Saturday, July 25, 2009

Chapter 15

I drove over Laurel Canyon heading back towards Studio City and Paul’s place. As I crossed over Mulholland Drive, I looked left down the road and down the hillside toward Faraday’s estate. I shuddered involuntarily. That was weird. That was where I had always turned at least once a day for the past year. Would I - could I - ever drive down that road again?

Arriving at Paul’s, I parked behind his truck and walked over to the stucco front porch with its cheery orange door and wrought-iron peep window. I tapped on the front door and waited for him. Minutes went by and I tapped again. Standing on my tiptoes, I finally took a look through the little window in the door. No movement. I tried the latch. It gave way easily, and I crept inside and silently closed the door. Still no Paul. I tiptoed into the living room. Paul was in his leather chair with his feet up, snoring like a puppy. I knelt down beside him and pinched his nose closed with my fingers. He snorted and then swatted my hand away. Bringing his hand to his eyes, he woke up.

“Lois?” he asked the air above him.


Paul turned in my direction and finally recognized his situation. Sitting up, he pulled himself up from the chair, pulling me up at the same time. He embraced me and rooted his nose and chin into my shoulder for comfort. I patted him on the back and rubbed his ass.

“It’ll be OK, babe,” I soothed him. “They’ll find out what happened to Faraday.”

Paul pulled back from me and looked me in the eye. “No, we’ll figure out what happened to Faraday,” he stated firmly.

“Really? How are we supposed to do that?” I asked. “What can we do?”

Paul sighed and shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. The police aren’t going to tell us much as long as we’re ‘persons of interest’. I don’t know if we can even get back into the estate. I have no idea where Bruce is and what his status is at the estate now. According to the police, Trevor’s on the run.” He threw up his hands in frustration.

How did he know Trevor’s status? Had the police actually called back? That would explain why he was out of bed. “Did the police call you while I was out?”

“Yeah, ‘clarifying information’ they called it. Detective Patrick told me about Trevor. He said they may not be considering this a suicide anymore.” Paul informed me. “That’s why we have to do something, Lo. “I can’t sit around if someone murdered Kip.”

I paused and wondered how to tell him that I’d already engaged the services of Guy, PI. I bit the bullet. “Would you be interested in the work of a private investigator?”

“Who, Colombo?” joked Paul, in a not funny way. “Is Paul Drake still available? Maybe Perry Mason could be our legal counsel.”

Was he making fun of Perry? I’d have to let that slide ‘til later. “Very not funny. You know, I have a friend. You’ve met him, Guy from the Formosa. Well, he’s a private investigator.”

Paul spun my way, his face full of disbelief. “You mean the geek who is always at the Formosa ogling Harshy like she would even give it a thought? The one who does work for the insurance company?”

Well, that was rude, but given Guy’s similar response not so long ago, apparently typical for men. Yeah, Guy was a bit of nerd, but that was a little uncalled for. I paused and let Paul calm down before I said, carefully, “Yeah, Guy, the one with the crush on Harshy. (As if?) He’s actually a very nice man and very professional. He only does the insurance work because he’s not well established as an independent PI yet and can’t get the big celebrity divorce scandal cases that get all of the publicity.”

Paul snorted, “So where does he fit in, Ms. Lois? Is this his big celebrity case that will shoot him to fame and fortune?”

I didn’t like Paul’s tone, but I continued just to get it all off of my chest. “I asked Guy to look into Faraday’s death. I figured he might have some outside contacts that we didn’t have. Plus he would have easier access to police and insurance information. He’s doing this because I’m his friend. And by helping me out, he’s helping us.”

Paul stared at me before speaking, his eyes crinkled. “Thanks. That was very smart of you. I’m sorry for being an ass.”

He sat down on his leather ottoman and cradled his capless head in his beautiful hands. I loved those hands. They created such beauty out of the rawest of materials. I reached for them and cradled them in my own. I looked at his ring finger and imagined a thick, hammered platinum band on the slender, tanned finger. Good God, what am I thinking? Step off, Pushkin, you’re moving way too fast for yourself.

Paul caught me looking at his hands, “What are you thinking about?”

“Something that would definitely get me in trouble,” I replied with a smirk on my face.

Paul cocked his head and managed a “melting Lois” smile, “Like what?”

“Nothing. Never you mind. We’ll talk about it much later. So, are we cool with Guy checking out the – um - situation?” I asked.

“Yeah, at least it’s something. I don’t like waiting, but what else can we do?”

“I’m sorry babe, but I guess nothing,” I offered.

Paul stood up, grasped my right hand firmly, and led me down the hall to his bedroom. I stood in the doorway to the room and hung back. “Do you really want to do this right now?” I asked. Memories of our perfect weekend were still fresh in my mind.

Paul led me to the bed, “I just need to sleep. And I want you here with me.”

