Billionaire Season 3: Summer Ablaze (Billionaire Season Trilogy) (8 page)

BOOK: Billionaire Season 3: Summer Ablaze (Billionaire Season Trilogy)
10.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

“Ughhh, how dare you pull this sneaky shit? There are five hundred of our closest friends gathered here to witness this marriage and they know I wouldn’t marry your crazy ass just for shits and giggles. Where the hell is that half-baked lawyer of yours? Why didn’t he inform me that you’ve given this house to that snarky maid? I want this situation corrected right here and now or the only aisle I’m walking down will lead me straight out of your life!”

“Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out,” Walden said.

“Good riddance,” William said.

“I’ll miss you, honey pot,” their father said.

“You can all go fuck yourselves!” Hannah shouted, her face was so red she looked like she was having a seizure and she grabbed Allie’s hand and stared at the enormous diamond ring. “As for you, Alaina Darling, good luck marrying into this family of sex-crazed lunatics. No need to sign a pre-nup, if you’re not born a Warfield you’ll have to settle for the crumbs William throws you when he moves on to his next plaything.”

Allie jerked her hand away as if she’d touched a hot stove but took a step closer to Hannah. “Not everyone equates love with dollar signs, Hannah. I feel confident that I can hold William’s attention for the rest of my life. Maybe you should try on-line dating, I’ve heard its perfect for liars, losers, and gold-diggers.”

“Uh… like I said, fuck this family, I’m outta here. Come on Mother, I don’t how why I ever let you talk me into this disgusting, bullshit plan in the first place.”

“Seems like a shame to waste a perfectly good wedding,” William said after Hannah and Marilyn had slammed the front door behind them. He reached in the pocket of his tuxedo jacket and unfolded a legal-looking document. “Judge Gaffney can waive the three day waiting period on this marriage license, Allie Darling. If you want to take the plunge today, nothing would make me happier, the only catch is I won’t be able to call you Allie Darling ever again.”

“I’m ready and willing, and Mrs. Warfield works just fine for me. But I’m not wearing a wedding dress, do I look okay?” Allie asked, straightening the little jacket and tugging at skirt hem of the short, sea-blue Chanel suit she wore, and all three Warfield men nodded their heads emphatically.

“You look stunning. You look perfect. You look like an angel.” Both of the Williams and Walden said in unison.

“How ‘bout me, how do I look? Good enough to attend the wedding between the
right
two people?” Mae had made her way through the crowd of guests who were whispering and laughing about Hannah’s bad luck and offering congratulations to the elder William for having dodged a bullet by having Hannah leave him at the altar. She spread her arms out at her sides and struck a pose looking plenty pleased with herself. “You boys remember this dress? Mr. Warfield flew me up to New York City to buy it back when William graduated, it’s a genuine Dior original. I had to let the seams out just a tad, but now it fits me like a glove.”

“Wow, you clean up real well,” Walden said, bending down so Mae could give him an enthusiastic hug.

“I remember that dress, Mae,” William said. “You look more beautiful than ever.”

“Your dress is so chic, Mae, and I love your hair done up in a French twist. Would you help me fix myself up a little?” Allie asked, she was nervous suddenly, who knew this wedding would turn out to be
her
wedding? “I’d like to maybe do something fancy with my hair and I don’t have a wedding band for William and… Oh my God, I’m getting married today!”

“Your hair is fine, you’re not some old woman who needs to pin her raggedy hair up. Like the Bible says, “A woman’s hair is her crownin’ glory.” All that golden hair looks like silk hangin’ down around your shoulders. Allie, you look fresh and young and in love, sweetie,” Mae said and her heart was nearly bursting just to see her boy, William, so happy with this nice girl who was just as in love as he was.

“Alright then but, William, I haven’t had a chance to get you a ring….”

