Still In The Past
My attorney was a bulldog and he worked to find out what I wanted to know. Mr. Clark wasn't a slacker in the least, and he took my money and did his best for me. Trying to find out what Randolph had been up to pushed him to his limits, I quickly found. I fielded a call after the flowers began to land and he did what he could.
"Alanna, I tried to look into the cases. I did find the files with your mugging, the break-in and subsequent torching of your home. But the police claim the rest of what you said was basically just unfounded accusations. I asked about the card you said the police took." He paused and took a sip of something on his end.
"Sergeant Cornell, the officer you mentioned, is on disability leave and unreachable," he finally said. I wasn't shocked by anything any more, but that made me crazy. He was trying to help me but falling short. I knew it wasn't his fault, but it still bugged me.
"What are you telling me? Didn't he send it out to be fingerprinted?" I was puzzled.
"No, they don't even have a report on it in your case. They seem to think that you made it all up." Clark was apologetic. I felt sick, knowing I was paying this man large sums of money to pity me. Hemming a bit, or eating his dessert, I wasn't quite sure exactly, he added, "It appears from what I could find out that Randolph contacted Captain Arnold at one of the police stations where your case was being investigated. He told Captain Arnold that you were overwrought and misunderstood someone's sympathy cards after his aunt's death. It seems like he and the captain are old family friends. Can't say that you will get anyone to delve much further into the matter without something concrete." He cleared his throat and waited for my response.
"Ha! Everything 'concrete' went up in flames. As I damn near did," I was way beyond furious. I concluded my call with the attorney after thanking him for his time. It wasn't like I could change what had happened, and arguing with him would just cost me more money and irritate me beyond belief.
* * *
I pretty much had been avoiding work since all this had begun. The few spare moments I'd been there it was to sign needed paperwork and make some decisions. One morning I woke up in the strange new apartment feeling bored. I had eventually got my car back from the garage after paying an enormously outrageous bill. After dressing in some of my new clothes and pulling my hair back off my face I decided to hit work. Once I drove into the parking lot, I was happy to see only Shelly, my pastry chef, had arrived. A feeling of rightness of my choice to head to work made me hop out of my car and bounce into work. Shelly was excited to see me and quickly we caught up with all of her family gossip and dramas and began talking about the current Shelly topic of the day.
I was happily distracted with her avid interest in the fall of the Roman Empire and parallels within our current society. By mid-afternoon everyone was there and hotly debating whether Rome had overextended themselves, thus weakening their power, or that all of the leaders had been driven mad through lead poisoning. The lead poison idea was always popular with cooks and chefs since it usually resulted in discussions of other toxic plants, herbs and vegetables.
That evening I went out to my car feeling normal and healthy. I had my keys in hand and was looking forward to getting back to my new apartment and soaking my aching feet. I had forgotten how tiring a day standing could be. My car door had a huge dent in it. It looked like a foot had kicked the dent in. My key still worked. I drove straight to the law office and had Mr. Clark have a look. Clark said there was nothing I could do unless someone actually saw Randolph actually doing something to my property or me. He did take a few snapshots for the file. I took a long route home constantly checking my rearview mirrors for anyone who might be following me. I didn't sleep very well that night.
* * *
Once I figured out there was no way to escape from all of Randolph and his twisted mind games, I knew I would have to disappear. The time it took for the paperwork to flow through the courts nearly killed me. Once I had the final decree in hand, I knew it would buy me a few weeks before another accident could happen without any suspicion falling on Randolph. I'd made sure to change my will during one of the many visits to my lawyers. But I still didn't feel safe. As part of my divorce proceedings, I sold my business completely to Jean Claude Danzinger in order to pay Randolph a percentage he claimed was his due. I didn't bother to even argue with any of it.
Clark, as an attorney, thought I was nuts to even give Randolph a dime much less any real assets. But then I had realized that Randolph would drag me through any amount of legal nightmares he could find in order to keep me close. With the sale of my business there was no real contact point for Randolph to find me; since the house was a complete loss he had no way to haggle over possession. I figured I was getting off easily.
It was like a weight had been lifted from my heart once my divorce was final. I utilized some friends of Brad's at SFD Investments to offshore some of my money and reinvest other amounts in bearer bonds and other liquid assets. I was taking no chances. Randolph wouldn't have any strings to follow as long as I had my say. The friends were very helpful in giving me ideas and new ways to keep and hold onto my capital beyond any of my previous knowledge. I sincerely couldn't have done anything without their help. They figured I was just trying to consolidate my life after all the traumas had befallen me. Needless to say all of this was done under strict confidentiality and they wouldn't give any access to Randolph about the changes. We even went so far as to do all of the arrangements through a dummy corporation one of Brad's best friends had set up earlier. This was more than a bit illegal, but I didn't mind if I would be free.
