel so lonely when I don’t see you for a while. I’m probably the slowest guy in the history of existence, since it didn’t really dawn on me until a few months ago.” Kim stands there in a stunned silence. “Say something, please.” Gus says.
“You’re right.” Kim says once she finds her voice. Gus looks at her questioningly and Kim resists the urge to burst out into laughter at his obliviousness. “You are the slowest guy in the history of existence, Gus…” She walks over to him and pulls him into a kiss. The quick brush of their lips sends waves of desire crashing over her. She pulls back and lets her hands remain on the sides of his face. “…if you don’t know how I feel about you.” Gus breaks out into a brilliant smile as he lifts her up. Keeping one hand on her thigh, he uses the other to open the door and steps inside, kicking it shut after them.
Without speaking, Kim is able to see Gus’s intent written clearly all over his face, she expected it mirrored her own. Gus strokes her jaw with his thumb before bringing her lips to his, their tongues find one another instantly. In a whir of movement, they’re in his room, and Kim’s body is acting on its own at this point. The years of yearning she’s held back overcoming her. She slides Gus jacket over his shoulders and fumbles with the first two buttons of his shirt before giving up and yanking it open, some buttons landing audibly on the wooden floor. She can feel Gus smile beneath her lips.
“You can send me the bill.” She says between kisses. Gus pulls back and cocks an eyebrow, “Consider us even.” With that, he rolls to his side, shifting his weight so that Kim is now pinned beneath him. He places his hands in her dress’s neckline, his fingers brushing against her chest, and cleanly tears the fabric between his hands into two. As he lets the pieces fall off of the bed, Kim hears the phone that was in her pocket hit the ground with a muted thud.
Kim is hyperaware of the sensation of their hot skin rubbing against one another as Gus eases himself onto her. She looks into his piercing blue eyes, the eyes she’s come to love unconditionally for the last thirteen years. They were her favorite part of him; more so than his blonde hair he’d tug on when he was frustrated, his low voice that sent a thrill through her when he’d say her name, his firm arms that would hold her when she needed them to, or even his rock hard abs she could now feel pressed against her own exposed skin. With the eyes capable of trumping all of those things now inches from her own face, the closest they’ve ever been, she was able to notice for the first time that they held flecks of gray.
He draws back the hand that had drifted to the back of her bra to unclasp it. “Kim.” Gus says as he runs a finger along her cheek. “You sure about this?” He asks, his voice low. There was a flush in his skin and glow in his eyes that only made her heart race even more. Kim reaches up and puts her heated palm against his cheek. “Don’t stop.” She whispers. The corner of Gus’s mouth turn up into a smile before he returns his lips to hers in a rush. Every inch of Kim’s body tingles, her nerves on fire, as her mind and body are overwhelmed by Gus.
12:04 a.m. | Persefoni Home
The empty driveway lets Aislyn know her father and Nicole are still on their weekend getaway as she storms into the house and begins pacing in the living room. Thankfully the roads were mostly empty, as she had been quite absent-minded on her drive home. She wishes J.D. was around so she could seek counsel on what to do. She hadn’t even gotten close to telling Cailean about her ability yet, and the prospect of having to do so now and telling him about his father who was still very much around seemed so daunting. As Aislyn lets her thoughts spin around in her head, her phone begins to ring in her pocket. The shattered silence causes her to utter an uncharacteristic yelp.
It’s Cailean. Aislyn takes a few steadying breaths before answering. “Hello?” “Hey, I just wanted to check that you made it back safe since I didn’t hear from you.” Aislyn glances at the clock and realizes that she’s been pacing for nearly an hour. “I’m sorry, I forgot.” She says sheepishly. “That’s alright, as long as you’re okay.” “I am.” Aislyn hopes her words come across as genuine. “Well, I’m going to call it a night then.” “Same here, I’m sorry I kept you up.” The fact that Cailean had been waiting for her sent a pang of guilt through her. “That’s not something you have to apologize for, Aislyn.” He says softly, “So, I’ll talk to you tomorrow then?” At his question, Aislyn feels terrible, yet again, at her inability to carry a normal conversation. “Yeah, okay.” “Night.” “Night.” After hanging up with a sigh, Aislyn hugs Cailean’s jacket closer to her. She had a feeling sleep wouldn’t come easily to her tonight and decides to take a bath, in hopes the hot water can relax her tense muscles.