“Put that away,” Mae snapped when William’s father held out his gold wedding band. “I had a feelin’ somethin’ good was gonna happen today. So I came down those stairs in this fancy dress ready for a real celebration. Don’t y’all stare at me like I’m a fortune teller or a Voodoo queen, I just figured Hannah and that blood-sucking mama of hers would hightail it outta here when they saw their money pit vanish into thin air. Here, I polished these weddin’ bands last night. This thin one goes with the ring you’re wearin’, Allie, and this one here was your grandfather’s, William. Aren’t they fine? Platinum lasts forever, you know.”

“Problem solved, wedding bands are all shiny, Mae and Alaina look devastatingly beautiful, and Hannah’s vulgar ice sculpture is melting on the patio. Let’s get this show on the road,” Walden said. “Who wants to walk the bride down the aisle?”

“I suppose Father should do that since I need you to stand up with me, little brother. Can you handle that, will you be my best man?” William asked.

“My pleasure, bro, I’d be honored. But seriously, am I the only one who thinks a ten-foot block of ice that spells WARFIELD is kind of obnoxious? ” Walden said, and then he called for the guest’s attention and told them to take their seats on the back lawn, the wedding was happening in ten minutes.

*

Other than the ice sculpture (which Hannah had envisioned as her testament to the world that she was indeed the new matriarch of the billionaire Warfield clan) the wedding was simple and lovely. William and Allie said “I do” and “I will” to their vows under the wisteria arbor overlooking the only bayou in Louisiana that Walden would get within a mile of. The “not scary water” Walden had called it when he was a little boy whose brain was filled with the horrors he had endured on the Bayou Lafourche. The wisteria arbor was where Walden had first glimpsed an angel’s face, it was the day Alaina had stood in that exact spot and he’d fallen in love as he watched her from the upstairs veranda. But that had passed as all Walden’s infatuations had, other than his infatuation with sex on the edge.

The ceremony was short and sweet, the cake was cut, champagne flowed, and white doves were released and soared overhead when Allie threw her bouquet. One of the gardeners herded a flock of white swans to the banks of the bayou and released them into the water and they swam and preened until the reptilian eyes of a ‘gator popped up and one of the swans was swallowed whole.

Tanya and Abigail were among the many female guest’s who jumped and jostled and squealed hoping to catch the bouquet. When it landed in Abigail’s hands she ignored Brodie Maguire who’d come along as her date and instead she held it up for Walden to see.

“Good catch, looks like you had no intention of missing that bouquet. It means you’re the next to marry, right?” Walden said, shooing Brodie away and feeding Abigail a bite of cake from his plate.

“That’s right, chere, you ought to be nicer to Brodie, he sure is nice to me,” she said and the sound of her voice was smooth and breathy and washed through him like a shot of good whiskey.

“So, you gonna marry him but still come to me when you need more than a respectable lawyer who’ll make love to you but never fuck you the way you like it?”

Abigail wanted to tell him to shut his filthy mouth, that she would never lower herself again to play his nasty games. But she couldn’t say the words since he was right, she’d slept with Brodie and he was tender and attentive and the sex was about as exciting as watching paint dry. She felt he probably wouldn’t notice if she filed her nails or made out a grocery list while he was humping away thinking he was rocking her world.

“I could do worse than to marry a lawyer. I’m just a country girl from Breaux Bridge, chere, only thing that I ever loved about city life was you, and I’m way past that now,” she said and the way his eyes narrowed and held her so that she couldn’t look away shot a jolt of liquid heat straight to her core.

“That’s right, you were the most innocently erotic little country virgin I ever had the honor of deflowering. You’re still the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known, Abby, and I’m sorry I hurt you. You and I are more alike than you want to admit and a man like Brodie doesn’t have a chance in hell of holding onto you. You came with him but you stand here looking the way you do, those blue eyes begging me to fuck you, your hand itching to feel how hard my cock is right now, can you deny it?”

“Maybe not,” she said, working hard to sound more in control than she felt. “But I don’t love you anymore. If we fuck once in a while, that’s all it is—fucking. I used to worship you, chere, I saved my body for you and nearly let myself disappear into your madness, but that’s history. What I came here to tell you is, you need to understand that I am the one who helped you make The Cathedral a success and I’m not just stepping aside to cry like a baby and lick my wounds. I’m coming back to work at The Cathedral, expect me there on Monday, and you better warn that mad scientist bitch to move aside ‘cause there isn’t room for the two of us unless she wants the job of kissing my ass and washing my wet pussy.”

