Chapter 22: Nest Making
CopyrightÂ© 2005 Ernest Bywater & R. Michael Lowe aka The Scot
While Kyle and KK are starting their honeymoon Carl Edmondson is on the phone to Kyle’s aunt, Lucille.
“So, Lucille, I assume you were able to complete the purchase of the house. When can we take possession?”
“Effectively, we already have. I’ve the recorded deed, the keys, and everything Kyle requested has been removed. I’ve even had the locks changed, and an alarm system installed.”
“Excellent! What did the kid take with him?”
“It was just what was agreed to: the boy’s clothes and personal items, Jonas’ tools, some pictures, and mementos. There was nothing there I could associate with a portal.”
“Did you actually look over the stuff?”
“Yes, I got to the house about the time they were finishing loading. I asked to review everything, and the young men willingly agreed.”
“Young men? Your nephew wasn’t there?”
“No. I haven’t seen Kyle since the funeral yesterday. His attorney did say something about some possible legal problems as the reason he was now willing to sell the house, so he may be hiding from the police.”
“Well, none of my people know where he is, either. Do you think we should try to reestablish surveillance?”
“To be honest, I can’t imagine why we’d need to waste our time. It’s obvious he has other issues to deal with, and he’s no longer a potential danger to us.”
“Lucille, I don’t know why, but I doubt we’ve seen the last of Kyle.”
“Carl, do we have any knowledge he even knows about the portal?”
“My sources say a young man often traveled with Jonas as his Companion, but we’ve no way of determining if it was Kyle. Since this Companion was described as someone older and highly trained the others consider it unlikely for the man to have been your nephew.”
“I sure put out enough suggestive comments to stir a reaction from Kyle, but never got a twitch. I thought he might know something from the way he reacted to my trying to claim the house, but I later realized it was a reaction to the news of my brother’s suicide and my insensitive manner in trying to locate the portal. I have to admit I botched that part rather badly, but it seems to have all come out OK in the end.”
“I guess you’re right, Lucille. I’ll pull back surveillance on the kid, and concentrate on the house. We still want to find the portal, along with your brother’s notes and sapphire ring.”
After a wonderful night in their new home Kyle and Kathleen work hard getting the house in order, and preparing a list of additional things they need. By late afternoon they generally have things under control in the house, and they’re relaxing with Cokes at the kitchen table. They continue to discuss their list, and eating a light dinner while they work.
Later in the evening Kathleen asks, “If we used the same security routine we used with Marc and Barbara do you think we can show our families our new home?
“I think it would be a great idea, KK. In addition, we probably can get them to do some of this shopping for us. For at least the next several weeks I want to minimize our exposure to the outside world.”
“I agree, and that fits what Doctor Narduchi was strongly suggesting by freeing us from our classes, and bringing us out here when she did. The way she helped us lose that tail gave her a lot of credibility as far as I’m concerned.”
KK replies, “I have to say I was rather impressed by her background, and her relationship with Jonas. Anytime that woman wants to talk I’ll listen. I’m about ready to add Barbara Haywood to that short list.”
“Sweetheart, I’m getting strong feelings about adding both Marc and Barbara to the list, along with Larry and Nadia.”
Kyle adds, “One of the first things I think we need is a new vehicle. I was thinking about a big SUV like a Suburban to give us the ability to transport more people or supplies. Do you want to go pick one out?”
Kathleen replies, “I agree, especially if it has heavy window tinting. Should we purchase it, or should Charlotte’s company own it to keep it from being directly linked to us?”
“Good idea, but I don’t think having Texas State Energy purchase the vehicle would be the best option, as there’s tax and stockholder interest issues that can cause Mom many problems. And a diligent researcher or someone like my aunt can easily tie the car to us. Instead I’ll ask Doctor N if one can be purchased and owned by the trust, and we pay the trust.”
“That’ll work, and even if she didn’t want to purchase it through the trust I’m sure she can find a workable alternative. Why don’t you call her while I talk to our moms?”
Looking at the time on the microwave Kyle says, “It’d be better to wait until morning to call. It’s getting pretty late.”
After looking at the clock KK replies, “I’d no idea it was after ten. Do you want something to eat or drink while we relax our minds?”
“I’d love a dish of ice cream.”
