written by AndreAnna
She told them. But the question was how much did she tell them? They hadn’t let him see her since the hospital room so he wasn’t sure how much information they actually had on him. Did they track down his brother?
How hard is it to kill someone with your car? Jack thought, the anger at Celine’s incompetence rising inside of him. You push the gas pedal, you aim the steering wheel, and you kill them.
He was sitting in an interrogation room. He knew that’s where he was from television and movies and so far the portrayals were pretty accurate. Green tile walls. One large mirror he knew was a window to see inside. One table. One old chair with brown metal legs and a faded leather seat with cigarette holes in it. On one side, the padding was pushing through the cracks and he fingered it nervously while waiting. No one had come in yet. They were letting him stew. He noticed a drain underneath, by his feet, and knew from some movie he’d once seen that its existence is so that they can just hose the room down if there’s too much blood from “interrogating.” Or maybe he made that up in his head. He couldn’t think straight.
It was all falling apart so quickly. And he had worked so hard at this con. He had worked for years.
He knew who she was when he first asked her to be his date to the benefit. He had been scoping her out for 19 months. He knew who her father was. Her real father.
Richard Constantine was one of the nation’s leading geneticists. His pioneering work had paved the way for some of the world’s foremost research on stem cells. He had started in a small laboratory in Silicon Valley back in 1972 and now ran eleven worldwide corporations. The media claimed he was worth upwards of 300 million.
Malorie didn’t know that man. The parents she knew, Delores and Fred Shawe, were middle-class, hard-working people who ran a diner until their fingers bled. Some years when the economy was bad, they survived on next to nothing. Malorie became an expert at making elaborate things out of so very little – clothes, games, meals – that’s where she credits her innovation and imagination in cooking. She could see something in nothing.
Richard had reminisced about Delores all the time. He’d met her in the mid-seventies at a political rally in Northern California. She smelled like daisies and marijuana. She’d intoxicated him. She talked of freedom and women’s rights and LSD. All he’d known was universities and the inside of his laboratory. He felt different with her. He felt free. Their romance only lasted two months. She was in California spending the summer with her aunt, a woman who lived in a bungalow on the beach. Delores told him from the beginning not to fall for her. That even though she was a free spirit, she was in love with a man named Fred back home. Richard couldn’t understand how anyone could love someone named Fred.
One August evening when the air was thick with humidity and the sound of crickets, she said goodbye.
Three months later, he received a letter. Delores was pregnant. Richard was the father. But she was in love and happy with Fred. He knew and wanted to raise the baby as his own. Delores didn’t need anything from Richard. She just wanted him to know.
And so Fred and Delores raised Malorie and had a happy life. They never saw the need to tell Malorie the truth.
Other than her parents, Richard, and Richard’s estate lawyer, the only other person who knew the truth about Malorie was Richard’s corporate financial manager, the suit that flies in to verify all corporate documents are in order when a CEO is finalizing the liquidation of his estate upon the date of his death. The man who knew that he was leaving his entire life savings to his only daughter Malorie Shawe: Jack Finnigan.
Jack was also one of the only people who knew Richard Constantine was battling lung cancer. The doctors had given him two years, tops.
Malorie had looked stunning the night of their first date. Her golden hair was up tight in a bun, no loose pieces about her face – nothing out of place. Her black dress clutched her body almost as tightly as she clutched her handbag nervously waiting for him on the steps of the hotel where the benefit was to be held.
He wanted to pick her up. He had asked. But she was wary and wanted to meet him there. He liked that about her. He liked a lot about her. He just couldn’t let it get to him. This was business, he reminded himself.
They began to see each other more regularly and eventually he moved in.
He often took side jobs in other states. He’d get a call, fly in for a few days, and help with whatever They needed. That’s why They liked him and why he still had this job. He didn’t ask questions and was well respected in his corporate job. No one suspected he was capable of conning or that someone with a high-paying job needed the cons. Maybe he didn’t. Maybe it was his addiction. He started out in college when he needed the cash and for one reason or another, he never stopped. He liked the rush. When he told Malorie back at the restaurant that he went on these trips so he could use, maybe he wasn’t entirely lying.
One afternoon, just over a year and a half ago, his brother called and it changed everything.
He was on the next flight to England, where met up with Patrick and together they hopped a train to France. Patrick was the only one he trusted. He knew about the job Jack was trying to pull. It would be big. It would be enough to stop him from having to answer to anyone else. It was the job to end all jobs. Find Malorie Shawe, make her fall for him, marry her, wait for the inheritance money to come through, kill off Malorie, and retire on some Fijian beach somewhere. Patrick only wished he had thought of it first.
Six hours later, at a train stop in Cannes, they met Celine Richelieu and Professor Talbot.