*

Friends and acquaintances had offered their congratulations to William and Allie and only a handful of people lingered on the lawn and in the spacious rooms of the house as the sun began to set and the wild things began their night songs out on the bayou. It was difficult to say who was more ecstatic about the day’s events—William and Allie, or William’s father and Mae—even Walden was sincerely happy for his brother’s great joy. Mae was in her element now that the truth of how deeply the Warfield’s treasured her as part of the family was known to all. She circulated among the last of the hangers-on accepting their kind words, nodding and smiling and accepting their good wishes. The last to leave was Beth Hawkins, she’d kept mainly to herself all day and Mae mistook the gleam of tears in her eyes as a touch of bittersweet regret that the time she’d spent running William’s household had come to an end.   

“Mr. Warfield and his boys, they’re good men, good people, isn’t it the truth, Beth?” Mae said as they stood on the front porch and watched the newlyweds drive off into the night. “They look after their own and they’ve always made me feel like family. Truth be told—I’m thankful to have this house and land so William and Allie can bring their children out here someday and I’m gonna teach those babies to call me Mimi. I don’t think it’ll be long until that dream comes true, what do you think? The new bride has that look about her, she’s about six weeks along, I’d say,” Mae said, she was all smiles and it wasn’t just because of the enormous gift her employer had bestowed on her, it was what it meant. “You and me are set up just fine for the rest of our days. And you’re still a young woman, how old are you now—thirty nine or forty? You got a fine house to live in and I figure William settled a good sum of money on you. That’s a fine early retirement, you ought to go off to Tahiti on a cruise and meet yourself a man to share your good fortune.”

“My good fortune, huh?” Beth Hawkins said, her left eye had begun to twitch and the corners of her mouth curled into a snide smile. “I made a home for William, washed his sheets and his underwear when he was done with whatever low-life trash he dragged in to my house. I never lectured him or berated his unconscionable behavior, he couldn’t have asked for a more devoted companion than me. Yet, he can
let
me live in his fancy townhouse while he treats that girl like a queen. Did you see the ring on her finger? That ring wasn’t good enough for that cheating slut Stella, but it sits on Alaina Darling’s finger as if she was the Countess Warfield born and bred. I hardly see how you can condone this union, Mae. For a man like William to marry that teenage twit is as ludicrous as his father to have ever entertained the notion of hooking up with that trashy money-grubbing Hannah Trudeau….”

“Beth Hawkins what has gotten into you, girl? Have you been sweet on William all these years? Surely not, he’s ten or eleven years younger than you and your mother was….”

“My mother was a fool, she made mistakes and ruined any chance our family had to rise above our circumstances and become blue-bloods. She went to her grave cursing…. Oh, never mind,” She said brightly, turning to smile at Mae as if not one untoward word had passed between them.

“Blue-bloods are born, not made, Beth,” Mae said and a cold chill ran up her spine as if someone had walked on her grave. “Money can’t buy class.”

“Oh, don’t pay any attention to me. You know I’m at loose ends without William to fuss over, it just has me out of sorts, that’s all, and being out here at Greenlea stirs up memories. I do get carried away with nostalgia, Mae, please forget my silly ramblings. Things have changed so much haven’t they, and so fast? Lord, my head’s fairly swimming with all the good luck that’s fallen on me lately. You are absolutely correct, I should go on a world cruise. Excuse me won’t you? Congratulations on being so highly honored and rewarded for your dedication, I’ll just be heading on back to my cozy little life and my lovely big house in town.”

Chapter Nine

 

William and Allie had married on Friday and they barely set foot out of bed until Monday morning. Even then William hated to leave her, but he had to go to his office sometime, so he promised they would plan a real honeymoon in the weeks to come. He couldn’t count the number of times they’d made love as man and wife—
a lot
—but it tugged at his heart to leave her beautiful, smiling face and the raging heat of her body as he kissed her once more and left her, content and smiling, resting among the feather pillows in their marriage bed.

