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Fight and Flight
Veronica sat in the car looking over the files that Frank had given Owen and to say that she was stunned was an understatement. They were parked around the corner from the law firm, sifting through the files and trying to figure out what to do.
“I can’t believe it! My father’s name is on some of these files! I can’t believe he’d do these things,” Veronica said in stunned disbelief as she put down one file and picked up another one.
“I know, I even saw dad’s name on one of them,” Owen replied with a troubled look on his face as he put the file on question aside, away from the rest of the files.
“But what do we do?” Veronica said as she picked up another file.
“Well, part of me wants to go home and think it over,” Owen said with a troubled sigh.
“But if we do that, we’ll probably loose our nerve, and not do anything,” Veronica said with a smirk as she flipped through the contents of the file in her hands.
“Is that so bad? Now that I think of it, I don’t know if we should actually blackmail our fathers’ law firm,” Owen said as he ran his fingers through his hair and lowered his head, resting his elbows on his knees.
“Who’s to say that even if we don’t do anything with these files that they won’t use what they know about us to ruin you! What if they told the law society about The Family? You would be disbarred and tossed in jail and the family would be destroyed,” Veronica said with a pressing tone of voice.
“We need to get that proof back,” Owen said with a pondering tone of voice as he looked at Veronica.
“And get them to promise to leave us alone,” Veronica added as she put her hand on Owen’s shoulder.
“In return we will give them the files and promise to leave them alone,” Owen said in a slightly more convinced tone of voice than before as he nodded at Veronica.
“Exactly, leave the negotiations to me, Master,” Veronica said to Owen as she smiled warmly at Owen. “We may even get a better severance package,” she added with a wink to Owen.
Owen picked out a select few of the nastier files and handed them to Veronica before he gathered the rest of the files up and stashed them under his seat. After sharing a final kiss Owen and Veronica got out of the car with the select files in hand and walked hand in hand back to the law firm. The puzzled expression on Janet’s face was quickly was washed away when Owen demanded to speak to the head of the law firm, Mr. Anderson . . . the old man himself.
In fifteen minutes Owen and Veronica were sitting at the conference table with Tony and Mr. Anderson in the oak panelled conference room. Tony and Mr. Anderson were glancing at the files with astonished looks on their faces. Neither of the lawyers said anything as they sifted through the files before them. Tony glared at Owen and Veronica now and again and the longer he looked at the files, the grimmer his expression grew.
“How many of these files did you say you had?” Mr. Anderson asked as he closed one file and pushed it away from him.
Mr. Anderson was in surprisingly good shape for his advanced years, and while not an overly tall man, he still had a slender build. He had a full head of white hair which he kept neatly trimmed in a slightly puffy style, flaunting the fact that he still had hair, for a man who was approaching eighty. His suit was crisp, clean, impressive, and completed his polished and controlled appearance. Everything about him helped project that he was a man who had everything under control.
“Enough,” Owen said with a confident tone of voice as he smiled at both of the older lawyers.
“That’s not an answer! How many?” Tony demanded as he slammed closed the last file, one which had his name on it.
“There’s about thirty files, in all,” Veronica replied calmly as she looked across the table and bore her eyes into her father.
“I can believe you’re involved in this! What has he done to you?” Tony snapped angrily at his daughter while pointing at Owen.
“Master’s done nothing but love me! He loves all of us and we love him!” Veronica replied with a firm tone of voice as she leaned in and glared at her father.
“I can’t believe this shit!” Tony scoffed as he shook his head and was about to begin a rant when, Mr. Anderson interrupted him.
“What do you want?” Mr. Anderson asked in a calm yet stern enough manner to cut Tony off and make him fall silent.
“Leave me and my family alone,” Owen said in an equally calm and confident tone of voice.
“Fine, so get the fuck out of here, you sick little pervert!” Tony shouted as he leaned forward and glared at Owen with hatred.
“Watch your mouth when you speak to Master!” Veronica instinctively spat back with equal hatred as she glared at her father who looked back at his daughter in speechless shock.
“So what, I leave and hope that you don’t call the law society and have me disbarred? Or perhaps go to the police? Then where would I be? How can I live with that hanging over my head?” Owen scoffed as he shook his head while looking at bursa escort Tony with a distrustful expression.
