Thanks to blackrandl1958 for gifting the idea to me and her most appreciated editing, and to Crkcppr for Beta reading.
The complication visited me on October 15, 2010, at 7:30 in the morning. I was at Wilcox Field, waiting to board my flight for Nassau when two men in bad suits walked up to me. They stopped in front of me and I looked up from my iPad at two impassive faces.
“Mr. Cavanaugh, would you come with us please?” one spoke. Polite fellows, they even said please.
“Who are you and what do you want?” I asked.
“I’m Special Agent Washington and this is Special Agent Brown. We’re with the FBI,” the second man spoke.
“May I see some identification?” I asked.
They produced laminated badges and the pictures matched. Since I had no idea what a real FBI badge looked like, I took their word for it.
“I’m afraid we’re here to arrest you,” Washington said. “You are being charged with insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Would you come with us, please?”
I stood up, followed them down a corridor and through a door into a room with a table and four chairs in it. They informed me of my rights and produced a pair of handcuffs.
‘Really, ‘ I thought. ‘They’re going to walk me through the airport in handcuffs for insider trading.’ It turned out that this was only half-accurate. They allowed me to carry my jacket and hide the cuffs from curious spectators. They took charge of my iPad, took me down to Miramar to their headquarters and put me in another room. There were only three chairs in this one.
After thirty minutes, Agents Washington and Brown came in and sat down. They read me a list of charges. According to them, I was involved in a hacking scheme to obtain corporate press releases before they were published and had been in a group that had made over 100 million dollars through our shenanigans. They wanted to ask me some questions.
“I’m sorry, Agents,” I said. “I intend to remain silent and I would like to speak to an attorney.” They tried to convince me that it would be in my best interests to answer their questions, but I stuck to my guns. These agents were not my friends and I intended to answer zero of their questions. They took me down to a desk and let me use the phone. I asked for a phone book, since I didn’t know any attorneys. They got me a phone book and I scanned the impressive list. I had no clue. I picked a nice looking ad at random.
A man answered the phone and I told him I needed an attorney to represent me. He asked me what kind of case I was involved in and I told him what was going on. He transferred my call and a woman answered. “This is Tyler Atkins,” she said. “How may I help you, Mr. Cavanaugh?”
I went through it again and she told me to say nothing and she would be there in an hour. They returned me to my room and I cooled my heels. 50 minutes later, the door opened and one of the most stunning women I have ever seen walked into the room. She must have been close to six feet tall. She had flaming red hair, a model’s face and that clear creamy redhead complexion. Her eyes were glacial blue and her legs in that skirt went on forever. Damn, she was gorgeous.
She introduced herself and shook my hand. Her fingers were long, slender, and cool and her grip was firm. I guessed her age as somewhere around forty. I was seven years too young, as it turned out.
She sat in a chair and read over the list of charges. She looked up at me. “You are in a great deal of trouble, Mr. Cavanaugh,” she said. “Did you do it?”
“Does it matter?” I asked her.
“Not for the purposes of me representing you,” she said. “Personally, yes, it makes a great deal of difference.”
“Well, I didn’t do it,” I told her. “I have never hacked a computer in my life, have no idea how to do it, I was not in on any scheme and I have never received one press release in advance of its public release. I would not have participated in any sort of insider trading if I had, and I am completely innocent of these charges.”
She eyed me dubiously and those eyes pierced my soul. “Okay,” she said. “We’ll operate under those statements. If I find out later that you’re lying to me, it’s going to get ugly, do you understand?”
“Perfectly,” I said.
“Let’s see about getting you out of here. Is there anyone you need to talk to?”
“My wife,” I said. “I would like to talk to my children, too, but that can wait until I get out.”
“I’ll see what I can do,” she said.
She went away and I didn’t see anyone for three hours. I was about to pee on the floor when Agent Brown came in with Ms. Atkins.