As soon as Allie heard William’s car roar to life and fade into the distance she was out of bed and hugging the commode with Ginny right there beside her whispering that it was time to see the doctor.

“Ugh, how can I throw up this much when my stomach is empty? And you don’t have to whisper, Ginny, William’s gone to work already as you well know. You’re right, I should see a doctor and get a blood test or whatever it is they do before they say “Baby Warfield is definitely on its way!” I’m excited about this, Ginny, can I just go ahead and say it out loud? I’m having a baby, a little William or… who cares what it is, I’m happy!”

“I’m so glad for you Miss Allie, this is big news and it’s gonna be such a blessin’. Can I give you big ol’ hug?” Ginny said, and Allie embraced her like a dearly loved sister with both of them grinning and laughing like kids until Allie started retching again.

“That’s it, I’m gonna call Mr. William and get him back here to carry you to the doctor,” Ginny said, wetting a cloth with cool water and handing it to Allie who was so exhausted she stretched out with her cheek against the cold marble floor.

“No! I want it to be romantic and memorable when he finds out he’s gonna be a daddy. Call Miss Hawkins, she handles all his personal business. Call her, she’ll know what doctor I should see. Would you do that, Ginny, and get me some toast and tea, please?”

“Okay, sure I will. Let’s get you back into bed and I’m gonna call her up and say she better get over here quick, Miss Allie’s sick as a dog.”

And that’s exactly what she did.

*

By nightfall William was frantic. He’d returned home to find Ginny in tears, stammering and muttering that something must be terribly, terribly wrong. William had called Tanya and she and his entire office staff had manned the phones and checked every hospital and doctor’s office within a hundred mile radius of New Orleans but no one had seen or heard from Allie and or Beth Hawkins. The highway patrol had been notified and the police were called to the house along with Walden and Dr. Selig. Mae and William’s father were also making calls to every city and government official that might be able to aid in the search for the missing women. The police chief and several homicide detectives sat with Ginny in the kitchen and asked her to repeat the story she’d told William and to try and remember even the most insignificant detail. William and Walden paced the floor as she repeated her story and Walden knew he had never seen his older brother in such a pitiful state.

“Miss Allie wasn’t feeling too good this morning. She was up there in the bathroom after Mr. William left for work and she was retching and just awful sick, she’s been sick for a few days now in the mornings. I wasn’t s’posed to tell nobody but she sent me down to the drugstore the day of the wedding to pick her up a… a test. You know, one of them test kits that says positive or negative. Well, Miss Allie wanted it to be a romantic surprise for Mr. William, but she said she ought to go to a doctor and get a blood test to make sure, but I’ll go on and say that the very first test proved what we already knew, Miss Allie’s gonna have a baby.”

“Christ! Do we have to sit here doing nothing while my wife is out… who knows where? She and Hawk have possibly been abducted or they’ve been in an accident. For fuck’s sake why haven’t they been found?” William yelled and the police chief asked him to settle down until they got the story straight, the highway patrol had the license plate number of Beth Hawkins’ Fiat and no accidents had been reported.

“Go on now, Ginny, and finish what you were saying,” the chief said.

“Anyhow, Miss Allie was feelin’ so bad and layin’ on that cold marble floor in the bathroom and she said I should call up Miss Hawkins ‘cause she takes care of personal business and she would know which doctor to go to. Right quick Miss Hawkins came over and fixed up a cup of tea for Miss Allie then she was worse off than ever, her eyes wasn’t focused and she was weak as a kitten so Miss Hawkins told me to help get her into the car and I said maybe we ought to call Mr. William and let him know what was happenin’. But I knew Miss Allie wanted to tell him the news herself and Miss Hawkins was kinda short with me, she told me to go mind my own business. She said she had everything under control and said not to worry she was gonna take care of that girl for sure.”