As she lowers herself into the steaming water, Aislyn pushes all thoughts of Cailean and his family from her mind. She directs her attention instead on the rising vapors that smelled like her body wash, curling her hair ever so slightly. The distraction fails miserably, and moments later her thoughts return with a fury. Where is J.D? She thinks. Realizing her attempts at relaxation are futile, Aislyn hops out of the bath and is back downstairs pacing again within minutes. There was only one other person she could talk to, and even though she was feeling guilty at the hour, Aislyn pulls out her phone, and hits dial.
1:17 a.m. | Gus’s Room
Kim’s eyes flutter open. The clock on Gus’s nightstand is in her immediate line of sight and she reads the time: 1:17. She stretches her limbs, and upon realizing she’s lying beside Gus, feels a warmth spread through her body. As she recalls their heated activities from earlier in the night, a blush spreads over her cheeks. She turns her head over to take a look at his sleeping face. The fact that they were mere inches from one another makes her blush deepen. While smiling to herself, Kim becomes aware of the faint buzz of her phone on the ground. She figures it was the probable cause for her waking up so soon after they’d both fallen asleep.
Kim rises, careful to not wake Gus with her movement, and grabs her phone from the floor. The caller ID shows that it’s Aislyn. Knowing she wasn’t one to call, especially at this hour, Kim answers hastily. “Aislyn?” She says in a low voice. “Are you okay?” “Yeah, I just needed to talk… is now a really bad time?” “No.” Kim says concerned, “Give me a second.” She casts a glance back towards Gus, making sure to keep her voice quiet, and retrieves her tossed undergarments. After slipping them back on, she turns off his nightstand light before tiptoeing out.
Once she’s downstairs, Kim speaks more comfortably. “Okay, what’s up?” She asks. “Commissioner DeCarlo found out.” “Found out?” Kim echoes, “What did she…” It takes a moment for the realization to set in. “You mean… Cailean’s mom knows about-” “Yeah.” Aislyn says on the other end, knowing Kim had understood what she meant. “How much does she-” “Everything.” Aislyn interrupts once again. “Oh.” Kim says, taking a moment to process this. “How are you doing?” “Pretty good all things considered.” Aislyn says. It didn’t sound that way to Kim. “Sorry, but I’m calling bullshit on that.”
Kim thought she was a calm person, but after she met Aislyn she quickly realized that everything was relative, and her own level-headedness couldn’t hold a candle to hers. It was very apparent that something had caused a chip in Aislyn’s normally well-maintained demeanor. “It’s not Daphne that has me distressed…” Aislyn says apprehensively. Kim has tried on occasion to learn more about Aislyn’s ability and upbringing. Because Aislyn would quickly shut down any conversations that veered that way, Kim learned to back off to avoid making her uncomfortable. She senses that Aislyn’s current state might make her more inclined to share, and figures now is as good a time as ever to learn more about why Aislyn was the way she was. “Okay, rewind.” Kim says, “Why don’t you start at the beginning.” She says softly, “Don’t leave anything out.”
“I couldn’t even look at Cailean properly when we were saying goodbye at my door.” Aislyn says, her voice hoarse again at retelling all the details she’d told Cailean’s mom earlier now to Kim. Aislyn wanted to skip around her rather depressing life tale, but whenever she’d gloss over something, Kim would ask her to enlighten her, and so she did. At some point her legs ached from all her pacing and she’d collapsed into a living room chair. “Because you felt guilty?” Kim guesses. “Yeah.” Aislyn says with a sigh.
“That’s understandable, but I think his mom was being too harsh. It’s not like you’re showing someone an embarrassing tattoo. This is pretty… unbelievable stuff.” Kim says after pausing to carefully choose her words. “If you thought that was bad. Guess who I saw when I went inside?” “Who?” Kim asks, wondering how things could possibly get worse. “His dad.” Kim forgets herself for a moment and and gasps rather audibly. She shoots a glance at the stairs to make sure she hadn’t woken Gus. “No way! Get the fuck out. You did not!” She says incredulously, “You’ve got to be kidding.”
