Couch Matinee: "HER FATE" Episode 1

Written by Vinny "Bond" Marini Monday, September 13, 2010

As Charles Jordan left the cab at LAX, he looked back and sighed knowing he was leaving the warmth of LA for a 10” blizzard in Boston.

Smiling, Charles counted the eighteen days before his two week vacation to the Dominican Republic with his current girlfriend Lisa. Fourteen days of lying around, golf, swimming in the pool, snorkeling in the blue waters of the Caribbean, food & drink and Lisa. They could have rented a smaller villa then “Casa Cosmopolitana,” with its three bedrooms, but Charles wanted a pool and to be near the golf course...

OK...just follow the car in front of you and please take the next available spot...

The Concession Stand is open for your enjoyment...

Everyone have a drink? popcorn? candy? Good, good...
Please remember to not chatter during the show and disturb your neighbors.

Sound is ready...Roll 'em

As Charles Jordan left the cab at LAX, he looked back and sighed knowing he was leaving the warmth of LA for a 10” blizzard in Boston.

Smiling, Charles counted the eighteen days before his two week vacation to the Dominican Republic with his current girlfriend Lisa. Fourteen days of lying around, golf, swimming in the pool, snorkeling in the blue waters of the Caribbean, food & drink and Lisa. They could have rented a smaller villa then “Casa Cosmopolitana,” with its three bedrooms, but Charles wanted a pool and to be near the golf course...

Entering Terminal 7 for his United Air flight Charles looked at his watch and realized he had an hour and a half before boarding. Charles was surprised at how quickly he made it through the security check-point. Traveling had been slowly changing since 9/11 and for someone like Charles that meant constantly adapting to the changing conditions.

He now owned a collection of clear plastic one-ounce bottles for all of his liquid toiletries. When going to an airport, he always wore loafer type shoes to avoid having to tie shoelaces. But without fail, there would be someone in the line with a gallon bottle of shampoo, 3 bottles of water and a Swiss army knife that they got from their great grandfather and would not part with causing the entire line to back up.

Today, however, he moved straight through and walked into the bar directly across from his gate. Sliding onto a bar stool, Charles smiled at the bartender a woman of about twenty-five and said, “Gentleman Jack two ice cubes please.” “Coming right up,” she smiled back and poured the drink. Placing it in front of Charles she asked “So, where are you heading today?” “Unfortunately, leaving the warmth of LA for the snow of Boston.”

Charles took a sip of the drink and closed his eyes for a second, smiling. At 36 he was the Chief Marketing Officer of Yardoff Publishing or YAPUB as it was called after its stock symbol. He earned a salary in the mid six figures and his yearly bonus would exceed that this year; Charles was on his way to retiring at 50 and trying to qualify at the PGA Champions Tour. A scratch golfer, he hoped to spend the following twenty years doing what he loved most. Play golf, be outdoors, travel, and party and be in a position to meet beautiful women.

His eyes still closed, Charles felt the presence of someone taking the stool next to his and opened them to look. “Excuse me, I didn’t mean to disturb you,” said the red-haired beauty. “No,” Charles chuckled, “I was just basking in a good trip. May I buy you a drink to help me celbrate?”
“I disturbed you; it should be me buying you a drink in apology. My name is Barbara, Barbara Stewart.” She said as she extended her hand.

Charles was pleasantly surprised when he offered his hand to shake, Barbara took hold in a firm grip, one shake, and release. The perfect handshake, in Charles’ opinion. “Charles Jordan, a pleasure to meet you Barbara Stewart. Please let me buy the first.” And he signaled the bartender, who didn’t smile half as much this time as she eyed the redhead making “googily” eyes at the handsome customer.

“Another for me and …what will you have?”
“Vodka and Tonic please,” Barbara said as she fixed the bartender with a glare. Charles caught this little exchange and could not help but smile.

This was a new occurrence, as Charles was never considered a ladies man. That had all changed two years before when Alexander Yardoff, the scion of the Yardoff family had taken notice of a young, aggressive but scruffy account manager for the advertising agency YAPUB used.

“Mr. Yardoff,” as Charles still called the old man, had a complete makeover ordered. A physical trainer was hired, a new hair style, even a complete set of caps, and Charles was ready to be groomed for the CMO position.

Over the next two years, Mr. Yardoff and his wife, BettyAnn, began including Charles in their social circle. Introducing him to their friends and the higher level business associates Charles needed to know.

