Joanne and I were shown into the conference room. Joanne was a good friend of my parents who also happened to be our family’s attorney.
I said ‘hi’ to Victor, who bore more of a resemblance to my father than to Bethy, and then sat down opposite Bethy.
Bethy gave me a very shy smile. Perhaps ‘coy’ would be a better word since there was little shy about her. I gave her what I hoped was a neutral smile. Joanne’s words went through my mind.
“I don’t like this,” she had said prior to the meeting. “I’ve seen nothing quite like it in my entire career. I do know Victor Mitchell, at least by reputation, and he’s not to be trusted. That she’s his niece makes it even worse. We need to be very careful. Don’t give anything away. Keep your best poker face on at all times. Don’t trust anything either of them says or does.”
Joanne greeted Victor in a polite, professional manner before sitting down across from him. She pulled out a notebook and made it obvious she was recording the meeting despite the fact that Victor had provided a person to transcribe it.
“I know this is slightly unusual, but as I said earlier, I believe in love and hope that it can win out in every case,” Victor said. “And just to start off on the right foot and to show good intentions, Bethany, if you would please…”
Bethy handed me an envelope. It was from a large online investment service.
“Why don’t you open it?” Victor asked. “Don’t worry, it’s not a summons, subpoena or anything like that. Nothing will jump out and bite you.”
I opened the envelope. It was a recent statement for an online account in my name. There was $231,000 in the account.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“That is the money I took out of our joint account,” Bethy said. “I had to pay off that jerk Jordan with quite a bit of it, but I invested the rest. I was saving it as a surprise for our wedding day, but when you got mad at me, well, here it is now.”
“There’s quite a bit in the account,” I said. “How much did you invest?”
“Yeah, I know, I’m pretty good with my investments,” she said. “I pulled out about $103,275, but had to give Jordan about $20,000. Some money went other places too. So I invested just over $75,000 over five and half years. There was a lot more, but I took some out for myself as a kind of investor fee and I paid Uncle Vick out of it.”
“Uhm, yeah, I guess you could make a living doing that,” I said.
She smiled at me. I tried to keep my poker face, but it was hard. I did not expect this turn of events.
“So you see,” Victor said, “one of the biggest complaints you had against my client was based on a misunderstanding.”
“Please Trevor,” Bethy said, “I just want to come home.”
I glanced at Joanne. She gave me a very subliminal headshake, no. Something inside of me agreed.
“Uhm, yeah, I get it, but let’s not rush things, OK?” I said. “I mean there are other things. My coffee was poisoned, you know.”
“I was framed for that,” Bethy said.
“Look,” I said, “First you try to bully me, now you’re trying to bribe me. Yes, a quarter of a million is a lot of money. But then I remember a phone call where you said you enjoyed telling me to my face how much you despise me. You laughed at me and admitted you poisoned me. I recorded that call. I think everyone in this room has heard it. As I said, a quarter of a million is a lot, but, you know, I’m not for sale. A little money isn’t going to make me forget my trip to the hospital and the blood tests which showed I almost ODed on prescription medicine. I’m not going to forget my poisoned coffee or the 100 vials of medicine. I won’t forget the massive amounts of Lisinopril in my coffee, all of the Coumadin, the large amounts of Eszopicione, and, hell, even rat poison. I think there was more than $230,000 worth.”
“You fucking idiot,” Bethy said as she stood up. “You know you never had it so good as with me.”
“Bethany, please sit down and stop talking,” Victor said.
“No!” she said, “this guy thinks he’s so fucking smart,” she turned back to me. “You never caught on and now you think you can dictate terms.”
“Bethany, please keep quiet,” Victor said. He hit his hands on the table.
“And the only reason I’m trying this reconciliation shit is because of some dead ancestor of yours,” she said, ignoring Victor. “Yeah, he told me that he needs you. Why? We were doing just fine without you.”
“Bethany, now, stop this!” Victor said. He stood up, his face was red.
“I’ve tried killing you a dozen times or more, but, no, he always had to interfere, saving your sorry ass,” she said, pointing at me. “Why, oh why does he think we need you? He’s been dead for well over a century, he needs no one. And his power is so great. So, so much more than yours. He needs no one, least of all you”
Victor put his hands on Bethy’s shoulders and tried to get her to sit. “Bethany, stop now!” he said.
Seeming to ignore the man and looking at me, Bethy waved her arm and Victor flew across the room.
“He told me to try this, that we need to be a couple,” she said. “Why? I’m in love with him not you. He gave me his ring, you never did.” She pointed to a ring I had never noticed. “I am his, not yours. You just mess everything up. I think I’ll just take you out now.”
Something hit my mind. It felt like a sledgehammer. It had crashed through my defenses as if they were butter. I tried strengthening them, but she still got through. She laughed.
“Oh, so you finally get it,” she said. “You thought I was completely powerless. There was a time that I used your powers to mimic killing me just so you’d feel guilty. I knew you wouldn’t do anything. Even if you could kill me, you’re too much of a wimp. You thought you were in control, you had the power, but it was me. You had nothing.”
I continued to struggle. I reached out and grabbed power from the sun. She jumped back, obviously hurt.