“Don’t you have any shame? Don’t you know how disgusting all this shit is?” Tony said in utter disbelief as he looked at Owen with a stunned and aghast expression.
“What about this shit?” Owen said as he pointed at the files in front of him.
“Enough of this, what exactly do you want? What do you propose?” Mr. Anderson asked in the same calm yet stern manner.
“I want all the proof you have on me and my family and a promise to leave us alone and keep our secret. In return you get the files and a promise that I will keep your secret,” Owen said confidently and watched both lawyers for a reply.
“That’s it? Not going for a payday?” Tony scoffed as he gave Owen a sneer.
“No, all I want is to look after my family and be left alone. To live my life as I see fit,” Owen said with a sincere look in his eye as he leaned forward and glanced between Mr. Anderson and Tony.
“Bullshit! He’s up to something!” Tony said with a dubious tone of voice as he glanced over to Mr. Anderson who appeared to be deep thought while looking at Owen with an unwavering gaze.
“I get it, he’s a family man,” Mr. Anderson said after a protracted pause.
“You call that group of fucking perverts a family?” Tony laughed with astonishment as he pointed at Owen.
“You and I may not understand or approve of the way his family works but he doesn’t need our approval to live his life as he sees fit,” Mr. Anderson said as he stood up and walked causally over to a table not that far away and poured two glasses of scotch.
“Exactly,” Owen said with a smile and nodded his head.
“Mr. Thompson is just a man who is looking out for those he loves, and is prepared to do whatever he needs to, to protect those who are closest to them, isn’t that right?” Mr. Anderson said as he stood there and sipped on one of the glasses of scotch.
“Exactly,” Owen replied agreeably with a smile, and a nod.
“Like you, I will do whatever it takes to protect those who are closest to me, like this firm for example,” Mr. Anderson said as he motioned to room around him. “My grandfather founded this firm and it has always been known to be a good, decent, and respectable law firm. I will do anything to protect that image,” Mr. Anderson said as he stood up straight and looked at Owen with a fiercely determined look on his face and waited for a response.
“I don’t want to damage the reputation of the firm,” Owen said with a shake of his head.
“I’m glad to hear that, because I don’t want to hurt your reputation, because in doing so it will hurt this firm’s reputation,” Mr. Anderson said as he started to walk towards Owen. “But like you I’m willing to hurt you to protect my own. So the way I see it, we can fight each other and both loose, hurting more than just the ones we hold dear, or we can come to some sort of ‘arrangement,’ don’t you agree?” he added as he handed Owen one of the glasses of scotch and smiled.
“Exactly,” Owen said as he accepted the glass of scotch, clinked Mr. Anderson’s glass and took a sip of scotch.
“While I don’t want to hurt you, I don’t really want to have you around, in case you get found out by somebody else and we get dragged down by our association, with you, no offence,” Mr. Anderson said casually as he took a sip of his scotch.
“None taken,” Owen replied and took a sip of his scotch and rolled his eyes.
“I have another problem that I think you can help me with and in turn I think will make everyone happy,” Mr. Anderson said as he pointed at Owen with his glass of Scotch.
“What’s that?” Owen asked calmly.
“My wife’s father was also a lawyer with a law practice which had been in the family for a couple generations. Since my wife was his only child, he tried for years to convince me to take his firm over from him. His practice is in a small prairie town halfway across the country and is as small today as it was when his grandfather founded it. I was not about to abandon my family firm to take his tiny firm on, but as his health faded my wife promised to not let the firm die, to find someone to take it on. He passed away eight months ago and left everything to me . . . his house and the firm with instructions not to liquidate it, but to find someone to take over the firm. I can’t get anyone to take it over, everyone says it has no growth potential and is in the middle of nowhere,” Mr. Anderson said as he paused to sip on his scotch, before he glanced at Owen.
“Sounds quaint if you ask me, what do you think, Dee-Dee?” Owen asked as he looked over at Veronica and smiled.
“It does sound nice,” Veronica said as she smiled back at Veronica.
“I thought you, however, might see a small firm in a quiet place halfway across the country as an opportunity,” he added with a knowing glance to Owen and waited for a response.
“Let me get this straight, some little shit comes in to blackmail you and you pay him off with a company of his own?” Tony said with shocked disappointment bursa escort bayan to Mr. Anderson.