“I could go for that too. What flavor?”
“Some of that Summer Peach would be perfect,” replies Kyle.
“OK, I’ll get that for you, and a dish of cookie dough with chocolate syrup for me.”
While KK is getting the dessert Kyle checks the security monitor, and verifies all of the alarms are activated. Once both finish their tasks the couple cuddle on the sofa in front of the beautiful stone fireplace, and watch the gas logs until they fall into a deep sleep.
The next morning Kyle isn’t sure what woke him. It could have been a full bladder, the morning light streaming through the large glass wall, or his wife’s soft giggling. Kyle opens his eyes to stare into his bride’s, and asks, “What’s got you in such a good mood this morning?”
“I awoke realizing we’re officially an old married couple; we fell asleep on the sofa.”
“I’m not ready to go that far, but you do realize we’ve been together for most of twenty years? That suggests this relationship is definitely not built on sex.”
“No, it’s not,” KK replies, “but, if I have anything to say about things it will be a key ingredient for the next fifty years or so.” A laughing Kyle agrees with her while he hurries for the closest bathroom. Moments later he hears her enter the one down the hall.
A short time later the couple meet back in the kitchen. Kyle starts their coffee while KK places some English muffins in the toaster, and some frozen sausage patties in the microwave. At KK’s request Kyle finds the jar of strawberry preserves they just purchased, and in a few minutes they’re eating a simple but pleasant breakfast. “This is a good, quick, and easy breakfast,” KK comments, “but I’d really like to have more fresh fruit in the future.”
“I agree, but I don’t want what passes for fresh from some big box store or grocery chain. We need to ask Hector or his wife where we can get some truly fresh fruit and vegetables.”
“Maybe we can get them to purchase some for us as well as meat. We can cover part of their grocery bill for helping us.”
“That’s an excellent idea,” replies Kyle. “It’ll also reduce the chances we might be spotted by anyone looking for us, as well as help Hector’s family without it appearing to be charity. Though I don’t really know Hector at this point I suspect charity is a major issue to him and his Hispanic pride.”
“A good point, and one we need to remember. Since they’ve used the term Patrón several times I think I should do some research on the traditional meaning, and the related life style.”
“As a part of your research you might want to check with Maria Sanchez at CyberFun, because I’ve heard her use the term before.”
“Thanks, I’ll do that. What about calling Doctor Narduchi, and asking about the Suburban?”
Kyle searches his pack to find the card given him by the President of the University. As he looks at it he finds he’s still awed by her direct involvement in his and KK’s lives. Realizing his thoughts are drifting Kyle refocuses his mind, and calls the private number written on the back. When the call goes directly to voice mail he leaves her a message with his name and phone number.
Kyle rejoins his bride, and finds her transferring their list of needed items to an email; embellishing the descriptions, colors, sizes, etc. while she types. He becomes so engrossed in what she’s doing he’s a little disoriented when his cell phone starts ringing.
Finally, on the third ring, he answers, “Kyle.”
“Kyle, this is Paula Narduchi. You called?”
“Yes, Ma’am. We’re pretty much settled into the house, and are trying to stay as lost as possible.”
“Under the circumstances that’s probably a good idea.”
“We’re thinking something like your heavily tinted Suburban will make it harder for someone to spot us on the road, as well as being large enough to bring family, groceries, and other items to the house.”
“Excellent idea, but I’d also suggest a driver. Remember, the tinting is great, but it doesn’t keep people from seeing who’s in the front seat.”
“It helps our decision you agree. Do you think, if we paid for it, could it be owned by the trust to keep people from linking it to us?”
“Kyle, I think, in this case, Jonas would approve it being purchased by the trust, and I may have a solution for both the vehicle and your driver. It seems a certain upper level security officer from an Eastern European country has recently met an unfortunate end. He vowed to have my head, so I purchased the armored Suburban. Because I no longer need a heavily armored vehicle I can sell it to the trust for you to use. As for a driver, Hector has a cousin...”
Kyle laughs, and he interrupts, “Don’t they always have a cousin?”
Paula laughs, “It sure seems that way. Anyway, Hector approached me more than a week ago to see if I could help his cousin. It seems the guy was working undercover in California before he was compromised. Needing to leave the LA area he came back here where he grew up, and where he still has family.”
