Chapter 10 – The Hadley Collider
SB Electrical – Ladies locker room
Sookie paced back and forth with her cell phone to her ear. She was making an important call. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t that important – but right at that minute, it was very important to her. Ever since her date with Eric, she had been planning this. Everything had to be perfect. Heidi stopped as she reached the door, which was ajar and letting all manner of people be privy to Sookie’s side of the phone conversation.
“Look, I don’t want your cheap efforts – I want top quality gear. You’re sure it’s the real deal?”
This sounds sooo not on the level.
Heidi backed away from the door, not quite knowing what to think about what she had overheard. She didn’t know enough about Sookie to determine what she may have been trying to procure – but she knew a man who did.
Buy Everything – Shreveport
Felipe raised an eyebrow as Heidi’s name flashed on the screen of his phone. He looked around, Andre was out to lunch and the store was very quiet. So he answered.
“Calling to ask for your job back, Heidi?”
“Actually, no, how much do you know about Sookie Stackhouse? Has she ever been involved with any gossip about drugs?”
He smiled; he smiled so much he almost forgot he was on the phone to someone. Heidi’s voice shook him out of his euphoria when she checked to make sure he was still on the line.
“Funny you should mention that – I did hear something about her premature departure from LSU being drug-related.”
Quiznos – Off I-20, Ruston
Calvin Norris and his partner, Patrick Furnan, slurped on their coffees and waited. The Intel they received was shoddy at best, hearsay at worst, but every lead had to be followed. Calvin choked a little as Pat nudged him and pointed to a large man wearing cap, sunglasses and carrying a package wrapped in brown paper went into the sandwich bar.
“Looks like the courier.” Pat took out a Radio and pressed the button. “Caucasian male, five ten, wearing brown leather jacket, Tampa Bay Lightning cap and black framed sunglasses has entered Quiznos with a large package under his left arm. The package is wrapped in brown paper and seems to be unmarked.”
Calvin rolled his eyes, he was pretty sure their ‘(wo)man on the inside’ of the sandwich bar would have recognised someone out of place without the details, and went back to watching the door of the sandwich bar. They didn’t wait long for the buyer to show. Calvin took out his notebook and looked at the description. “Long, wavy blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, five foot six, stacked and wearing a shirt that says ‘Hi, my name is Leeroy Jenkins’. This is our girl.”
Sookie walked into Quiznos and got a tall coffee to go, she scanned the other customers casually as she waited and nodded to the man who was sitting at a table in a corner. He nodded back and Sookie jerked her head back toward the door, trying to disguise it as flicking her hair out of the way.
“Oh yeah somethin’s goin’ down here.”
Calvin’s eyes snapped to the radio as Luna’s voice came through. She had been sitting in the restaurant, pretending to read some cheap romance novel for the last forty-five minutes. Pat nodded to him and they both got ready to leave the comfort of the unmarked car. They watched the blonde walk out holding a cup of something and head towards an older model, yellow Nova. Moments later, the courier came out and walked over to the same car. They wasted no time.
Sookie salivated, her fingers itched and she had to stop herself from grabbing the package out of the guy’s hands. When he handed it over to her, she immediately pulled at the strings.
“Stop right there and put down the package!”
Wow, that clicking noise sounds just like the guns they use in movies.
She looked up from her prize and saw two plain clothes policemen pointing handguns at them. She dropped the package and put her hands in the air.
SB Electrical – Loading Bay
Andy sat heavily on the edge of the concrete ledge. Already today he’d had to endure Eric’s moon eyes at Sookie, Lorena bringing Bill his lunch (although Andy did note that Bill wasn’t particularly impressed with the effort) and Terry and Arlene making out in the stock area between the Microwaves and sandwich toasters.
Maybe Mee-Maw is right, I’ll never find a woman now my best years are behind me. I’m destined to be alone. A lone wolf. The lone ranger … ah crap – he doesn’t count, he had Tonto.
He tore off a mouthful from his sandwich and chewed despondently. The view from the loading bay did nothing to cheer him up and he was glad when the beeping of a truck reversing into the bay gave him something else to look at. Andy stood up and walked off to the side so the delivery from the computer parts wholesaler could be unloaded.
