Special bonus day! Here are the next two chapters of Cold Scent. Happy reading! 🙂
Chelsea stepped into the foyer and the door clicked ominously into place behind her. The mansion had the most advanced security technology available today. Percy was a cautious and paranoid man. They had no security guards. The only people they employed were a driver for Percy and a housekeeper who had worked for the Winchesters for years. Both of them lived separately, came when they were supposed to, did their job and went home right after. This arrangement suited Chelsea just fine. It meant that she needn’t share her secrets with anyone.
As she entered the hall, she saw Percy pacing the floor, which was covered in an Oriental rug.
“Chelsea? Is that you?” Percy’s voice seemed shaken.
“Yes,” Chelsea responded as she proceeded to pull out her disguise. “Who else has the security number to our house, darling?”
“You have a point. But I almost didn’t recognize you! What is with this disguise?”
“Percy, it’s called a costume. I was rehearsing a part with one of my students. I came as soon as you called. I didn’t have the time to clean up. Can I get a minute of privacy?” she requested.
Chelsea walked into her huge bathroom and literally yanked her clothes out. Searching for a pair of comfortable jeans and a shirt, she hurriedly wiped her make-up off and pulled a fresh set of clothes on.
For the first time since Percy had laid his eyes on Chelsea, she came back downstairs with absolutely no make-up on in broad daylight. She was still just as stunning.
But Percy didn’t notice that. He only saw the patterns on the rug merging and swirling and throwing his life into a chaotic mess which he couldn’t control.
“Oh, you’re here,” he finally noted when he lifted his eyes to stare into hers.
“Yes. Percy, please sit down.” She took his hand in hers and led him to one of the sofas that furnished the hall. She sat down, tugging him along with her.
“Tell me,” she said. Somehow, even with her soft voice, it sounded like a command.
Percy, still disoriented, looked into his wife’s hazel and eyes and pulled himself together. It was a long time since they had held hands and confided their secrets to each other. Still, they were married, and marriage was a symbol of trust.
“Did you watch the news today?” he asked, praying she had.
“A man was murdered.”
“I.. uh.. I knew him, in a way. He had once come in with another man to fix a minor loophole in our security system. He was here last Wednesday, actually.” He paused to wipe the sweat off his brow. “But his name… He introduced himself as Andrew Wood. In the news, it says his name was Jason Stone.”
“Hmmm.” Chelsea was still processing it all.
“I always check their credentials. You know that. There was an identity with that name and face, so I didn’t dig too deep at the moment.”
“But?” Chelsea prodded.
“The maid said that this man had been found wandering around while his friend did all the job, so I fired them the same evening.”
“Okay.” His wife’s sharp voice brought him back to the present. “Didn’t it occur to you to verify once again?”
Percy shook his head. “I had further pressing business and I forgot about it.”
Chelsea sighed. “Now I suppose you want to go to the authorities with this?”
“I don’t know if I should. On the one hand, it makes me look like a complete fool. On the other, if they find out about it before I say anything, it might look suspicious.” Percy covered his face with his hands.
“If you’re going to be competing in the next elections, you’d better have a good relation with the local police. We will go down to the station tomorrow morning and tell them all that we know. Clear your schedule till noon.”
“Yes, dear.” Percy’s voice was resigned.
“Good night,” Chelsea called after her as she left the room, secretly glad for the opportunity her stupid husband had inadvertently provided her with by getting mixed up in such a business.
Chelsea sat it in the study, with her phone in one hand and a sheaf of papers in the other, staring off into space. Everything that had happened previously kept replaying in her mind, over and over again, till her mind felt as if it would explode with all the thoughts that swirled inside it.
She was an actress, though she taught acting more than doing anything commercial these days. A picture of her in her acting prime, the various posters of her successful movies and candid photos of her were hung on the walls. There was one picture, in which she stood in front of a tall, white building located in one of the quietest streets of Boston. The Preston Acting Academy was her pride and joy. She had seen it from its inception to its growth as one of the finest acting academies in the state. Anchoring herself to happy thoughts, she pulled herself together and tried to concentrate on the task at hand.
‘Read it and destroy it. I expect you to contact me with a plan by tomorrow at the latest,’ he had commanded.
“Your wish is my command,” she whispered to the shadows, as if he could hear her.
Her muted words carried around the dark room, with only a pool of light illuminating the desk at which Chelsea sat. The faint odour of old books was always there to greet her every time she visited the study room. The mansion still retained its old design and charms. There was a study, a large hall, a ballroom, a lavish master bedroom, a guest bedroom, long hallways, and a spacious kitchen. Although it had been redecorated and redone in countless ways to keep up with the times, the old bricks still stood cemented in place, a tribute to the good old masonry of the past. Her husband had added soundproofing recently, though as to how it was achieved, she had no clue.
Getting back to the papers she had been given, Chelsea glanced at them cursorily. It seemed like the details of the Jason Stone case – the detectives working on it, the evidence found, preliminary coroner’s examination and so on.
She picked up one of the sheets and began to read it.
‘Name: Reyna Moreno
Address: #6, 1212 Commonwealth Avenue, Brighton, Boston, MA
Religion: Roman Catholic Christian
Family: Parents, Adelina and Abelardo Moreno
Notes: Rookie detective. Joined service on 21st October, 2013′
There was a picture printed next to the information. A tall, young woman with an olive complexion, jet black wavy hair, deep midnight blue eyes and an awkward dimpled smile in police uniform looked back at Chelsea.
“The weakest link,” she told herself as she pushed that paper away and gathered a list of names, addresses and phone numbers of all the people who had enrolled into her acting classes. She smiled as a plan began to form in her mind. She picked up her phone, threw down the papers on the desk and paced the room excitedly.
When the phone connected, she carefully explained her plan to him in hushed tones.
“Make sure it works,” were the last words she heard before the call disconnected.
That, unfortunately, is the chapter at which this story had come to a standstill three years ago. I’m not sure if I ought to continue it or move on to better projects for my next Friday post. What did you think of it so far? All manner of advice and criticism is welcome. Head over to the comments section to let me know.
P. S. I know I missed a post. You’ll have to forgive me. Even during holidays I find myself too busy at times. Also, I’m a year older (maybe not wiser) now. 21 sounds dangerously grown-up.