“Why you fucking bastard!” she said. “You’re trying to fight back with your feeble powers? You have no fucking idea. I can push your brains out of your ears and make you shit out your heart. I want you to know what I’m talking about before I kill you.”
I continued to channel power from the sun, but she was harnessing it, turning it back. My whole body was now shaking. I could feel the sun’s power reflected back at me. I tried the icy core of Jupiter. Everything I used was channeled straight back at me.
Even though I was putting all of my concentration on blocking Bethy, I noticed that Victor had gotten up and was slowly walking back towards Bethy. He stopped, frozen. I knew she had stopped him. Yet she was still winning against me.
I had to find a way to block her. The pain was growing and I was feeling weaker.
And then I remembered a conversation I’d had what seemed like months ago. I reached out and channeled something I knew would block Bethy.
I felt a reprieve, her power was no longer hitting me, and she was no longer using mine against me. But I couldn’t hold it. It was too strong for me, infinitely stronger than me and Bethy combined. It slipped out of my grasp and collapsed on Bethy, collapsing down to the size of a quark and then smaller, smaller, collapsing down to nothingness. It continued until it was gone from our universe.
Bethy gasped. I felt a flood of memories about Bethy fill my head. Her spells had been broken. I felt power return. Much more power than I knew I had. She had kept it locked up with my memories. She had twisted my power and used it against me.
“What in the fuck did you do to me?” she asked.
“Me? Why do you think I did anything?” I said. “I’ve just been sitting here. Ask anybody in the room. You’ve been talking nonsense and threatening me.”
“No, no, you know what I’m talking about,” she said. “Where’s my power? What did you do with it? It’s like you collapsed it into nothing, like it was swallowed by a black hole.”
She stopped and looked at me with wild eyes.
“You didn’t,” she said. “You wouldn’t fucking dare. Nobody would dare. Nobody can control a black hole. No. It can’t be. Give me back my power!”
“Bethany, snap out of it,” Victor said. He had been freed and had walked up to her and had a hand on each shoulder. He was gently shaking her.
“I can’t snap out of it,” she said. “This jerk just flushed my power down a black hole.”
“Bethany, don’t be delusional,” Victor said.
“You of all people should know what I’m talking about,” she said. “You have a ton of the power. Did you think people did your bidding because you’re such a nice guy? That you controlled and manipulated people out of luck? Oh, oh, how about that you always know what someone is going to say before they say it, just coincidence? No!”
“Bethany, please be quiet, you are not helping your case,” Victor said.
She twisted out of his grasp and pointed at me again.
“Just remember,” she said. “I have a .38 special, a .357 service revolver and a .45 military side arm. I’m just telling you this so when I collapse your head you can try to guess which caliber slug did it.”
She stormed out of the room.
Victor sat down and put his head in his hands.
Joanne put her notebook back into her briefcase and stood up.
“So, what’s next?” I asked.
“Next? Why nothing, it’s over,” she said. “Though you may want to get a restraining order against your ex-girlfriend.”
“So that’s it? No lawsuit or anything?” I asked.
“No. Your ex-girlfriend obviously lied to my esteemed colleague here as much as she lied to you,” Joanne said. “She is obviously unstable and had hired Mr. Mitchell under false pretenses. I bet she even told him that the Cracker Jack box ring she had on came from you. I’m sure he would agree that you have nothing more to worry about legally. As far as having an unstable person on the loose, well, you may need to worry about that.”
“Yeah, yeah, it’s done,” Victor said through his hands. “I am sorry to have put you through this.”
“And the investment account?” I asked.
“It’s yours,” Victor said. He took his head out of his hands and looked at me. “If I were you I’d call and make sure her name is no longer on the account, but it was your money, she had taken a fee already, so it is yours.”
Victor stood up, brushed himself off and tried to regain his composure.
“I would normally show you to the door, but I’m sure you can understand that right now I…”
“Yes, Mr. Mitchell,” Joanne said. “We can find our way out, thank you.”
He gave her a small bow, but was obviously still upset.
We walked out. I could tell Joanne was trying her hardest to bite her lip. Once in the parking lot and back at her car Joanne started laughing. I gave her a puzzled look.
“I’m sorry, I know you still have a serious issue with Bethany, though with all of the witnesses the police will most likely pick her up as soon as possible,” she said. “As to why I’m laughing, well, you have to know Victor. I’m not going to say anything, but I will never be afraid to face him in court after this.”
I went over to my own car and noticed someone leaning against it, smiling at me. It was my grandfather. “Well played,” he seemed to say as he winked and moved out of my way with a small bow and waving a hand to the car door. I got in and looked, but he was gone.
As I was driving home I wasn’t sure if I should be happy or sad about the outcome. I was a lot richer and didn’t have a lawsuit hanging over my head anymore. But then, Benjamin told me I was about to have a lot of money dropped on me. And what was his relationship to Bethy?
And then there was Bethy’s final threat. Was she going to try to hunt me down and shoot me? I had to take it very seriously. I made my way down to the police station. I wasn’t surprised that Joanne had already left a copy of the conversation or that Victor had dropped his objections to the previous evidence.
Now very tired I made my way home. I strengthened all of the barriers and made sure I’d be warned if Bethy came onto the property.
Going to the safe guest bedroom I crashed into a deep sleep.
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