“Chief, we have units at the Warfield townhouse and they just reported back. The place was locked up tight and looked fine from the outside but when they entered the residence it looked like the entire house had been burglarized. It’s trashed all to hell, paintings destroyed, and furniture smashed with a crow bar or sledgehammer. Curtains ripped to shreds, everything is in ruins.”

“Fuck!” William shouted and his fist hit the wall so hard it went right through the plaster. “Someone has them, some lunatic has my wife. Why haven’t we gotten a call for ransom? Walden, you and Tanya call the president of the bank, get his ass out of bed and have him ready to open the vault, I want the cash available NOW!”

“Hold on, hold on, let me take this call,” the police chief said, and he left the room talking fast into his cell phone.

“I have my medical bag in Walden’s truck, I can take care of your wife when she’s found, William. Why don’t you let me give you a sedative?” Eleanor Selig said.

“Give me a sedative? Knock me out so I can sleep through the night while my pregnant wife is out there somewhere with a fucking madman? Are you fucking crazy? I have to find her, she needs me….”

“Wills…. We don’t go down easy, you and me. We’ll get her back, I swear it….” Walden said.

The police chief stepped back in the kitchen then and he began rattling off orders to the other officers who were up and out the door in a flash. “No sirens, we have to go in there quietly, you got that? She hears us coming and there’s no telling what she might do to Mrs. Warfield.”

“Tell me you son-of-a-bitch,” William lunged toward the chief but Walden grabbed him and held him back while the chief started talking.

“Okay, it’s Beth Hawkins who has your wife, she had a run in with a motorist on Highway 308 near the Bayou Lafourche. He helped her changed a flat tire and asked about the woman in the car, said she was moaning and looked sick. Miss Hawkins beat him with a tire iron and left him for dead. We have information on a place she bought recently, a fishing shack on the bayou and a councilman fessed-up to having a road paved that leads to it at her insistence. Now, there’s more you’ll wanna know but I need to get out there fast and I’ll let you come along, Mr. Warfield, but you have to calm down and let us handle this. Can you do that?”

“He’ll be fine, let’s go, I know exactly where that shack is and so does William. There are shortcuts to get there and I can assure you, William has never forgotten them. We’ll take my truck and cut through the swamp, we’ll make it to the shack before your men, chief. It’s been twenty-one years but you found your way out, Wills, and you led them back to that place. Do you remember the way, you can get us there fast can’t you, brother?” Walden said.

“Yeah, I remember the way,” William said. “I hope you have a gun in the truck, I’m going to need it.”

“Oh shit!” the police chief said and he knew it wasn’t going to turn out well, he was not a uniformed officer, he was the head of the NOPD. He wore a suit and tie and carried a small caliber revolver and used a cell phone rather than a police radio, but he really didn’t have any choice so he went with them.

*

William drove like a bat out of hell and at one point the needle had gone past all the numbers on the odometer, which meant the truck was flying along at more than one hundred sixty miles an hour. He had to slow down as he cut through the woods until finally he turned off the headlights and the engine, and coasted into a thicket of trees as they neared the shack. Walden handed him his Sig P320 from the glove box, and William popped in a full magazine, racked the slide and chambered the first round.

“I hope you have a license for that,” the chief said, but he shut his mouth when William pointed it at him. “No problem, Mr. Warfield, but you might want to put some thought into what you’re about to do. You don’t wanna go to prison….”

“I want you to shut the fuck up and let me do what needs to be done to get my wife out of that motherfucking shack that should’ve been burned to the ground twenty years ago. And after I put a bullet through Beth Hawkins’ head, I’ll probably wish I’d given her the time to explain why she’s done this, but I can live with unanswered questions and I’ll be glad to go to prison as long as my wife and unborn child are alive.”

“Okay listen. You’re out of your mind with worry right now….” the chief said to William.

“Ya think?” Walden said, and looked at him like he was learning impaired.

