Tales from TEKville by TheEvilKaren

Photo stories featuring 1:6 scale dolls

Part 9 - More Fallout

 

At the city park . . .

A couple of days after the reading of her grandfather's will, Cece St. Clair sits alone in TEKville's city park just before dusk, lost in thought.  Her current beau, Darius Reid's brother Darryl, who is a cameraman for TEK Channel 5, is out of town on assignment, and she has been feeling particularly lonely since the revelation involving her grandfather's scandalous affair.  I wish I had someone to talk to.  I feel so confused!  I just don't understand how Grandfather could do what he did. We were brought up to idolize his memory, and now . . . this.

She is so oblivious to her surroundings that she does not notice the approach of a stranger.

The man's steps falter as he registers her presence on the park bench.  His initial intention is to pretend that she is invisible and to continue on his walk, but on impulse he pauses beside the bench and clears his throat.

Startled,  Cece looks up into the chocolate eyes of the man she saw scant days ago in the lawyer's office.  She gasps.  "You!"

A sad smile briefly crosses his face and just as quickly disappears.  "Yes, me.  You are one of Randolph St. Clair's granddaughters, aren't you?  You have the look."

Warily she nods.

"May I sit down, Ms. St. Clair?"

Her discomfort at this awkward situation is at war with her immediate physical reaction to the warmth in his piercing eyes. Tearing her gaze from his face, she stares at her hands and nods reluctantly. 

Viktor lowers himself slowly to the bench and drinks in the sight of this entrancing woman while analyzing his impulse and trying to formulate something to say to her.

What the hell made me stop?  And what the hell can I possibly say to her that will alleviate even a tiny bit of the hatred she must feel?

After a few long seconds of silence, Cece glances up to find Viktor's eyes devouring her.  Nonplussed by his failure to speak, she begins to ask what he wants, but her voice comes out in a squeak.  In spite of themselves, both burst out in laughter, breaking the uncomfortable silence.

"Forgive me.  My name, as you probably know, is Viktor James.  We are apparently distant cousins."  He smiles encouragingly.

"I . . . I'm pleased to meet you, Viktor.  I am Cecelia St. Clair.  You can call me Cece; everyone does."

She extends her tiny hand tentatively and it is immediately enfolded by his larger brown ones.  He continues to stare at her as his brain races to think of something to say that won't sound moronic.

"Cece . . . has anyone ever told you that you are an extraordinarily beautiful woman?"  Crap!  He mentally thwacks his forehead.  Of all the tired cliches to blurt out!  I'm sure I've gone and done it now.  She'll be leaving any minute.

She blushes and drops her eyes, but makes no effort to reclaim her hand.  Viktor's embarrassment makes him oblivious to the fact that he still clutches it.  Eyes still downcast, she whispers her reply.  "Thank you.  In a town full of women who look very much like me, that is a rare compliment."

"I saw many of those women two days ago, if you'll recall, and none of them holds a candle to you."

Cece's brow furrows as she raises her head and meets his gaze.

Shit!  I should have pretended to be mute!  I certainly can't come up with anything intelligent to say, and reminding her of the reason I'm in TEKville was especially idiotic!

"Why did you stop, Viktor?  I would have thought that I would be one of the last people you'd want to talk to right now."

"I . . . don't actually know.  It was an impulse that I couldn't deny.  I just . . . Look, Cece . . . my sister and I didn't intend . . . I mean . . . "  He pauses to collect his thoughts.  "I'm really sorry about all of this.  It certainly wasn't our intention to cause any difficulty for your family.  It's just that . . . well, my sister and I are nearly destitute.  Our mother passed away recently so we are finally free to pursue our inheritance.  Her mother would have nothing to do with Randolph St. Clair's money, and our mother inherited that fierce pride.  Dominique and I are proud, too, but we are also practical.  Pride doesn't fill our bellies."

"May I have my hand back, please?"

"Oh!"  Viktor blushes crimson as he releases Cece's hand as if it burns him.  "I'm sorry, I didn't realize . . ."

"You apologize a lot, don't you?"

Viktor chokes on his snort of laughter.  "You are very direct, Miss Cecelia St. Clair.  And you are also correct.  Our mother and grandmother drummed courtesy into us from childhood and it's such an ingrained habit that sometimes it puts people off.  I shall endeavor not to be so sorry in the future."  He stands and executes a comical bow.

He thinks there's going to be a future for us.  Considering our situation, that's a bit presumptuous . . . but . . . my heart tells me that he may be right.

"Well, I have presumed upon your good nature for long enough.  I will leave you to your thoughts, lovely Cece.  I'm quite certain that we will meet again."

With a nod, Viktor strides off in the direction in which he had originally been headed.