“I wish I were.” Aislyn says solemnly.
“Aislyn, he’s been dead for-” “I know.”
“What are you going to do?”
“For now? Nothing. I haven’t been able to string together a coherent thought for the past few hours. But I feel a lot better after having talked to you.”
“I’m glad you called.” Kim says, “If there was one take away from everything you’ve told me tonight, it’s that your mom is a bitch. No offense.” “None taken.”Aislyn lets out a shaky laugh at Kim’s bluntness. She had interrupted Aislyn’s flow of past memories to curse out many of her classmates, and ridicule her mother’s parenting.
“It’s so late, I feel bad I’ve kept you up for so long.”
“Don’t worry about it, Aislyn. We still haven’t come up with what you should do going forward.”
“No, no I’ve already taken up most of your night. I’ll think of something. You should get some sleep.”
“I want to help-” “It’s okay. Night.”
Before Kim could protest any longer, Aislyn hangs up having already bounced back from the brief vulnerability she’d shown. Kim wasn’t feeling tired at all. If anything, hearing so much about Aislyn’s rather infuriating teen years in Bayville made her feel more awake than she had been that morning. With a sigh, she drops her phone beside her on the couch. You’re too considerate for your own good, Aislyn. Kim thinks. What can I do to help you?…
“What are you doing up? Were you on the phone?” Kim is surprised to see Gus standing a few feet from her. She was so deep in thought, she hadn’t heard him approach. “Yeah. Sorry, did I wake you?” “Your absence woke me up, not your voice.” Gus says with a grin. “If I didn’t see the remainder of your dress on the floor, I’d have thought I imagined our evening.” At his words, Kim’s eyes drift down his muscular frame. She doesn’t make any attempt to hide her gaze. “Oh, that was very real.” She says, feeling that familiar blush return to her cheeks.
“Who was that?” Gus asks as he moves to join her on the couch. “Aislyn.” Kim answers automatically. It’s only after she utters her name she realizes perhaps that wasn’t the best idea. “Is something wrong?” Gus asks, he eyebrows knitting in concern. “Are you seriously asking about your ex in front of me?” Kim teases. Gus cracks a grin but she can still see visible signs of his worry on his face. “Its late.” He says. “It’s not uncommon for girl chats to drag on into the early hours.” Kim says dismissively. “And what were you girls chatting about?” “Afraid I can’t tell you. Lady problems.” Kim says. She had no intention of betraying Aislyn’s confidence in her, even to Gus. “Oh.” Gus says. His tense shoulders visibly relax, and Kim feels she’s successfully fooled him.
“Well if you aren’t up for talking, should we do something else?” Gus pulls her towards him, and drapes her legs over his lap. He lets his lips leave a trail of kisses up her arm, across her shoulder and to her neck. “That tickles.” Kim says. She reaches for his face, and redirect his lips to her own. Without breaking the contact between them. She feels Gus’s arms slide beneath her and pick her up effortlessly. “How’s your energy level?” He asks with a cocked eyebrow. “Perfect.” She says, copying his expression, “I never say no to some early morning cardio.” She adds, and she feels Gus’s chest shake as he chuckles. “You certainly have a way with words, don’t you?” Kim joins him in his laughter, wrapping her arms around his neck as they ascend the stairs.
The bright light that fills the living room causes Aislyn to awake with a start. She blinks a few times as her eyes adjust, and sees Nicole entering from the front door. “Aislyn, dear. What are you doing here?” She asks as she walks in. “I was talking to a friend for a while and fell asleep.” Aislyn answers as she rubs her eyes, “How was your trip?” “Very relaxing.” Nicole says warmly. “That’s nice.” Aislyn returns Nicole’s smile. “I’d love to tell you all about it, but don’t you have to get to work?” Aislyn bolts upright on the couch.
“What time is it?” “Umm, a little after seven.” Nicole says after glancing at her watch. “Your father’s waiting in the car. I’m going to grab some papers and we’re heading straight to the office as well.” “Thanks for the reminder!” Aislyn says as she begins taking the stairs two at a time.