“I’ve arranged bail,” she said. “You have to surrender your passport and you should know that all your bank accounts are frozen. How are you fixed for money?”
“Will my credit cards work?” I asked.
She arched an eyebrow at Brown and he cleared his throat. “They’re all frozen,” he said. “You won’t be able to use them.”
“Am I going to get my wallet back?” I asked.
“Yes, all your personal effects will be returned,” she said. “Not your iPad, I’m afraid. That has become evidence.”
“I’m good for money, then, and I’m ready to go. Well, as soon as Agent Brown points me to a restroom, I’m ready,” I said.
They gave me an envelope with my stuff in it and I walked out with her. “Come and see me at ten in the morning,” she said. She gave me a card and she called cabs for both of us. “Would you like to use my phone to call your wife?” she asked.
I called home and the answering machine picked up. I left a short message, saying my trip had been cancelled, that I’d be home in an hour and gave her back her phone. The cabs showed up and I went home.
When I got there, there was no one home and I made myself something to eat. It was difficult to concentrate, but I managed. I needed to call the kids, figure out where Kelly was and figure some things out.
Daniel and Patricia weren’t home either, so I left messages for them to call me. After I ate, I called my boss, John Sinclair. He told me I had been terminated, and that my personal belongings had been boxed and sent to my home. I had lost my trader’s license and he was quite certain I would never work in the industry again. In fact, he was looking forward to my receiving a long prison term. Well, that wasn’t good. I was now unemployed and facing criminal charges.
Kelly didn’t come home that night and when I called her, it went straight to voicemail. I didn’t know whether she had heard or what she had heard, but, evidently, she was bailing on me. Great. Now I wondered about the kids. What had they heard? If Kelly had heard, I was sure that she’d talked to them.
I kept my appointment with Ms. Atkins the next morning. She told me we had a lot of paper trails to chase down. This was not going to be quick. “Mr. Cavanaugh, how are you going to pay me for defending you?” she asked.
“If I’m acquitted, that won’t be a problem,” I told her. “Maybe it would be in your interests to make sure that happens.”
She laughed. I liked hearing her laugh, I decided. I was going to try to make her do it often. “We have a big day ahead of us,” she said. “Let’s get started. What do you think happened and how are you going to help me prove your innocence?”
I asked for a list of the names of the people involved. She told me that they hadn’t done discovery yet, so she really didn’t have any details. That would come as soon as she could meet with the FBI and the SEC. “I’m afraid I don’t have a clue until I know for sure what happened,” I told her. “When I have a clear picture, we’ll go to work.”
We discussed a few more things and I signed a million papers. When we ran out of ink and blank lines for me to sign, I went home. I had a dozen messages on my answering machine. Surprisingly, they were from Kelly and the kids. They were having trouble. They were stranded in Belmopan. Her credit cards weren’t working. Well, no surprise there. She had a little money with her but that wasn’t going to last. She needed me to help her. Oddly enough, the kids were with her. Their messages were the same, but none of them made any attempt to explain why they were in Belize. Things were getting weird.
I hadn’t been home five minutes when the phone rang. It was Kelly.
“Hi, Seldon,” she sounded upset. “Listen, honey, I don’t have much time. We’re stranded in the airport and I need to be able to use my credit cards. Could you call the bank and see what’s wrong?”
“I’m afraid that won’t do any good,” I said. “Kelly, I’ve been arrested and charged with insider trading. The cards you have won’t work.”
“Is there any way you could get some money to me?” she asked.
“How much do you think you might need?” I asked.
“Just enough to get tickets home,” she said.
“I’ll see what I can do,” I told her. “All our bank accounts have been frozen.”
“Okay, honey,” she said. “Please hurry. Thanks for helping us.”
That was the strangest conversation I’d ever had. Again, no explanation of why she and the kids were in Belize, no questions about me being arrested, nothing about anything, really. She should have been shocked by every word out of my mouth, but nothing. Maybe it was the lack of time she’d mentioned. I’d answer all the questions when she got back.