“No, I just find ways to turn a bad situation into a win-win solution by giving him something I can’t do anything with and don’t want. My garbage is his treasure and a good way to make someone who was an enemy into a friend,” Mr. Anderson said to Tony with a smile. “You don’t want to hurt a friend, do you, Mr. Thompson? Or should I say Mr. Stronge” he added as he turned to Owen.
“Mr. Stronge?” Owen asked with a curious and slightly confused tone of voice.
“Yes, since you are a distant nephew of my father in law, don’t you know . . . and it simply took this long to locate you,” Mr. Anderson said with a conspiratorial tone of voice and winked at Owen before he took a sip on his cup of scotch.
“Why?” Veronica asked the curious question, before Owen could.
“Well, for you lot it means staring over in a distant place and a chance to introduce yourselves as you see fit,” Mr. Anderson said in a calm manner as he sat back down in his chair.
“And for you?” Owen asked curiously as he took a sip of his scotch.
“For me it is a way to spin this so that nobody will ever know that I did any sort of deal with the likes of you,” Mr. Anderson said with a chuckle and Owen just rolled his eyes, “Funny isn’t it, that you come in here, waving those files in my face, records of the dirty, yet necessary, deeds that we have done, and you wind up turning into one,” he added, rose his glass and finished the last of his scotch.
“What’s the catch?” Owen asked as he looked over at Mr. Anderson with an expectant tone of voice.
“The catch is that we complete our business tonight and never see each other again,” Mr. Anderson said in a calm and certain tone of voice.
“But there’s still some details to work out,” Owen said with a surprised expression, “And I should talk this over with my family,” Owen added with a worried tone of voice.
“Absolutely not! The catch is that nobody outside of this room is to know about this deal, and we get this deal done tonight, you get my father-in-law’s estate, and the proof, and I get all the files. If I see or hear from you again, I will destroy you, understood?” Mr. Anderson said with a calm and confident tone of voice as he smiled at Owen.
“What do you think, Dee-Dee? I don’t like lying to the others, but it’s a great opportunity,” Owen said as he whispered to Veronica, leaning close to her.
“I know, Master, but it’s more than we hoped for, and it’s a great chance for us! What else can we do?” Veronica whispered in reply.
“True,” Owen whispered back to Veronica before he turned his attention back to Mr. Anderson. “Agreed,” Owen said back to Mr. Anderson and nodded his head.
“Good,” Mr. Anderson said with a victorious smile on his face.
“I can’t believe this shit,” Tony said under his breath as he shook his head.
* * *
Taryn, Karen and Rosina were all pacing in the back and forth in the apartment worried sick about Owen and Veronica. Dinner is left abandoned and unattended as it keeps warm in the stove; none of the women were able to think of food at a time like this. It was strange and uncharacteristic of Owen and Veronica to be late without calling. This was worse because they were hours late and still no word that they were alright. The three women started to worry and think the worst, that some sort of accident had befallen them.
“Try their cells again!” Rosina said urgently as she paced the room with a furrowed brow.
“We’ve done that countless times, they’ve got their phones off!” Taryn snapped in reply as she stopped to rub her forehead, the worry starting to get the best of her.
“Maybe they just pulled over for a bit of fun on the way home and time got the best of them?” Karen asked, hoping for a happy answer as to the delay.
“Maybe, but they never turn their phones off, for that,” Taryn said, uncomforted by the suggestion.
“Perhaps their cell phone batteries died?” Rosina suggested, not wanting to ponder the darker possibilities that lurked at the edges of her mind.
“Both of them? At the same time?” Taryn asked as tears started to run down her cheek.
The image of a twisted and decimated car with the bloody and dismembered bodies of Owen and Veronica became first and forefront in her mind. Taryn started to cry and Rosina and Karen rushed to her side and the three women held each other and cried, terrified as to something happening to not only members of their dear family but to their beloved Master as well.
It wasn’t until the phone rang twice that Taryn clued in that the phone was ringing. In a flash three women scurried to the phone and three hands grasped for the cordless phone but with a scowl Taryn won the competition and lifted the phone to her ear twisting it so that three worried-sick women could hear as they gathered around the phone.
“Hello!” Taryn asked in a panicked voice.
“We’re fine!” Owen said in a calming tone of voice.
“It’s late! Where’ve you been?” Taryn demanded out escort bursa of fear and panic.