I hugged him. “Sure,” I replied. I pulled back his ivory colored, waffle weave comforter and slid in. Paul slid in right up next to me. I wrapped an arm around his broad chest and rested my head against it. Paul’s arms enveloped me and he kissed my hair. Lifting my chin, he lightly kissed my lips. I kissed him back a little harder and he responded in kind ‘til we are making out like horny teenagers. After a breath of air, Paul lay back and closed his eyes.

“You’re killing me, babe.”

“You invited me here.” I reminded him.

“I need to sleep.” he murmured.

“So sleep, babe.”

With that, we settled into a much-needed late morning nap. Paul occasionally cried out in his sleep and somewhere off in the house the phone rang a couple of times. After a while, I became aware that the sun was shining through the slats of the wood blinds onto my closed eyelids. I opened them, groggy and disoriented. Slowly, I realized that it was mid-afternoon. I looked over at Paul who was still sound asleep. Staring at the ceiling and sun lit window, I willed myself to stay awake. Carefully extracting myself from the bed, I padded out of the bedroom and into the kitchen.

I quietly opened cabinet doors and made myself some Earl Grey tea in a thick coffee mug from The Spot. Wandering around in the quiet of Paul’s little bungalow, I looked at all of his framed pictures, inspected his CD rack, snooped through his mail and rummaged through his magazines. That day’s newspaper was on the sofa. I could work on the daily crossword to distract my cluttered mind. We were in a holding pattern now and could only wait for something to happen.

I rummaged in my purse for a pen (I lived dangerously) and I picked up my cell phone as well. As I sat back on his big, comfy, leather sofa, I checked my cell phone. Three messages. I reviewed the ‘missed calls’. They were all from my house.Quickly dialing the myriad of numbers to retrieve cell phone messages, I got to the first one. It was from Brian.

“Lois, hey, it’s Brian. I wasn’t going to answer your phone, but then I thought about those dudes you told me about and one of them being a fugitive and all or maybe I just thought that, but whatever. Anyway, so I picked up your call and it was him and he said he had to talk to you, that they’ve got it all wrong or whatever. So anyway, I told him you weren’t home, but I’d let you know he called. Then the fucker told me to fuck off. Man, that ain’t right. So there, there’s your message. Thanks for the leftovers. Peace.”

I erased that message and went on to the next message. “Lois, it’s Brian again. Same dude called back, totally fucking hysterical! Call me OK?! I can’t take the bad mojo. Peace.”

I raised my eyebrows at that message, erased it and went on to the last one. “Lois, Lois come on! Pick up your goddamn phone. Ooops! Maybe you’re having sex – sorry. Anyway, that dude, Trevor, is here at your condo, and he’s pacing around the pool like a crazy wack. I can’t take it. Come home! Call me or whatever. Peace.”

I erased that message and called my house. Brian picked it up on the first ring.


“Brian, it’s Lois.”

“Hey, you have to get over here now! This guy is driving me fucking bonkers and I would leave and all, but I’m freakin’ that he’ll drown himself in your pool or jump over the side of the building and I know how you hate complicated messes – ‘zero tolerance’ and all.” Brian was being sent over the edge himself. I would never intentionally inflict Trevor on anyone as I had to work with him weekly for the past nine months and knew that horror.

“Thanks for the favor, Brian. You’re a sweetheart,” I replied. “We’ll be over as soon as we can. Keep Trevor there. Let him know we’re on our way. There’s some Valium in my bathroom medicine cabinet.”

“Will do, boss lady. Hurry! He’s making my brain hurt,” pleaded Brian. He may be from Chino, but I didn’t know how much longer he could stand to be around the bitchy, little fag.

I hung up the cell, tossed the crossword to the couch, and walked back to the bedroom. Paul had rolled onto his side and was snoring softly. I knelt down at the side of the bed. “Paul, babe. Paul, wake up. We gotta go now.”

“What?” Paul put his hands to his eyes and then propped himself up on one elbow. Pushing his hair up off his face, he squinted at me. “What’s going on?”

“Trevor is at my place and he’s freaking Brian out,” I explained. “We have to go back to my place now.”

“Shit!” Paul swung his legs out to the side and sat up. “Fuck, yes, come on, let’s go! Little Prick! I want to have some words with him. Um, why the hell is he at your place?”

I pushed him back to reality. “Hey, calm yourself. I don’t know why he’s there. We don’t even know if Trevor had anything to do with this. He’s at my place for some reason, and I would rather pump him for information than use him for boxing practice.”

Paul visibly relaxed and then took my hand. “You’re right. OK. All right. I get it. I’ll behave. How does he know where you live?”

“Thank you. I don’t know how he knows where I live. It’s kinda freakin’ me out.”
I shuddered at the thought of Trevor watching me through my windows or following me around in my neighborhood, spying on my every move, my friends, my dates. Oh, shit. I wonder if he’s known about Paul and me all along? I guess we’d find out soon enough.

“Probably the same way you found out where I lived.” I pointed an accusatory finger at him.

“Ah, yeah, right. Well, let’s go, then,” said Paul, changing the subject.

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