Some time back, I’d rented a storage facility. I went there and got into the safe in the cedar chest my mother left me. I took out enough cash to last me until I figured this would all be over. I wired airfare to Kelly and the kids and had a Scotch to sooth my nerves. I sat and thought until bedtime, then I lay awake for a long time, the wheels spinning inside my head.
My phone woke me up in the morning. It was someone from Ms. Atkins office. She’d had discovery and all the information on the case was now available. She had a computer expert coming to go over the information with us and I was expected at 10. I showered and became human, then caught a cab down to her office. Her computer expert turned out to be a very attractive young woman named Laney.
The trail was pretty cold, and I may not be a computer expert, myself, but I do know my way around a computer and between the two of us we managed to discover enough to see that most of the transactions had gone through my home computer that I used only at for personal things. That looked pretty bad until we began to make sense of some of the dates and times. Then, things began to look up. It turned out that many of the transactions had taken place when I wasn’t even home. I had been out of the country on the date of several and I could see Ms. Atkins starting to believe in me.
“Mr. Cavanaugh, who knows your passwords?” she asked.
“Kelly knows the password on my computer,” I said. “The IT people at work would know my business passwords, as well as my supervisors. They wouldn’t know my home password.”
“Would Kelly know your business passwords?” she asked.
I shook my head. “No, I don’t give them to anyone, not even her.”
It was apparent that somebody, presumably with Kelly’s cooperation, was trying to frame me. But, why? Where could Kelly have received the information?
The files were press releases containing information that would be extremely valuable to investors, but the file dates on my computer were generally a week earlier than the date on the press releases. This meant that whoever had access to my computer had information that they could use to make trades before the general public was aware of the news.
Many of the press releases came across the desk of my boss, John Sinclair, but his trades would be scrutinized; if he made trades based on these press releases before their release date, he would quickly be brought up on insider trading charges. So, he was obviously funneling the information to Kelly, so that she could make the trades without raising suspicion.
Why use my computer? Then, it hit me; it was to frame me. John must have used my computer at work when I was away from my desk; when they turned up on routine audits it triggered a search of my home computer, completing my frame-up.
I had met Kelly two years earlier, at a work function, accompanying my boss, John Sinclair. I was confused because John was married, and not to Kelly. John read the confusion on my face and had a ready explanation; his wife Lucille wasn’t feeling well, so he asked Kelly, a family friend, to come along. I had no reason to doubt him, and found Kelly to be a very charming young woman.
As the evening wore on, she seemed to be spending more time with me than with John. He even asked me if I would mind taking Kelly home so that he could get home to Lucille, and I agreed readily.
Kelly explained that she was a divorcee with two children, Daniel, 18, and Patricia, 16, who were spending the weekend with their father.
We were soon dating on a regular basis. I was puzzled that we rarely saw her children, and when we did, they were quite unpleasant towards me.
After a whirlwind courtship, I asked Kelly to marry me and was thrilled when she accepted, but I was again puzzled that Daniel and Patricia wouldn’t come to the wedding.
“Oh,” Kelly said, “they’re still upset over the divorce.”
That puzzled me. We had been dating for almost a year, and I assumed that she had been divorced for some time before that.
I put it out of my mind for the time being and enjoyed the reception, looking ahead to the honeymoon.
When I returned from the bar, I went looking for Kelly and found her on the dance floor with John. They seemed to be dancing a little too close to be appropriate for a bride, so I set down the drinks and went over to them to cut in. They both hesitated for just a split second, almost as if I was intruding, but they quickly separated and I took my bride in my arms and danced the next few dances with her.
Returning to our table, I mentioned to Kelly that she and John were getting very close to the boundary of what is appropriate for the bride at her wedding.
“Oh, don’t be silly,” she said, “John’s just an old family friend; you have nothing to worry about.”