In tying up the loose ends I continued my now erratic life by paying off and canceling all my credit cards. Funny, of all the different transactions I did in that time period the hardest was getting rid of the cards. Not as you'd imagine on any misdirected feeling of panic on my part but rather the credit companies really hated to cancel cards.
"Miss Alanna? You still there? Can you speak with my manager?" That was the most common response followed by a click and immediate transfer to said manager.
It was then that I spoke with more 'assistant' managers than anyone would think could possibly exist in the known universe. All offered immediately to up my existing credit line, decrease if any annual fees and offered other exciting packages and varying 'complementary' gifts. I kept telling them that I was no longer employed and had just got divorced. One would think that would put off any credit company yet it didn't seem to impact them and their offers in the least.
Instead I had to wade through the various billing assistant managers until someone finally relented. I came up with the idea of telling them to contact me again in six months when my life had settled down and I would then reconsider their kind offers and decide if I'd acted too hastily. Mollified with the potential future credit debt the credit companies reluctantly closed my accounts.
To fill the void in my new life of no work, and fear of play, I started watching DVD and videos in my apartment. I had meant to see so many films in the past at the theatre but never found the time with my business and husband's demands. As I worked out all of the legal and not so legal documents cluttering my life, I started finding life beyond business. Thankfully, the apartment had been furnished with a DVD/video player making my reintroduction into the current decade relatively pain-free.
Randolph still hadn't tracked me down, but I was constantly searching for his face in a crowd. The new neighborhood I rented my studio apartment in was a yuppie transitional setting. Translation: higher prices in rent to newcomers while older families still kept the streets safe and clean for their grandchildren and others. I did enjoy the little mom and pop stores I had access to more than the supermarkets I had used in the past.
The divorce was finalized on June 21st, a date that lives on in my mind forever, and the week after the divorce was legal was when I decided to launch my new life. The lease on the furnished apartment ran another four months, pre-paid, so I so I wouldn't be hurting the owners any by bailing out early. The utilities and basic phone charges had been included in my rent. Since I rarely used the landline I didn't have any long distance calls to contend with, but the landlords had charged me severely on the off chance I changed to call someone in the "1-900-STUPIDS" range. Somehow the impulse to call someone at a $3.95 a minute seemed ridiculous at best. The Friday after my papers landed I finished my movies, (a Mel Gibson romp and something from the French subtitled section that had been tense and well filmed) and I left to take them back to the video store.
During the time I began to disconnect and hide in that furnished apartment, I didn't talk to anyone I'd ever known about where I was staying. I didn't ask permission or tell anyone what I was doing. I knew it would be found out. Randolph wasn't too picky about how he got information, I'd figured out from the actions he had done, trying to get me near him and covering up the reports I'd made with the police. Since my lawyer had researched my claims of harassment prior to my divorced I found there was nothing for me to charge Randolph with at all. He'd pulled off cheap tricks like paying off witnesses, or helping them take exotic vacations, or just sweet-talking the local police sergeant. It was my war now; I had decided that the game was over.
I left to return the videos in the same casual clothes I always wore. After I exchanged small talk with the clerk at the video store, and said I would see him tomorrow, I asked him to save for me a newly released movie they were currently out of, if one arrived. He bantered back and said he would dig one up from somewhere. My heart was pounding with the ease at which I could now lie. I knew I wouldn't be there to pick up anything saved. As my recent patterns had established I kept with me only an oversized backpack-styled purse and didn't pack anything else. I figured this to be a believable appearance and I needed to keep everything as familiar as possible.
The night before I'd filled my car with gas and had the car washed and waxed. I figured it was the least that I could do for the old thing considering the fate I had planned for it. I liked irony of where I was headed more than anything else I had done in the past few months. I brought an old Elvis Presley CD from my few remaining discs. With the fire and all the other chaos I had lost much of my collection. The Elvis CD had been in the car and wasn't stolen. It was leftover from some sentimental mood I had been in at the bargain bin, where I had felt obligated to rescue the King from yet another price markdown. I popped in the disc and sang along to various verses of Elvis fame and headed straight for Las Vegas.