Chapter 9 – The worms that turned.
The Compton Mansion – Bon Temps
Bill rubbed his eyes as he walked down the stairs. The last few days had been hectic, hashing out the details of his new position in the company, dealing with his new affluence and coming to terms with the fact that so many people were nicer to him now he had money was exhausting. The pounding on the door was insistent and far too loud for him to handle at 5am. He angrily opened the door and actually growled when he saw who was standing there.
“Lorena – it was fun but, really, don’t make a fool out of yourself like this.”
“Shut up, Bill. You need to know why I really came back here, why I came back to you.”
“Oh, gee, let me think.” Bill sneered. “Would it have something to do with my bank balance?”
“Fuck you.” Lorena screamed. “All these years I was looking for an excuse! You were nicer to me than any guy I’ve ever been with and what did I do? I ruined your career prospects! By the time I realised you were the best thing to ever happen to me, the damage was done.”
Bill was shocked by her outburst and, finally, took in her appearance. Her clothes were obviously put on in haste, she had no make-up on and her eyes were puffy and red from crying. He nodded and stepped back from the entrance so she could come inside. Lorena stood by the fireplace, her back to Bill and her hand on the mantle to steady her.
“Hadley contacted me, I don’t know how she found me but …” She lifted her purse and turned it upside down, emptying several plastic baggies full of powders and pills onto the floor. “She wanted me to use my time here with you to sneak across and plant them in Sookie’s house and in the store to implicate Pam and Eric. I met with her in New Orleans a few days ago, I don’t know what Sookie did to her but Hadley wants her out of the picture.”
Bill blinked and sat down heavily on the couch. “Well, that sucks.”
Apartment 1a, Chloe Street – New Orleans
Amelia watched through her window as Hadley bounced down the stairs from her apartment. She rushed out of her door, calling to the other woman to get her attention. Hadley stopped and turned back, smiling at Amelia.
“Good Morning, Landlady! Is everything okay?”
“Everything is awesome.” Amelia deadpanned. Everything was not awesome, not while Hadley was having strange women and known drug dealers trooping into Amelia’s property. “I hope you won’t be having any more interesting visitors, Hadley … I don’t appreciate my tenants entertaining the faces from the NOLA Narcotics mugshot catalogue.”
“No.” Hadley narrowed her eyes. “Everything is all set, they won’t be coming back.”
Amelia frowned and bit her lip. “Hadley, have you contacted your Gran or Sookie? I think they’d appreciate knowing that you’re okay.”
Hadley’s eyes narrowed and her cheeks flushed in anger. “Sookie is the reason I’m down here! If she hadn’t come back then I’d still be Gran’s right hand man. Her and her … her Scooby gang, Pam, Eric … and Bill too! Do have any idea how it feels? Having your own family muscle in and destroy your dreams? Sookie will get hers – and I can’t wait to see it happen!”
Without waiting for a reply, Hadley stormed away leaving Amelia standing in the courtyard shaking her head.
Her mouth is open, sound is coming from it. This is never good.
Deciding that Hadley’s cryptic, cloak and dagger idiocy could never lead to anything but stupid stuff happening, Amelia pulled out her cell and hit Sookie’s speed-dial.
SB Electrical – Front Entrance
Sookie paced at the door, stopping every few seconds to look at her watch. Finally, Bill appeared. He had spent time listening to Lorena’s tale and asking her questions and decided his best course of action was to call a staff meeting as soon as he was able. Bill rushed in the door and grabbed Sookie’s arm.
“We need to call a staff meeting ASAP.”
“Whatever you want to discuss will need to wait, I’ve already called a meeting. Everyone available is in the break room.”
“Sookie, trust me – I need to tell everyone what I heard this morning.”
“I’m sure it’s important, Bill, but I had a very distressing phone call just after breakfast. You’ll need to wait until I say my piece.”
“I’m not kidding around here; my news affects everyone in the store!”
“Well so does mine! And I called the meeting first, so you’ll need to wait!”