She was almost in trouble. Since she’d fallen asleep downstairs, she couldn’t hear her alarm ringing in her room. Luckily, Nicole waking her had given her just enough time to get ready. After racing through her morning routine, and clipping back her bangs, Aislyn throws on the first thing she sees in her closet before speeding off to the Sentinel.
7:58 a.m. | Bayville Sentinel HQ
By some stroke of luck, the morning traffic isn’t terrible despite the normal morning rush. Aislyn finds herself pulling into her parking spot with minutes to spare. Wanting to be in her desk before eight, she begins rushing up the steps. “Morning.” Her head snaps up and she sees Axel looking back at her over his shoulder. He walks into the entrance and leans against the door, holding it open so she can enter before him. “Thanks.” She utters as she steps through, and he slows his pace to match hers as they walk through the lobby. Aislyn turns towards the elevators and feels Axel’s hand on her shoulder, stopping her. “Where are you going?” He asks. She looks at him in confusion. “It’s Monday.” He says in explanation. “Oh, no.” Aislyn groans silently.
She had forgotten to finish the piece she’d intended to last night in time for their weekly meeting with Silva. Her run in with Cailean’s dad and late night chat with Kim threw a wrench into that plan. “Let me guess. You didn’t finish your assignment.” Aislyn nods with a sigh. “It happens.” Axel says nonchalantly. “You’ve been good with deadlines so far, haven’t you?” Axel’s tone is more of a statement than a question. “What’s this? Were you paying me some attention after all?” Aislyn jokes. She was glad things between them had improved after their talk at Axel’s place. “Don’t let it get to your head.” He says as he nudges her. Aislyn finds herself smiling despite herself, and they make their way into Silva’s office.
Silva raises his head from a paper he was scanning to greet them when they walk in. “Good, you’re all here.” He says. The pair joins Minah and Randall who were already standing near Silva’s desk and talking to each other. Silva appears to be deep in thought, drumming the back of his fingers against the paper in his hand. He normally started their meetings off right away; asked them for updates before assigning new cases. Something appeared to be off, and the four of them watch him in silence. After a moment, he speaks. “Whatever you guys are working on, push it aside. This new case is going to take priority.” “Aww man, I stayed up all night finishing.” Randall protests. “I didn’t say dump them. We’ll get back to them later on.” Silva says.
Axel leans down towards Aislyn. “Looks like you lucked out.” He whispers into her ear. Aislyn turns to give him a satisfied grin. “You can say that again.” She whispers back. “I’m going to need all hands on deck for this story.” “No offense, sir. But to have all of us working on the same piece. Isn’t that a little overkill?” Axel says as he runs a hand through his hair. “Why am I not surprised to hear that from you, Mr. Solo.” Randall says crossing his arms. His tone indicated he was slightly offended at Axel’s statement. “What?” Axel says indignantly. ”Relax.” Silva says.
“What can you tell me about the recent incident at the Phillips residence?” Silva asks, setting his paper down. Aislyn’s thoughts immediately drift to Cailean; it was the case he was currently working on. “The old couple living in Oldmerrow?” Minah asks. “They don’t live there.” Axel corrects, “They live in Ravensburg, but they have multiple homes, and the attack that occurred just happened to be over there.” He adds. “Oh, yeah.” Randall says in realization, “Didn’t the maid do it or something? They arrested her, right?” “That’s all correct.” Silva says with a nod of approval at his team’s quickness. “Except for that last bit. Yes, the DAs office made an arrest, but the prosecutor in charge is still building the case, there’s still a chance it isn’t the suspect they currently have.” Silva says. “What’s that got to do with us dropping out current workload?” Minah asks. “I’m getting to that.”
Silva rises from his desk to stand before them. “Now, what can you guys tell me about the family’s multi-million dollar construction company?” “While the couple recovers, their niece will be in control, right?” Aislyn says recalling what she’d briefly seen on the news before Cailean had changed the channel. “Right you are.” Silva nods. “And as much as I’ll feel for Walter and his wife, Heidi, who are currently hospitalized, I have to say I find the timing of this incident to be a bit… suspicious.” “How so?” Randall asks. “Well, when I’m not bossing around my well-rounded team, I’m working on stories of my own you know.” Silva says with a slight smile. “For the past few months I’d begun working on a piece looking into how our state’s largest construction company had amassed a fortune as big as it has, in as short a time as it has. Normally, that would entail a great deal of skill, luck or-” Silva intentionally trails off his sentence, expecting them to answer. “Corruption.” They say in unison. “That’s my team.” He says.