With two children who had never shown any interest in the corporation, the Yardoffs’ knew they needed a creative mind to help lead YAPUB to the next level. Alexander had just celebrated his 73rd birthday and BettyAnn her 60th. She had been in finance at YAPUB and had risen to the position of CFO prior to retiring at 58.

When Alexander’s first wife, the mother of his children, Sara had passed 10 years before he had asked BettyAnn for dinner a month later. At the suggestion BettyAnn had scolded him on his lack of dignity.

A year later to the day, Alexander walked into her office and asked her to dinner and she accepted. They were married two years later. Alexander’s children liked BettyAnn and when they heard the story of her initial rejection, they were even happier.

Alexander Yardoff’s father, Benjamin had begun Yardoff Publishing in 1890 as a twenty year old. He bought a small printing press and setting it up in the garage of his home he began to print materials for the Boston Public Schools. Then as he grew, he worked in collaboration with two high school teachers and they put out a line of books for schools.

Within 5 years, their books were being used as curriculum in schools across the country and Yardoff Publishing ran 3 printing plants across the country. Over the years, they expanded to grammar schools and even some college textbooks.

A unique business plan gave YAPUB an advantage other traditional publishers did not have. Benjamin had drilled into his son that “You must own the manufacturing and most of your product must be home grown.” YAPUB never sold its printing operations to the large conglomerates that came calling and its staff of authors had grown over the years. These professionals knew they would have more control of the product and could experiment with new teaching techniques more readily then if they freelanced for other publishers.

YAPUB had also seen the future in CDs and then DVDs and had begun to digitize their entire catalog of books. Thus being the first to offer this new technology to the school districts and opening up new avenues of revenue.

The business Charles had just purchased was a replication plant for both CDs and DVDs continuing the philosophy of “owning the manufacturing.” The deal will save over $4-million the first year alone.

Charles was pulled back to reality by the cooing of “Penny for your thoughts.” He turned to see that Barbara’s glass was nearly empty. “Where did you go to that time?” she asked.

“Sorry, it’s been a long, but fruitful trip and I guess I was just reviewing the details. So, tell me what do you do Ms. Stewart?”

Over the next 10 minutes Barbara described her job as a fashion buyer for one of the largest department stores in the world. Her specialty was lingerie, which elicited the obligatory laugh between the two. Single, she lives in LA and was on her way to Boston to visit her sister and brother-in-law. They had just bought a townhouse on Charles Street, just off of Beacon, a block from the Boston Commons, and Barbara was on her way to celebrate her sister’s 30th birthday. Barbara did let slip that she was not looking forward to hitting that hurtle in two years.

Charles inquired what Barbara’s sister and husband did for a living. The address they had just purchased would be priced somewhere north of $10-million. He was a bit surprised to hear they were the owners of two pubs in town. A bar can do well, but not $10-million town home well, but Charles knew when to hold his tongue and did. He thought he knew the exact town home, from when he was looking for a place and remembered the price being higher at that time.

In the end, he was very happy with his condo on the water, overlooking the Boston harbor.

A few minutes later, their plane was called for boarding. Charles grabbed both checks and paid, leaving the disappointed bartender with a $20 tip, which soothed some of her pain.

The boarded the plane together and found they were both in first class, across the aisle from each other.

Through the early part of the flight, they chatted and shared stories. Barbara and her sister hadn’t seen each other in over 5 years, and this was to be a great homecoming.

After dinner, Charles excused himself and put his seat back and closed his eyes. The red-eye was his least favorite flight, but if he could sleep for half the flight he found it didn’t hit him too hard.

His eyes opened as the plane tires tapped onto the runway. Charles opened his eyes and yawned. Looking at his watch, he saw they were actually about 20 minutes early.

“Morning,” Barbara said from across the aisle. “Morning, did you sleep?” Charles asked.

“Not as well as you did,” Barbara said laughing “you did a little snoring there at the end!”

“My apologies,” Charles said with embarrassment. “Can I offer you a ride to your sister’s? I have a car waiting and it is only about 10 blocks from me.” “If I am not putting you out, I will accept that ride.” Barbara answered.

They left the plane and walked to the baggage area. As they waited for their bags, Charles called to make sure John his driver was in the area. John worked for the car service YAPUB used when they needed a car or limo. Charles had a standing request for John to always be his driver and they had formed a bond over the last couple of years.

