Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/856860-RUMOUR-HAS-IT
Rated: 18+ · Book · Adult · #2052168
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#856860 added September 7, 2015 at 4:01pm
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Melinda Hodge and Lance Bean had let their lunch breaks at Glory’s dwindle over the last several months from every day to once every 10 or 12 days, if that.  Watching their polite interchanges now, no one would never know they had once been incredibly intense, barely able to constrain furtive touches.  Blue eyes locked on brown eyes, always touching, glancing, brushing up against each other.  The little things that added the spice to a relationship.  Glory’s was “their” place.
This time, Melinda entered Glory’s for a different purpose. She paused at the doorway to scan the diners to look for a man of swarthy complexion and dark curly hair.  Jesse Galitz raised his arm to draw Melinda’s attention from her scan of the crowd.  With a relieved smile and a power walk to his table, Melinda was met with Jesse rising to hold a chair out for her.

“Thank you for meeting me here.”

“You’re the client.  It does not matter to me.”

“It’s just that I don’t want to bump into Lance by accident and I know he won’t come here because this is "our" place.”

Jesse pulled out the menu and pretended to scan the options, “So do you have plans for Memorial Day weekend?”

Melinda resisted the urge to roll her eyes.  Time was money and she did not have either to waste. “Can we get right down to it?  Dispense with the niceties?”

“Sure.  You are calling the shots.”  Jesse refolded the menu and pulled out the investigation report that was the reason for this meeting.  He handed her the report and punctuated the details with photographs that his team had collected.  “So that’s it.  Your fiancé has been seeing Lori Napolitano for several weeks.  She is 22, new hire in accounting at his architecture firm, and quite bright by all accounts.”
Melinda finished reading the report with a soft sigh to indicate she already knew what it said.  The lyrics of the background music drifted in.  She cocked her head and softly sang, “Rumor has it that you don’t know what you want.”

“Excuse me.  I didn’t catch that.”

Melinda shook her head, speaking softly as if remembering a distant memory, “I was just singing to that song.  It reminded me of Lance.  That line just hit me.  He doesn’t know what he wants either.  Not in a woman.  Not in a relationship.  The only time he paid any real attention to me was when he was in the chase. Once he won, he was already looking for his next conquest.  And it looks like he found a winner.”  Melinda let out a loud sigh as she fanned her face.  “Whew, I’m getting weepy.  Forgive me.”

“Yeah, this is the part of the job that I don’t like.  But you did hire me to do investigate him.  You must have known he was up to something.  If my company is involved, that means suspicions are firmly in your mind already.  Right?”

Melinda had a habit of talking with her hands in dramatic fashion. “That’s true.  I’ve suspected he and Lori were hooking up for months now.  I just liked the way he made me feel and to find out it was all fake just leaves me …. You know?”  Melinda realized her hand under Jesse’s nose as she was emphasizing her last point.  She quickly placed her folded hands in front of her place setting at the table. 
Jesse noted the soft blush that now adorned his client’s face.  He redirected the conversation to ease her discomfort, “Why am I here?  You had the report. You could have paid by check.”

“You, Jesse, are going to expose them.  I want you to be rude, crude and obnoxious.  How you achieve that is up to you.  I want you to get ammo to break his architect business.  If he ends up in jail, more the better.”

Jesse laughed quietly as he leaned back in his chair.  “That’ll cost you extra and does not carry guarantees of success.”

“There is an old adage:  Revenge is a dish best served cold.  I am in a cold fury.  I don’t care how you ruin him, just that it gets done.”
“Why can’t you just drop it?  You got what you need to end it.  What you are asking for is going to cost you.”

Melinda leaned back in her chair to contemplate the Jesse’s curly hair and black sloping eyes.  After a moment of silent contemplation, she confessed,  “You know he took me for twenty grand, don’t you?  You know the other lawyers in this city are laughing at me, don’t you?  I haven’t had a new client in months.  The cases I have are coming to a close.  Do you really think he will settle?  No.  He wants more.  He’s greedy.  I want to play with him and make him suffer.  And I want him to know that it was me that brought him down.”

“When you start talking about criminal charges, you are in a whole different category.  Are you going to back down when the shit hits the fan?”

“Do I look stupid to you?  Is gullible tattooed on my forehead?  I am ready to do some of the dirty work.”
“That’s good because you will be in the middle of it.”

“I have ideas, but they all include you coming out of this with mud on your face at least for a little while.  Are you up for that?”

Melinda held Jesse’s gaze as she pulled out an envelope from her handbag and pushed it across the table to Jesse.  “As long as you get me out of the muck, I am willing to do whatever needs to be done.”
With deliberate finesse, Jesse slid his index finger under the flap of the envelope and glanced at the check lying inside.  He returned his arched eyebrow gaze back to Melinda, “There’s more to this than money and women.  Fill me in.”

“Only if you give me a break on fees.”

“If you do your part I may even give you a job.”

“If you move faster than zero, I may even take it.”

It was Jesse’s turn to take in Melinda’s dark brown long curling locks and brown eyes.  This job would be complicated and risky.  It would give him good footing for future jobs if he could pull it off.
Melinda interrupted his thoughts, “I will pay a bonus if you pretend to be the one I’m leaving him for.”  When he hesitated, she quickly added, “Or at least someone on your team is willing to do that.”

Jesse resisted the urge to laugh, “It’s not that.  I’m not opposed to that – let me give it some thought on how to make it work in the big picture.”

Melinda bit her bottom lip, “What does that mean?”

“It means I have a template for jobs like this and this detail does not fit in that template.  I think it can be done, I just have run some contingencies and bounce ideas off my team.” 

“By when can I have an answer?”

After a brief discussion, Melinda slid back in her seat with a satisfied radiant smile dancing across her face.  By the end of the summer Lance would know what it felt like when you get what you give.

[word count:  1230]

She, she ain't real,
She ain't gonna be able to love you like I will,
She is a stranger,
You and I have history,
Or don't you remember
Sure, she's got it all,
But, baby, is that really what you want
Bless your soul, you've got you're head in the clouds,
You made a fool out of you,
And, boy, she's bringing you down,
She made your heart melt,
But you're cold to the core,
Now rumor has it she ain't got your love anymore
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh
She is half your age,
But I'm guessing that's the reason that you stayed,
I heard you've been missing me,
You've been telling people things that you shouldn't be,
Like when we creep out and she ain't around,
Haven't you heard the rumors
Bless your soul, you've got your head in the clouds,
You made a fool out of me,
And, boy, you're bringing me down,
You made my heart melt, yet I'm cold to the core,
But rumor has it I'm the one you're leaving her for,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh
All of these words whispered in my ear,
Tell a story that I cannot bear to hear,
Just 'cause I said it, it don't mean that I meant it,
People say crazy things,
Just 'cause I said it, don't mean that I meant it,
Just 'cause you heard it
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh,
Rumor has it, ooh
But rumor has it he's the one I'm leaving you for.

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