“If we reach the cabin before my officers arrive we need to stay out of sight and wait. My men have body armor, bullet-proof vests, we don’t have shit. Will you listen to me? You can’t just walk in there, that woman may have accomplices, we have no idea what we’re up against here.”

“Shut. The fuck. Up,” William said.

That William was deadly calm all of a sudden worried Walden, but at least the chief had shut up, so that was good. It was eerily quiet as they climbed out of the truck and moved through the trees and underbrush toward the shack. Beth’s Fiat was parked near the rickety porch and light from either candles or a gas lantern flickered inside.

“Wait, goddammit,” the chief whispered, “if you’re gonna fire that fucking Sig aim for a leg or the right shoulder, I’m fucking serious about this. You can take her down, but you won’t go to prison for murder and you’ll take your wife home in one piece and live happily ever after. Easiest shot is the shoulder, right side, nowhere near the heart, and the slug goes through and through. Do you know how to handle that gun?”

“My father was too fucking cheap to hire bodyguards, instead he started taking us to the firing range when I was seven and Walden was six. I can shoot the fuck outta this gun and plug that bitch right between the eyes if she as much as peeks out the window,” William said.

“You’re worrying me Wills, keep a cool head and we can pull this off,” Walden said.

“We should wait for backup,” the chief said but the brother’s kept walking, William was carrying the handgun and it was clear he had every intention of using it, and Walden was flicking the top open and closed on an old Zippo cigarette lighter.

“Is there a Plan?” Walden asked quietly when they stood at the bottom of the porch steps.

“I don’t hear or see anyone inside, no voices, no shadows, no one moving around. We walk up quietly and check the windows, see what’s going on inside. Where was the cot, which side of the room?” William asked, his voice was so dark and devoid of emotion it sent a chill up Walden’s spine. “Walden, I know this place fucks you up, but you’re here and I need you to tell me where the cot is.”

“Left side, back wall.”

“I’ll check the windows on that side, you get the ones on the right,” William said, and they eased up the steps and as they crossed the porch a rotten board splintered and the sound was as loud as gunshot in the still night.

“Who’s out there? You need to go on and get out of here, it’s late and I don’t want any trouble. I have a loaded gun, so whoever you are, you better leave right now.” Beth Hawkins shouted, her voice was shrill and tremulous, and it unnerved William to hear his old friend sound so unglued.

William glanced through a window near the door and he couldn’t tell if Beth actually had a gun or not but she was sitting on the edge of the metal cot where Allie lay bound up with silver duct tape. William wanted to yell or die or kill someone when he realized she was probably already dead, her eyes were closed and she was deadly white and didn’t seem to be breathing. If the deed was done, if Beth Hawkins had killed her, he had nothing to lose so he kicked down the door, crossed the small room and held the gun to Beth’s head.

Walden and the chief were close behind him and the chief had his gun trained on Beth’s heart.

“I knew you’d come, William, look—she’s not going to be a problem anymore. We can go back to the way it was before, we were so happy together, weren’t we? You don’t need that gun, I’ll come home with you and move into the new house. Everything will be the same, just like this little bitch never ruined what you and I had, William,” Beth’s voice was high and far too bright and she held a straight razor close to the jugular vein in Allie’s throat.

“Fuck,” Walden muttered, he stood across the room and he couldn’t take his eyes off the razor. It made him weak with fear, the sight of the girl tied to the cot. She was half-naked, dressed only in panties and a bra, bound up tight, tape covering her mouth while a crazy woman smoothed her long, blonde hair and held a razor at her throat. It was as if he was six years old again and all he could think of was the horrible fiery pain the first time the razor sliced across his chest.

BOOK: Billionaire Season 3: Summer Ablaze (Billionaire Season Trilogy)
10.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

My Secret History by Paul Theroux
Cursed by Aubrey Brown
La caza del meteoro by Julio Verne
Shoeshine Girl by Clyde Robert Bulla
Cautious by Nelson, Elizabeth
The Down Home Zombie Blues by Linnea Sinclair
The Gentlewoman by Lisa Durkin
A Gift of Dragons by Anne McCaffrey