When they had their bags, they made their way outside and Charles immediately saw the car. John pulled to the curb and popped open the trunk. Charles opened the back door for Barbara and then put their bags into the trunk. When he was done he slid into the backseat alongside her.

“Morning John, how is it you are always right there waiting when I come out? No matter when, you are always just pulling to the curb. It is like you teleport in.” “Well Mr. Jordan, it helps when you were on the job for twenty years and trained most of the cops on the beat. They let you get away with murder.” John used the “Mr. Jordan” as he always did when someone else was in the car.

“John this is Barbara and we will be dropping her off first.” Charles then gave the address and John pulled away from the curb and began the drive into downtown Boston, which at this hour of the morning, rush hour, and the snow would be long and arduous.

An hour later, they had made the four mile journey. People talk about the traffic in LA or New York, but for Charles’ money, Boston was the worst. He figured that is what happens when you just pave the cow paths and don’t lay out a cohesive plan.

John jumped out and grabbed Barbara’s bag from the trunk. “It was a pleasure meeting you and depending upon your plans, maybe we can meet for dinner or drinks while you are in town.” Charles spoke as he extended a business card.

Barbara leaned over, took the car and left a small kiss on his right cheek. “That would be nice; here is my card with my cell number. Give me a call in a day or two. I am here for 12 days.”

As she slid out of the car, she waved and the door closed. A minute later, John opened the front door and slid in. “Nice looking lady, Charles.” He said as he put the car in drive and pulled away. “Yes, nice looking,” Charles said as he picked up his phone and began dialing.

“Sally, hi it’s me, what do I have on tap this morning?” As his executive assistant went through his morning (which she had thankfully kept light), he heard an incoming call beep. Taking the phone from his ear he glanced at the number and recognized the LA area code, but not the number. “Call you back Sally,” he said as he punched the flash button. “Charles Jordan,” he answered.

On the other end, he heard a woman sobbing and said hello again. Then the voice said “Charles, I am so sorry, but no one answered and I tried the door and it was unlocked so I thought Mary had left it unlocked for me and they would be still asleep and I went to the kitchen and everything is all over and the chairs and table are on the floor and I think there is blood and I don’t know what to do..”

As Charles listened, he finally put together that he was speaking with Barbara and Mary must be her sister and obviously something was wrong. “John, back to where we just dropped Barbara off, and hurry.” Charles spoke.

John hit the brakes almost causing an accident and made a sharp right to make the turn back to where they had come. As they drove, Charles kept Barbara on the phone trying to calm her while telling John everything he could gleam from the woman sobbing hysterically on the other end of the phone.

When they got back to the townhouse Charles said “Hey John you better bring that police training I think.”

They bounded up the stairs and as they were about to go through he door, John put his hand up in front of Charles and withdrew a gun from somewhere under his jacket. Charles gave him a look and John whispered “Just like a boy scout, always prepared.” And he moved through the front door. They could hear Barbara still sobbing in the kitchen and made their way through the living room, which appeared to be totally undisturbed.

The kitchen was another story. Broken plates, remnants of a breakfast and that day’s issue of the Boston Globe were scattered all over.

Barbara was sitting in the corner, with her hands over her face, crying. Charles went to open a cupboard to get a glass to bring her some water when John’s voice stopped him. “Boss, I wouldn’t touch anything, evidence and all. We probably shouldn’t even be in the house, no less the kitchen.”

Charles went over to Barbara and helped her off the floor and led her into the living room where he sat her on a chair.

As he did that, John began walking through the townhouse. When he came back he signaled Charles over. “The bedroom looks worse then the kitchen and there is more blood up there. Let me call this in, we need to alert the police.”

Turning, he began to dial 911 on his cell phone…

An Original Work Of Fiction Copyright 2007 - VEMjr
Any resemblance to actual people living or dead is purely coincidental.
Originally Published On 1/8/07

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This is a collection of my works of fiction. They began as an occasional post on my home blog BIG LEATHER COUCH and then evolved into MONDAY MATINEE ON THE COUCH.

I wanted to find a spot for them all to reside and to make it more convenient for anyone wanting to explore the recesses of my brain.

Hopefully, you will find something you like here. Two stories, THE QUEST and HER FATE are unfinished novels.

I have done much work on THE QUEST and hope in the next year to finish it and see if it can be published. HER FATE, on the other hand is much more involved and might never get finished!

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