Bill huffed and stood in front of Sookie. “We’ll draw.”
Sookie narrowed her eyes and nodded, she figured it must be really important for him to resort to this. They held out their right hands, balled into fists and spoke at the same time.
“Rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock!”
Bill’s hand was shaped into a lizard’s mouth and Sookie’s fingers were signifying scissors. She smiled.
“Scissors decapitate lizard. I go first, come on, everyone’s waiting.”
They rushed back to the break room and Sookie apologised for keeping everyone waiting. She paced for a moment, wondering exactly how to put into words the call she’d had from Amelia. Adele cleared her throat and looked at her Granddaughter pointedly. They’d discussed that, as it was Sookie who had been given the information, it was her responsibility to make sure the staff were aware of the implications.
“Ah … okay. Here’s the thing – as you all know, Hadley was fired … uh … resigned recently. She didn’t leave on good terms and ran off to New Orleans.”
“Same old, same old, Sook. What’s she gotten into now?”
Jason was smiling and shaking his head, he knew that Hadley was always getting herself into situations but he couldn’t fathom something so huge that it would require half the staff to know about it.
“It seems that what Hadley has gotten into is a really bad state of mind. I had a call from her landlady this morning to let me know that Hadley is supremely angry at pretty much everyone at SB, but mostly me, and has had a procession of dodgy characters stopping by. Apparently she’s got some kind of plan to ‘bring me and my Scooby gang down’.”
Pam, who had been quietly seething at the mention of Hadley’s name until this point, put her cast in the air before standing.
“You mean to tell us that, not only did she cause me to break my wrist, but now she’s on some kind of vendetta because she got fired for it?”
Sookie nodded sadly. “That’s about the size of things, yeah.”
“There’s more.” Bill walked to the front of the room and stopped in front of Sookie. “I told you this was important.”
“Your news adds more to my news?” Sookie rubbed at her forehead with her fingertips and tightened her ponytail. “Well, the floor is yours Mr. Compton.”
“This morning I also received some news. It seems that Hadley bribed a certain someone to come back into my life and plant all sorts of drugs around the store and in Sookie’s house.”
“Lorena! That bitch!” Sookie gasped but Bill held up a hand to stop her.
“Lorena confessed everything to me. She was supposed to seduce me, distract me and then call Hadley when everything was in place. Then the cops would be called, Sookie would be out of the picture and Hadley could come back home to fill her shoes. Although I doubt she took into account the implications that such a plan would have on the store – if drugs are found on the premises … it would be a PR nightmare.”
Sookie gagged. “Jesus Christ, Shepherd of Judea! Why would she do that? Why would she want to ruin us like that?”
Eric’s fingers dug into his thighs. Pam’s plastered arm got even itchier. Jason’s eye started twitching. Sam leaned back in his chair and stretched before speaking.
“Because Hadley thinks in the now. She always has, she won’t see the long term implications of it.”
Eric, Pam and Jason nodded in agreement. But as much as they agreed with Sam, none of them could quite understand the motive behind the madness.
The Compton Mansion – Bon Temps
Lorena almost wore a path in the living room rug as she waited for Bill to get home from work. She didn’t want to go back to the hotel – Hadley knew she had been staying there but she checked out before going to Bill’s that morning. Knowing that she was supposed to have a progress report ready, Lorena had turned off her cell, but she called the hotel after lunchtime and was informed that a man had, indeed, came looking for her.
It’s only a matter of time before she works out where I am. What will she do to me? She obviously has other people working on this project … nasty people.
A key rattled in the lock and a breath stuck in her chest. When she saw it was Bill, she blew out a sigh of relief and went into his arms.
“You’re shaking, Lorena, what happened? Did Hadley call you?”
“No … I just … I’m scared, Bill. I don’t know what they’ll do if they find me, a guy went looking for me at the hotel.”
“Don’t worry sweetheart.” Bill rubbed her shoulders. “He was probably just sent to kill you!”
“What!?” Lorena gasped as she pulled away from him.