She made it all seem so reasonable, but I did notice that Kelly and John seemed to be almost avoiding each other for the rest of the evening.
We left the reception and went to the Honeymoon Suite.
Kelly’s wedding gown was strapless and nearly backless. The bodice was a corset that pushed her generous breasts up until they seemed like they would overflow the dress.
When I unzipped her dress and it fell to the floor, her breasts barely sagged and her nipples were already excited and erect. She stood there in just her G-string panties and heels as I shed my clothes.
I took her in my arms and kissed her passionately, our tongues dueling, and I could already smell her arousal. As we kissed, I led her towards the bed until she was sitting on the edge. I knelt down and removed her panties, and her musk was almost over-whelming.
Her shaved pussy was already glowing with her juices as I leaned in and licked up one side and down the other. I spread her lips, probed her pussy with my tongue and began teasing her clit as it came out to play, when she came with her first orgasm of the night.
She wanted to return the favor, but I wanted ... I needed to fuck her. I swung her legs up onto the bed and kneeled between them. As I massaged her breasts, I leaned in to kiss her. Before our lips met, she eagerly licked her pussy juice of my face, then we kissed like there was no tomorrow.
She reached down and positioned my cock at her entrance, thrusting her hips up to take me in. I needed no further encouragement and began matching her thrust for thrust.
I wasn’t sure who was fucking whom, but it felt so fantastic that I just didn’t care, and we were soon coming together.
Kelly pushed me onto my back and sat on my face, facing my feet. I’ve never been a fan of cream pies, even my own, but I was so turned on that I just went with the flow. She soon bent over and began sucking my gooey cock back to life. When she returned me to duty, she spun around and impaled herself, presenting her breasts for our mutual enjoyment.
We came together again, and then fell asleep in each other’s arms.
The next morning, we jetted off to our honeymoon, and all too soon, we returned to reality.
We settled into a more or less normal domestic routine. I swear I thought she was going to fuck me to death, but what a way to go!
Daniel and Patricia were another matter. They refused to even make an attempt at having anything even resembling a relationship with me, and Kelly just kept shrugging it off. I finally accepted that it was what it was, and that, hopefully, it would improve over time.
I came home from work a few weeks later to find Daniel and Patricia sitting in the living room. Getting no greeting from them, I said hello and got a couple of grunts in return.
“Is your mother around?” I asked. Silence.
“I said, is your mother around?”
Daniel remained silent, but Patricia weakened.
“She’s upstairs taking a shower,” she said.
I just stood there for a moment, and then decided that this bullshit had gone on long enough.
“Look,” I said, “you two obviously don’t care very much for me, and I guess that not unusual with second marriages; but you guys seem to hate me, and if we’re going to be any sort of a family you’re going to have to get past it.”
More silence, then Patricia spoke out.
“We hate you,” she said, “and we’re always going to hate you because you broke up our family!”
“What are you talking about?” I asked, “Your mother was already divorced when I met her.”
“No, she wasn’t,” Daniel finally spoke, “She didn’t file for divorce until you two had been dating for two months. The divorce wasn’t final until two weeks before your wedding.”
I just stood there stunned. I literally didn’t know what to say.
“Kids, I’m sorry, but you have to believe me, your mother told me she was divorced. I would never date a married woman.”
“Yeah, right,” Daniel said, “That’s not what she said, and who are we to believe, our mother or the man that broke up our family?”
They both got up and left the room, Patricia, running out in tears.
‘Well, ‘ I thought, ‘isn’t this a fine kettle of fish!’
I strode upstairs to the master bath and threw back the shower curtain.
“Ooh,” Kelly said with a giggle, “aren’t you a little over-dressed to join me?”
“This isn’t funny, Kelly,” I said, barely restraining myself, “The kids just told me that you were still married when we started dating.”
“Of course, dear, I told you that, but that we were separated.”