“Paula, I think we should definitely talk to him. What about his family, and when can we have access to the SUV? We need some things from town, and we would like to bringing some of our family here for a visit.”
“Since I can get a new vehicle for myself this afternoon I should be able to have him there within an hour.”
“Great. We’ll look forward to meeting him. By the way, can you give me any additional background information?”
“His name is Frederico Mendoza, but he’s usually called Sonny. His wife’s name is Angelica, and they’ve two teenage sons, Carlos and Raùl. Sonny served in the Marines, and spent twelve years undercover as part of the Orange County Drug Task Force. That’s all I’ve got listed, but I’m sure he can add a lot to that.”
“What about housing for them?”
“If you hire him we’ll expand the Lopez compound. I’m sure they have some relative that can get something built in a few weeks.”
Kyle laughs, “And it will be built even faster if Sonny and his family are living with the guy.”
“You got it!” Paula Narduchi replies, adding her laughter to Kyle’s.
Getting serious for a moment Kyle says, “Stereotypes aside, I’ll say these Hispanic family groups can be some of the hardest working and most loyal people on the face of the Earth.”
“I have to agree with you, though I still have to say some of their cultural idiosyncrasies can be a little odd, and seem funny to us.”
“True, but so are ours. Jeff Foxworthy’s stand-up routine is a prime example.”
“Kyle, I don’t think you could ever classify either of us as rednecks.”
“Well, the directions to this house does include turning off the paved road.” The refined and very dignified university president starts laughing, and is still laughing when she hangs up. Kyle laughs at the realization he didn’t have to explain the punch line. Returning to KK he finds her on a conference call to their moms discussing the lists she’s emailed them both. Since there’s nothing he can do at the moment he drifts to the kitchen for another cup of coffee.
This time Kyle takes his time, and he makes his favorite latté for both of them, omitting the black cherry liqueur in KK’s. He takes the two cups, and joins his wife just when she’s finishing the conversation. KK is lost in thought when she accepts the cup without comment, and has a sip.
Suddenly her eyes open wide, and her smile floods the room while she exclaims, “Oh, you dear sweet man, you made my special latté! Maybe, in a year or two, I just might have you housebroken.”
“Be careful, now. You know you can never fully tame a wild animal.”
Kathleen laughs, “I don’t want to ever fully tame my tiger, especially in the bedroom, or about protecting our family. Now cleaning up his messes and closing the toilet seat is another matter.”
“I’ll have you know I’ve already cleaned up the kitchen after making the latté.”
KK grins, “See, I told you it was working.” To let him know she’s teasing KK grabs Kyle, and gives him a kiss that leaves no doubt as to where he stands in their relationship. To feel that much love is a pretty heady feeling.
“So, how did things go with our moms?” asks Kyle.
“It went well. Mom went with Charlotte and Felicia to CyberFun this morning to help reestablish order, and make sure everyone knew what had happened. Using the need for continuity in CyberFun’s operation Charlotte convinced my insecure mom to accept the position of Kitchen Manager as well as being Felicia’s assistant. With both of us kids out of the house, and the raise that’ll accompany the promotion, maybe we can now get Mom to move out of that neighborhood before it starts to really decline.”
“I agree, getting her out of the neighborhood will be a good move. You can already see the first signs of problems there, which was one of the reasons I was willing to sell Jonas’ house. What about the lists?”
“They don’t see a problem. Mom and Felicia are going to Sunland Park Mall while Charlotte and Courtney are going to Kohl’s at Bassett Place for the linens and towels, along with some of the kitchen stuff. Each group will be looking for the best deals for the best quality items. Then they’ll coordinate their purchases using a master list and their cell phones. Charlotte also made a big point of Mom and Felicia getting to know one another.”
“Those two will make a good team, and Mom is smart enough to know the need for their bond to develop. By the way, I didn’t know your mother had a cell phone.”
“She didn’t, because she couldn’t justify the expenditure. When Ryan got a new one last month he gave her his old basic one to make it easier for us to contact her when she’s out. She now has a smart-phone with Internet access because Charlotte insisted Mom take a company phone as part of her new position at CyberFun.”
“That does make sense, but what about our phones. Do we need to get new ones since these belong to CyberFun?”