“While the Phillips Construction Company has the family name in the company one, there’s a large board of directors and people in control. So the source of any shady business dealings can be anyone, if it’s not everyone.” Silva pauses to rub his neck. “Recently I received a tip from an anonymous source – someone who probably caught wind of what I’d been working on secretly- telling me to look closely into the higher chain of command without any other explanations. That narrows the board of twelve down to about four individuals.” Silva pauses to retrieve the paper he’d set down. “Just as I finished setting up meetings with the four individuals in question, this incident happened.” Silva says grimly. “I wouldn’t be in this field if things like that didn’t sound an alarm for me.” Everyone nods, taking this in. “Now, there’s a chance, however small, that this was a coincidence. But, if it’s not, then what exactly happened? Is there someone in the company willing to harm others ‘in the know’ to keep their actions a secret? Is the truth another matter entirely? That, my lovely team, is why I’m enlisting your help. I fear there may be a time limit to what we’ll be able to get answers for.”
“What do you want us to do first?” Aislyn asks. “Well, I wouldn’t be comfortable sending you guys off solo to pursue different angles, especially if there is someone trying to keep the truth hidden. So, I’m pairing you off. Persefoni and Simmons, I want you to go to Ravensbrg and see if you can get a word in with the interim CEO Mrs. Jacqueline Durand. It goes without saying that your line of questioning should be-” “Subtle. We know.” Axel says. “Right. Park and Morris, I need you to go to Oldmerrow, and get any details you can from the hospital the Phillips are currently in.” “We’re on it.” Randall says. “Great. Any questions.” Silva asks, as he crosses his arms and looks at all of them in turn. “Good. I’ve made copies of the tip, along with some other bits of information I’ve collected so far. Grab them, and off you go.” “I’ll drive.” Aislyn says, and Axel raises an eyebrow. “No longer a bus girl?” “Nope.” Aislyn says as she pulls out her keys. “I’m shocked.” Axel says, “Should I be placing my life in the hands of such a new driver?” “Oh, shut up.” Aislyn rolls her eyes as they walk out of Silva’s office, and wave goodbye to Minah and Randall.
11:37 a.m. | Phillips Construction Company HQ
The drive to Ravensburg was even longer than that to Oldmerrow, but the two and a half hours speed on by as they spend most of the ride discussing the case. As Aislyn follows the navigation to their destination, Axel reads the papers Silva gave them aloud to help familiarize them with the situation, and the company. “Looks like we’re here.” Aislyn says. She parks the car in front of a large building with the letters PCC on the doors. When she and Axel exit the car, they both crane their necks to look up at the headquarters. Axel lets out a low whistle, “Let’s see what we can dig up.” Aislyn nods and follows him inside.
The lobby is filled with men with cameras who appear disappointed when they walk in. “Not very subtle, are they?” Axel says with a tone of disapproval. They go to the front desk and show their credentials to a woman seated there. The dark circles under her eyes, and three cups of coffee beside her computer makes the current stress she must be experiencing due to recent events very apparent. “Excuse me for a moment.” The woman says. Once she’s out of earshot, Aislyn turns to Axel. “She must be overwhelmed.” “No kidding.” Axel says in agreement. “Look how many vultures are lying around.” He adds, tilting his head towards the various news cameramen and paparazzi alike. “Mrs. Durand says she’ll see you, but only briefly.” The woman says upon returning. “Just take the elevator up to the top floor.” Aislyn and Axel nod and walk in the direction the woman points after giving their thanks.
When they arrive on the top floor, they’re greeted by three doors, and find the one that says Jacqueline Durand beside it. The door is ajar, and upon entering they realize Mrs. Durand is nowhere to be seen. Exchanging a silent look between one another, Aislyn and Axel decide to take a look around with him heading left, and her to the right. The office is fairly bare, and exceptionally organized. Aislyn notices a bookshelf in the corner and makes her way towards it. Its shelves consist of books about business management and engineering techniques, along with several magazines.