“You told me no such thing! You told me that you were divorced. There is no way that I would have dated a married woman, separated or not.”
“Whatever, we’re together now, and that’s all that matters. Now, why don’t you get out of those clothes and get in here and wash my back and my ... front?”
I was still upset, but what can I say, I’m just a man and I’m weak and she is hot. I stripped down in record time and hopped in, but the events of that day would stay with me for a long time.
Often when I had a quiet moment I would stew on things, but usually I didn’t have much time to dwell on it, until one night I was alone at home for an entire evening. I sat in my den, a glass of wine in my hand, and two thoughts crystallized in my brain.
One was what some of my acquaintances would say when discussing guys who dated cheating wives: “She’ll cheat with you, she’ll cheat on you.” While I hadn’t seen any obvious signs of Kelly cheating, she did have ample opportunities, like tonight’s Girls Night Out.
The other thought was, how closely she had been dancing with John at our wedding. It had been more or less innocent at the time, but now I wasn’t so sure.
Then I remembered how we met, when she was on John’s arm at the party because Lucille was “ill.” It was a stretch, but it was all I had to go on right then.
I arranged to be out of the office the next day, and called Lucille to see if we could meet for coffee. She was puzzled, to say the least, but she agreed and we met at a local Starbucks.
We gave each other a friendly hug and a peck on the cheek, got our coffees and sat down.
I was stuck for a way to start our conversation, but Lucille took the bull by the horns.
“All right, Seldon,” she said, “You asked for this meeting, just what’s on your mind?”
I took a deep breath and blew out a big sigh.
“Lucille,” I said, “do you remember March, two years ago, when we had that work function that you weren’t able to come to...”
“Well,” she said, “that’s not exactly true. I could have come, but John told me that it was employees only, no spouses.”
There it was, like a two-by-four right between the eyes.
“What is it, Seldon?” she asked, “You look like your best friend just died.”
“You may not be that far off, Lucille. You know my wife, Kelly, of course.”
“Yes, I was at your wedding, remember? She was a beautiful bride.”
“Yes, yes she was. Did I ever tell you how we met?”
Lucille shook her head no.
“She was at that same party. She was on John’s arm. He told me that she was there because you were ill. I think we both now know that he was lying.”
I didn’t tell her my suspicions that Kelly and John might still have something going on. I felt like a total jerk for not telling her, but I didn’t want her to confront him before I had my ducks in a row.
I got a copy of Patagonia and cloned Kelly’s phone, I would now have access to all of her calls and texts.
It didn’t take me long to confirm their affair, but it was the other things that I learned that sent shivers through me.
“Hi, John, it’s Kelly.”
“Hey, Babe, what’s the good word?” John said.
“It’s all set on my end, Seldon thinks I’m going out with the girls, and I’ve got Angela all set to cover for me. Can you get away from the old ball and chain?”
“Not a problem,” he said, “I told her that I’m taking some out of town clients out for the evening, and it will be very boring, all business.”
“You mean monkey business, don’t you, John?” she said giggling.
“I still can’t believe how easy it was for me to hook him.”
“Are you serious, Kelly?” he asked, “What normal man could resist you?”
“God knows, you couldn’t,” she said.
If I hadn’t already been in a state of disbelief, the next part of their conversation surely would have done it.
“Did you make the trades I told you to make?” he said.
“Yes, of course, but I still don’t understand why you want me to use Seldon’s computer.”
There was a pause; I could almost see him rolling his eyes.
“Because once we make our move, we’re going to need a fall guy to take the heat.”
“Seldon,” she said.
“Yes, Seldon,” he said. “Oh, he’ll probably be able to get out of it, unless we’re really lucky, but by the time they figure it all out we’ll be long gone. Have you told your kids yet?”
“Not yet, but they shouldn’t be a problem. They hate him for ‘breaking up our family’. When I explain that we’re taking his ill-gotten gains, and are going to be living the high life on a Caribbean island I don’t think they’ll be terribly upset.”