When Terry came to the bay he looked flushed and dishevelled. Andy ripped at his sandwich with his teeth again. The driver of the truck jumped out and tipped her hat to Andy before jumping onto the ledge with her clip board.
“Oooooh dreeeeeam weaver, I believe you can get me through the na-hight.”
Andy blinked as the driver smiled right at him, the name ‘Halleigh’ emblazoned across the left breast of her overalls. Terry answered his phone with a frown.
“Arlene, I love ya but changin’ my ring tone to Gary Wright just ain’t funny!”
While Terry was arguing over the phone with a woman that was twenty yards away inside the building, Halleigh made her way over to Andy.
“Hey, can you help with this? I have some more deliveries to make and I’m on a schedule.”
“Uh … sure.” When Andy stood next to her to check the delivery, he inhaled her perfume deeply but tried not to come off as a creeper who sniffs every woman he comes across. “Is that Clinique’s ‘Happy’ you’re wearing?”
Halleigh looked at Andy strangely but nodded. “Yes, it’s my favourite. You’ve got a good nose there.”
Andy blushed and looked at his feet. “I bought it for my Me … Grandma on Christmas but she didn’t like it and uses it to make the sheets smell nice. You smell like my bed.”
“Excuse me?” Halleigh raised an eyebrow.
“Uh … I like the smell of my bed … I mean, I like your smell … I mean, I like your perfume … I’m just gonna go now.”
Andy turned and started to walk back into the building, his shoulders slumped in defeat and paying no mind to the fact he just left the delivery sitting on the loading bay.
“Wait!” Halleigh’s voice made him stop and tense up. “My last boyfriend hated the smell of my favourite perfume. I like that you like it.”
Andy turned around to find Halleigh smiling at him.
Never find a woman my sweet patootie, Mee-Maw!
Vic’s Redneck Roadhouse
“I can’t believe someone called the cops and told them I was taking part in a drug deal! But it couldn’t have been Hadley – she’s still in New Orleans … who else would be so callous?”
Sookie shook her head and stuffed another fry into her mouth. Pam joined in with the head shaking and added a curled lip in for good measure.
“You know this stinks of Felipe De Castro – it’s the same kind of cheap shot that he’s been taking at you for weeks.”
Heidi sat next to them stiffly, sipping at her club soda and trying to blend in with the decor behind her. Chow stole some fries from Sookie’s plate and chewed them thoughtfully.
“So, what were you picking up? I mean, it must have looked shady if the cops even thought about intervening.”
“My Halloween costume, its custom made … by a guy who didn’t want his customers to know he was making Halloween costumes when he should have been hemming curtains.”
“Seriously?” Pam snorted. “All that cloak and dagger crap for a costume?”
“It’s not just any costume, Pam. And the woman who’s waiting for her curtains has been stalking him.”
Heidi blinked and shook her head. “Why would you stalk someone over curtains?”
Everyone at the table shrugged and went back to drinking and eating. Sookie valued the time to bond with the newbies who had started – it had been her idea to take them to Vic’s. She paid no mind to the other customers around them until Chow and Heidi sat up straight and stared at the strange man who just stepped in the door. Sookie had never seen the man they were looking at before, she was sure she’d remember meeting a guy with long silver hair. She was even more perplexed to see him walking toward their table and bypassing the bar completely.
“I’m looking for Sookie, Pam or Eric. Am I to believe I’m in the presence of Sookie and Pam?”
Chow stood up and faced the stranger. “These are not the blondes you’re looking for. Why are you here, Niall?”
“I come in peace.” Niall flicked his eyes toward Sookie and then Pam. “My superior is on the warpath and is making some very big plans for your downfall.”
Sookie gulped and stared at Niall with wide eyes. “You don’t work for a woman who’s been waiting on some curtains do you?”
SB Electrical – Manager’s Office
Jason walked into the room with a smile on his face but it soon turned to a frown when he noticed his Gran wasn’t wearing her usual ‘Mother Superior’ costume. He took a moment to try and guess what she was dressed up as, wearing plain slacks and a delicately patterned blouse, but all he could come up with was ‘Normal Gran’.
“Gran, I’m tryin’ here but I just can’t guess what your costume is! Do you have a badge or somethin’ to finish it off?”