There are a few miniature plants, and decorative stones scattered around as well. On the second to last shelf Aislyn notices a picture frame. As she nears it, she sees it’s a picture of Mrs. Durand and a young girl Aislyn presumes is her daughter. She feels herself smile, it was a lovely photograph. As far as she can tell, there was nothing nefarious about the atmosphere of Mrs. Durand’s space, but then again, she supposed people performing shady actions wouldn’t leave behind any obvious signs they were. She makes her way back towards the door and sees Axel also returning. “Anything?” He asks, and Aislyn shakes her head.
They walk towards the large windows filling the room with light. “What a view.” Aislyn says as they take in the city. The clouds that had begun to fill the sky block out the sun that had greeted them as they’d entered the city, and begin to spill some rain. They look on in silence until the sound of clicking heels draws both of their attention behind them.
They see the temporary CEO making her way downstairs. “My apologies for the wait, but I was already in the process of getting ready to head out. You’re the last media organization I’ll be speaking to for the day.” She says as she descends the steps. Aislyn’s initial reaction is that the photos of Mrs. Durand, on her bookshelf and on TV, hadn’t done her justice. She was beautiful and tall, with a lean frame. If being in the family business wasn’t in the cards, Aislyn suspects she could’ve easily been a model.
“Let’s make this quick.” Mrs. Durand says once she reaches the bottom step. “Where are you from?” She asks. “The Sentinel.” Axel answers. Mrs. Durand gestures towards the seats in front of her desk, and sets her handbag down. Aislyn wasn’t as well versed in fashion as she used to be, but if her trips with Nicole had taught her anything, it was that that particular bag cost upwards of five grand. “I’m Axel Simmons, and this is Aislyn Persefoni. We have a few questions we’d like to ask you.” Axel says as they take a seat. Mrs. Durand rubs her nose bridge beneath her glasses. “I’ll tell you the same thing I told the other reporters. No, this position isn’t permanent. Yes, I will be in charge until my uncle makes a full recovery. Moving forward-” “Actually.” Axel interrupts. “We aren’t here to ask about the recent power struggle you and your board members have been experiencing since the incident that befell your uncle and aunt.”
“You’re not?” Mrs. Durand asks. Her eyes fall onto Aislyn as if seeking confirmation that Axel was being serious. “Yes, we actually came to inquire about the company’s history and business partnerships.” Aislyn answers without missing a beat. Out of the corner of her eye, she sees Axel give a small nod of approval. “What about them?” Mrs. Durand’s eyes narrow in suspicion, no doubt piecing together the direction the conversation would be turning. “Is it true that the PCC has received some payouts from local figureheads in return for favors?” Axel asks reciting what they’d read in Silva’s documents. “That’s preposterous.” Mrs. Durand says. Aislyn notes her tone isn’t one of surprise, and Axel appears to pick up on that as well. “You don’t sound surprised.” “Rumors are rumors, Mr. Simmons. Nothing I haven’t heard before.” “But are they unfounded?” Axel presses on. “Yes, of course they are.” Mrs. Durand says, slightly exasperated.
As far as Aislyn could tell, Mrs. Durand was convinced what she was saying was true. Either that, or she was a very convincing liar. “My father started this company with his hard work, and when he passed, my uncle helped it flourish into the powerhouse it is today. You won’t find a single employee working for us or with us on any level with dirty hands. And that’s a hill I’m willing to die on.” “Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.” Axel says. “What’s that supposed to mean?” Mrs. Durand asks, her tone ice cold. Aislyn distinctly remembers Silva telling them to be subtle before they left, but it appeared Axel had his own plan, and she didn’t think it wise to contradict him in front of a stranger. “The recent attack on your family. Any chance it has something to do with someone unhappy with your uncle’s leadership? Or perhaps there’s someone your uncle is unhappy with that’s taking revenge.” Mrs. Durand opens and closes her mouth. It appears as though she hadn’t pondered this and for a split second, an expression of fear crosses her face.