“Okay, but be careful; kids can be funny when they have to leave their friends and stuff behind.”
“Don’t worry, I can handle them.”
“All right, that’s your call. Our usual time and place?”
“Yes, bye for now.”
I turned off the recording and leaned back with my eyes closed.
Christ, what a fucked-up mess!
As much as I suspected the affair, hearing it so openly and coldly discussed, and learning that our whole relationship was a lie shook me to my very core. I know we hadn’t known each other all that long, but I loved her with all my heart, and thought that she felt the same about me. Now there was something more, something illegal that they were trying to frame me for? I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I definitely needed more information.
If she was involved with this kind of a scheme she had to be hiding the money somewhere; but where? I put a keystroke logger on both my computer and my work computer.
I hit pay dirt almost right away. John was using the early press releases to make insider trades, and was having Kelly execute them from my computer at home, and he would occasionally make some using my work computer. I had no idea why they used both computers; maybe it was to maximize the chance that I would be caught. I wasn’t sure if it was their initial intent, but it was obvious that they intended to frame me, and use that as a distraction while they made off with their ill-gotten gains.
Even more disheartening was listening to her conversations with Daniel and Patricia. I knew that they hated me because Kelly had convinced them that I was responsible for breaking up her marriage. Forget the fact that even if it was true, SHE was the one who cheated on their father; and as I now realized, she had already been cheating on him with John.
They got very excited when she told them that John had discovered “my” insider-trading scheme.
“That’s great,” Daniel said, “We can turn him over to the cops and get him out of our lives. Maybe you and Dad can even get back together.”
“No, kids,” she said, “I’m afraid that ship has sailed. Besides, John and I have a better plan. We’re going to steal his loot and then let the cops catch him. It does mean that we’ll need to leave the country for a while, but we’ll be living on a beautiful island in the Caribbean.”
“What about school, what about our friends?”
“We’ll work something out, don’t worry. We’ll have plenty of money, maybe you can invite your friends on vacation, and once your step-father is in prison we should be able to come back.”
I couldn’t tell if the kids were really buying it, but there were no further objections.
Further tracking showed that they were transferring the proceeds to an account in a Belize bank. Thanks to the keystroke logger, I now had access to the account as well.
I wasn’t sure exactly what was going to happen, but I figured that it was a safe bet that I would need a ready source of cash. I started making irregular cash withdrawals from our checking and savings accounts, not large enough to attract attention, not always the same amount. As I accumulated sufficient amounts, I stashed it away in a safe I had in a storage unit.
I had purchased a new laptop. When I knew they were about to make their move, I logged onto her account and had the money moved to another bank in Barbados. I kept moving it around until it wound up in a bank in the Cayman Islands.
Right after I left for the airport, I knew that Kelly and the kids were heading for Belize. John was staying behind, they didn’t say, but I presume it was so he could complete my frame-up.
. That’s when the friendly FBI came calling.
Picking Kelly and the kids up at the airport was another surreal experience. Kelly came running over and threw her arms around my neck, while Daniel and Patricia just stood there with the strangest looks on their faces.
Ever since I spoke to her when she was stuck in Belize, she had never expressed any surprise or concern with my legal problems.
“Oh, Seldon, Seldon,” she said, “Thank you so much, I didn’t know what I was going to do, I had no money and the credit cards wouldn’t work.”
“Yes, Kelly,” I said, “I understand all that, but what were you doing in Belize? We hadn’t talked about any trips; and why didn’t you have return tickets? Surely you bought round-trip tickets?”
“Oh, Honey, let’s not talk about that now, I just want to get home and decompress.”
We all got into my car and headed for home.
“Okay, Kelly, I understand,” I said. Little did she realize just how much I understood!
We weren’t home fifteen minutes when she called John.
“Oh, John,” she cried, “It was horrible. I went to the bank just like you told me, and the money was gone.”