Adele looked at Jason and wondered why on earth he’d chosen to dress as a construction worker. “I won’t be here for the party, Jason. I’ve got … an errand to run. It’s very important and can’t wait; otherwise you know I’d be there with my bad habit.”
She snorted while Jason blinked; not quite getting what was funny. “Well that’s a damn shame. I’ll make sure and take plenty of pictures so you see everyone’s costumes.”
“Yes – is there a reason you picked that get up?” Adele placed her cell phone in her purse and grabbed her car keys.
“I was strugglin’ to come up with somethin’ but Pam suggested this.” He grinned. “I’m hopin’ she’s got a thing for guys who do manual labourin’ and such.”
Adele raised an eyebrow but put her doubts about Pam’s reasoning to one side. She had a big job to do and a very small window of opportunity to do it. With the information that they’d received, it was possible she’d already waited too long.
Apartment 1a – Chloe Street – New Orleans
Amelia kept an eye on Hadley, as Adele and Sookie had asked her to, keeping track of her comings and goings, noting any visitors. She knew Adele would be arriving soon and that Hadley was at home, Amelia just hoped that Hadley would stay there until Adele’s arrival. She didn’t want to think of how difficult it would be if Hadley went out and saw her Gran’s car parked outside – there was a chance she would disappear and prolong the inevitable. Her phone buzzed as a text message arrived.
Half an hour away. Is she still home?
Amelia replied and continued her vigil. If Hadley was willing to go to extreme measures to take revenge on her own flesh and blood, she didn’t want to think about what plans would be concocted against her if this all fell through. Twenty minutes later, Hadley’s door opened and she stepped out.
The landlady rushed out of her own door and intercepted. “Hey! Hadley, where are you off to?”
“None of your business.” Hadley’s eyes narrowed and she stepped toward Amelia, expecting her to move aside. “Excuse me, I have things to do.”
“Well, before you go off and do that, I was wondering if I could have a word?”
Hadley sighed deeply, obviously not interested in anything Amelia might say. “Go on then.”
“Umm … well … I …” Amelia struggled to think of something that might be important enough to keep Hadley in place until Adele got there. “I was wondering who that guy was, the guy that left early yesterday morning and that woman who visited you last night and left very late, I’m sure I remember telling you to keep the amount of people trooping in and out to a minimum.”
“Seriously? What? Am I not allowed to have any visitors at all?”Hadley’s flared nostrils alerted Amelia to an impending tantrum. Tantrums resulted in Hadley running.
“I didn’t say that, but with all the activity in your apartment, other residents have been asking questions about the kind of people I let rent from me. Can you try maybe only having one or two different visitors a week rather than one or two a day? Just until people stop asking questions.” Amelia smiled; she tried to make it as bright and innocent as possible.
Another bored sigh was issued from Hadley’s mouth before she nodded. “Sure, whatever. Can I go now?”
“Uh … I …” Just a few more minutes! “I was wondering if you were thinking of getting a job, y’know, it must be pretty boring sitting at home all day.”
“Well, you would know that’s what you do.” Hadley sneered. “But, yeah, I’m looking for a job. Don’t worry, you’ll keep getting paid.”
“Oh, that’s not what I’m worried …” Amelia turned to see a car pull into the parking bays, an older woman at the wheel. Please be Adele!
Hadley pushed Amelia to the side. “What the … what is my Gran doing here? Did you arrange this? I should have known there was some creepy motive for you keeping me talking!”
Adele walked over and stood in front of them, her eyebrows furrowed at her Granddaughter in disappointment. “Do you have a problem with me visiting unannounced and asking your landlady to make sure you were home when I arrived?”
“Well … yes! I was on my way somewhere important!” Hadley huffed and pulled her cell phone from her purse. “Hello, my name is Hadley Delahoussey, I had a job interview scheduled today … yes, that’s right … I’m afraid I won’t be able to make the appointment, some urgent family business has just come up … I understand if you don’t want to reschedule … really? Yes! Tomorrow is fine … I’ll see you then, thank you!”
Putting her phone away, Hadley stared at her Gran. “It’s lucky that they think my work experience will fit in and want to reschedule my interview.”
Adele apologised and ushered Hadley back up to her apartment, thanking Amelia for her trouble as she passed.