“We’ve been worried sick, Master!” Karen added, her mind a swirling mess of: anger, relief, fear and panic.
“We got caught up with something after work. Dee-Dee was helping me out with something. We’ll tell you all about it when we see you at the restaurant,” Owen said in the same calming tone of voice.
“Restaurant?” Rosina asked in confusion, she was the first one to voice the question on all of their minds.
“You want to go out, after making us worry so?” Taryn snapped; she was also a jumble of emotions.
“Yes, we’re on our way home and we will meet you at our usual restaurant in a bit. Go there now, sit down relax and order a few drinks, you sound like you could use it,” Owen said in a calm and comforting tone of voice.
“Yes, Master,” Taryn hung up the phone but was only slightly calmed down from her excited mood
All three women were agitated and confused as they walked towards the stairs and up to the main floor of the spa. Not once but twice did they have to go back downstairs. The first time was when Karen remembered that they had left dinner warming in the oven. The second time was when Taryn saw their reflection in a mirror in the front portion of the Spa and recognized that they still had their Slave-Collars on. After climbing the Spa’s stairs for a third try to leave the women left, still wearing their “around the house dresses” but not caring, by this point, even Karen was comfortable being seen in them in public.
After getting their usual table for the five of them they sat down and ordered a stiff drink for each of them but Rosina insisted that she didn’t need a drink and didn’t feel like drinking anyways. Even Taryn admitted that it did helped her settle down and by the time Owen and Veronica arrived all three women were settled down. After a round of tight hugs and mild admonishments for making they worry the five people sat down at the table and ordered dinner.
Owen and Veronica had a drink in their hands when they started to tell the carefully crafted story they had prepared to tell Taryn, Karen and Rosina. They told them that as Veronica was greeting Owen in the lobby of the law firm that he was handed a note by Janet the receptionist. That note said that Mr. Anderson wanted to see him right away. The truth was exaggerated further by saying that it was Mr. Anderson who said he was sorry about everything that had happened over the past year. In the story, Mr. Anderson said he was sorry about Richard’s death and the family being left with nothing and even the fact that Owen was left in Research. Owen explained that Mr. Anderson was impressed, having heard that Owen was trying to support his mother and sister. He therefore felt that Owen was not getting a fair shake at the law firm and that he deserved better. That was when the estate of Mr. Anderson’s late Father-in-law was brought up and the fact that as of that moment, Owen owned a law firm and a home in a small prairie town. The family had a hard time believing it but after the papers were brought out for the family to look them over, they believed.
“This here is your record of employment! Did you quit?” Taryn asked in shock as she held up another piece of paper.
“Well, with the firm and all, there’s no need to work, and we have a lot to do before we leave town,” Owen said, trying to cover his nervousness and not be so easy to read.
“This is a huge change! Don’t you think you should have talked to us first?” Karen asked with a shocked look on her face. “We have a life here, I have the Spa!” she added with a disappointed look on her face.
“There was no chance, he offered it to Owen and said he needed to resolve it tonight and if Owen didn’t take it right away, he would have given it to someone else,” Veronica quickly added as she looked at her mother first and then at her other Fellow-Slaves.
“Think if it, we not only have a law firm of our own, but also a house, fully furnished! It was too good an opportunity to let slip by,” Owen said with a slightly defensive tone of voice.
“But it says here that the firm is owned by an ‘Owen Stronge,’ who’s he?” Rosina asked as she held up one of the transfer of ownership papers.
“Well that’s me. It was a way to . . . um . . .” Owen started to explain but faltered, and stammered. Words and his usual confidence failed Owen and so he shot a quick glance to Veronica.
“That was my idea,” Veronica added with a playful giggle as she put her hand on Owen’s arm.
“Your idea? You got Master, to change his name?” Rosina replied in shock, momentarily forgetting that they were in public.
“Yes, isn’t it great! Think of the possibilities. Think of what this all means!” Veronica said with a sparkle in her eye and in her voice as she looked at the other ladies around the table in the eyes.
“Moving to some unknown town halfway across the country, and into who knows what situation. Uprooting our lives here, leaving all our friends and everyone we’ve ever know behind? I know it means a law firm of his own for, Master, but it is all a bit scary for some of us,” Taryn replied with a worried look on her face as she looked at Veronica, hoping the younger woman could understand what she found so fearful.
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