“What do you mean, ‘gone’?”
“Just what I said. The account had been closed and the money transferred to a bank in Barbados. When I called the bank there, they wouldn’t tell me anything because I didn’t have the proper access codes. You didn’t do anything, did you, John?”
“No, of course not,” he said, “Why would I do something like that?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” she said, “Maybe so that you could keep it all for yourself?”
“Kelly, come on, after all that we’ve been through, after all we’ve meant to each other, surely you know that I could never betray you.”
“I suppose not,” she said, “But you had better hope that I don’t find out that you did.” She hung up.
Things were working out even better than I planned. I had succeeded in sowing the seeds of mistrust between them. This could only help my plans.
Kelly came back into the room, looking so innocent and concerned that even I almost believed her.
“So, tell me, Seldon,” she said, “What’s this about you being arrested? Insider-trading?”
“I wish I knew, Kelly,” I said, “I was at the airport waiting for my flight to Nassau, when two FBI agents came up to me and arrested me.”
“Apparently, they found some early press releases on my computer, with trades based on the information on them. I have no idea why they were even checking my computer in the first place, let alone how the information got there.”
“Did you do it?” she asked.
“What? Come on, Kelly, surely you know me better than that.”
“I’m sorry,” she said, “I had to ask. So how did the information get on your computer?”
“That’s where it really gets interesting,” I said, “Most of the activity on the computer happened when I was out of town.”
Kelly seemed a little taken aback by that, but recovered quickly.
“So, how do you think they got there?”
“Well,” I said, “That’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it?”
“Wh ... what do you mean?”
“I should think that it’s obvious. Do you have any idea how they got there?”
“Of course not, Seldon,” she said, “Where would I even get that information, let alone know what to do with it.”
“Okay, Kelly, I believe you,” I said, “I guess we’ll just have to wait until the investigators finish their job.” ‘Yeah, sure, ‘ I thought, ‘I believe you about as far as I can throw you.’
Her eyes were darting around nervously, and I could smell the flop sweat as I left the room, reaching into my pocket for my phone as I did.
Almost immediately, I got the signal that she was making a call, and it came as no surprise that it was to John Sinclair.
“John, John,” she said as soon as he answered. “He knows, Seldon knows. I don’t know how he knows, but he does.”
“Calm down, Kelly,” he said, “There’s no way that he can know anything; if he did he would have already sicced the cops on us.”
“I guess you’re right,” she said, “but there’s something strange going on; and just where did the money go? If you didn’t take it and if I didn’t take it, then who did?”
“I wish I knew, Kelly, I wish I knew.”
My next meeting with Ms. Atkins was quite interesting. She had met with the prosecutors, and while they agreed that the evidence appeared to clear me, they still weren’t sure that I wasn’t somehow involved. That wasn’t exactly unreasonable, given that the transactions were done on my computer.
Things were further complicated by my growing attraction to Ms. Atkins. I obviously thought she was gorgeous the first time I saw her, but as I worked more and more with her on my case, her sheer sensuality was over-powering my senses, and she had a personality and mind to match.
She gently brushed aside all my efforts to move us beyond a professional relationship, and when I came on a little too strong, she reminded me that I was her client and it wasn’t ethical for her to have a personal relationship with me. I tried to argue that it would only make her work that much harder for me, but she just gave that wonderful laugh and shook her head.
I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I was going to have this woman!
Kelly was called in for questioning, and I heard through the grapevine that she was still trying to throw me under the bus.
She would then come crying to me.
“Seldon, please, you have to know that I’m innocent. I certainly would never try to frame you. I love you.”
It was all I could do to not laugh in her face.
“I know, Kelly, I know. Don’t worry, everything will be all right. Is there any way that someone else could have been on my computer? Has anybody else been in the house?”
I didn’t know if John had screwed her in our house, but I couldn’t see why not.