“The Oldmerrow police and prosecutor in charge are working to catch whomever is responsible. Until they do, I don’t know what his or her motives could be.” She says as she rises angrily. She places her hands on her desk and leans forward, her eyes narrowing into slits as she glares at Axel. “And, I don’t appreciate your tone.” Each word is ice. “My apologies.” Axel says smoothly. Mrs. Durand’s hostility didn’t appear to phase him at all. “Are we done here?” She asks, her eyes once again turning towards Aislyn. “Yes.” Aislyn answers while rising, reaching for Axel’s arm and making him follow her movement. While looking at Aislyn, Mrs. Durand’s expression softens slightly. “I trust you know your way out.” She says. “Any particular reason for the rush?” Axel asks and Aislyn resists the urge to facepalm. “Not that it’s any of your concern.” Mrs. Durand begins, pausing to place a hand on her hip. “But I received word that my uncle and aunt have returned home, so I’m heading to Oldmerrow to meet up with them now.” Aislyn looks at Axel in surprise, but he doesn’t seem phased by this revelation.
“Thank you for your time.” Aislyn says, and she and Axel make their way towards the door. Aislyn pauses in the doorway and turns back. “Mrs. Durand.” She says to get her attention. “If there’s another way out of here aside from the ground floor, I suggest you take it. There’s cameramen and paparazzi posted in the lobby. Just thought you should know.” Mrs. Durand gives a warm smile. “Thank you.” She says genuinely. Aislyn nods, and joins Axel who’s waiting by the elevator.
“What was that?” He asks. “It doesn’t hurt to be nice.” Aislyn says with a shrug. “Speaking of which.” She says as she crosses her arms. “What was up with you back there?” “You don’t approve of my methods?” Axels grins. “Weren’t you the one who said that bringing an issue to a company’s doorstep like this will only give them enough time to clean up their act, or at the very least, cover their tracks enough to make our jobs more difficult.” Axel’s eyes widen in surprise. “I’m touched, you remembered my advice, rookie. Word for word, at that. Well done.” He says as he pats her shoulder. “So then why did you say all that to Mrs. Durand?” Aislyn asks. “There is something amiss about this story.” Axel says. He pulls out a piece of paper and hands it to Aislyn.
“Where’d you get this?” Aislyn asks. “I found it when we split up to look around. Crumpled in a recycling bin in the kitchenette. “I thought you said you didn’t find anything.” “No, I asked you if you found anything. I didn’t volunteer what I found.” Aislyn shakes her head and returns her gaze to the paper. “This looks…”
“Like it was made by a fucking kid? I know.”
“I was going to say it’s unique, but sure, let’s go with that. Anything else you’d like to share?” Aislyn asks, slightly annoyed that Axel witheld this from her. “Yes, Randall texted us earlier saying that he and Minah were heading to the Phillips house because the hospital released them.” “What? Why didn’t you tell me?” “I find your surprised face to be quite amusing.” “I cant believe you.” Aislyn scoffs, “So you were pressing Mrs. Durand on purpose?”
The elevator arrives and they step inside. “Yes. If she’s going to meet her uncle now, I suspect she’ll mention what we told her, and that’ll make our jobs easier or harder depending on what he does with that information. Either way, it pushes the investigation along.” “So what do we do now?” “Now.” Axel says as she reaches for the paper still in Aislyn’s hand, “We go here.”
I know this was super long, don’t hate me! 😇 At long last, there’s been some action between Gus and Kim XD Told you it would come relatively quicker than Aislyn and Cailean took, hehe. That intro was the most steamy I’ve gotten writing wise, which isn’t saying much because everything was comparatively tame, lol. For now, a brief underboob is as risqué as it shall get for me.
Hooray for female friendships! Kim’s going to be Aislyn’s rock whenever J.D. disappears, as he has this chapter. (He’ll be back next chapter though :3) Sorry this got kind of wordy, but hey, at least it didn’t take three months to get it out this time. I got kind of lazy with my photo-taking, so I hope it wasn’t too boring. I honestly could not be bothered to set things up or re-pose and take photos with different angles. I’m saving that energy for a future chapter that I’m currently working on that’s going to need a lot of dress-up/decor/sims to manage.
This construction company accident/case is kind of going to be the focus for this last fifth of the story for many reasons. There’ll be a bit more clarification as to what Cailean’s job is as prosecutor and whatnot next chapter – I’ll try to make it as lively as I can, hehe. And after that, I promise you shall get some answers. Thanks for reading ❤