Apartment 2b, Chloe Street – New Orleans
Hadley stared out of her kitchen window as Amelia tended a small flower bed in the courtyard. She should have been thinking about the reasons that her Gran made her resign. She should have been reconsidering the attempt to get revenge on her cousin that would possibly close down the family business that she had only recently left.
But instead, she was thinking about how Amelia had betrayed her. In Hadley’s mind (which was an awful place to be – without extra resentment), if her plans failed – she would be able to return home and beg forgiveness. But now she had nothing. She could never go back.
It’s all Amelia’s fault!
Like many who suffer from delusions or are ruled by their own ego and desires, Hadley just couldn’t see that she had done anything wrong. Her brain wasn’t wired to take responsibility, not now anyway, with her growing up believing that what Bartlett had done to her was her fault – her psyche was all full up on responsibility.
Amelia pushed the trowel into the dirt, digging deeper as she tried to get that one weed that always resisted. She hacked at the dirt as her stomach tied in knots. Amelia had an awful feeling that something was coming to bite her in the ass. When she turned around and looked up at Hadley’s kitchen window, she knew exactly who would be doing the biting. Her cat, Bob, rubbed against her leg and purred.
“So what should I do now?” She reached down and scratched behind his left ear. “The only thing Hadley is guilty of is being Hadley and that’s her punishment too. It’s time to step up to red alert, even if it does mean changing the bulb.”
Buy Everything – Shreveport
“Felipe, I thought you were told you had to keep the stores out of this vendetta you have against the Stackhouse girl?” Lafayette’s voice was bored as he inspected his nail polish.
“I can’t do anything that would … inspire her to take her revenge on Buy Everything property, that doesn’t mean we can’t plan on our downtime.” Felipe grinned maniacally. “And plan we must, right now she and her Scooby gang will be gloating over their victory, thinking they’ve won.”
“So what’s your next move? You can’t target her at work, she kicked your ass online … short of stealing her laundry or slashing her tyres, I’m tapped out.”
Felipe sneered. “Nothing so unsophisticated … something will come up.”
SB Electrical – Cash Desk
Arlene chattered happily to her new colleague, Heidi, she was relieved to have someone share the load at the pay point and excited to have a female working alongside her so she could gush about her fledgling relationship with Terry.
“And he’s such a sweetheart; you know he loves his catahoula so much, he built her a two storey kennel in the yard?”
“Really? That’s so sweet.”
Heidi smiled and nodded, hoping that Arlene would suddenly become afflicted with severe laryngitis and lose the ability to make noise with her mouth … and she only started her first shift half an hour before.
“And we’re dressing up as Sandy and Danny for Halloween! What are you coming as?”
“Sorry – what?”
“Halloween, they do this thing where you have to come to the store in costume.” Arlene’s eyes twinkled as she explained the tradition. “I thought it sounded lame too, but I’m really getting into it!”
Heidi blinked and opened and closed her mouth like fish out of water. “Bill mentioned that after the interview but I thought he was joking!”
Arlene shook her head. “No, honey, it’s pretty much mandatory and the Stackhouses are really serious about it – Sookie won’t even give anyone a hint about her costume. She says it’s a surprise for someone special.”
“Oh yeah?” Heidi snorted. “She’s a popular girl, that’s for sure. I see she’s pretty close to Eric, and Bill is hanging around her too.”
“Well … Bill was her high school sweetheart and …” Arlene leaned in conspiratorially “I heard that she got her cousin, Hadley, fired so she could get her hooks into Eric.”
Heidi’s eyes widened. “Really?”
“That’s what Hadley was saying up at Vic’s Redneck Roadhouse after she left the store that day. But that girl was no-tor-eeee-us for making up crap to make herself sound better. I don’t know Sookie too well but she seems nice enough, and she’s pretty – Hadley was probably bumpin’ her gums to cover for that accident with Pam.”
“What happened with Pam?”
Arlene smiled, but internally she was jumping up and down and doing dance of joy because she – finally – had someone to share all the gossip with.