Cece looks after him thoughtfully, hand on her heart to slow its frantic beating.

*********************************************************************************

Several days later, Viktor and Dominique find themselves back in the law office of Lucien Koslowski.

"What have you found out, Mr. Koslowski?"

"Please . . . 'Lucien' will do nicely."  He smiles at the beautiful Dominique.  "I've been able to ascertain the current value of the Swiss bank account opened by your grandfather in your grandmother's name."

He slides a piece of paper, face down, across the desk toward the siblings.

Viktor and Dominique exchange anxious glances.

Tentatively Viktor reaches out and slides the paper closer.  He closes his eyes for a second, then slowly turns over the paper.  His eyes grow wide as he registers the amount Lucien has written on it.

Unable to speak, he hands the paper wordlessly to his sister.

She gasps as she clutches his arm.  "Oh my god.  Viktor!!"

Viktor steadies her with a hand on her leg as he focuses his full attention on Lucien.  "You're positive?  There is no mistake?"

Lucien smiles.  "No mistake.  You are millionaires several times over."

A strangled sound is all the warning Dominique gives before crumpling.

Only Viktor's quick reaction saves her from a concussion. He grabs for her as she slides to the floor, somehow managing to keep her head from hitting the edge of Lucien's desk.

Lucien wastes no time.  He quickly presses the intercom button to ask his secretary to bring water, and rushes to Viktor's assistance.

He moves Dominque's chair out of the way as Viktor gently lowers her to the floor.  Lucien is grateful that he had the office's carpet cleaned before he moved in.

With the file folder he has grabbed from his desk, Lucien fans the unconscious woman frantically as his secretary rushes into the room with not only a bottle of cold water, but a cold washcloth as well.

Lucien shoots her a look of gratitude as she hands the washcloth to Viktor and steps back to asses how best she can assist.

Dominique begins to stir as soon as the wet washcloth is placed on her forehead.  Her eyes flutter open and her vision is filled with her brother's concerned face.

  "What . . . ??"

"Shhh. Just lie still for a moment, 'Nique. You fainted."

"Fainted?? Viktor, I never . . . . . oh!" She raises her hand to her head as the last few minutes play back. "It's true, then? We are rich?"

Lucien smiles down on her.  "It's true, Dominique.  You'll never have to worry about money again."

************************************************************************************

Later that night in their hotel room, Dominique is quiet and thoughtful.

Viktor senses that she is working through something and gives her space while he makes a list of everything he wants to do with the money.

Finally she stirs and he looks up.

"Viktor . . . I want to talk to you about . . . about the money."

He nods.  "I figured that's why you've been so preoccupied since we saw Koslowski today.  So what's on your mind, Kitten?"

She smiles at his use of her childhood nickname.

"I've been thinking about the money.  I just don't feel comfortable keeping it all.  There is no way we'll ever be able to spend that much!"

Viktor nods.  He has been thinking along those same lines himself.  "So what do you propose?"

She tells him her thoughts on the matter and they spend the rest of the evening putting together a plan of action.

***********************************************************************************

Over the next few days, various TEKville residents receive invitations to the Grand Re-Opening of the New York Bar, an event that has been awaited with much eager anticipation by the thirsty TEKvillians.  Some of the townspeople, however, are surprised to discover that not only is the event by invitation only, but that not everyone in town has been invited.

A few days later at the sushi bar . . .

"You guys are going to the party at the NY Saturday night, right?"

London and Maeve reflect the same blank stare.  Finally, London asks, "What party?"

Angel fishes in her purse and produces her invitation.  "This party!  Are you telling me that you didn't get invitations?"

London takes the invitation from Angel and scrutinizes it.  "We did not.  How odd!  Why would Darius invite one of us and not the other two?"

"Well, I certainly don't want to go if you guys aren't going.  I'll just send my regrets when I RSVP."  She shoves the invitation back into her purse and forgets about it for the time being as the girls finish their lunch.

Angel remembers to call Darius later to let him know that she won't be coming to the party.  There is silence on the other end for a few heartbeats.  Darius clears his throat.

"Angel, it's important that you be there.  I can't tell you why, but please . . . come."

He seems uncomfortable asking, and Angel's curiosity is piqued.

"Well . . . I guess if it's that important . . ."

"I wouldn't ask if it wasn't.  You know that."

"Yes, I suppose I do. OK, Darius. I'll be there."

Relief washes over Darius.  The whole situation makes him very uncomfortable, but he made a promise and he is a man of his word.

Angel stares at her phone for a moment after the very odd conversation ends, brow furrowed.  Then she shrugs, plugs in her phone, and goes to bed.

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To be continued . . .