“N ... no, Seldon,” she said, “of course not.”
God, I felt so evil, but it felt so right; she certainly deserved everything that was coming to her.
“Maybe it was the kids. They’ve always hated me, blaming me for breaking up your marriage.”
Kelly was so shocked it took her a couple of minutes to respond.
“That’s ridiculous, Seldon,” she said, “Even if they hate you as much as you say, where could they get the information?”
“Well, if it wasn’t them, and nobody else has been here, then it must have been...”
Kelly clasped her hand over her mouth and ran from the room.
The police kept calling Kelly in for more questioning, but they simply didn’t have any proof beyond the transactions being made on my computer, and no evidence that she had made them.
When the investigators figured out that the press releases had all crossed John’s desk he was also called in for questioning, but he stonewalled them.
An “anonymous” tip clued them in to his relationship with Kelly, and a phone records search confirmed it. Her one-way trip to Belize and the bank records there sealed their fate.
It didn’t take much for them to get Kelly to roll over on John.
Their trials were little more than formalities; the evidence was overwhelming with Kelly’s admission of her part in the scheme. Kelly threw herself at my feet.
“Please, Seldon,” she said, “You’ve got to believe me. I never wanted to do it, John was forcing me.”
“Give it a rest, Kelly,” I said, “I know everything. I know that you were cheating on your first husband with John, and you and John were still involved when you seduced me. I don’t know if you were already planning to use me as a dupe in your scheme, but it doesn’t really matter.
“It’s over, Kelly, and it looks like Daniel and Patricia will get their wish of being with their father, although it won’t be with you. I don’t think he’ll have any trouble getting custody when their mother is a convicted felon, do you?”
Kelly just broke down in tears as the bailiff came to take her away. Since neither she nor John were willing (or able) to return the money, they weren’t eligible for reduced sentences; she was going to have to serve five years, and John would be doing ten.
The kids still refused to speak to me before leaving with their father. They still blamed me for their parents’ break-up, and I think that they blamed me for Kelly’s arrest.
Tyler was able to get my arrest record expunged and my trader’s license restored, although there was no way I would be going back to my old company.
Tyler invited me out for drinks to celebrate our win, and I was only too happy to accept.
After our drinks were served, I got right to the point.
“So,” I asked, “Does this mean that we are finished, the case is all over?”
“Yep,” she said, “You’re a free man.”
“Good,” I said, “You’re fired.”
She almost spit her drink all over the table.
“Well, you told me you have some ethics rules about dating clients.”
“Yes, I do, but I don’t see how...”
A light seemed to turn on behind her eyes.
“I must be the most clueless woman on the planet,” she said, “Especially for a lawyer; I simply had no idea.”
“Now that you do have a clue, what do you think? Do I ... do we ... have a chance?”
“There’s always a chance,” she said, “It’s just that I honestly haven’t thought of you that way.”
“You wound me, Madame,” I said, dramatically clutching my heart.
“Oh, no,” she said hurriedly, “I didn’t mean it like that. You’re a very attractive man, and if we had met under different circumstances I would definitely have considered going out with you.”
“I sense a ‘but’,” I said.
“Yes, ‘but’,” she said, “We didn’t meet under different circumstances. We met as ‘lawyer/client, ‘ with you charged with a serious crime.”
“But I was innocent,” I protested.
“I don’t mean to split legal hairs,” she said, “the police decided that they didn’t have sufficient evidence to continue the charges against you, plus they had more evidence against John and Kelly. That’s not really the same as you being innocent.”
“To quote Dickens, ‘The law is an arse’,” I said.
Tyler laughed her delightful laugh,
“That’s not the first time I’ve heard that, and I’m not saying it’s not true, but it is what it is.”
“You still haven’t actually answered my question. Will you go out with me?”
“My, but you are persistent,” she said, “All right, I’ll go out with you, but I’m telling you upfront that things aren’t going very far until we have some very serious conversations.